The Abuse of Spiritual Gifts or Carnal Peace? (Owen)

In chapter 8 of “A Discourse of Spiritual Gifts” John Owen mentioned the fact that the Holy Spirit does indeed give spiritual gifts to every believer. And it is every believer’s duty to utilize his or her spiritual gifts to bless others. Owen then noted how many in his day had neglected the duty of using their gifts. However, he was thankful that he still knew of many “private Christians” who were indeed exercising their Spirit-given gifts. Owen then wrote this:

By some, I confess, they [spiritual gifts] have been abused: some have presumed on them beyond the line and measure which they have received; some have been puffed up with them; some have used them disorderly in churches and to their hurt; some have boasted of what they have not received – all which miscarriages also befell the primitive churches. And I had rather have the order, rule, spirit, and practice of those churches that were planted by the apostles, with all their troubles and disadvantages, than the carnal peace of others in their open degeneracy from all those things.

Amen! “O Breath of life / come sweeping through us / revive your church with life and power / O Breath of Life, come cleanse renew us / and fit your church to meet this hour” (Bessie Head, #395, Trinity Psalter Hymnal)

The above quote is from Owen, John. The Works of John Owen. Edited by William H. Goold. Vol. 4. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d. p. 518.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015