Copied from the sermon notes of Pastor Don Elmore
May 15, 2022
Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 28:48: “Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and He shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until He have destroyed thee.”
This will be a four-part history lesson. It will tell of the chaos that occurred in Great Britain during the hundred years of the Stuart dynasty. I hope that you will find it as fascinating as I did researching for these sermons. Now we will begin with part one.
Oliver Cromwell was a Protestant Puritan Calvinist, but the crimes which he committed were many. A few of his major atrocities were:
- He replaced Parliament with his own people
- He confiscated the lands of his one-time friends, then declared them his enemies, and gave their lands to his close followers.
- He killed thousands of non-Puritan Christians who surrendered to his armies.
- His armies looted cities, killed his opponents and their wives and children.
- Ships were loaded with tens of thousands of Catholic captives from Ireland to be sold into slavery in Virginia and elsewhere in the Caribbean.
- In the 1650’s, against public outcry, he opened England’s gates to international Jewish bankers, thereby infecting England with usury for the first time in almost 400 years.
This last crime committed by Cromwell is not well known to the world. It is left out of many history books. But it is written in enough books that it is well-known among true historians.
The Puritans became the monied powers of England, possessing the lands, wealth, and titles of those they had disposed. Only a few hundred, or at the most a few thousand of these ruling Puritans, ever came to American to live among those whom they had defrauded. The few who did were coolly received. In the 1600s in America, “Yankee” was a New Englander; “Damn Yankee” was a Puritan. There was a huge difference.
The Puritans were given land and estates by Cromwell. After his death and the two-year rule by his inept son, these same radical religious Protestants restored King Charles II in 1660 back to the throne. To satisfy the pro-monarchy citizens, known as the Cavaliers, Cromwell’s judges were executed for sentencing King Charles I to be beheaded, but the rest of the Puritans kept their ill-gotten wealth. The Puritans stood solidly behind the king, and to keep his throne, the king supported the Puritans.
Who was the Puritan’s and Royalty’s common enemy? It was the Covenanters. They would deny the Puritan his newly acquired lands and the King his newly reacquired episcopacy.
A Puritan Parliament shortly restored royal supremacy in matters of religion which allowed the king to keep church lands and wealth, subject to the conditions of the financial bankers. The power of the king to choose his own bishops was restored in full strength and vigor. The king’s Prayer Book again replaced the Bible to stop Biblical accusations. Hundreds of elected presbyter ministers were turned out of their parishes. The king reciprocated by confirming the Puritan’s land ownership. Then the National Covenant of 1638 and the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643 were condemned as high treason.
Covenanters who refused to renounce their Covenant with God were mercilessly hunted by Cromwell’s dragoons. Dragoons rode into battle like the cavalry did, but they did most of their fighting when they dismounted, rather than fighting on their horses. The term “dragoon” came from the nickname for their weapon, the carbine or short musket, called “the dragon.” It referred to the fire that emits out of the gun when fired, hence the term “dragon” or dragoon soldiers.
According to the book, Fair Sunshine by Jock Purvis,
“Many, loyal to the king, were executed because they refused to say, ‘God save the King’ and give to man the honour due to the Lord’s Anointed. Its use was tantamount to confessing that the King was supreme earthly ruler in the Church of God. The Covenanters chose death rather than life when impaled on the horns of this dreadful dilemma.”
Thousands of Covenanters were executed, many on the spot. They ranged from ambushed church meetings held in the deep woods where entire congregations were killed, to the never-ending monotonous executions of individual farmers. A refusal to renounce the Covenant was punished by a shot in the head in front of their wife and children.
Hundreds were dragged on rope ends to be beheaded by axmen in Edinburgh. Scores were hanged, drawn, and quartered. Thousands died from torture, sickness, and starvation in prison. Tens of thousands had their lands confiscated and were shipped to Virginia, Barbados, Bermuda and Antigua and other colonies as slaves.
