I won Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact by Michael A.G. Haykin in a Christian Focus giveaway. I found out about it on their Facebook page.
Which is why you should follow their grown-up and their children’s page. Because who knows what could happen?
That said, no one asked me to review this book. Now you and the Federal Trade Commission are all up to speed.
When I was in elementary school, I got pinched on St. Patty’s Day. Every time. I didn’t know who St. Patrick was, and besides, my mom wasn’t fond of green. I’m not sure I even owned any clothing that color. I didn’t figure out who St. Patrick was until I was a parent. My boys were watching a Veggie Tales movie and there was a little short about the “pig boy”. That’s when I realized that God’s providence is amazing–and Patrick of Ireland was pretty cool. (What can I say? I first learned about Christian history from singing vegetables. Well, a sock puppet, really.)
Michael A.G. Haykin approaches the subject of St. Patrick with the assumption that the reader is already familiar with Patrick. That’s because Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact by Haykin (Christian Focus, 2014) is a part of Christian Focus Publications’ Early Church Fathers series (for which Haykin is the editor). The series is aimed at adults and the book is written as a scholarly biography rather than a narrative biography…..
What makes me think it’s accessible and appropriate for high school?
First, high school students are reading adult books. This is the age of preparation for college. I remember reading a 900+ page biography on Sigmund Freud for extra credit as a sophomore in high school. This book is a much easier read. Second, the book is understandable and accessible. Though the chapters are themed rather than arranged according to the sequence of events in Patrick’s life, a high school student should be able to process the information presented. It might help if your student has a little background on the story of Patrick before reading the book. I recommend this short video from Rose Publishing:
Patrick of Ireland consists of four chapters, beginning with ‘I am Patrick’. The book is just a short 98 pages, perhaps because the source material on him is scant. I appreciate the fact that Haykin (who is a Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at Kentucky’s Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as well as Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies) cuts through the myths and legends and uses the only true source material available: Patrick’s autobiography, and a scathing letter written by Patrick to errant soldiers. You won’t find any strange stories of snakes in this book. Haykin also explains some of the theological, historical, and cultural context of the time Patrick was born into as well as some of the questions regarding his life and ministry.
‘One God in the Trinity of the holy name’ begins with a creedal statement from Patrick’s work. Haykin analyzes Patrick’s theology and finds it sound. I tend to envision Christian figures operating in a vacuum without any interaction in actual history, which of course they do not. Patrick was living, studying and ministering in the midst of paganism, Arianism, and Pelagianism. It was against these false teachings that he labored.
‘I am bound by the Spirit’ discusses Patrick’s mission to Ireland. Michael Haykin opens with the impact Patrick’s life had on William Carey. He explains the challenge presented to Patrick’s mission by Celtic paganism, the contemporary view of the western church toward missions, Patrick’s passion regarding his mission, and his impact upon Ireland.
In the last chapter, ‘God has spoken’, Haykin describes Patrick’s understanding of the Bible (and the challenges to the Scriptures at that time), prayer, and the Holy Spirit (he experienced several significant dreams) are explored. We also learn of Patrick’s role as the Irish bishop.
Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact is a great exploration of Patrick’s role in the history of the Church. I’m excited about the new Early Church Fathers series and it’s accessibility for high school students. You’ll likely want to sneak away with the book once they’re done reading, because it is a fascinating read.
Purchase Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact at:
Amazon: Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact (Biography)
Christian Book: Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact
Also in the Early Church Fathers Series:
Other books for older students reviewed on Thinking Kids:
- God’s Story: A Student’s Guide to Church History by Brian Cosby
- Water the Earth: A Student’s Guide to Missions by Aaron Little
- Rebels Rescued: A Student’s Guide to Reformed Theology by Brian Cosby
- Bitesize Theology: An ABC of Christian Faith by Peter Jeffrey
- Zachary Macaulay (Bitesize Biographies) by Faith Cook
- Questions God Asks by Israel Wayne
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- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
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- Christian Books about Parenting
~ 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.