by Tony Evans
Sealy M Yates, Literary Agent
Orange, California, 1998
Reviewed by Jean-Luc Lezeau, Associate Director, General Conference Stewardship
The Bible calls each of us to be Christlike. But because being Christlike means being perfect, this call has become a burden to many. It is looked upon as an impossible goal to reach.
In this book The Perfect Christian, Tony Evans begins by saying This thing we call Christian living is a matter of the will, not of the emotion. But is it really that simple? Evans feels certain that the problem is that Christians today do things primarily because they feel like it. He says God is not dealing with our feelings; He is dealing with our willful choices. Decisions are a result of personal choice. And although it takes a calculated decision of the mind to do God’s will, it takes more than a mere decision to live what we claim to be.
Using simple every-day language, Evans illustrates we can live up to the decision we make to ourselves to be Christlike. Here are some of what he has to say in this book:
On responding to God’s word: The problem with too many Christians is they want to audit the Christian life the way a student may audit a course in college. You know what happens when you audit a course. You get the information, but you don’t do any of the work or take the tests.... Likewise, if you audit the Word of God, you will gain one credit towards graduation to the next spiritual level.
On faith in action: The Christian life is a lot like television. It’s not enough for people to hear what we say. They need to see the picture, too. They need to see our faith in action.... Our Christianity must deliver both sound and picture as we grow to spiritual maturity and Christlikeness.
On gossiping: It’s fine to be concerned about others, but the difference between a gossip and a concerned friend is the difference between a butcher and a surgeon. Both cut flesh, but for totally different reasons
On God testing us: A good teacher only tests students on information that has already been taught. A good teacher also wants the students to pass the test.
Although an excellent guide to living the Christian life, Evans himself reminds the reader that the contents of the book are only tidbits of Christian behavior, that there is no secret to being a perfect Christian, that there is only one ultimate recipe: God’s power in us to accomplish all the transformation of our soul and mind.