31 Days, 31 Books
What started in Wittenberg and later in Geneva spread throughout Europe. In some places, it took root; in other places, it fought for a position; and in some, it flourished for a season and then perished. Scotland was one of the lands where the Reformation took root and came to largely dominate the culture and impact the national character. I would think that Scotland, along with the Netherlands and the British colonies in America (and later, the United States) were the primary areas where Calvinism flourished.
The Scottish story is a fascinating series of chapters and adventures in church history. Iain H. Murray’s book, A Scottish Christian Heritage (published by Banner of Truth), is a great survey of the history. Murray is a Scot and one of the finest writers of histories designed to encourage and educate believers.
Reformation is never, never, never the work of one man. But there is often a key leader who motivates, centralizes, and directs the work of Reformation. In Scotland, that man was the courageous, indomitable, unyielding, and zealous John Knox. His life story is astounding. I know I have read several accounts of him through the years. Murray’s book, as expected, contains a chapter on Knox. Below are a few of the biographies that attempt to capture the life and challenges of Knox.
To the best of my recollection, W. Stanford Reid’s biography of Knox. Trumpeter of God, is a fine work. It must have been over twenty years ago that I read it. Douglas Wilson’s biography, For Kirk and Covenant: The Stalwart Courage of John Knox, follows the pattern of all the “Leaders in Action” series. Each biography, based heavily on secondary sources, gives a short overview of the leader’s life, followed by a series of applications regarding that person’s qualities.
I think I have the biography by Lord Eustace Percy, but I will have to check out in the study to be sure.
More about Knox and the Reformation in Scotland can be gleaned from Knox’s own account: