Review by J. Stephen Yuille
The term “walk” is found throughout Scripture. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the most common biblical metaphors for the Christian life. It’s somewhat difficult for us to appreciate this, because we live in a world of cars, buses, trains, and planes. For most of us, walking is nothing more than a leisure activity. But that isn’t the way it was in Bible times. Back then, walking was the principal mode of transportation. It was, therefore, the perfect metaphor for understanding the spiritual life.
As Christians, we’re walking (i.e., journeying) through this world. We’re to do so worthily, watchfully, and wisely (Eph. 4:1; 5:15), because “the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). Christ says we aren’t “of the world” even as He wasn’t “of the world” (Jn. 17:16), yet we’re sent “into the world” even as He was sent “into the world” (Jn. 17:18). “On the one hand,” writes John Stott, “the church is a holy people, called out of the world to belong to God. But on the other hand it is a worldly people, in the sense of being sent back into the world to witness and to serve.”
At times, it’s extremely difficult to be in the world yet not of the world. In Passing Through, Jeremy Walker provides some much needed insight into how to maintain the balance. His pastoral counsel consists of ten biblical principles:
1. Understand the environment
2. Know the enemy
3. Fight the battles
4. Pursue the mission
5. Respect the authorities
6. Relieve the suffering
7. Appreciate the beauty
8. Anticipate the destiny
9. Cultivate the identity
10. Serve the king
Walker’s methodology is straightforward. Under each principle, he performs three tasks. First, he expounds a number of relevant passages of Scripture, in order to establish a biblical framework for thinking. Second, he summarizes the principal thoughts that emerge from the biblical framework. Third, he shapes these principal thoughts into specific points of application.
There’s a fair amount of repetition between tasks #1 and #2. This accounts, in part, for the book’s hefty 265 pages. Personally, I was looking for greater emphasis on task #3 (the specific points of application). That said, I highly recommend Passing Through as a valuable resource for those seeking to glorify God in their daily walk.
It’s biblically-saturated. Walker literally immerses the reader in Scripture. “With the Word of God as our map and the Spirit of Christ as our compass,” says he, “we are equipped to navigate this world, to make our way so as to bring honor and glory to God” (p. 18).
It’s theologically-grounded. Walker is a reliable and capable theologian, as evidenced in his previous writings. He addresses a number of difficult concepts and motifs in this book, and handles them skillfully. In addition, his exegesis is very good.
It’s pastorally-motivated. Walker writes as a shepherd to his sheep. As a matter of fact, my guess is that most (if not all) of the chapters in this book were originally delivered as sermons. Because he desires to see God glorified in His people, Walker is earnest in his call for “holy separation” and “holy engagement” (p. 33). A timely call indeed.
Dr. J. Stephen Yuille is Pastor of Grace Community Church, Glen Rose, TX, Director of Baptist Studies at Redeemer Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX, and Book Review Editor for Spirituality and Christian Living here at Books At a Glance.
Buy the books
Passing Through: Pilgrim Life In The Wilderness