John Owen on Apostasy – Part Three

II. Partial apostasy from the gospel- pretences of the Church of Rome against the charge of this evil examined and rejected

“Apostasy from the gospel is either total or partial. Of the former we have treated in a high and signal instance. When men willfully and maliciously (for they cannot do it willfully but they must do it maliciously) renounce Jesus Christ as a seducer and malefactor, going over in their suffrage unto the Jews, by whom he was crucified, they enter into that part of hell and darkness which properly constitutes this sin.”

 In chapter two John Owen deals with the idea of “partial apostasy.” This addresses how believers continue their lives claiming to be in Christ, but not leading a life of obedience to the gospel. Here Owen shows how tradition and man’s own reasoning often lead to people calling themselves believers of the gospel, but lose its value in everyday living, and as a result, fall into the deep waters of sin. Namely, Owen is speaking of the Roman Catholic Church and their claims as believers while still using their owns means to justify one’s sin. Owen describes the privileges that Rome says they have in the gospel, then comes back to this in a defense of how Rome has ruined Christianity and discusses the wickedness that has been committed by the Catholic Church. From there Owen deals with the issue of how the Roman Catholic Church uses unity – specifically, being unified under one catholic pope – and how they “allow” one to be forgiven by man’s means, which in the end ultimately results in creating apostasy. Owen then looks at the truth that the believer of the gospel is truly united under Christ alone, and that is where true forgiveness is given. Owen ends with the responses that Rome gives to his representation of them. Here he reveals the truth that lies under Rome’s means of unity and that their creating apostates from the truth that is bedded in the gospel does nothing but rob Christ.


I. Partial Apostasy

A.   Christ Suffers Still

B.    The Claim of the Roman Catholic Church

1.     The Special Privileges of Rome

2.     The Seriousness of Rome

3.     The Unity of Rome

C.    Replies of Rome

1.     The Spirit of Rome

2.     The Truth of Rome


     [1] John Owen, The Works of John Owen, vol. 7 (Banner of Truth Trust: London, 1965), p. 52.   


2 Comments on “John Owen on Apostasy – Part Three”

  1. awpotter says:

    I love John Owen. One of my favorite works is “The Mortification of Sin, in the life of a believer.” This is a great excerpt from his works as it highlights the unwavering promise that Christ will hold his own, and that the Saints will persevere, and not fall into apostasy.

  2. ill be doing the same for all of the book, and have done already two post before you can find under John Owen on Apostasy.

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