This killing bred martyrs. For each execution ten more Covenanters stepped forward. After 25 years the slaughter gradually stopped.
There is no record of more than token resistance to the incessant killings. Isolated efforts at armed warfare were instantly and overwhelmingly crushed. Those involved in this kind of action against the crown were killed and their families were executed. Still, it made no difference how many martyrs there were, failure to banish lawlessness meant that lawlessness stayed.
When at last it waned, it was not due to a softening of the hearts of those in power, it was simply economically unprofitable for the terror to continue. The lands of most wealthy Covenanters were already taken. Continued killing and deportation were leaving no one to work the land. Those who were left had nothing worth confiscating. To this day most confiscated Scots—factory, shipyard and mine workers—are stockpiled into hundreds of shabby walkup flats in cities. Few own any land in their own country. Lawlessness, not replaced by the Word, remains.
Virginia, the mother of states, was one of the colonies that profited mightily from the massive persecutions of the Covenanters (Presbyterians). She became peopled by layer upon layer of Covenanters who either fled for their lives or were sent over the Ocean as slaves. They came from all classes. Most arrived as indentured servants. Most lost everything in the service of their God, and their God blessed them for it.
Later were added thousands of French Huguenots who underwent the same trials and who also lost all their worldly possessions. Still later the “Valley Prussians” came, those who left their homes and country rather than violate the Word by being inducted into armies and being forced to kill kinsmen.
These are the ancestors of today’s Virginians, and of a great many, if not most, of the Saxon-Gaelic peoples across the rest of America. They are also the reason that the enemy followed them and dealt so harshly with them in this beautiful land.
WHO WERE THE COVENANTERS?
Simply stated, the Covenanters were those people in Scotland who signed the National Covenant in 1638. They signed this Covenant to confirm their opposition to the interference by the Stuart kings in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
By February 1638, just 18 years after the first Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, the Presbyterians in Scotland were facing accusations of treason by the king, Charles I, for their protests against the:
- Book of Canons, and
- Book of Common Prayer.
They decided that they needed some way of uniting together so they could stand firm against these attacks on their religion.
The National Covenant pledged those who swore to it to defend the true religion against innovations, such as those that had recently been introduced; that were against the:
- Teachings of the Reformers, and
- Acts of Parliament which would lead to Roman Catholicism.
This desire of the covenant was to maintain ‘the true worship of God, the majesty of our King, and the peace of the kingdom’, for the happiness of those who swore it and their children. They also promised to live lives that showed they were in covenant with God, and to be good examples to others.
The covenant was first signed in Edinburgh, Scotland and within days copies were sent around the country for other people to sign. In a few weeks it had been signed by people throughout the Lowlands of Scotland, including almost all the nobles. The covenant made slower progress in the north of Scotland, but many eventually signed it. Signing the covenant was not rebellion but an appeal to the law of the land against the tyranny of the king of England. To sign it was to say that Jesus Christ was the only head of the church, and so it should be free from any control by the king or the government.
Maybe, we should have a similar National Covenant in America! Who is the head of our churches: is it Jesus the Christ or is it the government?
THE SEVEN STUART KINGS AND QUEENS (1603-1714)
- King James VI and I (1603–1625)
- King Charles I (1625–1649)
- THE REPUBLIC OF ENGLAND (1649-1660).[King Charles I was beheaded in 1649, which suspended the Monarchy. Charles II, his son, was the next in line to rule in England; he escaped to France and Holland in exile.The Puritan Parliament ruled first, then the Puritan Oliver Cromwell took over, then his inept son, Richard, ruled for a combined total of 11 years. The Monarchy was restored when Charles II was called back by the Puritans to the throne in 1660 from exile in Holland.]
