Owen: Some Comments On Pelagianism

In the confused synergism of many of today’s churches, there is not a sense of the great need to be apprehended by the grace of God in Jesus Christ; to lay hold of His pardon for not just our sins, but the utterly mean nature that cannot desire God or come to Him, not because it cannot choose Him – there is that – but because it cannot even conceive of beginning to desire to want to choose Him.

In this, the error and damnable heresy of the Pelagians is alive and well, and is fostered among various of these churches (many of which have Finney’s erroneously entitled Systematic Theology in their libraries, and not only go by those false assumptions he leavened into a transparency with which to dictate to God what His Word must say, but recommend it to others – if this sounds like Romans 1:32 frosted over with icing of man’s morality and self-righteousness, that is because it is exactly that) which pride themselves on their freedom to ordain God a Savior as they will, or not.

John Owen spoke of such in his day, and his words remain a clarion call to us today:

Pelagianism, in its first root, and all its present branches, is resolved whereinto. For, not apprehending the dread of our original apostasy from God, nor the consequence of it in the universal depravation of our nature, they disown any necessity either of the satisfaction of Christ or the efficacy of divine grace for our recovery or restoration. So upon the matter the principal ends of the mission both of the Son of God and of the Holy Spirit are renounced; which issues in the denial of the deity of the one and the personality of the other. The fall which we had being not great, and the disease contracted thereby being easily curable, and there being little or no evil in those things which are now unavoidable unto our nature, it is no great matter to he freed or justified from all by a mere act of favour on our own endeavours; nor is the efficacious grace of God any way needful unto our sanctification and obedience; as these men suppose.” (From The Doctrine of Justification by John Owen, in the section “General considerations previously necessary unto the explanation of the doctrine of justification,” sub-section “Our apostasy from God,” PDF copy, pgs. 19-20).

For such as these, who neither know the depths of the stain of their dark sin, nor the effectual grace of our sovereign God in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ; who hold that they are able to preach that some live “the higher Christian life” while others may go on with Christ as their Savior, in carnal living, ignoring that repentance and those commands He requires of and empowers to those who love Him, I know of nothing other to do but pray for them, and those under them. They will not engage in discussion; God grant them and those under them mercy.

It is a sad state of affairs when one thinks they can love the world and the things thereof, yet dictate Christ save them on such terms.

About lalvin1517

I'm married with two children and pastor McCall Baptist Church in McCall, Idaho.
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