The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 41

John Knox

In celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, it is needful for us to remember the faithful men who preached the gospel of Christ. For the people of Scotland, the one Christian leader which deserves to be remembered is John Knox (born in Haddington around 1514; died in 1572).

Knox suffered much to bring the gospel to people who were steeped in great spiritual darkness. Through him, the nation was transformed, and his teachings impressed the Scottish people, at home and abroad. His life and faith in Christ provides much encouragement to present-day Christians who are experiencing much hardships because of their faith in Christ.

John Knox is regarded as the father of the Scottish Reformation. He made important contributions to the development of Protestant settlements in Britain and the wider international Reformed community.

His Early Career

  • He was a priest and notary in Haddington.
  • He was converted during the preaching tours of Thomas Guillaume and George Wishart.
  • He took part in the Protestant occupation of St Andrews Castle in 1546-1547 .
  • Preached and ministered in Berwick, Newcastle, London, Lowland Scotland, Frankfurt and Geneva.
  • Wrote political tracts, the famous One known as First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, focusing mainly on Mary Tudor, Queen of England.
  • Contacts with John Calvin greatly shaped Knox and this contributed to the writing of the Scots Confession of Faith and the First Book of Discipline .
  • His bitter denunciations of the political rulers for compromising his vision of a “pure” Scottish church (especially the criticism of the Catholicism of Mary, Queen of Scots) led to him being politically marginalised.
  • He championed the triumph of Calvinism in Scotland and for what became the Presbyterian Church.
  • After Mary Stuart ascended the throne in 1560, Knox was arrested, tried for treason, and acquitted. He spent his last years in Edinburgh and St. Andrews and died at home due to old age.
  • He played an important role in the Scottish church as a national figurehead until his death.
  • He strongly supported reformation preaching, ensuring that the Bible was preached from the pulpit, and clearly believed that the Bible could be understood by the average person. He preached to “change individuals and nations.”

Quotes of John Knox

“I am not master of myself, but must obey Him who commands me to speak plain, and to flatter no flesh upon the face of the earth.”

“A man with God is always in the majority.”

“I have never once feared the devil, but I trembled every time I enter the pulpit.”

“O Lord Eternal, move and govern my tongue to speak the truth.”

“Prayer is an earnest and familiar talking with God.”

“I sought neither preeminence, glory, nor riches; my honor was that Jesus Christ should reign.”  

“No one else holds or has held the place in the heart of the world which Jesus holds. Other gods have been as devoutly worshipped; no other man has been devoutly loved.”

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