Tempest Over Scotland – (183 pp) by Norman E. Nygaard – Zondervan Publishing House $2.50
The 16th century was the century of the Reformation. The conflict between Catholic and Reformed forces was a life and death struggle in the spiritual realm, but also in the physical. The bitter opposition to the Reformed cause raged in every country in Europe. Great champions of the Reformed faith rose up to spearhead its advance. Germany had its Luther, Switzerland its Calvin, and Scotland its Knox.
With this historic dynamo of Reformed Christianity, Tempest Over Scotland is concerned. Portrayed in a historical novel, John Knox is revealed as an indomitable fighter, neither fiving nor asking any quarter in the religious battlefield of his day. Early imprisoned as an outspoken critic of the Catholic clergy, Knox gains release from a fifthly galley to continue his lifelong crusade which culminates in the defeat of Roman Catholicism in Scotland. Threads running though the novel include Knox’s late romance and marriage, his amusing run-ins with a typical mother-in-law, and his interesting conversations with great theologians of the era; notably, Calvin and Bullinger.
The turbulent decades of the post-Reformation period, when the sword of the truth was supplemented by the sword of steel, are vividly portrayed. The heroic yet not super-human nature of a rock-firm Reformer is dimmed only by the occasional anachronisms of the author. Intermittently, un-Reformed concessions to Arminianism of the author are attributed to the theology of Knox. But then, the author’s axes are ground quite conspicuously.
The reader is uncomfortably reminded that the cause of the Christian truth was more tenaciously guarded in the days of the “blood baths” than it is now in the days of the ivory soap variety.