“Women, children and unbelievers into the lifeboats!”
Over one hundred years ago, on April 15, 1912, the “unsinkable” Titanic hit an iceberg–and sunk. More than 1,500 people perished in the freezing cold waves that morning, including a man who loved Jesus more than his own life.
Before the sun rose, as the ship tilted rapidly into the ocean, John Harper stood on the deck of the Titanic, calling the attention of his fellow passengers to the state of their souls.
For John Harper, this focus on salvation was nothing new. As a pastor and evangelist on his way to preach at Chicago’s Moody Church, John Harper spent much of his life, including his time on the Titanic, pointing others to Christ.
As the ship sunk, Harper–a widower–loaded his 6-year-old daughter into a lifeboat, knowing she would soon be orphaned. Drying his eyes, he then turned to the crowd and began calling, “Women, children and unbelievers into the lifeboats!”
John Harper brought fellow souls to Christ, even in the icy waters of the Atlantic just before his death.
The Story of the Titanic for Children
John Harper’s story is compelling. His love for Jesus governed his life.
Robert Plant, a Christian children’s evangelist from Ireland, tells John Harper’s story in an exciting and engaging manner for children aged 7-12 in Titanic, the Ship of Dreams: John Harper (Christian Focus Publications).
I read this book a number of years ago and loved it. In fact, I stayed up incredibly late two nights in a row reading it.
So, when I decided to spend a week observing the sinking of the Titanic as part of our homeschool, Titanic, the Ship of Dreams: John Harper naturally had to be included.
My boys (ages 8 and 9 at the time) were fascinated by the story.
Titanic is a fictionalized biography. That’s much like historical fiction, but with a focus on the biography of a real individual. Much of the story is imagined, yet real facts are artfully woven in, and the storyline is faithful to everything known about John Harper’s character, and his final days aboard the Titanic.
John Harper’s young daughter Nana is an integral part of Titanic. We see much of the grand ship through her exploring, and we see her father through his interactions with and around her. Nana witnesses her father sharing Christ throughout the story, and she follows suit, telling those she meets about Jesus.
Titanic, the Ship of Dreams as an Allegory
Throughout the book, Robert Plant artfully contrasts the fragile nature of the “unsinkable” Titanic with the eternal and sovereign nature of Jesus Christ.
This theme permeates his writing, pointing children to salvation in our Messiah. My boys frequently interrupted the story to discuss the silly people aboard the boat who placed their faith in earthly things: the ship, wealth, and personal power. We had fantastic discussions about the fact that our trust must be in God alone.
Mr. Plant also repeatedly returns his readers to the fact that God alone is sovereign. Every event in our lives is chosen to bring Him glory, and to serve His purpose. There is nothing that can be attributed to “luck” or “fortune”. God is ultimately the author of our time here on earth.
The boys and I were able to discuss this as we considered the fact that John Harper was originally scheduled to sail on another ship. His voyage aboard the Titanic was not accidental. Rather, God used the life of John Harper to minister to the dying, and to glorify Himself.
I love Titanic, the Ship of Dreams: John Harper by Robert Plant. In fact, I loved it enough to read it twice. It’s just that good.
Purchase Titanic the Ship of Dreams: John Harper
Christian Book: Titanic: The Ship of Dreams
More Christian Focus Trail Blazers Books for Your Kids
Our family loves the Christian Focus Trail Blazers books. They’re perfect for ages 7-14. We read them as we studied history! Check them out.
Eric Liddell: Finish the RaceJohn Chrysostom: The Preacher in the Emperor’s CourtSamuel Rutherford: The Law, the Prince and the ScribeFrancis & Edith Schaeffer: Taking on the WorldTitanic: The Ship of DreamsWilliam Tyndale: The Smuggler’s FlameWilfred Grenfell: Courageous DoctorDietrich Bonhoeffer: A Spoke in the WheelElisabeth Elliot: Do the Next ThingBetty Greene: Courage Has WingsUlrich Zwingli: Shepherd WarriorLilias Trotter: Daring in the DesertIsobel Kuhn: Lights in LisulandJim Elliot: He Is No FoolGeorge Müller: The Children’s ChampionAdoniram Judson: Danger on the Streets of GoldPatricia St. John: The Story Behind the StoriesHelen Roseveare: On His Majesty’s ServiceJohn Newton: A Slave Set FreeJohn Calvin: After Darkness LightJohn Knox: The Sharpened SwordBilly Graham: Just get up out of your SeatRichard Wurmbrand: A Voice in the DarkMary Slessor: Servant to the SlaveJoni Eareckson Tada: Swimming Against the TideHudson Taylor: An Adventure BeginsAugustine: The Truth SeekerPatrick of Ireland: The Boy Who ForgaveBrother Andrew: Behind Enemy LinesLottie Moon: Changing China for ChristD L Moody: One Devoted ManNate Saint: Operation AucaJohn Welch: The Man Who Couldn’t Be StoppedMichael Faraday: Spiritual DynamoWilliam Wilberforce: The Freedom FighterC. S. Lewis: The Story Teller: Trailblazers SeriesJonathan Edwards: America’s GeniusCharles Spurgeon: Prince of PreachersGeorge Müller: The Children’s ChampionGeorge Whitefield: Voice That Woke the WorldAmy Carmichael: Rescuer By NightMary of Orange: At the Mercy of KingsMartyn Lloyd-Jones: From Wales to WestminsterHannah More: The Woman Who Wouldn’t Stop WritingFanny Crosby: The Blind Girl’s SongPaul Brand: The Shoes That Love MadeFrances Ridley Havergal: The Girl Who Loved MountainsCorrie Ten Boom: The Watchmaker’s DaughterGladys Aylward: No Mountain Too HighJohn Bunyan: Journey of a PilgrimDavid Brainerd: A Love for the LostJohn G. Paton: South Sea Island RescueBilly Bray: Saved From the Deepest PitJohn Stott: The Humble LeaderBill Bright: Dare to be DifferentCharles Simeon: For Christ in Cambridge (Trail Blazers)William Carey: Expecting Great Things (Trail Blazers)Jack Turner: Truth in the Arctic (Trail Blazers)Elaine Townsend: At Home Around the World (Trail Blazers)Thomas Clarkson: The Giant With One Idea (Trailblazers)John and Betty Stam: To Die is Gain (Trail Blazers)Maud Kells: Fearless in the Forest (Trail Blazers)Jim Elliot: He Is No Fool (Trail Blazers)Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love (Trailblazers)Polycarp: Faithful unto Death (Trail Blazers)Thomas Cranmer: The King’s Ambassador (Trailblazers)Olaudah Equiano: A Man of Many Names (Trail Blazers)
Christian Biographies for Kids | Christian History for Kids | Theology for Kids
Christian History Matters for Our Kids.
History matters. Now, more than ever, we see how important it is for our children to know and understand history and the Bible.
- God is the sovereign ruler of all things. It’s important for our kids to see his hand in the history of nations and in the lives of both peasants and kings.
- Christian history is the story of our family history. Our kids get to see how people who love Jesus follow him.
- Understanding history can help our kids learn historic and biblical theology. They learn what the Bible says and what that means for us. They also see when the study of Scripture has taken important turns that have changed the Church.
- Reading Christian biographies and history can be a wonderful way for kids to think outside their own time and culture. God’s Church spans centuries and includes people from every nation.
- Christian biographies help kids consider their own faith, walk with Jesus, and the impact their witness may one day have on others–and on history.
The Who What Why Series is the perfect resource to teach your kids about history, while helping them apply biblical truths to their lives today.
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