A Dictionary of All Religions and Religious Denominations/Johnsonians

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JOHNSONIANS, the followers of Mr. John Johnson, many years a baptist minister at Liverpool, of whom there are still several congregations in different parts of England. The following positions are extracted from Mr. Johnson's writings: I. That true Faith is not "a duty which God requires of man ;" but a grace of "so different a nature, that it is not possible to be made a duty ; or possible to be made a duty ; or [nor] possible to be required of any created being." [1] Consequently faith is not, in his view, a requirement of the law of God, nor does the law "require any thing properly relating to eternal salvation ;"[2] nor it that unbelief, which is the reverse of this, (or the want of faith), a sin, but a "vacuity", or mere "non-entity".[3]

II. That faith, though "an active principle," is not an act, or "action", or "work" of the soul of man, but "the operation of God;"[4] whence it would seem to follow, that it is not the soul which believes, but this principle of grace within him.

III. That the holiness of the first man, Adam, was inferiour to that of the angels, much more to that of the saints who are raised above the angels; that the first man being "earthy," not only in his body, but his whole person, his holiness could be : only such a resemblance of, and nearness to Gas, as an earthy nature was capable of."[5]

IV. That gospel ministers are not to preach the law,[6] neither "moral duties ;" nor "to exhort persons to faith, repentance, love, holiness, etc." which blessings proceed alone from the grace of God ;[7] nor "to caution and warn them against sinful practices, to teach and instruct them in the regulation of their lives, &c. Our commission (says Mr. J.) is not to preach the law but the gospel."[8]

V. That "the blessings of spiritual grace and eternal life, being secured in Christ prior to the fall, were never lost," and consequently, could not be "restored." Adoption not rising out of salvation, but, on the contrary, salvation from adoption, as being included in it. "So that," says Mr. J. "I cannot conceive any reason, according to the original constitution of things, why grace and glory might not have taken place upon God's elect, according to his everlasting love in adoption, supposing sin or salvation never [had] a being."[9] According to the account by the anonymous correspondent of Mr. Evans,[10], Mr. Johnson's followers reject the


Original footnotes[edit]

  1. Faith of God's elect. p. 10
  2. Ib. p. 26.
  3. Ib. p. 55
  4. Ib. p. 40
  5. Ib. p.44, 69.
  6. Ib. p. 259
  7. Ib. p. 255.
  8. Ib, p. 257, 259
  9. Ib. p. 89, 90.
  10. above account was given to Mr. Evans by a preacher among the Johnsonians