John Bunyan and the Pilgrim's Progress: From the Publisher
The response to our recent letter and survey to subscribers drew the largest response we have ever received. Your suggestions for topics to cover and special issues to publish make our job both easier and more difficult.
Easier in that we have an array of vital subject areas requested that is diverse and stimulating. More difficult in that collectively you have set before us a task that would take dozens of years to fulfill.
This present issue emerged from strong reader interest in monumental figures from the history of the church such as John Bunyan. His Pilgrim’s Progress is the first place bestseller (apart from the Bible) in all publishing history, an astounding achievement for a common working class person whose life was confined to a rather small area in the seventeenth century.
In this issue you will see why and how Bunyan’s life and work made such an enduring impact.
We were surprised to discover that Bunyan and Pilgrim’s Progress were not included in Encyclopedia Brittanica’s Great Books of the Western World. If these words should come to Mortimer Adler’s attention, perhaps he will write us and tell us why.
We have also noted in an informal and by no means scientific sampling of churches and lay people that Bunyan and Pilgrim’s Progress are largely unknown today. I have always vividly remembered a series of sermons preached by our pastor when I was about 12 based on the book. The images he effectively and dramatically recounted were burned into my largely unretentive mind for keeps.
A quarter year for Sunday School or a summer vacation school could feature a series on Pilgrim’s Progress to great benefit for the children in any local church.
The late Dr. Frank Gacbelein in his lecture-essay “Encounter with Greatness” relates ...