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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : A Letter from George Whitefield to John Wesley: "No, dear Sir, you mistake."

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Thanks KingJimmy for your input, I was blessed to read you view and take on it.

 2007/7/30 19:32

Joined: 2007/2/10
Posts: 72
A Little Town In Iowa



I'm not much for wrangling over predestination as it seems this thread is waning... :-)

But the one thing I noticed in this response by Whitefield to Wesley (even in the first few paragraphs) is the sweet and Christian spirit with which he attempted to admonish Bro. John.

Another nice little anecdote regarding the Wesley/Whitefield conflict:

When questioned whether Mr. Wesley would be in heaven along with him, Whitefield is said to have replied, "I fear not, for he will be so near the eternal throne and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get sight of him."

Hallelujah! How many of us can say that of those we disagree with?

Could it be that "Though I have theology equal to none, yet have not Charity, I am NOTHING?" (My very loose paraphrase!)

Good question for me to ponder, anyway. I know I need more love for my brethren!

Ryan G.

 2007/7/30 20:48Profile

Joined: 2005/2/21
Posts: 417
Edmonton Alberta Cda.

 Re: A Letter from George Whitefield to John Wesley: "No, dear Sir, you mistake.&

Thankfully I have no idea behind the theology of the Calvinist, or the Armenian crowd. I just like to read God's Word, believe what it says, and allow Holy Spirit to help me understand it. Life really can be that simple.

Blessings Greg ;-)


 2007/7/30 20:52Profile


Smokey I see it as you. We should all read, study, search, pray for understanding with much fear and trembling in the scriptures, that being after we have cried out to God and ask Jesus to save our souls and put HIS SPIRIT in our hearts and determine through the Holy Spirit within our own heart what, " Thus saith the Lord". And when we do understand a truth, then we must speak it.

 2007/8/5 23:33

Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


Smokey, that's how I accidentally became a so-called Calvinist. ;-)

Yet by the grace of God I have peace with all those who preach that
[b]"as many as repent and believe may be saved," [/b]
and with all who
[b]"preach the gospel to every living creature," [/b]even if there are major distinctions, too.

May I add something for information and edification, and the promotion of loving discussion?

You write, "it really can be that simple", but I found over time my views have greatly affected the content of my prayers, the methods and message of my preaching, and the peace of my spirit. (in a good way).

For instance, when I present the gospel now I do not say, "Christ died for you, because He loves you." Instead I preach that "Christ bore the penalty of sin and the wrath of God, and His death was sufficient to pay for all who will repent of sins and believe on Him. He humbled Himself in loving obedience to His Father. Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice for sinners, because He loved and desired to save and to cleanse all who would repent and believe on His free grace. If you will repent and believe, you will be saved!"

Note how my theology changes the gospel call from an [i]offer[/i] into a [i]proclamation[/i]? I proclaim who can be saved (those who repent and believe) and tell them the means by which God saves (repentance and belief), and that if they obey, they shall be saved.

This is how I see the scripture realized, which says, "He is Savior of all, especially of them that believe." By His all-sufficient death Christ purchased the right to command all men to repent and believe on Him. And by His miracles He demonstrated His kindness towards those who approach Him in humility and faith. Praise God!!

I also pray differently now. I ask God to give people a "new will", kind of like praying for God to give your cat the will of a dog. Cats don't will to take baths but dogs freely love to jump in the sea. So I don't pray for God to "force" anyone to do what they hate, but to give dead sinners the will to repent and joyfully live in Christ.

Again, for information and edification, and the promotion of loving discussion,

 2007/8/6 3:22Profile

Joined: 2007/5/15
Posts: 231
Bowmansville Penssylvania USA


bless you brother. You seem to be the most well balanced "calvinist" I've come across. I think if someone will just for a moment take off their calvinist filter through which they see everything then they will realize that there is a beautiful harmony that takes place between the calvinist theology and the theology of Wesley.
(I say Wesley because I don't actually know what the exact teachings of Arminius are.)
For truly no man can come to the Father except he be drawn by the His Spirit but indeed there is the element that except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish. God chose me, and yet when I was drawn of the Holy Ghost to God I could have, and I was plent tempted to do so, said "no, christianity isn't worth the difficulty." Our turning from sin doesn't by any means save us for we are saved by grace through faith alone, however, repentance is absolutely necessary for one to be saved. Even Spurgeon preached things like "Turn or Burn." I saw one of the staunch calvinists just the other day quote Psalm 2 "Kiss the Son Lest He be angry" and I chuckled because it looked so contradictory to the calvinists who fuss so much saying that we can't do anything.
When someone is preaching repentance it's foolishness to come to him and say that he's preaching a works salvation. He's not. Even Jesus preached repentance. Anyway, forgive me for carrying on, I was just blessed by what I seemed to see in you latest post.

Jeff Mollman

 2007/8/6 9:03Profile

Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131


From the article:

Fourth, I shall now proceed to another head. Says the dear Mr. Wesley, "How uncomfortable a thought is this, that thousands and millions of men, without any preceding offence or fault of theirs, were unchangeably doomed to everlasting burnings?"

