Tag Archives: grace

“The Naked Gospel” by Andrew Farley – Summary and Response

Farley, Andrew.  The Naked Gospel. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.

Farley, Andrew. The Naked Gospel. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m taking a training class for lay counselors through my church. As part of the class we were required to read three books and submit book reports on each one.  (You can read the first book report here.) The second book we read had the intriguing title The Naked Gospel, by a pastor named Andrew Farley.  It’s a present-day explanation of what is often called “The Exchanged Life” view of the Christian life. I had not heard of Farley before, so I was interested to see what he had to say. Here is my summary and response to the book.

Farley begins by telling his own story, saying he started out his Christian life by, one might say, “busting his tail for Jesus.” He says he burned out trying to do this and eventually realized he simply couldn’t live the Christian life by his own strength. He talks about how he had to unlearn a lot of his misconceptions about Christianity in order to learn what the Bible really teaches.

Farley then explains carefully and systematically how Christians are no longer under the Old Testament law or good works as a means to secure God’s favor. He points out what both the apostles Paul and James taught, that if you try to keep the Law, you’re responsible for keeping the whole thing, and if you fail to keep even one part of it, you’ve broken the Law (see Galatians 3:10 and 5:3 and James 2:10). Since no one can keep the Law perfectly then we are incapable of keeping it at all, which is why God provided salvation by a different means—by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Farley says this is also the means by which we are to live the daily Christian life as well – by grace through faith in Christ.

Farley even extends this to the Ten Commandments. He points out that Paul says “the letter kills” (2 Corinthians 3:6, meaning the letter of the law) and calls the law a “ministry of death” (2 Corinthians 3:7). Farley says this is no less true for the Ten Commandments; even trying to live by the Ten Commandments will bring death to us rather than life, because the Law incites sin (see Paul’s discussion of how the Law evokes sin in Romans 7:5-13 and also Romans 3:20 and 1 Corinthians 15:56). Grace is the only means to be free from sin.

Farley goes on to demonstrate in various ways how the New Covenant (Testament) sets us free from the Law. He gives the example discussed in Hebrews 5-7 that the priesthood of Jesus is of the order of Melchizedek, while the Law prescribes a priesthood descended from Levi and Aaron. Moreover, Jesus is from the tribe of Judah, not Levi, so His priesthood does not conform to the Law.

Farley offers more examples of how the Law has been superseded in the New Testament. He sees both the tithe and the Sabbath as Old Testament concepts no longer in force under the New Covenant. The author shows that the Old Testament Sabbath was a picture or precursor of the true Sabbath rest of God spoken about in Hebrews 3-4, in which we are able to rest from our striving for good works because of the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on our behalf.

Farley talks about how in the New Covenant, instead of trying to keep the Law, we rely on the Holy Spirit, who produces fruit in us that leads to a way of life that satisfies the requirements of the Old Testament law. He shows that through faith in Christ, believers are made truly and actually righteous before God, not just positionally righteous. He talks about how we were born in Adam, but through salvation we are taken out of Adam and placed in Christ. Farley makes much of our identification with Christ. This is the key by which we actually live the Christian life – by Christ living through us.

Farley spends a good bit of time trying to show that the forgiveness we have through Christ is once-for-all, that when we are saved, all our sins–past, present, and future—are forgiven for all time. Therefore we don’t have to ask for forgiveness every time we sin because we already have forgiveness once and for all. He even goes to pains to show that 1 John 1:9, which says “If we confess our sins God is faithful…to forgive us…” is for unbelievers, not believers.

This was the part of the book I found least convincing. To begin with I question his exegesis of 1 John 1, though he did help me to see certain aspects of it in a different light. But also there are other passages of Scripture which imply that walking in blatant unrepentant sin hinders our relationship with God, or at least our experience of that relationship. (1 Corinthians 5 comes to mind as an example, in which Paul deals with a case of gross sexual immorality in the Corinthian church.) Even for the Christian, ongoing repentance seems vital for walking in an intimate experience of relationship with God.

Farley claims people are suspicious of grace because they fear an emphasis on grace will give people a license to sin. Therefore Farley emphasizes over and over again that grace does not lead us to sin more, but is actually the only true means to overcome sin. We think the Law will deter us from sinning, but actually Scripture says the Law provokes us to sin (see Romans 7:5-13 as mentioned above). It’s grace then, not law, that helps us master sin. This overcoming of sin is entirely dependent on Christ living in us and through us.

