Why can't we focus more on the ties that bind us?

Me and a friend of mine had an interesting jeepney ride two weeks ago, where we encountered a jeepney driver who was also a pastor of a local Baptist church. It was on this conversation that he started to talk about how he doesn’t believe in the ‘once saved, always saved’ teaching of Baptists.

That conversation, lead me again to read on the topic of Eternal Security and Paul Little’s account of a conversation between the Charles Simeon and John Wesley provides wisdom in responding to the question of salvation in its past, present and future implications.

It is my hope that this conversation between an Simeon and Wesley will draw us to focus more on what binds us Christians if we are to talk about our salvation:

A conversation in 1784 between Charles Simeon (a Calvinist and believer in unconditional predestination) and John Wesley (a follower of Arminus, who denied unconditional predestination) can help us understand the mystery of coming to faith.

SIMEON: Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian; and I have sometimes been 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 in your heart?

WESLEY: Yes. I do indeed.

SIMEON: 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?

WESLEY: Yes, solely through Christ.

SIMEON: But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?

WESLEY: No, I must bee saved by Christ from first to last.

SIMEON: Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other able to keep yourself by your own power?


SIMEON: What then? Are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother’s arms?

WESLEY: Yes, altogether.

SIMEON: And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you into His heavenly kingdom?

WESLEY: Yes, I have no hope but in Him.

SIMEON: Then, Sir, with your leave I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this 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, we will cordially unite in those things wherein we agree. 1

1. Simeon, Charles – as quoted by Paul Little – Know What You Believe p.101-102

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