Story of the Reformer: John Knox

October 27, 2017

1514-1572

 

More than most church reform, the Scottish reformation was fueled by the blood of its martyrs. Indeed, John Knox himself, witnessed the martyrdom of his mentor and it cause a fire to burn in him that would lead him to fight courageously and preach forcefully until the protestant church had a foothold in Scotland.

 

John Knox, was born in a small town south of Edinburgh in 1514. He studied at University of St. Andrews and went on to study theology. Here he entered the service of the church as a notary. His faith would grow as he encountered protestant preachers such as Thomas Guillanne and George Wishart.  Konx joined Wishart and became a disciple. He is famous to have carried a long sword to protect his mentor.

 

Though Knox was becoming a protestant, Scotland was still thoroughly Roman Catholic. George Wishart was condemned as a heretic by Cardinal David Beaton, who had him arrested and burned at the stake. John and other followers of Wishart revolted, killing Beaton and taking the University of St. Andrews by force.

 

St. Andrews became a rallying place for protestants in Scotland to gather. Knox taught classes and lead bible studies for young men who were on fire for the reformation and it was here in the midst of many fierce protestants that God called him to preach. After very serious contemplation and prayer, John Knox assumed the role of of preacher for the Trinity Parish Church, St. Andrews. From that point on Knox would blow the "trumpet" of his master.

 

His preaching at St. Andrews was short-lived. The castle was besieged and those whom had revolted were arrested. Knox was arrested along with 120 others in the revolt. He was sentenced to the galley ship to row and row, day after day, with little rations and harsh conditions. This continued for 19 months before he was released. Then he fled to France on his way to Geneva, Switzerland. There he spent time with Calvin and took a pastorate. He was asked to pastor an English-speaking church in Geneva for some time before ultimately returning to Scotland. 

 

Once in Scotland he traveled and preached until he made his way back to St Andrews and coming full circle, he took up his original pastorate. Knox finished out his years as preacher of the Edinburgh church, helping shape the developing Protestantism in Scotland. 

 

John Knox is remembered as one of the great preachers of the Reformation. He passion for God bled out of him as he expounded upon scripture. His preaching is influential in the life of Charles Spurgeon who is quoted to have said “John Knox gospel is my Gospel.” Let us praise God for yet another man who stood on truth and shared the Gospel with power. 

 

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