Wielding astonishing influence over Scotland in the sixteenth century, John Knox (c. 1514–72)
was one of the most heroic leaders and towering figures in the annals of church history. Regarded as ‘the Father of the Scottish Reformation’ and ‘the Founder of the Scottish Protestant Church,’ Knox was a spiritual tour de force of unmatched vigor in spreading the kingdom of God. With resolute convictions, this fiery Reformer established his native land as an impenetrable fortress of biblical truth, one that would reverberate throughout the known world. If Martin Luther was the hammer of the Reformation and John Calvin the pen, John Knox was the trumpet.
Given his immense impact upon Scotland’s history and the larger evangelical world, it is time to reintroduce Knox to a new generation of Christian believers. Predominantly forgotten in the modern era, his grave lies beneath a parking lot on the south side of St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh. There is a great need in this present hour for Knox to be resurrected in the memory of all those who share his biblical convictions. This book contributes to that effort by profiling the extraordinary life and powerful preaching of this luminous Scottish Reformer.
At the dawn of the sixteenth century, a thick spiritual darkness veiled the land of Scotland. The religious superstitions of Rome held the nation with an ironclad grip. The Bible was virtually a closed book, and the gospel of grace had been eclipsed by a popish religion of works-righteousness. The clergy groped about in spiritual ignorance as blind leaders of the blind. A famine of the hearing of the Word of God had left the nation impoverished and spiritually emaciated. It was into such a spiritual drought that John Knox, like a Scottish Jeremiah, providentially entered this world.
The early days of John Knox’s life did not reveal that he would one day be a leader of his nation and of the church. He was a man of humble beginnings. Though he would receive a fine education and was mentored by men strong in the faith, these traits alone did not set Knox apart or enable him to have such significant impact. The story of John Knox’s life is the story of the God who delights in raising up insignificant people to bring glory to His name. The young John Knox was a man like any other. As he placed his life in God’s hands, however, he became the mighty trumpet whose clarion call would echo across the land.
Today, Knox’s legacy is that of a passionate preacher and prominent Reformer. But before he was a Reformer, he was a ‘Reformer in the making.’ His skills as an expositor of God’s Word and as a prophetic challenger of the status quo were developed over a period of years and even decades. God laid a foundation in Knox’s boyhood that would later hold firm through the storms of life, faithfully building him up piece by piece into the man he would become.
Learn more about John Knox and the Scottish Reformation on our 2016 Scottish & English Reformation Study Tour with Dr. Steven J. Lawson and OnePassion Ministries. Find out more information about the tour by clicking the banner below.
Steven J. Lawson is the President of OnePassion Ministries. Dr. Lawson is also the Professor of Preaching at The Master’s Seminary and Teaching Fellow with Ligonier Ministries. The author of numerous books and articles.