Tuesday, August 14, 2007

10 Great works of Scottish Church History: II

4. John Knox: The Scottish Reformation (Banner of Truth paperback) £6.25 from Banner of Truth Trust.
This is no unbiassed, detatched, scholarly account of events, but it is a history produced by a man at the centre of the events it desribes. John Knox was the man for the hour, a fearless man who was not afraid to say what he thought even if it was incredibly offensive to those in power. This book is imbued with that same spirit of defiance to all who oppose the cause of God and Truth. Our extract is from the early part of the book and describes a most unseemly incident:
"The Cardinal Beaton was known proud; and Gawin Dunbar, Archbishop of Glasgow was known a glorious fool... The Cardinal being in the town of Glasgow, and the Archbishop in the Castle, question rises for bearing their crosses. The Cardinal alleged, by reason of his Cardinalship.. that he should have the pre-eminence, and that his cross should not only go before, but also that it only should be borne wheresoever he was. The Archbishop lacked no reasons for maintenance of his glory. 'He was an Archbishop in his own diocese, and in his own cathedral seat and church, and therefore ought to give place to no man. The power of the Cardinal was but begged from Rome, and appertained but to his own person and not to his bishopric; for it might be that his successor should not be Cardinal. But HIS dignity was annexed with his office, and did appertain to all that ever should be Archbishops of Glasgow.'" (Pp. 60-61)
The end of all this was a fight in Glasgow Cathedral between the two cross-bearers, using the crosses as weapons!

5. J.G. Vos: 'The Scottish Covenanters' (Blue Banner Productions, paperback) £.7.95 from Free Presbyterian Bookroom.
Johannes G. Vos was the son of the great Biblical Theologian Geerhardus Vos. Johannes was a Reformed Presbyterian by conviction, and this book is full of that conviction and zeal for Christ's Crown and Covenant. It sketches the history of the Covenats and Covenanters from the Reformation under Knox to the 20th century. We have here a book that is as much an apologetic for the Reformed Presbyterians as it is a history. And it is none the worse for that! The sole headship of Christ over His Church must be maintained today in the face of a militant secularism that intrudes itself into the Church of Christ as much as the Erastinism of the Stuarts ever did. The question of the Establishment of religion is a matter on which we disagree with the Covenanters, but we can still admire their contending for the truth as they understood it.
We hold this to be one of the finest books on the subject written in recent times.
Our extract is really a summary of the book itself:
"Much of the history of the Church of Scotland after the time of Knox has been a history of a desperate struggle to maintain the spiritual independence of the Church, the principle of the sole headship of Christ over the Church, in the face of Erastian encroachments on the part of the civil power. These encroachments became most severe during the period of persecution between the Restoration and the Revolution, but were also characteristic of a large part of the period before the Second Reformation and of the period after the Revolution Settlement." (P. 208)



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