Friday, May 18, 2007

Whitefield on 1 Cor 6:11

1 Cor. 6:11 "And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God."

"Of Justification by Christ"

Two of the greatest preachers to influence this country were George Whitefield and John Wesley. Their parallel ministries produced revivals throughout the Western world in the 1700's. The two wrote letters back and forth to one another over a number of years, each trying to convince the other of his views of predestination - one a Calvinist, the other an Arminian. Whitefield's responses seemed somewhat reminiscent of Luther's response to Erasmus, ref:"Bondage of the Will" but on a smaller scale. About seven years ago, I wrote a 10-page paper on the theological sparring on predestination between Whitefield to Wesley. It was for a British Literature class (can you imagine the reaction of my buddhist professor?)

Whitefield and Wesley split denominationally, as the two theological viewpoints were found to be mutually exclusive. Whitefield being the Presbyterian poster-boy and of course Wesley for the Methodists. Perhaps there are lessons to be gleaned for today from this great debate between the two great 18th century preachers? At the time their opposing doctrinal ideologies seemed to work together as a great example of iron sharpening iron. In addition, we are in a unique position to observe the outcomes of their teaching from generation to generation. Some food for thought.
"Known unto God are all his ways from the beginning of the world. The great day will discover why the Lord permits dear Mr. Wesley and me to be of a different way of thinking." - George Whitefield
Iain Murray's fascinating insight on the exchange between Whitefield and Wesley:
Whitefield's letter to Wesley:

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