Every Christian is a theologian. Whether they are a good theologian or not is the question. In his helpful book Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples, Dr. Michael Horton takes much of the material in The Christian Faith and writes to help undergraduate students, laypersons and anyone looking to understand the basics of Reformed theology’s biblical and historical foundations.
Many Christians today undermine theology. If they read a book on theology, it is usually on a particular issue they are dealing with rather than something that assists them in a greater understanding of theology or why it matters. Yet what we believe matters. Dr. Horton aptly notes, “You know that theology the study of God—is more than an intellectual hobby. It’s a matter of life and death, something that affects the way you think the decisions you make each day, the way you relate to God and other people, and the way you see yourself and the world around you” (13).
One of the most significant ideas of this book is the idea of drama to discipleship. Dr. Horton comments on this stating:
“All of our faith and practice arises out of the drama of Scripture, the “big story” that races the plot of history from creation to consummation, with Christ as its Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. And out of the throbbing verbs of this unfolding drama God reveals stable nouns—doctrines. From what God does in history we are taught certain things about who he is and what it means to be created in his image, fallen, and redeemed, renewed, and glorified in union with Christ. As the Father creates his church, in his Son and by his Spirit, we come to realize what this covenant community is and what it means to belong to it; what kind of future is promised to us in Christ, and how we are to live here and now in the light of it all. The drama and doctrine provoke us to praise and worship—doxology—and together these three coordinates give us a new way of living in the world as disciples” (16).
What makes this book so helpful is no matter where one is in their understanding of theology, Pilgrim Theology will help the Christian reader understand what they believe and perhaps more importantly, what it matters. While many people will not be convinced by everything Dr. Horton states in this book, the contribution of this book nonetheless lies in its ability to guide the reader through understanding their faith, history, and why it matters. What we believe matters because it has consequences for our lives. This is why reading books like Pilgrim Theology is important. It helps the reader move the mere stuffing of their heads with knowledge about the Bible and theology, instead moving to the necessity of gaining deeper insight into the foundations for the Christian faith and the relevance of doctrine to everyday life. It is for this reason that I recommend Pilgrim Theology because it will help the lay person understand essential Christian doctrine from the Word of God, from church history, and theology’s relevance to everyday Christian living.
Author: Michael Horton
Publisher: Zondervan (2011)
I received this for free from Zondervan book review program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.