Conflict In Scotland: John Knox vs. Mary Queen Of ScotsDr. Erwin W. Lutzer | April 15, 2007
Selected highlights from this sermon
Over time, Scotland grew toward Protestantism. Luther’s documents were becoming well known, and when a man by the name of John Knox began to preach, the nation listened. Once a galley slave, he brought the Word of God in English from Reformed Geneva.
While Mary, Queen of Scots resisted, the Protestant movement progressively integrated with the state, leading to the expulsion of Catholicism. Ultimately, Scotland became a thoroughly Calvinistic heartland.
Why should anyone be interested in the Reformation? Why dig up this ancient history? Why? First of all, to be inspired. Tonight I’m going to tell you about people who died for the faith. And you have to ask yourself the question, “Would I have that much nerve? Am I willing to go to Manila? Am I willing to lay my life on the line where mosquitoes look like helicopters,” as I’m sure they do in Manila?
That’s the first thing. Be inspired by those who have gone on. Secondly, doctrine determines your destiny. Is there any doctrine in your life that you are actually willing to die for? What you believe determines where you will go forever. There are tons of people who will be in hell, not because they’re not believers. They are fervent believers, but they’ve believed the wrong thing. So that’s why we’re going to talk about the Reformation tonight, and tonight winds up the discussion of the Reformation. And I need to mach’ schnell (wie mein sagten Deutsch) because we’ve got lots to cover. I’ve got more to say than you’ll want to hear. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to chop some off at the beginning, chop some off at the end, and put some fire in the middle. That’s the agenda.
When we talk about the Reformation in Scotland, you must remember, my dear friend, that it was tied in totally with politics. How nice it would be if we said, “Oh, John Knox preached the Gospel and many people believed, and that’s the Reformation, and Scotland became this Calvinistic/Presbyterian country.” It wasn’t that neat, I can assure you. It’s complicated and sometimes pure ugly.
And another reason why I want to tell you about the story is that you might realize that God uses imperfect saints. John Knox was not a loving man. He’s not the kind of person who’d work good as a counselor. He was not a loving man. And yet, look how mightily God used him. God sometimes uses the strangest people. Sometimes He puts His hand on the wrong man and decides to use him.
Now, because it was tied in with politics, you need to understand that in Scotland, whoever was the king or whoever was the leader, that’s what the subjects had to be. When you had a Protestant king or a Protestant parliament, everybody had to be Protestant and the Mass was banned. When you had a Catholic in charge, and a Catholic parliament, suddenly everybody had to attend Mass. The same thing happened in Germany and Europe before freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.
What’s the historical context of the Reformation in Scotland? First of all, the Lollards, whom we met in the first lecture (the followers of John Wycliffe), they proclaimed the Gospel not only in England but in Scotland. Luther’s writings had come to Scotland. The fact that by 1525, an act of parliament banned Luther’s books shows that they were there. There were reform movements. People were tired of the corruption in the church. I mean there were so many stories of drunken priests and the whole bit that satires and plays were made of them. I was going to tell you about one, but we must hurry.
And then you have also the Bible. Now, originally it couldn’t be read. The Scottish bishops banned the reading of the vernacular, but in 1542, parliament allowed the use of the English Bible. So people could go to church. You couldn’t own a Bible because in those days, there were not books like we have today, most people wouldn’t. Of course, the printing press had already been invented, but you could go to church and somebody would read the Bible to you. And this, of course, spurred on the Reformation.
Then there were martyrs for the faith, people dying for their faith, and this spurred on the Reformation. You think of Patrick Henry [Editor’s note: Pastor Lutzer misspoke. This should be Patrick Hamilton]. He preached. And he preached the idea that faith makes God and man friends, justification by faith alone. This was anathema to the established church. They made so much money when a person died. He would leave all of his goods to the church so that he could have many different Masses to get him out of purgatory. Now suddenly you are telling people that they could be saved on the basis of faith. Needless to say it was strongly opposed.
Under pretense, Patrick Hamilton was taken to St. Andrew’s Church. He was condemned. He was burned as a heretic. His death was slow and agonizing. The fire was started with the wet twigs that did not burn rapidly. One witness said that he was roasted. He was not burned. Near the end he cried, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. How long shall darkness overwhelm this realm? How long wilt Thou suffer this tyranny of men?”
