Today, I’m happy to welcome a friend of mine and fellow writer, Christina Fox, to RR. Christina is a real life friend of mine, as well as a writer, blogger, coffee lover, and homeschool mom. She is the author of A Heart Set Free: A Journey Through the Psalms of Lament (Christian Focus 2016). You can find her at www.christinafox.com and @christinarfox.
I grew up in the church and was blessed to learn theology at a young age. But it wasn’t until I started attending a Christian school as a teen that I learned the stories behind that theology. It was in a class on Church History that I discovered the people and places that helped define the truths I took for granted such as the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, justification by faith, and how it is that I attend church on American soil.
A lot has happened since the day Jesus ascended into heaven and charged the disciples to spread the gospel to Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. Many people have died in the cause of spreading the name and fame of Christ and his gospel. In our day and age, learning the history of the church from the time of the New Testament until now, is important. We live in an age where few know what they believe and why. Truth is often seen as relative and depends on what one feels like doing in the moment. In truth, we live in a time not all that different from that of the early church.
We need to teach our children about the history of the church. Teaching them about the past and how we got to where we are today gives them a foundation in their faith. It helps them see how serious truth is and the lengths we must go to in protecting it. It helps give shape to the creeds, confessions, and doctrines that are easily taken for granted. Like the passage in Hebrews 11, it helps them see that many have gone before them, fighting the good fight of faith.
There are many useful resources for teaching church history to children and different ways to implement those resources. If you are homeschooling, it is easy to incorporate a lesson on church history into your daily Bible lessons. Learning church history can also be something you do as a family during devotional time, during story time before bed, or something you study together during breaks from school.
Here are a few excellent resources to consider:
The Church History ABC’s: Augustine and 25 Other Heroes of the Faith by Steven J. Nichols and Ned Bustard. This book is an excellent resource for introducing young children to church history. For each letter of the alphabet, there is a hero of the faith including, Augustine, John Knox, John Newton, and Spurgeon. There is a summary of that hero and their contribution to church history. The illustrations are engaging and the summaries brief with one hero on each page.
The Barber Who Wanted to Pray by R.C. Sproul: This is a book based on the letter exchange between Martin Luther and his barber on the topic of prayer. While it is not specifically about church history, it’s an excellent book to use in conjunction with other books on Martin Luther.
John Knox (Christian Biographies for Young Readers) by Simonetta Carr: This book is ideal for children 7 to 12 and summarizes the life of John Knox, his faith, and his place in church history. It is part of a series of illustrated biographies about people in church history.
Guarding the Treasure by Linda Finlayson: This book covers the history of the Bible: how it was canonized, translated, and spread around the world. Much of what we take for granted about our Bibles and the many people who died to make it happen is covered in this book.
Trial and Triumph by Richard M. Hannula: This book tells the stories of people in church history, including Calvin, Luther, Bunyan, and others, many of whom were martyred for their faith. Because of the nature of martyrdom, if you have a sensitive child, you may want to read the book to them or preview it before they read it on their own.
Ten Boys Who Made a Difference by Irene Howat: This book is part of a series of books highlighting Christians in history. This particular book looks at specific men who made a difference in church history including Hus, Zwingli, Tyndale, and Calvin.
Ten Girls Who Made a Difference by Irene Howat: This book is part of a series of books highlighting Christians in history. This particular books looks at specific women who made a difference in church history including: Susanna Wesley, Ann Judson, Monica of Thagaste, and Susannah Spurgeon.
Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes by Dave and Neta Jackson: This book provides brief summaries of heroes in church history as well as a specific story from their lives.
John Calvin: After Darkness Light by Catherine MacKenzie: This is part of a series of children’s biographies. It is written like a narrative and engages young readers with the story of John Calvin’s life and his contributions to the Reformation period of history.
Peace and Peril by Mindy Withrow: This book covers ancient church history from the time of Paul and includes people such as Constantine, Athanasius, and John Chrysostom. This book will help readers understand the life and death issues the early church faced as well as how some of our early creeds came to be.
Christina Fox is a writer, blogger, coffee lover, and homeschool mom. She is the author of A Heart Set Free: A Journey Through the Psalms of Lament (Christian Focus 2016). You can find her at www.christinafox.com and @christinarfox.