What happened next? The Netherlands: The northern Netherlands is able to achieve recognition as an independent nation, and the “Golden Age” of Dutch history begins. A theology professor named Jacob Harmenszoon (known to history as Arminius) proposed a more moderate interpretation of Scripture that was similar to Calvin’s, with the exception that humans were understood to have the power to accept or reject God’s offer of salvation. The Dutch church rejected this notion in 1618 and affirmed the original idea of predestination—no one could do anything to aid in their own salvation. However, “Arminian” ideas had a lasting influence.

Germany: The German princes were unable to co-exist religiously or politically, and the spread of Reformed Christianity, which was not recognized by either Catholics or Lutherans, caused the situation to become more unstable. In 1618, the Kingdom of Bohemia rejected the new Emperor (throwing his envoys out a window into a dungheap) and the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) began. Most European nations got involved and neither side could achieve victory. In the end, Germany was left devastated and politically fragmented for many years.

Britain: Elizabeth died in 1603; her successor was James VI of Scotland (son of Mary, Queen of Scots), uniting the two kingdoms. James was a Protestant but no friend to the Presbyterians or Puritans; he wanted to keep strong control of church and state. His son Charles I followed the same policy. However, when Charles tried to appoint bishops in Scotland he was met with armed resistance; when he called Parliament to get more money, they resisted and the result was the English Civil War.

Charles was eventually captured and executed. The Scots rallied behind his son, Charles II, but he was driven out of the country by Oliver Cromwell. After Cromwell’s death Charles was restored to the Scottish and English thrones. However, his brother, James II, was Catholic and moved to lift restrictions on English Catholics. He was tolerated because his oldest daughter and heir, Mary, was a dedicated Protestant married to William of Orange, Stadtholder of the Netherlands. When James’ second, Catholic wife had a son, they were run out of the country; William and Mary were jointly crowned King and Queen of England.

France: Henri IV was assassinated in 1610. Under his young son Louis XIII, strong leaders in the French government are able to hold France together through the liberal use of force. Cardinal Richelieu forced both Catholic and Huguenot nobles to give up their castles and fortified areas, although he kept France on the Protestant side in the Thirty Years’ War (to balance the power of Spain). Louis XIV became king in 1642, and eventually decided that France should have un loi, un roi, un foi—“one law, one king, one faith.” He revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and many Huguenots emigrated to the Netherlands, England, or America. Previous: Reformation History 5: 1570-1600

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