The following are quotes from John Owen (1616-1683). In these quotes that I have provided, I will try to make some comments directly below most of them. Most of the quotes will be from Owen’s “Death of Death.” Owen repeats over and over again his doctrine of salvation conditioned on what God works in the sinner (as opposed to what the Bible teaches regarding what conditions God worked in Christ in order to save His people from their sins) throughout his book “Death of Death.”
Owen says (in the quote directly below) that true faith doubts all things, has no assurance, has no comfort in what it believes, etc. In his first publication in 1642, The Display of Arminianism, he will speak of faith as the condition that God works in those for whom Christ died. So rather than God working out conditions to be met by Christ alone, Owen transfers them to the sinner. Simply put: Owen teaches salvation conditioned on the sinner, only God makes “infallibly certain” that all of those for whom Christ died will be “enabled infallibly” to meet this condition since Christ purchased this condition for them. Owen does this in “Death of Death” (published in 1647) as well. Owen’s talk of conditions to be met by the sinner (instead of by Christ alone) are found throughout “Death of Death.” And although he defended the absolute necessity of the Atonement in his Dissertation on Divine Justice in 1652, he denied this absolute necessity of the Atonement in “Death of Death.” The following heretical quotes come from his work on “spiritual mindedness” which was originally published in 1681, just 2 years prior to his death. This is what some would call mature thought, since it was written so close to the time of his death in 1683:
“If a man have a weak, small faith in this life, with little evidence and no assurance, so that he doubts of all things, questions all things, and hath no comfort from what he doth believe; if afterward, through supplies of grace, he hath a mighty prevailing evidence of the things believed, is filled with comfort and assurance; this is not by a faith or grace of another kind than what he had before, but by the same faith raised unto a higher degree of perfection. When our Savior cured the blind man and gave him his sight, Mark viii., at first he saw all things obscurely and imperfectly, — he saw “men as trees, walking,” verse 24; but on another application of virtue unto him, “he saw every man clearly,” verse 25. It was not a sight of another kind which he then received than what he had at first; only its imperfection, whereby he “saw men as trees, walking,” was taken away. Nor will our perfect vision of things above be a grace absolutely of another kind from the light of faith which we here enjoy; only what is imperfect in it will be done away, and it will be made meet for the present enjoyment of things here at a distance and invisible. Love shall have its perfection also, and the least alteration in its manner of operation of any grace whatever; and there is nothing that should more excite us to labor after a growth in love to God in Christ than this, that it shall to all eternity be the same in its nature and in all its operations, only both the one and the other shall be made absolutely perfect. The soul will by it be enabled to cleave unto God unchangeably, with eternal delight, satisfaction, and complacency. Hope shall be perfect in enjoyment, which is all the perfection it is capable of. So shall it be as unto other graces.”
Chris: Owen says basically that the kind of “faith” that staggers by unbelief (i.e., “doubts of all things, questions all things…”) is the same kind of faith that stops doubting and questioning since it has now “a mighty prevailing evidence of the things believed.” For Owen, the difference between unbelief and belief is NOT a matter of the difference between black and white–or a difference between staggering by unbelief and being fully persuaded that God is able to perform that which He promises–but a matter of degrees of perfection. So taking a verse like 1 John 5:9-12 as an illustration, Owen would have those making God a liar to be “weak in the faith” and then from there, these “weak ones” would then progress to asserting His veracity (truthfulness). Owen would have true Christians start out with a small seed of faith that calls God a liar and then as the Christian matures in his faith he stops calling God a liar by questioning and doubting all things. Owen himself says above that this so-called faith is NOT of “another kind than what he had before, but by the same faith raised unto a higher degree of perfection.” In contrast to Owen’s diabolical dung, here is Scripture on the matter:
“And being about a hundred years old, not weakening in faith, he did not consider his body to have died already, nor yet the death of Sarah’s womb, and did not stagger by unbelief at the promise of God, but was empowered by faith, giving glory to God,and being fully persuaded that what He has promised, He is also able to do” (Romans 4:19-21).
Owen would have the above verse say that to stagger is to have a small faith that is not of a different kind of faith that doesn’t stagger but is fully persuaded. In short, the apostle Paul defines “staggering by unbelief” and being “fully persuaded” as complete opposites. They are completely different in KIND. In stark contrast, Owen defines “staggering by unbelief” and being “fully persuaded” as being NOT complete opposites. He says that they are of the exact same KIND which only differ in DEGREE.
“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; because this is the witness of God which He has witnessed about His Son: The one believing in the Son of God has the witness in himself. The one not believing God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness which God has witnessed concerning His Son. And this is the witness: that God gave us everlasting life, and this life is in His Son. The one having the Son has life. The one not having the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:9-12).
For Owen, the difference in the kind of faith that calls God a liar and the kind of faith that does not is merely a difference in DEGREE. Apparently to Owen, a “weak believer” calls God a liar and a “strong mature believer” does not.
Here is John Owen from his piece, “A Display of Arminianism”:
“The second part also may be reduced to these two heads:—First, Whether Christ did not make full satisfaction for all their sins for whom he died, and merited glory, or everlasting happiness, to be bestowed on them upon the performance of those conditions God should require? Secondly (which is the proper controversy I shall chiefly insist upon), Whether Christ did not procure for his own people a power to become the sons of God, merit and deserve at the hands of God for them, grace, faith, righteousness, and sanctification, whereby they may be *enabled infallibly to perform the conditions of the new covenant*, upon the which they shall be admitted to glory?(“A Display Of Arminianism”, Ch. 9: Of the death of Christ, and of the efficacy of his merits, pp. 88-89, Old Paths Gospel Press).
Chris: John Owen articulates above the damnable heresy of salvation conditioned upon what God infallibly enables the sinner to do. This teaching of Owen has the Holy Spirit enabling sinners to save themselves by meeting conditions instead of giving all the glory to Christ as the One who ALONE met the conditions. So rather than the elect being admitted to glory based solely upon the work of Jesus Christ, Owen has the elect being admitted to glory because of their being “enabled infallibly to perform the conditions of the new covenant.” Owen does not realize that faith is an immediate and inevitable FRUIT or RESULT of eternal life (i.e., salvation) that Christ freely bestows on those for whom He died. Owen thinks that faith is a CONDITION rather than a FRUIT of salvation. The reason that Owen thinks this is because being “ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish [his] own righteousness, [Owen]did not submit to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of Law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Romans 10:3-4).
