The Conceit of Ignorance

More from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress:

“And I slept, and dreamed again, and saw the same two Pilgrims going down the mountains along the highway towards the city. Now, a little below these mountains, on the left hand, lieth the country of Conceit; from which country there comes into the way in which the Pilgrims walked, a little crooked lane. Here, therefore, they met with a very brisk lad, that came out of that country; and his name was Ignorance. So Christian asked him from what parts he came, and whither he was going.

IGNOR. Sir, I was born in the country that lieth off there a little on the left hand, and I am going to the Celestial City.

CHR. But how do you think to get in at the gate? for you may find some difficulty there.

IGNOR. As other people do, said he.

CHR. But what have you to show at that gate, that may cause that the gate should be opened to you?

IGNOR. I know my Lord’s will, and I have been a good liver; I pay every man his own; I pray, fast, pay tithes, and give alms, and have left my country for whither I am going.

CHR. But thou camest not in at the wicket-gate that is at the head of this way; thou camest in hither through that same crooked lane, and therefore, I fear, however thou mayest think of thyself, when the reckoning day shall come, thou wilt have laid to thy charge that thou art a thief and a robber, instead of getting admittance into the city.

IGNOR. Gentlemen, ye be utter strangers to me, I know you not; be content and follow the religion of your country, and I will follow the religion of mine. I hope all will be well. And as for the gate that you talk of, all the world knows that that is a great way off of our country. I cannot think that any man in all our parts doth so much as know the way to it, nor need they matter whether they do or no, since we have, as you see, a fine, pleasant green lane, that comes down from our country, the next way into the way.

When Christian saw that the man was ‘wise in his own conceit’, he said to Hopeful, whisperingly, ‘There is more hope of a fool than of him.’ [Prov. 26:12] And said, moreover, “When he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool'” [Eccl. 10:3].

Those who believe Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception (as well as those believing such blasphemers are their spiritual brethren), came NOT through the true Christ-exalting narrow gate, but through the ignorant, conceited, and self-exalting crooked lane of universal atonement (cf. Romans 10:1-4; Galatians 6:14).

“Those who deny the effectual work of Jesus Christ, claiming instead that the blood of Jesus Christ atoned for everyone without exception (including those in hell), deny the very heart of the gospel. They do not believe that it is the work of Jesus Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation; instead, these self-righteous boasters believe that it is the effort of the sinner that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. These blasphemers deny that Jesus Christ made full satisfaction for sins and that Jesus Christ accomplished and ensured salvation for all whom He represented. They trample underfoot the precious blood of Jesus Christ, treating it as something of no value. They glory and boast in themselves, for whatever one believes makes the difference between salvation and damnation is what one glories and boasts in. There is not a single one of these blasphemers who is a child of God.” [Psa 25:14; 74:18; 94:4; 139:20; Pro 30:12-13; Isa 28:14-18; 42:8; 48:11; Joh 16:8-14; Rom 3:27-28; 4:2; 10:3; 16:17-18; 1Co 2:12; 2Co 10:3-6; Gal 1:8-9; 6:14; Eph 2:8-9; Phi 3:18-19; 1Ti 4:1; 2Ti 3:2-5; 4:3-4; Heb 10:29; 1Jo 2:22-23; 4:6; 2Jo 9] (Christian Confession of Faith).

And:

“Those who refuse to judge by this standard alone, preferring instead to judge by reputation, appearance, religious zeal and dedication, or a false gospel, show that they place no value on the gospel and thus show themselves to be unregenerate. All who consider at least some believers in a false gospel (e.g., believers in universal atonement) to be their brothers in Jesus Christ are unregenerate.” [Deu 29:19; Pro 17:15; Isa 5:20; Jer 8:10-12; 1Co 13:6; 1Th 5:3; 2Jo 11] (Christian Confession of Faith).

Those who consider at least some believers in a false gospel (Galatians 1:8-9) to be their brothers in Jesus Christ entered NOT through the Narrow Gate, but through that same crooked lane in the conceit of ignorance (Romans 10:1-4).

“I am the door. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in, and will go out, and will find pasture” (John 10:9).

“This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner” (Acts 4:11).

For further expounding on one certain builder whose views embody and epitomize those who have NOT entered through Christ, but rather have set His efficacious cross-work at nought, see the following article by Marc D. Carpenter:

James White: Slanderer, Spiritual Harlot, Hypocrite

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