I want to thank Christian Focus Publications for providing a copy of Wielding the Sword in return for my honest review.
Wielding the Sword: Preachers and Teachers of God’s Word (Christian Focus 4 Kids, 2014) is book #2 in Linda Finlayson’s Defenders of the Faith Series for ages 7-12. You can also read my review of the first book in the series, Guarding the Treasure: How God’s People Preserve God’s Word (CF4K, 2012).
Wielding the Sword is the story of preachers and teachers throughout history who have pointed to Jesus. Ms. Finlayson does as terrific job of explaining the history of preaching in the Christian church. The book alternates narrative biographical stories with short chapters explaining developments in preaching. The story of preachers and teachers of the Christian faith proceeds from Christ’s disciples through Bible teachers who are still living…..
Linda Finlayson has a gift for distilling complicated facts into explanations that are understandable for children. For example, she covers several false teachings in clear manner such as: Arianism, Gnosticism, Pelagianism, and Manichaeism. Her tone is not condescending, but friendly, and my children understood her definitions.
Preachers and Teachers covered in the narrative chapters:
- Anthony of Padua
- John Chrysostom
- Augustine of Hippo
- Gregory the Great
- John Hus
- John Calvin
- George Whitefield
- Mary Lyon
- Charles Spurgeon
- Festo Kivengere
In the historical “articles” in the alternating chapters, Ms. Finlayson covers a variety of other preachers and developments in preaching in addition to explaining the history that occurred between the lifetimes of her highlighted preachers and teachers.
The preachers and teachers of the Christian Church have been instrumental in defending our understanding of the Christian faith. False teachings have arisen, but God’s Word has triumphed. I think it’s important that our children have a knowledge of their “family” history. It’s vital they can identify and categorize false teachings as they reoccur in our day. History is valuable in so many ways, and I find it encouraging to find such a wonderful, biblically-grounded resource to use in the study of Christian history.
Wielding the Sword is well-written, engaging, sincere (I thank Ms. Finlayson SO much for not condescending to our young people!), and informative. I love this series. I can hardly wait for the next book! Christian Focus 4 Kids is truly doing a wonderful job producing fantastic middle grade reading materials for Christian families. Bravo.
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You can find Wielding the Sword at:
Don’t forget to check out the first book in Linda Finlayson’s Defenders of the Faith series, Guarding the Treasure:
More Books for 8-12 Year Olds Reviewed at Thinking Kids
- History Lives Christian History Series by Brandon & Mindy Withrow
- 44 Animals of the Bible by Nancy Pelander Johnson
- Tough Questions About the Bible by Joel R. Beeke
- The New Astronomy Book by Danny R. Faulkner
- God’s Special Tent: The Story of the Tabernacle and What Came After by Jean Stapleton
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.