Monday, June 22, 2015

"John Knox: Fearless Faith" by Steven Lawson - A Review

My God give to His church again strong men possessed with the indomitable spirit of John Knox. the gentle flute or plaintive violin have their place, but they will never awaken a slumbering church in this dark hour. Give us men with a trumpet to their lips, sounding their Master's message, plainly and boldly, to the ears of all.

If a new Reformation is to come, ti will come through the spirit-empowered preaching of the Word of God in pulpits around the world. May the example of Knox embolden preachers and all who know Chris to herald His saving gospel. May a new generation declare the truth of Scripture in the broadest context of the full counsel of God. (126)

No doubt one of my favorite pastor/theologians of the past is Scottish Reformer John Knox. His uncompromising love of sola fida and faithfulness to his calling remains relevant today. And as a descendent of Knox's colleague, John Craig (see my book on him here), I have a personal interest in the man.

Recently I read another brief biography of Knox written by Steven J. Lawson entitled John Knox: Fearless Faith (Christian Focus, 2014). The goal of the book is to present Knox's story apart from secular retellings. Its brevity makes it assessable and a great introduction to this great reformer.

Lawson, a historian and theologian in his own right, presents a Knox often overlooked and under-appreciated. Knox was above all else a preacher. In his first chapter, Lawson describes Knox this way:
If Martin Luther was the hammer of the Reformation and John Calvin the pen, John Knox was the trumpet. (15)
No doubt if we possessed in manuscript form a fraction of his sermons, they alone would fill volumes (Knox's complete works compiled by David Lang number six volumes). Lawson notes that on any given day, Knox was preaching somewhere.

Such a ministry of fearless preaching made Knox a lot of enemies and put his life at risk. He had to flee both Scotland and England on multiple occasions and ruined any chance of getting on the good side of any female monarch with his most notorious book: The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women. Through it all, Knox persevered and was protected by God. The trumpeter of Scotland was the means by which God brought reformation to Scotland and for that reason alone he deserves our attention.

No doubt Knox's legacy has fallen on hard times in recent decades. Most Scotlanders consider David Hume more respectable than Knox and currently the late reformer lies buried beneath a parking lot under space 23.

But he still speaks because the gospel he preached is not dead.

Lawson concludes as many biographies of Knox does: where is the next Knox who with boldness will proclaim the gospel of Christ? Let us pray he is sitting in an evangelical seminary somewhere struggling with Hebrew vocab waiting to stand before nobles and common folk alike.





Books on Knox:
"John Knox: An Introduction to His Life and Works" - A Review
"John Knox" by Rosalind Marshall: A Review
"The Mighty Weakness of John Knox" by Douglas Bond: A Review
"John Knox & the Reformation" by M. Lloyd-Jones & Iain Murray: A Review
"John Knox For Armchair Theologians" by Suzanne McDonald: A Review
 

For more on Knox:
"Scottish Theology" by T. F. Torrance: A Review
A Nestorian Heresy?: John Knox & His Rejection of Particular Redemption
Douglas Bond on the Legacy of John Knox
"The School of Faith" by Thomas F. Torrance: A Review
John Knox on the Threefold Office of Christ
Theologians I Have Been Influenced By - The Dead
John Knox on the Importance of the Ascension
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