Pilgrim Letters: Instruction in the Basic Teaching of Christ
Curtis W. Freeman, Ph.D., research professor of theology and Baptist Studies at Duke Divinity School and the director of the Baptist House of Studies, has written a new book that provides instruction in the basic teaching of the Christian faith for candidates preparing to be baptized.
The new volume, Pilgrim Letters: Instruction in the Basic Teaching of Christ, will be published in March by Fortress Press. In the book, Freeman takes disciples on a contemporary journey into an ancient faith through a series of letters written by "Interpreter" to "Pilgrim" that provide instruction in the basic teaching of Christ.
The letters are framed by a short catechism based on the six principles enumerated in Hebrews 6:1-2—repentance, faith, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection, and eternal judgment. These letters lead Pilgrim (the disciple/catechumen/baptismal candidate) step by step through the basics of Christian faith. Each letter explores one of the principles by providing a simple explanation and setting the practice within a broad biblical, historical, and theological context.
The theological tenor of the letters is evangelical-catholic, free church-ecumenical, and ancient-future. A set of discussion questions follows each letter as does a short bibliography for further reading.
Each letter begins with an image from William Blake's illustrations of John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress that exemplifies the subject of the letter, followed by an epigraph from the story that fits into the themes of the catechism.
Freeman’s research and teaching explores areas of Free Church theology. His most recent book was Undomesticated Dissent: Democracy and the Public Virtue of Religious Nonconformity (Baylor University Press, 2017) on the history of the public virtue of religiously motivated dissent from the 17th century to the present. He is also the author of Contesting Catholicity: Theology for Other Baptists, A Company of Women Preachers: Baptist Prophetesses in Seventeenth-Century England, and Baptist Roots: A Reader in the Theology of a Christian People.