- King Charles II (1660–1685)
- King James VII and II (1685–1688)
- King William III and II (1688–1702)
- Queen Mary II (1688–1694)
- Queen Anne (1702-1714)
SHORT GENEALOGY OF THE STUART FAMILY:
James I, from Scotland, married Anne of Denmark,
Charles I, son of James I, married Henrietta Maria of France,
Charles II, son of Charles I, married Catherina of Braganza, Portugal. King Charles II fathered many illegitimate children by numerous mistresses but none by his wife.
James II, son of Charles I married Anne Hyde of England and after her death married Mary of Modena, Italy. King James II fathered many illegitimate children by numerous mistresses; he fathered two surviving girls by Anne and one surviving son out of six children by Mary.
Mary II, daughter of James II married William III of Orange, Netherlands whose uncle and father-in-law was King James II.
Anne, daughter of James II, married Prince George from Denmark but died childless.
HOW DID THEIR REIGNS END?
- James I of England; died of a stroke
- Charles I, died of a beheading
- Charles II, died of ulcers and complications
- James II, last Roman Catholic king; abdicated the throne and died in France of a cerebral hemorrhage
- William III died of pneumonia while Mary II died of smallpox
THE TROUBLED TIMES OF THE STUARTS
The first four Stuart kings put into practice their definition of the Divine Right of the monarchy. They claimed that kings get their authority from God, not from their subjects. The Divine Right of Kings became a political and religious doctrine of royal absolutism. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God. A monarch is, before birth, pre-ordained to inherit the crown.
The first Stuart king, King James VI of Scotland, also known as King James I of England, had the King James Bible produced that replaced the so-called “seditious” Geneva Bible. The Geneva Bible’s study notes on key political texts threatened his authority, so he outlawed the Geneva Bible.
But contrary to these four kings of Great Britain, there were other important men who were against the divine right of king’s doctrine. One was the “father of liberalism”, John Locke (1632-1704). He was born in the reign of the second Stuart king (King Charles I) and lived until the reign of the last Stuart monarchy (Queen Anne).
Locke, baptized as a Puritan, promoted the idea of a social contract between the ruler and his subjects and affirming the principle that the PEOPLE had the right to challenge unjust royal power. Locke’s ideas, including the principle that God gave the rights of life, liberty and property became the rally cry in the English Glorious Revolution of 1688 (King William and Queen Mary) and its aftermath, and especially in the American and French Revolutions.
Liberalism became a distinct movement in the Age of Enlightenment, gaining popularity among Western philosophers and economists. When the printing press was developed, the Roman Catholic Church actively suppressed the printing of Bibles. Men that did manage to study the Bible for themselves frequently understood the hypocrisy, revolted from the Church, and the Jews took full advantage of that situation as well because they long sought to undermine the Church. But in this new humanist revolution, men rejected the Bible as well as the Church. Turning to pagan literature, which had never protected Europe from the Jews, they fell victim to the lies of the Jews. Where is old senile Martin Luther and his book?
Johann Reuchlin became a champion for the humanist cause when he defended the right of Jews to read the Talmud and other Jewish works, which conservative leaders in Germany insisted should be banned as anti-Christian. Centuries later, the idea of God-given human rights beyond the authority of any government, initiated by the English philosopher John Locke and enshrined in the United States Declaration of Independence, represents a direct outgrowth of Christian humanist thinking.
All the pagan ideals of the Old Testament Canaanites, which were reflected in early European paganism as well as in the Talmud and Kabbalah, became the same ideals of the humanist aspect of the Reformation, which culminated in the so-called Enlightenment. The Anti-Christian concepts of liberty, fraternity, equality, lasciviousness, licentiousness, and mysticism were promoted to men by the Jews straight from the pages of the Kabbalah and other Jewish literature, and Freemasonry became the primary vehicle for that promotion.
One of these humanist reformers, following the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon, Locke sought to replace the norms of:
- Hereditary privilege,
- State religion,
- Absolute monarchy,
- The divine right of kings, and
- Traditional conservatism with representative democracy and the rule of law.
