“Naked God” is a cracker, right from the word go: Easy to read and not too long, it is nevertheless hard-hitting.
The reason this book is great is because it doesn’t allow any room to dismiss it’s concerns – the necessity of wrestling with the existence of God is hammered home.
|Naked God – Martin Ayers|
Section one (of 3) establishes our need to investigate God, by examining what it means if God does exist, and what it means if he doesn’t. By exploring the logical results of atheism, (with reference to Dawkins etc) Ayers shows that there are real consequences for our lives. Delving into morality, truth, freedom and knowledge, Ayers is comprehensive whilst retaining his down-to-earth tone.
Having brought us to the understanding that there ARE real consequences, Ayers investigates Jesus. He says that whilst people know of Jesus, their understanding is distorted through their view of the church, their childhood, pop culture and mainstream society. To make the all-important decision between God or atheism these layers must be peeled back until we see “Naked God” – as the cover says, we need “the truth about God exposed.” Ayers says it plainly – “Jesus claimed to be naked God.”
The reasons why people ignore Christ are myriad, but Ayers debunks or discredits many such reasons (or excuses). Ayers deals with science, relativism (all roads lead to Rome), reliability of the bible, and history, among other objections to the gospel.
This section really made the book for me – it considered things that other books fail to address (particularly how relativism, proclaiming itself as the tolerant solution to dispute, is presumptively guilty of it’s own accusations). Equally interesting is Ayers’s treatment of the classic CS Lewis trilemma (Liar, Lunatic or Lord), in which he provides a strong case for the latter based upon real people’s responses to Christ.
A look at the teaching and character of Christ, coupled as always with straightforward logic dispels many more myths.
Finally, section 3 gets to the crunch – what will you decide? If someone has followed the logic consistently, they are left with 2 real options, and the evidence all seems to support one – evidence of history, logic and experience all point towards the fact that Christ is indeed God exposed, naked God, held up for all to examine.
And not just figuratively. Christ was literally stripped down, and pinned up on a cross, for all to see. This final section wrenches us up out of the black hole we are left in after part 2. If all the evidence is correct, and logic serves us well, then we are inevitably dumped at the end of section 2 as sinners who are in a dire situation, facing death. “On our own, we all face hell.”
The fact is, however, that this crucifixion and the resurrection that followed are a gift. The gospel is expounded clearly; what happens when one accepts Christ is explained. The concepts of justification, regeneration, sanctification by the Spirit and more are laid on the table.
Ultimately, the reader is left with the option of following Christ.
All Christians are called to spread the gospel and help others into relationship with Jesus. That is why this book is one I strongly recommend. As a Christian reaching out to others, its simple but extensive argument is one we would do well to know, and the book itself is written to a target audience who currently do not know God.
“Naked God” is an easy yet powerful read that will force the reader to think hard about their philosophy, and I have every confidence in it (alongside the Bible, of course!) as an effective ministry tool.
You can buy the book from the Matthias Media Store.