Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book Review: John Knox

John Knox (Christian Biographies for Young Readers) Greed. Corruption. False teaching. Murder. The problems in the early Church ran deep. History teaches us that this is exactly what happens when believers fail to read and study God's Word. Throughout history, God has used many men and women to call the Church back to the Holy Scriptures rather than the traditions of man. John Knox is one such man.

Long time readers of this blog need no introduction to Simonetta Carr or her "Christian Biographies for Young Readers".  As I've written before, Ms. Carr is one of my favorite children's authors due, in large part, to her commitment to "...go beyond the simple story of someone's life by teaching young readers the historical and theological relevance of each character" (from the Copyright Page). There is a purpose and depth to Simonetta's writing which exceeds that found in much of written material for children today. This is why I am excited that she has added another title to her lovely series!

In her latest title, John Knox, Ms. Carr introduces us to a humble man whom God used to purify and build His Church. Knox began life simply enough becoming educated at university and working a fairly quiet job as a notary. However, he lived during turbulent times, and his life didn't stay "quiet" for long. His story is a fascinating one as he moves from bodyguard to preacher, from chains to freedom, from country to country, facing rulers within and without the Church. During this time, he wrote books answering questions such as: "...What should we do in time of trouble?" (pg. 24) Knox could answer this question because he lived during times of much trouble. How did Knox answer this question? How did he respond to the troubles that he faced? How should we face trouble? How can we prepare our kids to face trouble? Studying history by reading books like John Knox will help all of us to be more readily prepared as we encounter the trials of life.

Like the other books in the "Christian Biographies for Young Readers" series, John Knox is carefully researched, informative, and interesting.  Ms. Carr includes a map and timeline to aid understanding. Once again, Matt Abraxas serves to further draw the reader into the story of Knox's life through his vivid artwork, and Ms. Carr includes appropriate, well-chosen photos to accompany her writing. Additionally, the reader will discover with Knox the exciting, good news of the Gospel that "...Christ did everything for our salvation, and the special offerings, good works, and prayers the church was requiring were not necessary to earn it" (pg. 6).

As we've come to expect from the "Christian Biographies for Young Readers" series, John Knox is a high quality, hardcover book with thick pages and a sewn binding, making it a sturdy, collectible title that will hold up well to many years of use.

Christian Biographies for Young Readers 5 Book SetI highly recommend John Knox and pray that many will be encouraged as they seek to serve God faithfully in the face of trouble and that they will grow in their understanding of the importance and value of studying church history as a result of this splendid work!!

You can find out more about Simonetta Carr's "Christian Biographies for Young Readers" here, including activity pages for several existing titles (Augustine of Hippo and John Calvin) and a study guide for John Owen.


*Many thanks to Cross Focused Reviews, Reformation Heritage Books, and Simonetta Carr for providing me with a complimentary copy of John Knox in exchange for my honest opinion!

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