31 May Q&A with EP author Jeremy Walker
We had the recent privilege to interview pastor and EP author Jeremy Walker. Graham Hind, EP’s Managing Director, describes Mr. Walker as one of the “few true 21st century Puritans.” He is also a member of the EP Board and book review editor for the Banner of Truth magazine. We trust that you will find his answers below both insightful and thought-provoking:
EP: You are a pastor and author. How do you balance these dual roles?
JW: My primary responsibilities are to the church which I serve. Most of what I write arises from my pastoral interactions and investments. I have always been something of a reader and writer, but writing necessarily comes second to and follows on from shepherding. If I were not a pastor of Christ’s flock, I might not have much to write! My first thought is prayer and the ministry of the Word of God where the Lord has put me, and it rolls out from there.
I began to read Christian literature shortly after I was converted. As I slowly matured as a Christian, I tried to consecrate learning to service. That is now largely constrained by the needs of my own soul as a Christian man and the needs of the church as a gospel minister. Writing arose naturally out of those disciplines of engaging with the Scriptures and with other books. It took different forms, initially shorter—letters, hymns and poems, book reviews, and articles, on the page and the screen. That developed into longer pieces, and eventually books.
Writing plays back into ministry. Sir Francis Bacon was close to truth when he said that “reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” While reading gives us something to say, and discussion stimulates our thoughts, writing forces us—forces me—toward precision and depth of understanding and clarity of expression. Writing obliges us to ‘go public’ with things. We have to be sure that this is really what we believe, and that we want others to believe it, too. I trust that writing has helped me to develop deeper and clearer views of the truth, and clearer and deeper expressions of that truth.
EP: I hear you have a unique vision for publishing. Can you tell me more?
JW: I wish I knew what I had said that made someone conclude that! My primary concern is that Christian publishing panders too much to the spirit of the age. We are in danger of pursuing big names to write what sells, what people want, what tickles the ears. I think authors should be writing what people need, to come to Christ and then to follow Christ. I would love to see publishers producing more of that kind of material, whether from the past or the present. While you cannot get away from publishing as business, you cannot forget publishing as ministry. It seems to me that the most effective Christian books we have were written with a sense of real pastoral urgency, born of a real affection for God’s people, with insight into lives which comes first and foremost from being a shepherd of the flock. While it is hard to develop the superstructure of the writing process while you are knee deep in sheep, that is the environment in which the foundation of vigorous Christian writing develops. After all, the vast majority of the New Testament was written with the founding and strengthening of Christ’s churches in view, by men who knew and loved those people.
EP: Which of your books would be most relevant during this pandemic situation and why?
JW: If I were choosing an Evangelical Press book, it might be A Face Like a Flint. This has to do with the righteous determination of the Lord Christ, both in accomplishing our salvation and in giving us an example of how to live before God. The thrust of the book is that, like the Lord Jesus, we must grasp our goals as believers, count the cost of obedience, and pursue the path of righteousness. With the suspension or dissolution of so many structures and systems upon which we have come to rely, recalibrating our identity as God’s people and asking afresh, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” enables us to navigate life with the fixed point of God’s perfect revelation to guide us, in dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Of other books, perhaps Passing Through: Pilgrim Life in the Wilderness (Reformation Heritage Books) would also be relevant. This pandemic and its impact in our societies and lives should underscore for us the reality of this passing world and our passing through it as pilgrims and sojourners. I would hope that Passing Through would equip God’s people in these days to think about how we relate to the world in a way that brings glory to God, even—perhaps, especially—under such circumstances as these.
Jeremy Walker was born to godly parents and was converted to Christ during his teenage years. He serves as a pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley, and is married to Alissa, with whom he enjoys the blessing of three children. He has authored several books, and is grateful to preach and to write as opportunity provides.
We are pleased to offer several of Mr. Walker’s titles: