that Advanced God’s Plan for History (His-Story or Providence)
For further study:
A History of God's Remarkable Providences
in Colonial New England, by
Increase Mather (father of Cotton Mather). This book
portrays what it is like to live in the continual presence of
God's providence. In our modern, scientific age, we think
that we understand much of nature and historical events, when we
really do not. For example, when lightning strikes a group
of people, why are some critically injured or killed, when
others experience no ill effects (other than perhaps a vivid
experience that they will never forget). It even has a
short section on his involvement and reporting of witches during
The following are selective, centering on the
Reformation. They illustrate how secular events, pagan kings,
and major battles are all within and because of God’s plan.
For further study, see the references below or above.
The great divide of history:
In the West, events of history are dated B.C. (Before Christ)*
and A.D. (Anno Domini) which are initials of the Latin
words for these categories. More recently, an attempt has
been made to substitute B.C.E. (before the common era) and C.E.
(Common Era), but this move is superficial to hide its intent to
remove Christ from the dating. Interestingly, this
original categorization has gradually made penetrated into the
histories of Oriental countries. B.C. and A.D. literally
shout that history is His-story! By this dating, virtually
everyone acknowledges Christ in history.
*B.C. is the English
"Before Christ" because the original designation was limited to
A.D. "B.C." is a later application as the universal use of
Latin began to wane.
Preparation of the Greco-Roman World and Mind
for the Gospel of Jesus Christ
the beginning was the logos,
and the logos was with God, and the
logos was God (Gospel of John 1:1).
"And the logos became flesh and
dwelt among us" (John 1:14).
with Heraclitus in the 5th and 6th centuries B.C.,
logos became a
central concept in critical thinking in Greek philosophy.
Since Heraclitus said, "You can never step into the same river
twice, he needed a background of all the flux that he saw to
provide stability and coherence to this ever-changing world.
For the later Stoics, this logos
was a central concept, ""the account which governs everything."
Logos can also be translated
"word", "account", "plan", "formula", "measure", "proportion",
"reckoning," "logic," "ratio," and "rational." Thus, when
the gospel-writer John made the two declarations above. the
learned Greco-Roman mind was familiar with this term, but which
declarations startled in their novelty and profundity.
(This is not to say that Christianity grew out of Greek thought.
God forbid! But, it is to say that the logos
was a familiar concept in this period of time. Like Jesus
fulfilled Israel's expectations of Messiah in unexpected ways,
so He made concrete and personal the Greek logos.
Alexander the Great, 356 B.C.-323 B.C.
Usually listed as
one of the ten greatest military commanders in history,
Alexander conquered most of the Mediterranean area and eastward
into India. His conquests made Greek the common language of this
large geographic area, which was also most of the “civilized”
world of that time. This common language made the spread of
Christianity by Paul, the Apostles, and others far more rapid
than would have been possible with many languages and dialects.
While Alexander was immoral and a bloodthirsty man of his times,
nevertheless, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like
the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs
27 B. C. - 180 A. D. The period of relative peace throughout
most of Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa that
allowed the spread of the Gospel immediately during and after
the period of the Book of Acts.
Constantine, the first Christian
emperor of Rome founded an Eastern site for the capitol of Rome
in 330 A.D and called it (of course) Constantinople. It
lasted until 1453 when it was successfully attacked by Muslims.
It was an empire consciously intending to be a "Christian"
political system with Jesus Christ as head of the state.
While the intention was Biblical and godly, its practical
implementation had many flaws. For example, the emperor
(there were a total of 88) claimed to be the representative of
Christ in state, but he still had flaws of depravity and a lack
of insight into government that often detracted from this
intent. The "glory that was Rome" (Edward Gibbon) appeared
in Byzantium, as well. At its peak of power, it controlled
virtually the entire Mediterranean area, was a trade center
between the West and Orient, a cultural center of the world in
its great art and architecture. It was the staging point
for the Crusades which was also its downfall. Enmity broke
out during the Fourth Crusade between the invading army and the
rulers of Byzantium. The invaders virtually destroyed the
city, committing murder and destruction that is rivaled by few
episodes in history. The empire never recovered its former
strength. allowing its defeat in 1453 at the hands of the
Muslims. For a review of what a Christian government
should be, see
Summary Principles of Civil Law, Government, and Politics.
Henry VIII of
1491-1547. Henry VIII had “tired
of his wife,” Catherine, who also had failed to bear him a son
that lived more that a short time after birth. He appealed to
Rome several times to get his marriage annulled, but it was
never granted. “From this time onward, the English were
steadfast in defiance of Roman authority. They were,
historically, the first colony to successfully throw off Roman
rule.” The Bishops of England pledged their loyalty to Henry,
and thus he established the Church of England.
