Monday, February 4, 2019

Film Review: Knox

John Knox (1513-1572)

Hard times require a hard gospel. Christ himself said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth: I did not come to bring peace but a sword." -- Matthew 10:34.

The 2015 documentary, Knox, spotlights the political and religious turmoil that this Scottish Reformation preacher lived through during the bloody strife of English Civil War and the period of Scotland's international intrigue while Protestantism struggled to take hold in an era dominated by Roman Catholic church state hegemony. The break from a formal religion that dominated Europe for fifteen centuries was not clean nor easy and, many would argue, still continues to this day but on a more subtle level. 

Knox was a man that God made and used for his time. Born of humble circumstances in a backwater country, Knox learned to read and write and then came under the influence of diehard Reformers that shaped his quick mind with doctrinal precision, making him a formidable apologist of Scripture and preacher of the Word sans ceremony or liturgical flourish that the Protestants considered Romish and idolatrous.  

Knox, the documentary does a very good job in 77 minutes of summarizing the major episodes of this man's formative and mature years with almost equal weight using the thoughtful narration of Philip Todd, guiding the viewer through the historic places that Knox tread upon in Scotland, such as in Edinburgh, Glasgow, St. Andrews, Haddington and other beautiful camera takes throughout the countryside. Authentic Scottish voice overs during animation scenes add a fuller dimension to the documentary. Almost single handedly and with great passionate fervor, John Knox lit the fire of steadfast Protestant Reformation and changed the religious landscape of Britain, and eventually that of America, through his relentless teaching, preaching, traveling and fighting with arms if necessary so that the gospel truth could be brought to everyone in Presbyterian church format. 

It's difficult to find a well done documentary on church history these days that is not infected with liberalism and secular bias, so Knox is a great catch and a powerful reminder that we shouldn't take our faith for granted or others will take it away from us eventually. If you are interested in John Knox, I recommend the thoroughly researched biography by Jasper Ridley for further study.

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