Oliver Cromwell: A Man Ahead of His Time
Podcast: Axe to the Root
Topics: Law, Political Studies
While the situation in our day is not perfectly similar to that in 17th century England, we have a number of Christians today who do not understand the law of God, do not care for the Law of God, and yet still advocate one or another action of the civil government. Most of their ideology of government is not Biblical – it comes from the modern popular theories, which are all children of the Enlightenment and its neopaganism.
Paganism in all its forms leads to tyranny. In the final account, our participation as Christians in the political arena without a clear understanding of the boundaries on civil government, will lead not to more righteousness, nor to more religious liberty. It will only lead to more tyranny. The Law of God must be at the foundation of our political involvement, and we must reject the temptation to expect the civil government to solve problems which are Biblically given to the family and the church. Like the Presbyterians of Cromwell’s time, we may find ourselves in alliance with the enemies of God, and eventually undermine our own efforts. In this, Cromwell should be a good example of a man who knew the limits of government. A man ahead of his time, but also a man underestimated in our own time, his views of government, and his actions in preventing tyranny may once again be a good school for us, in our own times of creeping tyranny.
Book of the Week:
– The Protector: A Vindication by Merle D’Aubigne
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Welcome to Episode 17 of Axe to the Root Podcast, part of the War Room Productions, I am Bo Marinov, and for the next 30 minutes we will be talking about Oliver Cromwell, one of the most unique figures in the history of England, one of the greatest Christian and Reformed statesmen the world has ever known, a man of enormous spiritual gifts and yet of incredible humility, a man who could make all powerful crowned heads in Europe tremble at the mention of his name, and yet his most vehement critics – men of no earthly means or power – could eat at his table without any fear of reprisal or persecution. A man who was instrumental in sentencing a king to death, was powerful enough to become king himself, was offered to become king, and refused as a matter of principle.
I should add, as a prelude to our specific topic of interest today, he was a man who, more than any other man in his time, understood liberty and defended liberty, albeit imperfectly. A man of strong convictions, he was also a man of sober assessment where the boundaries of legitimate use of power laid, and where self-government was the rule. There has never been a man of such absolute power in the history of England – and yet, there has never been a man so reluctant to use that power where it was not necessary to use it.
As a short biographical info, I will mention that Oliver Cromwell was born in a family that had some history of mercenary service, participation in government corruption, but also public service. The family line came from the Welsh mercenary and adventurer Morgan ap William through his son, Richard Williams, born exactly a century before Oliver Cromwell. Richard Williams became a protege of the powerful minister of Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, married his elder sister Katherine, and then, as part of the Cromwell family, participated in the corrupt government scheme of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. Richard’s son, Henry Williams, continued the tradition of participating in government corruption, and eventually became the largest landowner in Huntigdonshire. The wealth then was dissipated in different ways, and Robert Cromwell (Oliver’s father), was a man of modest means. He also changed his name from Williams to Cromwell.
Thus, Oliver Cromwell was not born into the Puritan faith, not did he inherit it from his fathers. Indeed, East England, where he was born, had a high concentration of Puritan congregations, and Oliver did have at least one teacher who was committed to teach him the Reformed faith. But the early years of Oliver show anything but a young man committed to any faith. To the contrary, he was inclined to sin, dissolution, and profligacy. He was sent by his father to Sydney Sussex College in Cambridge but left after the death of his father. The attempts of his richer relatives to get him to study were apparently unsuccessful, and he returned to his home to take care of his mother and his seven unwed sisters. He was 20 at the time. The next year he married Elizabeth Bourchier (BOW-shir), the daughter of a London-based Puritan merchant. The marriage provided connections to the industrial and merchant class in London, which at the time was almost entirely Puritan and Presbyterian, but in addition to it, it gave Oliver a wife who remained faithful, frugal, and level-headed even when she was declared the “Protectress of England.” Their marriage was happy, and undoubtedly, it was to her credit that the young Oliver embraced the Reformed faith with such ardor, and committed his whole life to it.
