New Book: “John Bunyan & the Grace of Fearing God” by Paul M. Smalley & Joel R. Beeke


John Bunyan and the Grace of Fearing God
by Paul M. Smalley & Joel R. Beeke

AMZ: $14.99/£11.41 | RHB: $8



He was the author of the best-selling Christian book of all time. His Bible-saturated works have inspired generations of believers all over the world. And yet, as influential as it is, John Bunyan’s theology contains a unifying thread that is sorely neglected in the modern church: the vital importance of the fear of God.

Fearing God is seen by many as psychologically harmful—at odds with belief in a God of love. But Bunyan knew personally that the only freedom from a guilty fear of God’s wrath is a joyful, childlike fear of his holiness. Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley guide us through Bunyan’s life before exploring his writings to illuminate the true grace of fearing God.


“Wisdom requires it, Jesus emphasized it, the apostles encouraged it—and yet few things are more feared in contemporary Christianity than . . . the fear of God. This timely book . . . shows how the fear of God was, in contrast, the heartbeat of one of the most loved and admired of all Christians.”

Sinclair B. Ferguson, Dean of the Doctor of Ministry program, Ligonier Academy of Biblical and Theological Studies

“We today need to read and treasure Bunyan. . . . Beeke and Smalley take the reader through the core of Bunyan’s corpus and whet the reader’s appetite to plunge afresh into Bunyan’s works.”

Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Authors:

Paul M. Smalley is a teaching assistant to Dr. Beeke at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and a bivocational pastor at Grace Immanuel Reformed Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Joel R. Beeke (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, where he also serves as professor of systematic theology and homiletics. He is a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregations in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the author of several books, including Truth That Frees, The Quest for Full Assurance, and A Reader’s Guide to Reformed Literature.


Format: Paperback
Pages: 160
Publisher: P&R Publishing

“The Barren Fig Tree: The Doom & Downfall of the Fruitless Professor” by John Bunyan [Free eBook Friday]



This solemn, searching, awful treatise, was published by Bunyan in 1682; but does not appear to have been reprinted until a very few months after his decease, which so unexpectedly took place in 1688. Although we have sought with all possible diligence, no copy of the first edition has been discovered; we have made use of a fine copy of the second edition, in possession of that thorough Bunyanite, my kind friend, R. B. Sherring, of Bristol. The third edition, 1692, is in the British Museum. Added to these posthumous publications appeared, for the first time, ‘An Exhortation to Peace and Unity,’ which will be found at the end of our second volume. In the advertisement to that treatise are stated, at some length, my reasons for concluding that it was not written by Bunyan, although inserted in all the editions of his collected works. That opinion is now more fully confirmed, by the discovery of Bunyan’s own list of his works, published just before his death, in 1688, and in which that exhortation is not inserted. I was also much pleased to find that the same conclusion was arrived at by that highly intelligent Baptist minister, Mr. Robert Robinson.

His reasons are given at some length, concluding with, ‘it is evident that Bunyan never wrote this piece.’ Why it was, after Bunyan’s death, published with his ‘Barren Fig-tree,’ is one of those hidden mysteries of darkness and of wickedness that I cannot discover. The beautiful parable from which Bunyan selected his text, represents an enclosed ground, in which, among others, a fig-tree had been planted. It was not an enclosure similar to some of the vineyards of France or Germany, exclusively devoted to the growth of the vine, but a garden in which fruits were cultivated, such as grapes, figs, or pomegranates. It was in such a vineyard, thus retired from the world, that Nathaniel poured out his heart in prayer, when our Lord in spirit witnessed, unseen, these devotional exercises, and soon afterwards rewarded him with open approbation (John 1:48). In these secluded pleasant spots the Easterns spend much of their time, under their own vines or fig-trees, sheltered from the world and from the oppressive heat of the sun–a fit emblem of a church of Christ. In this vineyard stood a fig-tree–by nature remarkable for fruitfulness–but it is barren. No inquiry is made as to how it came there, but the order is given, ‘Cut it down.’ The dresser of the garden intercedes, and means are tried to make it fruitful, but in vain. At last it is cut down as a cumber-ground and burnt. This vineyard or garden represents a gospel church; the fig-tree a member– a barren, fruitless professor. ‘It matters not how he got there,’ if he bears no fruit he must be cut down and away to the fire.

