THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS BY JOHN BUNYAN TEACHES SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE VIA A VICTORIOUS JOURNEY OF TRIALS AND TRIBULATION
Pilgrim's Progress often teaches Lordship Salvation which does not present God's grace at all: you have to have a faithful walk to receive eternal life. You cannot fall by the wayside or you will not get it. According to Scripture, the goal of eternal life is reached at the moment of faith alone in Christ alone = nothing else, never to be lost, no matter what. There is no further journey one needs to take in order to get into the eternal kingdom or keep it. One does not have to be faithful to receive eternal life. This is what the Bible promotes: salvation by grace through a moment of faith alone in Christ alone + nothing else:
1) [Eph 2:8-9]:
(Eph 2:8 NKJV) "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that [salvation unto eternal life is] not of yourselves; [it is] the gift of God,
(Eph 2:9 NKJV) not of works, lest anyone should boast."
A) 17 KEY POINTS
(1) The King James English of Pilgrim's Progress creates an interpretation problem for the average individual who is not conversant with this archaic language, especially verb tenses and antiquated words.
(2) The bible references are mostly out of context, and assume that the author's interpretation accurately corresponds to what author Bunyan has concluded in his book. Futhermore he often leaves out important verses in the passage.
(3) The phrase "Journey to the celestial city" implies journey requiring an ongoing and victorious effort in order to gain entrance to the celestial city, i.e., eternal life. This contradicts Scripture because it negates the idea of a moment of faith alone in Christ alone and you have eternal life forever, (Eph 2:8-9, Jn 3:16).
NOTE THAT THE NEXT 16 POINTS PROVIDE EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK WITH COMMENTARY AND KEY POINTS HIGHLIGHTED IN RED FONT:
(4) "The man therefore read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully, said, "Whither must I fly?" Then said Evangelist, (pointing with his finger over a very wide field,) "Do you see yonder wicket-gate?" Matt. 7:13,14. The man said, "No." Then said the other, "Do you see yonder shining light?" Psalm 119:105; 2 Pet. 1:19. He said, "I think I do." Then said Evangelist, "Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate; at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do." So I saw in my dream that the man began to run. Now he had not run far from his own door when his wife and children, perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on crying, Life! life! eternal life! Luke 14:26. So he looked not behind him, Gen. 19:17, but fled towards the middle of the plain. The neighbors also came out to see him run, Jer. 20:10; and as he ran, some mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return; and among those that did so, there were two that were resolved to fetch him back by force. The name of the one was Obstinate and the name of the other Pliable. Now by this time the man was got a good distance from them; but, however, they were resolved to pursue him, which they did, and in a little time they overtook him. Then said the man, "Neighbors, wherefore are you come?" They said, "To persuade you to go back with us." But he said, "That can by no means be: you dwell," said he, "in the city of Destruction, the place also where I was born: I see it to be so; and dying there, sooner or later, you will sink lower than the grave, into a place that burns with fire and brimstone: be content, good neighbors, and go along with me."
[To avoid hell one must go along a path over a period of time: the rest of ones life]
(5) "OBSTINATE: What, said Obstinate, and leave our friends and our comforts behind us!
CHRISTIAN: Yes, said Christian, (for that was his name,) because that all which you forsake is not worthy to be compared with a little of that I am seeking to enjoy, 2 Cor. 4:18;
[One must forsake ones sins to have eternal life]
and if you will go along with me, and hold it, you shall fare as I myself; for there, where I go, is enough and to spare.
[if you go along and hold to the path you will gain eternal life]
Luke 15:17. Come away, and prove my words."
(6) "CHRISTIAN: I seek an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, 1 Peter 1:4; and it is laid up in heaven, and safe there, Heb. 11:16, to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it."
[So one must diligently seek eternal life in order to have it bestowed on one]
(7) "CHRISTIAN: Sir, said Christian, I was bid to go this way by a man called Evangelist, who directed me also to yonder gate, that I might escape the wrath to come. And as I was going thither, I fell in here."
