For someone who has spent time in the “borderlands” of Christianity, Philip Yancey is not in short supply of companions. The words he’s typed, the things he’s said, have been received like a wellspring. Thousands have drunk them down. “A borderland – such as the no man’s land between the two Koreas,” he writes by email, “is an in-between, uncommitted state, one in which you don’t want to linger. Yet I find that many people live in a borderland of faith.”

With 15 million books in print, Yancey’s honest struggle has resonated with a global readership. But every one of his 20 books, now published in 35 languages, has been forged in the crucible of lonely days and unanswered questions. “I sit in a room all day and work through what concerns or bothers me … Writing is an exploration for me, and I think of myself as an explorer in a thicket of doubt, not as a teacher of others.”

It’s not until he’s in the tour bus that Yancey remembers others have been reading along. “On my last visit to Australia – in 2008,” he recalls, “a woman said to me about my book on prayer: ‘it’s the only book on prayer I’ve read that didn’t make me feel guilty’.”

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