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The Naked Gospel: Disrobing Christianese Jargon

Texas Tech linguistics professor Andrew Farley's new book delves into the truth of Jesus' teachings and challenges common misconceptions in modern English.

Written by John Davis

The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church

Farley said that because of the mixed messages he had learned in church, he spent much of his own young life in a fruitless pursuit of God’s acceptance with a set of rules that seemed to doom him to failure.

A Texas Tech University linguistics expert said that modern Christians may find a better relationship with Jesus by stripping away buzzwords and churchy jargon added through time and rinsing away Old Testament messages, such as tithing and the Ten Commandments, which appear in modern Christian sermons.

“The book is a basic invitation to jettison religion and grab onto the original message,” said Andrew Farley, an associate professor of applied linguistics and author of the new book “The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church.” “As a linguist, I looked at ‘Christianese’ jargon, and I examined that jargon in light of what the epistles actually say. I’ve noticed modern-day Christians actually latch on to jargon that makes them think ‘I must work for God,’ but find they can never do enough to please God.”

His pursuit in understanding the language of the New Testament is what led him to write the new book, published by Harper Collins’ Zondervan and already the company’s No. 1 in sales on last week’s early Amazon release. Farley, also a nondenominational pastor, used his research in an honors seminar at Texas Tech titled ‘Early Church and Contemporary Christianity in Conflict.’

Farley said that because of the mixed messages he had learned in church, he spent much of his own young life in a fruitless pursuit of God’s acceptance with a set of rules that seemed to doom him to failure.

“I think a lot of people have become disillusioned with their church, and they’re looking for something that works Monday to Saturday and not just an hour a week on Sunday,” he said. “A lot of the modern-day jargon that is tossed around in religious circles clouds much of what I believe is the early church message. Through studying the language of the New Testament, ‘The Naked Gospel’ is an undressing of religion to find an early church message, what I call Jesus-plus-nothing.”

Causing Controversy

Farley admits his ideas have caused controversy with some, especially when they hear him say that Christians don’t need the Ten Commandments law, that asking forgiveness for sins is not necessary and insulting to Jesus, and that tithing 10 percent of your income to a church is a Jewish tradition no longer required.

“Christians do not need the Ten Commandments as a moral guide, and in fact, Christians need to get over their fixation with what is actually about 600 Old Testament regulations,” Farley said. “Loving your God and loving your neighbor as Jesus asked us to do covers all that. You’re not going to murder someone or cheat on your spouse if you love your neighbor. And if you love God, you’re going to live an upright life.

“When it comes to forgiveness, Christians are already forgiven, as Jesus said on the cross: ‘It is finished.’ And as the epistle to the Hebrews so clearly argues, it was a ‘once for all.’ The idea is that if Christians realize they’re clean once and for all before God, their identity as pure, forgiven people will result in good behavior. Clean thinking leads to clean living – plain and simple.”

As to the 10 percent tithe, Farley explained that Old Testament law required religious leaders to own no possessions or homes. He argued that today’s religious leaders own homes and cars, and that today’s Christian message about giving is to give freely without any pressure of any kind, and with an open heart – not a set amount.

“Being free from the Old Testament law means we are also free from the tithe,” he said. “But if today’s religious leaders are teaching the 10 percent rule, they’re teaching Old Testament Judaism, but they’re not living by it themselves. There’s an inconsistency there. The true New Testament message is give from the heart as much as you want. A lot of people when they first hear that say to me, ‘You’re going to destroy America’s churches.’ I would rather teach truth and let the doors shut than teach error and keep them open.”

Confronting the idea that the law has no place in the life of a Christian can be challenging for many. But in his book, Farley claims that even an ounce of Jewish law in the life of a Christian is ‘cheating’ on Jesus.

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25 Responses to “The Naked Gospel: Disrobing Christianese Jargon”

  1. Joshua sills Says:

    Having personally read the book, I can honestly recommend it o anyone and everyone who calls themself a Christian. As a 23 year old who grew up in church, i have never experienced more freedom and fulfillment than after having read this book. Even if you don’t agree with everything said, the book will still encourage the reader to rely on Christ, rather than relying on churchyness or Christian piety – which ultimately lead to a bottomless pit of human effort

  2. Mark Says:

    An excellent book. Let’s proclaim the real gospel of grace and the believer’s identity in Christ as Mr. Farley has done here!

    Mark Vilen
    Spokane, WA

  3. Robert Frost Says:

    I find this interesting and important. Nice work.

  4. J.R. Oliver Says:

    I think this book is exactly what NON-Christians even more so than Christians are looking for, and I would recommend it equally to both! From the Christian perspective, I agree with Joshua – through this book God has stripped away lie after lie that I’ve believed about Him and left me with unadulterated freedom. From the non-Christian perspective, this is the very heart of the Christian faith, free of hypocrisy, religion and sugar coating. If you want to really understand the Christian faith for what it truly is, read this book.

