Saturday, March 19, 2011

Knowledge According to John Bunyan

Today's reading in The Pilgrim's Progress took up the discussion of knowledge. It often amazes me how much knowledge is devalued in today's church. The culture at large seems to respect it at some level. But we in the church have somehow separated faith from knowledge and in our zeal for one have lost the other. We did this for good reason, for knowledge doesn't save. But without knowledge, what hope do we have? Bunyan works out this discussion beautifully in the following passage.
For knowledge, great knowledge, may be obtained in the mysteries of the gospel, and yet no work of grace in the soul. Yea, if a man have all knowledge, he may yet be nothing, and so consequently be no child of God. When Christ said, "Do you know all these things?" and the disciples had answered, Yes; he addeth, "Blessed are ye if ye do them." He doth not lay the blessing in the knowing of them, but in the doing of them. For there is a knowledge that is not attended with doing: He that knoweth his masters will, and doeth it not. A man may know like an angel, and yet be no Christian, therefore your sign of it is not true. Indeed, to know is a thing that pleaseth talkers and boasters, but to do is that which pleaseth God. Not that the heart can be good without knowledge; for without that, the heart is naught. There is, therefore, knowledge and knowledge. Knowledge that resteth in the bare speculation of things; and knowledge that is accompanied with the grace of faith and love; which puts a man upon doing even the will of God from the heart: the first of these will serve the talker; but without the other the true Christian is not content. "Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart." (Ps. 119:34)

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