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Faithfulness Under Fire: The Story of Guido De Bres Hardcover – September 30, 2012
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Guido de Bres (1522-1567) was a hero of the Reformation from Belgium. Like many who sought to teach and study the truth of God's amazing grace during the time of the Reformation, de Bres suffered greatly. He fled to England, then to Switzerland, to study, finally returning home to teach his people the gospel during a time of great persecution under Francis I of France. Guido de Bres wrote the Belgic Confession and led many to a saving faith in Christ before being martyred for his faith.
Faithfulness Under Fire: The Story of Guido de Bres (Reformation Heritage Books, 2010) by William Boekestein is a worthwhile storybook for grade school children. As we're studying through the Reformation this year, I will be using all three of Pastor Boekestein's Reformation stories with my middle school boys. The storytelling and the wonderful illustrations by Evan Hughes (reminiscent of both medieval woodprints and of comic book illustrations) are perfect for grade school children, but also engaging for middle school students. As a set, the three books are just right for adding to a week of independent reading for preteens.
William Boekestein, married father of three, a Master of Divinity from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminar, and a Pastor at Covenant Reformed Church in Pennsylvania, does an excellent job of telling the story of Guido de Bres. Rather than focusing on Catholicism, as some Reformation stories do, Pastor Boekestein focuses on de Bres' faithfulness and perseverance. He tells the story of a pastor studying the Bible, writing about biblical truth, and teaching truth to his people.
I highly recommend William Boekestein's Reformation stories. I'm happy to include them in our family's library and in our studies. It's not easy to find quality Reformation resources for children, and I'm thrilled to have located these books.
This little book of his life story isn't much longer than twenty pages and is filled with illustrations. It is compelling enough to keep the attention of my three year old and the pictures are flashy enough to keep him engaged as well. They are not overtly flashy and they relate well to the story at hand.
Guido's story is very sad but it relates the gospel clearly. The main emphasis of this children's story seems to be that "strongly held convictions will produce conflict" but that the gospel is worth it. It also helps little children to see that God is more important than even our own lives. These are helpful lessons for children to learn. And children need to hear the stories of how the gospel spreads through suffering.
On the front cover is a picture of a man climbing a ladder with the threat of being torched. One particular illustration portrays and angry mob burning a life-size figure of de Bres. There are a few other pictures that may cause parents of very young children to dismiss this book. However, I do think that the publishers make a valid case for using this book when they say:
...the reader should know that every reasonable attempt has been made to avoid gratuitous, unsavory detail. It would be impossible, however, to tell the story of de Bres apart from the theme of suffering...secondly, we don't believe it is necessary to shield even young children from the ugliness of life as long as we also provide a context in which this life can be lived victoriously."
I tend to agree. There is much to be learned from the life of de Bres. But each parent hopefully knows their own child. You may find this material a little too sensitive for your youngster. If you do that is okay there are other books that will serve the same purpose. However, this book is helpful and the story of Guido de Bres and others like him need to be told. And eventually, they need to be told to your child.
The illustrations were interesting and often action-filled, though the shading and coloring were dark, but then that does match the suffering of the story. I especially appreciated that, although there was much violence in Guido's life, neither the pictures nor the verbal descriptions were gruesome or overly graphic. It was more suggestive than shocking.
I especially liked two things about this book. One was that it was willing to admit that Christians don't always do everything right, such as when Protestants smashed Roman Catholic windows and icons. The second was that it gave the credit to God and not to Guido. For instance: "By God's grace, Guido had lived a life in total service to God." and "As Guido studied, God filled the young man's heart with love for Him."
I am very thankful to have this obscure story told so compellingly.
Most recent customer reviews
I`m so happy that Guido De Bres` LIFE show me.
Holy Bible is Fire from olddays.