To illustrate so awful a subject this treatise was written, and it is intensely solemn. God, whose omniscience penetrates through every disguise, himself examines every tree in the garden, yea, every bough. Wooden and earthy professor, your detection is sure; appearances that deceive the world and the church cannot deceive God. ‘He will be with thee in thy bed fruits–thy midnight fruits–thy closet fruits– thy family fruits–they conversation fruits.’ Professor, solemnly examine yourself; ‘in proportion to your fruitfulness will be your blessedness.’ ‘Naked and open are all things to his eye.’ Can it be imagined that those ‘that paint themselves did ever repent of their pride?’ ‘How seemingly self-denying are some of these creeping things.’ ‘Is there no place will serve to fit those for hell but the church, the vineyard of God?’ ‘It is not the place where the worker of iniquity can hide himself or his sins from God.’ May such be detected before they go hence to the fire. While there is a disposition to seek grace all are invited to come; but when salvation by Christ is abandoned, there is no other refuge, although sought with tears. Reader, may the deeply impressive language of Bunyan sink profoundly into our hearts. We need no splendid angel nor hideous demon to reveal to us the realities of the world to come. ‘If we hear not Moses and the prophets,’ as set forth by Bunyan in this treatise, ‘neither should we be persuaded though one rose from the dead’ to declare these solemn truths (Luke 16:31).

Free PDF/MOBI/EPUB: “A Baptist Catechism: For Personal & Family Devotion” [including the 1689, Catechism, Church Covenant + more]

This resource is now available as a free eBook:

baptist catechism

Kindle [modi] | iPad [epub] | PDF | Print: $11.25£7.86


Pastor JD Hall & Family
Pastor JD Hall & Family

This material has been collected specifically for use among Reformation Montana churches, but it has been made available for all Baptists of life-faith.


  • Declaration of Reformation [by JD Hall]
  • London Baptist Confession of Faith [(1689) Slight Revisions by Charles Spurgeon]
  • Baptist Catechism [as presented by the Charleston Association, 1813]
  • Baptist Church Covenant [ an abridged version taken from “A Declaration of Faith” by J. Newton Brown (1853)]
  • A Modern Day Downgrade [by JD Hall] – a short treatise on why catechism is necessary for Reformation in our modern times.


JD Hall & James White
JD Hall & James White

“Western culture today seeks to cut itself free from burdensome things like truth, consistency, and commitment. The Baptist Catechism reminds us that there are truths worth living for, and dying for, that give life transcendent meaning and purpose.”

Dr. James White, Director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, host of The Dividing Line and 2013 RefMT Conference Speaker

Ken Fryer

“Although this catechism is intended for Baptists of all varieties, as a Southern Baptist I find my Convention in the paradoxical position of affirming biblical inerrancy while many of its churches are doctrinally deficient. To assist the church in extricating herself from this less than God-honoring predicament, I highly recommend Pastor J.D. Hall’s book A Baptist Catechism for Personal and Family Devotion. Along with an open Bible, it will be a refreshment to your soul and serve as a vehicle to foster restoration in our churches.”

Ken Fryer 2nd Vice President of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, serving at Heritage Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana

Get Desiring God’s new edition of Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress” FREE [PDF, EPUB, MOBI]

Pilgrims Progress New Ed

Desiring God:

On November 28, 1628, in a quiet cottage nestled within the English parish of Elstow, during one of the most tumultuous times in the country’s history, John Bunyan was born.


The place of Bunyan’s birth in Elstow was only a mile from the busy town of Bedford, where years later Bunyan would be imprisoned for over a decade for preaching the gospel. Like his father, Bunyan learned the simple trade of a tinker — a mender of pots and kettles — and came to be known as the “tinker turned preacher” when he began lay preaching in his late twenties. Bunyan’s skill and passion drew hundreds of listeners. Theologian John Owen, a contemporary of Bunyan, when asked by King Charles why he went to hear such an uneducated man preach, replied, “I would willingly exchange my learning for the tinker’s power of touching men’s hearts.”