[You don't have to go on a way through a gate in order to have eternal life. It happens in a moment of faith alone in Christ alone. There is no journey you have to go through the gate of eternal life.]
(8) "EVANGELIST: Did not I direct thee the way to the little wicket-gate?"
[Going on the way to the little wicket-gate contradicts Scripture's teaching of a moment of faith alone in Christ alone unto eternal life]
(9) "EVANGELIST: First, Thou must abhor his turning thee out of the way; yea, and thine own consenting thereto; because this is to reject the counsel of God for the sake of the counsel of a Worldly Wiseman"
[In order to have eternal life you must abhor the way of sin, i.e., have a mental attitude in your life of rejecting ungodliness??? This requires doing something other than simply expressing a moment of faith alone in Christ alone]
(10) "The Lord says, "Strive to enter in at the straight gate," Luke 13:24, the gate to which I send thee; "for strait is the gate that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matt. 7:13,14. From this little wicket-gate, and from the way thereto, hath this wicked man turned thee, to the bringing of thee almost to destruction: hate, therefore, his turning thee out of the way, and abhor thyself for hearkening to him."
[Notice that being on the 'strai't way toward the wicket-gate unto (eternal) life implies a lifestyle, not simply a moment of faith alone in Christ alone]
(11) "CHRISTIAN: Why, sir, this burden on my back is more terrible to me than are all these things which you have mentioned: nay, methinks I care not what I meet with in the way, if so be I can also meet with deliverance from my burden."
[If he is a Christian, why is there still a burden of sin on his back?]
(12) "CHRISTIAN: He bid me with speed get rid of my burden; [easing the burden of ones sins which happens when you receive eternal life] and I told him it was ease that I sought. And, said I, I am therefore going to yonder gate, to receive farther direction how I may get to the place of deliverance. [The place of deliverance where he would receive eternal life] So he said that he would show me a better way, and short, not so attended with difficulties as the way, sir, that you set me in; which way, said he, will direct you to a gentlemans house that hath skill to take off these burdens: so I believed him, and turned out of that way into this, if haply I might be soon eased of my burden. But when I came to this place, and beheld things as they are, I stopped, for fear (as I said) of danger: but I now know not what to do.
EVANGELIST: Then said Evangelist, Stand still a little, that I show thee the words of God. So he stood trembling. Then said Evangelist, See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh; for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven.
[This confirms that the subject is the attainment of eternal life]
Heb. 12:25. He said, moreover, Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. Heb. 10:38. He also did thus apply them: Thou art the man that art running into this misery; thou hast begun to reject the counsel of the Most High, and to draw back thy foot from the way of peace, even almost to the hazarding of thy perdition."
[The message here is if one rejects the counsel of the Most High, and draws back ones foot from the way of peace, one hazards perdition, i.e., going to hell. So here is a mesage that one must continue in a faithful walk in order to secure eternal life = Lordship Salvation, not salvation by grace through faith, not of oneself, a gift of God, not by works, Eph 2:8-9]
(13) "Thou must abhor his laboring to render the cross odious unto thee; for thou art to prefer it before the treasures of Egypt."
[Again, a lifestyle change which is characterized by not viewing the cross as odious. This is not stipulated in Scripture in any passage that leads to eternal life]
(14) "Besides, the King of glory hath told thee, that he that will save his life shall lose it. And he that comes after him, and hates not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be his disciple."
[Notice this statement is about being a disciple, not receiving eternal life. Losing life here is not losing eternal life but losing the value and longevity of ones temporal life. Bunyan is mixing being a disciple with becoming born again unto eternal life]
(15) "Thou must hate his setting of thy feet in the way that leadeth to the ministration of death. And for this thou must consider to whom he sent thee, and also how unable that person was to deliver thee from thy burden."
[Yet another requirement in order to receive eternal life - to hate the setting of ones feet in the way that leads to death, i.e., sin. This must evidently be maintained without fail, i.e., sinlessness all ones life: salvation by works, which is impossible]
(16) THE SIXTH STAGE [OF THE PATH TO ETERNAL LIFE????]
[There is only one stage: the point of a moment of faith alone in Christ alone]
(17) '''I say, right glad am I of this thing, and that for mine own sake and yours: I have sowed, and you have reaped; and the day is coming, when "both he that soweth, and they that reap, shall rejoice together," John 4:36; that is, if you hold out: "for in due season ye shall reap, if ye faint not." Gal. 6:9. The crown is before you, and it is an incorruptible one; "so run that ye may obtain it." 1 Cor. 9:24-27. Some there be that set out for this crown, and after they have gone far for it, another comes in and takes it from them:
[Unscriptural, you don't lose your crowns. Furthermore, Bunyan thinks the crown is of eternal life. This is not the case, rewards are in view, not eternal life, which the latter cannot be taken away from one either] "hold fast, therefore, that you have; let no man take your crown." Rev. 3:11. You are not yet out of the gunshot of the devil; "you have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin." Let the kingdom be always before you, and believe steadfastly concerning the things that are invisible. Let nothing that is on this side the other world get within you. [Know anyone who has no sin, who has not let things of the world get inside one from one time or another?] And, above all, look well to your own hearts and to the lusts thereof; for they are "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Set your faces like a flint; you have all power in heaven and earth on your side.
[Sounds like Lordship salvation to me! The context in Bunyan's book is one of a path to receive eternal life.]
Right glad am I, said Evangelist, not that you have met with trials, but that you have been victors, and for that you have, notwithstanding many weaknesses, continued in the way to this very day.'''
[More salvation by works: Not only are you required to go through trials in order to receive eternal life, but you must be victorious in them or not go to heaven. Remember that only believers receive trials, and the character in Bunyan's book is not yet saved until he is victoriousand loses his burden of sin at the end of the book ! Not a believer yet, even though his name is CHRISTIAN.]
(17) EVANGELIST: My sons, you have heard in the word of the truth of the Gospel, that you must "through many tribulations enter into the kingdom of heaven;" and again, that "in every city, bonds and afflictions abide you;" and therefore you cannot expect that you should go long on your pilgrimage without them, in some sort or other.
[Here it is again: you must "through many tribulations enter into the kingdom of heaven;" = Lordship Salvation]
(18) " THE THIRD STAGE
Now I saw in my dream, that the highway up which Christian was to go, was fenced on either side with a wall, and that wall was called Salvation."
[Salvation is a wall around a highway?? A highway one is to travel in order to receive salvation???? That implies a lifestyle not a moment of faith alone in Christ alone]
[Wrong ref. This ref. is about temporal not eternal salvation]
(19) "THE THIRD STAGE, (cont.)
Up this way, therefore, did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back. [referring to the burden of sin which unbelievers no longer have, so Christian isn't saved yet. He is on a path of works and faithfulness to be saved = Lordship Salvation]
He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.
Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said with a merry heart, "He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death." Then he stood still a while, to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked, therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks. Zech. 12:10. Now as he stood looking and weeping, behold, three Shining Ones came to him, and saluted him with, "Peace be to thee." So the first said to him, "Thy sins be forgiven thee," Mark 2:5; the second stripped him of his rags, and clothed him with change of raiment, Zech. 3:4; the third also set a mark on his forehead, Eph. 1:13, and gave him a roll with a seal upon it, which he bid him look on as he ran, and that he should give it in at the celestial gate: so they went their way. Then Christian gave three leaps for joy, and went on singing."
