A Salute to John Knox

When Reformation Day was around the corner, I was studying the life and times of John Knox, the Scottish Reformer: what he said, what he believed, what he put up with, etc. Each Reformer seemed to live a unique life, in one way or another, and Knox is certainly no exception: from his days as a bodyguard to George Wishart, to his time as a tutor of children at St. Andrews, to his two years as a galley slave for a French ship, to his time in the Church of England, his time in Geneva, and finally his time of sincere Reformation in Scotland, including the four big meetings with the Queen Mary.

Knox was definitely not a politically correct man, by today’s standards that is. He called the pope the Antichrist, called the Latin mass idolatry, and openly said Purgatory was a fiction. When compelled to venerate a statue of the Virgin Mary on a French galley, he replied by tossing it into the river and assuring them that she was light enough to swim. He annoyed Anglican bishops by speaking out against anything resembling the Roman church, campaigning especially to remove any worship of the host during communion. Even when Scotland was ruled by a queen who was popular among the people, Knox was not afraid to call her out for her political or religious faults – either from the pulpit or to her face. At his funeral, the Regent of Scotland said, “Here lies one who never feared the face of man.”

You have to look at us today and ponder if we are willing to be as bold as Knox is. Are we willing to tell others they’re wrong? Are we willing to speak out against false Christianity when we see it? Are we not afraid of offending everyone when we believe the right thing needs to be said? Or are we willing to forgo error for the sake of “charity” or “unity”? Are we willing to speak out against national leaders and church officials alike? Can it truly be said that we never fear the face of man?

Let us pray that God grants us to be as brave as Knox was, and that many more men like Knox will arise in the centuries to come. Amen.

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