But Bunyan’s legacy is not so much in his preaching, but his writing. During his imprisonment in the Bedford jail, Bunyan wrote several books, including most popularly, The Pilgrim’s Progress, which has sold more copies in the English language than any book besides the Bible. Today, the book still remains both an incomparable source of spiritual education and a classic in English literature.

Releasing a New Edition

For this reason, on Bunyan’s birthday, Desiring God is excited to release a new edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress, free of charge in three digital formats (PDF, EPUB, MOBI).


This new edition is the original first part of Bunyan’s classic, unabridged and redesigned in beautiful typesetting for modern readability. This edition also features a foreword by Leland Ryken, who kindly offered counsel to us since the beginning of this project, and a short biography of Bunyan’s life by John Piper. The preface to this edition was written by John Newton in 1776 to introduce an old version of the book that included his annotations. This preface was discovered by Tony Reinke, biographer of Newton, and is included now in print for the first time in over a century.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Leland Ryken
  • To Live Upon God Who Is Invisible: The Life of John Bunyan by John Piper
  • Preface by John Newton (1776)
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress


  • Download the PDF
  • Download the EPUB formatted for readers like the Nook, Sony Reader, and Apple iBooks (iPad, iPhone, iPod).
  • Download the MOBI formatted for Kindle. (You may be required to download the MOBI file to a computer before sending it to your Kindle device.)

In addition to the free ebook formats, we are releasing a new paperback version available on Amazon at minimum cost. At just over 250 pages, this paperback is a stout read and makes for a great gift idea this Christmas season, especially in the midst of new and exciting publications.

Preview PDF:

Download (PDF, 849KB)

400-Year-Old Lessons from English Baptists & Persecution [Michael Haykin]


PersecutionPersecution and martyrdom are perennial features of the Church’s existence in this world. Numerous New Testament passages bear out this fact (see, for example, 1 Peter 4:12–19; Acts 14:19–22; John 15:18–21). The experience of the Church down through the centuries has indeed been one of persecution and its concomitant, martyrdom. And although my focus is going to be on one period of this history, we need to recognize that this is not merely an issue of the past. It has been estimated that currently there are thousands martyrs every year around the world.


Now, the period that I wish to look at concerns the era of Particular (or Calvinistic) Baptist origins in the mid-seventeenth century…


Let us look briefly at some of those persecuted to see what we can learn regarding how we should respond to persecution.





Read “400-Year-Old Lessons from English Baptists and Persecution”.

Was John Bunyan a Baptist? A Test Case in Historical Method [Nathan Finn]

Nathan Finn
Nathan Finn

Nathan Finn:

What many readers may not know is that scholars have debated whether or not Bunyan was a Baptist or a Congregationalist since at least the late-1800s. There are several reasons for this debate. First, Bunyan’s church in Bedford, which began as a Congregationalist (Independent) meeting, seems to have embraced a dual baptismal practice prior to his pastorate. Second, though there is no evidence the church baptized infants during Bunyan’s pastorate, the church continued an open membership policy that included both credobaptists and pedobaptists. (Bunyan even engaged in a literary debate with William Kiffin, among others, over the relationship between the ordinances and church membership.) Finally, after Bunyan’s death in 1688, the church gravitated toward mainstream Congregationalism and rejected credobaptism as a normative practice.


John "The Baptist?" Bunyan
John “The Baptist?” Bunyan

For these reasons, scholars have tended to fall into three camps when debating Bunyan’s baptism bona fides. First, some scholars argue he was not a Baptist, but rather was a Congregationalist who privately preferred credobaptism to pedobaptism. Second, some scholars argue that Bunyan was an “Independent Baptist,” i.e., a Baptist who practiced open membership. Finally, some scholars punt (ahem) and suggest that Bunyan was “baptistic,” but falls short of being a consistent Baptist.


