Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Outline of "Pilgrim's Progress," Chapter 1

This fall, the 5th and 6th grade boys Writing & Literature class I am tutoring will be reading John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. In preparation for this class, I am re-re-reading the book and constructing a detailed outline for each chapter as I read. The following outline is for Chapter 1 (in the 1991 Tyndale House Edition).

I. The Jail
A. The Beginning of the Tale:
1. The author falls asleep in a den and begins to dream.
2. In the dream, the author sees a man who is reading a book and who is in anguish, asking, "What shall I do?"
B. The man in the dream begins baring his soul to his family.
1. At first, the man in the dream sees to hide his anguish from his family.
2. Then, the man in the dream begins relating the cause of his anguish to his family:
a. He was under a heavy burden.
b. He had become aware that his city would be destroyed by fire from Heaven.
C. The family in the dream rejects the man's message.
1. They think the man is going crazy.
2. They harden their hearts to his warnings.
3. They begin abusing the man.
4. Therefore, the man begins isolating himself, reading and praying.

II. Evangelist Appears
A. The Man's Cry for Salvation:
1. (The man in the dream, at the end of the first paragraph in the book, had asked in anguish, "What shall I do?")
2. Now, at the end of this paragraph (after reading and praying), the man asks, "What shall I do TO BE SAVED?" [EMPHASIS ADDED].
B. The man meets Evangelist.
1. The man does not know which way to go.
2. Evangelist approaches the man.
C. Evangelist speaks with the man.
1. Evangelist asks what troubles the man.
2. The man understands from "the Book" that he faces death and judgment, and that he is unwilling to die and unable to face judgment.
3. Evangelist asks the man why he is not willing to die, as he is so miserable.
4. The man says he is not willing to die because he is afraid the burden on his back will drag him into Hell.
5. Evangelist asks the man why he is standing still.
6. The man replies that he does not know where to go.
7. Evangelist gives the man a Parchment Scroll inscribed with the words, "Flee from the wrath to come."
8. The man asks Evangelist where he should flee.
9. Evangelist points the man to a shining light; Evangelist tells the man that by following the light, he will come to a wicket gate.
10. Evangelist tells the man that by knocking on the gate he will gain instructions concerning what to do.

III. Pursued by Obstinate and Pliable
A. The man flees toward the light.
1. The man begins to run.
2. His family cries out for him to return.
3. The man puts his fingers in his ears and keeps running, crying out, "Life! Life! Eternal life!"
4. His neighbors also cry out for him to return.
5. Two neighbors in particular-- Obstinate and Pliable-- follow the man to get him to return.
B. Obstinate:
1. Obstinate objects to leaving comforts behind in the City of Destruction.
2. "Christian" (as the man's name is revealed to be) replies that the blessings he pursues far outweigh the comforts left behind.
3. Obstinate asks about the blessings Christian mentions.
4. Christian says he is seeking an incorruptible inheritance.
5. Obstinate's last address to Christian:
a. Obstinate ridicules Christian.
b. Obstinate asks Christian whether he will go back.
6. Christian says he will not go back.
7. Obstinate tell Pliable they should return home.
C. Pliable:
1. Pliable rebukes Obstinate for insulting Christian and says he is inclined to go with Christian.
2. Obstinate calls Pliable a fool and tells him to return with him.
3. Christian seeks to persuade Pliable to go with him, telling Pliable about the "glorious things to be gained."
4. Pliable decides to go with Christian.
5. Obstinate goes back scoffing.

IV. Christian and Pliable Discuss Heavenly Things
A. Christian seeks to get to know Pliable.
B. Pliable asks Christian about heavenly things.
C. Christian seeks to answer Pliable from the Book, affirming absolute trust in the Book, as the Book was written by Him who cannot lie.
D. Christian tells Pliable about a number of good things written in the Book:
1. An endless kingdom;
2. Eternal life;
3. A cessation of sorrow;
4. Fellowship with angelic beings and holy ones who have gone before.
E. Pliable asks Christian how they can come to share in the good things just mentioned.
F. Christian replies that the Lord of the heavenly country has given the answer in the Book, and that: "if we are truly willing to receive it [i.e., the answer concerning how to gain all the blessings just mentioned], He will freely give it to us."

V. The Slough of Despond
A. Both Christian and Pliable fall into the Slough of Despond.
B. Pliable is angry, extricates himself from the Slough on his homeward side, and returns home.

VI. Help Comes to the Rescue
A. Christian in the Slough of Despond:
1. When Pliable leaves, Christian is left alone in the Slough.
2. Christian continues trying to get to the side toward the wicket gate.
3. Christian is unable to get out of the Slough due to the burden on his back.
B. Help comes to Christian.
1. Help asks Christian what he is doing in the Slough.
2. Christian explains his story thus far.
3. Help asks Christian why he did not seek the steps in the Slough.
4. Christian replies that fear had pursued him so hard that he fallen in.
5. Help takes him by the hand and sets him on solid ground.
C. The Explanation of the Slough:
1. The author asks Help why the Slough is not fenced off.
2. Help responds that the Slough cannot be fenced.
3. Help explains:
a. That the Slough is composed of the scum and filth of the conviction of sin;
b. For two thousand years the King's laborers have been seeking to fence the Slough and to fill it in with "cartloads of profitable instruction" to no avail;
c. "[G]ood and substantial steps have been placed evenly throughout this Slough by command of the Lawgiver," but the amount of filth makes it hard to see the steps in bad weather.

VII. Pliable Returns Home and is Confronted by His Neighbors:
A. Some neighbors say Pliable is wise for returning.
B. Some say he is a fool for having endangered himself with Christian.
C. Some mock his cowardice for failing in his venture.
D. At first, Pliable sat cowering among his neighbors.
E. Finally, Pliable raises an objection.
F. The neighbors go back to mocking Christian.



Blogger ajlin said...

Steve Finnell:

I am a Reformed Baptist.
That means that I believe that the Bible clearly teaches the doctrines of grace (commonly called "Calvinism"), which you have attacked on your blog. Furthermore, like Bunyan, I think that while [believer] baptism is important, that the Bible clearly teaches that justification is through faith alone (contrary to what you have asserted on your blog). Therefore I have deleted your comment and will not allow you to advertise your blog on this page.

-Andrew Lindsey

10:08 PM  

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