His marriage not only directed his mind and heart towards God, it also unleashed his energy towards productive service, both to his family and his community. Cromwell quickly proved that he was endowed with spiritual gifts that few of the men around him possessed. In his early 20s, while working to provide for his huge family (mother, seven unwed sisters, and a wife), he entered local politics with enthusiasm and quickly earned himself the fame of a man who doesn’t compromise on his principles. (Whether at that time all his principles were right and correct is a different issue.) For a young man, he was perhaps unusually active, he got in disputes with the local elites, and eventually was even called before the King’s Privy Council to be chastised. After these disputes, in 1631, he moved to another place, and his economic position deteriorated even more – from a member of the gentry he was now as low as a free peasant who had to till the earth to survive. For someone who, just three years earlier, was a member of Parliament, having to sell eggs and wool to earn a scanty living was a serious setback. Cromwell – now an ardent Puritan – took it without complaint, as God’s providence. He was then 31 years old. He had to struggle for 5 years before his situation improved, and then for another 5 years before he was restored in the social status of the gentry – which at the time, was important for his political aspirations and purposes. By the age of 41, he was a mature man, experienced in economic hardship and survival, responsible care for a large family, but also in political action and controversies. Apparently, also, this was the period that trained his body and mind for his future career of the greatest and most successful military commander England has ever known.
That career started in 1640, when he was 41, when King Charles I summoned another Parliament to vote on his demand for funds. The young man wasn’t there anymore; Cromwell was now a man of influence among a group of aristocrats of Puritan faith. And he wasn’t shy: He was one of the first speakers, and his first speech was a call to the King, as a condition for support from the parliament, to free from prison the Puritan preacher John Lilburne. The King dissolved the Parliament in three weeks, for which reason it was called the Short Parliament. This didn’t solve his problem with funds, so he had to call it again. And this started his downfall.
In 1642 the conflict between the King and the Parliament became a military conflict. Naturally, the majority of the trained soldiers of England – most of them aristocrats – sided with the King. The Parliament had to assemble and train its own army, comprised entirely of people who were commoners and amateurs.
And here’s where the real spiritual gifts of Oliver Cromwell were manifested and applied in practice. In fact, we can’t understand his consequent influence and total dominance of the politics of the Commonwealth unless we understand his almost supernatural ability to train and lead people into battle. All his contemporaries – whether critics or friends – agree that if any man was born for that specific time, to train a new army for the specific demands of the time, it was Oliver Cromwell. In 1642 (at the age of 43), he had no military experience whatsoever. By 1645, he had assembled his own cavalry unit, and had led it in several important but indecisive battles. In early 1645, Cromwell initiated military reforms which led to his New Model Army: an army of peasants and city workers (Roundheads, as opposed to the aristocratic Cavaliers), admitted only on the basis of their Protestant faith and their willingness to undergo severe training and obey the strictest discipline. In the words of Cromwell himself, “I would rather have a plain, russet-coated Captain, that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than what you call a Gentleman and is nothing else.” Several Puritan commanders took part in the training of this new army but Cromwell was the main influence behind it, and he specifically trained the elite of it: the cavalry troops. So strict was their training and discipline that Cromwell’s cavalry men could ride and charge in a close formation, knee to knee, without breaking ranks; and when in combat, they could reassemble their lines at command within the matter of seconds, whether for the purpose of pursuit, regrouping, or orderly retreat. Before him, such maneuvers were only possible for well-trained infantry; Cromwell combined the pack formation of the infantry with the mobility of the cavalry, creating troops that, for all practical purposes, were the fighting equivalent of modern tanks. Without their unwavering faith and their steel-quality discipline, these amateur farm boys and city boys wouldn’t be able to perform so well on the battle field.
The results came within weeks. Between 1642 and 1645, most of the battles between the King’s army and the Parliamentary forces were indecisive. In the summer of 1645, only a few months after Cromwell introduced his reforms, his Roundheads reduced to nothing the King’s veteran troop at the Battle of Naseby. Within the next several months, all the royalist strongholds in the west of England and in Wales were taken, and the King surrendered to the Scots within a few months. The Battle of Naseby was the beginning of a life-long string of only victories; after it, Cromwell would never lose a battle again, till the end of his life – so much as his enemies would start the rumor that he had sold his soul to the devil for military invincibility.
Thus ended the First English Civil War, in which the Calvinist forces in Britain – of all denominations – fought against King Charles I and defeated him. It was a victory for the Reformation – but not just a religious victory. Unlike our modern pietist churchmen, Reformation at the time meant much more than TULIP and individualist navel-gazing with the purpose of making sure we are saved. In the words of Martin Bucer, “Reformation means the complete Christianization of all of life.” The war against the King’s power was a war for self-government, liberty, a war against government regulations and taxes, against corruption and cronyism, etc. The English Puritans saw every activity of man – individual and corporate – as theological, and therefore they saw it mandatory to resist those governmental practices which followed from a pagan ideology of government.
