Sunday, December 20, 2009

I laughed as I read Sinclair Ferguson this morning when he said:

"John Duncan, professor of Hebrew at New College, Edinburgh, once read out the words of Charles Wesley's hymn And Can it Be that I Should Gain?:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
fast bound in sin and nature's night
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light
My chains fell off my heart was free;
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee
My chains fell off my heart was free;
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.


Duncan commented quizzically, "Where's your Arminianism now, friend?" The Wesley brothers were indeed Arminian in theology (despite their conviction that many of their views were 'within a hair's breath of Calvinism [and, I might add, many of the Arminians then are more Calvinistic than many Calvinists today]). But at this point, Charles Wesley's expressions of praise are rooted in a theology borrowed from his Calvinist friend George Whitefield's preaching on the new birth.

Praise God that He has quickened our souls to the new birth as Wesley penned in the words of this hymn.

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