Church history is an important part of understanding the Christian faith. Although it is not necessary for salvation or even discipleship, knowing some history of the Christian faith serves only to enrich our walk with the Lord. Church history encompasses the time after the last Apostles death in 90-100 AD to the president. In that roughly two thousand year period, the Christian faith has grown from a small group in the Middle East to a global religion with over two billion adherents. The story of God’s faithfulness to history people during this period is fascinating. Along with teaching the truths of Scripture, Christian parents can teach their children about God’s work in history. Several years ago author Stephen Nichols published a book that can help parents introduce Church history to their children. The book is titled The Church History ABC’s: Augustine and 25 Other Heroes of the Faith (Crossway, 2010).
From Augustine to Zwingli and everyone in between, the book introduces children’s to the faithfulness of God seen throughout Church history. Each letter of the alphabet corresponds with the name of a person used by the Lord to spread the gospel over the past two thousand years. Stephen Nichols does an excellent job of introducing the reader to figures from each period of Church history. They include figures from the patristic period: Hippolytus, Ignatius, and Tertullian. The late antiquity period: Augustine of Hippo and Saint Patrick. Many of the figures included come from period of the Reformation: Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. The book also includes American figures such as Jonathan Edwards. It is a fairly well rounded mixture from all of Church history. While it is nearly impossible to pair down all of Church history into just 26 figures, one neat aspect of the book is the “recommendations” on the back cover. Nichols included silly made up recommendations as a sort of “honorable mention”. These include people like C. S. Lewis, John Bunyan, and George Whitfield.
The illustrations are by Ned Bustard and are fairly basic, but portray each figure well enough. In addition to the figures from Church history, each letter includes a photograph of an object that corresponds. The mixture of real life photographs and drawn illustrations give the book a textbook type feel. This style may not appeal to all readers, but it is done well enough to get the point across and all the reader the alphabet in a unique manner.
The Church History ABC’s is a neat little book and does a good job of conveying the point of teaching ABC’s in a fun way. It would be a good resource for a Sunday School class or Christian school library/classroom. This book will not appeal to all parents or children. However, for parents who want to teach their children about Church history, this is a cute way to do that.
Editor’s Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the book.