by Pastor Dan Miller
Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Dan Miller’s book Spiritual Reflections.
While imprisoned for his faith in 1675, English Puritan and Baptist pastor John Bunyan penned his classic allegory Pilgrim’s Progress. Seeking to illustrate in story form a distinctively Christian worldview, Bunyan chose to spin a tale about an adventurous journey undertaken by a man he named Christian.
As indicated by the title, Bunyan depicts Christian’s pilgrimage as progressive in nature. The journey is inherently linear. It is destination oriented.
As the story unfolds, Christian leaves behind the City of Destruction. Thereafter, he journeys onward with his sights set on attaining the Celestial City. Everything he does is fueled by the blazing hope of reaching his final destination.
Bunyan clearly intends to promote a future-focused way of living. Not only does the title of the book reveal his objective, but he claims in the preface: “this book will make a traveler of thee.”
The reason Bunyan proposes to make “travelers” of his readers is not to be found primarily in Bunyan’s book, but in Bunyan’s God. As he scratched out his rough draft in a filthy prison cell where he had been incarcerated for preaching the Bible, in Pilgrim’s Progress Bunyan came to terms with the truth that to know God is to be a traveler. When one embraces the way of Christ, his or her life becomes fundamentally journey oriented—a progressive pilgrimage from point A to point B.