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Redeemed Sinner. Deep Roots. Southern Heart.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Impact Of The Scots-Irish On America, Part 2

In order to understand the mindset of the Scots-Irish, it is crucial to understand the history of Protestantism, and ultimately, Presbyterianism. Presbyterian is often misunderstood term. In the purest sense of the word, it describes a type of church government, known as "ecclesiastical republicanism". Basically, it is a type of representative government. But "Presbyterian" means more than that. To me, it's a culture.

A way of life.

A history of resistance to tyrants and horrible persecution, the story of the Presbyterians is one of the most gallant, heroic, sad, and heartbreaking stories in history. Presbyterians in Scotland were called Covenanters. This name comes from the numerous Scottish covenants. The first major covenant in Scottish history is the Declaration of Arbroath, the ancestor of the Declaration of Independence, written in 1320. In this Declaration, the Scots covenant that "as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule." In 1643, the National League and Covenant was written. This document stated, "That we shall sincerely, really, and constantly, through the grace of God, endeavor, in our several places and callings, the preservation of the reformed religion in the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian church), in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, against our common enemies." The whole nation of Scotland signed this document, some in their own blood.

So where did the Scots get the idea of covenantal government? This model is exhibited in II Kings 12:17. The Israelites, who were the first Covenanters, have just unseated the pagan, tyrannical ruler, Athaliah. The Bible says, "And Jehoida (the priest) made a covenant between the Lord, and the King and the people, that they should be the Lord's people: likewise between the King and the people".

You may be wondering, where do the Irish come in? ( I'm glad you asked)
James I, a great tyrant and pervert, in order to bring the Catholic Irish under control, created a colony in Ulster, or Northern Ireland, in the 17-18 centuries. Many Scottish Presbyterians came here to escape Anglican persecution. But King James had planned it this way.

Another characteristic of the Presbyterian Scots was an incredible willingness to fight. They not only knew how to fight, but they were also the greatest pastors in the world. They were Christian Sheepdogs in the purest sense of the word. (By no means were they perfect. As Godly Calvinists, they firmly believed in the total depravity of man, and they recognized this every day.) For many generations they had been used as a buffer zone, between the uncouth and pagan natives, and other people groups. This was the purpose they served in Ireland. The king was hoping that the Presbyterians would be a thorn in the flesh to the Irish. The Presbyterians took this opportunity to exercise the Great Commission. Although they never became a part of the pagan Irish culture, they preached the gospel to the natives and intermarried with them in some cases. By 1644, there was literally a covenanter army in Ulster, who kept the foiled royalists at bay.

When America was discovered, the Scots-Irish were called upon again to provide a buffer between the Indians and other settlers.

Watch for Part 3!

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