Arminians and Calvinists - Put away the daggers
I read this encounter between John Wesley and Charles Simeon, Fellow of King's College in Cambridge which occurred on Dec 20, 1784. I thought it was worthy to post for your consideration.
Simeon: "Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian; and I have been sometimes called a Calvinist; and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers. But before I consent to begin the combat, with your permission I will ask you a few questions... Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved that you would never have thought of turning to God, if God had not first put it into your heart?" Wesley: "Yes," says the veteran, "I do indeed." S: "And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by anything you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?" W: "Yes, solely through Christ." S: "But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?" W: "No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last." S: "Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself by your own power?" W: "No." S: "What, then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother's arms?" W: "Yes, altogether."
John WesleyS: "And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto His heavenly kingdom?" W: "Yes, I have no hope but in Him." S: "Then, Sir, with your leave I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election, my justification by faith, my final perseverence: it is in substance all that I hold, and as I hold it; and therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things wherein we agree." Horae Homileticae, Preface: I, xvii f. cited in J.I. Packer Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, (London: IVP, 1961), pg 13-14. What wisdom! What a grace-filled conversation! What a realisation that the ground of unity is steadier and more God-ordained that the shaky isles of aggressive discord. May it be so in all our theologising. Every blessing