Owen thinks that the condition is “faith” when in reality it is RIGHTEOUSNESS. And since Owen is ignorant of the condition being the RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ, he necessarily seeks to establish his own condition. Owen’s teaching is that God enables infallibly the elect sinner to establish his own righteousness by meeting the condition of “faith.” Owen (and those who believe like him) would object of course since they say that although salvation itself is not freely bestowed, the condition for salvation IS freely bestowed. Owen and those with Owenic beliefs submit NOT to the righteousness of Christ, but to the righteousness that they are enabled infallibly to establish. They of course preface this conditionalism with the phrase, “non-meritorious instrumental,” as if that would set aside the truth of Romans 11:6.
John Owen does not believe that Christ is the end of Law for righteousness. And thus, Owen does NOT believe despite his professed infallibly enabled “faith.” In spite of the fact that Christ is “the end of Law for righteousness,” it nevertheless does not demand and ensure the salvation of anyone according to Owen. Owen does not believe that Christ’s work ALONE demands salvation for all for whom He died.** Owen believes that the sinner has to be infallibly enabled to meet conditions before salvation is “freely” bestowed. Obviously, if the sinner has to be “infallibly enabled” to meet conditions before salvation is bestowed then this is not FREELY bestowed, nor is it even GRACE at all (again, I refer the reader to Romans 11:6).
[**Owen believes Christ’s death demands the salvation of all whom He represented at the cross ONLY because he also believes that all for whom Christ died will be enabled to save themselves by meeting conditions for their salvation.]
The Bible says that the death of Christ demands and ensures the salvation of all whom He represented. And Owen would appear to believe that as well–UNTIL you read his MANY statements of conditionalism and then you see according to Owen, *exactly how* Christ’s death demands salvation. So, in reality it is not the true Christ of Scripture whose death demands and ensures the salvation of all whom He represented for Owen. Rather, it is the antichristian sinner who is giving praise and sacrificing to his own net and drag, giving it glory for infallibly enabling him to become antichrist. In the view of John Owen, the sinner is “enabled infallibly” to become antichrist: the sinner who has the audacity to put his “non-meritorious” condition meeting work in the stead and place of the SOLE meritorious condition meeter, Jesus Christ.
More from Owen:
“We, according to the Scriptures, plainly believe that Christ hath, by his righteousness, merited for us grace and glory; that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings, in, through, and for him; that he is made unto us righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; that he hath procured for us, and that God for his sake bestoweth on us, every grace in this life that maketh us differ from others, and all that glory we hope for in that which is to come; he procured for us remission of all our sins, an actual reconciliation with God, faith, and obedience. Yea, but this is such a desperate doctrine as stabs at the very heart of the idol, and would make him as altogether useless as if he were but a fig-tree log. What remaineth for him to do, if all things in this great work of our salvation must be thus ascribed unto Christ and the merit of his death? Wherefore the worshippers of this great god, Lib. Arbit., oppose their engines against the whole fabric, and cry down the title of Christ’s merits to these spiritual blessings, in the behalf of their imaginary deity.
Now, because they are things of a twofold denomination about which we contend before the King of heaven, each part producing their evidence, the first springing from the favor of God towards us, the second from the working of his grace actually within us, I shall handle them severally and apart;—especially because to things of this latter sort, gifts, as we call them, enabling us to fulfill the condition required for the attaining of glory, we lay a double claim on God’s behalf; first, As the death of Christ is the meritorious cause procuring them of him; secondly, As his free grace is their efficient cause working them in us;—they also producing a double title, whereby they would invest their beloved darling with a sole propriety in causing these effects; first, In regard that they are our own acts, performed in us and by us; secondly, As they are parts of our duty which we are enjoined to do. So that the quarrel is directly between Christ’s merits and our own free-will about procuring the favor of God, and obtaining grace and righteousness” ?(“A Display Of Arminianism”, Ch. 9: Of the death of Christ, and of the efficacy of his merits, p. 93, Old Paths Gospel Press).
Chris: In the first paragraph Owen talks of Christ, by His righteousness meriting for us grace and glory. But according to Owen this “grace” that is merited for us enables us to perform conditions for our salvation. This is clearly NOT the grace defined in Romans 11:6:
“But if by grace, no longer is it of works; else grace no longer becomes grace. But if of works, it is no longer grace; else work is no longer work.”
Owen would violently wrest it to read like this:
But if by grace, it still involves work (or the performance of faith rather) as the condition of the new covenant; grace is still grace as long as you say that the grace that infallibly enabled you to perform the conditions for your salvation was due to the righteousness of Christ. But if of works, it is still grace since Christ’s righteousness is the meritorious cause of this grace that enabled you to save yourself by having conditions worked in you; work is only work if you give the glory of this work to the idol of free-will, but it is not work if you give glory to the spirit** who enabled you to perform conditions in order to be saved.
** This “spirit” is the spirit described in 1 John as antichrist. The focus of this spirit is on the sinner. In contrast, the Holy Spirit is focused on giving the glory to Christ alone (see John 16:14).
“‘Can any one,’ say they, ‘wisely and seriously prescribe the performance of a condition to another, under the promise of a reward and threatening of punishment, who will effect it in him to whom it is prescribed? This is a ridiculous action, scarce worthy of the stage.’ That is, seeing Christ hath affirmed that ‘he that believeth shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned,’ Mark 16:16, whereby faith is established the condition of salvation, and unbelief threatened with hell, if God should by his Holy Spirit ingenerate faith in the hearts of any, causing them so to fulfill the condition, it were a mere mockery, to be exploded from a theater as an unlikely fiction; which, what an aspersion it casts upon the whole gospel of Christ, yea, on all God’s dealings with the children of men ever since, by reason of the fall, they became unable of themselves to fulfill his commands, I leave to all men’s silent judgment” (A Display Of Arminianism”, Ch. 10: Of the cause of faith, p. 104, Old Paths Gospel Press).
Chris: Again, simply put Owen is saying that salvation is conditioned on what God “caus[es] them so to fulfill.” Owen has God effecting salvation in the person of the elect sinner instead of effecting salvation in the person of Christ. Owen’s bone of contention with the Arminians is their assertion of free-will. He does not have a problem with their assertion that salvation is conditional per se. For both Owen and the Arminians, salvation is conditioned on the sinner. For the Arminian, the meeting of conditions is powered by the steam of free-will. For Owen, the meeting of conditions is supposedly powered by the blood and righteousness of Christ and the steam of the Spirit of God–the blood and righteousness of Christ supposedly purchased conditions and then the Spirit of God infallibly enables the elect sinner to become his own savior by performing said conditions.
