John Bunyan (28 November 1628 – 31 August 1688) was an English Christian writer and preacher. He is the author of "The Pilgrim's Progress", arguably the most famous published Christian allegory. In addition to “The Pilgrim's Progress”, Bunyan wrote nearly sixty titles, many of them expanded sermons.
Bunyan faced legal challenges to fulfilling his calling but had to disobey the authorities when they banned him to preach. As a dissenter who was not ordained in the Church of England he was unlicensed to preach. He preferred to face and endure twelve years of imprisonment at great sacrifice to himself and his family, rather than resign himself to giving up preaching. Although he has been described both as a Baptist and as a Puritan, he himself preferred to be described simply as a Christian.
In his autobiography, “Grace Abounding”, Bunyan wrote that he had led an abandoned life in his youth and was morally reprehensible as a result. However, there appears to be no outward evidence that he was any worse than his neighbours. However, his colleagues in the Parliamentary Army did spend much of their time in Newport Pagnell's Taverns and Brothels, so perhaps in this aspect of his character, Bunyan was not exaggerating. Examples of sins which John actually confessed to are profanity, dancing, and bell-ringing. An increasing awareness of his un-biblical life led him to contemplate acts of impiety and profanity; in particular, he was harassed by a curiosity in regard to the "unpardonable sin" and a prepossession that he had already committed it. He was known for his profanity; even the most proficient swearers remarked that Bunyan was "the ungodliest fellow for swearing they ever heard".
Then he began to hear voices .. and was tormented by fearful visions. While playing a game of Tip-cat on Elstow village green, Bunyan heard a voice that asked: "Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to heaven or have thy sins and go to hell?" Because Puritans held the Sabbath day sacred and permitted no sport, John believed that this had been the voice of God, chastising his indulgent ways. John's spirituality was born from this experience and he began to struggle with guilt, self-doubt and to believe in the Bible's promise of damnation and salvation.