Cromwell was a scheming de facto Erastian (Hetherington, “The History of the Westminster Assembly,” p. 314) and military dictator (Ibid., p.312). He, much in the style of modern communist regimes, “prohibited the publication of pamphlets censuring the conduct of the new government,” shortly after forcibly ejecting from parliament everyone who did not bow to his arbitrary demands (Ibid., p.312-313). (Hetherington’s “The History of the Westminster Assembly” [cf. pp. 310-335] uncovers many other glaring inconsistencies concerning this confused individual and the damage he did to Reformation principles.) Cromwell used his military might to undermine public obedience to much that is contained in civil duties required under the first two commandments. Historically, this set in motion a chain of events that led nations to disregard their duty, as nations, to covenant with Christ and uphold his laws.
In fact, I would contend that much of the lawlessness that we see practiced today, not only in the churches, but in society in general, can be seen as gaining a strong foothold (historically) because of the errors in the doctrine and practice of Cromwell and his Independents (especially the tyranny of their pretended liberty of conscience and their false unbiblical view of toleration, cf. “The First Amendment: A Masterpiece of Satan” by McClure). Many heresies spread like the plague under Cromwell’s administration, all due to his sinful disregard for the Scriptural pattern of establishing a godly state. As Fergusson (sermon 1652) proclaimed, “Of all errors, toleration is the most dangerous and damnable, in so far as other errors do only overturn those particular truths of Scripture to which they are contrary; but by this one error (this monster of toleration) way is made to overturn all the truths contained in Scripture, and to the setting up of all errors contrary to every jot of truth; and in the mean time there shall be no power to hinder it, or take order with it” (Cited from the cover of “Ye That Love the Lord, Hate Evil by Fred DiLella). Cromwell’s antichristian views of liberty, conscience, government, etc. have all come to roost among his spiritual descendents.
Even in their (Cromwell and his Independents) original espousal of a so- called liberty of conscience (which set man’s conscience above God’s Word) they could not be consistent. As Hetherington has again pointed out: “During their struggle with Presbyterians, they needed the support of numbers, being but few themselves, and therefore they advocated a ‘boundless toleration,’- of which they did not really approve, and which, when in power themselves, they did not grant” (Ibid., p.332).
At the root, “Cromwellianism” asserts its pretended liberty of conscience “by asserting that truth cannot be ascertained with certainty; and that therefore it is best to give equal toleration to all opinions, lest a grievous mistake should be committed, and truth suppressed instead of error. This is the language of skepticism, and the principle which it promulgates is not toleration, but latitudinarian laxity and licentiousness. Such language really implies, either that God did not intend to convey saving truth in a manner intelligible to the minds of men, or that he failed in his intention” (Ibid., p.329).
In short, it is never a question of establishment versus no establishment (as any presuppositionalist knows), but rather whose establishment. There is no neutrality!