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The PuritansA Transatlantic History$
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David D. Hall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151397

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151397.001.0001

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Reformation in Scotland

Reformation in Scotland

(p.78) Chapter Three Reformation in Scotland
The Puritans

David D. Hall

Princeton University Press

This chapter assesses how reformation unfolded in Scotland. From the moment John Knox gave up on Catholicism and joined the beleaguered Protestant community in his native Scotland, he framed his preaching around the difference between the truth as he understood it and the idolatry he imputed to Catholicism. In an early sermon, he drew on the book of Daniel to explain what was wrong with Rome. No Catholic could be trusted, since all were allied with the Antichrist. Nor was Catholicism capable of adhering to the commandment that declared, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Placing himself in the lineage of Old Testament prophets who warned their people to dispense with idols and worship the one true God, Knox evoked this ancestry to justify his outbursts against a Catholicism he deemed “Anti-christian.” Like his Old Testament predecessors, Knox knew that the process of reform was easily disrupted. He wanted Scotland to do better—much better, if it were to enjoy a “perfect reformation” that recovered “the grave and godly face of the primitive Church.” The missing element in England was discipline in the double sense of purging “superstition” from worship and reworking church structures to ensure the presence of an evangelical ministry.

Keywords:   reformation, Scotland, John Knox, Catholicism, Protestant community, idolatry, Antichrist, Old Testament, evangelical ministry

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