More from Owen’s “A Display of Arminianism”:
WHETHER SALVATION MAY BE ATTAINED
WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF, OR FAITH IN, CHRIST JESUS.
It shall shut up all this discourse concerning the meritorious cause of salvation, with their shutting out of Christ from being the only one and absolutely necessary means to bring us unto heaven, to make us happy. This is the last pile they erect upon their Babylonish foundation, which makes the idol of human self-sufficiency every way perfect, and fit to be sacrificed unto. Until these proud builders, to get materials for their own temple, laid the axe to the root of Christianity, we took it for granted that “there is no salvation in any other,” because “there is none other name under heaven given unto men whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12. Neither yet shall their nefarious attempts frighten us from our creed, nor make us be wanting to the defense of our Savior’s honor. But I shall be very brief in the consideration of this heterodoxy, nothing doubting but that to have repeated it is fully to have confuted it, in the judgment of all pious Christians.
First, then, They grant salvation to the ancient patriarchs and Jews, before the coming of Christ, without any knowledge of or faith in him at all; nay, they deny that any such faith in Christ was ever prescribed unto them or required of them. [i]  “It is certain that there is no place in the Old Testament from whence it may appear that faith in Christ as a Redeemer was ever enjoined or found in any of them,” say they jointly in their Apology; the truth of which assertion we shall see hereafter. Only they grant a general faith, involved under types and shadows, and looking on the promise as it lay hid in the goodness and providence of God, which indirectly might be called a faith in Christ: from which kind of faith I see no reason why thousands of heathen infidels should be excluded. Agreeable unto these assertions are the dictates of their patriarch Arminius, affirming, [ii]  “that the whole description of the faith of Abraham, Romans 4, makes no mention of Jesus Christ, either expressly or so implicitly as that it may be of any one easily understood.” And to the testimony of Christ himself to the contrary, John 8:56, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad,” he answereth, “He rejoiced to see the birth of Isaac, who was a type of me,” — a goodly gloss, corrupting the text.
Secondly, What they teach of the Jews, that also they grant concerning the Gentiles living before the incarnation of Christ; they also might attain salvation, and be justified without his knowledge. [iii]  “For although,” saith Corvinus, “the covenant was not revealed unto them by the same means that it was unto the Jews, yet they are not to be supposed to be excluded from the covenant” (of grace), “nor to be excluded from salvation; for some way or other they were called.”
Thirdly, They are come at length to that perfection in setting out this stain of Christianity, that Bertius, on good consideration, denied this proposition, [iv]  “That no man can be saved that is not ingrafted into Christ by a true faith;” and Venator to this question, [v]  “Whether the only means of salvation be the life, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ?” answereth, “No.” Thus they lay men in Abraham’s bosom who never believed in the Son of Abraham; make them overcome the serpent who never heard of the Seed of the woman; bring goats into heaven, who never were of the flock of Christ, never entered by him, the door; make men please God without faith, and obtain the remission of sins without the sprinkling of the blood of the Lamb,—to be saved without a Savior, redeemed without a Redeemer,—to become the sons of God, and never know their elder Brother;—which prodigious error might yet be pardoned, and ascribed to human imbecility, had it casually slipped from their pens, as it did from some others.[vi]  But seeing it hath foundation in all the grounds of their new doctrine, and is maintained by them on mature deliberation,[vii]  it must be looked on by all Christians as a heresy to be detested and accursed. For, first, deny the contagion and demerit of original sin; then make the covenant of grace to be universal, and to comprehend all and every one of the posterity of Adam; thirdly, grant a power in ourselves to come unto God by any such means as he will appoint, and affirm that he doth assign some means unto all,—and it will naturally follow that the knowledge of Christ is not absolutely necessary to salvation, and so down falls the preeminence of Christianity; its heaven-reaching crown must be laid level with the services of dunghill gods.[viii] 
It is true, indeed, some of the ancient fathers, before the rising of the Pelagian heresy,—who had so put on Christ, as Lipsius speaks, that they had not fully put off Plato,—have unadvisedly dropped some speeches seeming to grant that divers men before the incarnation, living meta< lo>gou, “according to the dictates of right reason,” might be saved without faith in Christ; as is well showed by learned Casaubon in his first exercitation on Baronius. But let this be accounted part of that stubble which shall burn at the last day, wherewith the writings of all men not divinely inspired may be stained.
Chris: Notice what Owen is reasoning above: Since a Christian is not the Apostle Paul (for instance) then a Christian can confess and write things that are completely antithetical to the essential life-and-death teachings of the apostle. So according to Owen’s reasoning, it would be possible for a true Christian not divinely inspired to have contained in his writings blatant denials of Christ’s deity. And you could NOT call the PERSON–obviously not a true Christian if he denies Christ’s deity–who wrote it anathema (Galatians 1:8-9), but you could only call his WRITINGS anathema. So, according to John Owen, only the writings of heretics will burn like stubble, but the heretic himself will be saved.
Owen thinks that the teachings of some of the “ancient fathers” that “divers men before the incarnation…might be saved without faith in Christ” is mere “stubble which shall burn at the last day.” According to Owen, these helpless heretics who make exceptions to the Romans 1:16, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, etc., rule are just merely “stained.” Their damnable denial of the gospel as the power of God to salvation to EVERYONE BELIEVING IN CHRIST is just “stubble.”
“According to God’s grace given to me, as a wise master builder, I laid a foundation, but another builds on it. But let each one be careful how he builds. For no one is able to lay any other foundation beside the One having been laid, who is Jesus Christ. And if anyone builds on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw, the work of each will be revealed; for the Day will make it known, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire will prove the work of each, what sort it is. If the work of anyone which he built remains, he will receive a reward. If the work of anyone shall be consumed, he shall suffer loss; but he will be saved, but so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
The “ancient fathers” said that some might be saved without faith in Christ. Obviously these “ancient fathers” laid a foundation OTHER THAN the One having been laid. This other foundation that these ancient heretics laid in the place of Christ was the ignorant heathen “living according to the dictates of right reason.” And Owen calls this deadly and insidious heresy, innocuous stain and stubble.
