April 20, 2004

John Bunyan

John Bunyan 1628 – 1688

The objective testimony of the Bible and the historical work of Christ in salvation became the principle dynamics in Bunyan's theology. Bunyan settled the gospel on Christ and never left that settlement. Bunyan preached in the framework of a Calvinistic theological system, but he was not interested "to see people drink in opinions if they seemed ignorant of Jesus Christ." Instead, he concentrated on the greatness of sin and the need of Christ. Bunyan was born in the agricultural midlands of England. He had little schooling. He became a lay preacher of a Baptist congregation. After the Restoration in 1660, Bunyan (under suspicion for having fought on the anti-Anglican side during the English Civil War) was ordered to preach no more, and, since he refused to desist, he was several times sentenced to jail, where he spent his time studying, preaching to his fellow prisoners, and writing. His first substantial work was an autobiography, Grace Abounding To the Chief of Sinners. This was followed by other works, of which by far the most read and most loved is his The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come, usually called Pilgrim's Progress. The work recounts in allegorical form the experience of a person (called Christian), from his first awareness of his sinfulness and spiritual need, to his personal conversion to Christ, to his walk as a believer. He is shown as a pilgrim in this world on his way to the "Celestial City," which will be his true home forever. The work was an immediate sensation, and its popularity endured. For a century and more thereafter, the second largest selling book of all time and the one familiar to all English-speaking Christians was Pilgrim’s Progress. Second only to the Bible.

“In my preaching I have really been in pain, and have, as it were, travailed to bring forth children to God; neither could I be satisfied unless some fruits did appear in my work. If I were fruitless it mattered not who commended me; but if I were fruitful, I cared not who did condemn.” – John Bunyan

Archived articles available on this site
Unconditional Pardon
Fathers duty to his family
Every bitter cup

Other articles are available at John Bunyan archives