Scotland's Covenanter martyrs who shaped faith of Ian Paisley
THEY were just two of the many victims of the Killing Times.
According to the records, as the Bladnoch river's high tide slowly encroached, the two women, knowing the end was near, took strength from their faith. Margaret McLachlan, 63, and Margaret Wilson, 18, stood firm, bound to stakes.
The widow and the teenager were Covenanter sympathisers, a cause Northern Ireland's First Minister last night revealed had shaped his ideology.
Speaking at the opening of the Wigtown Book Festival, Dr Ian Paisley was due to spend a half hour talking about the deaths of the women on 11 May, 1685. Their demise, he said, had "influenced his life."...
Christian theocracy? Are you serious? This is what Rome and Erastians want to see, and I dear say even Baptists.
"III. The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he has authority, and it is his duty, to take order that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordainances of God duly settled, administrated, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he has power to call synods, to be present at them and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God."
...Infidelity, or difference in religion, does not make void the magistrates' just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted, much less has the Pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever."
I cannot help but see how this discussion is being pushed into this sort of "army" and all the hot buttons "theocracy" ideas.
However, the SLC was pretty simple. One, its plan was to reform England and Irelands church to become more like the Church of Scotland. However, before this was just jammed down people's face at the barrel of a gun (which seems to be implied with this army language, or force imposed language), they held an Assembly to debate, discuss and consider using Scripture a Form of Church Government that was most biblical, and founded upon Scripture. This was decided after years of discussion, and months of debate, that Presbyterianism was the Christian form of government for the church. Where you get this idea of army's, force imposed, etc. is beyond me, but it is non of the documents I've read published by the assembly.
Second, the civil league portion of the covenant was designed to bring the civil magistrate (e.g., the King) to accept that even the King was subject to the Law of God. The ten commandments. If you really think this is some sort of radical view, you might want to start beheading Baptists in the southern states who want the judges to follow the ten commandments.
Dominion theology and replacement theology are an error. Jesus said My kingdom is not of this world.
While we need to vote for Godly men to run our countries, we need not try to build a theocracy. To try to build God's kingdom on earth through political means has been a seductive temptation for many, but God's Word calls believers to spread the Gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:15,16
God is calling out a people for His name by grace through faith; He is going to return one day and establish His rule over earth Himself. He does not need man to try to build His kingdom for Him through political action.
Walt wrote: It is interesting that continue to imply that the Covenanters (or anyone who covenants with man) somehow has a hidden agenda, or desires to use force. This is implied in your comments about the SLC and "force imposed".
I did not say the Covenanters had a hidden agenda, in fact it was very clear what they believed in their covenants. I agree with much they have stated in the their covenants, but not the premise which they were made, such as the SLC.
As Christians including Covenanters we cannot impose spiritual covenants on the world who is at enmity with God and whose father is Satan. The Covenanters sadly experienced the backlash of evil forces because they attempted to do such a thing, which the enemies of God despised.
How can we as Reformed Christians today go about to establish a theocracy established in a covenant in this world or nation in which we live?
Well, we can go outside the will of God, set up a Christian army which will be very few in number. Then we can make a covenant and anyone who needs our help first needs to sign a binding spiritual covenant for both Christians and non-Christians alike and then build from there. I think you can see where I am going with this.
"God will not bless a man-made reformation made with force imposed upon the people, nor can any amount of covenants change the will of God."
It is interesting that continue to imply that the Covenanters (or anyone who covenants with man) somehow has a hidden agenda, or desires to use force. This is implied in your comments about the SLC and "force imposed".
You obviously know little about the Covenanters in history, or what they have taught till today. In fact, to the contrary, the Erastians and Independents conspired to use force against them to get them to submit after they broke covenant. If you know something about the testimony of Cameron or Renwick, you know the military orders were to find them, get them to renounce the covenant, or be put to death. It was death they chose.