But who ever asserted, that thousands and millions of men, without any preceding offence or fault of theirs, were unchangeably doomed to everlasting burnings? Do not they who believe God's dooming men to everlasting burnings, also believe, that God looked upon them as men fallen in Adam? And that the decree which ordained the punishment first regarded the crime by which it was deserved? How then are they doomed without any preceding fault? Surely Mr. Wesley will own God's justice in imputing Adam's sin to his posterity. And also, after Adam fell, and his posterity in him, God might justly have passed them all by, without sending his own Son to be a saviour for any one. Unless you heartily agree to both these points, you do not believe original sin aright. If you do own them, then you must acknowledge the doctrine of election and reprobation to be highly just and reasonable. For if God might justly impute Adam's sin to all, and afterwards have passed by all, then he might justly pass by some. Turn on the right hand, or on the left; you are reduced to an inextricable dilemma. And, if you would be consistent, you must either give up the doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin, or receive the amiable doctrine of election, with a holy and righteous reprobation as its consequent. For whether you can believe it or not, the Word of God abides faithful: "The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded" (Rom. 11:7).

 2007/8/6 12:38Profile

Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


Oh no, another lengthy post.

Running2Win, thank you for the compliments about being a "balanced Calvinist". I redirect the praise to the Lord and to Puritan literature, particularly that of Joseph Alleine and Richard Baxter, who teach such a clear balance of divine sovereignty and human responsibility.

I have put Joseph Alleine's entire book, "Alarm to the Unconverted", online. It may at first scare the dickens out of most people but I have found no book that can better assure a soul of genuine salvation. For two hundred years it was the standard "tract" for sincerely concerned inquirers and is worth every moment to read.

[url=]Alarm to the Unconverted[/url]

At least read the chapters "Mistakes about Conversion" and "Marks of the Unconverted" and "Directions to the Unconverted"... life changing.

The most glorious thing about this shift in my understanding of theology is this, that I proclaim to the world a miracle: "God has required you to do the very thing you have made yourself unfit and unwilling to do, but He now offers grace to help anyone who will believe in the living Christ to help him. You must repent and believe!"

If they will repent and believe, they have seen the miracle of a changed will.

I believe that the will of a sinner is to never repent and believe unless God changes their stubborn, dead will, but it is not necessary for them to fully understand that just then. Yet, I often tell the sinner about their powerless situation and by this expose their need for grace.

"You must be born again of the Spirit. Your parents made you without your consent, and you cannot force God to birth you, either. You must become a new tree, because no bad tree can bring forth good fruit. No tree can of itself become a different type of tree. You are at the total mercy of God. But He has promised that anyone who will repent and believe on Him shall be saved. And if you are willing to repent and believe, then you have the first token of His grace upon you. Do not hesitate, consider the mercy He is showing you, softening your stony heart. There is no other name given to which men may fly, and if you desire to come to Him on His terms, He has promised that all who come to Him shall in now way be cast out."

I find this essential in protecting my listeners from false conversion. If I did not express their total self-inability AND human responsibility then some of them might think that God was accepting them BECAUSE of their repentance, rather than seeing that God has ordained REPENTANCE as the only vehicle in which a person arrives at salvation. Repentance is meritless and of the Spirit, and all may have hope because the death of Christ was sufficient for all.

Sometimes a person says, "But God isn't giving me repentance." I may tell him, "You despise common grace and ought to be ashamed. Do you read your bible out of honor for God? You could, without any special help of God. And do you humble yourself for what sins you are living in and have committed already? Heathen people have done that, and yet you will not. And do you pray often, with fear? Unsaved people know to do that, yet you harden your own heart. Look at your life - you despise God's grace and then accuse Him of being "unjust" to you. If He will save you, He will do it through repentance and belief, but if you continue in your sins, be sure that your bed is made by your own hands in hell."

JaySaved, yeah, the Whitefield article helped me so much when I first read it (and still does). Quite obviously infralapsarian, which makes sense to me. I don't yet even understand how someone can arrive at supralapsarianism, but I can't speak until I have more thoroughly searched these things out. For now, infra seems to be the blatant truth.

God bless you, brothers.

 2007/8/6 15:54Profile

Joined: 2007/6/14
Posts: 562
Indiana, US


thank you brother mike for the link to read. i will try to read this tonight when i get time. i agree with what you write, my only question that i don't get is this.

"God has required you to do the very thing you have made yourself unfit and unwilling to do, but He now offers grace to help anyone who will believe in the living Christ to help him. You must repent and believe!"

my question is does everyone have the chance to repent?? does the Holy Spirit convict the world of their sin or just the elects?? that is what i don't understand about calvinism. (i am not saying that you are calvinist or not, i am simply asking).

 2007/8/6 17:28Profile

Joined: 2007/1/9
Posts: 108


was preparing to go to Nyack College. Before I left there was one burning question I had in mind, and I went to Dr. Tozer and said, “Could you give me some advice concerning the problem of Calvinism versus Arminianism?”

And I’ll never forget the advice he gave me. At the time I thought it was rather inconclusive and not too helpful. But I listened carefully. He said, “My son, when you get to college you’re going to find that all of the boys will be gathered in a room discussing and arguing over Arminianism and Calvinism night after night after night. I’ll tell you what to do, Cliff. Go to your room and meet God. At the end of four years you’ll be way down the line and they’ll still be where they started, because greater minds than yours have wrestled with this problem and have not come up with satisfactory conclusions. Instead, learn to know God.”


 2007/8/6 18:35Profile

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