  5. Brandon Salsberry Says:

    These are Jesus’s exact words from the Gospel of Matthew. The Old Testament is still in effect and much of the New Testament is actually quotes from the Old Testament. The two testaments support each other.

    17″Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew 5:17-20

  6. Kipchirchir Boit Says:

    I would think, based on this article, that Farley’s book is an attempt to espouse the tenets presented in the book of Romans where it is revealed that indeed we cannot hope to attain righteousness by works. The purpose however of the Ten Commandments and the Law in general is to reveal how far from perfect we really are and thus stressing the importance of salvation and the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.

    (Romans 3:31)
    31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

    With regard to asking for forgiveness, Jesus himself tells us to do this in the Lord’s Prayer

    (Matt. 6:12)
    12Forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

  7. aaron Says:

    (For Brandon) Consider what is being said. “but to fulfill them” vs17 How did Jesus fulfill the Law and the spoken word of prophets? He says they wont disappear until everything is accomplished. What does Jesus say on the cross? “It is finished” What did the cross and resurrection accomplish? Forgiveness for all people and all sin forever.

    The book, the naked gospel, is an incredible, informative, and life challenging read for those who are seeking the truth and meaning of the bible’s original language, who it was written to, and why. The issue is about new COVENANT vs old COVENANT. Not new testament vs old. They testaments work together as a complete picture of God’s work in the life of mankind. The new covenant? Its simple, Jesus said “Love your neighbor and your God.” If you read naked gospel get ready to receive love and freedom, not rules and restraint.

  8. Elizabeth SEgura Says:

    I’d like a better understanding of the author. I would wager that since the Bible cannot contradict it’s self and discarding the “old law” completely would cause the demands set forth in the new testament to be contrdictory. All but one of the official “ten commandments” are repeated in the new testament. Jesus said he came to fulfill the law…if we believe this book written by this author than we have to agree that John 3:17 which states, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” is a lie. If you read the before and after context you will see this verse is not taken out of context to prove my point. The word might is key here. We must also believe that Romans 10:9-10 cannot mean what it says. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” God and Jesus gives us a choice. We are not forced to “get saved” or serve the Lord. If we look at First Timothy 6:20-21 we see that Paul is exorting him to be careful not to believe false sciences which would lead people off the correct path. This author seems to be proclaiming through his research that he has proof that his conclusions are correct. Not only has he decided this for him self he has now passed on his way of thinking to multi millions of people. Many whom may not have had the time to study and make an informed decision but would take his book as the gosple it’s self simply because it was written by a well known pastor.
    Addressing the authors concern that “people have become disillusioned with their church, and they’re looking for something that works Monday to Saturday and not just an hour a week on Sunday,” we can consider the following. Just as you choose to go to work everyday you can choose to be a christian witness every day. You can do as much or as litte as you wish. It boils down to what is important to you. Since God is not a respector of persons as stated in Romans 2:11. This should make you feel at ease knowing that you aren’t working to impress God but rather, you are working to give the truth of salvation to others all over the world.
    This last statement is just my personal opinion but it seems that the author of this book has never invited the Lord Jesus Christ into his heart to be his personal Lord and Saviour. The great peace and joy that comes after doing this isnt mentioned in his description of his “chruch years growing up and as an adult when he was miserable all the time.”
    So to you sir if you would like to make the best decision you’ll ever make please take a moment to Read the gosples of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and you will see the great love and sacrifice that was made for you by Jesus Christ. Romans 10:9-10 is a great follow up if you do decide you wish to be saved. Along with John 3:16, Then Romans 10:13.
    E. Segura

  9. Angela Says:

    Might as well just punt-kick the Bible out the door. This is the new religion that the world is teaching to fit everyone’s lifestyle. I call it “The Bible According to Oprah Winfrey”. Although this author is trying to make everyone feel comfortable, he is guiding many to hell. “Everyone” will not go to heaven; only a few will enter. Read the Real Book!

    By a mother looking at the Texas Tech website in searching for my daughters a possible college.

  10. Laura Says:

    I just finished reading THE NAKED GOSPEL. Excellent book, Dr. Farley, and spot-on! You get it. Jesus + nothing is enough–for salvation . . . and for godly living on earth. Thank you for writing such a clear and concise presentation of the true gospel, which is freedom from sin, freedom from guilt, freedom from the Law and LIFE LIFE LIFE in Christ Jesus alone.

    My hope and prayer is that those who are judging this book by its cover will delve into the THE NAKED GOSPEL, search God’s Word with an open mind, and begin to learn (or relearn) the Truth.

