Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2020


Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, though written in the 17th century, still speaks profoundly to what is arguably the most pressing issue facing the contemporary Christian church; namely, the church’s relationship with the world. In allegorical fashion, Bunyan makes the case that the Christian life is pilgrimage from this world to the next. On route, while the Christian is clearly and obviously “in” the world, the Christian should never settle in and settle down and become “of” the world. On such a pilgrimage, a tenuous, and sometimes tendentious, balance between two worlds must be maintained. The Christian community, then, is a kingdom enclave in the midst of another, frequently hostile, world. This tensive image aligns well with the biblical idea of the kingdom of God, which is in the New Testament a thoroughly eschatological reality, a counter-cultural world whose vision and values are not just different from this world’s, but frequently competitive. This means that the church is a kingdom community called not so much to “fix” the world as to point pilgrims to another world, every person’s true home. Leadership in such a community, then, takes the form of “kingdom guides,” not operational or functional, but visionary and transformational, guiding the Christian, in the community of Christians, on “The Wicket Way,” to their true home.

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Christianity Commons