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Have Some Haggis

Monday, January 7, 2019

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“Give me Scotland, or I die!” – John Knox

I am 50% German (my paternal grandmother and my maternal grandmother); and 25% English (my paternal grandfather). The other 25% of my heritage comes from my maternal grandfather, Edward R. MacDowell, Sr. That’s right; I am ¼ Scottish and very proud of it!

I guess that’s one of the main reasons why the only item on my personal “bucket list” is to visit Scotland someday. I would love to tour my ancient homeland, walk the streets of Edinburgh, see firsthand the remnants of the MacDougall castle and yes, play lots and lots of links golf. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is tasting haggis…but I will!

I would also love to visit any sites dealing with John Knox, the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Here is what Burk Parsons of Ligonier Ministries, wrote about him…

Perhaps more than anything else, John Knox is known for his prayer “Give me Scotland, or I die.” Knox’s prayer was not an arrogant demand, but the passionate plea of a man willing to die for the sake of the pure preaching of the gospel and the salvation of his countrymen. Knox’s greatness lay in his humble dependence on our sovereign God to save His people, revive a nation, and reform His church. As is evident from his preaching and prayer, Knox believed neither in the power of his preaching nor in the power of his prayer, but in the power of the gospel and the power of God, who sovereignly ordains preaching and prayer as secondary means in the salvation of His people.

Although Knox had been imprisoned and enslaved, and though he was often infirm and under threat of persecution, he consistently lived out his theology, believing that “one man with God is always in the majority.” As such, the prayers of one man heard at the throne of God were a threat to the throne of Scotland. During the time of the sixteenth-century Scottish Reformation, Knox’s ministry of preaching and prayer were so well known that the Roman Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots, is reputed to have said, “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”

Above all, Knox was a committed pastor and churchman whose ministry served as a compass to numerous pastors throughout Scotland. Knox’s unwavering commitment to the pure preaching of the gospel was a bright and shining light amid the darkness in a nation steeped in doctrinal and ecclesiastical compromise. He reinvigorated God’s shepherds throughout the nation; this, in turn, reformed the church and, thus, in God’s providence, revived the country. Most notably, what inspired the pastors perhaps more than any other characteristic in Knox was that he did not fear men, because he feared God—he was a man willing to offend men, because he was unwilling to offend God.

There is far too much in those three short paragraphs to comment on, but suffice it to say that my heart’s desire is for my life to resemble Knox’s. He was a man of great humility, passion, conviction and devotion to Christ and His church. More than that, his daily walk matched his daily talk.

Oh, to possess the faith and fearlessness of John Knox!

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 (NKJV)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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