that no human theme is more central in the Old Testament that that of godly rulers,
it's no wonder that people acquainted with and dedicated to following that book
care about the character, humility, and other-centeredness of their public servants.
Though I know no one in the United States who wants to impose Old Testament laws
and their penalties on this generation, everyone who believes the Bible is God-given
holy writ knows it has much to teach us, especially in the examples of David,
Solomon (the second and third kings of Old Testament Israel), lesser known faithful
kings like Josiah, Joash, and other Godly leaders of the people covenanted to
The documentary referred to in the previous Jonal about
Oliver Cromwell, the ruler of England during the "interregnum" (period
between kings) following that country's civil war, called him a "fundamentalist,"
though that term is certainly anachronistic as used. That is, there was no such
word as a designation for Christians at that time. But more accurately it also
called him a radical Christian in the sense that he wanted the established church
(the Church of England) stripped of its "unnecessary" beautiful trappings
ranging from incense to the office of bishop. He was one of the early Puritans,
as these goals suggest. Though his astere radicalism produced many injustices
like those described last time, he may have been the first western national ruler
to consider himself to be ruling on the basis of biblical principle.
VIII, king a century before Cromwell, would probably have disputed this. Having
been the first English monarch to have the title "Defender of the Faith"
bestowed by the Pope of Rome, Henry considered himself a theological scholar.
But between the two, Cromwell was more other-centered and high-minded, in my humble
opinion. Henry it was, of course, who split England from the Roman Catholic Church,
in order to take a succession of wives for the sake of producing a male heir to
the throne. To this day, however, Henry's marks on England are seen everywhere.
Though Cromwell brought the nation truly representative government by empowering
Parliament, and brought it its first genuine religious freedom (to dissent from
the Church of England), few English regard him as a hero of their history.
the most godly leader of British government was William Gladstone (1809-1898),
prime minister (four times) in the Liberal party under Queen Victoria. A website
describes him thus:
Gladstone's profound piety,
manifest in his daily study of the Bible and regular church attendance, was central
to his approach to politics. Over the course of his career, he came to understand
that liberty, understood in the context of Christian orthodoxy, was the central
political principle. He shared this conviction with House member and close friend
Lord John Acton, who saw in Gladstone a statesman inspired by the principle of
In 1867 he became leader of the Liberal Party, and
soon after served his first term as prime minister. Gladstonian Liberalism was
a coherent ideology deeply influenced by and consistent with a Christian world
view. He advocated a minimalist view of the state, always insisting that government
expenditures be pared to the bone, and he opposed measures to create additional
public agencies. In this way taxes could be cut and money left in people's pockets.
Furthermore, he argued that the needy should be helped by individuals and voluntary
organizations, not the state, for state help to the poor would only sap their
Gladstone's view of political economy was
also influenced by his faith. The market, in his view, was part of the providential
law governing human affairs, and as such ought not be restricted. Instead, he
advocated a laissez-faire approach to economics tempered with Christian charity
that would provide the opportunity for people to become prosperous.
piety took him to an opposite extreme from Cromwell: Whereas Cromwell subdued
Ireland and upheld the British ban on the Catholic Church in Ireland, Protestant
Gladstone led the move that restored religious liberty to Irish Catholics a generation
before Ireland won its political independence from Britain.
complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005
order of popularity, the Parish Pump Top 10 Church Magazine Misprints were as
10 Calvinism* - and the doctrine
of predestination - is clearly alive and well in Ft. Myers, Florida. The First
United Methodist Ash Wednesday bulletin announced that Lent was a time for us
all to ...
“...prepent of our sins.”
of the defining teachings of the theology called Calvinism is predestination
(God knows who will repent even before they are born).