From Augustine and Pelagius to Martin Luther and Desiderius Erasmus; from John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius to James White and Michael Brown, the battle between monergism and synergism rages on into the 21st century. But is there a common ground between the monergist and the synergist? Could there really be unity within the body of Christ amongst the reformed and the non-reformed? Inspite of the caricatures that are painted by each side of one another’s position, there are many reformed and non-reformed brothers that respectfully disagree on the doctrines of grace, yet they hold each other in high esteem. A classic example of this is between Charles Simeon, a Calvinist, and John Wesley, an Arminian. Here is a dialogue between the two men that should serve to be an example to all Calvinists and Arminians.
“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?
Yes, I do indeed.
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?
Yes, solely through Christ.
But, Sir, supposing you were at 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?
What then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother’s arms?
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.