In Apostasy from the Gospel, John Owen wrote: “The mind of man since the fall is naturally filled with high thoughts of itself. The mind of man exalts itself to be its own self-determiner, rule and guide. Man determines for himself what is good and what is evil, what is truth and what is error. The corrupt mind exalts its own ideas. It loves, applauds, dotes on and firmly embraces its own ideas and opinions. This is the origin of all heresy. This has given birth, growth, and progress to every sort of error (Ecclesiastes 7:29).
To the corrupt mind the gospel comes with the stamp of God’s authority on it. Divine wisdom, goodness, grace, holiness, and power are so impressed on its doctrines that it shows itself clearly to be the ‘glorious gospel of the blessed God’ (1 Timothy 1:11). Unless it is seen as from God, the gospel will not be received, truly understood, or steadfastly believed. The gospel is to be received, ‘not as the words of men but as it is in truth, the word of God’ (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Unless we deny ourselves and all our own ideas and opinions, unless we become humble and teachable, we can never receive the gospel. God promises to teach the humble and meek. A proud spirit greatly hinders the learning of God’s Word. The Word of God is a troublesome inmate to an unhumbled mind and heart.
The gospel requires man to believe things above the ability of reason to judge or discover. It requires man to believe things on the authority of divine revelation. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”– these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).”