My Review–– This is a fascinating little book. A friend (Brian Myers, of these Caffeinated Thoughts) sent it to me, having forgotten about reviewing it. So, here it is, a gift to me and hopefully, to you as well.
The River and the Road: A Journey of Redemption is an allegory of redemption. The narrator seeks to describes his journey to discovery. Along the way, he discovers that he actually is in The River, which is also called Hamartia (the Greek word for sin). This realization doesn’t come immediately, nor does it come easily for our traveller. It takes some help from those who are on The Road. The Road is populated (but only sparcely) by People on the Way. On the way to where, you might well ask? To the Palace in The City. This is the end goal of those who have been saved from the Waterfall at the end of the River.
Some of the travellers our journeyman encounters seek to provide him with answers to his questions or counsel to his status in the River. You’ll hear much that sounds like contemporary evangelicalism and her evangelistic efforts. Initially, some of these appeals sound so comforting. We’ve all heard them before. Many of us have used them. But our narrator finds most of them unhelpful, finds most who hear the appeals still floating downstream in the River, never knowing any different.
Others encountered upon the Road offer a different type of counsel. If you come from a typical evangelical church and you find yourself reading Earnest’s, Deitrich’s or Jack’s advice, you’re initially going to be frustrated. You’ll probably find yourself shouting at the book, ‘Just share the simple gospel with him and move on!’ Which is precisely the problem the author of this allegory is trying to uncover.
There are moments where the narration either bogs down or seems to wax far too philosophical for most, whether they’d find themselves in the River or on the Road. However, persevere on, along with the traveller and see where you are headed.
About the Book–– In this daring debut, Mr. Young sketches a portrait of an idealized, and unfortunately too uncommon journey to redemption, which is advanced as the blueprint for both the would-be proselyte and the would-be proselytizer. Our nameless narrator, who brings an open but critical perspective, ponders the deep questions of life as he searches along the River for truth, meaning, purpose, and ultimately, a new beginning. Accompanied by a compassionate and insightful Christian who uniquely understands the true significance of the River and the Road, he faces intellectual and moral challenges from diverse directions that threaten his worldview. Interwoven with the gospel themes (both false and true) are a number of other encounters with angels, skeptics, seekers, temptresses, and travelers with a variety of religious viewpoints. The allegory, illuminating and penetrating – through stressing the fundamental notion of salvation from sin (not only its consequences) – aims to undercut some of the most prevalent misconceptions of the gospel message today. The result is a narrative that will both delight and educate, is both ponderous and free-flowing, and will both entrench Christians in some of their most beloved doctrines and challenge the very foundations of their theology.
About the Author ––Arthur Young is a biomedical research scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. from Washington University. In his spare time, he likes to read theology and philosophy, play the piano and, of course, write whatever comes to mind. He lives with his wife and three children in La Palma, California.
The River and The Road: A Journey of Redemption may be purchased at:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I was born in central Iowa, raised in a godly home with two first generation Christian parents. The Evangelical Free Church of Madrid, Iowa was where I heard the teaching of the Word of God all my “growing up” years. There were some of the most dear and faithful servants of our Lord serving there, who will never be known around the world, but will hear (or, as is the case for some already, have heard) their Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest.”
When I was between the ages of 12 & 13, I attended Bible camp at Twin Lakesin northwest Iowa. Pastor Don Stover (another of those saints who has entered God’s rest) was telling us the story of Pilgrim’s Progress using blacklight flannel graph (really cool high-tech in 1970!). When Christian gets to the foot of the cross and his burden of sin rolls away into the empty tomb, God had me. I was gloriously converted to Jesus Christ, my Savior.
God’s call to the ministry was a long, gradual process through which He used many people to lead me and confirm within me His will to be a minister. He also used one or two key people to bring me to the doctrines of grace. I had been in ministry for about 6 years when the light of these truths were shown so brightly to me. I trust that I have grown in my understanding of them and have caused others to rejoice in the absolute free sovereign grace of our God.
I have been married for 29 years and have three children.I have earned a B.A. from Trinity College (now Trinity International University)in Biblical Studies, and later earneda MDiv from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, have served four Evangelical Free churches since 1986, and am currently the Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Rochester, MN since 1997.
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