But his death was not in vain. Later on, a Catholic archbishop counseled, “If you burn any more,” he said to his colleagues, “let them be burned in deep cellars, for the smoke of Master Patrick Hamilton has infected as many as it blew upon.” What did Tertullian say? You know the quote: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” And the more who were killed for the faith, the more the Protestant faith grew.
And George Wishart, another martyr. He was preaching, and do you know who his bodyguard was? His bodyguard was John Knox. And John Knox, the famous reformer, was converted under the ministry of Wishart, and when Wishart was whisked to his death, Knox wanted to follow him, but Wishart said, “No,” he said, “Return to your pupils and God bless you. One is sufficient for sacrifice. It’s enough if I go to die. You don’t have to die too.”
So Knox came to saving faith in Christ. He was sent to the University of Glasgow, learned Latin, and so forth, and he began to preach. He was anointed to ministry. However, there was conflict between Catholics and Protestants, and France always defended Scotland.
Now, you must understand this for the rest of the lecture. What happened is: Scotland was Catholic, though it was beginning to go Protestant, and France was strongly Catholic, so whenever the Scottish Catholics needed help, they appealed to France. And France would send soldiers, whatever it was that they needed.
England sometimes appealed to Spain, but you see, England was beginning to turn Protestant, and when the Catholic authorities realized Scotland was beginning to turn that way, they turned to France, and they said, “Send us soldiers to put down the Protestant uprising and the Protestant Reformation.”
So what happened is, Knox became a galley slave, and had to be on this boat for the French, was very upset, lived there for 19 months on this ship, needing to row day and night, a terrible existence. Somebody threw him a statue of the Virgin Mary, that he might kiss it. He said, “Let the lady save herself. She is light enough. Let her swim.” And he threw it into the water.
Well, anyway, one thing led to another, and I am hurrying here. You’ll notice how quickly these pages are turning.
Now, because of persecution, and because Mary Tudor...Mary Tudor is Bloody Mary whom we talked about last time...she began to rule in England, and Knox had been the chaplain to young Edward. Edward, you remember, was Protestant. He was the son of Henry VIII, and he only ruled for a little while because he was poisoned by his sister, Mary, who wanted to take the throne. And as I mentioned, she became Bloody Mary. When that happened, Knox went to Geneva and spent two years with Calvin, and Calvin instructed him there. And that’s where the Geneva Bible came from. What they did is they translated the Bible into English (a number of translators) while they were there in Geneva. And that’s the Bible that the Puritans brought across with them, the Geneva Bible. And you can go to the Rotunda in Washington, where I was a few months ago, and you can see paintings of the Geneva Bible and all the Puritans looking around it and at it.
Now, Knox wrote a book which generated great controversy. It’s entitled “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.” What it was is a criticism of women rulers. He said, “No woman should ever rule any country.” Well, he was writing this because Bloody Mary was in charge of England. But he got into deep trouble later on when Bloody Mary died and her sister Elizabeth I took over. Elizabeth I wouldn’t even allow Knox back in England because of that terrible book. He wrote, you know, this monstrous “blast,” the first blast. There were to be two other blasts, but fortunately they were never written.
So here’s what happened. I’m going to tell you the story because I can’t read it to you. You have, ruling in Scotland, a woman by the name of Mary of Guise. G-U-I-S-E (...“guys” or “ghees.” I believe it’s pronounced “ghees”). And she is ruling because her husband, who is James V, dies. He’s in a war with the Protestants and he loses the war, and it was too much for him. He had a nervous breakdown, and so he died. And so she is the regent and she is ruling.
So what she wants to do now is to turn Scotland back to the Catholic faith because Protestantism was growing, and the parliament was largely Protestant. And there were two things about her that Knox disliked. The first is that she was strongly pro-Catholic and persecuted the Protestants. The second thing was she was French. And she wanted to indicate her French culture and so forth, and as a result of that, Knox did not get along well with her.
