Review of Pilgrim Theology
(This review was written by Paul Marais)
Pilgrim Theology is a concise explanation of Christian doctrine. Horton starts by looking at why doctrine matters, encouraging the reader to study and pay attention to who God is and how he has revealed himself to us. Drawing from the 4 points of a compass (north, east, south and west) used to lead people on a journey, he draws on the 4 principles of Drama, Doctrine, Doxology and Discipleship to lead us through this study of theology.
The journey starts with how we can know God through his revelation (both general and inspired), before continuing with the fall. The picture given sets us up for the rest of the book. We see what the garden was to be and how Adam and Eve failed in guarding the garden. This naturally flows into the next 2 chapters which discuss who Jesus is and what he has done. Following the drama of history, the next chapter focuses on the Spirit and the work of the Spirit in the church. The next 5 chapters look at what it means to be saved and how it is worked out in the believer. Horton looks at what it means to be elected to salvation, united with Christ, justified and adopted, sanctified in perseverance, and glorified with Christ. The journey concludes with a study of the church and the last days.
Drama, doctrine, doxology, and discipleship form the core of the book. The argument is well ordered and easy to follow. What I’ve found most helpful was his approach of looking at God through the lens of how He relates to us. It shows that the study of God’s nature is not theoretical but based on how He has interacted with us. The order of drama, doctrine, doxology, discipleship quite reflects the flow of the Christian life. As God acts in history (drama), we learn about who God is (doctrine), which leads us to praise (doxology), and sends us to tell others (discipleship). This gives us both hope in a real unchanging God and reason to praise and proselytise. Hope is based on a God who has acted in our world and revealed himself, and praise for what he has done. Our lives are based on a real God who really acted in history and still acts today.