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A Discharge Of Our Duty In The Church

If, therefore, it be granted, as I think it is, that edification is the principal end of all church-communion, it is not intelligible how a man should be obliged unto that communion, and that alone, wherein due edification cannot be obtained. Wherefore, a ministry enabled by spiritual gifts, and engaged by sense of duty, to labour constantly in the use of all means appointed by Christ for the edification of the church, or increase of his mystical body, is required in such a church as a believer may conscientiously join himself unto; and where it is otherwise, let men cry out “schism” and “faction” whilst they please, Jesus Christ will acquit his disciples in the exercise of their liberty, and accept them in the discharge of their duty.

– John Owen –

from An Inquiry Concerning Evangelical Churches, volume 15 of Works, pages 341-342

One comment on “A Discharge Of Our Duty In The Church

  1. I had some difficulty understanding what Owen meant here. After some thought I guess it is this. Believers should not join and associate with dead churches – they are free to leave them and join one where true gifts are exercised. And when a believer does this – though he is labeled as a schismatic, or a divider, no matter the believer is duty bound to leave the one and join the other.

    I really appreciate Owen saying this. Though it took a while to digest.

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