But now I need to tell you this. Here’s what happened. She dies, so Knox is very happy, and the Protestants continue now to make greater gains in Scotland. And now the question is who do we get to rule? What Catholic can come and rule and turn this clock back so that Catholicism can regain Scotland? That’s the question.
They turned to a young woman who is the daughter of Mary of Guise, and this young woman is Mary Queen of Scots. Mary Queen of Scots was born in Scotland and then she was taken to France to be educated and protected, because in Mary Queen of Scots there was the hope of continuing a Catholic monarchy in Scotland. She is there and she’s asked to marry the potential king of France, and she marries him at the age of 15 in Notre-Dame. How many of you have ever been to Notre-Dame? Oh, when you are there, do you visualize what happened? I mean Napoleon crowning himself in Notre-Dame? You have during the French Revolution the goddess of reason being brought in there. You’ve got all kinds of interesting things, and one of them is that Mary Queen of Scots, married, at the age of 15, to the potential French king there in Notre-Dame.
Well, what happens is her mother, with whom she had virtually no relationship, Mary of Guise, dies and Protestantism begins to increase in Scotland, as I mentioned, and the question is how do we snuff it out? Well, the answer is you bring Mary Queen of Scots to Scotland and put her on the throne. Snd she is Catholic and she is going to turn back the clock to Catholicism. Oh, she didn’t want to leave France. She’d been educated there. She received a lot of applause there. She was apparently very striking in her appearance. She was six feet tall, and she was adored and she was loved in France, and now she had to leave France for Scotland where she had been born. And when she left she said, “Oh France, I bid you adieu. I shall never see you again.” And I forgot to tell you her husband died. And so her husband died essentially the same year as her mother dies. And so here’s this young woman about the age of 18, she has to go to live in Scotland and become the queen of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots.
Knox knew that when that happened, Scotland was headed for trouble. On the day she arrived, it rained. In fact, it rained for four days straight. Knox wrote, “The very face of heaven did manifestly speak what comfort was brought to this country with her, namely sorrow, darkness, and impiety, for in the memory of man that day of the year was never seen more dour than the day of her arrival. The sun was not seen to shine two days before she arrived, nor two days after. God was giving us a warning.” Conflict was going to begin.
I feel so sorry for Mary Queen of Scots because she was a pawn in a chess game, in a political chess game. And I’m going to tell you about that game, and it is painful. It’s painful. I have to say in all honesty the poor thing. My heart goes out to somebody like that. She didn’t ask to be born into royalty. She didn’t ask to go to Scotland. Well, what happens there?
When she arrives at first, she does not antagonize the Protestants. She kept reforms in place. But when she was absent under Mary of Guise, and then an interlude, the Protestants had so much power they made a law that the Mass was to be banned. That was now the law of the land. She came and she didn’t keep the law. She would keep the Mass in her private chapel. So for that she was strongly criticized. People said, “You’re a law-breaker. The laws on the books of Parliament say the Mass is to be banned, and there you are. You’re celebrating the Mass.”
All right. The Protestants objected to their queen taking the Catholic Mass. She offended them by taking the Mass, and offended the Catholics for tolerating Protestantism. Knox began to preach at St. Giles Church. How many of you have been to St. Giles Church in Scotland? What a church. When you go there you have to visualize Knox preaching. And she asked to see him. They met a total of six times. She criticized his book, “The First Blast,” and Knox denounced the Catholic Mass, defended his book about women. He said that it was primarily directed toward Mary Tudor of England, and in and out, this relationship continues.
The Queen defended the Catholic church. Knox sought to show that the church was a harlot. It ended badly. Knox said later, “If there not be in her a proud mind, a crafty wit, and a hard heart against God and His truth, then my judgment fails me.” We wish that he’d have shown her a little bit of love. From what I know, that was very, very scarce in those days. Truth was everything. Love—well, if you can, work it in. Today everybody loves tolerance. We don’t care about truth. In those days, the pendulum went the opposite way.
Well, Mary needed to marry, and the reason she needed to marry is she needed an heir to the throne, and she decided to marry a man by the name of Darnley. And Knox, in St. Giles, preached and criticized the marriage. And she called to see him again. Again it did not go well. He told her she was marrying an infidel, and unfortunately, he was very right. Darnley was bisexual. He spent all of his time in brothels and in beer halls, and was not a model citizen.
