Monday, June 1, 2009

The House of the Interpreter - Pilgrim's Progress

Finally Christian has entered through the narrow gate and is on his way toward the Celestial city. But first he must visit the Interpreter. He knocks on the door and when the Interpreter answers, he questions Christian about his purpose, confirming that he is a true believer (Something we should all do more often) before he allows him entrance. Then, the Interpreter lights a candle and proceeds to show Christian several different scenes.
The Interpreter as you might guess is the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit's job to draw us to Jesus. Without him, none of us would have ever come on our own. The candle light represents the Word of God. For it is the Holy Spirit's job (among others) to instruct us and teach us.

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

The first thing Christian sees is a man in great travail with a Bible in his hands, his eyes looking upward to heaven, the law of truth written on his lips, the world behind his back, and a gold crown hung over his head. He pleaded with men to hear the truth of the gospel.

The Interpreter explains that this man is one in a thousand. He is a true pastor who has led many people to Christ and who also instructs and teaches them in the Way. He has rejected the world and the things of the world because of his love and devotion to his Master's service. The crown represents the reward that is sure to be his in the next age.
What struck me here is that the Interpreter says this man is one in a thousand. In other words, for every 1000 pastors, there is only one with this kind of devotion. He goes on to explain that this is the ONLY type of man whom God has authorized to be our guide in all the difficult situations that we may encounter on our journey. He further warns Christian to be careful when choosing who to go to for spiritual help as some may pretend to lead him along the right path, while in reality they will lead him to death.

How true this is today! I know so many Christians who revere their pastors as if they were god themself. Or how many Christians go to secular counselors? or even Christian counselors? I'm not putting down counseling at all, but I'm saying we need to be VERY careful who we get advice from. There is only one kind of advice that will really solve your problem, and that is advice that comes straight from God and from His Holy Spirit. If you aren't hearing from God, then by all means seek out some help, but make sure it is someone just like the man described above. Someone who loves the Lord first and foremost and whose life's devotion is to do God's will. Sadly, I don't know too many people like that.
Isn't this the very problem with cults? One charismatic man or woman with a powerful message that leads many people away from the truth? And it can be a very subtle lie, a very small change from the real truth that would be hard for someone who isn't reading the Bible on their own to detect. There are so many people out there who rely on pastors and Bible study leaders to give them the message from the Word. But how will you know if it's the truth unless you are reading the Bible on your own too? This really scares me because I see so many Christians in this situation. And I personally know Christians who have been led astray by one tiny lie piled up on one tiny lie, and before you know it the entire gospel has been preverted. We must be so careful not to put all our faith in one man or woman. Humans are fallible and weak and sinful.
Test everything and everyone against the Word of God.

1 comment:

  1. .... from Seattle. Amen - I agree with your summary. The pastor in Pilgrim's Progress is 1 in a 1000, for he is rare. He can "reveal dark things to sinner" which means he can reveal the truth of God's word by his preaching. John Bunyan was probably thinking of his own pastor John Gifford when wrote this. Gifford was of great help leading and nurturing Bunyan to Christ. A godly pastor will just that, and this is rare. I love Pilgrim's Progress because it also reveals "dark things to sinners". Thanks