John Knox

This Interruption is part of the Grant and Barbara now in Scotland adventure series!

My wife and I are in Edinburgh, Scotland.  

John Knox, one of the world’s most famous theologians, is buried close to the St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. Knox lived from 1505 to 1572. At his graveside during the funeral, one speaker said, “Here lies one who never feared any flesh.”

For those who don’t recognize his name, John Knox was the founder of the Presbyterian Church. Other notes about him include. . . 

  • He was a powerful orator, sometimes preaching three times a week with sermons lasting two hours.
  • In his sermons, Knox would criticize the queen. In a personal audience with Mary Queen of Scots, she asked him to discuss with her if he had questions about her rule. To which Knox refused saying that he would continue to use his pulpit.
  • Early in his career, his mentor was arrested and condemned to be burned at the stake for heresy. When John Knox offered to be martyred alongside him, he was told by his mentor, “No, return to your family, and may God bless you. Only one is required for sacrifice today.”
  • As a result of his sermons condemning the Catholic Church, he was imprisoned on a French ship as a galley slave (lots of rowing) for almost two years.

At the time of John Knox, Scotland and other parts of Europe were changing from Catholic to Protestant. One ruler who was Catholic was to be replaced by a Protestant, but vice versa a few years later.

With this swaying back and forth, John Knox escaped to England and then to Geneva, Switzerland, where his theology was influenced by John Calvin.

When Scotland swayed completely and finally to the side of Protestantism, reflecting both the difficulties Knox had with queens and kings and the influence of Calvin, each Presbyterian church was and still is led by elders or presbyters (not one individual), and its doctrine emphasizes the sovereignty of God and predestination.

John Knox also believed that our Christian formation, our churches, our doctrines, and the decisions that we make in our daily lives should be grounded solely on what is taught in the Bible.

Let’s all say, “Amen!”

Today my wife and I will visit St. Giles Cathedral in the city of Edinburgh. Before his death, John Knox requested to be buried within twenty feet of the Cathedral. Ironically there is no headstone for his grave, as the entire graveyard has been paved for a parking lot.
A plaque in the middle of a road

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However, I will find this marker in parking space #23. . . 

And the plaque reads. . . The above stone marks the approximate site of the burial in St. Giles graveyard of John Knox, the great Scottish divine who died on 24 Nov 1572.

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