Well, at any rate, here she is. She’s married to this man, and she proclaims him king. Darnley, bless him, attended a service in St. Giles to hear Knox preach. He was seated on a special throne prepared for him. All right, now get the picture. When I was in St. Giles two or three years ago, I visualized it. I went where the door was and I said, “This is probably where Darnley was seated when Knox was preaching.” And what does Knox preach on? (chuckles) He preaches on Ahab who is judged by God for not keeping Jezebel in line. Well, you talk about something going over like a screen door on a submarine, and that would be it. That would be it.
So, Darnley calls Knox, and they tough it out, and of course, nobody is getting anywhere in these discussions. The problem is that Mary Queen of Scots falls in love with another man whose name was Rizzio, and she is eating there in the Holyrood Castle in Edinburgh. Holyrood. Holy blood is what it means. She is there eating and Darnley and some Protestant nobles break into the room and they take Rizzio, and they take him into a bedroom and they stab him 56 times and he dies.
When we were in Scotland, I wanted so bad to go to the castle, but Charles and Camilla were staying there and it was off-limits to tourists. I have a score I need to settle with Charles. Go all the way to Scotland and then be told, “Oh, Charles and Camilla!”
“Hey, Charles and Camilla, we weren’t going to bother you. Just go off into a room somewhere. I need to go where Darnley killed Rizzio,” but I’ve never done that because of, you know, what’s his name? Charles and Camilla. But we did see them. We were at the castle there in Edinburgh, and suddenly all these policemen show up and everything, and this car whisks in, and Rebecca and I were so close to Prince Charles that we could have reached out and touched him, but apparently that is not good protocol, so we didn’t. And Camilla got out of one door, and Charles out of the other, and there they were, and they shook hands with this delegation, and then they went off to lunch and did not invite us. That’s another reason why I’ve got it in for Charles.
All right, so Rizzio is dead. Darnley did it. Mary Queen of Scots is not happy with what her husband did. She is pregnant. She is not happy with her husband killing her lover. So what does she do? Well, she has a child and she names him James. Incredibly important. Don’t ever forget that. She has a child. She names him James. But Darnley needs to be taken care of for having committed the murder. So what happens is they blow up his house, and he is strangled. Well, who in the world killed her husband, Darnley? Well, the answer of historians is Mary Queen of Scots was very likely in with the plot with a guy by the name of Bothwell, so she marries Bothwell and there is evidence that she and Bothwell were behind the killing of her husband, and he was killed because he killed her lover. Is this becoming a little complicated? I’m trying to be clear.
Now, after that things go from bad to worse. The baby that she has, James, is taken from her. She does not get to raise him. And she’s taken to a castle because there was a war with the Protestants and the Catholics were losing, so she’s in a castle. And all the while, there’s a huge piece of this story which I haven’t told you, which really is the critical, critical piece. But you’re getting it now, and no separate offering will even be taken. Isn’t that amazing you get all this free stuff?
You see, Queen Elizabeth I is ruling by now in England. Bloody Mary is dead. Queen Elizabeth is ruling. She rules for (What did we say?) 50 some years—46 years. She was the virgin queen. Well, what the folks in Scotland said was this, that she is ruling illegitimately because she is an illegitimate child. Remember that Queen Elizabeth... Anne Boleyn was pregnant with Queen Elizabeth before Henry VIII even divorced his first wife, so they are saying, she’s an illegitimate child; she should not be ruling. And throughout all of these years, there was one plot after another to put Mary Queen of Scots on the English throne, to overthrow Queen Elizabeth and put Mary Queen of Scots on the throne. They were cousins.
Well, Mary Queen of Scots is holed up in a castle now and she is able to escape and she musters an army of Catholics and they try to overthrow the Protestant army, and that doesn’t work, so she’s basically taken, and she goes to another castle. Fotheringhay, I believe, is the name of the castle. And that’s where she’s taken to live, and she lives there for a long, long time. And now the question is what to do with her because, as they began to read her letters and her correspondence, Queen Elizabeth had infiltrated her entourage (the entourage of her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots) and Queen Elizabeth came to the conclusion that indeed Mary Queen of Scots was plotting her death, that is plotting the death of Queen Elizabeth, and wanting to take the throne of England.
