The Pilgrim’s Progress Coming To Theaters This Weekend: The Pilgrim’s Progress was first written in book form. It actually is the best selling book second only to the Bible! Yet, why have so few people heard of this story in today’s culture? And what about the story made it so popular? Tune in now to find out.

Air Date: 04/16/2019

Guest: Tim Wildmon

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And, The Culture

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.

We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker and President of WallBuilders. And, my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.

Check us out at WallBuildersLive.com and also WallBuilders.com. Both websites have a lot of great information for you. Over at that radio site, WallBuildersLive.com, you can download all kinds of great programs in our archive section and also find out which stations we’re on. And then, the tools are available over at Wall Builders.com.

When I say “tools” I’m talking about all kinds of things: Constitution classes, curriculum, articles you can read on topics of the Founders and constitutional issues and information for pastors to come on briefings with us in D.C.,  for young people to get training. It’s all there at Wall WallBuilders com.

Join Us!

And, speaking of all of those things, you can help make those things happen. While you’re on the website, click on that donate button and think about what you can do to be a partner of WallBuilders. Pray about what you can do to invest in freedom for the next generation, and make that donation today at WallBuildersLive.com.

A New Movie Based on One of the Best Stories of All Time

David, Tim, later in the program Tim Wildmon that will be with us. We’re going to be talking about a new movie that’s going to be out this weekend. But, before we talk about that movie, we probably ought to talk about the book because it’s actually the best-selling book, second only to the Bible, according to everything I could find online.

Now, some sites leave it out completely, that don’t want to refer to the Bible order this book, because it’s so much about the Bible. But, anyway, Pilgrim’s Progress, I’m shocked to find out a lot of people haven’t heard of it. I mean, this is a book that has sold more and has been more hands than any book other than the Bible; and yet, today’s culture is pretty much ignorant about Pilgrim’s Progress.

Boasting “Advancement,” Society is Ignorant of Important History

Tim:

Yeah, Rick, one of the things that certainly is true about this book is it is—at least we can say—one of the best-selling books in Christian genre of all time. Certainly, at certain points in history, it was second only to the Bible. People debate now if other things have surpassed it; nonetheless, this is one of the best stories ever written.

For generations people thought that, and today most people have never even heard of the story of Pilgrim’s Progress, would not recognize references to it. And, as we talked about modern culture and how people think that because of the advancement of technology with where we are today, that we are so far above and beyond, advanced, {extremely} smart, and so elite now. Yet, there’s some very basic things we don’t know in society and culture anymore, and one of those is the story of Pilgrim’s Progress.

One of the Greatest Literary Classics of All Ages

DAVID:

Yeah, it’s interesting; I was talking to a professor at University of Pennsylvania years ago. And, he was talking about how that Pilgrim’s Progress was an absolute must-read in every college literature class at the time as well as AP Literature. Nobody got away without reading Pilgrim’s Progress because regardless of its content, which is highly biblical, highly Christian, it was one of the greatest literary classics of all ages, period.

The thing was translated into 200 different languages and went through dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of reprints over the years and through the generations. It’s still available in print today. It was first printed back in 1678.

And so, if you look at early America, after 1678, there were basically two books you were going to find in every colonial home. One would be the Bible, and second would be Pilgrim’s Progress.

And, if you look at the who’s who of who quoted Pilgrim’s Progress across the years, my goodness. You can take, literary, people like Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens; or, you could name political people like FDR, Ronald Reagan. Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, had memorized the entire book of Pilgrim’s Progress. He committed it to memory just like he had with the Bible.

TIM:

And, thinking at that point in time, that’s also—the original writing is very much in the King James Bible-esque writing. It is very much a high—and, I don’t know the Shakespearean-kind of words we would use, but it’s a high level of language that is in this book. That’s not an easy read.

So, for him to memorize the entire thing is astounding. That something he had to dedicate a lot of time to. But, certainly it would show the value that he thought the book held.

Redemption in a More Modern Setting

And, by the way, just for everybody listening, we’ve mentioned it’s a very godly, Christian book that has a lot of Christian references, etc. It really is kind of this idea of redemption in a more modern kind of setting. It’s almost the idea of what you might see something like C.S. Lewis do with the Chronicles of Narnia.

There certainly is some make believe in the midst of it. But, it very much is a practical look at the idea of Christianity, where there’s actually a character named Christian who has this massive burden on.  And, the burden is finally exposed to him.

