Commission Member Publishes Book on John Bunyan

Dr. Peter Morden, who teaches Church History and Spirituality at Spurgeon’s College, London, in February 2013 published an attractive book on the 17th century ‘tinker of Bedford’, John Bunyan. The book is entitled John Bunyan: The People’s Pilgrim. Bunyan (1628-88) was born at Elstow near Bedford and after a youthful life of degradation and slow but finally definitive conversion, became a fearless preacher and author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, which second only to the Bible as the popular and influential book for many households not only in England but around the world.

In an introduction to this book, Dr. Morden says,

“John Bunyan was a remarkable man. It may seem strange to use today that someone could be held in prison for twelve long years just for refusing to stop preaching the gospel, but that is what happened. Barely escaping deportation, Bunyan used the time in squalid conditions to grow closer to God and start work on some of his famous books. Somehow, confined in his dirty, damp prison cell with little outside stimulus, Bunyan managed to pen The Pilgrim’s Progress, one of the acknowledged classics of English literature.”

The book itself is attractively presented with large well designed pages, and many illustrations ranging from photographs of places and memorabilia connected with Bunyan, to facsimiles of pages from his writings and especially, reproductions of stained glass windows from the current Bunyan Church in Bedford which depict his life and the scenes from his most famous book.

Aiming at a general audience, the author sometimes uses the first person and includes at the end of every chapter two ‘application’ sections which are designed to take the reader further in thought about the themes of the chapter and especially, the personal spiritual implications for the reader.

Although the book praises its subject, it also reveals a great deal about his struggles and the difficulties he faced. It also effectively describes the turbulent social, political and religious context of the day and shows how Bunyan was able to steer his way through it all to achieve so much. Despite twelve years in prison for refusing to be silent as a preacher of the gospel when non-conformists were not free to practice their faith, and an extremely busy and demanding life, Bunyan turned out a prodigious amount of writing. Morden’s book presents the essence of many of his not so well works and devotes several pages to the most prominent, The Holy War and The Pilgrim’s Progress (parts 1 and 2) so that the reader is able to gain a good idea of these works and is encouraged to read them. These works reveal clearly his theological and spiritual principles, while his personal testimony is found in Grace Abounding.

This 176-page paperback is ideal for personal reading and would suitable as a study book for groups.

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