I want to thank Christian Focus Publications for providing me with a copy of Shepherd Warrior in return for my honest review.
Ulrich Zwingli and the Reformation
Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531)–also known as Huldrych Zwingli–was a Roman Catholic pastor from Switzerland who became convinced that Scripture is sufficient for Christians–that we need not rely on religious tradition to guide our faith.
Zwingli became a chief Reformer in Switzerland, verbally criticizing Lent, the Mass, and Transubstantiation–the idea that the wine and bread presented during Communion are actually Christ’s physical body and blood.
His belief that Jesus meant Communion to signify his sacrifice for our sins led him into an ugly and direct confrontation with Martin Luther.
Ulrich Zwingli Biography for Kids
Pastor William Boekestein, a skilled author for young people, takes on the telling of Ulrich Zwingli’s life in his new volume Shepherd Warrior: Ulrich Zwingli (Christian Focus Publications, 2016). The book is a part of the ever-growing line of Trailblazers biographies for ages 8-14. I love this line and highly recommend the books for your family!
Boekestein creatively tells the story of Ulrich Zwingli, of his struggles, his conversion, his quest to teach the Gospel, and of his family life. Young people will feel as though they, too, struggle along with Zwingli as he seeks to shepherd his flock, to rebuff doctrinal differences of those taking the Reformation “too far”, and as he gains and loses relationships on the sword of his beliefs.
Ulrich Zwingli was an important figure in the Reformation.
His expository preaching was revolutionary in his area. Zwingli interacted with many of the Reformers of his time, as well as important humanists like Erasmus of Rotterdam.
I’m so glad to see the work Pastor Boekestein has done in creating an accessible biography of Zwingli. If students are to get a full view of the Reformation period, Zwingli really must be included. (For high school students, check out Boekestein’s Ulrich Zwingli, a part of the Bitesize Biographies collection from EP Books.)
The Struggles of Ulrich Zwingli
Telling Zwingli’s story well can’t have been an easy task, but I think it’s an important one.
The more young people understand of the struggles the Church has faced, the more they will understand the struggles faced by the Church today. Zwingli lived during a time when Swiss men often served as mercenary soldiers for neighboring countries, forced conversions were a political issue, and swords were often lifted in the defense of doctrine. The medieval Roman Catholic Church demanded celibacy of the priesthood, yet often turned a blind eye to sexual immorality in the clergy. In fact, there were Renaissance Popes who had children they made no effort to hide (for example: Alexander IV, Julius II, and Alexander VI).
Ulrich Zwingli himself succumbed to sexual immorality prior to his marriage to his wife Anna, even after his apparent conversion. He also served as a chaplain to mercenary soldiers in his career, ending his life with a sword in his hand. Boekestein does not avoid these facts, but skillfully shows Zwingli’s anguish and failures without being graphic.
The author also includes a really helpful appendix titled “Religious Use of Violence during the Reformation”. The appendix covers three points (applicable to Zwingli’s sexual sin as well). While Boekestein elaborates on these points, they are as follows:
- We should try to understand our heroes’ faults, but not defend them.
- God’s people are seduced by the sins of their age.
- Godly people often believe better than they behave.
Hear, hear! In studying Christian history, these are three really important points to remember. They are even more important to introduce to young people, who may not yet have come to terms with the idea that heroes are often flawed.
Kids need to know, too, that the standards of the church may change over time but that the truth of God’s Word never does. I think there is great value in allowing young people to see that the Lord sanctifies his people, even whilst using them to accomplish His purposes–flaws and all.
Ulrich Zwingli: Shepherd Warrior coordinates with studies involving:
- Ulrich Zwingli / Huldrych Zwingli
- The Reformation
- The Middle Ages
- The Church and Politics
- Forced Conversions
- Sexual Sin
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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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