He realizes he has this burden and needs to do something about it. Then, there’s all these suggestions of how do you get rid of this burden? And so, it really walks this idea of sin, redemption, and how only you can lay this down on the Cross.

And, actually you can’t even remove it; it has to be removed for you. But, at the Cross, it just falls off. And, there’s all these voices and temptations; and, if you’ve fall in here, what might happen.

And so, it really is this idea of kind of telling the story of a Christian going through culture, dealing with the influences around and what that looks like. But, the redemption of God and His the grace and mercy, it absolutely is a Christian story all the way through. And, it’s something that people thought, for literally hundreds of years, generations, “This is something everybody needs to read; not just because the high literary writing or style of what the book was and because this is a good academic read for you;” but rather because of the message that was conveyed in Pilgrim’s Progress.

And, that’s again, the thing today had largely been forgotten, this classic story of a Christian finding redemption in Christ, et cetera. C.S. Lewis might be the more modern idea of this story; nonetheless, something that was embraced for hundreds of years.

A Parable in a Sense

DAVID:

Well, C.S. Lewis is a guy who actually quotes the story. And, it is what we would call an allegory. You know, it’s kind of like a parable in a sense. And, I’m just going to read a paragraph here out of the Encyclopedia Britannica, talking about this.

And it is “a guy named Christian, who travels from his home, which is called ‘The City of Destruction,’ and he’s on his way to the Celestial City. He’s carrying this huge burden with him as he makes his journey. And so, after he reads a book–which actually is the Bible, but it doesn’t say that in the allegory.

“After he reads this book, a guy named Evangelist points him to a narrow gate, and he heads off; but, he falls into the Slough of Despond. He’s dragged down by his burdens and is about to sink; and, a guy comes along whose name is Help, and he helps him get out of it.

“Well, Christian next meets Mr. Worldly Wise, a man who says, ‘Oh, listen; you don’t need to listen to what Evangelist said. You need to go to the Village of Morality and look for a guy named Mr. Legality or for his son named Civility. That’s what you need, not to follow Evangelist.’”

A Story of Struggles

And so, it’s all this thing of the stuff that tempts you along the way not to follow what God says, but you can be a good, nice, civil, moral person. And so, as he does that, instead of his burden getting lighter, it gets heavier and heavier. So, evangelist comes back and says, “No, I told you about this course; you need to stay going for this narrow gate.”

And so, it’s really a story of struggles. And, as you read it, even though it was written back in 1678, it is like I—that’s—boy, I sure get that or, I know somebody or, that was me.

RICK;

Yeah. You are constantly going, “I can relate. I can relate.”

An Animated Classic

David:

Now, the good news is that today this high literary style that Tim was talking about is now available in modern-language kind of stuff. So, it’s a really easy one to read; and, even better than that, it is now available in a movie coming out in the next couple of days on April the 18th, Thursday, and Saturday the 20th.

And so, it is an animated classic that is out; and, it’s a really, really, really good story. They stayed right with the book. It’s great what they’ve done.

But, the guy who actually wrote the story back in 1678, is a guy named John Bunyan.

And, even his story is good.

RICK:

Yeah. His story is great. Hold that thought; we’ll cover John Bunyan when we come back.

Take a quick break, guys. We’ll be right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!

Moment From American History

This is Tim Barton with another moment from American history. As the American War for Independence began, the president of Yale was the Reverend Naphtali Daggett. When New Haven, the home of Yale, came under attack about a hundred citizens rushed out to meet the British.

The Reverend Daggett galloped by them on horseback, his clearable robes flowing behind him in the wind. He took up a solitary position atop a hill. The 2,500 British soon put the townsfolk to flight but the Reverend Daggett continued to stand alone firing down on the advancing troops.

A British officer confronted him, “What are you doing there you old fool? If I let you go, will you ever fire again on the troops of his majesty?” Nothing more likely was the preacher’s reply. America’s early pastors personally confronted danger and courageously led their communities.

For more information on Pastor Daggett and other colonial Patriots, go to WallBuilders.com.

RICK:

Welcome back; thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live as we’ve talked about the new movie out this week. Actually, it’s only going to be in theaters on the 18th and the 20th. So, make sure you go see it in theaters, Pilgrim’s Progress.

It’s the first time it has been released in theaters like this. It is an animated movie; so, a great opportunity to take your whole family to see it.

John Bunyan

And, David, before the break, you were mentioning the author, John Bunyan. And, of course, he did this, what, 350 years ago? So, his name is not as well known to this generation as previous generations.

But, hopefully the book will get a resurgence, and then we’ll learn more about the author himself.

DAVID:

Yeah, John Bunyan is a really neat guy in the sense of history and what happened to him. He grew up in England; he was an Anglican guy, which of course, you were going to be because there was a state-established church back then. And, if you weren’t Anglican, you were in trouble.

And so, he goes off into the war; he’s part of the military. But, the military commander back then is a guy named Oliver Cromwell. Now, Oliver Cromwell was a Puritan, not an Anglican.

And so, Oliver Cromwell helps England become independent. And, for a period of time Oliver Cromwell actually becomes the protector of the ruler of England. And, if they don’t have a king and actually get to Parliament and it’s strong, and they come up with liberty of conscience, and you get all these freedoms and rights that you didn’t get under the state-established Anglican Church.

And so, during that period of time, young John Bunyan starts inquiring into these other beliefs  like the Puritans and what they believe cetera. And so, as he does he decides, “I like what this Baptist guy is saying; I think I’m going to become a Baptist;” which you could do back then after they had won some religious liberty. So, he does that.

But, then Charles II comes to the throne after Oliver Cromwell; and, Charles II goes back to the old-school stuff of “Anglican only, that’s all you can be.” And, in 1664, they get what’s called “The Conventicle Act.”

The Conventicle Act

A “conventicle” is a group of people that meet together to talk about things. So, you could call that a “house church” if you want to. But, the law said, “If you have more than five people together and they’re not Anglicans, then that’s illegal and you go to jail.”

You can have a meeting of up to five people as long as you’re not Anglicans; but, if you’re going to have five or more, you’ve got to be Anglicans. Well, actually I was under that law that William Penn was thrown in prison because he talked about Quakers; and, he would have Quaker meetings and meet with them. And so, he ends up spending a long time in jail.

Well, the same thing happened to John Bunyan. Here he is a Baptist, and he’s going to Baptist meetings and talking about Baptist things. He ends up spending twelve years in jail simply for attending the wrong church, if you can imagine. That was the oppression that was back at that point in time.

And so, as he’s there in jail is when he begins writing Pilgrim’s Progress. It is an allegory of the overall journey that a Christian faces in life: the temptations they’ll face; the burdens that they will have to bear if they don’t get rid of them and let Christ take them off in a biblical way. So, it really is it’s a timeless classic because it’s built on the nature of man and all the nature of temptations that don’t change over time.

A Timeless Classic: Technology Changes, but the Temptations Don’t

The technology changes, but the temptations don’t. So, that’s why it’s been such a timeless classic; it is not just an English book, which as we mentioned, it’s in 200 different languages. This applies to every people group in the world; they find themselves in this book.

One of the cool things we’ve got in the WallBuilders collection is a Bible from back when John Bunyan was preaching; and, it belonged to one of the guys in his church who actually kept notes in the margin about what John Bunyan preached about and what sermons he was giving. So, it really is a cool tie that we have back to John Bunyan; but, there are just not many other writers in world history that have had such an impact on Christianity, reformation thinking, freedom, liberty, and grace as John Bunyan has had.

RICK:

Now, I got to tell you guys; this book—I  was probably 12 or 13 when I read it, and I’m not going to say how many years ago that was—but, literally, things will happen in life, and I will think about that book. It literally gets brought to my mind; so, I think about Christian on his journey and realize that I’m feeling like what he was. It really was impactful on me at a young age; and, even to this day, I still have thoughts about that book when certain things happen in life.

I know I’m not alone in that. A lot of people have that same experience. We encourage people to read it, not only go see the movie out on the 18th and the 20th only of April, but also to read the book.

Tim Wildmon is going to be with us when we come back. He and American Family Association helped to put the movie together and promote it. He’s going to tell us a little bit more about it. So, stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!

Moment From America’s History

David:

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Federal courts have made several amazing rulings recently. Ordering the removal of a cross from a cemetery, banning religious holiday displays, removing the Ten Commandments from public view, prohibiting student prayers whether verbal or silent, and numerous other similar restrictive rulings.

As one current justices noted, “The Supreme Court has now become quote, a national board of theology.” Our Founding Fathers would be astounded. They designed the first amendment to keep the federal courts completely out of this issue.

As Thomas Jefferson forcefully declared, “I consider the federal government as prohibited by the Constitution from meddling with religious exercises. The first amendment was designed to keep decisions on religious expression out of the federal courts and in the hands of the local communities.” For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1-800-8-REBUILD.

RICK:

Welcome back; thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! We got Tim Wildmon with us from American Family Association.

