Full Text for Church History 2- Volume 38 - How did Scotland become a reformed country? (Video)

File 38 >> You haven't mentioned this, but I think I'm right in saying that Scotland is dominated by reformed theology. Is that correct? How did Scotland become a reformed country? >> Yes, David, that is correct. Scotland did become a reformed country, in the same period as we were just talking about with respect to France, and, in fact, the history of Scotland is connected to the history of France not only in the 16th century, but through many of the centuries before. Scottish history is also connected to English history, as you might imagine, as well. What people sometimes don't realize today, since Scotland and England are both a part of the United Kingdom, or what we sometimes call Great Britain, is that prior to the 17th and 18th centuries, Scotland and England were not only two separate countries with two separate dynasties, two separate families of monarchs, but they were also rivals and enemies. For almost three centuries, off and on, England and Scotland were at war with each other. During that same period of time, the late Middle Ages, the kings of England were often at war with the kings of France. So on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Scotland and France were often allied with one another. Well, what happened in the 16th century was really both a diplomatic and religious revolution in Scotland, whereby the traditional alliances with France came to an end and new relations were forged with England. And at the same time, Catholicism in Scotland came to an end and Protestantism of the reformed variety became the national religion. Now, once again, the details can get very complicated here, and I'm going to try not to confuse you by giving you too many of those details, but, nonetheless, if we don't get some appreciation for the personalities and the issues which actually divided the Scots, we're not going to understand how it is that the Protestant religion came to be put in place, because in Scotland, as everywhere else, political decisions and religious decisions went together. They were part of kind of the same mind set. People really weren't ready to separate church from state or church from society. The model continued to be one nation, one religion. Well, anyway, let me tell you a little bit about the story. If we go to the middle of the 16th century, 1542, the King of Scotland, James V, died while still a relatively young man. He left behind him a widow whose name was Mary. She was Mary of Guise. That is, she belonged to that important French Catholic family that we talked about previously. And he also left behind him a daughter, a very young daughter, less than a month old. Her name, too, was Mary, but to distinguish her from her mother, we're going to call her what she's called in the history books, and that is, Mary Queen of Scots. Mary Queen of Scots. So she assumed the throne, if you will, when she was still an infant. Because, then, the monarchy was held by a very weak monarch, obviously, in Scotland as elsewhere, there's this kind of jockeying for power. And in that jockeying for power, you had, on one side, powerful Scottish nobles who wanted to assert their own dominance over against the monarchy, and then you had, on the other side, the mother of the queen, the queen mother, Mary of Guise. Well, after some years, Mary of Guise finally obtained the regency, so that the titular ruler of Scotland was actually a French queen, herself and her family committed to Catholicism. Accordingly, Mary of Guise formed strong alliances with Catholic officials, as well as with the French, and so we have a period of time in which French interests and Catholic church interests are dominating the government in Scotland. Also on that account, those opposed to the queen mother, the Scottish nobility, were inclined then also toward Protestantism as a vehicle for expressing their antagonism to the regent. Because the regent was French, in support of the French interests, this Protestant nobility was also inclined more toward the English. So we have this kind of polarization, if you will. On the one side, the queen mother, the French, and the Catholic church; on the other side, the Scottish nobility, Protestantism, and an alliance or at least friendly relations with the English. Well, initially the queen mother and the Catholic party prevailed. Actually, an important development for Mary Queen of Scots occurred in these years, in that a marriage alliance was negotiated with France, whereby Mary Queen of Scots was engaged to the man who would become the King of France. His name was Francis. Mary Queen of Scots, actually when she was just a little girl, was sent off to France, there to be raised, in order to become an appropriate bride for her fiancee. So for a period of time between the mid 1540s and 1561, Mary Queen of Scots wasn't even in Scotland; she was in France. During those same years, there was this kind of power struggle between the between the two sides. This power struggle came to a head in the late 1550s, and, in fact, there was actually fighting between the nobility and the forces of the queen mother. The queen mother had support from French troops, but the Protestant nobility also obtained support from England. This was on account of the fact that the English had a new monarchy as of 1558. This was Elizabeth, the great Queen Elizabeth of England. We'll talk more about her later. But she was willing to support the Scottish Protestant nobility over against the French and the queen mother. And that English assistance turned the tide, as a result of which the queen mother's Catholic French party lost in Scotland. As a matter of fact, Mary of Guise, the queen mother herself, died just about the same time. So that when, about a year later, Mary Queen of Scots finally returned to Scotland in order to assume the throne and rule in her own right, she found a country that was well on its way to becoming Protestant. Now, I want to add just a couple of details here, to fill out the picture. One, why did Mary Queen of Scots return to Scotland when she was betrothed and then married to Francis, the heir to the throne? Well, actually, Francis did become King of France in 1559. Unfortunately, he died after a very short reign. As a result, Mary Queen of Scots was a widow, rather than the reigning queen of France, and her long term interests in France were not particularly good. It was for that reason that as a young lady of about 18 years old, she finally returned to her native land, to rule in her own right. The second point I wanted to make was that by the time she got back there, she found a number of Protestant clergy filling various pulpits around the land, and among those, the principal name to remember is that of John Knox. Now, John Knox is sometimes thought of as the principal theological reformer of Scotland in these years. Now, Knox is an interesting person. Not only an important one, but an interesting person. He had converted from Catholicism to Protestantism sometime in the 1540s. He was a Catholic priest, but he had paid attention to some of the early Protestant preachers in Scottish history and himself had embraced Protestantism. However, he was arrested by Mary of Guise and then and then exiled from the country, spending not quite two years as a French galley slave before finally being able to take refuge in England in the late 1540s/early 1550s, during which time he participated in the English reformation. But as we'll see, that English reformation proceeded in fits and starts, and in 1553 a Catholic succeeded to the throne of England, as a result of which Knox had to leave England. This time he took refuge on the continent and eventually ended up in Geneva, and there he imbibed his Protestantism of the reformed variety from John Calvin himself, and Knox was very much impressed by the kind of reformation Geneva had, by the kind of theology that Calvin had, so that when, in the late 1550s, Knox finally returned to Scotland, it was as a preacher of Protestantism of the reformed variety. And so it was under his influence, as well as others, that the Scottish nobility and the people of Scotland adopted reformed Protestantism, and it was a reformed Protestant church establishment that Mary Queen of Scots found already on the way to development and establishment in Scotland when she finally returned in the early 1560s to reign in her own right as the queen of Scotland. Now, Mary handled the situation wisely at first. She didn't try to suppress Protestantism, but instead, continued in her own Catholicism, with Catholic priests in her court and so forth, but tried to get along with the Protestant nobility. Now, had she been a cleverer ruler, perhaps over the long term, she might have been able to advance the interests of her own faith a little bit more effectively than she did, but in point of fact, she involved herself in some terrible personal scandals that ended up alienating her from her subjects and ultimately cost her her throne. I won't go into detail about those scandals, but at one point she was involved in an adulterous affair with a Scottish nobleman, and her husband, Mary's husband, was murdered perhaps or maybe even probably by her adulterous lover. This personal scandal gave the opportunity for her political foes among the Protestant nobility to actually force Mary to abdicate the throne, leave it to her young son, James, who then stayed behind in Scotland while Mary went into exile in England. In Scotland, her son was raised by Protestant nobles, and so Protestantism of the reformed variety was established in Scotland as the official religion. As far as Mary was concerned, Mary went to England. She was given refuge by her cousin, Elizabeth, who was the queen of England, but Mary persisted in her Catholicism while England was while Elizabeth was a Protestant. That meant that English Catholics, as well as foreign Catholics, who wanted to have a Catholic monarch in England rallied around Mary Queen of Scots and she became the center of Catholic political conspiracies directed against Elizabeth. This arrangement persisted for almost 20 years until finally, the English government had had it with Mary and she was put on trial and finally executed for her treason against Elizabeth. This was in 1587. So the story of Mary Queen of Scots is really one of I'd say personal tragedy, but her tragedy did mean the success of the Protestant reformation in Scotland.