An anonymous manual offers thoughts on living the Christian life.
The nonfiction debut of The Unqualified Christian focuses first on defining its terms—clarifying what is meant in these pages by words like “Christian” (not just a hearer, but also a doer of the word) and “disciple” (“one who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another”). The book wastes little time wading into the vexing and complex questions at the heart of many fundamentalist Christian debates, like the dispute over the nature of salvation itself, whether believers are rescued by good deeds or faith alone. The author addresses this issue with the same low-key affability that runs through the whole guide: “My argument on the subject of doing good works is not that they will get you saved or somehow get you more saved, but that we are called to do good works because that is the mark of a true believer, serving others, just as Christ himself served others.” The author structures the principles of some of his faith program around the acronym “ACTS”—Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication—and the book is balanced by his stories of local church figures and his involvement with Wednesday night youth services. The volume shifts from personal anecdotes to broader philosophical inquiries with ease, and the deeper discussions are carried off with a refreshing approachability, whether the subject is the quest to find proof of God (“If you need proof, you leave no room for faith”) or the pitfalls of what the author calls “evangelism by baseball bat” (preachers trying to scare religion into the unconverted). The manual’s unifying subtext—the strangeness of “a Christian trying to live like a Christian” in the modern era—is threaded through the narrative, with the author periodically looping back to it in ways that his Christian readers should find both challenging and reassuring. Of particular note is the work’s clear advice on all aspects of practical evangelizing—the ways God calls each person to execute the word.
A simple and affecting Christian faith guide.