John Knox

November 24

John Knox (ca. 1513-72), Scottish preacher and Reformation leader. Knox expressed his spirituality in action and a determined pragmatism. He lived in times of ecclesiastical turmoil throughout Scotland, England, and Europe. Reformers were being burned at the stake for their beliefs. Nations became embroiled in religious wars as Catholics did battle with Protestant reformers.
In this environment came a man with a practical spirituality. Knox was ordained to the priesthood but became a disciple of John Calvin after visiting Geneva, where he contributed to the creation of the Geneva version of the English Bible. Unlike Calvin, Knox felt that it was necessary for common people to rise up against godless rulers. When he returned from Geneva, he entered the battle for Scottish independence and Protestant theology. The two were inextricably linked.
In December of 1560 the first Scottish General Assembly was held. Shortly thereafter the First Book of Discipline was presented to Parliament. The Discipline, a work of Knox and his followers, attempted to apply Calvin's thinking to political systems. While the names for the operating structures (or polity) developed over time, this document contained the basis for what became sessions, presbyteries, synods, and general assembly. Knox also created a Book of Common Order (also called "Knox Liturgy") that received general assembly approval in 1564. It provided for free prayer and, while it gave a generally accepted order of service, the order was understood to be a model rather than an absolute form to be followed.
If John Knox had taken the Spiritual Types Test he probably would have been a Sage. Knox is remembered on November 24.
[Excerpted with permission from the entry on John Knox by Sandi Nesbit, from The Upper Room Dictionary of Christian Spiritual Formationedited by Keith Beasley-Topliffe. Copyright © 2003 by Upper Room Books®. All rights reserved.]

Today's Reflection

John Knox