John Wesley on Christian Debate

In his Letter to a Roman Catholic, John Wesley called for an end to vitriol and slander in debate between Protestants and Catholics. Though he was known to employ terse language himself in such dialog, his words stand as a thoughtful call to remember that Christians are brothers and sisters, children of God one and all, even (and especially) when we disagree.

Now can nothing be done, even allowing us on both sides to retain our own opinions, for the softening of our hearts towards each other, the giving a check to this flood of unkindness, and restoring at least some small degree of love among our neighbours and countrymen? Do you not wish for this? Are you not fully convinced, that malice, hatred, revenge, bitterness, whether in us or in you, in our hearts or yours, are an abomination to the Lord? Be our opinions right, or be they wrong, these tempers are undeniably wrong. They are the broad road that leads to destruction, to the nethermost hell.

Let us all be thoughtful in our speech and loving in our disagreements. Neither requires us to surrender our convictions. Both require us to surrender our pride.

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