Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Book Review: To Be Perfectly Honest


I received this book from Multnomah Publishing for my honest review.
I really try to be discerning in selecting books to review. I don't enjoy giving a lot of negative book reviews, although I do see purpose in reviewing books biblically. Phil Callaway is an author I hadn't heard of before, so I looked up some videos of him. He has a sense of humor but also seemed sincere in his faith.
This book was disappointing and frustrating. First off, the title is very misleading. The subtitle says: One man's year of living truthfully could change your life. No lie.
The concept of the book is to see what would happen if a Christian decided not to tell a lie for a whole year. This book seems to have very little to do with that goal. It's more of a day-to-day journal of a professing Christian; what he thinks and how he lives. Quite a bit of it seems to be made up for the purpose of humor, and plenty of lies are told-- some brought repentance, but most seemed to just bring jokes.
Based on the author's admissions in the book, I had a very hard time believing his faith to be real. 1 John (the book written so we may have assurance of salvation) makes it clear that true believers love being with the brethren, but Mr. Callaway frequently jokes about how little he enjoys being in church; saying there are a million things he'd rather be doing. 1 John also makes it plain that true believers love and hunger for God's Word, but when Mr. Callaway reads the Bible, his wife asks what's wrong because he only reads it when something is wrong.
Mr. Callaway pretends to be deaf to avoid a discussion with a Mormon; he has frequent conversations with an Atheist, none of them including the gospel; and ditto that for his agnostic friend. How can a believer in Christ know that someone is deserving of eternal punishment and not share the Good News with them? Not only did he not share the gospel with his unbelieving friends; he never seemed broken over their spiritual state or sad at his lost opportunities. That saddened me to the core.
I was hoping that at some point the author would realize that this exercise in truth-telling was pointless, because as sinners, we are all too depraved to be able to tell the truth perfectly even for a month. If we could just decide not to sin, for any length of time, we wouldn't need Christ at all! And in our depraved state, we desperately do. We are all deserving of hell for the sins we commit against a holy God. And we all need Him in order to do anything with virtue.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Your review is very thorough and well-written and you make valid points worth considering.