Ewan Wilson disregards Laud’s documented in casu necessitatis flexibility with Scottish Presbyterians who refused church union eventually enforcing a devastating politico-Separatist state-religion onto the English Church. They demanded absolute compliance with their own intolerant chauvinistic politics as the only way to citizenship and church membership. They punished Dissenters mercilessly and banned church self-rule. I merely claim here that Laud ought to be given an accurate hearing according to contemporary evidence. Yet, Mr Wilson still disregards my plea asking me ambiguously for Laud’s ‘satisfactory views on Sovereign Grace and Arminianism’ instead of consulting Laud himself. That the Presbyterians outdid Laud in their Laudianism is signed and sealed in the documents of the Westminster Assembly, carefully preserved and protected by Scotsman John Durie who was strongly supported by Laud in his efforts to form a pan-European United Reformed Church with bishops and elders as equals. In Laud’s works (7 vols 1847-1860), especially Contra Fisher, we find him a stauncher Protestant than our modern so-called ‘Reformed Presbyterians’ with their counter-reformed errors concerning Natural Theology, Atonement, Justification, Sanctification and Discipline. This is not to defend Laud but to condemn worse perpetrators. However, modern intolerant common-grace/duty-faith Reformed Presbyterians now follow Wesley rather than historical Calvin. Their fashionable views of grace and Arminianism would have baffled Laud as they do me. Indeed, the writing was already on Westminster’s Walls. The downgrade into religious chaos had begun. WA members were hand-picked by Parliament from Arminians, Neonomians, Amyraldians, Reformed, Cartwrightians, Erastians, Anarchists, Aristotelians, Platonists, Ramists, Levellers, Liberals, Conservatives, opportunists, careerists and turncoats. Freedom of speech was banned and many were ignorant of Reformed doctrines. Featley, claimed by the WA as England’s greatest theologian, nevertheless remained true to his Church and was thus imprisoned until death freed him. Christopher Love, a doctrinal, not political, Presbyterian was executed for his just protests. Baxter said “most ministers and good people believed Cromwell was a vile and detestable creature”. Secular, political and military pressure dictated members’ policy and especially its Scottish members were for conscientious Puritan opposition being stamped out by force. The Westminster Confession was no substitute for the Thirty-Nine Articles because of the radical politics in it, the love of Plato and Aristotle, its emphasis on the light of nature, its greater adherence to rationalist Sharia-like discipline rather than Sola Scriptura and the members’ fear of reprisals. The Church was declared ‘malignant’ so that Denominationalism, the devil’s substitute, might appear benign.
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