This book was written by David Bjork and I as a means of sharing with others some of the lessons we have learned in living and ministering as Protestant Evangelicals in the Catholic world and through the studies that have been provoked by our experiences.
We have tried to create a book which is accessible to ordinary lay christians, but which also has sufficient technical content and references in the end notes to make it useful as an introductory text for those beginning to explore this area of study.
The book is constructed around a parable of the road to the Father, based upon Jesus' words in John 14:6,
I myself am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one approaches the Father except through me.
The book explores the fact that although there is only one road to the Father (Jesus), there are many distinct christian groups which travel this road, often almost entirely independantly of each other.
We explore the process of how people join these different groups and get onto the road (conversion), the different ways in which groups travel along the road (spirituality), and the varying luggage carried by the different groups (christian cultures and traditions).
We also look at relationships between the different groups, discover why these are sometimes problematic, propose a new healthier model for these relationships and provide practical guidelines and tools.
Perhaps the best summary for our hope for this book is encapsulated in the phrase,
Helping Brothers Become Friends
Book DetailsTitle - As Pilgrims Progress - Learning How Christians Can Walk Hand in Hand When They Don't See Eye to Eye
Authors - David E. Bjork & Stephen J. March
ISBN# - 1-59330-367-X
Retail Price - $15.50 US
Format - Paperback, 239 pages, 8½" x 5½"
Pub. Date - March 2006
Publisher - Aventine Press, 1023 4th Avenue #102, San Diego, CA., 92101.
Buying the BookThe book can be bought through most of the major online retailers.
Here are some clickable links to Amazon sites in the UK, France and the US.
Press ReviewsAS PILGRIMS PROGRESS, David Bjork & Stephen March, Aventine Press 240pp, pbk, 1 59330367 X, $15.50
This book, by two Evangelicals, is timely. It explores how and why Catholics and Evangelicals often find themselves at odds. Both authors admitted to a negative attitude to the word 'Catholic' : but realized that it was based on ignorance which they decided to replace by knowledge. As a result both learnt an enormous amount to their benefit. As Pilgrims Progress is their attempt to persuade others to follow suit with regard to traditions which seem foreign to them.
They adopt the analogy of pilgrimage. Catholics and Evangelicals agree on one Goal, call it Heaven, the vision of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, God the Father, or what you will; there is only one Way - God the Son our Lord Jesus Christ; and we all acknowledge the necessity of progressing. There the differences start coming in.
The authors extend their metaphor to examining both the different types of luggage that pilgrims carry, and how speeds and styles of progressing vary from one pilgrim to another, depending not least on what luggage they are carrying at a given moment. 'Their baggage is their religious history and traditions', says Bjork, 'Inside the luggage we find things that the Holy Spirit has given to help Christians on their journey to the Father.'
On luggage, he instances those with strong, heavy suitcases which will withstand rough treatment but keep their belongings safe; those with suitcases on wheels which are much easier to transport until the ground becomes shingle, sand or cobbles when they have to be carried like any other; those who carry soft-sided cases which may let them down when the going becomes really rough; and those who start out with their belongings stuffed into a plastic bag - who are certainly 'travelling light' but may find themselves in difficulties if the weather changes for the worse.
Both authors plead eloquently that pilgrims should not be over-critical of either their fellow-pilgrims' pace or baggage. A pilgrimage is a means to an end, but also an end in itself. Those who benefit most from it will be those who grasp every opportunity of learning all they can on the way. This they can do in a number of ways. Talking to one's fellow-pilgrims about their experiences past and present is certainly one; learning about the terrain and peoples through which we are presently making our way is another. But the real benefit is to be found when we persuade, or are persuaded by, one of our fellow-travellers to open our suitcase.
For inside every Christian's suitcase there is bound to be a great variety of objects - some really valuable, some junk, some no more than of sentimental value, and many items of value, the likes of which we or our fellow suitcase-opener didn't even know existed. Whether Catholics and Evangelicals take advantage of learning from each other in this way will depend on many circumstances, but principally their willingness to do so in a given instance. But whatever opportunities may come our way, the usefulness of this book as a quarry for sermons is beyond question!
from "New Directions" Vol 9 No 131 August 2006, London.