This makes for a good test case in historical method.

Read [6 min. readout]

The Conversion, Writing, Imprisonment, & Lasting Impact of John Bunyan [Geoffrey Thomas]

First off, go visit and see some wonderful layout and design:

bg-heading-historical.eas5isl4de7nmyhjThen, check out this particular portion from their historical resources:

Geoff Thomas introduces us to the life and work of the Puritan John Bunyan; his conversion, writing, imprisonment, and lasting impact.  

A snippet to whet your appetite:

Geoff ThomasBunyan ended his days as a reformer, disaffiliated from the civil and religious establishment along with his closest ministerial friend, John Own, whose pulpit he often occupied. Like Owen, Bunyan was not involved in plots to overthrow the government. The weapons of his warfare were spiritual and mighty through God to pull down the vastest strongholds…


Bunyan is encouraging us to think that if we preach we can write, and that we must preach plainly and directly with pastoral concern and biblical integrity. He is telling us that life is a pilgrimage and we are not to ever seek for an alternative to that journey. Bunyan urges us to concentrate on basics and to be prepared to suffer for our Lord as he gave his life for us.

Read [27 min. readout]

Profiles in Reformed Spirituality Series (10 vols.) [Logos Preorder $61.95]

Logos Reformed Spirituality

Profiles in Reformed Spirituality Series (10 vols.)
authors include Michael A. G. Haykin, Steve Weaver, Thabiti M. Anyabwile, J. Stephen Yuille, Phil A. Newton, + more

The series was published by Reformation Heritage Books and Joel R. Beeke and Michael A.G. Haykin are the series editors.


The Profiles in Reformed Spirituality series is designed to introduce the spirituality and piety of the Reformed tradition by presenting descriptions of the lives of influential Christians with select passages from their works. This combination of biographical sketches and primary sources gives a taste of each subject’s contribution to the Reformed tradition’s spiritual heritage and direction as to how the reader can find further edification through their works. This series will provide riches where the church is poor and daylight where Christians stumble in the night. Included in Profiles in Reformed Spirituality (10 vols.) are the lives and works of Horatius Bonar, Hercules Collins, Jonathan Edwards, George Swinnock, Alexander Whyte, Lemuel Haynes, Samuel Rutherford, Archibald Alexander, John Bunyan, and John Flavel.


In the Logos editions, these valuable volumes are enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Individual Titles

New Blog: “John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress: On Pilgrimage to the Celestial City”

spurgeonReading anything of his (Bunyan’s) and you will see that it is almost like reading the bible itself.  He had studied our Authorized Version.  He read it until his whole being was saturated with Scripture; …. His Pilgrims Progress makes us feel and say ‘Why this man is a living bible!’  Prick him anywhere; and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the bible flows through him.  He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his soul is full of the Word of God.

Pastor Curt Arend, the man we interviewsed on Podcast #24 – Spurgeon’s Sermons: His Preparation to Printed Product – Rare Document Traders + More, filled us in on a new project:

We have dedicated a new website to Pilgrims Progress.  Regular posts with graphics (many from antiquarian copies) walking through the work.  There is some commentary as well.  We did this last year through Face book and have about 2500 followers.  This time we are linking from FB to the site itself.


The site is titled John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress:  On Pilgrimage to the Celestial City one step at a time. The post just started up January 1st, so it is not to late to join along on their blog or join them on Facebook.

As a side note, Ken Puls [who we interviewed on episode 26 & 27] has a A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Did 17th Century Particular Baptists hold to the Covenant of Works? They (Coxe, Collins, Keach & more) Answer [Particular Voices]

Sam Renihan:

About 6 months ago I mentioned that I wanted to give a peppering of particular snippets from Particular Baptists who held to the covenant of works. The point of this peppering was to bolster the general assertion that the Particular Baptists held to the covenant of works and the specific assertion that the confession teaches this.


