Saturday, February 18, 2017

John Owen on private revelations... or, was it Packer?

Perhaps you've seen the absolutely wonderful quotation from John Owen:

What a great quotation! Mic drop!

If you're a regular, you know what a stickler I am for sourcing quotations. So I wanted to source this one in Owen.

My search, however, was fruitless. No online quotation that I found sourced the quotation, and my search of Logos' Owen collection turned up nothing.

But then I hit on this quotation, which I can source. Speaking of Quakers, "if their ‘private revelations’ agree with Scripture, they are needless, and if they disagree, they are false."

That's it, right? Pretty much the exact wording.

One problem: it isn't Owen.

Close, though. It's actually J. I. Packer writing about Owen, from the book A Quest for Godliness. He isn't quoting Owen, he's summarizing him.

Still, it's a great quotation, though leaky canoneers try hard to evade its point.

UPDATE: All that said, here is an actual and terrific quotation from Owen which does sound some similar notes. It is from 
Since the finishing of the canon of the Scripture, the church is not under that conduct as to stand in need of such new extraordinary revelations. It doth, indeed, live upon the internal gracious operations of the Spirit, enabling us to understand, believe, and obey the perfect, complete revelation of the will of God already made; but new revelations it hath neither need nor use of;—and to suppose them, or a necessity of them, not only overthrows the perfection of the Scripture, but also leaveth us uncertain whether we know all that is to be believed in order unto salvation, or our whole duty, or when we may do so; for it would be our duty to live all our days in expectation of new revelations, wherewith neither peace, assurance, nor consolation is consistent. 
[John Owen, The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 4 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 62]


P.D. Nelson said...

Wow you made a post on your own blog

DJP said...

I'm everywhere.

hymns that preach said...

The way I heard it was a little different: "If your private revelation disagrees with scripture, you don't need it. If it agrees with scripture, you still don't need it."

I have know idea where it came from.