This English Civil War could have been the last, and England could have transitioned to a Reformed Commonwealth, and remained so till our own day. The King was defeated, the Cavaliers were dispersed, the Parliamentary Army was triumphant, and the majority of the population of England was jubilant, for the initial expectations about peace under the rule of a Reformed Parliament were very optimistic. The few remaining royalist strongholds were subdued and they accepted the inevitable. But the peace was short-lived. Cromwell had to fight another civil war, and then another, and then continue fighting political battles which eventually destroyed the reputation of the Reformed leadership of England, and led to the restoration of the monarchy – and with it, to a collapse of the Reformed faith in England. Cromwell won them all; but the future was lost for Calvinism in England.
The reason he had to fight those wars was the foolishness and the perfidy of Presbyterians – English and Scottish – who at the time were more devoted to their narrow denominational interests than to the success and the flourishing of the Reformed faith in Britain. Yes, folks, I have to say it, with a heavy heart: The Second and the Third English Civil Wars, and subsequent demise of the Reformed faith in England are a huge black mark on the historical reputation of Presbyterians. There is no excuse for their conduct in those years. Their children did repair that reputation in the American Revolution. But that early generation of Presbyterians is still guilty.
But let’s get into the details of that history, and through that, let’s try to understand the views of Christian commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell, what he fought for, the liberty he believed in and defended, and how his views were far ahead of his time.
The political system at the time of the Long Parliament was such as most of the members of Parliament were not elected as today, by popular vote but by a complex system of patronage and nepotism. The members still formally “represented” their districts or counties as polities but they didn’t have to be approved by the majority of the population. In this system, under different historical circumstances, a significant share of the members of the Long Parliament were Presbyterians, a share which did not represent the real percentage of Presbyterians among the population. Presbyterians were well represented only among that upper middle class of the gentry and the aristocracy which, under the earlier laws, had political franchise. On the other hand, the new powerful institution created by Cromwell under the new military reforms – his New Model Army – was more broadly democratic in its recruiting, and therefore had a higher number of Independents. Thus, from the very beginning the Presbyterian group in Parliament harbored suspicions and distrust of the Army which they saw as a hotbed of Puritans and Independents.
Presbyterians in Parliament started negotiating with King Charles behind the back of the other Reformed groups even as early as 1643, while the First Civil War was still going on and Reformed Christians were still dying on the battlefields protecting the Parliament against the King’s armies. The purpose of those negotiations was narrowly denominational: to get Charles to agree to change the establishment of the Church of England from Episcopal to Presbyterian. I mentioned foolishness and perfidy. Foolishness, because given their previous experience with Charles, they should have known that there was not a single reason to expect that he would keep his word any longer than it suited him – certainly not for a group which was in the tiny minority and had no social power. All their power at the time came from the military power of Cromwell’s army which protected them from the King. Perfidy, because these negotiations were happening behind the back of the other Reformed groups. The Presbyterian faction, not having any social support and power of their own, were trying to play the two main powers, the Parliamentary Army and the King, in order to promote the Presbyterian agenda. There were opinions – well-founded, given the course of events during the first three years of the Civil War – that Presbyterian commanders were conducting their campaigns half-heartedly, not wanting to reach victory but only to bring Charles to the bargaining table.
The King being held in custody after the First Civil War, the Presbyterians continued negotiating with him about the establishment of the Presbyterian denomination as state religion of England – which would have meant the disenfranchisement and ultimately persecution of all the Reformed non-Presbyterian denominations and groups who had fought for the Parliament. This, of course, earned the disapproval and discontent of the majority of the Protestant population of England, and especially in London. Cromwell and his generals had to suppress a mutiny among their own troops who believed they were defrauded to fight to protect a Parliament which now wanted to take away their liberties. Cromwell was being faithful to his oaths, and he was trying to prevent a fratricidal war between the Reformed factions, caused by the betrayal of Presbyterian politicians. But the war couldn’t be averted. Encouraged by the negotiations between the King and the Presbyterians, Royalists in England and Wales revolted against the Parliamentarian rule. They were joined by a group of Scottish Presbyterian royalists; the Scottish Kirk refused to bless the revolt but it also refused to excommunicate the participants, which only encouraged them. Cromwell’s Army was now fighting on three fronts: Against English royalists, against Scottish Presbyterians, and, politically, against its own Parliament.
