After the eloquent, poignant ending to Part II -- the Rene Descartes presentation -- there is a "coda" about the British legacy. This is a fitting chapter because the British were not actively engaged in the Thirty Years War but had their own series of civil wars (he emphasizes the plural). They also developed a middle way in between Protestantism and Catholicism. And the result of their civil wars was a colonization of North America with lasting impact on world history.
MacCulloch clearly admires Richard Hooker and Lancelot Andrewes and their efforts to restore some catholic devotional and worship elements to the Church of England. He writes that the cathedral tradition survived, uniquely for Protestantism, because of the great love of choral music.
The presentation of King James I is of a rather honourable, reasonable monarch. On his homosexuality: "English noblemen resented the consequences of the King's homosexual affections, which as in the case of Henri III of France threatened to divert the normal sources of advancement and wealth at Court into the hands of male favourites who were not generally from the established political elite."
James is described as "a glutton for listening to sermons."
On Archbishop Laud's homosexuality: "He was also a lonely little man, confiding his erotic dreams about the Duke of Buckingham and others to his private diary. Laud's homosexual leanings showed none of the extrovert cheerfulness of King James."
I don't feel as if I've ever had an adequate grasp of the English civil war. And I still don't. I guess I'm going to have to read a history specifically about it.
During the wars and interregnum, Protestant denominations formed outside the established church, which was also unique to Protestantism.
Cromwell invited the Jews back to England in order to evangelize them, which was necessary, in his view for the end of time to occur.
The church re-established after the war was more exclusive in doctrine than the church had been prior to.
Interesting, MacCulloch presents William III as the last successful military invasion of England. Generally I've heard the view that you have to go all the way back to the Norman invasion.
He describes colonial Massachusetts as "possibly the most literate society then existing in the world."
I liked this distinction: "Toleration is a grudging concession granted by one body from a position of strength; liberty provides a situation in which all religious groups are competing on an equal basis." America really contributed the latter. Tell that to the right wing zealots in state legislatures.