[So Christian's sins have been forgiven, yet he is still on the journey to heaven where he must be victorious in his journey. For according to author Bunyan, this is only the Third Stage in his journey to see if he will make it into heaven]
(20) "FORMALIST AND HYPOCRISY:
They told him, that custom, it being of so long standing as above a thousand years, would doubtless now be admitted as a thing legal by an impartial judge: and besides, said they, if we get into the way, what matter is it which way we get in? If we are in, we are in: thou art but in the way, who, as we perceive, came in at the gate; and we also are in the way, that came tumbling over the wall: wherein now is thy condition better than ours?
CHRISTIAN: I walk by the rule of my Master: you walk by the rude working of your fancies. You are counted thieves already by the Lord of the way: therefore I doubt you will not be found true men at the end of the way. You come in by yourselves without his direction, and shall go out by yourselves without his mercy."
[Notice that Formalis and Hypocrisy will be without God's mercy, i.e., they will not receive eternal life because they took a short cut on the road to heaven. They have to "walk by the rule of the Master" in order to get to heaven. Lordship Salvation by works]
(21) "The hill, though high, I covet to ascend; The difficulty will not me offend; For I perceive the way to life lies here: Come, pluck up heart, lets neither faint nor fear. Better, though difficult, the right way to go, Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe."
[Salvation by facing difficult trials and being victorious: salvation by works]
(22) "The other two also came to the foot of the hill. But when they saw that the hill was steep and high, and that there were two other ways to go; and supposing also that these two ways might meet again with that up which Christian went, on the other side of the hill; therefore they were resolved to go in those ways. Now the name of one of those ways was Danger, and the name of the other Destruction. So the one took the way which is called Danger, which led him into a great wood; and the other took directly up the way to Destruction, which led him into a wide field, full of dark mountains, where he stumbled and fell, and rose no more."
[If one circumvents difficulties on the road to heaven, they will go down to destruction = salvation by works or bust]
(23) "CHRISTIAN: Then said Christian, You make me afraid; but whither shall I fly to be safe? If I go back to mine own country, that is prepared for fire and brimstone, and I shall certainly perish there; if I can get to the celestial city, I am sure to be in safety there: I must venture. To go back is nothing but death: to go forward is fear of death, and life everlasting beyond it:
[So to move on the path to the celestial city is everlasting life, to go back to ones own country, i.e., sinful lifestyle is fire and brimstone = salvation by works]
(24) "For this roll was the assurance of his life, and acceptance at the desired haven"
[I had then given me a roll sealed, to comfort me by reading as I go on the way; I was also bid to give it in at the celestial gate]
[Evidently, maintaining possession of this roll was part of the requirement to get into heaven = Lordship Salvation]
(25) "Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for discovery of those that have none: keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee.
[Further trials of faith which have to be conquered in order to have eternal life]
(26) "How the man had sinned himself quite out of hopes of Gods mercy"
[Author Bunyan said that the path to God's mercy and eternal life can be destroyed by a lifestyle of sin. Hence one must have a walk of faithfulness in order to have eternal life. But this false idea destroys what Christ did on the cross for all mankind: He died to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world, (1 Jn 2:2). So sins are not the issue - they are already paid for. The issue is whether or not one has expressed a moment of faith alone in Christ alone to be forgiven of ones sins unto eternal life, not to lead a lifestyle without sinning which is impossible, (Jn 3:16).]
(27) "CHRISTIAN: No; he took me, and had me where he showed me a stately palace, and how the people were clad in gold that were in it; and how there came a venturous man, and cut his way through the armed men that stood in the door to keep him out; and how he was bid to come in, and win eternal glory."
[Winning eternal glory is not God's plan of salvation unto eternal life which is by grace through faith via a moment of faith alone in Christ alone, (Eph 2:8-9)]
(28) "PIETY: And what saw you else in the way?
CHRISTIAN: Saw? Why, I went but a little farther, and I saw One, as I thought in my mind, hang bleeding upon a tree; and the very sight of him made my burden fall off my back; for I groaned under a very heavy burden, but then it fell down from off me. It was a strange thing to me, for I never saw such a thing before: yea, and while I stood looking up, (for then I could not forbear looking,) three Shining Ones came to me. One of them testified that my sins were forgiven me; another stripped me of my rags, and gave me this broidered coat which you see; and the third set the mark which you see in my forehead, and gave me this sealed roll, (and with that he plucked it out of his bosom.)