So what does Elizabeth do? I told you this last time, didn’t I? Elizabeth does not want to do this, but life is tough. She asks that she be given a number of pieces of paper, and without looking at what she was signing, she signed all of them, and one of them was the death warrant for her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots.
Mary Queen of Scots, after 18 years in captivity in Fotheringhay Castle is taken and she is brought to trial in 1586 (I hope I got that date correctly.) where she protested her innocence, but the letters that she had written condemned her. The trial was unprecedented. The trial of a queen for conspiracy to take the life of another queen, but at stake was also Catholicism versus Protestantism because Mary Queen of Scots—strongly Catholic; Elizabeth I—Protestant.
So, the execution was on February 8, 1587 in the Great Hall of Fotheringhay Castle. Mary wrote her last letter to her brother-in-law, the king of France. She asked him to pay her servants as she had no money. “Tonight, after dinner, I have been advised of my sentence. I am to be executed like a criminal at eight in the morning. I scorn death and I vow that I meet it innocent of any crime.”
The next day, she behaved with impeccable decorum because she knew that if she faltered it would immediately go into the propaganda tracts of the day. She embraced her two servants who accompanied her. She removed her black outer gown and underneath she was wearing a scarlet robe, the color of martyrdom. She was going to her death as a martyr of the Catholic church. When the executioner asked her to forgive him for what he was about to do she replied, “I forgive you with all my heart, for now I hope you shall make an end to all of my troubles.”
I don’t know if I should read this or not, but after talking about the kinds of things that you did with insects, I guess we can take anything on a Sunday evening. The executioner did not do a good job. It took three strokes of the ax before she was finally killed. I won’t say what happened next because it’s gruesome. She wanted to be buried in France but her wishes were ignored.
All right. Queen Elizabeth dies over the throne of England in 1603. The virgin queen, unmarried, no heir. Who is going to become the king of England? Who is going to be an heir to the throne but James, the son of Mary Queen of Scots. He is the next King of England and of Scotland, so you have the United Kingdom, and he unifies the Tudor and the Stuart lines, and James rules. And he rules as a Protestant because remember Mary Queen of Scots did not bring up her own child. She never had that alternative. That was mean. But he was raised by Protestants, so he was put on the throne and he rules in England.
And Mary Queen of Scots who lost in life, literally losing her head, being executed, she won in death because her son achieved what she couldn’t, namely to be the monarch of England. And every single monarch that England has had since then, including Prince Charles, is a descendant of the son of Mary Queen of Scots.
Well, who is this James? Although he was a Protestant...and remember now if you want to take your song sheet, and if you do have a question you can start thinking in terms of writing it and printing it very nicely, because in about three or four minutes we’re going to gather them. Although he was a Protestant, James VI of Scotland, and he became James I of England (same person) did persecute Puritans. It was under his rule that Puritans came because they felt that the Church of England was not sufficiently reformed. It is this James who commissioned a new translation of the Bible. About fifty scholars were brought together and over a period of months they translated what became known as the best English translation and the most widespread in all of history, the King James Version of the Bible. It’s the son of Mary Queen of Scots.
From John Knox came the impetus for the Presbyterian Church denomination. And if Scotland had not gone Protestant, as it eventually did, thoroughly, completely Protestant, England would never have been able to defend itself against the Catholics. It was really because Protestantism grew in Scotland. And Scotland eventually became the most Calvinistic/Protestant country in the world as time went on.
What about the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is the basis of the Presbyterian Church? It came about later in 1643 . What happened is there was an uprising between Scotland and England over doctrine, over the Anglican church versus the Calvinistic church and all of this conflict was going on, and they said, “What we need is a common confession for both England and Scotland.” So you have many, many divines meeting for a period of three years, and they came up with the famous Westminster Confession of Faith, which has had a huge impact upon Christian theology and is still the basis of the Presbyterian Church today. And actually the impetus here of John Knox is clearly seen, because Knox wrote a document like it which kind of became the basis for the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Now, you say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, why all this? Why this? This is an intriguing story, but what does this have to do with me or life, and so forth?” What you need to realize is that in those days, theology and truth was incredibly important. It was always said that theology was the queen of the sciences. Today, the queen is losing her crown. People don’t want doctrine. They don’t want doctrine. Grady Wilson, Billy’s associate who is in heaven now, was preaching in Texas one time, and they said, “Grady, we sure love your preaching, no doctrine or nothing.” And people don’t realize that what you believe is incredibly important. Is there a question more important than how you go to heaven, how grace is received, whether or not salvation is a free gift or whether it comes through the sacraments? There is no question that is more important than that. All other questions aside, it is so much more important than the question of how can Jesus help you to be a better businessman, or how can I get God to answer my prayers so I can become rich?
There was a family, a Muslim family, that converted to the Christian faith, and they went to a church in Texas, hoping to be inspired. And the pastor preached on the topic, “How to Have a Proper Diet So That You Could Be Healthy.” Well, that’s good, you know, to know how to be healthy and to have a proper diet. Is that why we come to church, or is it to learn the Gospel and to learn how to share the Gospel? Is it that important to this generation, or were these people just fanatics? That’s the question.
Here’s another question. Is God’s plan for the world failing because so few believe in Jesus and are saved, or is this the plan and the purpose of God? Does God elect some for eternal life, and bypass others who will eventually be condemned, or is God’s purpose failing in the world because so few believe? That’s another question that we won’t get into tonight, but you know, Paul and Jesus answered that.
Finally, I don’t know how to couch this lesson but I take this to be very, very important. Scotland today is one of the hardest mission fields in the world. Manila is open to the Gospel in comparison to Scotland. When I was in Scotland, I met some missionaries there in a church who told me that “we have been missionaries in Germany, and Germany is as hard as cement,” but he says, “We have been in Scotland for many, many years, and Germany seems soft, spiritually speaking, in comparison to Scotland.” People do not want to hear the Gospel. They want nothing to do with the Gospel or Christianity in Scotland except little pockets of believers here and there.
When I was in St. Giles Church, of course I wanted to go to the grave of John Knox. Preachers always like to go to graveyards. They have this deep conviction that they are headed there. And then there are other people who show up there too. It’s amazing, the statistics on death.
I wanted to go to the grave of John Knox, the great reformer, so what do they tell me? They say, “You go out to the parking lot, and you go to car stall number eleven, and you will see there on the pavement a little marker, and John Knox is buried under the parking lot. And if all the parking lot is filled, you can’t even find the marker unless you poke your head under the cars. So John Knox... They just decided there was a cemetery there near the church, and they needed parking... Of course, parking is important, and so they just leveled the cemetery and they paved over it, and they put a little marker there about this big. And if you know it... The average person wouldn’t have an idea what the marker is, but if you ask, John Knox is buried there. That is a good symbol of the Reformation in Europe. We just pave over the whole thing.
Do you know what’s happening in France? They are having rallies with militant atheists because the atheists say, “We can no longer simply ignore religion. We have to be active to fight against Islam.” And did you get that email about how they are having these huge rallies, and atheism is just huge, because they think to themselves, “If we’re going to fight against Islam, we have to fight against all religions, because Christianity and Islam are essentially the same thing.”
My dear friends, God has blinded the minds of Europe. They are spiritually... Apart from... Of course, there are exceptions because there are believing people and believing churches, but as nations, God has just written them off, and just said, “I’m done with you.” He has turned His back on Europe. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to evangelize.
I wonder if that could happen here. What is the secret for keeping the fire of the Gospel alive generation to generation so that we don’t lose our young people, and so that we in America do not go the same way? Because I think we are.
So by the way, pastoral staff, go up and down the aisles if there are any questions for you and get them very quickly. I didn’t realize that time has gone by so quickly. But what we need to do is to realize that we need to pray. We need to seek the face of God so that the Gospel would remain alive in our culture.
Question: How did the Presbyterians get to the point where they have totally lost their faith as a basis and their foundation? They no longer believe in the Gospel.
Answer: You are absolutely right, but not all of them. You have a number of different Presbyterian groups. Interesting. Interesting question in light of last night. Last night I was somewhere where I sat next to some folks who attend a liberal Presbyterian church, and I could say very interesting things about that. What happened is this, that in the twenties and thirties where you have liberalism, just marching along, you have many of these mainline denominations who bought into all of the liberal ideas that Jesus maybe even was God, but He’s not unique, that if you’re good... Everybody goes to heaven who is good, and there is no hell. Now, if they believe that, in some of these churches, they don’t preach it. Liberal theology which began in our seminaries, permeates the congregations in some, but there are some very hot, on-fire Presbyterian churches, because you have different ones that exist.
Question: Could you give a brief summary of the Catholic/Protestant conflict in Northern Ireland?
Answer: No, I can’t.
What other questions do you have? I don’t know too much about that conflict, but I will say this. It is very political. It isn’t as simple as simply two religions duking it out. That conflict has a huge, long history, and I really don’t feel qualified to comment on it, but it’s ugly. I think that Ian Paisley is a Christian, but some of his speeches seem to be filled with anger and a vitriolic spirit, which... I think he is changing, but years ago when you saw him it was hard to see Jesus, so it’s ugly.
Question: Who had the authority to forbid Mary Queen of Scots from raising her own son? Under what authority could someone take her son from her?
Answer: Not a pretty picture. But when little James was born, after he was about a year old, and she had to go to a castle, he was basically taken and raised by Protestants, so I don’t know who made the decision exactly, but that’s just the reality, and that should not happen. A mother should be able to raise her child. But isn’t that interesting? You look back in history and you say, “Yeah, but God ended up using him as a Protestant, you know, the King James Version of the Bible, the whole bit.” But that does not justify the wrong that was done to her. I feel sorry for Mary Queen of Scots.
Question: What factors in Scotland did the Holy Spirit use to develop the doctrinal base in the sixteenth century? Do we have that opportunity today? What factors, cultural or spiritual?
Answer: Well, what happened in Scotland was that people got together, and the doctrine was hammered out largely Calvinism from Geneva. See, when John Knox went there, he studied under Calvin for two years. He came back and that’s why the Presbyterian church in Scotland was so Calvinistic. So if you remember the lecture on Calvin that’s basically what Scotland was.
Question: Is Presbyterianism more similar to Catholicism or Protestantism?
Answer: Well, Presbyterianism is Protestantism. Yes. It is like John Knox, and so forth, in its history, but today, as we noticed, Presbyterians (some of them) have left the faith. All right?
Question: And what do you think of the emergent church and its challenge to sound doctrine? Why is it so appealing to young Christians?
Answer: The emerging church teaches us that people are interested in relationships. So from that standpoint, it teaches us something. It is a huge challenge to Christian doctrine because doctrine is downplayed in favor of relationships, and I quote the man who was instrumental in beginning, and some people say, “Well, he didn’t mean everything he said.” Well, that’s fine, but he wrote an article in which he said, “The day is going to come when doctrine is going to be like the architecture of a medieval cathedral, interesting to a few, but irrelevant.”
I’m here to tell you tonight that if that day comes, we will be on our way to become like the church in Scotland, totally dead. Unless the doctrines are preached with relevance, and with conviction, and people understand especially that cluster of doctrine that relates to Jesus Christ and salvation, and its implications, unless that is explained to people, we’ve lost the heart of everything. We want to have a wheel, but we insist that we don’t need a hub, and the spokes are lying all over the ditches. So I think the emerging church has some things to teach us, but it also has some dangers.
Now you folks have been absolutely delightful. Let me say this. Even here tonight, if there is somebody who hasn’t believed the Gospel, if you’ve never savingly believed in Jesus like Tyna has in 1990 when she accepted Christ. Don’t leave here unless you do that, because at the end of the day, it is what Jesus did for us, and the salvation that we have in His name that is the most important thing.
With that we ask you to stand while I dismiss you in prayer.
And Father we ask in Jesus’ name that you might give us the same fervor, but with love, that the reformers had for the Gospel. Help us to know that there are some things worth dying for, some things worth living for, some things worth striving for. Burn within us these convictions we ask, and lead us in the everlasting path, in Jesus’ name, Amen.