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John Knox
1514-1572


John Knox was born in 1514 in Haddington Scotland and died in 1572. He was a Scottish Reformer and disciple of George Wishart.

In 1546, he was taken to France and made a galley slave. In 1549 he was freed and went to England where he became a preacher at Berwick. He preached against the Catholic errors of the mass and drew the unfavorable attention of the Catholic powers. Knox was summoned to appear in the black Friars’ Church of Edinburgh to face his accusers, who backed down. He was burned in effigy.

In 1554 at John Calvin’s urging, he became the pastor of the English congregation at Frankfurt, but was dismissed after a dispute over the Book of Common Prayer. 1555 brought him to Geneva where he pastored. In 1559 he returned to Scotland. He died on November 24, 1572 and was buried in the churchyard of St. Giles on November 26. John Knox is the father of Presbyterianism. Today, the Presbyterian church maintains the spiritual gifts have ceased. That is, tongues, prophesying, etc. do not occur. They were only for apostolic times. If that is true, then John Knox was either deceived in his practice or in simple theological error. Which is it?

Knox prophesied the future.

John Knox was an eminent wrestler with God in prayer. . . He was likewise warm and empathetic in his preaching, in which such prophetical expressions as dropped from him had the most remarkable accomplishment. As an instance of this, when he was confined in the castle of St. Andrews, he foretold both the manner of their surrender, and their deliverance from the French galleys. . ." ("The Scots Worthies," by John Howie, of Lochgoin. Edingburgh and London: Oliphant, Anderson, & Ferrier, 1870, page 57)

At another time, he thus addressed himself to her [Queen Mary] husband, Henry, Lord Darnley, while in the king’s seat in the High Church of Edinburgh: "Have you, for the pleasure of that dainty dame, cast the psalm-book into the fire? The Lord shall strike both head and tail." Both King and queen died violent deaths. He likewise said, when the Castle of Edinburgh held out for the Queen against the Regent, that "the Castle should spue out the captain (meaning Sir William Kircaldy of Grange) with shame, that he should not come out at the gate, but over the wall, and that the tower called Davis Tower, should run like a sand-glass; which was fulfilled a few years after -- Kircaldy being obliged to come over the wall on a ladder, with a staff in his hand, and the said fore-work of the Castle running down like a sand-brae." (page 57)

One day after this, Mr. David Lindsay coming to see him, he said, "Well, brother, I thank God I have desired all this day to have had you, that I might send you to that man in the Castle, the Laird of Grange, whom you know I have loved dearly. Go, I pray you, and tell him from me, in the name of God, that unless he leave that evil course wherein he has entered, neither shall that rock (meaning the Castle of Edinburgh, which he then kept out against the King) afford him any help, nor the carnal wisdom of that man, whom he counteth half a god (meaning Maitland of Lethington); but he shall be pulled out of that next, and brought down over the wall with shame, and his carcase shall be hung before the sun; so God hath assured me."

The truth of this seemed to appear in short time thereafter; for it was thought that Lethington poisoned himself, to escape public punishment. He lay unburied in the steeple of Leith, until his body was quite corrupted; but Sir William Kircaldy of Grange was, on the 3rd of August next, executed at the Cross of Edinburgh. . . Accordingly, when he was cast over the ladder, with his face towards the east, and when all present thought he was dead, he lifted up his hands, which were bound, and let them fall softly down again, as if praising God for His great mercy towards him. (pages 60-61)

"If you act thus, God will be with you; if otherwise, He shall deprive you of all these benefits, and your end shall be shameful and ignominious." This threatening, as Morton to his melancholy experience confessed, was literally accomplished. At his execution, in June 1581, he called to mind John Knox’s words, and acknowledged, that in what he had said to him he had been a true prophet. (page 61)

John Knox was low in stature, and of a weakly constitution; which made Mr. Thomas Smeaton, one of his contemporaries, say, "I know not if God ever placed a more godly and great spirit in a body so little and frail. I am certain, that there can scarcely be found another in whom more gifts of the Holy Ghost, for the comfort of the Church of Scotland, did shine." (page 69)


It should be quite obvious that Knox moved mightily in the Spirit and exercised at least one of the charismatic gifts known as prophecy.


In light of these prophecies, a cessationist might ask, "What if he was wrong in his prophecies? Then what do you do?"

There was no record of him being wrong. The question then is, "What do you do when he is correct? After all, he was a godly man, reformed in theology, and, apparently, not a cessationist. Do you know more than John Knox or are you closer to God than he?


I mean no malice in this questions, but do you think that John Knox would be kicked out of the Presbyterian Church for his 'unorthodox' beliefs and practices?


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Copyright by Matthew J. Slick, B.A., M. Div., 2012
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