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Many Christians are familiar with The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan’s (1628–1688) famous book written from a prison cell, which portrays the Christian life as one traveling from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. During Bunyan’s life, however, he produced nearly sixty books and tracts. Roger Duke and Phil Newton, with Drew Harris, trace the significant events that shaped Bunyan’s life and thought in a biographical introduction and, in thirty-one excerpts from a variety of this great man of faith’s writings, give us a glimpse of his piety, which flowed from his desire to “venture all for God.”
Table of Contents:
Section One: Christ Our Advocate
1. Advantages and Privileges for Those Who Have Jesus Christ as Advocate
2. The Physician Who Cures Gets Himself a Name and Begets Encouragement in the Minds of Diseased Folk
3. Things Related to the Promises of Christ Our Advocate
4. Concerning Christ’s Sacrifice
5. Concerning Eternal Security
6. Concerning Christ’s Blood – Our Only Plea
Section Two: Christ Jesus the Merciful Savior
7. Christ’s Mercy Offered to the Biggest Sinners
8. Christ’s Offer of Mercy
9. Encouragement to the Unbeliever Not to Despair
10. Mercy Offered to All Sinners
11. What is Meant by This “Water of Life”?
Section Three: Hope for Sinners
12. A Great Sinner’s Encouragement to Come to Christ
13. Biggest Sinners Have the Most Need of Mercy
14. God’s “Bending” of Men’s Hearts
15. Born of God: A Sermon on John 1:13
16. The Excellence of a Broken Heart before God
17. The Questioning Soul
18. A Contrite Heart before God
Section Four: True Humility
19. Four Things That Are Acceptable to God
20. The Evil Effects of the Sin of Pride
21. Some Signs of a Broken Heart, of a Broken and Contrite Spirit
Section Five: Christian Ethics
22. A Simple Christian’s View of Extortion
23. Instructions for Righteous Trading
24. Strictures Against Fraudulent Bankruptcy
Section Six: The Gospel Applied
25. What It Is to Be Offered
26. Prison Meditations
Section Seven: Warnings
27. God Would Show the Greatness of His Anger against Sin and Sinners
28. Reasons or Causes for Pride
29. Of the Unchangeableness of Eternal Reprobation
30. Warnings to False Professors of Religion
31. Without Godly Repentance, the Wicked Man’s Hope and Life Die Together
Seeking, then, both to honor the past and yet not idolize it, we are issuing these books in the series Profiles in Reformed Spirituality. The design is to introduce the spirituality and piety of the Reformed Profiles in Reformed Spirituality tradition by presenting descriptions of the lives of notable Christians with select passages from their works. This combination of biographical sketches and collected portions from primary sources gives a taste of the subjects’ contributions to our spiritual heritage and some direction as to how the reader can find further edification through their works. It is the hope of the publishers that this series will provide riches for those areas where we are poor and light of day where we are stumbling in the deepening twilight.
Roger Duke is an author and professor at several institutions of higher learning, including Union University and Baptist College of Health Sciences.
Phil Newton is senior pastor at South Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee.
Drew Harris is an account executive at a national marketing communications agency and is working on a master’s of divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“These excerpts from Bunyan capture both the heart and the thought of this great seventeenth-century preacher and spiritual guide. This is condensed Bunyan, like lemonade concentrate eaten from the can. Divine sovereignty, divine mercy, effectual grace, human culpability and need—all of these move together seamlessly and in the full context of biblical truth with such charm and artlessness that the reader discovers in each reading the true power of Bunyan. Phil Newton and Roger Duke deserve our thanks for their selections and their contextualizing material in this volume.” —Tom J. Nettles, professor of historical theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“John Bunyan has left the English-speaking world an almost unparalleled literary legacy of evangelical and Reformed piety. Phil Newton, Roger Duke, and Drew Harris have done us a service by making this collection of Bunyan’s writings available. It is a worthy contribution to the outstanding Profiles in Reformed Spirituality series and will be a source of inspiration and comfort for many pastors, seminary students, and Christian scholars. This book deserves a careful and prayerful reading.” —Nathan Finn, assistant professor of church history and Baptist studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina
“If today’s Christians know John Bunyan at all, they vaguely associate him with Pilgrim’s Progress, a book they probably admire but have never read. In ‘Venture All for God,’ Roger Duke and Phil Newton introduce Bunyan to a new generation of readers by showing the joyous, daring faith of a man whose writings mirrored his own spiritual journey. Using Bunyan’s own words, the authors trace his story from an ungodly youth to his conversion by sovereign grace to his ministry in a time of unprecedented upheaval. They show conclusively that God always has a man for the moment and a moment for the man. Put John Bunyan in jail for preaching the gospel, and he writes a book for the ages. It is all to Bunyan’s credit that he had a deep sense of his own sinfulness and God’s amazing grace. Thus he understood by experience the problems and trials modern pilgrims make as they progress toward the Celestial City. When you finish reading ‘Venture All for God,’ you are likely to say, ‘I want a faith like that.’ Bunyan would say, ‘You can have it!’ And he’s right.” — Dr. Ray Pritchard, president of Keep Believing Ministries and author of An Anchor for the Soul, The Incredible Journey of Faith, and Fire and Rain: The Wild-Hearted Faith of Elijah
“I still remember reading The Pilgrim's Progress for the first time. I was a young Christian captivated, like so many before me, by Christian’s exciting journey to the Celestial City. All the feelings that I experienced since becoming a Christian were there, in vivid print—from the burden falling off of Christian’s back to the temptations of Vanity Fair. ‘Venture All for God’ is a wonderfully concise introduction to the Bedford tinker’s life. But it is more than that. It is also a careful introduction to the theology that fueled Bunyan’s creative genius. After reading ‘Venture All for God,’ those who have yet to devour The Pilgrim's Progress or The Holy War or Grace Abounding will wonder what they’ve been waiting for!” — Aaron Menikoff, senior pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia
“All those who, like Timothy, are prepared to ‘Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart’ (2 Tim. 2:22) will find in
this wonderful, spiritually nurturing volume great encouragement and inspiration to “venture all for God” and live a life devoted to the glory of God and to the truth of his gospel.” — Andreas Köstenberger, professor of New Testament and biblical theology and director of PhD studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary