By Jay Rogers
Published March 31, 2008
Increasing persecution by the Catholic authorities against the Scottish Reformers in the 1500s led them to adopt a form of public prayer proclamations or “covenantal lawsuits.” The intent of these prayer proclamations was to implore their enemies to come to the knowledge of salvation. If the wicked rulers refused to repent of their murders and idolatries, the Church, acting as an ecclesiastical court, was giving them over to hell. These declarations warned their oppressors to repent or suffer the consequences of facing a militant uprising led by the Church of Scotland. The text of one such proclamation reads as follows:
To the generation of Antichrist, the pestilent prelates and their Shavelings within Scotland, the Congregation of Christ Jesus within the same, sayeth,
To the end that ye shall not be abused, thinking to escape just punishment, after that ye in your blind fury have caused the blood of many to be shed, this we notify and declare unto you, that if ye proceed in this your malicious cruelty, ye shall be entreated, wheresoever ye shall be apprehended, as murderers and open enemies to God and unto mankind; and therefore, betimes cease from this blind rage. Remove first from your bands of bloody men of war, and reform yourselves to a more quiet life; and thereafter mitigate ye the authority which, without crime committed upon our part, ye have inflamed against us, or else be ye assured, that with the same measure that ye have inflamed against us, and yet intend to measure to others, it shall be measured unto you: That is, as ye by tyranny intend not only to destroy our bodies, but also by the same to hold our souls in bondage of the Devil, subject to idolatry, so shall we with all force and power, which God shall grant unto us, execute just vengeance and punishment upon you.
Yea, we shall begin that same war which God commanded Israel to execute against the Canaanites; that is, contract of peace shall never be made till ye desist from your bloody idolatry and cruel persecution of God’s children. And this we signify unto you in the name of the eternal God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, whose verity we profess, and Evangel we will have preached, and holy Sacraments rightly ministered, so long as God will assist us to gainstand your idolatry. Take this for advertisement and be not deceived.
The Scottish Covenanters refuted the idea of the “Divine Right of Kings” arguing that the King himself is in covenant with God. The people, as the king’s subjects, were also a part of the covenant. Yes, God ordained earthly rulers, but only those who were just and obedient to God’s law. If a king broke covenant with God, the people were obliged to throw off the shackles of tyranny – otherwise the people would be guilty of submitting to the unjust commandments of wicked rulers. John Knox implored the earthly rulers to submit themselves to God’s authority:
The name and the cloak of the authority, which ye pretend, will nothing excuse you in God’s presence; but rather shall ye bear double condemnation; for that ye burden God, as that his good ordinance were the cause of your iniquity. All authority which God hath established, is good and perfect, and is to be obeyed of all men, yea under the pain of damnation. But do ye not understand, that there is a great difference betwix the authority which is God’s ordinance, and the persons of those which are placed in authority? The authority and God’s ordinance can never do wrong; for it commandeth, That vice and wicked men be punished, and virtue, with virtuous men and just, be maintained. But the corrupt person placed in this authority may offend, and most commonly doth the contrary hereof; and is then the corruption of the person to be followed, by reason that he is clad with the name of the authority? Or, shall those that obey the wicked commandment of those that are placed in authority be excusable before God? Not so; not so. But the plagues and vengeances of God taken upon kings, their servants, and subjects, do witness to us the plain contrary.
Pharaoh was a king, and had his authority of God, who commanded his subjects to murder and torment the Israelites, and at last most cruelly to persecute their lives. But was their obedience (blind rage it should be called) excusable before God? The universal plague doth plainly declare that the wicked commander, and those that obeyed, were alike guilty before God. And if the example of Pharaoh shall be rejected because he was [a gentile], then let us consider the facts of Saul: He was a king anointed of God, appointed to reign over his people; he commanded to persecute David, because (as he alleged) David was a traitor and usurper of the crown; and likewise commanded Abimelech the High Priest and his fellows to be slain: But did God approve any part of this obedience? Evident it is that he did not. And think ye, that God will approve in you that which he did damn in others? Be not deceived: with God there is no such partiality. If ye obey the unjust commandments of wicked rulers, ye shall suffer God’s vengeance and just punishment with them. And therefore as ye tender your own salvation, we most earnestly require of you moderation, and that ye stay yourselves, and the fury of others, from persecuting of us, till our cause be tried in lawful and open judgment.”
The consequences of disobeying the covenant of God was suffering the severity of God’s judgment. If the persecutors of the Scottish Church refused to repent, they would suffer excommunication. Knox and his followers knew that God himself would give victory to the Church. Judgment would come on their oppressors in some way, either in the case with Ananias and Saphira being struck down immediately (Acts 5:1-11); in the case of Simon the Sorcerer in being brought to repentance (Acts 8:18-24); in the case of Herod being struck down by disease (Acts 12:23); or in the case of Elymas the Sorcerer who was incapacitated by being struck by blindness (Acts 13:8-11). Armed uprising was not the first priority of the Church. They were first to dispense with all effective means of Church discipline. But armed resistance, as a last means of self defense, was never ruled out.
John Knox, The Reformation in Scotland, pp.168,169,171,172.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Reformation
Your comments are welcome!
High Quality Paperback — 219 pages
Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy
Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.
Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.
Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the free Study Guide!
Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)