Below you will find numerous authors who endorse the covenant of works. This list primarily includes those who explicitly name and embrace the covenant of works. There are many other places where Adam is referred to as a “Public head” or we are said to have “fallen in him.” I included a few of those. Similarly, there are many places where the Mosaic covenant is said to be a covenant of works, which presupposes at the very least the category of a covenant of works. Most of these references have been left out (there are many). It is also worth noting that in such a polemical context: 1. I have never seen a paedobaptist accusing the Particular Baptists in any point related to the covenant of works, and 2. I have never seen a Particular Baptist reject the covenant of works or argue against a paedobaptist on that point.


Did the Particular Baptists hold to the covenant of works? Ask them.

At this point, I would say, Sam gives us a plethora of examples (from the likes of Hercules Collins, Nehemiah Coxe, Benjamin Keach, Samuel Richardson, Christopher Blackwood, Thomas Patient, John Bunyan, Thomas Collier, Edward Hutchinson, Thomas DeLaune, Philip Cary, Isaac Marlow, William Collins & more.)

Here is a sampling:

Nehemiah Coxe, A Discourse of the Covenants, 1681:


Hercules Collins, Believers Baptism From Heaven, 1691:
Hercules Collins, Believersbaptism from Heaven, 126Benjamin Keach, The Everlasting Covenant, 1693
Benjamin Keach, The Everlasting Covenant, 7


Approved by the Elders of the Baptized Churches, Most likely arranged by William Collins, The Baptist Catechism, 1695
Baptist Catechism Questions 15 and 19

Read the rest.

Chapel Library & Free Grace Broadcaster


Mount Zion Bible Church has a ministry called Chapel Library that is well worth checking out! From their site:

Our purpose is to humble the pride of man, exalt the grace of God in salvation, and promote real holiness in heart and life by distributing messages from Spurgeon, Bonar, Ryle, Pink, and the Puritans to churches, missions, schools, prisons, and individuals. Available online worldwide and sending in print to more than 90 countries, Chapel Library is a faith ministry that relies entirely upon God’s faithfulness. We therefore do not solicit donations, but we gratefully receive support from those who freely desire to give.

Chapel Library also offers the Free Grace Broadcaster:

The Free Grace Broadcaster is a 48-page quarterly digest of classic messages from prior centuries. Each issue focuses on a different theme. Unified Bible exposition from multiple centuries of Christian history brings clarity and conviction! The Broadcaster is useful for personal devotions, discipleship, family worship, training, and sermon preparation.

Downloads, e-subscriptions, print subscriptions, Spanish resources, and an online complete archive of John Bunyan are just some of the resources available from this site. Enjoy!

(Thanks to Pastor Keith Myer of Harvest Baptist Church [SBC] for the tip!)

Bunyan Describes the Antichrist [Particular Voices]

John Bunyan (not the antichrist)


The Second London Baptist Confession of 1689, chapter 26, section 4 reads:

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

Many interpret this section of the Confession as a dogmatic, specific identification of the office of the papacy as the Antichrist. This unfortunately leads many modern Particular Baptists who hold varying views on eschatology to reject the Confession, or at least take exception to this section or phrase. However, Sam Renihan at Particular Voices has provided a section from the writings of John Bunyan which would seem to indicate that the historic Particular Baptists used the terms antichristman of sin, and son of perdition in a broader sense, so that the papacy may be considered merely a representative of the spirit of antichrist, not to the exclusion of other antichrists.

Read Bunyan’s comparison of Christ and Antichrist here.

Doing the Work of an Evangelist & A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress – Ken Puls

yondergate1“Doing the Work of an Evangelist” is a portion from A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (more on that below):

Pastors are to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the church. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy is “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). While this command is especially weighty on pastors and teachers, all believers have a ministry “teaching and admonishing one another” (Colossians 3:16). All believers have a mission to tell others to follow Jesus (Matthew 28:19). And we are all to be ready to share the reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15).

Read the rest or listen to four minute readout.

A Guide to John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress”



Notes and Commentary by Ken Puls:


“A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress”  was originally published from January 1993 to December 1997 in “The Voice of Heritage,” a monthly newsletter of Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas 


A Prayer for Pilgrims (a hymn based on Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress)