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Life & Times of John Bunyan. Pastor Larry Garcia Saturday – Feb 28 th , 2009. Humble Beginnings…1 Cor 1:27 “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;”

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Life & Times of John Bunyan

  • Pastor Larry Garcia
  • Saturday – Feb 28th, 2009
slide2

Humble Beginnings…1 Cor 1:27

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;”

Born of Thomas & Mary Bunyan in Elstow, Near Bedford, England 1628

slide3

Humble Beginnings Continued…

  • “For my descent…was, as is well known by many, of a low and inconsiderable generation, my father’s house being of that rank that is meanest and most despised in all the land…”
  • “it pleased God to put it into their hearts to put me to school to learn both to read and write…I never went to school to learn Aristotle or Plato”
  • “It is said that his teacher (William Varney) was charged for neglecting the school frequently and mis-spending his time in taverns and ale houses.”
slide4

Humble Beginnings Continued…

  • Tragedy Strikes
  • June 1644 – His Mother Dies
  • July 1644 – His Sister Dies
  • August 1644 – Insult to Injury (father remarries) Gross insensitivity or long standing liaison???
  • Teenage Bunyan Rebels, “From a child I had but few equals both for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the Holy Name of God” John Bunyan
slide5

Political Climate of 17th Century England

  • Crown & Parliament Clash
  • King James 1603 – 1625 held
  • divine rights of king should
  • Not be challenged
  • Parliamentary groups obviously
  • Disagreed and United against
  • the crown
  • Civil War, 1642, Ignites Under
  • Charles I
  • 1649, Parliamentary Army underOliver Cromwell Victorious– Charles I tried and Executed
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Political Climate of 17th Century England

  • Its Effects on Teenage Bunyan
  • Bread-eater to Bread-winner. Bunyan
  • Assumes family trade as “tinker”
  • November 1644. Parliament issues ordinance stating, “that the city of Bedford, within fourteen days, shall send unto the garrison at Newport, 225 able and armed men for soldiers.”
  • Of which Bunyan was one. He would serve 30 months
  • Bunyan saw little to no war except a few minor skirmishes
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Political Climate of 17th Century England

  • Its Effects on Teenage Bunyan
  • “When I was a soldier I, with others were drawn out to go to such a place to besiege it; but when I was just ready to go, one of the company desired to go in my room, to which, when I had consented he took my place; and coming to the siege, as he stood Sentinel, he was shot into the head with a Musket bullet and died.”
  • Providence or merely Coincidental?
  • July 1647 – Newport Garrison disbanded.
slide8

The Spiritual Awakening…

  • After military tour ended, Bunyan is married to whom we assume as “Mary” seeing that that is the name of his first daughter who also happens to blind.
  • Poverty stricken. “They did not so much have household stuff as a dish or a spoon betwixt us both” Bunyan
  • “Silver & Gold I have none but what I do have.” Mary brought to the marriage 2 books – The Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven and The Practice of Piety. Bunyan wrote, “They were somewhat pleasing to me…and he felt some desires to religion.”
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“The Spiritual Slough of Despond”

  • Bunyan begins to attend local Parish under Vicar Christopher Hall. But it is merely ceremonial. “I adored…high place, Priest, clerk, Vestments and service…counting all things holy.”
  • A voice from Heaven, “leave thy sins and go to heaven or have thy sins and go to hell.”
  • I order to “Placate” God. Bunyan would give up bell ringing, dancing, (this took him a year), and began reading the Bible and “talking” religion. “Perhaps ‘he’ could change before damnation overtook him. Bunyan is considered a “very religious man” in his town
  • In other words, by the allusion of “self-help” Bunyan felt he could save himself from spiritual ruin.
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“The Giant of Despair”

  • The poor women of Bedford. “I thought,” says Bunyan, “they spake as if joy did make them speak…They were to me as if they had found a new world.” He overheard their discussion of “new birth,” the “love of Christ.” and their own “wretchedness.”
  • Tearing the Scriptures apart Bunyan realized he needed the “gift of faith”, but did he have it? Was he even apart of the elect? “O Lord, call me also.” But no call came.
  • Rock Bottom! “I was more loathsome in mine own eyes than was a toad, and I thought I was so in God’s eyes too.” Voices were calling him, as if the Devil was present pulling at his clothes. Bunyan was also tempted into blaspheming Christ and committing the unpardonable sin.
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“Help Arrives”

  • Bunyan would join the “women of Bedford’s” very own church under Minister John Gifford. Bunyan later said, “He was much for my stability.”
  • The discovery of Luther’s Commentary on Galatians. Luther, “grace releaseth sin, and peace makes the conscience quite.” Luther likewise was a man with an intense need of a cure.”
  • Finally, the key of promise that unlocked the dungeon of despair, “My grace is sufficient.”…”Arms of grace…not only enclosed me…but many more besides.”
  • First Wife Dies & Bunyan remarries –
  • He now has 4 children
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“Bunyan the Preacher”

  • Bunyan begins to dispute the “heretical” Quakers who taught the superiority of inner light above the authority of scripture. Bunyan publishes first book. Some Gospel Truths Opened - 1656
  • Bunyan discovers his gift. “He (Bunyan) has been through grace taken three heavenly degrees, to wit, union with Christ, the anointing of the spirit, and the experiences of the temptation of Satan…which fit a man for preaching the Gospel.” Acts 4:13
  • Bunyan begins to attract hundreds of people to hear his powerful preaching. Other parish preachers begin to warn their congregations to beware “of the wandering tinker preacher.”
slide13

“The Tide Turns”

  • In 1660 Charles II returns from exile. A failing Parliament hands over power.
  • 1662 Parliament passed the “Act of Uniformity” requiring all preachers to receive Episcopal ordination, use the Book of Common Prayer.
  • 1664 the “Conventicles Act” was passed forbidding religious gatherings that did not meet guidelines of established Church.
  • The Result? Bunyan’s preaching and religious gatherings were now illegal! The punishments included: imprisonment, banishment, or property seizure.
slide14

“Prisoner for Christ”

  • November 1660 – Bunyan goes to Samsell to preach in a private home.
  • Disturbing news. The local authorities were on the lookout and had issued a warrant for Bunyan’s arrest.
  • What was he to do?
  • He bravely preached the Word to show the world what a Christian is made of.
  • Bunyan was arrested and imprisoned for the next twelve years! Why would God allow Bunyan to be imprisoned at the height of his success? Would he not be more of an impact for the Kingdom if he were a free man?
slide15

“Pulling the Flesh From My Bones”

  • “The parting with my wife and poor children hath often been to me in this place, as the pulling of the flesh from my bones; and that not only because I am somewhat too fond of these great mercies, but also because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries, and wants that my poor family was to meet with, should I be taken from the, especially my poor, blind child. O I saw in this condition, I was a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children, yet thought I, I must do it, I must do it.”
  • He could be released from prison if
  • he refrained from preaching.
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“God Works Into All Things”

  • 1678 – Over two imprisonments Bunyan would author one of the greatest allegorical masterpieces ever written –
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress
  • This book would convince, rebuke, and exhort many weary Christian pilgrims on the difficult journey to the celestial city. Pliable? Mr. Legality? Mr. Talkative?
  • Like Paul, “My chains have been a furtherance of the Gospel.”
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“Closing”

Psalm 84:5-7