More from, “A Display of Arminianism”:
“It hath also since (as what hath not?) been drawn into dispute among the wrangling schoolmen; and yet, which is rarely seen, their verdict in this particular almost unanimously passeth for the truth. Aquinas[ix]  tells us a story of the corpse of a heathen, that should be taken up in the time of the Empress Irene and her son Constantine, with a golden plate on his breast, wherein was this inscription:—“Christ is born of a virgin, and I believe in him. O sun, thou shalt see me again in the days of Irene and Constantine.” But the question is not, Whether a Gentile believing in Christ may be saved? or whether God did not reveal himself and his Son extraordinarily to some of them? for shall we straiten the breast and shorten the arm of the Almighty, as though he might not do what he will with his own; but, Whether a man by the conduct of nature, without the knowledge of Christ, may come to heaven? the assertion whereof we condemn as a wicked, Pelagian, Socinian heresy, and think that it was well said of Bernard, [x]  “That many laboring to make Plato a Christian, do prove themselves to be heathens.” And if we look upon the several branches of this Arminian novel doctrine, extenuating the precious worth and necessity of faith in Christ, we shall find them hewed off by the two-edged sword of God’s word.”
Chris: What’s the difference between the “ancient fathers” and these wicked Pelagians and Socinians? They made the same assertion.
Nice quote by Bernard: “That many laboring to make Plato a Christian, do prove themselves to be heathens.”
And likewise, many labor to make Christians, those who are either blatantly denying essential gospel doctrines or simply ignorant of essential gospel doctrines, do prove themselves to be unregenerate heathens. Owen is one of the many unregenerate heathens laboring to make the heretical “ancient fathers” Christians.
Further Owen, from his “Display” (And quite an exposing display it is):
“FIRST, For their denying the patriarchs and Jews to have had faith “in Christum exhibendum et moriturum,” as we in him “exhibitum et mortuum,” it is disproved,—
First, By all evangelical promises made from the beginning of the world to the birth of our Savior; as that, Genesis 3:15, “The seed of the woman shall break the serpent’s head;” and chapter 12:3, 49:10; Psalm 2:7,8,110; with innumerable others concerning his life, office, and redeeming of his people: for surely they were obliged to believe the promises of God.
Secondly, By those many clear expressions of his death, passion, and suffering for us, as Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 53:6-10, etc., 63:1-3; Daniel 9:26. But what need we reckon any more? Our Savior taught his disciples that all the prophets from Moses spake concerning him, and that the sole reason why they did not so readily embrace the faith of his passion and resurrection was because they believed not the prophets, Luke 24:25,26; showing plainly that the prophets required faith in his death and passion.
Thirdly, By the explicit faith of many Jews, as of old Simeon, Luke 2:34; of the Samaritan woman, who looked for a Messiah, not as an earthly king, but as one that should “tell them all things,”—redeem them from sin, and tell them all such things as Christ was then discoursing of, concerning the worship of God, John 4:25.
Fourthly, By the express testimony of Christ himself. “Abraham,” saith he, “rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad,” John 8:56. His day, his hour, in the Scripture, principally denote his passion. And that which he saw surely he believed, or else the father of the faithful was more diffident than Thomas, the most incredulous of his children.
Fifthly, By these following, and the like places of Scripture: Christ is a “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” Revelation 13:8; slain in promises, slain in God’s estimation and in the faith of believers. He is “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever,” Hebrews 13:8, under the law and the gospel. “There is none other name under heaven given unto men, whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12. Never any, then, without the knowledge of a Redeemer, participation of his passion, communication of his merits, did ever come to the sight of God; no man ever came to the Father but by him. Hence St Paul tells the Ephesians that they were “without Christ,” because they were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,” Ephesians 2:12; intimating that God’s covenant with the Jews included Christ Jesus and his righteousness no less than it doth now with us. On these grounds holy Ignatius called Abel [xi]  “A martyr of Christ;” he died for his faith in the promised Seed. And in another place, [xii]  “All the saints were saved by Christ; hoping in him, and waiting on him, they obtained salvation by him.” So Prosper, also, [xiii]  “We must believe that never any man was justified by any other faith, either before the law or under the law, than by faith in Christ coming to save that which was lost.” Whence Eusebius contendeth [xiv]  that all the old patriarchs might properly be called Christians; they all ate of the same spiritual meat, and all drank of the same spiritual drink, even of the rock that followed them, which rock was Christ.
SECONDLY, If the ancient people of God, notwithstanding divers other especial revelations of his will and heavenly instructions, obtained not salvation without faith in Christ, much less may we grant this happiness without him to them who were deprived of those other helps also. So that though we confess the poor natural endeavors of the heathen not to have wanted their reward (either positive in this life, by outward prosperity, and inward calmness of mind, in that they were not all perplexed and agitated with furies, like Nero and Caligula; or negative in the life to come, by a diminution of the degrees of their torments,—they shall not be beaten with so many stripes), yet we absolutely deny that there is any saving mercy of God towards them revealed in the Scripture, which should give us the least intimation of their attaining everlasting happiness. For, not to consider the corruption and universal disability of nature to do anything that is good (“without Christ we can do nothing,” John 15:5), nor yet the sinfulness of their best works and actions, the “sacrifice of the wicked being an abomination unto the LORD,” Proverbs 15:8 (“Evil trees cannot bring forth good fruit; men do not gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles,” Matthew 7:16, 17);—the word of God is plain, that “without faith it is impossible to please God, Hebrews 11:6; that “he that believeth not is condemned,” Mark 16:16; that no nation or person can be blessed but in the Seed of Abraham, Genesis 12:3. And the “blessing of Abraham” comes upon the Gentiles only “through Jesus Christ,” Galatians 3:14. He is “the way, the truth, and the life,” John 14:6. “None cometh to the Father but by him.” He is the “door,” by which those that do not enter are “without,” with “dogs and idolaters,” Revelation 22:15. So that “other foundation” of blessedness “can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ,” 1 Corinthians 3:11. In brief, do but compare these two places of St. Paul, Romans 8:30, where he showeth that none are glorified but those that are called; and Romans 10:14, 15, where he declares that all calling is instrumentally by the preaching of the word and gospel; and it will evidently appear that no salvation can be granted unto them on whom the Lord hath so far poured out his indignation as to deprive them of the knowledge of the sole means thereof, Christ Jesus. And to those that are otherwise minded, I give only this necessary caution,—Let them take heed, lest, whilst they endeavor to invent new ways to heaven for others, by so doing, they lose the true way themselves.”
Chris: The ancient heretics above were indeed “otherwise minded.” These heretics were the “ancient fathers” along with the Pelagians and Socinians. But why the “necessary caution,” Owen? Why take heed? For you said further above, that inventing new ways to heaven for others is just mere stubble and stain.
What follows next are some excerpts from John Owen on “common grace.” Notice in these quotes how Owen states that “common grace” gives gifts to men, forms non-saving habits, and restrains sin. Perhaps in the future, the Lord willing, I will make comments on Owens’ regarding his heretical doctrine of common grace.
Owen on Common Grace:
1) A DISCOURSE CONCERNING THE HOLY SPIRIT: Vol 3,
Book 4, chapter 6:
“And this is farther to prove that this habit or gracious principle of
holiness is specifically distinct from all other habits of the mind
whatever, whether intellectual or moral, connate or acquired, as also
from all that common grace and the effects of it whereof any persons
not really sanctified may be made partakers.”
“From the especial fountain and spring of holiness, which constitutes its nature of another kind than any common grace or morality can pretend unto; and this is electing love, or God’s purpose of election: Ephesians 1:4, “He hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” God chooseth us from eternity that we should be holy; that is, with a design and purpose to make us so. He sets some men apart in his eternal purpose, as those unto whom he will communicate holiness. It is, therefore, an especial work of God, in the pursuit of an especial and eternal purpose. This gives it its especial nature, and makes it, as was said, of another kind than any effect of common grace whatever. That is holiness which God works in men by his Spirit because he hath chosen them, and nothing else is so…”
3) Ibid: Hebrews 9:14.
“All that we have taught before concerning the purification of our minds and consciences by the blood of Christ is peculiar unto gospel holiness, and distinguisheth it essentially from all common grace or moral virtues. And they do but deceive themselves who rest in a multitude of duties, it may be animated much with zeal, and set off with a profession of the most rigid mortification, whose hearts and consciences are not thus purged by the blood of Christ.”
4) Ibid., Book 4, chapter 7.
“All gracious actings of our minds and souls, whether internal only, in faith, love, or delight, or whether they go out unto external duties required in the gospel, being wrought in us by the immediate efficacy of the Spirit of grace, differ in their kind, in their essence and substance of the acts themselves, from whatever is not so wrought or effected in us; for whatever may be done by anyone, in any acting of common grace or performance of any duty of obedience, being educed out of the power of the natural faculties of men, excited by convictions, as directed and enforced by reasons and exhortations, or assisted by common aids, of what nature soever, they are natural as to their kind, and they have no other substance or being but what is so. But that which is wrought in us by the especial grace of the Holy Ghost, in the way mentioned, is supernatural, as being not educed out of the powers of our natural faculties, but an immediate effect of the almighty supernatural efficacy of the grace of God.”
5) Vol 6, A PRACTICAL EXPOSITION UPON PSALM 130. 4th verse, rule 11.
“Second general head of the application of the truth insisted on — Grounds of spiritual disquietments considered — The first, afflictions — Ways and means of the aggravation of afflictions — Rules about them — Objections against believing from things internal — The person knows not whether he be regenerate or no — State of regeneration asserted — Difference of saving and common grace — This difference discernible — Men may know themselves to be regenerate — The objection answered.”
6) Ibid, Verse 4, OBJECTIONS AGAINST BELIEVING FROM THINGS INTERNAL
“God having designed us unto salvation as the end, hath also appointed the sanctification of the Spirit to be the means to bring us orderly unto the attainment of that end. But the best of common grace or gifts that may be in men unregenerate are but products of the providence of God, ordering all things in general unto his own glory and the good of them that shall be heirs of salvation. They are not fruits of electing eternal love, nor designed means for the infallible attaining of eternal salvation… Now, the common grace of unregenerate persons, whereby they are distinguished from other men, whatever it be, it hath not this especial relation to the oblation and intercession of Christ. Common grace is not the procurement of
7) Vol 10, Display of Arminianism chapter 13, p 127-8 in the Still
“So that though Almighty God, according to the unsearchableness of his wisdom, worketh divers ways and in sundry manners, for the translating of his chosen ones from the power of darkness into his marvelous light, — calling some powerfully in the midst of their march in the way of ungodliness, as he did Paul, — preparing others by outward means and helps of common restraining grace, moralizing nature before it be begotten anew by the immortal seed of the word, — yet this is certain, that all good in this kind is from his free grace; there is nothing in ourselves, as of ourselves, but sin. Yea, and all those previous dispositions wherewith our hearts are prepared, by virtue of common grace, do not at all enable us to concur, by any vital operation, with that powerful, blessed, renewing grace of regeneration whereby we become the sons of God.”
8) Vol 10, Display of Arminianism, chapter 14, page 134 in Still
“Fourthly, Concerning grace itself, it is either common or special. Common or general grace consisteth in the external revelation of the will of God by his word, with some illumination of the mind to perceive it, and correction of the affections not too much to contemn it; and this, in some degree or other, to some more, to some less, is common to all that are called. Special grace is the grace of regeneration, comprehending the former, adding more spiritual acts, but especially presupposing the purpose of God, on which its efficacy doth chiefly depend.”
9) Works 21, Exposition of Hebrews, chapter 6, verse 8:
“For instance, suppose a man to satisfy himself that he hath the graces of faith and prayer, and the like, but yet cannot find that he hath any grain of true zeal for the glory of God, nor any readiness for works of charity with an eye to God’s glory and love to his commands; he hath great reason to fear lest his other graces are false and perishing, or at least that he is signally fallen under the sin of barrenness. For in common grace, one single grace may appear very evident, and win great honor to the profession of them in whom it is, whilst there is a total want of all or many others: but in saving grace it is not so; for though different graces may exceedingly differ in their exercise, yet all of them are equal in their root and principle.”
10) Ibid, Chapter 6:9:
“There are spiritual things which differ in their whole kind and nature from other things, and are better than they as to their essence and being. Such is all saving grace, with all the fruits of it. I shall not now stay to prove that true saving grace differs specifically from all common grace, however advanced in its exercise by the company and help of spiritual gifts, much less to wrangle about what doth formally constitute a specifical difference between things.”
Chris: Now here is more of John Owen’s doctrine of salvation conditioned on what God causes the sinner to do from his work, “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.” Commenting on 1 Timothy 4:10, Owen writes:
“But that Christ should be said to be a Saviour of,—I. Those who are never saved from their sins, as he saves his people, Matt. 1:21;— 2. Of those who never hear one word of saving or a Saviour; —3. That he should be a Saviour in a twofold sense,–(1.) For all, (2.) For believers;—4. That to believe is the condition whereby Christ becomes a Saviour in an especial manner unto any, and that condition not procured nor purchased by him;- -that this, I say, is the sense of this place, “credat Judaeus Apella:” To me nothing is more certain than that to whom Christ is in any sense a Saviour in the work of redemption, he saves them to the uttermost from all their sins of infidelity and disobedience, with the saving of grace here and glory hereafter” (Death of Death, pp. 79-80)
Chris: When Owen writes this: “4. That to believe is the condition whereby Christ becomes a Saviour in an especial manner unto any, and that condition not procured nor purchased by him”; he wickedly asserts his satanic doctrine of self-salvation. Owen is very zealous about a “saviour” who infallibly enables men to save themselves. Thus he has strong words for those who teach that men save themselves without this “infallibly enabled” help.
