1Saved has alleged the following:
This is why John Bunyan refused to claim allegiance to any denomination, but called himself a Christian instead. As to whether John Bunyan was a Calvinist because he taught in a Baptist church has been alleged, but has not been discussed in detail in this forum.
(Fred) I will be happy to discuss with you. First, I need to know, is it your contention that Bunyan was NOT a calvinist, that he NEVER believed and preached the doctrines of grace, commonly understood as the 5 points?
Taken from his sermon Saved by Grace
, found at the website you link us to, a person can read the following:
First, then, we may be said to be saved in the purpose of God before the world began. The apostle saith that "he saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim 1:9). This is the beginning of salvation, and according to this beginning all things concur and fall out in conclusion-"He hath saved us according to his eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus." God in thus saving may be said to save us by determining to make those means effectual for the blessed completing of our salvation; and hence we are said "to be chosen in Christ to salvation." And again, that he hath in that choice given us that grace that shall complete our salvation. Yea, the text is very full, "He hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:3,4).
Second. As we may be said to be saved in the purpose of God before the foundation of the world, so we may be said to be saved before we are converted, or called to Christ. And hence "saved" is put before "called"; "he hath saved us, and called us"; he saith not, he hath called us, and saved us; but he puts saving before calling (2 Tim 1:9). So again, we are said to be "preserved in Christ and called"; he saith not, called and preserved (Jude 1). And therefore God saith again, "I will pardon them whom I reserve"-that is, as Paul expounds it, those whom I have "elected and kept," and this part of salvation is accomplished through the forbearance of God (Jer 50:20; Rom 11:4,5). God beareth with is own elect, for Christ's sake, all the time of their unregeneracy, until the time comes which he hath appointed for their conversion. The sins that we stood guilty of before conversion, had the judgment due to them been executed upon us, we had not now been in the world to partake of a heavenly calling. But the judgment due to them hath been by the patience of God prevented, and we saved all the time of our ungodly and unconverted state, from that death, and those many hells, that for our sins we deserved at the hands of God.
Here we see pratically all of the points of Calvinism affirmed by Bunyan: Total Depravity, unconditional election, most certainly irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints. Note further that he builds his preaching from Ephesians 1 and 2. If anyone checks out his other sermon, Christ, a complete savior
it will be noted that Bunyan affirms particular redemption, or what is often know as Limited Atonement. You will see further expositions on the doctrines of grace through many of his sermons posted at the Bunyan site.
Now, as to your contention that Bunyan was not educated, and thus there is nothing of value with Christian education in the original languages, etc, and that we should all strive to be like Bunyan because he was not aligned to any denomination and uneducated, I need to point out a couple of things:
First, Bunyan, as far as I know, had a general Christian education. Though he was not formally educated in the sense that he never attended college is true; but, it is quite clear that he was versed in the Christian theology of the day, and read in the contemporary believers of the day, Owen, Watson, and others.
Secondly, it is true that he was not an official member of any one denomination, which at that time was a state-church political body. However, that does not mean that Bunyan was this fly-by-the-seat-of-his-holy-spirit-led-pants kind of Christian. His troubles with the authorities, and I would side with Bunyan, had more to do with the fact that because he was not officially recognized as a trained clergy, that he was not to be licensed to preach. Something that is common in a church-state political body. It had nothing to do with him being baptist, or some conspiratorial nonsense of him being "spirit" led and bumping up against the "worldly" local authorities. In fact, I would say that the trials he experienced was led by and orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, and that prison was where God wanted him, because he left the Church one of the greatest books on the Christian life ever written. This would not have happened if he was never jailed.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss this with anyone, but it may require extensive investigation and research, since I contend there is evidence (the World Book Encyclopedia) Bunyan was put in jail for 12 years for teaching in a Baptist church without a license. My GUESS is there was more than the lack of a license for jailing Bunyan for 12 years. PERHAPS the Baptist church superiors didn't like what Bunyan preached. I don't know what the reasons may have been (I said I was guessing and perhaps there was another motive for jailing Bunyan), but if someone wants to do the research, I suggest they could go to www.johnbunyan.org
as a good place to start. I've also suggested they could research Bunyan at their local library.