Liberals, besides John Locke, like Montesquieu, Rosseau, Voltaire, Beccaria, also ended mercantilist policies, royal monopolies and other barriers to trade, instead promoting free trade and marketization. Leaders in the British Glorious Revolution of 1688, the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789 used liberal Jewish philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of royal sovereignty.
Thomas Jefferson not only incorporated Locke’s convictions about race, slavery, and the citizens’ right into his own belief structure, he also integrated Locke’s ideas on freedom of religion. Historians have argued that Jefferson’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom shares and occasionally steals from Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration.
But is “freedom of religion” biblical? Is it okay to have churches that teach opposing gospels of salvation that were found in Arminius or Calvin and Luther? Let alone, Buddhist, Jews, Moslems, Taoists, Mormons, Spiritualists, Agnostics, Jehovah Witnesses, Atheists, and a whole host of other religions that have other gods. The first commandment from our LORD God to His people was to have no other gods, but Him. That was America’s first mistake.
Another huge error were religious toleration and the separation of church and state.
Deuteronomy 12:2, 3:
2) “Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:
3) And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.”
Religious toleration, and separation of church and state, would become one of Jefferson’s strongest political platforms and his convictions on the matter stem directly from John Locke. Thomas Jefferson, like many of the other Founding Fathers of America, often referred to Enlightenment principles, not the Bible, during the creation of their new nation.
It is curiously ironic that Thomas Jefferson established a new government and a new nation, using the philosophies of John Locke, a philosopher and physician from America’s old oppressor, Britain. John Locke was the originator, the Founding Father in a certain sense, of the many liberal ideas that Jefferson championed in the arena of this nation’s founding. Without Locke, many of Jefferson’s concepts of American identity may not have found their unique prominence.
Locke begins his Second Treatise of Government establishing truths of nature mainly that God is the creator and He did not grant superiority to any individuals in modern day society. This isn’t biblical either. For the Bible says in a multitude of places the following:
Deuteronomy 7:6: “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, ABOVE all people that are upon the face of the earth.”
Who do the pronouns, “thou”, “thy” and “thee” represent? They are an “holy people unto the LORD thy God” who has “chosen them to be a special people”; a “people that are above all the people” on the earth.
God chose His people; they didn’t choose Him. His people were the covenant people; i.e. Jacob/Israel. John Locke and Thomas Jefferson ignored this special people of Almighty God!
And they ignored something else. Who was to be the ruler of this special people of Almighty God? Did the LORD God appoint rulers who were the descendants of a certain “man” of His nation? Did God say that there was to be no king that would rule over the Israel nations?
2 Samuel 7:16: “Your dynasty and your kingdom will be secured forever before Me. Your throne will be established forever.”
Who do these three pronouns of the word “your” represent? These words in verse 16 were spoken by the prophet Nathan to whom?
2 Samuel 7:17: “According to all these words, and according to all this vison, so did Nathan speak unto David.”
3) “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn unto David My servant,
4) Thy seed will I establish for ever and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.”
Locke and Jefferson and the rest of the founding fathers did not understand that the LORD God had/has a chosen people. He was king over these people that He made a covenant with. When the LORD God’s nation asked Him if they could have a king like the rest of the nations had; i.e. a man-king, He stepped down from being their divine king.
After the failed reign of the first man-king of Israel, the LORD God told them that David would be their king. After David’s death his descendants would rule over Israel and after the split, over the House of Judah. After the House of Judah was captured, they would be the rulers over the House of Israel. The LORD would eventually in the future take the throne back from David’s descendants. This kingdom was an eternal kingdom.
The Christian kings of Europe, descendants of King David, once believed they were answerable to no one except God. They claimed that they had been chosen by God and were his representatives on earth. They were partly correct. Their big error was that these kings said that they had absolute power and could do anything they liked; but they had forgotten they had to follow God’s laws. They expected total obedience from the people they ruled, because they believed that it didn’t matter what laws they followed.
