Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Polycarp of Smyrna: The Man Whose Faith Lasted

Polycarp of Smyrna: The Man Whose Faith Lasted, Sinclair Ferguson
(Banner of Truth, 2010), hb., 40 pp.
Ages  4-8

This book is part of the Heroes of the Faith Series which Sinclair Ferguson has started, and this is a great beginning. In a “word to the parents” section at the end of the book Ferguson explains the aim of this series. He notes that today our culture encourages people to have “idols” rather than “heroes.” I think Ferguson is right on this, and I appreciate how he distinguishes the two: idols are adored because of their image whereas a hero is one who is respected because he “has shown moral fibre, … has overcome difficulties, … has been tested and has stood firm.” Ferguson’s series seeks to provide families a resource for introducing young children to such heroes in the history of the church. In Ferguson’s words:
“The Heroes of the Faith books are intended to build up into a kind of church family album- pictures of those who, throughout the centuries, have been members fo the family of God.”

I think this book on Polycarp succeeds very well. In an engaging, simple way Ferguson tells the story of Polycarp, his time with the Apostle John, and his martyrdom. My wife read this one to our two youngest (4year old boy & 5 year old girl) while I was away at a conference. When I got back both children told me excitedly about the book. Over the last few days I have heard them both- especially my son- going around the house chanting, “Po-ly-carp! Po-ly-carp!” (his name is chanted in the book). Any book which results in my children being excited about a hero of the faith, chanting the name of one of the earliest church leaders after the New Testament is certainly worth having.

We commend this one to you.

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