Profiles in Reformed Spirituality - Venture all for God: Piety in the Writings of John Bunyan. Edited by Roger D. Duke and Phil A. Newton. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011. 196 pp. $10.00. Purchase at Westminster Books for less.
I have interviewed and reviewed books by Dr. Roger Duke in the past as well as having had the pleasure of meeting him in person at a recent conference. You can read the reviews, the interview and even a couple papers he presented here. Phil Newton is heavily involved in the Founder’s Conference as well as the serving as the Pastor of South Woods Baptist Church. He has written a number of helpful books of which a couple can be found here.
The Profiles in Reformed Spirituality series is personally one of my favorite series of books and Bunyan is one of those authors that has resonated with me through the years.
Divided into a life introduction followed by seven sections of sermon snippets, one could spend weeks digesting the thoughts of Bunyan from subjects such as Christ our Advocate and Him as the merciful Savior. The third section offers much hope for the sinners while sections four through seven contain more practical (not that the gospel is not practical!!!) to living the Christian life. In section four, the reader is exposed to what true humility looks like while section five is about Christian ethics. The seventh section offers warnings.
I saved sections six for last because I believe it to best sum up the entire book and thus the life of John Bunyan. Section six is aptly entitled the Gospel Applied. Here we have the shortest of all sections in terms of only two selections, but much to chew on and guide one’s reading of the works of the great Dreamer.
I enjoyed reading snippets from some of Bunyan’s lesser known works though I found the number of selections from The Jerusalem Sinner Saved to be just as appropriate. The biographical sketch at the beginning of the book is an extremely helpful, albeit short, introduction to the life of John Bunyan. Many know the highlights due in large part to his Pilgrim’s Progress. Sadly, many do not know much, if anything at all, about the rest of his life, writings, and ministry. Venture all for God will go a long way to rectify that problem.
Another helpful section in this small work is found at the end. The two editors offer a guide to various books in print that can be purchased in order to read more of John Bunyan.
If you have ever read or even heard of Pilgrim’s Progress then I highly recommend that you pick up this introduction to John Bunyan and his life. For less than $10 you can add a book to your library that you are sure to read time and again. What is more, you will find that this book will somehow multiply the books on your shelf as you will want to begin reading more and more of John Bunyan. You will not be sorry once you read this book. In fact, I dare you say, the Lord would use this work to help your walk with Christ.