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Reinterpreting the Word of God

Twisted Scripture: Untangling 45 Lies… by Andrew Farley, Salem Books, US $16.99, Pp 356, May 2019, ISBN 978-1621578116

Many of us believe in our traditions as part of the Gospel. Christians have been believing in and practicing rituals which were controversial even in the early days of Christianity. In Twisted Scripture, Andrew Farley says that tradition and truth are not always the same thing. If we are not careful, we end up thinking that the age of a belief makes it more valid. Then Andrew Farley recalls the early history of the Israelites. When Moses left them alone and went up the mountain to receive the ten commandments, they smelted a golden calf and then worshipped it. He says that this was not an isolated event. Paul taught the Corinthians the Gospel message, but they practically started having drunken orgies at the Lord’s Supper. Apparently, god’s people got things very wrong, very early on.

Andrew Farley reminds us that the so-called early church fathers disagreed with one another in radical ways. Origen believed the entire world would be saved through Christ. Tertullian claimed water baptism was best practiced on one’s death bed. Irenaeus thought gentiles in the Old Testament were justified before God via living by ethical standards with Greek philosophy. From Athanasius to Augustine, the early Church fathers held varied views, some of which directly opposed each other. Andrew Farley says that the idea that we should always agree with the traditions and doctrines of the early church fathers is nothing short of absurd. There wasn’t even uniform agreement among them. He says that this continues even today.

We should not be suckers for the sales pitch of tradition when it clashes with the simple message of the cross and the resurrection. Don’t ever buy the idea that a belief is correct just because it’s old. We are as capable today of understanding God’s Word and of being taught by the Holy Spirit as anyone else in history, including the early church fathers. Andrew Farley says that there is a number of lies Christians believe as truths. He argues that tradition never outranks truth. you may call a certain view “Christian tradition” or a certain idea a Christian “principle” or “rule.” But we should not worship at the feet of traditions, principles, or rules. Instead, we should always worship Jesus, who is the Truth. We don’t need principles. We need the person of Christ. Christianity is not about rules. It’s about letting Christ rule. He has identified 41 lies which are commonly taken as truths by Christians. Some of these lies are;

You must be baptized in water to be saved.

You’re saved by Jesus’s death on the cross.

The New Testament era began at the birth of Jesus.

“Jesus died for our sins” is the whole message of the cross.

If you commit big sins, you should be kicked out of the church.

Twisted Scripture is a commendable effort by Andrew Farley to revisit popular beliefs. He has painstakingly explained the difference between truth and traditions in the history of Christianity. His 41 examples of popular beliefs would open your eyes to how flawed our belief system is. This is a brilliantly written book for every believer who is seeking Jesus and his truth. If you want to understand the real meaning of the word of God, you should be looking for Twisted Scripture.

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