In political theory, or political philosophy, John Locke refuted the theory of the divine right of kings. He argued that all persons are endowed with natural rights to life, liberty, and property and that rulers who fail to protect those rights may be removed by the people, by force if necessary. He had to flee England when he argued against the rule of King Charles II. In the 1600s in Great Britain was a very dangerous place to live.
THE KINGS OF EUROPE WERE GOD’S CHOSEN REPRESENTATIVES
The idea that a king was God’s chosen representative reached its greatest extent in the 1600s. Britain’s Kings, James I, Charles I, Charles II and James II believed strongly in the divine right of kings. But these kings and others in Europe tried to control both the government and the church.
This was not biblical either. King Uzziah began to rule Judah when he was just 16 years old. He ruled for 52 years. He was a good king overall. Uzziah listened to the prophet Zechariah and God made him prosperous. Unfortunately, after Zechariah died, Uzziah made some terrible mistakes later in his life.
2 Chronicles 26:16-18:
16) “But when he [King Uzziah] was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.”
Burning incense on the altar was something only the priests were permitted to do. By attempting to do this himself, King Uzziah was basically saying he was above following the Law.
17) “And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:
18) And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.”
Uzziah became angry, like Charles I and II did with the Covenanters. But while Uzziah was raging at the priests standing before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. Uzziah ran from the temple in fear, because God had struck him. From that day to the day of his death, King Uzziah was a leper. He lived in a separate palace and was not allowed to enter the temple of the LORD. His son, Jothan, governed in his place.
Eventually the people ruled by these kings, (James I, Charles I, Charles II, and James II) resisted. They began to fight to gain power. This led to revolutions in England and France and in the British colonies in North America in the late 1700s. As a result, the power of the kings was taken from them. Power went to the people and their governments.
Not only did the Stuart kings believe that God wished them to be the infallible rulers of their kingdom -- they also believed that they were the spiritual heads of the Church of Scotland. This latter belief could not be accepted by the Scots. No man, not even a king, could be spiritual head of their church. Only Jesus Christ could be spiritual head of a Christian church.
This was at the center of the entire Covenanting struggle. The Scots were, and would have been, loyal to the Stuart dynasty but for that one sticking point; and from 1638, when the Covenant was signed, until the Glorious Revolution -- when Prince William of Orange of the Netherlands made a bloodless invasion of Great Britain in 1688 -- a great deal of suffering, torture, imprisonment, transportation and executions would ensue.
King Charles I had introduced the Book of Common Prayer to Scotland in 1637 to the fury and resentment of the populace. He declared that opposition to the new liturgy would be treason, and thus came about the Covenant.
There followed a period of very severe repression. Ministers with Covenanting sympathies were “outed” from their churches by the authorities and had to leave their parishes. Many continued to preach in the open air or in barns and houses. This became an offence punishable by death. Citizens who did not attend their local churches could be heavily fined, and such offenders were regarded as rebels, who could be questioned, even under torture. They could be asked to take various oaths, which not only declared loyalty to the king, but also to accept him as head of the church. Failure to take such an oath could result in execution by the muskets of the dragoons, who were scouring the districts looking for rebels.
The persecutions became more frequent and crueler on the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. As time went on more and more ordinary folk became involved, and skirmishes and battles took place against Government troops. In 1678 the Government raised an army of 6,000 Highlanders, who had no love for the Presbyterian lowlanders. This army swept through the west and south of Scotland, looting and plundering. They remained for many years, quartering themselves on the already impoverished Covenanters.
WHAT WOULD WE HAVE DONE?
If we lived at this time in history, which side would we have taken? Would we have signed the National Covenant of 1638? Or would we be on the side of King Charles I and II? Would we refuse to say, “God save the King”, i.e. Charles I and II? Would we be willing to be executed? Would we be willing to be sent to Virginia or one of the Caribbean Islands as slaves?
