The Mighty Weakness of John Knox   -     By: Douglas Bond
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The Mighty Weakness of John Knox

Ligonier Ministries / Hardcover

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Product Description

John Knox, the great Reformer of Scotland, is often remembered as something akin to a biblical prophet born out of time strong and brash, thundering in righteous might. In truth, he was low in stature, and physically frail, a small man who was often sickly and afflicted with doubts and fears.

In The Mighty Weakness of John Knox, a new Long Line Profile from Reformation Trust Publishing, author Douglas Bond shows that Knox did indeed accomplish herculean tasks, but not because he was strong and resolute in himself. Rather, he was greatly used because he was submissive to God; therefore, God strengthened him. That strength was displayed as Knox endured persecution and exile, faced down the wrath of mighty monarchs, and prayed, preached, and wrote with no fear of man, but only a desire to manifest the glory of God and to please Him.

For those who see themselves as too weak, too small, too timid, or simply too ordinary for service in God s kingdom, Knox s life offers a powerful message of hope the biblical truth that God often delights to work most powerfully through people who are most weak in themselves but most strong in Him.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 152
Vendor: Ligonier Ministries
Dimensions: 7.5 X 5.5 (inches)
ISBN-13: 9781567692556
Availability: In Stock
Series: Long Line of Godly Men

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Publisher's Description

The book is a profile of the great Scottish reformer John Knox. It focuses on the extraordinary power with which he ministered and the extraordinary things he accomplished despite being physically ill and weak, making the point that he found his strength in the Lord. We hope it will introduce readers to one of the most fascinating figures of the Reformation, filling a large void in popular-level books on Knox. We also hope it will challenge readers to draw near to God for the strength they need in their walk with God.

The Mighty Weakness of John Knox is the third installment of the Long Line of Godly Men Profile series by Reformation Trust Publishing. The first installments, The Expository Genius of John Calvin and The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards, were both written by Steve Lawson. In this installment, he serves as series editor. Taking the helm for John Knox is Douglas Bond, a high school English teacher and notable fiction and non-fiction writer.

As the titles in this series convey, these are not exhaustive biographies but rather brief biographies highlighting a key overarching characteristic of a famous subject. In this case, Douglas Bond handles the impact of John Knox, the key figure of the Scottish Reformation. The great battles Knox fought for the Gospel and against the corruption of the Catholic Church and politics in Scotland are even more amazing when understood in light of Knox's timid beginnings and unimpressive stature on the world’s scale.

Bond has done an excellent job in giving us a succinct yet totally sufficient clarifying work of what made John Knox's contribution to the Reformation so impactful. The lessons from Knox's courage are not lost to history but ring loud and true for our generation and we have Bond to thank for communicating this relevancy through this more than apt work. Although Bond does not have Lawson's energetic writing style, his thoroughness and richness make for a worthy contribution in this series. I look forward to number four. Todd Burgett,

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  1. Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Knox - The "Pestilent Preacher"
    July 27, 2011
    John Brand
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The Mighty Weakness of John Knox

    I have to confess to two failings. Firstly that, despite serving in a Bible College in Edinburgh I have never read a biography of John Knox, and secondly that I have been influenced, though never completely persuaded, by the ‘bad press' Knox has had. Douglas Bond's book is the latest in the excellent series A Long Line of Godly Men and is a great introduction to someone who is, I suspect, one of the most maligned and misunderstood figures of the Reformation.

    Bond's underlying premise, reflected in his title, is that Knox was, by disposition, genuinely frail, weak and fearful and yet was used by God to accomplish great things, striking fear into the hearts of many of those who stood against him. Bond presents his subject as "a model for the ordinary Christian, especially the one who feels his own weakness but who nevertheless wants to serve Christ in a troubled world." He quotes the words of Thomas Smeaton who said of Knox, "I know not if God ever placed a more godly and great spirit in a body so little and frail."

    Following an opening chapter in which Bond gives an overview of Knox's life and legacy, introducing him in such a way that you really want to read on, Bond highlights various aspects of John Knox's life and ministry, making frequent and appropriate comparisons to Elijah, and helps bring out, from under the myths and caricatures, the real man and the secret of his effectiveness. Key to all of it was his "uncompromising Christology", for, says Bond, "When a man's supreme concern is that the life of Jesus be manifested in his life, there's no time for navel-contemplative nonsense."

    He looks at Knox as "an eminient wrestler with God in prayer", a discipline perhaps learned from his association and fellowship with Calvin in Geneva. He considers his power and influence as a preacher who, despite almost constant physical ailments preached several times a week from his pulpit in St Giles, Edinburgh and for up to three hours at a time. Bond quotes a Scottish lord who wrote of Knox's preaching, ""I assure you the voice of one man is able in one hour to put more life in us than five hundred trumpets continually blustering in our ears" and describes how the preacher would both "rail against tyrants - political or ecclesiastical_and he would tenderly call lost sinners to repentance and faith."

    Only perhaps two of Knox's sermons survive, partly due to his practice of preaching extemporaneously, but his writings testify to his eloquence and theology. He co-authored the Scots Confession, "a foundation for thelogy, worship, literacy and preaching in Reformation Scotland"; a copy of which is helpfully included in an appendix. An unshakeable and unashamed Calvinist, "in all of Knox's writings," testifies Bond, "there was no single subject on which he wrote more than the doctrine of predestination" but he "never wielded predestination as a club; he tenderly uncoiled it as a lifeline for the floundering lost."

    Largely overlooked or forgotten of Knox's influence has been his empowering of the weak and disadvantaged. Douglas Bond movingly relates Knox's ministry to and concern for women - far removed from the mysoginsitic reputation he has undeservedly earned, his encouragement of fellow pastors and the laity and his contribution to education in general in that he established the first national education system in the western world.

    I found especially helpful Bond's setting in context the much misunderstood "monstrous regiment of women" saying, explaining that "monstrous" meant ‘unnatural' and the assertion was made at a time when several notably cruel and violent women ruled in European countries and many believers, Knox's friends among them, had perished at their hands.

    Douglas Bond is an able and engaging writer and it is hoped this book will not be his last. He is given to some apposite turns of phrase couched in contemporary terms, such as when he says that, "Mary Guise, fatally ill, did her best to stop him, but

    the effect was like that of a hummingbird on a jumbo jet."

    For me, the test of a good biography is whether or not I want to dig deeper and read more on the subject. In those terms, this book passes with flying colours. Knox appears to have learned to fear God and disregard men to an amazing capacity and his zeal for the honour of God and his word emboldened him against dangerous enemies. Do not the days we live in now call for preachers equally consumed with the glory of God and equally fearless of all human powers and institutions?
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