In the Christian life, one of the issues we face is our relationship to the world. As we are in relationship with God, we wrestle with how we relate to the world. Realizing we are distinct from the world but called to be witnesses in it, the matter is complex. For this reason, I am glad to introduce to you Passing Through: Pilgrim Life in the Wilderness, a book by author and pastor Jeremy Walker. In the book, Walker paints the biblical picture of the Christian as a pilgrim in this world. In order to avoid extremes, the book lays its foundation on what the Bible says and the support of church history. The building blocks then address matters in terms of battle, mission, authority, and suffering. Throughout the book, Walker reiterates the point that our identity will impact our activity (Walker 1). To put this in plain expression, Passing Through is an immensely challenging, biblically grounded, and application-focused work.
Pastor Walker’s concept of the Christian as a pilgrim is both biblical and challenging. His reminder to pursue the mission of making disciples (chapter 6) is crucial, especially coming off the truths that we must know the enemy (chapter 4) and must fight the battles (chapter 5). If Christians today, attempting to live comfortably, struggle with the notion this world is not our home, then they will likely not want to hear what the Bible says about the necessity of fighting the good fight. Walker points this out, “Once we understand the environment and know the enemy, we will begin to see why the fight is inevitable” (Walker 79). The Christian life is a life of fighting for the faith. It is not easy; rather, it is challenging. But God gives us His weapons. This is just one of the challenging truths Walker provides in the book.
A second ingredient found in this book is the biblical structure of each chapter. Chapters 3-12 contain three elements: (1) scriptural framework, (2) Summary Thoughts, and (3) Specific Counsels. The priority of setting the scriptural framework may very well be the thing I appreciate most about the book. With each chapter, Pastor Walker makes sure he is biblically grounded before moving on to the counsels and applications. The only criticism I would mention here is the chapter on identity (chapter 11). I felt scriptural framework had been laid on that subject in the first couple of chapters of the book. Nevertheless, Passing Through is a biblically grounded and theologically sound work.
A third component found in this book is its focus on application. Again and again, it is reiterated that the things said are not just mere “truisms” but are meant for application. This is where I found the area of specific counsels fruitful. The truth “Satan will strike you where he knows you are most susceptible” (Walker 74) is not just a fact to know but a warning to heed. Another striking application from the book is on topic of prayer: “One of the ways in which we show our engagement with the world is by prayer” (Walker 133).
Suffice this all to say, if you are searching for a challenging, Bible-based, and application-focused resource for your Christian pilgrimage, Passing Through is it! (By the way, you can hear an interview by Shaun Tabatt with the author here.)
I received this book for free from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews 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.