I picked up this book because a friend of mine wanted a review on it, and once I received it in the post and read, on the back of the book, ‘sick of religion? So was Jesus’ I was intrigued.
Reading a sentence like that got my attention alright, and so I took the book with me on holiday to read.
At the beginning of the book Cavey says that Jesus should be the focus of our attention, and I completely agree. However, the way he leads people into this conversation is quite strange. Cavey starts by discussing some of the big shifters in the world, people who have said/done things that have changed the world. Quite rightly Jesus is one of them, but I wouldn’t put them on the same par. Cavey says that church history and Christians today often follow their institution or denomination as opposed to following Jesus’ teaching. Sadly this is true in many cases, but Cavey doesn’t pick up on any of the difficult stuff that Jesus talks about. For example, there is no mention of hell (something that Jesus spoke a lot about), there is no mention about why Jesus had to die on the cross and how his death paid the punishment for sins.
I think that Cavey’s main message is ‘let legalism die and let’s follow Jesus’ this is a message that I can wholeheartedly get behind. He rightly point out that religious acts or rituals can become habits and no longer challenge us. But, the whole approach of the book is slightly disconcerting. His exegesis suggests that he is reading his own idea into the bible, instead of allowing the Bible to shape his view.
Although Cavey speaks about Jesus he doesn’t explain the necessity for people to come to God through Jesus, he doesn’t say clearly that Jesus is the only way to God. Rather, he speaks in a way that one could understand, without critically thinking about it, that simply following he teachings of Jesus is enough to be made right with God.
I found myself reading the book and thinking ‘I think this is what he means… or I hope that this is what he means’.
Sin is only mentioned at the end of the book, and the consequences of believing in Jesus or not aren’t stated at all.
I’m afraid that anyone could pick up this book and believe that if they do a good job in life, then God has got there back, that people can be good Christians without going to church and joining fellowship with fellow believers.
However, this is contrary to the message of the Bible.
I don’t believe that Cavey is trying to mislead people, but I think that in his approach of trying to be so accessible to all readers means that he has lost the fact that the gospel is exclusive, you either believe it or you don’t.
I’m not one to tear people down for their work, because I am called to love my fellow brother in Christ, but I cannot recommend this book. I wholeheartedly agree with the whole ‘let legalism die’ idea, but in his approach of this topic he has blurred lines that I think are quite important.
Should Christians be careful to not become like the Pharisees? Yes.
Should we strive to live as Jesus taught in the gospel? Yes.
Does that means that we walk out the church because history shows that a lot of people have misapplied the Bible? No.