Saturday, July 17, 2010

.Calvinism or Arminianism? Spurgeon or Wesley??

I have studied these two opposing doctrines until it seems I may lose my mind over them. There are strong arguments on either side of the aisle which can be confirmed by the fact that we have been debating for hundreds of years. Nevertheless, I am a convinced Arminian mostly because I believe strongly in the free will of man and I have trouble fitting free will into the Calvinistic belief. I also find it difficult to maintain an image of God as holy and lovely while believing he would pick some for heaven and some for hell like we used to pick teams on the playground in my childhood. However, I have met men of the other persuasion who are great men of God and I would be so pleased if I could be even half the man many of these are when it comes to having a deep, spiritual relationship with God.

I am of the Wesleyan persuasion and I have studied John Wesley’s theology extensively and find very little I disagree with. Setting all that aside, I was reading a biography of Charles Spurgeon recently and found it interesting that even though he considered Arminianism to be an outright heresy he had this to say about John Wesley:

“But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the Twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one “of whom the world was not worthy. I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or at least cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of heaven.”

I love the good spirit of these two men toward each other. In view of the fact that Arminians and Calvinists will live in the same neighborhood in heaven as they do here on earth, I think it proper to spend less energy arguing our differences and more energy joining hands to glorify Christ and build his kingdom.

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