Despite being heavily outnumbered (the insurrectionists also brought in mercenaries from the Continent), Cromwell and his generals defeated all their military opponents, and that within less than a year. In the course of the war, though, the Army leaders became convinced that as long as Charles was alive, he would plot against the Parliament and would use lies, false promises, and manipulations to set the different Reformed groups against each other. The conclusion was obvious: the King had to be taken to court for his treason against England. He was, and on January 30, 1649, he was executed in London. England was proclaimed a Commonwealth, that is, a Republic, under the rule of the Parliament. Still no charges were brought against those Presbyterians in Parliament who conspired with Charles.
But this was not the end of the Civil Wars. Charles I was dead, but his son, Charles II, was now conspiring. He offered a Presbyterian establishment to the Scottish Covenanters, and in 1649, just a few months after the end of the Second Civil War, Scotland’s leaders pledged loyalty to Charles II as their king. In this, they were in violation of their oaths for a Commonwealth between England and Scotland. The reason: The English Independents didn’t want to allow the sort of narrow denominational establishment that the Scottish Kirk leaders and the English Presbyterian politicians demanded. The resistance against this narrow denominationalism was so strong in England that Cromwell’s close friend, the poet and writer John Milton (author of Paradise Lost), wrote the following poem expressing his, and other people’s, disappointment of the treachery of the Presbyterians, calling them the “new forcers of conscience”:
|BECAUSE you have thrown off your Prelate Lord,|
|And with stiff vows renounced his Liturgy,|
|To seize the widowed whore Plurality,|
|From them whose sin ye envied, not abhorred,|
|Dare ye for this adjure the civil sword|
|To force our consciences that Christ set free,|
|And ride us with a Classic Hierarchy,|
|Taught ye by mere A. S. and Rutherford?|
|Men whose life, learning, faith, and pure intent,|
|Would have been held in high esteem with Paul|
|Must now be named and printed heretics|
|By shallow Edwards and Scotch What-d’ye-call!|
|But we do hope to find out all your tricks,|
|Your plots and packing, worse than those of Trent,|
|That so the Parliament|
|May with their wholesome and preventive shears|
|Clip your phylacteries, though baulk your ears,|
|And succour our just fears,|
|When they shall read this clearly in your charge:|
|New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large.|
By this time, Cromwell had emerged as the undisputed leader of all Parliamentary forces. His formal superior, Lord Fairfax, withdrew from command, unwilling to participate in a campaign against Protestant Scotland. Cromwell had no choice. He decided not to wait until the combined forces of Scots and Royalists invade, and landed south of Edinburgh with only half of his army, with minimal provisions. The English were outnumbered 2 or 3 to 1 and the Scots were led by the most illustrious commander in Britain at the time, David Leslie who had served for several European nations and had fought with distinction on the battlefields of Germany and Russia. And yet, on September 3, 1650, at Dunbar in Scotland, Cromwell achieved his greatest victory ever. Severely outnumbered, without supplies and without artillery, cut off from his route for retreat, he was able to smash the Scottish army so that even preachers throughout Scotland acknowledged from the pulpits that Dunbar was God’s judgment on Scotland for her whoring with Charles II. At the cost of only 20 English killed, the Scots lost close to 3,000, and between 6 and 10,000 were taken prisoners – almost as many as the whole English army!
It is because of this victory that some modern so-called “covenanters” like to refer to Cromwell as a “tyrant.” But there is no ground for such a sentiment. Cromwell was now the master of Scotland, as he was the master of England – and yet, he ordered no reprisals, no persecutions, no executions. The churches of Scotland were left unmolested; the political elite of Scotland was allowed to continue maintaining the social order. Not for a second did Cromwell allow any bitterness against brothers in the Reformed faith control his actions; he sincerely believed they were simply deceived, and he acted like it. And while Cromwell the alleged “tyrant” made sure no one was persecuted, Charles II, for whose crown so many Scots died, made sure, right after his ascent to the throne many years later, that death sentences were issued on many religious and political leaders of Scotland, and he also tried to enforce religious conformity on Scotland. As I said earlier, the stupidity of that generation of English and Scottish Presbyterians is mind-boggling; it hard to explain such perfidy in dealing with brothers in the faith, and foolishness in fraternizing with the enemy.
For the rest of Cromwell’s life, the battlefields were quiet, but he had to act in the political arena – against Presbyterians, again, who wanted to force the conscience of others. He was a military dictator – euphemistically called Lord Protector – but we need to understand that there is a difference between a military dictator and a military dictator. After all, in our times, we had military dictators as Pinochet in Chile or Kenan Evren in Turkey, who used their absolute power to prevent a takeover by even worse dictatorial regimes or to restore order after political and social turmoil. Cromwell did use his power several times against the Parliament; always to prevent passing of laws that would bring more tyranny and destroy freedom of conscience. On the other hand, he had tolerance for critics and dissenters unusual for any powerful person at the time. Cromwell eased the laws for admission of Jews and Muslims in England, ignored the reports of secret Roman Catholic services in private homes in London, and restrained courts and governors who were a little too anxious to persecute dissenting religious groups like the Quakers. George Fax, the founder of the Quakers, who was a vehement critic of Cromwell’s regime, was even invited to Cromwell’s table a few times and was allowed to preach and prophesy on the most powerful man in England, and perhaps Europe as well. Cromwell also organized a nationwide fund-raising for the persecuted Waldensians in Savoy – a Charismatic group which in his time had a broadly Protestant/Evangelical confession. And he also intervened diplomatically to end their persecution. The only spot on his reputation of tolerance were his actions against the Irish Catholics, especially in the siege of Drogheda (DROidah). But even there, the case could be made that those actions were only directed against combatants. (I don’t want to defend him here, I personally believe that Cromwell’s actions are indefensible, but some historians show evidence to the contrary.) All in all, Cromwell seems to have been willing to use his absolute power only against other men in power, men who would be tyrants over other men’s purses and consciences. Towards the common people of England and towards his Presbyterian brethren, despite their treachery, by the standards of the time, he was the most lenient powerful man of his time.
So what were the differences between Cromwell and the English and the Scottish Presbyterians? What made the Presbyterians so committed to ignore their shared faith with the Cromwell and the Independents and conspire with crowned heads known for their profligacy, debauchery, and tyrannical inclinations?
Cromwell was a Puritan, an Independent – a position closer to the Congregational form of church government, except that in Cromwell’s time it was even more radical in favor of a less structured church hierarchy. Now, I need to mention here that my personal beliefs are closer to Presbyterianism – as long as it is true Presbyterianism, not like what we have today. (I have explained the problems with it in my article on ChristendomRestored.com, “Modern Presbyterianism and the Destruction of the Principle of Plurality of Elders.”) I believe in plurality of elders but I also think higher courts are necessary with the purpose of keeping checks on local sessions and elders who are eager to overstep their boundaries. But as biased as I am in favor of Presbyterianism, Cromwell’s views on civil government were much closer to the Bible than were the views of the Presbyterians of his time. Both groups – Independents and Presbyterians – advocated establishmentarianism; both groups believed that the civil government must be subject to the Moral Law of God, and therefore was to be preached to, prophesied to, and instructed in the way of righteousness by the church. Both groups believed that the civil government was an institution under God, not independent from religion. Both groups believed that the Gospel is not limited to the heart of man only but included man’s society and its institutions, as well as man’s economic activities.
But there was also a significant difference, and it was not in the extent of the power of the Gospel but in the limits on the different levels of government. The Presbyterian view of civil government was not based on the Reformed faith; it was a leftover from the Roman Catholic view of government: that civil government is allowed to apply its power in matter of personal conscience and self-government. True, they believed that the King must be restrained by the Law, as Samuel Rutherford wrote; but in their view, the Law placed very few restrictions on the King when it comes to personal consciences. Thus, if the King could be persuaded to establish the “correct” form of worship throughout the land – a Presbyterian polity – he would have a divine mandate to control and regulate church gatherings to conform to that polity. Thought Presbyterians of the time didn’t realize it, this was not a Biblical mandate, this came straight from the pagan views of the King as a priest. The irony of the situation that that same establishmentarianism had been used before against the, and was used during the Restoration against them again, and yet, they rooted for it when they were in power.
Cromwell, on the other hand, understood the difference between power and authority, and therefore the limits of lawful use of power by the different institutions of government. Having an absolute power concentrated in his hands, he was reluctant to use to its full extent. He saw civil government as a limited government, a sphere of government, not the government. Other governments were just as authoritative in their own spheres, and therefore immune to intervention. Self-government was to be one of them, but he also advocated for church governments to be separated from the civil government and therefore protected against trespassing from the government. His reluctance, in his years as Lord Protector, to persecute Roman Catholics who in all else remained loyal to the social order and the laws, was based on his understanding that as long as the civil laws were obeyed, the religion of a person was a matter of personal conscience, and therefore immune to government intervention. He also made steps to protect private business from government intervention; this, in itself, was not new, Protestant Netherlands had had such laws for 80 years before that, but in the context of England – still a land of feudal duties – it was a revolutionary step to declare business free of intervention. Cromwell did believe that the same moral law applied to both the individual and the state – but he also knew that the spheres of jurisdiction were to be different between the self-governing individual, the church, and the state.