    And for those who think this book just tries to make everyone “feel comfortable,” read the other comments here–some from believers–and you’ll see just how “comfortable” Dr. Farley’s book has made them! But when you preach the true, unadulterated gospel, people will accuse you of teaching all kinds of heresies. Just ask the apostle Paul!

  11. john Says:

    Book is GREAT!!!! Worth reading.

  12. eddie preas Says:

    Where Dr. Farley errors from the truth is sin is sin is sin Galations 5:19 now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these adultery fornication uncleanness lasciviousness ect. Then he said that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. While it may seem liberating to think that when you sin your not really sinning and it is Ok with God its not the truth. Jesus tell us how we shall live then he said that they that hear his teaching and do them not that when the great storm came it destroyed that house because it was built on a shifting sand foundation matt 7 That storm is when he comes back to judge us. Now i know that some one practicing homosexual life style have tolled me its ok there going to heaven yet Gods word says its a abomination. i’ve know people that have killed some one in cold blood tell me that they dont need to repent because theiir a Christian. But Jesus said straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few that find it. The Christian life was designed not to be fulfilling when your living in error your to feel convicted and sad this should lead to repent. then your forgiven and the wait of sin is lifted

  13. KotMan Says:

    Linguistics have a great way of smoothing out difficult subjects…..the gospel is grace but like any gift….it must be received and transferred…..calling oneself a christian may be as truthful as calling someone “cute” when we all know better….i still believe good can come from the book and its discussion though…..always weigh this and others works against the Word…..

  14. Russ Pratt Says:

    I haven’t read the book yet, but I plan to soon. I must say that the description given here creates no controversy for me. A Christian since childhood, raised and still active in a Baptist church, this message is right on target with what the Bible teaches. The cornerstone message of the New Testament is that Christians, those who accept Christ’s sacrifice as payment for their personal sin, live under a “New Covenant”. Accepting this, does not mean rejecting the Old, but realizing that the old itself was insufficient and was purposed to show humanities inability to close the gap between himself and God by his own actions.

    Certainly it is possible that the author may also go so far as to attempt to invalidate the core “non-negotiable” of the gospel message of accepting Christ for who he says he is, including that “no one comes to the father except thru me.” In which case I will respectfully disagree with him.

    In support of the idea that Christians need not “ask forgiveness”, quoted statement is right on the mark. We are already forgiven. We ask forgiveness, not to obtain it continually, but as recognition of our failure to live up to the standard established by Jesus. It is for our benefit, not his.

    Of course, much of how each individual reads this, will depend upon how that individual defines “being a Christian”. And unfortunatly there are a lot of false definitions out there.

  15. Chad Says:

    I might suggest that critics read the book before responding…this might allay some defensive responses. One can’t expect the synopsis here to be representative of Farley’s views in their entirety.

    And for those who would like a better understanding of the author, visit his profile linked at the top.

  16. K H Says:

    I disagree with Mr. Farley’s proposal that the Ten Commandments need to be abandoned. While it is true that it does not apply towards Christians for salvation, it does apply to Christians to understand verses such as Romans 3:23 where it says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” How are we to know what God’s standards are and how we have fallen short of them if we jettison the most detailed part of the Bible that explains what God’s standards are. Answer, there is no way for us to know. So Christians need to be kept aware of what God’s standards are lest we forget the plumb line that keeps us in line with God’s standards. Also, we need to keep them readily available as a witnessing tool. If we are witnessing to a non-Christian and we say they are in need of a Savior because they have fallen short of God’s standards and they ask what the standards are, all we will be able to is just insist that they have and have no standard to present to them that shows how they have fallen short and need a Savior. The bottom line is that we have been given ALL of it, Old and New Testament and if it wasn’t necessary, we wouldn’t have been given it and we have no authority to say that any part of it is unnecessary or any part of it doesn’t need to be followed.

  17. K H Says:

    My comments are based on what I have read here. If I am incorrect about the entire synopsis of the book, then Mr. Farley needs to make sure the article above accurately reflects his book.

  18. Dan Isett Says:

    I haven’t read the book yet but for those interested, the Kindle version is free on right now.

  19. James Says:

    1. Please only post opinions on the book or author from an informed basis. If you have not read the book, your opinions of it are useless. Likewise, if you have not read work by, spoken to, or at least met DR. (not mister) Farley, your opinions of the man or biased in ignorance.

    2. Also, there is an old philisophical tool that happens to be one of the few useful in the realm of science as well as these endless deliberations. William of Ockham is no longer well knon for his well known razor, “entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.” But lets bring it back. In other words, simplicity is more desirable than plurality. So please leave Dr. Farley in peace as he struggles to bring succinctness to a branch of human intrest that revels in making life as complicated as possible.

  20. KotMan Says:

    hey James, we read an article and posted a comment….doesnt matter if weve read the book or not, yet….at least not in whats left of this free America….go practice on some other big words….

  21. Ken Bohmann Says:

    Romans 2:12 also states “For as many as have sinned without law will also perish, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law. Jesus is the propitiation for our sins but we still need to come to him for that saving grace and confess our sins to him and repent of our sins.

    Regarding not having to obey the commandments, I believe Andrew is in error here also. John 14:15 says, “If you love me keep my commandments.” Again in John14:21 Jesus says, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me.” John 15:10 also says, “If you keep My commandments ,you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. Then in 15:12 Jesus says, This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Notice the difference here, in the previous verses Jesus said commandments (plural) and in Jn. 15:12 it is singular. I would think it is obvious that Jesus was referring to the ten commandments. We should realize the importance of what Jesus is telling us in Jn. 15:12 but i do not believe He is negating the other commandments. By inferring as Andrew does in his book that by obeying the one commandment we will automatically be obeying all ten is hypocrisy. We need only to go to Romans 2:12 and Romans 3:23 to see the contradiction.

  22. Ken Bohmann Says:

    I agree with Elizabeth SEgure’s comments above, and I would like to ask you Andrew Farley if you have received Christ as your Lord and personal Savior? Nowhere in your book does it mention that you have a personal relationship with our Lord. Where in scripture does it say that He died for all our past, present and future sins? It is clear however that Jesus died for our past trangressions. We still need to come to repentance if we sin. Remember Romans tells us that “All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.”

  23. Andrew Farley (author) Says:

    Andrew Farley (author of The Naked Gospel):

    Great comments here! Here’s a bit of what The Naked Gospel says about the Law, repentance, confession, and my own personal salvation. I recommend reading the book for clarity concerning what it says. If you’re local, you’re invited to visit the Bible-believing church where I serve as pastor. God bless you all !

    —–The Law—–
    “The law hasn’t disappeared just because we have the New. It is still at work today as a tool to convict the unbelieving world. As the words of Jesus indicate, the law will continue to be an ever-present force until heaven and earth disappear.” (Chapter 8, The Naked Gospel)

    “There’s a godly sorrow or regret over sins that leads a person to desire change (2 Corinthians 7:10). This regret occurs because believers are designed for good works, not sins. When we sin, we’re not living out our destiny. When we sin, we won’t be content with our choice. We’re meant for something greater. We’re meant to display the life of Jesus Christ. Nothing less.” (Chapter 23, The Naked Gospel)

    “Let’s clarify an important point. The meaning of confess is “to say the same as” or “to agree.” Believers should agree with God on all counts-not just about sins but about everything. Although we don’t confess our sins in order to receive new portions of forgiveness and cleansing, we should still agree with God concerning the folly of sin. We’re his children, and it is only his ways that fulfill. We’re designed from the ground up to agree with him, depend on him, and live from him.” (Chapter 22, The Naked Gospel)

    —–Upright Living—–
    “The reality is that the amount of time we spend sinning won’t increase if we agree with God about his Son’s once-for-all sacrifice. In fact, the opposite will occur. We’ll begin to realize that our slate is clean before God. We’ll see that Jesus Christ accomplished this in order to remain in us every moment of every day, no matter what. With awareness of his unconditional presence comes the power to say no to sin.” (Chapter 30, The Naked Gospel)

    —–My Salvation Experience—–
    “I once thought I knew all about the Christian faith. But it wasn’t until fourteen years after I’d received Christ that I would begin to grasp the real thing. I’m not talking about another salvation experience…” (Introduction, The Naked Gospel)

    Grace to you all!

    Andrew Farley

  24. Matthew Morizio Says:

    Great book, Andrew! Thank you for taking time to cut away much of the chaff we encounter elsewhere. Thank you for reminding us what Christ has accomplished for us and how it applies in us.
    Peace to you-
    Matthew Morizio

  25. nell mitchell Says:

    Mathew 28:19 – 20 JESUS said ” Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I (JESUS) have commanded you; and lo I am (JESUS) with you always even to the end of the age” . The WORD OF GOD ( BIBLE) says ” WOE UNTO THE SHEPHERD WHO LEADS MY SHEEP ASTRAY”. As a Nondemoninational Pastor ( a Shepherd) you are taking away and adding to the Word of GOD. I will pray for you. There is a differnce between going to church (religous) and be a Chistain ( CHRIST LIKE). Christain repent of their sins and ask GOD for forgiveness. If you really love GOD, keep his commandments, repent and be saved

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Featured Expert

Andrew Farley is an associate professor of applied linguistics in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures in the College of Arts and Sciences.

View his profile in our online Experts Guide.


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