Letters Along the Way: A Novel of the Christian Life written by D.A. Carson and John Woodbridge, is a collection of fictional letters written between a young man in the faith named Tim Journeyman, and a “senior saint” seminary professor, Paul Woodson. They are meant to be letters of instruction and discipleship exchanged over a period of years as Tim writes Dr. Woodson with questions about following “the Way.” I had been very interested in this book for a couple of years. I have gained so much from the writings and preaching of Dr. Carson, and have spent a fair amount of time myself asking questions and receiving encouragement from brothers further down the road with Christ. It seemed like the perfect match, and I read it this past week.
I had thought it might be a reliable source to work through with younger Christians taking the first steps of faith. While there are a few chapters that could be lifted out with much profit, dealing with the Lordship of Christ and the ongoing war with sin, I would not recommend the whole book for that purpose. Many of the chapters are devoted to the developing theological and social issues which developed from 1979 to 1991, including fairly detailed discussions about economics, the merits of evangelical seminaries, Reformed Epistemology, and Liberation Theology. It is probably best designed for . . . someone exactly like me, actually. A seminary student and new pastor who likes D.A. Carson a lot (much of the material is very recognizable from his other works/sermons). I enjoyed reading these chapters for myself, including several insights on the nature of pastoral ministry, building a theological library, etc. I would not recommend it for a new believer, however, though the back cover suggests this use.
There were some points in the book which were really quite touching, as this older man walked through the ups and downs of the Christian life with the younger man, and there relationship developed into one of deep love in Christ, much like another Paul and Timothy. It reminded me of this great journey we believers are on together, and I thanked God that in his goodness he has blessed me with my own “Dr. Woodson’s” along the Way. I hope that when the time comes I can be such a source of encouragement for my younger brothers also.