JOHN KNOX(1514-1572) is a great hero not only of the land of Scotland (which is dear to myself-N), but of our faith.

His Conversion.

Initially, John Knox was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland at the time when John Calvin began the Reformation of Geneva.The first record of him being a priest is in 1540 while the latest known is a document which he signed in 1543.

‘Knox first publicly professed the Protestant faith in 1545 and it is believed that his actual conversion was probably the result of his friendship with George Wishart. Wishart, who had returned to Scotland in 1544 after a period of banishment, had preached in favour of the Reformation. Knox became one of Wishart’s closest associates, even acting as his body-guard, defending Wishart against the supporters of Cardinal David Beaton, leader of the Scottish anti-Protestant movement. Wishart was tried for heresy and burnt at the stake in March 1546. Knox went on to become a Protestant minister in St Andrews, though there is no evidence to show that he was ever officially ordained as such. His book, History of the Reformation gives an account of the proceedings connected with his call to the ministry, together with a report of the first sermon he delivered in St Andrews’

His Call to the Ministry

Knox’s Call to the Ministry and First Public Debate is an interesting insight into his feelings on his ‘call’.

‘Whereat the said John [Knox], abashed, burst forth in most abundant tears, and withdrew himself to his chamber. His countenance and behaviour, from that day till the day that he was compelled to present himself to the public place of preaching, did sufficiently declare the grief and trouble of his heart. For no man saw any sign of mirth of him, neither yet had he pleasure to accompany any man, many days together.’

(Selected Writings of John Knox: Public Epistles, Treatises, and Expositions to the Year 1559)

His Sacrifice

Soon after Wishart’s death, Knox spent some time as a refugee, reportedly as a French galley slave, and then in voluntary exile in England. He also travelled to Geneva, Switzerland, where he met with the reformer, John Calvin. (

His Conviction

In contrast to the so-called ‘heroes’ of today’s faith whom men blindly ‘follow’, yet who do not have substance or conviction, the following quote shows John Knox did not ‘mince words’.

‘While others snipped at “the branches of Papistry,” he struck “at the root.”‘(Extracted from: Selected Writings of John Knox: Public Epistles, Treatises, and Expositions to the Year 1559)

His faith that Impressed others

A stand for Biblical truth accomanied by a strong Christian testimony left an impression upon many including Royalty. Mary Queen of Scots was caused to say of him “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”

Read his views on Catholicism in Scotland here – A Vindication of the Doctrine
that the Sacrifice of the Mass is Idolatry

John Knox’s house in Edinburgh.


His burial ground.

‘Behind St. Giles, in Parliament Square, is Parliament House, built by the town council between 1632 and 1639. Parliament Square lies over the site of the medieval graveyard where John Knox, the most celebrated figure of the Scottish Reformation, was buried; thus, Knox has no marked grave or tombstone, save for a small plaque above one of the designated parking spaces between the church and Parliament House, which now houses the supreme civil and criminal law courts of Scotland.’ (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Why is it important to remember the life of John Knox and other reformers?

Well, because they made a courageous stand against false teaching that was based upon their love for Christ and his word. This was not a dead orthodoxy, but rather their hearts were warmed and strengthened by their personal relationship with a Saviour who had given them everything for time and eternity. We must be careful when we make reference to the reformers to represent them for their core beliefs of the ‘solas’ and not drop their names as some do to support what we believe in a certain area. Even emerging heretics can refer to reformers to support their rambling opinions without honestly addressing what drove these men.

The works/sermons of John Knox.

Mp3’s of the works of John Knox can be found here at sermon audio.

Read other posts on Reformation day over at Tim Challies blog (The 2007 Reformation Day Symposium)

T & N