John Owen Preached Irrelevantly

Speaking of liberalism, Benjamin Rush, a Presbyterian, agreed with Thomas Jefferson, that preachers should stay in their own lane and stop trying to do what politicians do. He even recommended John Owen’s sermons:

I agree with you likewise in your wishes to keep religion and government independant of each Other. Were it possible for St. Paul to rise from his grave at the present juncture, he would say to the Clergy who are now so active in settling the political Affairs of the World. “Cease from your political labors your kingdom is not of this World. Read my Epistles. In no part of them will you perceive me aiming to depose a pagan Emperor, or to place a Christian upon a throne. Christianity disdains to receive Support from human Governments. From this, it derives its preeminence over all the religions that ever have, or ever Shall exist in the World. Human Governments may receive Support from Christianity but it must be only from the love of justice, and peace which it is calculated to produce in the minds of men. By promoting these, and all the Other Christian Virtues by your precepts, and example, you will much sooner overthrow errors of all kind, and establish our pure and holy religion in the World, than by aiming to produce by your preaching, or pamphflets any change in the political state of mankind.”

A certain Dr Owen an eminent minister of the Gospel among the dissenters in England, & a sincere friend to liberty, was once complained of by one of Cromwell’s time serving priests,—that he did not preach to the times. “My business and duty said the disciple of St Paul is to preach—to Eternity— not to the times.” He has left many Volumes of Sermons behind him, that are so wholly religious, that no One from reading them, could tell, in what country,—or age they were preached.

(Thanks for this to a certain Irishman who is known to regard Owen almost as highly as John Nelson Darby.)

6 thoughts on “John Owen Preached Irrelevantly

  1. JN Derby regarded highly? If my hazy memory serves me right, wasn’t Derby part of the uniquely British sect known as The Brethren and a mega dispensationalist? Does the Irishman like Owen and Derby from a historical interest or theologically?


  2. And didn’t the Scottish episcopalian, Bishop Robert Leighton, the son of a covenanter, say in troubled times ” If all my brethren preach to the times may not one poor brother be allowed to preach on eternity” ?


  3. Politicians and businessmen (like John Owen and Jerry Falwell) think preachers should stay in their own lane, except when they don’t. Talk about personal abortion but not about public racism.  The only way to escape Americanism is to leave your sectarian denomination and let the sacramental universal church accept your baptism.

    If a “secular” nation-state  does not have a covenant relationship with God to obtain blesssings, is that nation-state exempt from being punished by God? To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings.  How can we fall under the curses of a covenant to which we didn’t belong

    Does God curse those not born in the covenant? Does God have friends outside the covenant?
    Crawford G —Owen’s question centred on how best to represent the fact that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world be saved through him” (John 3:17). John Owen in an address to Westminster MPs, “How is it that Jesus Christ is in Ireland only as a lion staining all his garments with the blood of his enemies, and none to hold him out as a lamb sprinkled with his own blood to his friends?”


  4. Augustine thought that Rome was pretty bad. I agree with Augustine about that.

    Augustine thought that Rome’s problem was not the fault of the church. I am not so sure about that, because regeneration by means of water is not a solution but another problem.

    When the Reformed claim to be Augustinians, it becomes more difficult for them to revise away Constantine’s two swords, one for heresy against the church, and the other sword for sedition against the beast making the world safe for “the antiChrist”.

    David Scaer–” Salvation is given in baptism, though not because of faith. Finding the certainty of salvation in faith is the devil’s work and is as useless as the medieval demand to rely on confession for forgiveness. Bifurcating Luther into green (Protestant) and ripe Catholic) periods is attractive for those who want to give faith a secondary role in baptism or eliminate it by delay— baptize now, believing later is the efficacy.”

    The prime minister of Israel might lose the popular vote, but it is not “Darbyites” who promote war with Iran for the sake of Israel.

    “Various groups of professing Christians have, again and again, stood up to support new settlements of Jews in biblical ‘Israel’, partly through financial support, partly through collaboration with Zionist Jews. These people are trying to ‘help’ fulfilling the prophecies and desire to provoke an ‘Armageddon’. This is exactly what J N DARBY NEVER TAUGHT

    “Firstly, because Darby insisted that Christians have a heavenly calling and should not get involved in earthly things, especially in politics. Secondly, Darby insisted, again and again, that Christians should wait for the Lord’s anytime second coming . The coming of Christ is not the Holy Spirit taking up to heaven in the sacrament…”

    “But these folks ( not following Darby) think they will disappear before Armageddon happens, therefore:
    the earlier this happens, the earlier they will be transported up to heaven.

    Satan himself taught the benefits of the segregation of the two kingdoms . No, you won’t ever die, but your divine immortal soul will become separate from your body, and that is a good thing indeed.


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