Always good to have you Tim. Thanks for coming on.

TIM WILDMON:

Hey, Rick. It’s good to be on with you, brother.

American Family Association

RICK:

Hey, you guys do all kinds of great work at American Family Association, including an amazing radio network across the nation. But, you also help with other media, including a movie that’s coming out Easter weekend, Pilgrim’s Progress in an animated version.

TIM WILDMON:

Yeah, we’re super pumped about this, Rick. And, we want everybody listening to us right now to go see this movie. Now, this is coming out April 18th and 20th.

It’s only two showings; so, April 18th, which is Thursday, and April 20th. You need to go to the website Pilgrims.movie. You can type in your zip code and find out where the theater is closest to you.

But, this is a film based on the classic about John Bunyan called The Pilgrim’s Progress. And, it is one of most widely-read books in all of history, Pilgrim’s Progress. It’s a classic; so, we’re super excited about this.

Pilgrims.Movie

RICK:

In fact, I think of something like second most-distributed novel in history. And, by the way, I punched in my zip code. Tim, I was thinking, “Okay, there’s probably two theaters close to me;” but, there are about 20 theaters this thing’s in, just in the Austin-San Antonio area.

So, I’m assuming people all over the nation that are listening right now, if they type in their zip code, they’re going to have lots of good options. But, like you said, it’s only two days. April 18th and 20th are your two options to see it on the big screen.

I actually got to see a prerelease, or watched it at home like that. I want to go see it in the theater; it was fantastic, even at home. And, Tim, I’ll be honest with you, man.

My expectations were not high because I was like Okay, well, animated version. I kind of wanted to see a full-feature film and all that stuff. I think these guys did great.

I got my whole family together. We watched it. My daughter was crying at the end.

TIM WILDMON:

Yeah.

RICK: it was good. Treat job.

TIM WILDMON:

I think there are a lot of us Christians we even we hear of a Christian-based movie and think Okay, this is going to be third-rate.

RICK:

Yeah. Oh yeah.

It’s No Third-Rate Movie

TIM WILDMON:

Uh-oh, we better go support our brothers, even though the movie’s going to be sad in terms of the quality. That’s changed nowadays. And, that’s a false perception that even we Christians have our own Christian-based movies.

This is an excellent movie that’s well done, well produced, well animated. Steve Cleary, a friend of yours friend of mine, did this. He oversaw this for five years of his life.

RICK:

Yeah.

TIM WILDMON:

And, we are partners with him; so, our name’s on it as well. This is this is a movie people should go see and tell us what you think. But, I think you’re going to be proud of this film.

It’s called The Pilgrim’s Progress. This book was written in the 1600s.

Real-Life Subject Matter

RICK:

And, it deals with all kinds of real-life subjects that everybody deals with.

Further, one of things Steve mentioned when we had him on a couple of months ago, previewing and talking about how it’s going to be coming out for Easter, there are some tough subjects dealt with in this as well. Also, I forgot; it’s been years since I had read Pilgrim’s Progress.

And so, as I’m watching the movie, I was like Wait a minute; I don’t remember that being covered in the book.  I had to go back and look. I was like These guys really did stick to the book.

They covered all a lot of things that I’m glad they touched on the subject. But, I agree with you. I think people need to go see it in the theater.

Not only does it support our brothers; but, it’s gonna be an entertaining way for your family to be—if they didn’t read this book growing up, they should have and need to. We strongly recommend people go to check it out this weekend.

Get Your Tickets

TIM WILDMON:

Yeah, it’s going to sell out in a lot of places. So, again April 18th, April 20th, just two showings nationally. Go to the website Pilgrims.Movie and find out which theatre is showing it near you and go see it. Get your tickets.

RICK:

Hey, Tim, thank you for American Family Association supporting movies like this and partnering with guys like Steve on this. We need more of these things out there; and so, we appreciate you guys and all that you do and the way you invest in families by investing in entertainment like this.

TIM:

Hey, Rick, thank you, brother. Take care.

RICK:

Hey, Man, have a good one. That’s Tim Wildmon, folks. Pilgrims.Movie is the website. Stay with us; we’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live!

Tim Barton:

Hi, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders, and I want to encourage all the pastors out there with a unique opportunity that we’re presenting it WallBuilders. We’re doing a special tour just for pastors that you can come and learn more about the spiritual heritage of our nation. Not just seeing the sights but understanding the significance of what they are and what they represent.

