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Irenaeus (Christian Biographies for Young Readers) Hardcover – October 15, 2017
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About the Author
Simonetta Carr was born in Italy and has lived and worked in different cultures. A former elementary school teacher, she home-schooled her eight children for many years. She has written for newspapers and magazines around the world and has translated the works of several Christian authors into Italian. Presently, she lives in San Diego with her husband, Thomas, and family. She is a member and Sunday school teacher at Christ United Reformed Church, Santee, California. Matt Abraxas has traveled from California to France, studying different approaches to art. He enjoys creating and teaching art and currently exhibits his work at the SmithKlein Gallery in Boulder, Colorado. Matt lives with his wife, Rebecca, and two sons, Zorba and Rainer, in Lafayette, Colorado.
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One such enriching resource I recently added to our family's library is Simonetta Carr's, Irenaeus: Christian Biographies for Young Readers. What an encouragement to any Christian's faith to hear the noble stories of the those who have walked those path before us and stayed faithful, even to the point of death. I especially admire that first generation of believers from the infancy of the Church who fervently lived out the gospel even in the face of intense persecution. The idea of especially my children enduring such trials shakes my Mother Heart to the core, but it truly seems that children can sense the cruelty and challenges of life and want those heroes to look to imitate in their own trials. My boys have loved the Torch Lighters series, specifically the story of Perpetua and it seems that this book on Irenaeus will be a great follow up in learning about the Early Church Martyrs and Heroes.
I was impressed and challenged myself while reading through this comprehensive and engaging biography on one of the Early Church Fathers and Defender of Scriptural Integrity. The book begins by introducing us to the world Irenaeus was born into and those who influenced him and his beliefs during his formative years. We then learn of Irenaeus' becoming a leader in the church during a period of intense persecution and how he faced the task of comforting and strengthening the faith of his flock.
I particularly liked the chapter- For the Love of Truth. I found Irenaeus' refuting the false claims of the Gnostics to be so relevant to even our Christian cultural today. From wondering how people could possibly not give credit to the Maker for the beauty of the starry night sky to calling out the Gnostics for manipulating verses to fit their teachings by taking them out of the context of the correct scripture passage- Irenaeus fought valiantly to protect his flock from deception and also uphold the validity of Scripture for even us today. I am so glad to have this beautiful book to introduce my children to a hero of the faith. The text is both informative and encouraging and gorgeous illustrations plus some fascinating examples of historic relics from Irenaeus' time period. I would highly recommend this book to Christian families!
Thanks to Reformation Heritage Books and the Cross Focused Review program for providing me with this book to share with my readers.
"...and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (Second Timothy 2:2, ESV).
Thankfully, in our generation, Simonetta Carr has taken up the baton of faithfully teaching the Gospel and of sharing the accounts of those throughout history who have done likewise. The latest title in her "Christian Biographies for Young Readers" series focuses on Irenaeus of Lyons but also features faithful saints such as Polycarp, Justin the Martyr, Blandina, and Pothinus who stood firm on the truths of the Gospel, even in the face of persecution. Each of these believers sought to faithfully serve God in their generation, guarded the good deposit that was entrusted to them, and taught others to do the same. Ms. Carr shows us that we have much to learn from those who have gone before us!
Church history is never dull when Simonetta Carr takes up her pen. She seeks to write about aspects of her character's lives that will be interesting and relatable to her audience. In Irenaeus of Lyons, she relays aspects of his education, travels, friendships, strengths, and weaknesses. Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of Irenaeus's life was his sense of humor. It's hard to imagine a reader who wouldn't be amused by some of Irenaeus's antics for proving the absurdity of false teaching, especially when Ms. Carr includes a comical photo of a royal Gourd, Melon, and Cucumber. Less relatable to most Christians in America, but no less dull, are the age-appropriate accounts of persecution and martyrdom faced by the saints of which she writes.
Most importantly, Ms. Carr relates accounts that demonstrate his faithfulness to the Scriptures and its over-arching redemptive story line as demonstrated by this quote:
"Most of Irenaeus's arguments, however, were based on the Scriptures, which he quoted freely. God, Irenaeus said, has revealed Himself in the Bible, giving all the truth men and women need to know about Him and our relationship with Him. And the Bible teaches that there is only one God, in both the Old and the New Testament, and He is good, perfect, and just. In fact, from Genesis to Revelation we read one long, beautiful story: how God saved His sinful people" (38).
Time and again, Simonetta Carr succeeds in going "beyond the simple story of someone's life by teaching young readers the historical and theological relevance of each character" in an age appropriate way (2). As with previous titles in the series, readers of Irenaeus of Lyons will encounter a carefully researched account that is edifying, complete with a map, a timeline, fun facts, and an excerpt from Irenaeus's major work, Against Heresies. Captivating artwork and an abundance of vivid photos on thick, glossy pages in a sturdy hardcover make this book yet another collectible title that will endure many years of enjoyment.
Irenaeus of Lyons is a thought-provoking children's biography that is sure to encourage many to guard the good deposit entrusted to them, reading "...the Scriptures faithfully and with humility, seeing both the Old and New Testaments as one unified story" (54). I pray that many will be motivated to preserve the faith handed on by the apostles and to defend it when attacked just as Irenaeus and those who followed him did (54).
*Many thanks to Cross Focused Reviews, Reformation Heritage Books, and Simonetta Carr for providing me with a complimentary copy of Irenaeus of Lyons in exchange for my honest opinion!
Most recent customer reviews
Irenaeus is thorough and very clearly written.Read more