Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Charles Simeon was the Pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge in the late 1700's. Though he made it clear that he was neither a Calvinist or an Arminian, his theological leanings were clearly Calvinistic. He once advised his students, "Be a Bible Christian and not a system Christian."

The great doctrinal controvery of his day centered around John Wesley the Arminian and George Whitefield the Calvinist. In that context, Charles Simeon had a meeting with John Wesley and he asked him some questions. Here is Charles Simeon's record of that meeting...

"Sir," said Simeon to Wesley, "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, not from impertinent curiousity, but for real instruction.

1.Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved that you would have never thought of turning to God if God had not first put it into your heart? "Yes, I do indeed," Wesley replied.
2.And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by anything you can do; and look for salvation solely through the bloodand righteousness of Christ? "Yes, solely through Christ."
3.But sir, supposing you were first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works? "No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last."
4.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? "No."
5.What, then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother's arms? "Yes, altogether."
6.And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto his heavenly kingdom? "Yes, I have no hope but with Him."

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 perseverance; 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."

What a great series of questions. They certainly get to the heart of the matter. This account is from Warren Wiersbe's book, "50 People Every Christian Should Know" (p.49-50).

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