PIETY: But you saw more than this, did you not?
CHRISTIAN: The things that I have told you were the best: yet some other I saw, as, namely, I saw three men, Simple, Sloth, and Presumption, lie asleep, a little out of the way, as I came, with irons upon their heels; but do you think I could awake them? I also saw Formality and Hypocrisy come tumbling over the wall, to go, as they pretended, to Zion; but they were quickly lost, even as I myself did tell them, but they would not believe. But, above all, I found it hard work to get up this hill, and as hard to come by the lions mouths; and, truly, if it had not been for the good man, the porter that stands at the gate, I do not know but that, after all, I might have gone back again; but I thank God I am here, and thank you for receiving me."
[Despite being forgiven of his sins, Christian still has to be faithful in his journey in order to receive eternal life!! This is not salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone, a gift of God, not by works, (Eph 2:8-9)]
Then I said, But, Lord, what is believing?...that believing and coming was all one; and that he that came, that is, that ran out in his heart and affections after salvation by Christ, he indeed believed in Christ.
[There is no such definition of believing. To require one to be "he that came, that is, that ran out in his heart and affections after salvation by Christ" is impossible with anyone because this implies a completely perfect emotional committment to Jesus Christ in order to be saved. Know anyone who has never faltered in their emotional committment to Christ?]
CHRISTIAN: ...to leave all is a very hard matter; yea, a harder matter than many are aware of. But why, or by what, art thou persuaded that thou hast left all for God and heaven?
[Know anyone who has left all for God and heaven?]
31) CHRISTIAN: Ignorance is thy name, and as thy name is, so art thou: even this thy answer demonstrateth what I say. Ignorant thou art of what justifying righteousness is, and as ignorant how to secure thy soul, through the faith of it, from the heavy wrath of God. Yea, thou also art ignorant of the true effects of saving faith in this righteousness of Christ, which is to bow and win over the heart to God in Christ, to love his name, his word, ways, and people, and not as thou ignorantly imaginest.
[So the true effects of saving faith is to love His name, His word, ways, and people, evidently to the fullest of extents as what it takes to be saved: Lordship Salvation. This leaves no room even any moments of unfaithfulness and requires more than a simple moment of faith alone in Christ alone, i.e., salvation by faith and works. This is not biblical]
Now, while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my head to look back, and saw Ignorance come up to the river side; but he soon got over, and that without half the difficulty which the other two men met with. For it happened that there was then in that place one Vain-Hope, a ferryman, that with his boat helped him over; so he, as the other I saw, did ascend the hill, to come up to the gate; only he came alone, neither did any man meet him with the least encouragement. When he was come up to the gate, he looked up to the writing that was above, and then began to knock, supposing that entrance should have been quickly administered to him; but he was asked by the men that looked over the top of the gate, Whence come you? and what would you have? He answered, I have ate and drank in the presence of the King, and he has taught in our streets. Then they asked him for his certificate, that they might go in and show it to the King: so he fumbled in his bosom for one, and found none. Then said they, Have you none? but the man answered never a word. So they told the King, but he would not come down to see him, but commanded the two shining ones, that conducted Christian and Hopeful to the city, to go out and take Ignorance, and bind him hand and foot, and have him away. Then they took him up, and carried him through the air to the door that I saw in the side of the hill, and put him in there. Then I saw that there was a way to hell, even from the gate of heaven, as well as from the City of Destruction. So I awoke, and behold it was a dream.
[So taking the easy way out in the road to heaven leads to Hell? Since when is the road to heaven hard? All it takes is a moment of faith alone in Christ alone and you have eternal life: according to Jn 3:16 and 400 other verses]