Now, who is the head of our churches? It’s the same question that was violently argued almost four centuries ago. Is it Jesus the Christ or is it the government? The difference is our churches are ruled by our government, while the churches of Scotland were attempted to be ruled by their government; which was the king.
The primary function of a tax-exempt organization is to act on behalf of the Government in carrying out governmentally approved policies.
IRS Code § 501C3 reads as follows:
c) List of exempt organizations —
(3) Corporations, … no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation,…or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.
While it may be appropriate for many non-profit organizations to waive their right to intervene in political campaigns, or to influence legislation, is this the right thing for a church to do?
Waiving such rights is to waive one’s freedom of speech. Waiving one’s right to influence legislation is especially problematic. The inevitable result has been that the church has abandoned its responsibility to influence their elected representatives to craft legislation that is biblical. The unchurched, and even those who are openly hostile to the church, have taken over that influence and are now seeing to it that their legislators craft statutes which are unbiblical, immoral, and unconstitutional.
When a church accepts the 501C3 status, that church:
- Waives its freedom of speech.
- Waives its freedom of religion.
- Waives its right to influence legislators and the legislation they craft.
- Waives its constitutionally guaranteed rights.
- Is no longer free to speak to the vital issues of the day.
- Becomes controlled by a spirit of fear that if it doesn’t toe the line with the IRS it will lose its tax-exempt status.
- Becomes a State-Church.
The church in America today is, by and large, not speaking to the vital issues of the day. The church has been effectively silenced. There has been a chilling effect upon the church’s freedom of speech for fear of IRS retribution should the church get out of line. The inevitable result is a moral downward spiral in the culture as the church stands mute.
This did not happen by accident, but by design, and it is something of relatively recent design. Churches were added to IRS Code § 501C3 in 1954. All one need do is analyze who is responsible for sponsoring the congressional bill to include churches in § 501C3 and it should become apparent that his agenda was not to empower the church, but to silence the church (the sponsor was a Senator from Texas who later became President after the murder of John F. Kennedy—Lyndon B. Johnson).
For a 501C3 church to openly speak out, or organize in opposition to, anything that the government declares “legal,” even if it is immoral, for example:
- Same-sex marriages,
- Mixed-race marriages,
- Mixed-race adoptions,
- Non-state credited church schools,
- Illegal foreign immigration,
- Usury banks,
Then that church will jeopardize its tax-exempt status. Lyndon Johnson was a shrewd and cunning politician who seemed to well-appreciate how easily many of the clergy would sell out.
Did the church ever need to seek permission from the government to be exempt from taxes? Were churches prior to 1954 taxable? No, churches have never been taxable. To be taxable a church would first need to be under the jurisdiction, and therefore under the taxing authority, of the government. The First Amendment clearly places the church outside the jurisdiction of the civil government: “Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
John Adams stated while he was our President, “The church is the moral compass of society.” But in order to remain a true and faithful compass, the church must remain separate and independent of the influences of that society, particularly its civil government. It must be a “free-church.” Should the church become subordinate, or in any way controlled or co-opted by the civil government, it can no longer effectively serve as that society’s moral compass. Unless it is respected, no one will listen to what it has to say.
Indeed, few citizens in any society, at any time in history, in any nation, have ever had any genuine respect for any State-Church system. The Covenanters of Scotland were willing to die for the right of their church to not have a man, the king, to be the head of it; let alone a government. State-Church systems are inevitably compromised and governed by pragmatism, rather than genuine Christian faithfulness. It should surprise no one that the 501C3 church in America has lost its prophetic voice, lost the respect it once held, and is no longer “the moral compass of society.”
“It’s impossible to have religious freedom in any nation where churches are licensed to the government.” -- Congressman George Hanson.
Our churches, unlike Scotland in the 1600s, are licensed to the government; we are doomed with only one hope. We are the people of our LORD and Savior. He will be faithful to keep the covenant that He made with our Fathers.
“Nothing new under the sun.”
To be continued.
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel.