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John Knox: Fearless Faith

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John Knox is one of the most colourful figures in church history and his impact is still felt around the world. The real story of Knox surpasses the best fiction novels. Five hundred years after his death, Steven Lawson seeks to ignite our faith in Jesus through Knox's story. If you think of Knox as the dull Presbyterian, prepare to think again. Let this seminal figure in John Knox is one of the most colourful figures in church history and his impact is still felt around the world. The real story of Knox surpasses the best fiction novels. Five hundred years after his death, Steven Lawson seeks to ignite our faith in Jesus through Knox's story. If you think of Knox as the dull Presbyterian, prepare to think again. Let this seminal figure in the history of the Scottish Reformation inspire you to stand firm in your faith and let God impact your spiritual life.


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John Knox is one of the most colourful figures in church history and his impact is still felt around the world. The real story of Knox surpasses the best fiction novels. Five hundred years after his death, Steven Lawson seeks to ignite our faith in Jesus through Knox's story. If you think of Knox as the dull Presbyterian, prepare to think again. Let this seminal figure in John Knox is one of the most colourful figures in church history and his impact is still felt around the world. The real story of Knox surpasses the best fiction novels. Five hundred years after his death, Steven Lawson seeks to ignite our faith in Jesus through Knox's story. If you think of Knox as the dull Presbyterian, prepare to think again. Let this seminal figure in the history of the Scottish Reformation inspire you to stand firm in your faith and let God impact your spiritual life.

30 review for John Knox: Fearless Faith

  1. 5 out of 5

    Forrest Cole

    Excellent. To have a faith as men such as Knox...oh that my Lord would grant it. Nothing less than Christ will do.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Josh Bauder

    Fawning hagiography with an adjective problem.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jason Mccool

    Short overview of Knox's life with lots of footnotes pointing to Knox's own writings or other biographies for more info. Good sketch of a bold firebrand reformer. Short overview of Knox's life with lots of footnotes pointing to Knox's own writings or other biographies for more info. Good sketch of a bold firebrand reformer.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    I haven’t read many biographies so I am not an expert on the subject. When I read this book, I felt like it wasn’t very objective as a biography. I feel like a biography should be unbiased in how it presents information about a person. This book however answers the question “How did John Knox affect the reformation.” (Not a bad question to answer. He played a huge part in it. And the politics involved are fascinating.) The role the author played in the book was to make big of Knox’s contribution I haven’t read many biographies so I am not an expert on the subject. When I read this book, I felt like it wasn’t very objective as a biography. I feel like a biography should be unbiased in how it presents information about a person. This book however answers the question “How did John Knox affect the reformation.” (Not a bad question to answer. He played a huge part in it. And the politics involved are fascinating.) The role the author played in the book was to make big of Knox’s contribution. I also can’t think of anywhere in the entire book where the author criticized John Knox or says he could do something better. It’s all very written from a positive affirmative perspective and that bothers me. He was that perfect? If there is to be a narrow perspective, I would like to see books like these answer questions like: “How did God use John Knox’s successes AND failures to further God’s kingdom?”

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jonny

    A worthwhile read. My only fault is that the author spent the entire book covering all the great things Knox did without painting him in a negative light at all. I'm not looking for the juicy details but something that makes him seem more human. A worthwhile read. My only fault is that the author spent the entire book covering all the great things Knox did without painting him in a negative light at all. I'm not looking for the juicy details but something that makes him seem more human.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bill Pence

    I have very much enjoyed Steven Lawson’s short A Long Line of Godly Men series biographies published by Reformation Trust. This new biography is not part of that series but is in every way identical to those books (which already had a biography of John Knox written by Douglas Bond). Lawson dedicates this book to his “fellow laborer and friend” Sinclair Ferguson. It was encouraging to see Lawson sitting in the first row at Saint Andrews Chapel a few years ago when Dr. Ferguson preached on Galatia I have very much enjoyed Steven Lawson’s short A Long Line of Godly Men series biographies published by Reformation Trust. This new biography is not part of that series but is in every way identical to those books (which already had a biography of John Knox written by Douglas Bond). Lawson dedicates this book to his “fellow laborer and friend” Sinclair Ferguson. It was encouraging to see Lawson sitting in the first row at Saint Andrews Chapel a few years ago when Dr. Ferguson preached on Galatians 2:20. This book is in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Knox, born 1514. He is known as “the Father of the Scottish Reformation” and “the Founder of the Scottish Protestant Church”. Martyn Lloyd-Jones called Knox the founder of the English Puritan movement. Lawson writes: “If Martin Luther was the hammer of the Reformation and John Calvin the pen, John Knox was the trumpet”. Lawson tells us that Knox was ordained to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church by the Bishop of Dunblane in April, 1536, and that by the end of March 1543 he was committed to the Christian gospel. George Wishar was a powerful Reformed preacher who began a preaching itinerancy in southern Scotland. Knox became one of his closest disciples and followers. From Wishart, Knox learned boldness and courage in ministry, as well as faithfulness to Reformed doctrine in preaching. Lawson recounts the details of Knox’s life and ministry in this fast moving account of his life as England and Scotland go from Roman Catholic to Protestant leadership. You will read about Knox as a pastor and his friendship with John Calvin in Geneva. Knox sat under the teaching of Calvin and also studied Greek and Hebrew in Geneva. You will read about him serving as a galley slave in the hull of a French battleship for nineteen months, during which there were repeated efforts made by his French captors to drive Knox back to Catholicism. You’ll read about his many confrontations with Scotland’s brutal Roman Catholic Queen Mary, known as “Bloody Mary”. Lawson writes: “Throughout Knox’s tempestuous life, this rugged Scot was never any bolder than when he stood before Mary, Queen of Scots. Whenever summoned to appear in her royal presence, Knox asserted that he spoke to her in God’s presence. He never once backed down from her, nor did he ever hesitate to speak frankly. Knox was raised up by God to be the primary instrument in the preservation of the Protestant cause in Scotland.” Knox was married to Marjory. In December 1560, she would die at only twenty-seven years of age. She left behind their two young sons, Nathanael and Eleazar. His mother-in-law, Mrs. Bowes, would continue to live in the household and assist in raising the children. On Palm Sunday, 25 March 1564, Knox married his second wife, Margaret Stewart, the daughter of his old friend Lord Ochiltree. Knox was aged fifty and Margaret just seventeen. During the sixteenth century, this age discrepancy was not uncommon. Margaret Stewart would bear Knox three daughters and would survive her husband by some forty years. Knox was associated with a new English version of the Bible known as the Geneva Bible. This translation would be the Bible of choice for the Reformers and Puritans during the next century and the Bible that the Pilgrims would take to the New World in 1620. In 1995, R.C. Sproul would serve as the General Editor for the New Geneva Study Bible (later renamed as The Reformation Study Bible). Lawson concludes the book with the lasting impact of John Knox: “The strong character of John Knox’s ministry of the Word resonates across the centuries. The commitments described below are worthy guideposts for later generations of preachers as well. First, Knox believed he had been personally called by God to preach the Word. Second, Knox believed that the Bible is the infallible Word of the living God. Third, Knox was profoundly aware that on the last day, he must give an account of himself as a preacher to the One who had called him into the ministry. This sobering reality filled him with reverential awe for God and made him unshakable before men and women. Because Knox feared God, he did not fear humans. He preached so strongly because he feared God so deeply. Fourth, Knox was gifted with a brilliant mind, which he devoted to the diligent study of Scripture. Fifth, Knox often preached through entire books of the Bible, or at least through extended sections of them. Sixth, Knox was firmly committed in his preaching to the sound doctrine of the Reformers. Seventh, Knox strongly asserted the absolute sovereignty of God over all things. Eighth, Knox believed that the highest aim of preaching the Scripture must be the proclamation of Jesus Christ. Ninth, Knox was known as a fiery preacher of the Word of God. Tenth, Knox was a preacher who regularly petitioned God in prayer to bless the proclamation of His Word.” If you are looking for a great biography to read, check out John Knox: Fearless Faith by Steven Lawson.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    Of all the major Reformers John Knox is one that I probably know the least about. It was therefore a delight for me to read this book on John Knox by the preacher and biographer of preacher Steven Lawson. One would expect this work would have been part of the series of “A Long Line of Godly Men” which the author is the editor for but this work was instead published by Christian Focus as a stand-alone work and I suspect it is because Steven Lawson has been greatly impacted by John Knox and wanted Of all the major Reformers John Knox is one that I probably know the least about. It was therefore a delight for me to read this book on John Knox by the preacher and biographer of preacher Steven Lawson. One would expect this work would have been part of the series of “A Long Line of Godly Men” which the author is the editor for but this work was instead published by Christian Focus as a stand-alone work and I suspect it is because Steven Lawson has been greatly impacted by John Knox and wanted to write about Knox even though someone else contributed to the John Knox volume for the “A Long Line of Godly Men” Profile Series. What follows in this review is a summary of the chapters of the book followed by my thoughts of the contents of the book. Readers shouldn’t miss the Foreword that Lawson for the book since it reveals a personal connection and family history that Lawson has that intersect with John Knox. After the Foreword the main body of the book is divided into nine chapters with the first eight covering different years of John Knox’s life and the final ninth chapter looks at the enduring legacy of Knox. Chapter one was titled “Young Preacher” and covers Knox’ early years leading up to 1547. Here readers will also learn of Knox’s conversion story and what he was doing prior to his entrance into the ministry of preaching God’s Word. Chapter two is on Knox as an “emerging force” and covers the year 1547-54. Both chapters three and four covers Knox’s years in exile with chapter three being before Geneva and chapter four being his years as a Genevan pastor. Chapter five is titled “Energized Reformer” and covers the years 1559-60 which was his return to his native Scotland. Chapters six through eight is about Knox’s years in reforming the church in Scotland beginning with a chapter on him as a fearless defender during the years 1561-63, a chapter on him as a faithful preacher covering the years 1564-71 and finally a chapter on Knox as a tireless servant of his final few months before entering into Glory in 1571-72. I learned a lot about Knox from this book. What an interesting figure in church history! For instance I learned that John Knox was a galley slave after being captured by French Catholic forces when Knox was once a body guard for a Protestant preacher. The fact that Knox survived those years under chain out in sea is a testimony of God’s grace and mercy. After being released Knox eventually became a chaplain to the King of England, specifically King Edward VI. This reminded me so much of Joseph’s story in the Bible in the book of Genesis; yet Knox wasn’t about worldly success as evident from his decision later to turn down the esteemed position of Bishopric of Rochester. I was also surprised reading chapter five of just how fierce the international Catholic opposition was against the Protestant movement in Scotland. Mary of Guise employed Catholic military forces from France against Scotland. At one point Knox himself even preached to dispirited Protestant troops at Stirling, Scotland and this event turned the table in November 1559. I was blown away at how many “Mary” there were in Scottish and English Royal history that interfered with the Scottish Reformation. Yet by the grace of God the Scottish Reformation survived and as a result this encouraged the English Puritan movement with the Church of England and of course later Presbyterianism has its roots back to Knox. Readers shouldn’t miss the final chapter in which Lawson laid out ten lessons from Knox’s life and ministry for ministry and the Christian church today. I recommend this book as an introduction into Knox’s life and ministry.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    This little book gave me a very helpful and memorable outline of Knox's life and ministry. It is written to be an inspiration, challenge, and encouragement to preachers. It is not a critical biography and definitely has some hagiographical elements which I found less than helpful. Knox, like Luther, is not someone I would want to be criticized by. Nevertheless, Knox is a fascinating and important figure with some qualities that definitely should characterize all true preachers of the gospel. May This little book gave me a very helpful and memorable outline of Knox's life and ministry. It is written to be an inspiration, challenge, and encouragement to preachers. It is not a critical biography and definitely has some hagiographical elements which I found less than helpful. Knox, like Luther, is not someone I would want to be criticized by. Nevertheless, Knox is a fascinating and important figure with some qualities that definitely should characterize all true preachers of the gospel. May we all be as conscious of God's sovereign presence and our accountability to Him. May we all be as fearlessly bold and blunt in the face of human authority. May we all be so immune to the fear of man.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Austin Smith

    This short book on the legend and life of John Knox takes you on an exhilarating ride of the life in the day of a reformer. This quick read left me setting the book on my lap and leaning back pondering questions and times in history multiple times. As someone who was never sure where in the spectrum of denominations of Christianity he fell, this book had me jumping in unison with the sentiment of famous reformers and the spirit of John Knox as well. Overall great read, would recommend to anyone This short book on the legend and life of John Knox takes you on an exhilarating ride of the life in the day of a reformer. This quick read left me setting the book on my lap and leaning back pondering questions and times in history multiple times. As someone who was never sure where in the spectrum of denominations of Christianity he fell, this book had me jumping in unison with the sentiment of famous reformers and the spirit of John Knox as well. Overall great read, would recommend to anyone with a peaked interest in the reformation, Scottish and English religious history, as well as anyone seeking a shock to their Christian lifestyle and commitment to God.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Noah Adams

    Helpful, concise summary of Knox’s life and influence on Scotland and the worldwide church through his commitment to boldly preaching the word of God and bringing reformation to the Church of Scotland. I would recommend this as an introduction to Knox’s story. While it’s brevity is admirable, I can’t help but feel like I was shortchanged important elements of his story. And while Lawson hits the high points and reflects on Knox’s influence, the telling of the story fail to grab my attention. In Helpful, concise summary of Knox’s life and influence on Scotland and the worldwide church through his commitment to boldly preaching the word of God and bringing reformation to the Church of Scotland. I would recommend this as an introduction to Knox’s story. While it’s brevity is admirable, I can’t help but feel like I was shortchanged important elements of his story. And while Lawson hits the high points and reflects on Knox’s influence, the telling of the story fail to grab my attention. In summary, a helpful introduction to Knox, but if you’re looking for details and a compellingly told story, you may be better off reading one of the larger Knox biographies out there.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Watkins

    I discovered a few months ago that John Knox was my 13th great-grandfather, but I admittedly didn’t pay enough attention in Church History in seminary to remember the details of what he had done. While this book was a good overview of where he went and what he did in life, it is not extremely well written and does not spend much time discussing who he was as a man or how he came to hold his specific theological convictions.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Babajide Ajayi

    This small book takes us back into the life of the great reformer. It visits a time when the passion for the gospel and willingness to do whatever was required to defend its teachings and doctrines was expected of preachers. It is definitely a nice read about the events of the period and Knox's approach to managing them. Nice read. This small book takes us back into the life of the great reformer. It visits a time when the passion for the gospel and willingness to do whatever was required to defend its teachings and doctrines was expected of preachers. It is definitely a nice read about the events of the period and Knox's approach to managing them. Nice read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Jones

    A lovely, short biography of Knox. This is not meant to be a comprehensive biography, but a look at some of the highlights of the Scottish Reformer and how he influenced Scotland and much of Europe during his somewhat short life. Lawson does a wonderful job of making modern applications of Knox’s life to Christians today, and his calls for boldness are well-inspired by the life of John Knox.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Prydden

    This was a whizz through the life of John Knox. It's ideal if you want to get a quick idea of who John Knox was and what kind of impact he had in his life. It was challenging in the right way, and serves as a really good taster in regards to learning more fully about one of the greatest figures in the history of the Protestant church. This was a whizz through the life of John Knox. It's ideal if you want to get a quick idea of who John Knox was and what kind of impact he had in his life. It was challenging in the right way, and serves as a really good taster in regards to learning more fully about one of the greatest figures in the history of the Protestant church.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Isaiah Langenfeld

