One of my favorite books is Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. I just finished reading Bunyan’s autobiography called Grace Abounding To The Chief Of Sinners, so now I cannot wait to read Pilgrim’s Progress again!
John Bunyan’s autobiography is almost solely focused around how he became a Christian, and then how he defended himself against the Church of England after he became a follower of Jesus Christ.
At times Bunyan’s account of his struggle with his self-doubts about whether God would ever receive a sinner such as himself are absolutely heart-wrenching. He clung so desperately to the Scriptures that said God wanted to forgive him, and yet beat himself up with other Scriptures that talked about the vileness of sin. He felt that his sin had so wounded God, that he was unsure if he could ever be forgiven.
In a way, I found this quite refreshing. It reminded me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s warning against “cheap grace,” where far too many people trivialize the high price Christ paid on the Cross. But John Bunyan acutely felt his sin.
So once he finally received God’s forgiveness, he was a changed man who wanted to tell the world about his Savior. Unfortunately for the time in which he lived, his message of salvation wasn’t “sanctioned” by the Church of England, which landed him in jail for over a decade. The second-half of his autobiography is a play-by-play account of his interaction with the judges who tried and sentenced him. In this account, we read the words of a man who thoroughly knew Scripture, and knew how to use it!
It’s a fascinating biography, which I think any reader will enjoy.