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argumentA Calvinist (Charles Simeon) and an Arminian (John Wesley) had this conversation over two hundred years ago and we can all learn much from it today:

Charles:  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. 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 into your heart?

John: Yes, I do indeed.

Charles:  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?

John:  Yes, solely through Christ.

Charles:  But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?

John:  No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.

Charles:  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?

John:  No.

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

John:  Yes, altogether.

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

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

Charles:  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.

From “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God” by J.I. Packer