Presbyterian establishmentarianism, therefore, was close to a religious, narrowly denominational totalitarian state: The government was supposed to be the father of its immature, wayward children; it was supposed to establish and subsidy the churches; and it was supposed to mandate attendance and faith, to goad people into worshiping God, even if there was no real faith in them – which, Biblically, would be an abomination, and such abomination would be presupposed in such establishmentarianism, and even imposed by law. It was a “natural law” worship of power: If there is some power in the society, it was to be used to its maximum extent to enforce uniformity of faith and creed.
Cromwell’s view was a general Christian establishment in which the government had a limited role, in which role it was supposed to follow the specific instructions given to it in the Law of God. Power was not to be used unless necessary; and even then, the civil government had boundaries and it couldn’t cross those boundaries, even if it looked like it could fix a situation. God had put a yoke around the necks of kings and rulers, and Cromwell used his power only to stop other rulers from transgressing their boundaries. He mainly used his power as an interposing magistrate to protect the people of England from the tyrannies of the King and the Presbyterian elite. As to the individual ordinary people of England, he protected them.
It was for this reason the Presbyterians were so eager and willing to conspire first with King Charles, and then with his son. Faith and creed be damned, the two parties had a common view of government, opposed to Cromwell’s view. All they needed to do it meet in the middle and create a new form of despotism based on Presbyterian establishmentarianism. Cromwell and his army were the obstacle before such totalitarian state. No wonder he is not fondly remembered by them. On the surface the religious faith was the same. When it came to applied theology and social views, Presbyterians were old priests writ large, following the same old Romanist view of government. Cromwell was far ahead of his time in understanding what social views his Reformed faith demanded – and he fought for the liberty it demanded.
When Cromwell died, they could now have their king. But he didn’t need them anymore. For another generation the Reformed faith in England would be persecuted – undoubtedly, as a judgment from God on a generation of Reformed believers who wanted a king. Only in the Glorious Revolution in 1689 Cromwell’s view prevailed. England became a broad Christian establishment of constitutional liberties and restraint upon government. Not perfect, but close. And a century later, America would continue on the same road.
While the situation in our day is not perfectly similar to that in 17th century England, we have a number of Christians today who do not understand the law of God, do not care for the Law of God, and yet still advocate one or another action of the civil government. Most of their ideology of government is not Biblical – it comes from the modern popular theories, which are all children of the Enlightenment and its neopaganism. Paganism in all its forms leads to tyranny. In the final account, our participation as Christians in the political arena without a clear understanding of the boundaries on civil government, will lead not to more righteousness, nor to more religious liberty. It will only lead to more tyranny. The Law of God must be at the foundation of our political involvement, and we must reject the temptation to expect the civil government to solve problems which are Biblically given to the family and the church. Like the Presbyterians of Cromwell’s time, we may find ourselves in alliance with the enemies of God, and eventually undermine our own efforts. In this, Cromwell should be a good example of a man who knew the limits of government. A man ahead of his time, but also a man underestimated in our own time, his views of government, and his actions in preventing tyranny may once again be a good school for us, in our own times of creeping tyranny.
The book I will recommend today is a short biography of Cromwell: The Protector: A Vindication, by Merle D’Aubigne. While there are some more comprehensive biographies of Cromwell, D’Aubigne’s strong commitment to reading history in terms only of the providence of God and the move of His Spirit is a good example of how a Christian should view history. R.J. Rushdoony, in his Systematic Theology, reserves very high praise for D’Aubigne’s philosophy of history and his view of the providence of God. You will see it in this book.
And once again, I want to mention the mission field where my heart is: Bulgaria. We have been working for over 20 years now to bring to that mission field the comprehensive Gospel of Christ, and the Law of God which would reform the very idea of government in the hearts and the minds of Bulgaria. We have had success so far, by God’s grace. The more we publish, the more success we will have. I was asked recently, how much does an average book cost to produce in Bulgaria. My answer: $3 production cost per copy. Which means, a regular gift of $10 a month will help place on the market three copies per month of sound Reformed theology, applied to all of life. When we have the critical mass of books, the civilization will be changed. BulgarianReformation.com, donate. God bless you all.