We need to know our history.
Stories of the Reformation in Germany and England for Young People by Rev. B. J. Johns, Sprinkle Publications, 345 pp.
Edward VI. Lady Jane Grey. These two historic personalities have little name-recognition to most Christians and are even less familiar to their children. Yet these individuals were English youth whose Christian faith faced fiery trials while they remained staunch and steadfast.
These are but two of many believers that we encounter when we read this book recently reprinted by Sprinkle Publications. The author begins by recounting the Luther's youth. He then takes the reader to Castle Gray in the English countryside in 1520. The castle is home to the family of Sir Harry Gray. Through the activities of the two Harry's father and son we learn of the hard fight for acceptance of the Reformation in England.
The author's historical account moves forward from the reign of King Henry VIII to the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's rule. We meet many heroic Christians along the way who stood firmly upon the gospel even if it meant their own death. These include Thomas Bilney, Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer. Additionally, we encounter hardened opponents to the gospel's proclamation such as King Henry VIII and Queen Mary. To this list we also add the pope and others who sought to silence Luther by numerous unsuccessful schemes.
There are a number of reasons for you to read this book. First, we need to know our history. This book tells the story of adults and youth who sought to follow faithfully the Lord in their time and their place. The youth include royalty Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey. Christian living affects the souls and daily lives of people of all economic classes and educational levels.
Second, our children need to be reminded that Christianity is valuable. Many in history have lived and died for the sake of the gospel. Our children are not that aware of man's hostility to the Cross and are oblivious to the price many have paid rather than deny the faith.
Hebrews 11 teaches that God, in his providence, works out his will in different ways in regard to trials his people face. Some die a natural death. This was true of Luther. Others endure a martyr's death, such as Nicholas Ridley.
Only God knows his perfect plan for the lives of his people. However, this work points to the unchanging God who does all things well. Adults and youth need to know and remember the lives of faithful Christians who have gone to their heavenly rest.
Our children are being brought up in a culture that is continually tossing aside any reminder of God. This work realistically recounts the difficulties many faced in getting the free proclamation of the gospel rooted in society.
Johns' writing style engages the reader's interest. He devotes a number of pages to Luther in Germany and then turns our attention to developments in England during the same period. This gives a better grasp of events that occurred in England and Germany during the Reformation.
Reviewed by TE Byron Snapp is associate pastor of Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church in Hampton, Va.
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