The Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful work written by a 17th-century Puritan, John Bunyan, from his prison cell in a time of persecution.
J.C. RyleThe Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful work written by a 17th-century Puritan, John Bunyan, from his prison cell in a time of persecution.
J.C. Ryle wrote of this book, “I do not doubt that the one volume of Pilgrim’s Progress, written by a man who knew hardly any book but his Bible, and was ignorant of Greek and Latin, will prove in the last day to have done more for the benefit of the world, than all the works of the schoolmen put together.”
The Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful allegory of the beginning, progression, and conclusion of the true Christian life. Rich in Biblical theology, it tells the story of the trials, temptations, and triumphs of a man named Christian in his pilgrimage from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City and eternal life. Many of the events we read include universal tales about human struggles through hardship with which anyone can identify.
Some of the places through which we follow Christian in his pilgrimage include the Delectable Mountains, Hill of Difficulty, Palace Beautiful (an allegory of the local Christian congregation), Slough of Despond, Doubting Castle, Valley of Humiliation, Hill Clear, Vanity Fair, Valley of the Shadow of Death, By-Path Meadow, the dangerous Enchanted Ground, River of Death, etc.
Sin makes this world a dry and weary land. The road to the Celestial City is always an ascent (Psalm 24:3). However, the Lord Jesus Christ is a place of shelter and refuge. He is the Shelter from the storm of affliction and rain.
The Pilgrim’s Progress encourages me that by God’s grace, albeit whichever valleys through which I may pass, whatever slough into which I may have fallen, whatever rivers to ford, or whichever Hill of Difficulty I may climb in my journey … my Guide is ever watchful, my Deliverer unfailing, and He is indeed faithful in keeping and persevering His people till they arrive home at the Celestial City—that glorious, Heavenly City built not by the hands of man—whose Maker and Builder is God.
Every Christian can learn and be encouraged by the Biblical instructions from this story. ...more
This "one sitting" book kept me turning the pages until wee hours of the morning. Few authors possess the keen ability to help readers come into a graThis "one sitting" book kept me turning the pages until wee hours of the morning. Few authors possess the keen ability to help readers come into a grasp of the nature of God's holiness, but through this book Dr. Sproul is able to help us better understand what God's holiness means and transport the reader into the presence of God.
We often hear many talk about how God is love, yet why do fewer ever speak of His holiness and justice? The Holiness of God reminds me yet again that my salvation (through Christ's propitiatory death) is an act of mercy and grace by God (not an obligation), since His absolute holiness demands only justice for my sins. Dr. Sproul helps readers dig deeper beneath a superficial surface of what it means that God is holy--bringing us into a deeper understanding and love of who God is, a greater awe for His absolute holiness, and reverence in worship. As the famous Reformed theologian Jonathan Edwards wrote over 200 years ago: "A true love of God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this."
One of my favorite chapters carries an intriguing title: The Trauma of Holiness. Why and how does holiness invoke trauma? Many other religions have invented god(s) who brought only comfort. Even Sigmund Freud espoused the theory that people invent "god" to help them deal with scary things, to serve as a "crutch," so to speak. Dr. Sproul draws a contrast by demonstrating how the one and only true God has certain characteristics distinct from those that would normally be attributed by the common man. Our true God possesses a uniqueness--an awesome "otherness". After Jesus miraculously calmed the storm in the Sea of Galilee, the disciples felt uncomfortable and terrified (yes, terrified) upon realizing that they, in their sinfulness, were in the presence of the Holy One. What a contrast to those popular man-made ideas of God invented only to bring comfort!
This book helps us to better see the God who is--who not only brings comfort in time of need, invokes our adoration and praise, but also in whose Holy presence drives us to our knees in reverential worship....more
Do doctrinal differences between Roman Catholics and evangelicals matter? This book is an excellent introduction to the Roman Catholic-Protestant debaDo doctrinal differences between Roman Catholics and evangelicals matter? This book is an excellent introduction to the Roman Catholic-Protestant debate and a good resource for laymen. Dr. James R. White is a profound author, gifted debater, and effective communicator with a love for God's truth. He's debated numerous leading Roman Catholic apologists over the years and is well-informed of the issues and views of both sides. This book is a careful look at the current issues of tradition and scripture, "sola scriptura," the papacy, purgatory, indulgences, Marian doctrine (e.g. immaculate conception, "latria," "dulia," etc.) and most importantly, the heart of the Gospel itself (how one is declared righteous in God's sight).
This book is not based on mere "feel good, warm, fuzzy" theology, but presents the Biblical arguments well. Many Roman Catholics claim the modern Roman Catholic church today is still the same true apostolic church that was founded by Christ 2,000 years ago. But do her teachings, as she stands today, pass the test of Scripture? Or has there been an evolution in her doctrines throughout the years? Dr. White carefully quotes official Roman Catholic church documents, well-versed Roman Catholic theologians, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other ecumenical Councils. But most importantly, he quotes Biblical passages for each topic at hand so the reader can compare and hence discern which views (the Roman Catholic's or evangelical's?) is in accord with the Scripture.
One of my favorite chapters in the book is on justification, where Dr. White beautifully and clearly explains the Biblical teaching of how one--who is inherently unrighteous--is declared righteous positionally in Christ. He illustrates that one day the Christian will be able to stand justified before the judgment throne of God--clothed not in his own supposed "righteousness," but rather in the pure spotless garments of Christ's righteousness alone. Our sins have been imputed and placed upon Christ on the cross; and in return, His righteousness are imputed (credited) to us by faith (Phil. 3:9; 2 Cor. 5:21). And while he emphasizes the biblical teaching of salvation by faith alone, Dr. White neither denies nor downplays the role and importance of good works in a believer's life. As he aptly put it: Faith alone saves, but a saving faith is never alone--it always produces good works.
This was the first book that helped me to understand better the true Gospel, the nature of saving grace, my utter hopelessness & helplessness apart from God's unmerited saving grace, and the importance of relying upon Scripture alone as the infallible & sufficient source of truth on matters of faith and life.
I would highly recommend this book for both Roman Catholics as well as evangelicals. One would be able to understand better "what" the doctrinal differences are between the two sides and also "why"....more