“The ground and cause of this is the appointment of the Lord that there should be such a connection and coherence between the things purchased for us by Jesus Christ, that the one should be a means and way of attaining the other,– the one the condition, and the other the thing promised upon that condition, but hath equally and alike procured for us by Jesus Christ; for if either be omitted in his purchase, the other would be vain and fruitless, as we shall afterward declare…faith the condition, salvation the promised inheritance” (p. 90, italics Owen).
“A real, effectual, and infallible bestowing and applying of all these things,– as well those that are the means as those that are the end, the condition as the thing conditioned about, faith and grace as salvation and glory,– unto all and every one for whom he died, do we maintain to be the end proposed and effected by the blood-shedding of Jesus Christ, with those other acts of his mediatorship which we before declared to be therewith inseparably conjoined: so that every one for whom he died and offered up himself hath, by virtue of his death or oblation, a right purchased for him unto all these things, which in due time he shall certainly and infallibly enjoy; or (which is all one), the end of Christ’s obtaining grace and glory with his Father was, that they might be certainly bestowed upon all those for whom he died, some of them upon condition that they do believe, but faith itself absolutely upon no condition at all. All which we shall farther illustrate and confirm, after we have removed some false ends assigned” (p. 91, bold emphasis mine–CD).
Chris: Basically all Owen’s “Death of Death” argues is that Christ’s death does not merely make salvation possible (or uncertain rather); but Christ’s death makes salvation infallibly certain for all whom He represented at the cross NOT because He met all the conditions for their salvation as the Bible teaches, but because He purchased conditions. In Owen’s view, the blood of Christ alone would not be enough to propitiate the wrath of God. It would take the ADDITIONAL work of the infallibly enabled sinner’s “faith” as well. Again, it all goes back to Owen’s deadly ignorance of the blood and righteousness of God and his (Owen’s) confusing faith as a FRUIT with faith as a CONDITION which necessarily follows from this deadly ignorance.
Here is Owen denying the absolute necessity of the atonement (he later retracted this in his more mature work written in 1653, “A Dissertation on Divine Justice”):
“First, The foundation of this whole assertion seems to me to be false and erroneous,– namely, that God could not have mercy on mankind unless satisfaction were made by his Son. It is true, indeed, supposing the decree, purpose, and constitution of God that so it should be, that so he would manifest his glory, by the way of vindicative justice, it was impossible that it should otherwise be; for with the Lord there is ‘no variableness, neither shadow of turning,’ James i. 17; 1 Sam. xv. 29: but to assert positively, that absolutely and antecedently to his constitution he could not have done it, is to me an unwritten tradition, the Scripture affirming no such thing, neither can it be gathered from thence in any good consequence. If any one shall deny this, we will try what the Lord will enable us to say unto it, and in the meantime rest contented in that of Augustine: ‘Though other ways of saving us were not wanting to his infinite wisdom, yet certainly the way which he did proceed in was the most convenient, because we find he proceeded therein'” (p. 93).
“And as for those that are bestowed upon condition, the condition on which they are bestowed is actually purchased and procured for us, upon no condition but only by virtue of the purchase. For instance; Christ hath purchased remission of sins and eternal life for us, to be enjoyed on our believing, upon the condition of faith. But faith itself, which is the condition of them, on whose performance they are bestowed, that he hath procured for us absolutely, on no condition at all” (“Death of Death”, pp. 111-112).
Chris: Like I was attempting to explain (articulate, elucidate) above, Owen teaches that Christ purchased with His blood the conditions that the sinner must meet before he can be saved. So for Owen, Christ is NOT a true Savior who actually saves, but a pseudo-savior who sheds his blood in order to infallibly enable his elect to save themselves by meeting conditions. This is so vile and wicked. This pernicious teaching of Owen makes the precious blood and body of Christ a mere stepping stool or “help” in attaining salvation. In the words of Hebrews, it is a trampling of the Son of God underfoot and treating His blood as a common thing. For Owen, salvation is NOT conditioned on the blood of Christ alone; the blood merely purchases the condition for the elect to be infallibly saved. To Owen, the blood of Christ is simply a means to save yourself.
“SECONDLY, We may consider the meaning of those who seek to maintain universal redemption by this distinction in it, and to what use they do apply it. ‘Christ,’ say they, ‘died for all men, and by his death purchased reconciliation with God for them and forgiveness of sins: which to some is applied, and they become actually reconciled to God, and have their sins forgiven them; but to others not, who, therefore, perish in the state of irreconciliation and enmity, under the guilt of their sins. This application,’ say they, ‘is not procured nor purchased by Christ,– for then, he dying for all, all must be actually reconciled and have their sins forgiven them and be saved,– but it attends the fulfilling of the condition which God is pleased to prescribe unto them, that is, believing:’ which, say some, they can do by their own strength, though not in terms, yet by direct consequence; others not, but God must give it. So that when it is said in the Scripture, Christ hath reconciled us to God, redeemed us, saved us by his blood, underwent the punishment of our sins, and so made satisfaction for us, they assert that no more is meant but that Christ did that which upon the fulfilling of the condition that is of us required, these things will follow. To the death of Christ, indeed, they assign many glorious things; but what they give on the one hand they take away with the other, by suspending the enjoyment of them on a condition by us to be fulfilled, not by him procured; and in terms assert that the proper and full end of the death of Christ was the doing of that whereby God, his justice being satisfied, might save sinners if he would, and on what condition it pleased him,– that a door of grace might be opened to all that would come in, and not that actual justification and remission of sins, life, and immortality were procured by him, but only a possibility of those things, that so it might be” (Death of Death, p. 114, bold emphasis mine–CD).
Chris: Owen is blind to the venomous blasphemy explicit in his own assertion that the efficacy of Christ’s work is suspended on a condition by us to be fulfilled. Owen only sees venom in asserting that these antichristian conditions are “not by him procured.”
“Secondly, This condition of them to be required is in their power to perform, or it is not. If it be, then have all men power to believe; which is false: if it be not, then the Lord will grant them grace to perform it, or he will not. If he will, why then do not all believe? why are not all saved?…Is it not all one as if a man should promise a blind man a thousand pounds upon condition that he will see.
