cooperation

Timmy Brister posted an extended discourse yesterday on cooperation between Calvinists and Arminians that is well worth your time.

This morning, Timmy’s senior pastor, Tom Ascol, followed up with a quote from Charles Simeon that is too good not to repeat. Charles Simeon is talking about himself as a young calvinist minister meeting the elderly arminian, John Wesley.

A young Minister, about three or four years after he was ordained, had an opportunity of conversing familiarly with the great and venerable leader of the Arminians in this kingdom; and, wishing to improve the occasion to the uttermost, he addressed him nearly in the following words: “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, not from impertinent curiosity, but for real instruction.” Permission being very readily and kindly granted, the young Minister proceeded to ask, “Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved, that you would never have thought of turning unto God, if God had not first put [it] into your heart?”–“Yes,” says the veteran, “I do indeed.”–“And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by any thing that you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?”–“Yes, solely through Christ.”–“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.”–“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.”
The Arminian leader was so pleased with the conversation, that he made particular mention of it in his journals; notwithstanding there never afterwards was any connexion between the parties, he retained an unfeigned regard for his young inquirer to the hour of his death.
(Charles Simeon, Expository Outlines on the Whole Bible, Vol. 1: Genesis-Leviticus Preface, pp. xvii-xviii)

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