Pilgrim’s Progress

Most Sundays, I help out with my church‘s kids program, called “Treasure Hunters”. For the next three weeks, we are doing an audio adaptation of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.

For those who don’t know it, Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegorical story of the life of a Christian, written by Bunyan over 300 years ago, while he was in prison for “preaching without a licence”. Fortunately, licences are not required today – at least, not in the UK.

We did the first two parts (of seven) this morning. The lead character is told by a guy called Evangelist to escape from the City of Destruction, where he lives, and find safety in the Beautiful City far away, home of the Great King. But, before he can make the journey, he has to get rid of a great weight on his back. Evangelist sends him off towards the Cross, where that will happen.

On the way, he gets distracted by Mr Worldly-Wiseman, who tells him that the way to get rid of his weight is to climb Sinai Hill, to the towns of Law-Live and Do-Right. But he can’t make it up – the hill is too steep. Fortunately, Evangelist comes along and re-points him along the right way.

It’s sad that the lessons of 300 years ago still need to be learnt today. Humans really are an obstinate and stiff-necked lot. Many people still think that trying to go up Sinai Hill, and obeying all the rules, is the way to get right with God. But no-one can ever do that. The Cross is the only place where forgiveness of sins can be found.

I suspect the reason people like to think that obeying the rules will do, is that they want to feel they can achieve a relationship with God by their own efforts. After all, “I’m not a bad person. I’ve never murdered anyone. God will have to accept me.” I used to think that way. How arrogant I was…

7 thoughts on “Pilgrim’s Progress

  1. “How arrogant I was…”

    I predict that you will be saying that again in the years to come.

  2. There is everything right with diversity – everyone is welcome to any set of opinions and beliefs that they choose, regardless of how untenable you may find them. Gerv has done a hell of a lot of good work for the Mozilla project and it’s a shame that you choose to be so bigotted that you fail to recognize his contribution. The only thing sullied here is your name.

  3. Interesting comments. Apparently people are seeking out your blog just with the purspose of attacking you personally. Welcome to the current PC version of tolerance — the only objective truth is held to be there are no objective truths.

    Stick with it. There is no shame in looking at the facts and determining that Jesus really is the Son of God. Even if there are those who don’t agree, or have shamefully made a determination without even looking into the arguments.

    John S.

    p.s.: I love _Pilgrim’s Progress_. I think Martin Luthers _Conscience and Christian Liberty_ carries more straightforward reasoning though. You can even download it from Project Gutenberg :-)

  4. Pilgrim’s Progress is truly an amazing piece of literature. It beautifully portrays the propensity of man to continue to turn from God even when the gift of Life has been offered and received. I think it’s great that you are showing this reality to others.

    I too was a skeptic, too arrogant to really be open to the possibility that God was perfect and there was absolute Truth. Thank goodness that God has given so many other things in this life to show the necessity of absolutes (take mathematics for example). God is not about right and wrong, He’s about giving people a vigorous, lasting, fulfilling Life where He is the center.

  5. Hi, Gervase.

    I was just wondering if you’ll be posting your adaptation on the Internet. I’d be interested in hearing what you guys accomplish. I’m helping teach Sunday school at a United Church (United is a Canadian denomination, as far as I know). The kids there are rather rowdy and I couldn’t imagine trying to do something like that with them. If your kids can do this, I’m sure it will turn out well!

    By the way, I’m very grateful for your weblog. You’re the first Christian computer geek I’ve come across online! I’m going into programming myself, God willing.

    Oh yes, I’m not sure what the first few comments here were supposed to accomplish. Were they trying to make you get off of the project, or become non-Christian? It’s not very persuasive either way. What project couldn’t use a bit of God’s wisdom?

  6. I read Pilgrim’s progress about five years ago, and I had to force myself to finish it. It was interesting to see where phrases like “vanity fair” had come from, and the names of the characters were good for a giggle, but other than that I found it just dreadfully boring.

    Martin Luther, on the other hand, now there‘s some decent writing.