Sometimes I wonder just when people like you are going to stir up the audience, or media, by turning the truth around, and begin to force your anti-covenanting views on those of us desiring to covenant, and seek covenant renewal.
I anticipate we are going to be viewed as evil when those covenants are renewed among a small group, however, I can assure you that the shedding of blood will not come from us...but who will be shedding this blood? Study history!
Walt wrote: Unfortuantely, as you may agree, the amil eschatalogy will never seek out another reformation. The partial preterist or reconstructionist will, but with so much fulfilled, I'm afraid they don't see the extreme judgment that is around the corner.
As an amillenialist I put my trust in the power of God in His providence to bring reformation whether it be with few or many. God will not bless a man-made reformation made with force imposed upon the people, nor can any amount of covenants change the will of God.
The Scriptures declare, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph 6:12)
All things are degreed by the council of God's will. That is why it is important to make covenants that abide in the will of God. The kingdom of Christ is here and now amongst His people and the message of the kingdom is the gospel to be declared in all the world. Christ's kingdom is spiritual and not of this world.
"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight..." (John 18:36)
"here's a letter from the reformed presbyterian church (covenanter) in ireland to dr paisley."
it will be interesting to see the response - however regarding the Sexual Orientation Legislation. These regulations were strenuously opposed by DUP politicians. In the House of Commons, the Northern Ireland legislation was opposed by the DUP party in the Standing Committee.
In addition, Lord Morrow, the DUP chairman, moved a motion in the House of Lords on January 9, calling for the regulations to be overturned. Lord Morrowâ€™s annulment motion was supported by all the DUP peers with some Conservative support, but opposed by the Labour and Liberal Democrat peers and Baroness May Blood. Jeffrey Donaldson and the late George Dawson MLA tabled a motion in the shadow Northern Ireland Assembly (priot to devolution) on December 11, calling for the Government to withdraw the Northern Ireland Sexual Orientation Regulations. (See the Official Report of the Transitional Assembly dated December 11, 2006 on the Assembly website.) A total of 27 DUP MLAs voted with the motion. They were supported by half of the UUP MLA team at that time (the other half abstained). The motion was opposed by Sinn Fein, SDLP, the Alliance Party and the PUP. THe motion was defeated by 1.
You are amil and I'm historical post-mil so we differ eschatologically. We also differ in covenantal obligations and the duty of social covenanting to bring about reformation.
All I can say is how grateful I am for what the Covenanters did to bring about the brief reformation they did, and to lay out the excellent subordinate standards approved by the Church of Scotland. At no time have we seen a greater push for unity and uniformity in the Christian Church. Even the Apostolic churches did not lay down such an amazing "human" testimony, as we know their testimony was "inspired" by God in the Scriptures.
Mere man's testimony since the closing of the canon has never seen a higher mark than what the Covenanters and Puritans did during the second reformation, and I believe it was because they faithfully covenanted with the Lord toward unity and reformation.
Unfortuantely, as you may agree, the amil eschatalogy will never seek out another reformation. The partial preterist or reconstructionist will, but with so much fulfilled, I'm afraid they don't see the extreme judgment that is around the corner.
Walt wrote: In the millennium, nations will covenant together similar to the SLC to worship the true God, and to completely reject covenanting among men because they are sinful is wrong. With covenant breaking comes covenant renewal and repentence, as with any covenant or contract.
Walt I do not reject covenanting or making contracts in terms I know that both parties can realistically fulfill. I cannot make covenants for nations or my posterity not knowing how the outcome will be. It is a serious thing to make a covenant, especially before God.
I cannot depend on the total depravity of mankind to keep a covenant in future generations and nations that are filled with all sorts of people and mainly unbelievers and rejectors of God and His truth.
Walt, there will be no future millenium in terms of post-millenialism or pre-millenialism. The spiritual millenium is now through the preaching of the Gospel from the time of Christ's ascension until His return. When Christ returns it is the END of the world then the judgement. 2Pet.3:7-12
The way I see it, in the last days nations will covenant more and more against the Lord and His people as has always been the case to more or less of an extent. Psalm 2:1-3
"The SLC was unrealistic and depended heavily upon the actions of men, nations and their posterity to keep.
