Comprehensive Counsel for Christian Singles (Book Review)

Evans, Tony. Kingdom Single: Living Complete and Fully Free. Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO. 2018. 240 pages.

The Lord has taught me many great lessons over the last couple of years, but the most impactful may be what He has taught me about singleness. Sometimes in the church singleness takes a backseat to marriage, and sometimes singles in the church can be preoccupied with hopes of future marriage. But what about now? How do Christian singles make the most of this season or life and serve the Lord for His glory? Even in Christian books on singleness, not enough is said in response to these questions. Well-known pastor Tony Evans seems to break that mold in his newest work, Kingdom Single: Living Complete and Fully Free.

A Kingdom Single

With decades of experience pastoring and counseling Christian singles, Dr. Tony Evans calls Christian singles to leverage their singleness for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. In three parts that make up the book, Dr. Evans provides the biblical concept of a kingdom single (part 1), considers the challenges for a kingdom single (part 2), and examines the concerns of a kingdom single. Pastor Evans makes clear throughout the book a kingdom single lives under the lordship of Christ and is complete in Christ, not because of marriage.

Comprehensive Counsel

The most common characteristic the reader will encounter in the pages of Kingdom Single is the comprehensive counsel Dr. Evans gives. In many Christian books on singleness, talk quickly turns to the subject of dating, courtship, and what to look for in a potential spouse. Pastor Evans does tackle the topic but what makes his work unique is he holds it off until the third section of the book, devoting much of the first two sections to how the unmarried Christian can leverage their singleness now even as they face challenges.

The final two chapters in part 2 of Kingdom Single continue to highlight the comprehensiveness of the book. Chapter 8 focuses on the Christian’s abiding relationship with Jesus and the power of intimacy with Him makes for the Christian single’s life while chapter 9 reminds the unmarried believer they are not alone but belong to the body of Christ, the church. In the church, the single person should see the opportunity for service as they glorify God and live for Christ. They do not lack family because they are a part of the family of God, the church.

One more example of comprehensive counsel share by Dr. Tony Evans is found in the third and final section of the book as he considers the various life situations of Christian singles. As a pastor, he knows there is no cookie-cutter approach when it comes to singles. There are those who have always been unmarried, those who have consistently struggled with sexual immorality, those who are widowed or divorced, and those who are struggling as single parents. The appendix of the book contributes to this area as well when Dr. Evans shares a word on singles and same-sex attraction. The pastoral heart of Tony Evans shines brightest in this realm.

A Couple of Criticisms

Yet, this comprehensive counsel does not come without a couple of criticisms. First, chapter 3 is titled “The Confidence of Singles”. Reading through the chapter, however, you come across the encouragement to live with an eternal perspective and continue to persevere in going strong. What appears to be missing in the chapter is an emphasis and example on confidence, the very idea that is the title of the chapter. This can leave the reader confused about what the chapter is supposed to be about.

A second, and more prominent, criticism comes from the content of Dr. Evan’s counsel. While many passages of Scripture are used faithfully in the book, the choice and context of two particular passages do not fit best with the points Dr. Evans is making. The first passage is Matthew 18:15–20, found in chapter 9’s discussion on the importance of the church in the life of a Christian single. While Matthew 18 does refer to the church, its immediate context is on church discipline. Toward the end of the chapter, Galatians 6:2 and Hebrews 10:24–25 are mentioned briefly. In line with the chapter, elaborating on these two latter passages instead of the former would have made more sense.

Nevertheless, there is a second passage found in the following chapter that brings this question up again. Chapter 10 examines from Scripture what to look for in a mate. Rather than listing some general biblical principles to fit the occasion, Genesis 24 is discussed at length. However, if one considers the immediate and broader context of this narrative, the point of the passage is not principles for what to seek in a mate. To be sure, biblical wisdom for pursuing a relationship can be found there, but the reader (and author) must be careful. If we take this same approach to this same passage, are we to also conclude arranged marriages are good or that we should accept being set up on dates? When giving counsel, we must be careful to consider the context.

For Christian Singles

These two critiques aside, Kingdom Single by Dr. Tony Evans teaches Christian singles how to live as faithful kingdom singles for God’s glory in the season of life they have been given. The variety of illustrations throughout the book bring to life what it looks like to live as a single for the glory of God and the furthering of His kingdom. If you are a Christian single wanting to know how you can honor the Lord in this season and with your life, then check out Kingdom Single by Tony Evans.

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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