Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2 July 1644 A.D. Cromwellians defeat Royalist Monarcho-Machs at Marston Moor

2 July 1644 A.D.  Cromwellians defeat Royalist Monarcho-Machs at Marston Moor.
Dr. Rusten tells the story.
Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.  Available at:
Charles I became the King of England in 1625.  He had married the Romanist daughter of King Henry IV of France, devout Romanists in a land known for slaughtering 1000s of French Huguenots. Charles I had supported the Arminians,  repressed Reformed Churchmen, repressed pulpits, supported the growing forces of Laudians, absolute monarchists, and was soft towards Romanism.
Charles I disturbed Reformed Churchmen, south and north of the Scottish border.
Resentment was growing in England.
The idea of a King as the “Head” of the Church (= Papal idea) did not set well with the Scots Presbyterians.
In 1637, Charles tossed more gasoline on the fire.  He attempted to impose himself as the “King,” “Head,” or “Governor” of the Church of Scotland.  Laud inadroitly—as usual—poured more gasoline on the fire with his inept and hapless remarks, to wit, “We’ll show you how to do real theology.”  One doesn’t say that to Scottish Reformed Churchmen, then or now.  Both tried to impose the Book of Common Prayer on the nation.  Of note, Laud was an Arminian, anti-Genevan, and a little imperialist, if not a billygoat.
The Scottish Reformed Church rebelled.  The National Covenant was signed in 1638 to defend the Reformed faith and Presbyterian government.  The revolt was on against Charles II and “Billy the Goat” Laud.
Charles, however, felt himself pinched for money to put down the revolt.  Never mind that Parliament had not been convened for years.  So, needing Parliament, he convened them for a financial outlay for the war.  But, being a hapless monarchialist, he found an entrenched breed in Parliament unwilling to collect taxes for the war.
In 1642, Charles blundered again.  He arrested four Puritan-inclined Parliamentarians.  Charles I had the support of most Anglicans high in the government along with the nobility. Largely, the Puritans and Parliamentarians were from the merchant classes. What class did John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and John Milton belong to?  Or, the English divines at the Westminster Assembly, but we digress.
The Battle at Marston Moor went down on 2 July 1644.
In the early summer, there was a siege of York. From his headquarters at Oxford, Charles II sent his son, Rupert, and 20K Royalists to York.
The Parliamentarians were forced to retreat a few miles south—to Marston Moor. On 2 July 1644,  Cromwell’s forces repelled the Absolutists in a complete rout.
The King nearwise lost his army and his wife escaped to France.
The sense of the Cromwellians emerges from a letter by Cromwell three days after the battle to the father of a fallen solider who had fallen at Marston Moor:
“Dear Sir,
It is our duty to sympathize in all mercies; and to praise the Lord together, in chastisements or trials, that so we may sorrow together.
Truly England and the Church of God hath had great fervor from the Lord, in this great victory given unto us, such as the like never since this War began.  It had all the evidences of an absolute victory ordained by the Lord’s blessing upon the Godly Party principally.  We never charged but we routed the enemy…The particulars I cannot relate now; but I believe, of twenty thousand the Prince hath not four thousand left.  Give glory, all glory, to God.
Sir, God hath taken away your eldest son by a cannon shot. It borke his leg.  We were necessitated to have it cut off, whereof he died. Sir, you know my own trials this way [his own son had been killed not long before], but the Lord supported me in this, that the Lord took him into the happiness we all pant and long for. There is your precious child full of glory, never to know sin or sorrow anymore.
The Lord be your strength: so prays,
Your faithful and loving brother,
Oliver Cromwell”
  • What circumstances justify resisting the government?
  • What biblical warrant is there for war?
  • As for the English-Scottish Civil War, which side would you have supported?
  • Was this essentially political?
  • To what degree was theology involved?
  • To what degree was Billygoat Laud involved?
  • Why did Billygoat Laud think the Scottish Presbyterians were inadequate?  We they?
  • Should the Civil Magistrate, in this case a King, be the “Head,” “Governor,” or “King” of the Church?  Why does England still retain this?  Why haven’t they reformed this?

Romans 13:1-7

1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

13 1 He willeth that we submit ourselves to Magistrates: 8 To love our neighbor: 13 To love uprightly, 14 and to put on Christ.
Let [a]every [b]soul be subject unto the higher [c]powers: [d]for there is no power but of God: and the powers that be, are [e]ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist, shall receive to themselves condemnation.
3 [f]For Magistrates are not to be feared for good works, but for evil. [g]Wilt thou then be without fear of the power? do well: so shalt thou have praise of the same.
For he is the minister of God for thy wealth: [h]but if thou do evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword for nought: for he is the minister of God to [i]take vengeance on him that doeth evil.
5 [j]Wherefore ye must be subject, not because of wrath only, but [k]also for conscience sake.
6 [l]For, for this cause ye pay also tribute: for they are God’s ministers, applying themselves for the same thing.
Give to all men therefore their duty: tribute, to whom ye owe tribute: custom, to whom custom: fear, to whom [m]fear: honor, to whom ye owe [n]honor.


  1. Romans 13:1 Now he showeth severally, what subjects owe to their Magistrates, to wit, obedience: From which he showeth that no man is free: and in such sort that it is not only due to the highest Magistrate himself, but also even to the basest, which hath any office under him.
  2. Romans 13:1 Yea, though an Apostle, though an Evangelist, though a Prophet: Chrysostom. Therefore the tyranny of the Pope over all kingdoms must down to the ground.
  3. Romans 13:1 A reason taken of the nature of the thing itself: For to what purpose are they placed in higher degree, but that the inferior should be subject unto them?
  4. Romans 13:1 Another argument of great force: Because God is author of this order: so that such as are rebels ought to know, that they make war with God himself: wherefore they cannot but purchase to themselves great misery and calamity.
  5. Romans 13:1 Be distributed: for some are greater, some smaller.
  6. Romans 13:3 The third argument taken from the end wherefore they were made, which is most profitable: for that God by this means preserveth the good and bridleth the wicked: by which words the Magistrates themselves are put in mind of that duty which they owe to their subjects.
  7. Romans 13:3 An excellent way to bear this yoke, not only without grief, but also with great profit.
  8. Romans 13:4 God hath armed the Magistrate even with a revenging sword.
  9. Romans 13:4 By whom God revengeth the wicked.
  10. Romans 13:5 The conclusion: We must obey the magistrate, not only for fear of punishment, but much more because that (although the Magistrate have no power over the conscience of man, yet seeing he is God’s minister) he cannot be resisteth by any good conscience.
  11. Romans 13:5 So far as lawfully we may: for if unlawful things be commanded us, we must answer as Peter teacheth us, It is better to obey God than men.
  12. Romans 13:6 He reckoneth up the chiefest things wherein consisteth the obedience of subjects.
  13. Romans 13:7 Obedience, and that from the heart.
  14. Romans 13:7 Reverence, (which as reason is) we must give to the Magistrate.
    Charley, J.W. “Charles I (1600-1649).” NIDCC. 212.
    D’Aubigne, J.H. Merle. The Protector: A Vindication. Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle, 1997.
    Hope, N.V. “Charles I (1600-1649).” WWCH. 152-3.
    Sanderson, Edgar. History of England and the British Empire. London: Warne, 1893.

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