Post-Crisis Assurance and the ‘Tests of Life’ Reading of 1 John

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Matthew Payne


1 John has often been read as advocating a series of personal ‘tests of life’, by which individuals can evaluate the genuineness of their conversion. This article argues that framing 1 John’s teaching on assurance in this way distorts its teaching by failing to recognise the epistle’s rhetorical strategy. It argues that this epistle was intended to positively cultivate assurance in its original recipients by highlighting that they had already proven their possession of salvation by their perseverance in their confession, whereas others had recently abandoned it. This invites reflection on the role of pastoral evaluation and exhortation in cultivating assurance rather than on individualistic strategies alone.

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How to Cite
Payne, Matthew. “Post-Crisis Assurance and the ‘Tests of Life’ Reading of 1 John”. Reformed Theological Review 80, no. 2 (August 1, 2021): 133–154. Accessed August 11, 2022.
Author Biography

Matthew Payne, University of Sydney

I am a PhD Student at the University of Sydney investigating the thought of William Perkins (1558-1602), with a particular focus on his doctrine of repentance. I have a BD and MA (Theology) from Moore Theological College.


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