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This question is NOT:

  • what does John Bunyan believe about predestination

  • is predestination biblically accurate?

This question is:

  • Does "Pilgrim's Progress" take a position on predestination?

  • And if so, which chapter / section?


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I can't point to a particular chapter but the entire book is written as if the author rejects predestination in the Calvinist sense. (Meaning irresistible grace)

The entirety of the book is written as if our choices matter - as if we have a choice. Based on that, I'd say that the book does take a position opposed to predestination in that sense, but I can't give one chapter/section that specifically makes an out and out statement.

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Of course, "Irresistible Grace" is not the only application of predestination. If you had something else in mind, please clarify. – David Dec 29 '12 at 4:07
I think I'm going to -1 this as an unconvincing argument with no backup and a tenuous definition of the theology. Calvinism doesn't deny that our choices matter, particularly AFTER being called. In Bunyan's story, Christian was called to and end he wasn't searching for, arrested by an idea that he knew was true without wanting it to be so, convicted of his sin by no decision of his own. After calling he was repeatedly set on the right road by fortuitous interventions and shown grace even when he failed. The story is much loved by Calvinists partly because it's quite consistent with our views. – Caleb Jan 4 '13 at 9:04
@Caleb No problem. That is a good take on it! You should post it as an answer. While I don't agree with the conclusion, I can't argue your reasoning and it would get my +1. I wonder how much disagreement on the topic is based on the understanding of the definition, as well. It sounds to me like the difference we have on answering this question mirrors the difference that's been argues for ages on the theology. – David Jan 4 '13 at 12:55
I've been uncomfortable with this answer anyway. As noted in my comment, predestination != irresistible grace. Baptists believe on predestination, but believe it is compatible with the existence of free will, partly because of how you explained it... God put those interventions in his road, and I'd fully agree with the statement that He knew from before the foundations of the world that He would intervene - those interventions were predestined. (Even for the fictional character conceived by Bunyan. God would know what Bunyan would write if He is truly Omniscient.) – David Jan 4 '13 at 13:12
We disagree on "irresistible grace" because of how we understand the definition of the term. We believe that God puts those events and people in our path that cause is to choose to repent and put our trust in Christ. We do believe He chose us first, but balk at the idea of Calvinism because we think it denies free will. Perhaps we're not as far apart as we think and argue semantics more than Truth. – David Jan 4 '13 at 13:21

Here is an argument in favor of Pilgrim's Progress supporting predestination.

The names of the characters defines their behavior.

Faith, Christian, and Hopeful made it to the heavenly kingdom.

Timid, Athiest, Ignorance: not so much.

Furthermore, characters do not change their name. [For example, there is, afaik, not a section which details how "Christian" used to be named "Unbeliever" and then later changes his name.]

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