John Owen on Apostasy – Part Eleven

X. Other causes and occasions of the decay of holiness


“Multitudes are led into and countenanced in the ways of sin and profaneness, freely indulging unto their lusts and corrupt affections, by a false appropriation of justifying names and titles unto them, in ways of sin and wickedness.”[1]


In this chapter John Owen deals with a number of additional reasons that may – and will – cause apostasy. He begins with giving several biblical examples from the books of Jeremiah, Matthew and Revelation. From there, he gives examples from the Roman Catholic Church, and then examples stemming from the highest positions in the ministry of the church that can cause apostasy. Owen then moves into looking at causes of apostasy that believers will deal with in living for the sake of the gospel. He focuses on these areas because of difficult issues that believers were dealing with in his time, namely the Roman Catholic Church. He shows in these examples that those who persecute the true bride of Christ are apostates. Owen then spends time detailing the number of areas in which a person is supported in their life of apostasy. He explains each point of support, and how it hinders the person from coming to the truth of the gospel. The truths he discusses are:

1. Apostasy is supported by those who continue to persecute the church for believing and living for the gospel.
2. Apostasy is supported by the nature of the human man continuing in sin, keeping them from the gospel.
3. Apostasy is supported by those who make mistakes in the Christian life, falling away from the gospel.
4. Apostasy is supported by Satan himself keeping those who are in sin from the grace of the gospel.
5. Apostasy is supported by those who in Christendom make divisions in the church and make the gospel look useless to the life of a believer.[2]


I. Further Causes of Apostasy

A.   Biblical Examples of Apostasy

B.    Romanish Examples of Apostasy

C.    Highest Positions of Ministry Can Cause Apostasy

D.   Apostates Persecute the Church

E.    Apostasy Supported by Human Sin

F.    Apostasy Supported by Mistakes of Christianity

G.   Apostasy Supported by Satan

H.   Apostasy Supported by Useless Christians

I.      Summary of Apostasy

     [1] John Owen, The Works of John Owen, vol. 7 (Banner of Truth Trust: London, 1965), p. 196.

     [2] John Owen, The Works of John Owen, vol. 7 (Banner of Truth Trust: London, 1965), p. 203-17. 


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