THE MIGHTY WEAKNESS OF JOHN KNOX – Douglas Bond (2011)
The Mighty Weakness of John Knox is the third installment in The Long Line of Godly Men Profiles. Dr. Steven J. Lawson serves as the series editor and hit the ground running with his superb volumes that survey the life and theology of John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards.
Douglas Bond, no stranger to the Christian publishing world, makes a solid contribution in this most recent work. Chapter one surveys the life and the legacy of John Knox. The author highlights pivotal moments in the life of the Scottish Reformer that include Providential persecution, his call to preach, ministry in England and Scotland – not to mention his ministry in Geneva alongside the godly French Reformer and pastor, John Calvin.
The author carefully explains the Reformed framework that Knox embraced. Two theological points are of special interest, namely, the doctrine of predestination and particular redemption. Knox not only embraced predestination and election; he made it clear that this doctrine was absolutely essential. James McEwen beautifully highlights the doctrine that Knox held dear: “It is unnecessary to apologize for the predestinarian strain in Knox’s theology. It was his business to expound the Biblical faith, and the Biblical faith is predestinarian from end to end.”
Additionally, Knox held to the doctrine of particular redemption. As such, Knox denied that Christ died a hypothetical death. Rather, his death atones for his elect: “Election is particular,” writes Bond “and the work of Christ, of rigorous necessity, is particular.” Bond’s approach is both commendable and encouraging as he spells out the theological presuppositions of Knox. His graciousness is certainly worth emulating.
Finally, John Knox is rightly presented as one who was a humble servant of God who faithfully preached the gospel, trained disciples, and glorified Christ with a holy passion. His passion for preaching and writing is explored. And his concern for the poor is pondered.
It is helpful to see Knox as one who struggled with fear but was used in a mighty way for kingdom purposes. Douglas Bond summarizes the weakness of Knox; weakness that was ultimately used for God’s glory. “Knox was transformed from weakness to might by God’s power.” May we who are weak be transformed into kingdom shaking vessels whose aim is proclaiming the message of the gospel and glorifying the great God of the universe. May the example of John Knox embolden weak pastors to teach and preach with faithful fervor.