One of a thousand

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to meet and have a pipe with Dr. Tony Curto who serves as the Associate Professor of Practical Theology in Missions and Apologetics at GPTS. Dr. Curto has served in the mission field of Africa as well so I asked if he had any issues with other orthodox Christians, did their work overlap, did other groups such as Independent Fundamental Baptists cause any issues (I’ve heard IFB’s do rock the boat from time to time), etc. (When I used the term “orthodox” I mean Trinitarian, Bible believing Christians excluding Mormons, JW…you get the picture.) Dr. Curto mentioned the following passage from Pilgrim’s Progress about how true Gospel ministers are “one of a thousand.” By the power of God Gospel Ministers “can beget children, (1 Cor. iv. 15), travail in birth with children, (Gal. iv. 19), and nurse them himself when they are born.” Dr. Curto went on to say not everyone in the mission field was called by God to be in the mission field.

CHRISTIAN. Sir, said Christian, I am a man that am come from the City of Destruction, and am going to the Mount Zion; and I was told by the man that stands at the gate at the head of this way, that if I called here you would show me excellent things, such as would be helpful to me on my journey.

INTERPRETER. Then said Interpreter, Come in; I will show thee that which will be profitable to thee. So he commanded his man to light the candle, and bid Christian follow him. So he had him into a private room, and bid his man open a door; the which, when he had done, Christian saw the picture a very grave person hang up against the wall; and this was the fashion of it; it had eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in its hand, the law of truth was written upon its lips, the world was behind its back; it stood as if it pleaded with men, and a crown of gold did hang over its head.

CHRISTIAN. Then said Christian, What meaneth this?bunyan

INTERPRETER. The man whose picture this is, is one of a thousand: he can beget children, (1 Cor. iv. 15), travail in birth with children, (Gal. iv. 19), and nurse them himself when they are born. And whereas, thou seest him with his eyes lift up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, and the law of truth writ on his lips: it is to show thee, that his work is to know, and unfold dark things to sinners; even as also thou seest him stand as if he pleaded with men. And whereas thou seest the world as cast behind him, and that a crown hangs over his head: that is to show thee, that, slighting and despising the things that are present, for the love that he hath to his Master’s service, he is sure, in the world that comes next, to have glory for his reward. Now, said the Interpreter, I have showed thee this picture first, because the man whose picture this is, is the only man whom the Lord of the place whither thou art going, hath authorised to be thy guide in all difficult places thou mayest meet with in the way. Wherefore take good heed to what I have showed thee, and bear well in thy mind what thou hast seen, lest in thy journey thou meet with some that pretend to lead thee right – but their way goes down to death.


The commentary portion can be found on Bunyan Ministries.


  1. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 15, 2014

    It’s kind of interesting and even somewhat ironic that when Spurgeon was “saved” he stumbled into an Arminian Church, Methodist as I remember? And their heard the Gospel of Salvation In Christ! Indeed Almighty God is not bound by men or denominations!

    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 15, 2014

      This makes me think of the great Evangelical so-called English Revival, from Watts, the Dissenter, to the Wesley’s, and here we should note too, that Toplady, as Whitefield, to Newton and Cowper, were Anglicans and Calvinists!

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 15, 2014

        This is a time and subject dear to my own heart and mind, the Theology of the 18th century was actually dominated more by the theology and beliefs of Watt’s, God is an absolute and arbitrary ruler:

        ‘Life, death, and Hell, and worlds unknown, Hang on HIS firm decree.

        Chained to his throne a volume lies,
        With all the fates of men,
        With every angel’s form and size
        Drawn by th’ eternal pen.

        His providence unfolds the book,
        And makes His counsels shine:
        Each op’ning leaf and ev’ry stroke
        Fulfils some deep design.

        And yet, right in the centre we have the Wesleyan Methodists also!

        And then by the time we get to the 1795, we get Tom Paine and the Age of Reason: A criticism of common ideas of God and morality. Note old Voltaire visits England, and pours ridicule on organized and revelatory religion, (1726-29). What a age it was, the 18th century, both rise of Deism: reason the sole test of religion… God revealed in a world of natural law. The battle of the Tories and Whigs! And we must not forget England wins territory in India, 1751-83. And yes, the great American Revolution!

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 15, 2014

        “The Whigs and Tories were British Political parties that developed in the latter part of the 17th century. The Whigs generally supported constitutional monarchy and the role of the aristocracy, while the Tories supported a stronger monarchy. In the world of colonial and revolutionary America, the Whigs generally supported the patriots and the need for the recognition of self government for the aristocratic families of the colonies. The Whig position was that Englishmen in the colonies should have the same rights as Englishmen at home and thus took offense at the taxes and other abuses of these rights for the colonists. The Tories on the other hand supported a stronger monarchy and believed that the King and Parliament had the right to treat the colonies as they chose. They did not believe that the colonists should have the same rights as English citizens did in England. Thus the Tories were generally loyal to the English throne and against the War for Independence.”

      • jm · May 15, 2014

        In Canada we still have Tories!

    • jm · May 15, 2014

      Father Robert, it just goes to show you that even professed Arminians must assume Calvinism in their preaching! (even if/when they deny it theologically speaking, in the confines of their study, under direct questioning…that has been my experience)

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