When God makes a covenant we can be sure He will keep it, but when sinful men make a covenant it will most assuredly be broken."
This is an error. Covenants are made all the time between men and nations, church and members, etc. In fact, we see many covenants made in Scripture between God and men, and men and men.
In the millennium, nations will covenant together similar to the SLC to worship the true God, and to completely reject covenanting among men because they are sinful is wrong. With covenant breaking comes covenant renewal and repentence, as with any covenant or contract.
Because some choose to ignore or reject covenanting, like yourself, because some have been sinful in breaking them does not give warrant to reject all covenanting. The best examples are to look at are those who kept the covenants, not those covenant breakers.
From your posts I can see you would not be any friend of the covenanters, or anyone who desires to covenant for reformation. Thank you for the brief discusion.
Walt wrote: Contender, I have a problem with those who used politics to create *fear* among the people regarding the SLC as a means for war (as you say above), but then silenced the Covenanters in one of the most bloody rampages in history.
I did not say the SLC was a means for war, the British Civil war was already in progress before the SLC entered in the scenes. It was the Parliamentarians who needed military assistance from the Scottish Covenanters against the Royalists, but in order for the alliance to take place the Scottish Covenanters required a covenant to be agreed upon and came to be known as the Solemn League and Covenant.
The SLC was unrealistic and depended heavily upon the actions of men, nations and their posterity to keep.
When God makes a covenant we can be sure He will keep it, but when sinful men make a covenant it will most assuredly be broken.
We should not make covenants knowing they will be broken and especially for our posterity, for who's to say they will be Christians and oblige themselves to it.
Furthermore, I do not condone the murderous killings of the Covenanters. I agree with the Covenanters who made a stand against the Prelacy and who were greatly persecuted because of it.
Actually, there is some new research coming out that shows just how political the Independents were by continuing the debates in the Assembly in the hopes that Cromwell would win the war. If you read the Parliament(s) records, you will see how the war was funded and how the Independents kept coming back with more controversies against Presbyerianism.
I'm in the process of republishing this book which gives primary source material on this debate:
"The Reason Presented by the Dissenting Brethren Against Certain Propositions Concerning Presbyterial Government, Together with the Answer of the Assembly of Divines to Those Reasons of Dissent", 1648.
However, it infuriated the Independents to no end, and with the Erastians/Catholics help they were able to watch death warrants issued for all Covenanters who supported the Presbyterian form of government and the SLC.
It was all "masked" in the name of "toleration" for all the religious sects throughout England.
However, like Contender, they used similar arguments to blame the Covenanters to start their executions. Cromwell was absolutely no friend of the Covenanters.
Contender wrote: My answer is no because on a historical account the Solemn League and Covenant was made for more than just pure religious purposes, it was also very political and meant to impose Scottish Presbyterianism upon English protestants and citizens in order to form a military pact against the Royalists and Charles I in the first British civil war, although not directly stated in the covenant it was intended by the Covenanters. True religion is not imposed on anyone,
True that political infighting was happening at the same time as the Covenanters were fighting for reform.
But this was the struggle of Papists versus Covenanters, and papists versus Puritans(Cromwell) in England.
This was a struggle by the Papists to "impose" their heretical dogmas upon the British people.
Thus was the overflow of the Reformation, viz The Papist antichrist church against the True Protestant Church.
Is it a surprise that it took this course and toll amongst a people, who fought and died for their Biblical Church's existance.
The 1746 Culloden battle was religious too, - Bonnie Prince Charlie being a Papist.
Ultimately God and His Protesatant Church won against the Papal antichrist.
Interesting response. My only reply would be that we both have a substantially different view on the nature of covenants, the purposes outlined in the SLC, and the support the civil government received during the second reformation as a result of the SLC.
We must disagree on how your views indeed did filter throughout the Erastians and Independents, and in many respects were the basis to hunt down and murder thousands of Covenanters who believed in the binding nature of the SLC.
"Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto." (Gal.3:15)
I have a problem with those who used politics to create *fear* among the people regarding the SLC as a means for war (as you say above), but then silenced the Covenanters in one of the most bloody rampages in history.
Your words are carefully chosen, but in reality, I am afraid your argument was used by others to kill men, women and children called "Covenanters". It is interesting how they were to blame, even today for the charge of, "although not directly stated in the covenant it was intended by the Covenanters."
I've studied the period extensively, and I totally reject your views that this was intended.
Walt wrote: 1) Do you believe it was ever binding as a Covenant when originally approved by the various parties?
My answer is no because from a historical account the Solemn League and Covenant was made for more than just pure religious purposes, it was also very political and meant to impose Scottish Presbyterianism upon English protestants and citizens in order to form a military pact against the Royalists and Charles I in the first British civil war, although not directly stated in the covenant it was intended by the Covenanters.
True religion is not imposed on anyone, it is spiritual and of the Spirit in Christ Jesus and not outward. The kingdom of Christ is also spiritual and it is not our duty as Christians to make the world Christian through force and war.
We are to be salt and light in the world in humility and meekness and not out to control a world steeped in sin. It is God who calls His people out of the world and has redeemed them through the precious blood of Christ.
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight
Could you be more accurate when you say, "My argument is against the Solemn League and Covenant and that it is not binding and is in fact null and void from the beginning because it is wrong on a biblical basis and historical standpoint."
Couple questions for you:
1) Do you believe it was ever binding as a Covenant when originally approved by the various parties?
2) If yes, what makes it non-binding today?
3) If no, can you give a biblical reason why a Christian covenant of its nature is non-binding to its signers and their posterity?
I'm assuming you have spent adequate time studying the context in which the Solemn League & Covenant was signed, and the intent to bring about unity and uniformity in the churches of Scotland, England and Ireland, and obviously to bring about a reformation among the civil magistrates in the three nations.
May I assume you believe the Declaration of Independence or US Constitution would be a much greater and faithful testimony of a Christian document?
Christian Raas wrote: Mr. Contender Have you ever suffered for your faith the way the Covenanters of old did? ...but I would not dare in my wildest dreams to slander them. The fact that these precious people of the past were willing to suffer persecution, torture and martyrdom for Christ is prove that their faith was real.
I did not say anything about the Covenanters nor would I slander them. My arguement is against the Solemn League and Covenant and that it is not binding and is in fact null and void from the beginning because it is wrong on a biblical basis and historical standpoint.
Contender makes a good point about the binding nature of the covenants. Can they be unilaterally broken if approved?
Details are: "THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT, for reformation and defence of religion, the honour and happiness of the King, and the peace and safety of the three kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland; agreed upon by commissioners from the Parliament and Assembly of Divines in England, with Commissioners of the Convention of Estates and General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; approved by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and by both Houses of Parliament, and the Assembly of Divines in England, and taken and subscribed by them anno 1643; and thereafter, by the said authority, taken and subscribed by all ranks in Scotland and England the same year; and ratified by act of the Parliament of Scotland anno 1644. (And again renewed in Scotland, with an acknowledgement of sins and engagements to duties, by all ranks, anno 1648, and by Parliament, 1649; and taken and subscribed by King Charles II., at Spey, June 23, 1650; and at Scoon, January 1, 1651.)"
And, they did bind "we, and our posterity after us," but that has all been rejected now.
Have you ever suffered for your faith the way the Covenanters of old did? I am not a Covenanter and I may not agree with them on every point of doctrine but I would not dare in my wildest dreams to slander them. The fact that these precious people of the past were willing to suffer persecution, torture and martyrdom for Christ is prove that their faith was real.