Wednesday, March 26, 2014

John Knox's life and beyond

I will dedicate today's post to finishing the John Knox articles in March's Tabletalk.  There is always so much info to include.  I think I will start by including the dates in the article by Sinclair Ferguson.

Early 1500s -- Scotland had one thing in common with the rest of Europe: a deeply corrupt and spiritually impoverished church with morally moribund leadership.

This was the same Scotland that though copies of the New Testament were recent books by Martin Luther.

1539 -- The Trial of Thomas Forret; a prosecutor pulls a book out of his glove and says, "Behold, he has a book of heresy."  This book of heresy was also the New Testament.  The presiding bishop is told that and then says, "I thank God that I never knew what the Old and New Testament was."

1528 -- The first Scottish Reformer, Patric Hamilton is burned.

1546 -- George Wishart executed.  Knox was his bodygurd.

Between 1513 to 1515, John Knox was born.  He learned locally and at the University of St. Andrews.  He became a priest.

1547 -- Knox joined a group of Reformers at St. Andrews.  French ships came to St. Andrews and put it under siege, and they carried of Knox and his friends to be a galley slave for the next year and a half.

1549 -- Knox was released and pastored in Berwick, England.  He then moved to Newcastle.  He was royal chaplain to King Edward of England, leading the people in the Regulative Principle of worship: if Scripture doesn't mandate it, then it is forbidden.

1553 -- King Edward died and his half-sister "Bloody" Mary Tudor became Queen.  Knox fled back to the continent.

Between 1553 and 1559 -- He lived as a nomad and spent some time in Geneva with Calvin.

1555 -- He returned to Scotland to strengthen the reformation there.

1556 -- He married Marjory Bowes and returned to Geneva

1558 -- Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots was supposed to marry the dauphin of France.  Also, Bloody Mary died and was succeeded by Elizabeth I  He went to England for a time.  He then moved back to Scotland and had many debates with Mary  Queen of Scots.  Later, James VI became king and also James I of England, uniting the kingdoms.  He was influenced by John Knox

Summer of 1572 -- He had a stroke.  On November 24, he asked his wife to read to him 1 Corinthians 15 and then to read John 17 where he first cast his anchor.  He died that night.

He died a natural death.  And by that time, RC anger against Reformers finally came to a toleration.

Three ideas came to the world via Scotland.  Presbyterianism: Knox saw sense in a system that gave its authority to many church leaders who were elected by the people.  This made elder leadership cool.

The Westminster Standards: Both the Church of Scotland and the Church of England wrote them at the Westminster Assembly in London.  The Scots continued using the Westminster Confession of Faith and its Shorter Catechism, learned in every home.  The Confession, though written in England, was replaced by the Anglican 39 Articles.

The Sabbath: This is one I both agree and disagree with .  There actually is no Biblical precedent to celebrate Easter, Christmas, or Pentecost.  Instead, each Sunday is to be a holiday that celebrates all three.  The other 6 days of the week are for working.  Sociologists still call this the Protestant Work Ethic.  I personally love Christmas, Easter, and even Lent.  True, the New Testament ideal is to just celebrate it all on Sunday each week, but Jesus celebrated Hanukkah.  I can celebrate holidays, too.

All three of this ideas became transported to America.  A bunch of Presbyterians moved to Ulster, an area of Ireland.  Then the Scots-Irish ordained Francis Makemie who led them all to Maryland.  Makemie is the "Father of American Presbyterianism."  They moved down to Virginia and eventually to Georgia and the North Carolina Highlands.  This is pretty much why we have rednecks today.  Strongwilled people from Scotland gave way to revolution.  Scots such as John Witherspoon helped form the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence was mostly signed by Presbyterians.  James Madison was Witherspoon's foremost pupil.  Ultimately, fighting for religious liberty is very Scottish, and standing for truth is something all Christians should strive for no matter what their nationality.

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