We get to go to the Capitol at night.  And we get to see the spiritual heritage of our Founding Fathers, of who we are as a nation, where we came from. We bring in congressman that will tell you about current legislation, about our religious liberties  and freedom, and what’s going on in Washington, D.C.

If you’re a pastor or if you want to recommend your pastor for this trip, you can go to our website at www.WallBuilders.com. And there’s a link that’s for scheduling.  If you click on that link there’s a section for pastor’s briefing. There’s more information about the dates, when it’s going, and how it’s going to happen. If you want to know more about our nation, our religious liberties, our freedom, our spiritual heritage, this is a trip you want to be a part of.

 

RICK:

We’re back here on WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us. Special thanks to Tim Wildmon for joining us today as well.

Check out AFR.net for the rest of their lineup there at American Family Association and American Family Radio. Back with David to Tim Barton now.

And, guys, we really appreciate America Family helping to make the movie possible and happen. Again, we want to remind folks it’s out this week, only two days though; it’s actually two showings that they’re going to do, two times that you can see it: once on the 18th and once on the 20th.

You can check those times out and find the theater closest to you at Pilgrims.Movie. Of course, we’ll have a link today at WallBuildersLive.com. So, David, Tim, any other thoughts on the move before we close out today?

Invest in the Next Generation

Tim Barton:

Yeah, Rick, one of the things that we have long encouraged people to do is try to invest and influence kids of the next generation. With Patriot Academy, at the Leadership Training Program, we always talk about the need to take what God is giving you and go do something with it, right? Where you don’t have to just be inside the walls of the church to be a ministry; you can go do something else.

And, it’s so great to see people taking those giftings and saying, “Hey, you know what? Let me let me make a movie helping retell one of these most-effective stories ever written in Pilgrim’s Progress and make it practical and something that the next generation, the kids in modern culture, can take and embrace.”

Because, if you go back in and you do read, even though there are some modern reprints and translations, sometimes you lose things in translations. Although, there’s also been some great audio books about this. In fact, I remember when Adventures in Odyssey did Pilgrim’s Progress in a couple episodes, and it was really fun and kind of having that revisit from Adventures in Odyssey.

But, being able to see somebody use their God-given gifts and talents to create something that now culture can go and watch. And, it’s also strategic, falling on Easter weekend, where as Christians, this is one of the times that we celebrate the most what Jesus did for us on the Cross: His death and resurrection; conquering sin, death, Hell, the grave. Huge.

Well, this is part of the redemptive story even of Pilgrim’s Progress. But, it’s great to see people, again, taking those gifts that God’s given them to do something in the media industry, which is exactly what this is doing, making a difference in that industry.

You Can Make a Difference Like Pilgrim’s Progress

RICK:

Well, part of how you can make a difference, not only in this particular industry, because Tim’s exactly right. That’s actually an industry we ignored for too long; and so, influencing the media industry is a big part of what influences the culture. What we encourage here WallBuilders when we talk about “WallBuilders,” we’re saying, “Rebuild the walls.”

That’s out of Nehemiah, “Arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be a reproach.” That’s literally rebuilding, in our case, the foundations the value system, and even in the political and economic structures of the nation. And, to do that, you have to be engaged in every part of the culture: in the pulpit, education, media, and all these different things.

And, that’s what we do here at WallBuilders. So, you may be wondering what you can do to make a difference and how you can have an impact on those things to help restore those foundations. Well, part of what you can do is actually support WallBuilders.

Become a partner of WallBuilders. Because we are engaged in all these different areas, it gives you an outlet. So, you may want to help educate people on the Constitution; well, that’s part of what we do here WallBuilders every Thursday in our “Foundations of Freedom Thursdays” program and through our Constitution Alive classes.

You may want to get young people trained up in the next generation. That’s part of what we do with our Leadership Training Program and Patriot Academy. You might want to help legislators make sure they have a good grounding, and pastors; we do those pastors briefings in D.C. and our WallBuilders Legislators Trainings.

So, all of these things are happening right now. But, it needs the fuel to help it grow. And, it also needs the finances to just keep it going, to add it, and make it available to more people so that more young people, more pastors, more legislators.

You can be a part of that when you donate to WallBuilders Live. It allows us to stay on the air and grow as a program and as a ministry.

So, right now WallBuildersLive.com click on that donate button and give yourself the chance to invest in freedom by becoming a partner with WallBuilders. On WallBuilders.com, click on the donate button and do your part today.

Thanks so much, as a listener, for supporting our program. Thanks for listening to WallBuilders Live!