In the 1700s, although they had different opinions on a main issue of theology, two key spiritual leaders in Great Britain’s evangelical churches, George Whitefield and John Wesley, still had great respect for each other.
John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist church. George Whitefield was the Billy Graham of that day, an incredible evangelist and preacher. George Whitefield and John Wesley did not see eye-to-eye on a theology of grace. George Whitefield was a staunch Calvinist in his theology, strong on the sovereignty of God. Wesley was a staunch Arminian, strong on the free will of man to decide whether or not to receive the love of God and salvation in Jesus Christ.
There began to be some division within the evangelicals of Great Britain. Knowing what these two spiritual giants believed, people began to fall into two camps. One day, John Wesley was asked, “Will you see George Whitefield in heaven?” Wesley immediately replied, “No!” And then after a long pause, he added, “Whitefield will be at a level so close to God, that people like me will not be able to get close to him!”
Now, if ever there’s a way to diffuse a theological division in the body of Christ, that’s the spirit with which to do it. What an example for us today! We may have a thousand reasons for why we think certain people don’t “deserve” our love, but the fact is Jesus says, “Dear friends, love one another!” And that’s whether you agree with them or not.