Thirdly, This condition of faith is procured for us by the death of Christ, or it is not. If they say it be not, then the chiefest grace, and without which redemption itself (express it how you please) is of no value, doth not depend on the grace of Christ as the meritorious procuring cause thereof– which, first, is exceedingly injurious to our blessed Saviour, and serves only to diminish the honour and love due to him; secondly, is contrary to Scripture: Tit. iii. 5, 6; 2 Cor. v. 21, “He became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” And how we can become the righteousness of God but by believing, I know not.
Yea, expressly saith the apostle, “It is given to us for Christ’s sake, on the behalf of Christ, to believe in him,” Phil. i. 29; “God blessing us with all spiritual blessing in him,” Eph. i 3, whereof surely faith is not the least. If it be a fruit of the death of Christ, why is it not bestowed on all, since he died for all, especially since the whole impetration of redemption is altogether unprofitable without it?
If they do invent a condition upon which this is bestowed, the vanity of that shall be afterward discovered. For the present, if this condition be, So they do not refuse or resist the means of grace, then I ask, if the fruit of the death of Christ shall be applied to all that fulfill this condition of not refusing or not resisting the means of grace? If not, then why is that produced? If so, then all must be saved that have not, or do not resist, the means of grace; that is, all pagans, infidels, and those infants to whom the gospel was never preached.
For a close of all; that which in this cause we affirm may be summed up in this: Christ did not die for any upon condition, if they do believe; but he died for all God’s elect, that they should believe, and believing have eternal life. Faith itself is among the principle effects and fruits of the death of Christ; as shall be declared. It is nowhere said in Scripture, nor can it be reasonably affirmed, that if we believe, Christ died for us, as though our believing should make that to be which otherwise was not,–the act create the object; but Christ died for us that we might believe. Salvation, indeed, is bestowed conditionally; but faith, which is the condition, is absolutely procured” (Death of Death, p. 123).
Chris: Here Owen says that faith is a condition for salvation and that this faith is a fruit or result of the death of Christ. It is true that faith is a fruit of the death of Christ since all those for whom Christ died are given eternal life in the course of time, and faith being an immediate and inevitable result of the eternal life which Christ freely bestows (John 17:3; 1 John 5:20). BUT Owen thinks that faith is the condition for salvation. It is not. The work of Christ alone is the condition for salvation. Owen does not believe that the work of Christ alone is the condition for salvation. Thus, Owen does not have faith.
With verses such as Jeremiah 31:31-32 and Hebrews 8:9-11 in mind, Owen writes the following:
“And this is the main difference between the old covenant of works and the new one of grace, that in that the Lord did only require the fulfilling of the condition prescribed, but in this he promiseth to effect it in them himself with whom the covenant is made. And without this spiritual efficacy, the truth is, the new covenant would be as weak and unprofitable, for the end of a covenant (the bringing, of us and binding of us to God), as the old. For in what consisted the weakness and unprofitableness of the old covenant, for which God in his mercy abolished it? Was it not in this, because, by reason of sin, we were no way able to fulfill the condition thereof, “Do this, and live?” Otherwise the connection is still true, that “he that doeth these things shall live.” And are we of ourselves any way more able to fulfill the condition of the new covenant? Is it not as easy for a man by his own strength to fulfill the whole law, as to repent and savingly believe the promise of the gospel? This, then, is one main difference of these two covenants,–that the Lord did in the old only require the condition; now, in the new, he will also effect it in all the federates, to whom this covenant is extended. And if the Lord should only exact the obedience required in the covenant of us, and not work and effect it also in us, the new covenant would be a show to increase our misery, and not a serious imparting and communicating of grace and mercy. If, then, this be the nature of the new testament,–as appears from the very words of it, and might abundantly be proved, –that the condition of the covenant should certainly, by free grace, be wrought and accomplished in all that are taken into covenant, then no more are in this covenant than in whom those conditions of it are effected” (Death of Death, pp. 124-125).
Chris: Owen desires to make the condition for salvation something that God can “graciously” work in the heart of the federates. In contrast, the Bible teaches that the condition for salvation is ONLY something that Christ can perform. Obviously, the condition of a perfect righteousness (i.e., Christ’s righteousness) that answers the demands of God’s Law and justice cannot be wrought in the elect sinner. Owen (and those like him) must invent conditions that can be performed by the sinner. It appears Owen is teaching that God “mercifully abolished” the command to “Do this, and live” (which only Christ could so do and thus live) and changed it to a “Do this, and live” that the sinner can be enabled infallibly to do. In short, Owen says that “Do perfect righteousness, and live” was abolished and changed to a “Do faith, and live.”
More from Owen’s Death of Death:
“Secondly, All men are able of themselves to perform this condition, orthey are not. If they are, then, seeing that condition is faith in the promises, as is on all sides confessed, are, all men of themselves, by the power of their own free-will, able to believe; which is contrary to the Scriptures, as, by the Lord’s assistance, shall be declared. If they cannot, but that this faith must be bestowed on them and wrought within them by the free grace of God, then when God gave his Son to die for them, to procure eternal redemption for them all, upon condition that they did believe, be either purposed to work faith in them all by his grace, that they might believe, or he did not? If he did, why doth not he actually perform it, seeing “he is of one mind, and who can turn him?” why do not all believe? why have not all men faith? Or doth he fail of his purpose? If he did not purpose to bestow faith on them all, or (which is all one) if he purposed not to bestow faith on all (for the will of God doth not consist in a pure negation of any thing,–what he doth not will that it should be, he wills that it should not be), then the sum of it comes to this:–That God gave Christ to die for all men, but upon this condition, that they perform that which of themselves without him they cannot perform, and purposed that, for his part, he would not accomplish it in them” (Death of Death, p. 129).
“If they say that he procured it for them, that is, to be bestowed on them conditionally, I desire that they would answer bona fide, and roundly, in terms without equivocation or blind distinctions, assign that condition, that we may know what it is, seeing it is a thing of so infinite concernment to all our souls. Let me know this condition which ye will maintain, and en herbam amici! (I own myself conquered–Facciolati) the cause is yours. Is it, as some say, if they do not resist the grace of God? Now, what is it not to resist the grace of God? is it not to obey it? And what is it to obey the grace of God?, is it not to believe? So the condition of faith is faith itself. Christ procured that they should believe, upon condition that they do believe! Are these things so? But they can assign a condition, on our part required, of faith, that is not faith itself. Can they do it? Let us hear it, then, and we will renew our inquiry concerning that condition, whether it be procured by Christ or no. If not, then is the cause of faith still resolved into ourselves; Christ is not the author and finisher of it. If it be then are we just where we were before, and must follow with our queries whether that condition was procured absolutely or upon condition” (Death of Death, pp. 142-143).