There is much more I could say about The Naked Gospel. While there are some parts of it I question, overall I found it to be a very helpful and very Scriptural explanation of the life that is lived by grace through faith in the indwelling Christ.

“You Are My Delight”: A Project to Support Shelters For Battered Women

“You Are My Delight,” an original song co-written and recorded by my friend Bob Mader and myself, is now available for purchase on iTunes.  Bob and I are going to donate 1/2 of everything we make on this song to support two women’s shelters, one here in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, and the other in the town where Bob lives (and where I also used to live), Lenoir City, Tennessee.  More information on these shelters is given below.

The Story Behind the Song

artwork for "You Are My Delight" by Amy Given

artwork for “You Are My Delight” by Amy Given

On a Sunday morning in 2006, some women from Iva’s Place, a shelter for battered women in Lenoir City, Tennessee, came to speak at Bob’s church (Two Rivers Evangelical Free Church).  The church was supporting the shelter, and these ladies had been invited to come and share the stories of what they had been through, as well as how God had worked in their lives.

As Bob listened to their testimonies, he was moved by all they’d experienced and began to ask himself, “What message would God want to give to these women?”  Right there in church, the following words came to Bob:

You are My delight, you are My great joy;
You’re the apple of My eye, the one that I came for;
Extravagantly cherished, made perfect in My sight–
You are My beloved, you are My delight.

“You Are My Delight” (c) copyright 2007 Bob Mader & Morgan Trotter

Bob says that although the chorus came to him immediately that’s all it was. He never could come up with any verses to finish out the song.

Fast-forward a year or so to the summer of 2007.  Bob and I met at a retreat for Christian songwriters held in Townsend, Tennessee.  On the Saturday of the retreat our afternoon assignment was to collaborate with one of the other songwriters and try to create a song.  Since Bob and I were the only two people there from Knoxville (where I lived at the time), we decided to pair up and see what we could come up with.

I grabbed some pages of unfinished songs I’d brought with me to the retreat (we knew ahead of time this would be one of our assignments), and began to look through them.  One stood out to me that I’d entitled “Long Before.”  With this unfinished song, my situation was just the opposite of Bob’s–my song had some verses but no chorus to tie everything together.

I showed this piece of a song to Bob and sang the melody I had come up with for it.  After hearing it, Bob looked through the song fragments he’d brought to the retreat and pulled out his chorus “You Are My Delight” and played it for me.

As he played that chorus, I think we both got the sense that my verses might fit well with his chorus.  When we sang them together it worked, so we honed the verses a bit, turning one of them into a bridge, in order to make the song flow together seamlessly.  After an hour or so’s work, we were done and had a finished song.  Here is the complete lyric we finally wound up with:

Long before you loved Me, I was pursuing you;
Long before you knew Me, I had my eye on you.
Long before you cared whether I was around,
I was planning for the day you’d let yourself be found…

Long before you knew the desires of your heart,
You were lost and afraid, all alone there in the dark;
Till I called your name, and whispered “It’s alright…
I will hold you near all through the night….”

Chorus:
(For) you are My delight, you are My great joy,
The apple of My eye, the one that I came for;
Extravagantly cherished, made perfect in My sight….
You are My beloved, you are My delight.

Bridge:
Long before you heard about My Son,
He was dying so we could be one;
Long before you were born anew,
My Spirit was drawing you…!

Chorus:
(For) you are My delight, you are My great joy,
The apple of My eye, the one that I came for;
Extravagantly cherished, made perfect in My sight….
You are My beloved, you are My delight.

“You Are My Delight
words and music by Bob Mader and Morgan Trotter
© 2007 Bob Mader and Morgan Trotter

“You Are My Delight” is God singing His love and care over the victims of domestic violence. Indeed, it is God singing His love over all of us.  You can hear this song as a word from God to you about His love for you personally as well.

The Long And Winding Road to Today

After the retreat, Bob and I went home and each recorded our own versions of the song.  If you buy the full EP for “You Are My Delight” you can hear both of these early versions, which are just a little different, but which both capture the song’s heart and message.

Over the next several years, Bob and I played the song individually at various places, and always got a good response.  Bob’s recording of it even became a Top 50 song on Soundclick.com, where he posted it.  But playing the song occasionally for friends or churches was about all we did with it.

Then in 2011 a mutual friend of ours learned the story of how the song’s chorus was inspired when Bob heard the ladies from the women’s shelter speak, and suggested Bob and I record the song together and sell it to raise funds for Iva’s Place, donating half of what we make from it to the shelter.  So during the summer of 2011 over several sessions we made a recording of the song which featured both my guitar and Bob’s mandolin, as well as each of us taking turns on lead vocals and singing harmonies.

Meanwhile, our friend Amy Given, a very gifted artist, was kind enough to offer to do the artwork for the song.  Amy created the beautiful artwork you see above.

The release of the song was delayed, though, because my mother was sick and in the fall of 2011 I moved back to Huntsville to help her and my dad.  Mom died in December 2011, and for the next year or so I was preoccupied with that, finding a job, helping my father, etc.

Earlier this year, though, my thoughts began to drift back to our recording of “You Are My Delight” and our plans to release it as a fundraiser for the women’s shelter.  Within just a few days after I had begun thinking about the song again I got an email from Bob saying he felt it was time to move forward with the song as well.  Rather providential timing!!  Since I had moved to Huntsville by that time, we decided to include the women’s shelter here as well so that my North Alabama friends might also feel inclined to participate.

So we got to work on the project again. There have been a lot of delays and some procrastination along the way, but at long last, the Official Release Date of “You Are My Delight” is finally here!!

How You Can Help

Bob and I put together an EP that includes 4 different versions of the song: The Official Version that Bob and I recorded together, Bob’s original demo version, my demo version, and an alternate mix of Bob and me playing the song together.  You can buy one or all of these versions, but 1/2 of what Bob and I make on each purchase will go to the two women’s shelters detailed below.  So the more versions you buy, the more money goes to the shelters.

So here’s how you can help:

1) Purchase one or more versions of “You Are My Delight,” or the entire EP. One half of what we make on each purchase will go to support Iva’s Place in Lenoir City, Tennessee and Hope Place in Huntsville, Alabama, (see below for more info on these shelters).  A preview of the song is located at the bottom of this blog post if you want to hear what it sounds like.

To download “You Are My Delight” on iTunes, click here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/you-are-my-delight/id723004498?i=723004720

To download “You Are My Delight” in mp3 form go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-My-Delight-EP/dp/B00FQU9E9W/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1381461244&sr=8-6&keywords=bob+mader

NOTE: If you want to donate more money with your purchase, you can download the song through my Reverb Nation store.  On Reverb Nation we are allowed to charge more money per song, so more money goes to the shelters as well.  To download “You Are My Delight” on Reverb Nation follow this link and look for the song under “Singles”: http://www.reverbnation.com/store/store/artist_377501?item_type=music

2) Tell all your friends about “You Are My Delight.”  Here are some possible ways to do that:

a) “Like” our Facebook page and share it with your friends. https://www.facebook.com/YouAreMyDelight2013

b) Share this blog post on your Facebook page, Twitter, or by email

c) Share the info with your church

d) Ask your friends to tell their friends about “You Are My Delight.”

3) Listen to the song and hear its message for you personally. For the message of “You Are My Delight” is not just for victims of domestic violence. It is God singing His love over each of us.

4) Ask God to bless this fundraising effort, and pray for the women in these shelters, and for victims of domestic violence everywhere.

5) Support your local women’s shelter.

About The Women’s Shelters

1/2 of what Bob and I make on every download of “You Are My Delight” will go to support Iva’s Place in Lenoir City, Tennessee, and Hope Place in Huntsville, Alabama.  That means 1/4 of what we make on each download will go to each shelter.  Click on the links below to learn more about these shelters:

Iva’s Place

Hope Place

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below, or on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/YouAreMyDelight2013

The White House has declared October 2013 Domestic Violence Awareness month.  We hope that in some small way this project can help bring hope to victims of domestic violence.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Here’s a preview of “You Are My Delight”:

All content on this blog including this post (c) copyright 2006-2013 C. Morgan Trotter except where otherwise noted.