The Banner of Truth Trust perverts Bunyan’s gospel

A letter to the English Churchman

 

Sir:

     Bunyan’s Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ based on John 6:37 is beset with the finest jewels of Christian preaching, infusing hope and joy into the hearts of sorrowing sinners. The BOT’s 1991 reprint of Bunyan’s original version was a most welcome evangelistic venture as Bunyan’s elegant, pithy language speaks as clearly today as it did in the 17th century. So why has the BOT now published a new, badly edited and altered version with an introduction and blurb containing irrelevant and misleading New Divinity propaganda? Paul Austen (Nr. 7652) rightly challenges the suitability of a publisher’s preface which presents Andrew Fuller as freeing the churches from the grip of Gill’s alleged Hyper-Calvinism, thus misusing Bunyan to promote Fullerism. In Come and Welcome, Bunyan reveals the fallacy of Fullerism regarding atonement, reconciliation, imputed righteousness, law, gospel, justification and eternal security.

     The BOT’s counterfeit Bunyan is said to practise “the free offer of salvation to sinners without distinction” but the real Bunyan denies this, arguing that “no rational man in the world will conclude” that John 6 refers to all and not some. Bunyan explains that a conditional call would entail God saying “I will if you will” but here God is saying “I will and you shall”. Thus Bunyan stresses the discriminating work of the gospel, writing, “The gift intended in the text must be restrained to some, to a gift that is given by way of speciality by the Father to the Son”. He teaches that all those who God turns to himself are all those whom He has given to his Son and for whom He died. Bunyan explains that when the call to the sheep comes, they are made sensible and it is these ‘coming sinners’, drawn by God who will be received. Christ gives these sensible sinners ‘a glimpse of Himself’ and they ‘receive a kiss of the sweet lips of Jesus Christ’ and feel ‘the very warmth of His wings overshadowing” their souls.

      Besides perverting Bunyan’s theology, the publishers’ arbitrary alterations to the sweet music of Bunyan’s language, and his AV text are also baffling. Why, for instance, is ‘commeth’ accepted but ‘saith’ altered to ‘says’? Altering Bunyan’s language and teaching in this amateur way is inexcusable and deceptive. Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ is Christian literature at its best and it can happily be obtained in its original form elsewhere.