Many of us do have no clue about our spiritual family history. Sure, some of us might remember the day our church first began or we might have photos of the people who lead us to Christ. However, when we start to dig a little deeper into our family history looking at how the gospel made it from the New Testament era to the 21st century, we do not know where to begin. We struggle to recall who Augustine is, why Martin Luther is so valuable, and what William Tyndale did. Unfortunately, there is no ‘Church Ancestry.com, to help us reengage the men and women who propelled the gospel into the modern era.
Thankfully with the 500th anniversary of the protestant reformation only a few months away, two great new children’s books, The Church History ABCs and Reformation ABCs, have been published by Crossway to help us grasp our spiritual lineage. These two books written by Stephen J. Nichols, President of Reformation Bible College, and illustrated by Ned Bustard delve into the complexity of church history with the ease and simplicity of children’s story. Both kids and adults will find these resources engaging, interesting, and inspiring.
As we read through the Church History ABCs, we will encounter everyone from Augustine to Ulrich Zwingli. We will encounter small stories written in the first person that talk about the poetry of Anne Bradstreet, the books of John Foxe, and the about the martyrdom of Nicholas Ridley. As we work through the book’s 34 pages, we will gain a better appreciation for all the suffering and sacrifices that the former saints endured so that we could follow Christ. And if we want to gain a little fuller understand of the who the saints mentioned are and of what the colorful illustrations that accompany the words mean, we can flip to the back of the book and read a short summary of their lives.
The Reformation ABCs is also a great book. Most of the pages focus on the men and women of the reformation, recounting the contributions of John Knox and many other. Other pages discuss Queen Elizabeth and how she persecuted the puritans, Westminster Abby and how it was the hub of conservative theology under Cromwell, and the 16th century and how the reformation even touched Michelangelo. The book gives the reader a great overview of all the key players, cities, and events that shaped the reformation.
If you have an interest in church history, have heard a lot about the reformations this year and want to know more, or simply want to gain a fuller understand of what it means to follow Christ, I encourage you to grab a copy of these books. They are easy to read, colorfully illustrated and full of great information. For example, did you know that the Scottish flag has an ‘X’ on it because the apostle Andrew was supposedly crucified in the X position? If you are like me and did not know this fact, then you are also probably like me and would find both the Church History ABCs and the Reformation ABCs informative and helpful.
Oh and yes, your kids will like them too!