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Theology upon our Knees

In Charles Simeon’s day, Christian thinkers were fighting. The main fight was between the Calvinists (who emphasized God’s Sovereignty and complete dependence on God for salvation) and the Arminians (who emphasized human responsibility and divine love and responsiveness).

This fight is still around today, and, unfortunately, many Christians think this is what theology is all about. Theology becomes about figuring out my own, peculiar stance on issues that Christians fight about and compiling long lists of bible verses to argue my position (and an equally long list of ‘explanations’ to explain away the other passages).

Enter the 18th and 19th Century Anglican preacher, Charles Simeon. He reminds us what theology is all about when he says:

“I bitterly regret that men will range themselves under human banners and leaders and employ themselves in converting the inspired writers into friends and partisans of their peculiar principles. Into this fault I trust I have never fallen. One thing I know, namely, that pious men, both of the Calvinistic and Arminian persuasion, approximate very nearly when they are upon their knees before God in prayer, the devout Arminian then acknowledging his total dependence upon God as strongly as the most confirmed Calvinist, and the Calvinist acknowledging his responsibility to God and his obligation to exertion in terms as decisive as the most determined Arminian. And what both these individuals are upon their knees, it is my wish to become in my writings.”

May we all do theology upon our knees, being led to a place of piety and humility. When we do this, we will see the distances between Christians shrinking.


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