John Bunyan’s Birthday
John Bunyan was born on November 28, 1628. His 391st birthday is this week. Read below what Elise Wixtrom, the Kids of Courage student reviewer, wrote about his life.
John Bunyan lived in the mid-1600s, during the time of the most violent conflict on English soil, the English Civil War. At that time, there was a group of people called the Puritans. The Puritans followed strict religious rules. They believed in the Bible wholeheartedly, though at one point they became very legalistic and forced their authority on others. Early on, though, the Puritans were bastions of Christian kindness and purity. John Bunyan was one of their most faithful members. A writer, theologian, and preacher, he stood steadfastly by his faith even though his country was in turmoil.
The story of John Bunyan’s life has many ups and downs. At one point he even got thrown into prison. For many years he stayed there among criminals and debtors, all because he defied the Anglican church by preaching outside of it. During the civil war, he and other Puritans were allowed to teach freely, but with the return of the English monarchy came the return of persecution for other theologies. Bunyan, along with his fellow church officials, was imprisoned for his beliefs. While behind bars, Bunyan had a lot of time to reflect, think, write – do what he loved best. He even taught the prisoners in Puritan theology, and eventually they thanked him for it.
Though in great emotional pain from being ripped away from the life he had built for himself, Bunyan never lost hope in Christ’s love. Instead, he wrote. At one point, Bunyan had a strange and vivid dream. In this dream, he embarked on a religious journey, called a “pilgrimage”, to find the meaning of life. Along the way, he met characters that represented different aspects of the world, God’s nature, the human heart, and sin. At the end of the journey, Bunyan arrived at the gates of heaven. Upon awakening, Bunyan was struck with the images of the dream and he decided to write it all down. He turned that dream into a novel called The Pilgrim’s Progress.
When he died in 1688, Bunyan left behind a legacy of many works of literature, including The Pilgrim’s Progress and books of written sermons. Their messages ring loud and clear – stay on the path that leads to Christ Jesus, and God will walk beside you all the way to His own doorstep, just as Bunyan found in his dream.
Bunyan found God’s voice in his prison cell. If you have been reading or watching the Torchlighters stories, you will know – that is where you hear God’s voice best. In the darkest moments of your life. In your pain. In the prison cell that you have, whether real or in your mind. In the times where you think there is no more cause for hope, that is precisely the moment where you should look upwards, and there God will be, with the solution for your healing.