Last year Andrew Walker was honoured with a long overdue set of essays representing his contribution to theology and congregational studies (my review of that book can be found here). Walker is most famous for his work Restoring the Kingdom (4th ed., Guildford Eagle, 1998), which was a landmark study of the 1970s and 80s house church movement, but he has also been an influential voice amongst those seeking to explore issues of church and culture, writing and editing a number of helpful works, alongside overseeing the influential Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at King's College London. This new collection of essays spans his career and gathers together a number of his harder to find pieces of work into one place.
The title of the book is borrowed from the title of an auto-biographical piece which appeared originally as a chapter in Charismatic Renewal: In Search of a Theology (SPCK, 1995) and is now reprinted in this collection. It tells the wonderful account of Walker's growing up a Pentecostal, his experience of the Holy Spirit, and his eventual journey into the Russian Orthodox Church in his late 20s. He tells of how although he left the Elim church, he never completely left Pentecostalism.
The book is as such a gift because it offers us a way of engaging with one particular thinker and guide over 45 years, as he witnessed the growth of the 'new' churches and the wider charismatic movement, alongside the wider questions in the 1990s of what kind of church would survive and flourish in the twenty-first century - for Walker only a 'deep church', that is attuned to the impact of modernity and able to suitably resist it. Walker is an astute observer and interpreter of both church and culture.
Twenty-six different pieces of writing - journalistic pieces, academic essays, interviews - cover Walker on charismatic Christianity, C. S. Lewis, the Orthodox church and church and culture. This demonstrates that Walker is something of a polymath - growing up a Pentecostal, but becoming part of the Orthodox later in life and a reader and interpreter of Lewis.
This is a treasure chest, with so much to enjoy. An extra bonus is what appears to be pretty much a complete bibliography of Walker's publications, which the festschrift lacked. The book should mean that the work of Andrew Walker will continue to help the church reflect and seek ways in which it can be faithful to its Lord.