Bulstrode Whitelock

This spring, we heard from Andrea Williams from Christian Concern, as well as the Christian Institute. Both organisations concern themselves with preserving freedom for Christians to worship and share their faith in the increasingly hostile country in which we find ourselves. Such is the climate in which we live, that any church, pastor or ordinary Christian is well advised to be familiar with them.

The more I read about it, the more convinced I am that we Christians of the 2020s would learn much from our forbears in the 1660s. Then there was a persecuting zeal from the state, which intensified as the decade wore on. The lawyer Bulstrode Whitelock offered free legal advice to London parishes which were being hounded by the Bishop in his efforts to expel puritan clergy or alter the right of congregations to appoint their own ministers. He assisted St Stephen’s on Colman Street and St Helen’s, Bishopsgate. In the end, parliamentary statute removed the best clergy, yet Whitelock offered legal support to those who required it while the law was still unaltered. So we, too, should ensure that existing laws are invoked for our protections and liberties, while knowing one day, those laws might go.  

Unidentified painter, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons