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God Without Religion: Can It Really Be This Simple?
Baker / 2011 / Paperback
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Andrew Farley's experience as a Christian was first characterized by self-effort as he tried to please God at any cost. His ruthless religion resulted in spiritual burnout and disillusionment with church. Only then did he discover what relaxing in Jesus means and how enjoying God's intimate presence can transform everyday life.
Using a unique story-driven format, God without Religion dismantles common religious misconceptions, revealing--
the true meaning of being filled with the Spirit
the facts about judgment, rewards, and God's discipline
the simple truth behind predestination and the divisions it causes
the problem with the popular challenge to "live radical"
Pulling no punches, Farley shows how the truth about these controversial issues can liberate and unify believers as we discover how to rest in the unconditional love of God.
Andrew Farley is the bestselling author of The Naked Gospel, God without Religion, and Operation Screwtape. Connect with Andrew on Facebook and Twitter (@DrAndrewFarley), and visit AndrewFarley.org to download free resources. You can listen to Andrew Farley Live every Sunday on Sirius XM 131 or anytime through the "Ecclesia: Church Without Religion" mobile app.
Believers love to sing "Jesus Paid It All" when gathered for worship, but live in a way indicating they may not really believe what they sing. Their lifestyle, behavior, and choices reveal a belief that in order to make life "work," something other than what God has given them is necessary. THIS is what Andrew Farley terms as religion the return to bondage that stifles and cripples many who have their faith in Christ for salvation, but not for living.
In God without Religion, Farley carefully teases out the threads of religion and examines them in the full light of Scripture. He likens the process to switching from one computer operating system to another. When one switches to a new operating system, the old system needs to be abandoned completely. It doesn't work that way anymore on your new system. Farley's criticism of religion is that it tries to use an old operating system on a new computer. (Yes, Apple computers will run Microsoft programs - but Farley defends against that argument, too!)
The destructive thought patterns that plague many believers are brought out, carefully examined, and dealt with accurately and appropriately. Without seeming harsh or haughty, the reader is lead to carefully and biblically consider the truth of such thoughts as "I'm not good enough," "Im not consistent enough," and "I'm too guilty." The biblical case is presented lovingly and pointedly; Christ was either the perfect and complete sacrifice or He was dishonest, disqualified, and deceitful. The author makes a very passionate case for the right relationship between the believer and the law that bears careful consideration.
Turning from the issue of salvation, Farley then undertakes to debunk several prevalent myths among believers. First to be considered is the belief that "if I give, God will bless me," or its corollary "if I dont give, God will punish me." Again, Scripture is brought out, allowed to speak on its own and make commentary on itself in order to bring the reader to a thoughtful conclusion.
The discussion then turns to the limits of salvation: who exactly can be or will be saved? The author deftly handles Scripture to allow a full portrait of Gods amazing love and pursuing grace to be revealed. The remainder of the book deals with the repercussions of that amazing love. Because Gods great mercy, love, and grace have dispensed so great a salvation that lives are drastically and radically changed in the process how should we live? Farley discusses the topics of extending forgiveness to others, dealing with sin in one's own life, meeting together in corporate worship, and preparing for the life that is to come. The well-established pattern is followed: Scripture is presented as the final authority, and where clarity is needed, Scripture is its own interpreter.
Throughout the book, Farley issues a very clear call for a grand distinction to be made between following God and following religion. Rules never save; they only highlight the infractions that occur. God is the only Savior, so it is He who must be trusted above all others even religion. I commend this book to your careful reading and consideration. - Charles Eldred, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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