“It was absolutely of free grace in God that he would send Jesus Christ to die for any; it was of free grace for whom he would send him to die; it is of free grace that the good things procured by his death be bestowed on any person, in respect of those persons on whom they are bestowed: but considering his own appointment and constitution, that Jesus Christ by his death should merit and procure grace and glory for those for whom he died, it is of debt in respect of Christ that they be communicated to them. Now, that which is thus merited, which is of debt to be bestowed, we do not say that it may be bestowed, but it ought so to be, and it is injustice if it be not” (Death of Death, p. 176).
Chris: According to Owen, it is an injustice if conditions (namely “faith”) are not bestowed on those for whom Christ died. But obviously Owen will not count it an injustice if salvation is NOT unconditionally bestowed apart from the efforts of the sinner.
“If Christ hath merited grace and glory for all those for whom he died, if he died for all, how comes it to pass that these things are not communicated to and bestowed upon all? Is the defect in the merit of Christ, or in the justice of God? How vain it is to except, that these things are not bestowed absolutely upon us, but upon condition, and therefore were so procured; seeing, that the very condition itself is also merited and procured, as Eph. 1:3, 4, Phil. 1:29,–hath been already declared” (Death of Death, p. 176).
Chris: Owen falsely reads conditionality into Philippians 1:29. Also, Owen is oblivious to his own belief of the defection Christ’s merit, seeing that he believes that Christ’s merit is NOT enough for the FREE bestowal of eternal life, but has to be supplemented with supposedly merited and procured conditions met by the sinner.
“I come, in the next place, to the third and last argument, drawn from the Scripture, wherewith the Arminians and their successors (as to this point) do strive to maintain their figment of universal redemption; and it is taken from such texts of Scripture as seem to hold out the perishing of some of them for whom Christ died, and the fruitlessness of his blood in respect of divers for whom it was shed. And on this theme their wits are wonderfully luxuriant, and they are full of rhetorical strains to set out the unsuccessfulness and fruitlessness of the blood of Christ in respect of the most for whom it was shed, with the perishing of bought, purged, reconciled sinners. Who can but believe that this persuasion tends to the consolation of poor souls, whose strongest defence lieth in making vile the precious blood of the Lamb, yea, trampling upon it, and esteeming it as a common thing? But, friends, let me tell you, I am persuaded it was not so unvaluable in the eyes of his Father as to cause it to be poured out in vain, in respect of any one soul” (Death of Death, p. 247).
Chris: These are strong words from Owen spoken against the advocates of universal atonement. But Owen is oblivious to his own vile treatment of the blood of Christ by replacing the precious blood of Christ with the pernicious performance of the sinner as the condition for salvation. Owen tramples upon it in that he asserts that this blood of Christ infallibly enables him to save himself. The Biblical teaching is that salvation is conditioned solely and exclusively on the atoning blood of Christ. Owen’s teaching is that salvation is conditioned on “blood bought conditions” performed by the sinner.
Back to Owen:
“Perhaps some will say it is in this, that if Christ did not die for all to whom the word is preached, then how can they that preach it offer Christ to all? A poor proof, God wot! For,– First, The gospel was never preached to all and every one, nor is there any such thing affirmed in the places cited; and ye are to prove that Christ died for all, as well those that never hear of the gospel as those that do. Secondly, What do the preachers of the gospel offer to them to whom the word is preached? Is it not life and salvation through Christ, upon the condition of faith and repentance?” (Death of Death, p. 281).
“Is their universal grace anything but a mock?…Why, I pray, then, are not all [saved by this universal grace–CD]? ‘Why,’ they will say, ‘because they do not believe.’ So, then, the bestowing of faith is no part of this free grace. See your second aim, even to exalt yourselves and your free-will into the room of grace; or, at least, leaving it room to come in, to have the best share in the work of salvation,–namely, believing itself, that makes all the rest profitable. See, now, what your universality of free grace leads and tends to. Are not the very terms [the terms “universal” and “free”–CD] opposite to one another? In a word, to bring in reprobates to be objects of free grace, you deny the free grace of God to the elect; and to make it universal, you deny it to be effectual. That all may have a share of it, they deny any to be saved by it; for saving grace must be restrained” (Death of Death, p. 300).
Chris: Owen’s aim is to exalt himself and his infallibly enabled conditions into the room of free grace. And by this conditionalism of Owen, he has the greatest share of salvation in infallibly enabled belief rather than the WHOLE and EXCLUSIVE share of salvation found in the work of Christ.
Owen is blind to the Biblical fact that the terms “grace” and “conditional” (as respects the sinner) are opposite to one another. He does not realize that IF salvation is conditioned on the sinner in any way, shape, or form–whether it be conditions met by free-will steam or infallibly enabled by God steam–THEN it is no longer grace.
In a word, to bring in conditions for the elect to meet, Owen denies the FREE GRACE of God to the elect. Owen denies that God FREELY bestows salvation. Owen affirms that God freely bestows conditions, but not salvation. According to Owen, the free grace of God towards the elect enables them to meet conditions for their salvation, rather than enabling them to believe that Christ alone met all the conditions for their salvation.
“Is the extending of the love and favour of God in our power? Hath he not mercy on whom he will have mercy, and doth he not harden whom he will? Yet, do not we affirm that it is extended to the universality of the saved ones? Should we throw the children’s bread to dogs? Friends, we believe that the grace of God in Christ worketh faith in every one to whom it is extended; that the conditions of that covenant which is ratified in his blood are all effectually wrought in the heart of every covenantee; that there is no love of God that is not effectual; that the blood of Christ was not shed in vain; that of ourselves we are dead in trespasses and sins, and can do nothing but what the free grace of God worketh in us: and, therefore, we cannot conceive that it can be extended to all” (Death of Death, pp. 300-301, bold emphasis mine–CD).
Chris: Here yet again, is Owen’s explanation of how salvation is NOT exclusively conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ; his explanation of how salvation is NOT wrought exclusively in the Person and Work of Christ, but how at least a part of it is wrought out in the person and work of the sinner. NOTICE Owen says that conditions are “effectually wrought in the heart of every covenantee” and that we “can do nothing but what the free grace of God worketh in us.” According to Owen, so-called “grace” enables every elect sinner (i.e., every covenantee) to meet conditions for their own salvation. And as the apostle Paul so aptly put it, this “grace” is no longer grace (Romans 11:6).
By the way, here are two links with info on the heretic, John Owen: