Book Review: "Pilgrim's Progress" By John Bunyan Discuss Main Themes And Their Application To Christian Living.

1172 words - 5 pages

BOOK REPORT I: "Pilgrim's Progress"Written by John Bunyan and published first in 1968, 'Pilgrims Progress' has seen much success and acclaim. Bunyan was a popular puritan lay preacher who did not conform to state expectations. It is believed that he wrote the book whilst in prison for his seperationalist views. In writing the book he leaned heavily on the scriptures, using approximately 500 direct or indirect references (Bunyan, 1998:xii). He placed notation and reference marks within the book in order that the reader may correctly interpret the analogy. Pilgrims Progress is seen by many as second only to the bible, prompting C.H. Spurgeon (1982: 11) to comment, "It is really biblical teaching put into the form of a simple yet very striking allegory".In the following paragraphs we will delve into the themes presented, how it impacts personally and how it fits with modern theology.SYNOPSISPilgrims Progress is a two part allegorical story modeled on the Christian journey. It starts with 'Christian's' conviction, his subsequent salvation and his final reunion with God. In the opening chapters he is greatly distressed at his and his town's coming destruction. Guided by evangelist, he journeys to the narrow gate and then to the celestial city. Along the way he befriends companions and faces many subtle and not so subtle enemies of the king.The second part to this story reveals how his wife 'Christiana' is convicted and convinced to undertake the journey with their three boys. They face there own troubles, but unlike Christian they are considerably helped by the presence of a guide and protector.THEME: Christian Life as a JourneyOne of the main themes is the portrayal of the Christian life as a progressive journey along a determined path. This is not a new concept, in 1 Cor 9:24-27 Paul describes the Christian life as a race, requiring self-mastery with a prize awaiting those who finish. Bunyan has takes this to heart saying 'Do you see that Narrow Road? That is the way you must go. It was constructed by the Patriarchs, Prophets, Christ and his Apostles; and it is as straight as a ruler can make it. This is the way you must go.' (1998:32).This is a helpful analogy as it prompts the individual to question and identifies their own journey; am I on the narrow path? Am I eagerly focused on the prize? Or have I stepped off the path and been taken captive. Secondly, for a Christian it is reassuring to know that a path is set before us and that strength is provided for us to stay and get back on the path.Bunyan uses this analogy as a means to 'draw[s] on the known to explain the unknown'. (Chant, 2005b:224) and thus communicate a Christian truth clearly. It also reinforces the Creative Living principle's (CLP) idea of having self-mastery (Chant, 2005a:55) to stay on the path and being able to cope with criticism (Chant, 2005a:65) when we step away from it.THEME: Godly FearFear is major theme and appears in multiple guises within the book. Bunyan...

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