Oliver Cromwell by Dr. Reg Barrow (Exposes Cromwell as a covenant-breaker, a liar, and a dictator. Cromwell's government imprisoned and executed covenanted Presbyterian ministers -- so much for Cromwell's so-called toleration. Thomas Watson and Christopher Love were two faithful Presbyterians ministers imprisoned by Cromwell's government, though there were others also. Love was later executed on trumped up charges, but left a triumphant testimony to God's grace and glory before his martyrdom at the hands of Cromwell's murderous henchmen. Cromwell also swore the Solemn League and Covenant and then proceeded to break every point of this vow he made to God. Also sets forth some of the biblical basics of the Covenanted Reformation of the seventeenth century which gave us the Westminster Standards and the Solemn League and Covenant.
Cromwell was a scheming de facto Erastian (Hetherington, The History of the Westminster Assembly, p. 314) and military dictator (Ibid., p.312). He, much in the style of modern communist regimes, "prohibited the publication of pamphlets censuring the conduct of the new government," shortly after forcibly ejecting from parliament everyone who did not bow to his arbitrary demands (Ibid., p.312-313). (Hetherington's The History of the Westminster Assembly [cf. pp. 310-335] uncovers many other glaring inconsistencies concerning this confused individual and the damage he did to Reformation principles.) Cromwell used his military might to undermine public obedience to much that is contained in civil duties required under the first two commandments. Historically, this set in motion a chain of events that led nations to disregard their duty, as nations, to covenant with Christ and uphold his laws.
In fact, I would contend that much of the lawlessness that we see practiced today, not only in churches, but in society in general, can be seen as gaining a strong foothold (historically) because of the errors in the doctrine and practice of Cromwell and his Independents (especially the tyranny of their pretended liberty of conscience and their false unbiblical view of toleration, cf. Samuel Rutherford's Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience).Many heresies spread like the plague under Cromwell's administration, all due to his sinful disregard for the Scriptural pattern of establishing a godly state. As Fergusson (sermon, 1652) proclaimed, "Of all errors, toleration is the most dangerous and damnable, in so far as other errors do only overturn those particular truths of Scripture to which they are contrary; but by this one error (this monster of toleration) way is made to overturn all the truths contained in Scripture, and to the setting up of all errors contrary to every jot of truth; and in the mean time there shall be no power to hinder it, or take order with it." Cromwell's antichristian views of liberty, conscience, government, etc., have all come to roost among his spiritual descendents.
Even in their (Cromwell and his Independents) original espousal of a so- called liberty of conscience (which set man's conscience above God's Word) they could not be consistent. As Hetherington has again pointed out: "During their struggle with Presbyterians, they needed the support of numbers, being but few themselves, and therefore they advocated a 'boundless toleration,'- of which they did not really approve, and which, when in power themselves, they did not grant" (Ibid., p.332).
At the root, "Cromwellianism" asserts its pretended liberty of conscience "by asserting that truth cannot be ascertained with certainty; and that therefore it is best to give equal toleration to all opinions, lest a grievous mistake should be committed, and truth suppressed instead of error. This is the language of skepticism, and the principle which it promulgates is not toleration, but latitudinarian laxity and licentiousness. Such language really implies, either that God did not intend to convey saving truth in a manner intelligible to the minds of men, or that he failed in his intention" (Ibid., p.329).
In short, it is never a question of establishment versus no establishment (as any presuppositionalist knows), but rather whose establishment. There is no neutrality! And as Wagner, in his Presbyterian Political Manifesto has pointed out (p.18), "To not advocate the establishment of the one true religion is a violation of the first commandment as it applies to the state (cf. Westminster Larger Catechism question 103-105)".
Do you know what the one true religion is? If not, a summary can be found in the Westminster Confession Of Faith (original edition, original intent). This is what every nation on earth needs to adopt, this is what ever nation on earth will one day adopt. Cromwell, ultimately fought against this, and to the extent that he hindered the Protesters (faithful Covenanters), he hindered the subjugation of the nations to Christ.
"Robert Blair we had occasion to notice before. He was a man of mild and amiable temper, and was exceedingly active in endeavouring to heal the unhappy dissensions between the Resolutioners and Protesters, in which he professed to be neutral... He was a shrewd observer of character. When Cromwell came to Edinburgh, he and Guthrie and Dickson were deputed to hold a conference with the General (Cromwell-ed.). Blair, who was best acquainted with him, begged him to answer three questions. 'What was his opinion of monarchial government?' Oliver replied that he was favourable to monarchy. 'What did he think anent toleration?' He answered as confidently that he was against toleration. 'What was his judgement about the government of the Church?' 'Ah, now, Mr. Blair,' said Cromwell, 'you article me too severely; you must pardon me that I give you not a present answer to that question.' On retiring, Mr. Dickson said, 'I am glad to hear this man speak no worse;' to which Blair replied, 'If you knew him as well as I, you would not believe one word he says; for he is an egregious dissembler'" (Footnote: Memoirs of Blair, p. 107).From The Story of the Scottish Church by Thomas McCrie, pp. 248-249. Over 12,500 Puritan And Reformation Resources In Your PocketOn SWRB's New, Portable, USB Puritan Hard Drive (SWRB-PHD)!
"If you want to understand Reformed theology (i.e., the whole counsel of God) the Puritan Hard Drive is unsurpassed, outside the Bible itself. The First and Second Reformations gave us the most faithful Scriptural teaching and preaching since the time of the Apostles, and there is no other resource, outside Scripture itself, where you can find so much of God's truth as in the Puritan Hard Drive." - Pastor Greg Price. Free online books, MP3s and videos by Greg Price at http://www.swrb.com/newslett/freebook/gprice.htm.