With the power of Rome removed from the British Isles, there
was a much greater freedom for the Reformation to grow. There
were vacillations over the next two centuries between Roman
Catholic authority (e.g., Bloody Mary) and protestants, as well
as, verbal and armed conflicts among protestants. But, the
British Isles had been severed from the Pope.
This is another example that rules the thrones of kings,
queens, and all state authority. While Henry VIII was an
adulterer, blasphemer, and murderer, to mention a few of his
immoralities, yet God used his belligerence towards Rome to
advance His cause in the British Isles, primarily Scotland.
The Battle of the Bay of Lepanto,
October 7, 1571.
Pius V believed that the Ottoman Empire was advancing to conquer
the Christian world. He called for an alliance among the
Christian powers to stop this advance. If the Turks were
victorious in this battle, then they could continue on to take
Venice and then Italy. Ali Pasha commanded the Turks, and Don
John, an illegitimate son of Charles V, but an experienced
The Bay of Lepanto is an arm of the Ionian Sea. The battle
has been described as the largest naval battle since the Battle
of Actium in 30 B.C. Don John’s forces lost 15 ships and 9,000
men. Ali Pasha, who was beheaded during the fighting lost 62
ships and 25,000 men, almost a total loss. There was virtually
no strategy by either side, as the ships just ran together and
fought, virtually as a land battle of soldiers on ships.
“Only God could have saved so divided a Europe against so
determined and savage, rich and heavily armed a foe. After
Lepanto, the Turk remained a menace, but not an unconquerable
one.” (Otto Scott, The Great Christian Revolution, p.
For a great review of the
Lepanto battle, see Chapters 15-22 of Empires of the Sea,
an engaging and easily readable book by Roger Crawley.
The Defeat of the Spanish Armada,
July 29, 1588. The
reader should note the power of the Spanish fleet above. It
consisted of 131 ships against the English 55 ships. The intent
of the Armada was to bring England, who was experiencing a
fragmented Reformation, back under Roman Catholicism. Phillip II
of Spain was acting under a Papal Bull that had excommunicated
Elizabeth I. Both the strategic use of fire ships, English
maneuvering, and weather defeated the Armada, although is
escaped with most of its ships intact.
This defeat allowed further growth of the Protestant
Reformation in Ireland, England, and especially Scotland.
St. Bartholomew’s Massacre,
August 24, 1572. In France,
the Reformation under the leadership of Admiral Coligny was
growing against Roman Catholic resistance. Over one-third of
France had become Protestant, who were known as Hugenots.
Through a series of deceptions, intrigue, and plotting, by
Catherine de Medicis, Henry the Duke of Anjou, and the Duke of
Guise, Charles IX was convinced that the Caligny and the
Hugenots were a threat to himself and to France. He shouted,
“Kill them all! Kill them all! He want none left to reproach
him. There ensued the bloodiest massacre of the Reformation and
of all history. There were over 30,000 dead, including women and
children. (Some accounts say 100,000 dead.)
“…the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre permanently altered
Protestant thinking. The Calvinists turned away from acceptance
of the ‘divine right’ of kings, to questioning the entire
institution of monarchy.” (Scott, The Great…, pp. 113-4.)
It is this author’s opinion that this event committed France
to being a second-rate nation under God’s condemnation until the
time that they nationally repent of this reprehensible act.
The French Fleet Sent to Destroy America, 1747.
the French king, commissioned the Duc d’Anville, to “dismantle,
Louisbourg, (a strategic naval base on the southeast coast of
Canada)… expel the British from Nova Scotia, ravage New England,
and waster the British Indies.” The British were aware of the
preparations in France for this expedition and were prepared to
stop it, but when the French fleet left, the British fleet was
unable to get out of port because of fierce headwinds. Thus, the
Americans were defenseless against 13,000 soldiers and seamen in
73 ships, who were to join with four more large warships at
(present day) Halifax.
New England was helpless, but providentially it was in midst
of the Great Awakening, and a day of prayer was called.
(Longfellow wrote a poem of this event.) The French fleet ran
into trouble after trouble. Before they left port, a gale struck
the fleet. Adverse winds or no wind hounded them all the way
across the Atlantic. Food and water went bad. Sickness was
rampant. Then, another storm hit, wreaking further damage. The
duke died of a strange disease, and his 2nd in
command fell on his sword.
The fleet still determined to attack Annapolis Royal, but
anther storm did further damage, and they abandoned any further
attacks, setting sail for France and home. All but two ships had
been lost and at least 4000 lives due to sickness (primarily)
and accident. They never reached any destined targets nor fired
This destruction of the French fleet is one of may Acts of
Providence in the history of the United States in its founding
and since (see the Battle of Midway). Marshall Foster gives a
rousing lecture on how the United States is the culmination of
5000 years of God’s Providence, including many miracles, and
that He is not through with her yet.
Countries that have
been considerably influenced by Christianity.