Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Holy War (Updated version) by John Bunyan

Almost every Christian I know is familiar with John Bunyan and his famous book, Pilgrim's Progress, but not many are familiar with another of his works, The Holy War. The original version of this book was published in 1682. It contained prim and proper English wording commonly used at that time. Since this presented some difficulty for today's readers, Aneko Press has carefully updated the text to aid in clarifying meaning making this challenging book relevant for today.

The book is 427 pages long and includes bonus content about the life of John Bunyan written by William Brock. A helpful glossary of names is also included at the back of the book.

The Holy War is a beautifully written allegory which takes place in the town of Mansoul. Key characters in the story are aptly named by Mr. Bunyan according to their traits or roles. I found the story quite enjoyable and felt myself becoming part of the tale as I read it. The well thought out details provided a great visual for the reader.

The story line is familiar to Christians, as Mr. Bunyan brings the spiritual realm of light and dark to life. The great battle, The Holy War, that ensues is not only between Diabolus (the evil foe) and Shaddai (the Great Prince of Peace) but between confused and conflicted townsfolk who must learn where to place their allegiance.

As I read the book, I found myself empathizing with the characters. I could easily slip into some of the roles and take on their feelings. For example, as the Prince is speaking to the people of Mansoul, in Chapter fourteen, he says, "Are you the men who permitted yourselves to be corrupted and defiled by that abominable one, Diabolus?" They answered and said, "We did more than permit it, Lord. We chose it with our own free will." The conversation continues and as the Prince (Shaddai) allows the townspeople to think about their actions, he presents them with another question, "What punishment do you think you deserve at My hand for these and other high and mighty sins of yours?" They answer, "We deserve both death and the grave, Lord." This powerful conversation caused me to see myself before the Lord answering the same questions.

Throughout the book, key scriptures are inserted to allow the reader a more complete understanding of previously presented text. I found each scripture to be perfectly accurate and appropriately placed. Scriptures used were taken from the Jubilee Bible (published by Life Sentence Publishing). These verses contain both Hebrew and Greek word meanings in translation.

The Holy War is a powerful book. In a nutshell, the people of Mansoul fall prey to the treachery, lies, and deceit of the evil Diabolus (the symbolic Satanic figure). They allow him to rule over them and find he isn't quite what they thought. Mansoul has and always did belong to Shaddai, the glorious prince, (the symbolic figure of Jesus Christ). When he comes to redeem Mansoul, they don't readily see this is the best choice to make. They've come to enjoy their free will and have fallen prey to all the lusts of their darkened hearts. In a last ditch effort to hold tightly to Mansoul, Diabolus asks Shaddai to grant him half the town but is refused. He continues pleading asking for smaller and smaller portions and then even asks for permission to work outside the town. Shaddai lays claim to what is his and sets the prisoners free. In the great and mighty war, the realm of light and dark clash repeatedly until finally victory is won.

I enjoyed this book very much and will keep it in my library in hopes my children and grandchildren will take time to read it one day. I'm thankful Aneko Press felt it was worthwhile to update this version of John Bunyan's original work. I think this will make it more appealing to a wider audience of readers.

I'd like to thank Aneko Press for allowing the opportunity to review this book. I was not encouraged to give a positive review.

If you'd like to preorder the book, click here.

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