    The book is small and thus it is expected to be a high view of events. I think this the book accomplishes the goal. Yet in much of the description of Knox, one may have many feeling of admiration but not know who or what is the real Scottish man. This is largely because the book feels like a “puff” piece. Still, is is a decent introduction that just may be a bit repetitive.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah Batson

    This biography is a great and short introduction to the life and ministry of John Knox of the 16th century. A powerful preacher of Christ and considered the architect of the Church of Scotland aka. the Presbyterians. Due to its short length, the Scripture references are not spelled out, but will be familiar to students of the Bible.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brance Gillihan

    An excellent brief introduction to the life and ministry of the great Scottish reformer. Very readable, engaging, and stirring description of this man who so boldly proclaimed the gospel of Christ in the face of great opposition. The final chapter on Knox’s “Enduring Legacy” is a great refresher for preachers of the gospel on how to conduct a Christ honouring pulpit ministry.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jon Delamarter

    Wonderful material that could benefit from some editing. The book is far too short to have as much repetition add it has. Having said that, it's still a wonderful little book that I shall re-read again and again, I am sure. Wonderful material that could benefit from some editing. The book is far too short to have as much repetition add it has. Having said that, it's still a wonderful little book that I shall re-read again and again, I am sure.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Evan Cruse

    I've been wanting to learn more about Knox for awhile and this is a really great introduction. In times of darkness, God raised up men like Calvin and Knox to go forth with the Gospel. We desperately need men in our day of darkness for a new reformation of Gospel truth. I've been wanting to learn more about Knox for awhile and this is a really great introduction. In times of darkness, God raised up men like Calvin and Knox to go forth with the Gospel. We desperately need men in our day of darkness for a new reformation of Gospel truth.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Great encouraging book from the life of John Knox.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Wacker

    This book is not long enough.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Martin

    I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be entertaining and informative.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dustin Morrow

    Excellent and easy read a welcome modern telling of the life of one of the great reformers that will go on informing the next generations to come.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cristen

    John Knox makes most preachers of today look like spineless fools. We need more preachers like him!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jim Savastio

    A concise, easily readable history of the life of John Knox with an emphasis on his devotion to Christ and preaching.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Ray

    Really great little book. Has whet my appetite to read more by and about Knox.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Pynch

    Not his best work.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bradley Endsor

    Fantastic, a great introduction to the amn who is rightfully known as the 'Father of Puritanism. Fantastic, a great introduction to the amn who is rightfully known as the 'Father of Puritanism.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A very informative and concise telling of John Knox's life. Hits all of the highlights and has a wonderful conclusion summarizing why the life and ministry of Knox was so impactful. A very informative and concise telling of John Knox's life. Hits all of the highlights and has a wonderful conclusion summarizing why the life and ministry of Knox was so impactful.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Blake

    This excellent biography about John Knox was such a joy to read. Though having read bits and pieces about his life in other books, this particular biography gave great insight to what this fearless man was really like. As I read through the final section of the book I thought, "Oh, if I could have just an ounce of Knox's boldness...." He was very bold in his preaching as he stood for the purity of the gospel in the face of the corruption of the Catholic Church. With boldness he confronted false This excellent biography about John Knox was such a joy to read. Though having read bits and pieces about his life in other books, this particular biography gave great insight to what this fearless man was really like. As I read through the final section of the book I thought, "Oh, if I could have just an ounce of Knox's boldness...." He was very bold in his preaching as he stood for the purity of the gospel in the face of the corruption of the Catholic Church. With boldness he confronted false teaching. With boldness he confronted kings and queens who had the stains of martyrs blood on their hands. His commitment to truth, to a exalted view of God/Christ, and his faithfulness to communicated God's Word, verse by verse, all stood out in the pages of this insightful book. I highly recommend this book to all who want to understand a slice of church history that really should be understood by all.

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