In a day and age in which Christians too readily associate with anyone who names himself Christian, it is easy to blithely quote heroes of the faith.
Although some theological differences may not and should not move Christians to disassociate themselves from their spiritual forefathers, others may. And yet to examine what they believed may challenge us today to reexamine our own beliefs.
For the sake of historical truth, I present to you, dear reader, the theological beliefs of John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress.
A Confession of my Faith...
1. Naturally, he was Trinitarian (point 4)
2. He believed in Hell: "I believe, that those that die impenitent, shall be tormented with the devil and his angels, and shall be cast with them into ' the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.'" (point 9).
3. He asserted that Christ obeyed the Law for us: "I believe, therefore, that the righteousness, and redemption, by which we that believe, stand just before God, as saved from the curse of the law, is the righteousness, and redemption, that consists in the personal acts and performances of this child Jesus; this God-man the Lord's Christ: it consisteth, I say, in his personal fulfilling the law for us, to the utmost requirement of the justice of God." (point 15)
4. Justification: "I believe, we being sinful creatures in ourselves, that no good thing done by us, can procure of God the imputation of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. But that the imputation thereof is an act of grace, a free gift without our deserving." (point 1).
5. Source of justification: "I believe, that the faith that so doth, is not to be found with any hut those, in whom the Spirit of God by mighty power doth work it: all others being fearful and incredulous, dare not venture their souls and eternity upon it. And hence it is called the faith that is wrought by the exceeding great and mighty power of God; the faith of the operation of God." (point 5)
6. "I believe, that this faith is effectually wrought in none, but those which before the world were appointed unto glory." (point 6)
7. Election by God: "I believe, that this decree, choice or election, was before the foundation of the world; and so before the elect themselves, had being in themselves" (point 2).
8. Election forever: " I believe, that there is not any impediment attending the election of God, that can hinder their conversion, and eternal salvation. ' Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things ? If God be for us, who can be against us ? - Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect ? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?' &c. Rom. viii. 3o—35" (point 5).
9. Calling & Spirit: "I believe, that to effectual calling, the Holy Ghost must accompany the word of the gospel, and that with mighty power: I mean that calling, which of God is made to be the fruit of electing love. 'Knowing,' saith Paul to the Thessalonians, 'brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance,' &c. lTh.i.4,5. Otherwise men will not, cannot, hear and turn."
10. Faith: "I believe, that effectual calling doth therefore produce, 1. Faith; and therefore it is said, that ' faith cometh by hearing;' Ro.x.17. by hearing the word...2. It produceth hope...3. It produceth repentance; for when a man hath heaven and hell before his eyes (as he will have if he be under the power of effectual calling) or when a man hath a revelation of the mercy and justice of God, with an heart-drawing invitation to lay hold on the tender forgiveness of sins...
11. Repentance: "Repentance is a turning the heart to God in Christ: a turning of it from sin, and the devil, and darkness; to the goodness, and grace, and holiness that is in him. Wherefore, they that of old are said to repent, are said to loath and abhor themselves, for all their abominations. ' I abhor myself,' [said Job,] 'and repent in dust and ashes.'...Godly repentance doth not only affect the soul with the loathsome nature of sin that is past; but filleth the heart with godly hatred of sins that yet may come."
12. Love: "It [effectual calling] produceth also love...[toward God and the brethren].
13. Bible: "I believe that the holy scriptures, of themselves, without the addition of human inventions, are able to make the man of God perfect in all things; and 'thoroughly to furnish him unto all good works.'...and to instruct thee in all other things, that either respect the worship of God, or thy walking before all men."
14. Creation & Providence: "Also, that after the time of the making thereof, he disposed of it to the children of men, with a reserve thereof for the children of God, that should in all ages be born thereunto.' When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel, De.xxxii. 8. for as he 'made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, [so he] hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.' Acts 17:26" (p.601)