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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Charles Simeon on Common Ground

Zach Terry, friend and pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, KY, made me aware of this in a recent email. In a conversation with John Wesley, well-known Arminian, Charles Simeon tells this story: 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? Yes, I do indeed. 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? Yes, solely through Christ. But, Sir, supposing you were at 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. 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. 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. 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 in 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. (Moule, 79f) (This article can be found here.) I think Charles Simeon has left a good example for us all. And give me the latitude to say this. Have you realized that the attacks and charges be laid upon this debate are mostly coming from Arminians? Why is this? Maybe it's because as one youth minister told a student a couple months ago, "Calvinism is poisonous and heretical. It's teaching will ruin your soul." Hmmm . . . need I say anything else? Common ground. Is there any for Arminians? I hope so, but at this point, their issue is not with Calvinists but with the Bible and the Author of it. Charles Simeon's biography was written by Handley Moule. It's ISBN # is 1 85792 3405.


Blogger joe said...

rock on brother! if only we could get away with speaking so eloquent today, i would add that whole conversation to my memory. he's right, "calvinists" (i like to call myself a biblicist though) are always taken as the hostile ones, the ones whose belief is so offensive and rebellious - but isn't that what the gospel and the whole message of the bible really is? i would say so.

8/01/2005 02:11:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...

It is important that the offensiveness comes not from our presentation of the truth but from the truth itself. Unfortunately, there have been many Calvinists that I am embarrassed to know (and wish they did not say a thing), but that does not take away from the doctrinal integrity of the truth.
Human beings, especially those who pride themselves in their free will, will always find grace and sovereignty as abhorrent to them. Election and grace deal most directly against the pride of man and brings all of humanity in awe of the cross and equally undeserving of God's free grace.

8/01/2005 03:23:00 PM

Blogger Jimmy said...

That's a wonderful piece of writing by Simeon. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

8/01/2005 11:34:00 PM

Anonymous Don A. Elbourne Jr. said...

That's a wonderful quote. I heard John Piper use it in his biographical talk on Charles Simeon and meant to go back and look it up.

Brothers, We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering
Meditation on the Life of Charles Simeon

Bethlehem Conference for Pastors
April 15, 1989

btw, great blog! Keep up the good work. Thanks.

8/02/2005 11:02:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...

Yes, I have thoroughly enjoyed Piper's biographical sermons. I think it is a creative way of diffusing chronological snobbery and challenging the church today to study the lives of great men and women who God has used to make significant changes in the course of church history. I am deeply indebted and grateful to Piper for his work (especially on John G. Paton, Jonathan Edwards, and David Brainerd just to name a few).

8/03/2005 04:56:00 AM

Anonymous Don A. Elbourne Jr. said...

Amen. I too have been richly blessed by Piper's biographies. This summer I've listened to 16 and I highly recommend them.

You can download them here along with a ton of other Piper sermons:

Men of Whom the World Was Not Worthy

btw, I recently discovered your blog and have been fighting the urge to add an "Amen and amen" to almost every post. God bless you brother.

8/03/2005 07:54:00 AM

Blogger Martin Thompson said...

Thanks for posting this. The Desiring God link is bad and this is the correct one.


9/15/2006 08:54:00 AM


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