- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 4 - 7
- Series: Christian Biographies for Young Readers
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books (October 25, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1601784546
- ISBN-13: 978-1601784544
- Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 32 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Martin Luther - Christian Biographies for Young Readers Hardcover – October 25, 2016
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Carr leads readers into the world in which Martin Luther grew up and then served the church and his society with sensitivity to the times and places where his life unfolded. The adventure of bringing the gospel to his people and the drama of his testimony to the truth come alive as we follow his footsteps into the heart of the German government, when he stood up to an emperor, and into his home and the joys he had in raising his family. An excellent introduction to the life of the great Reformer. --Robert Kolb, professor of systematic theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
I am a big fan of both Martin Luther and Simonetta Carr, so this book is a dream come true, an author-subject marriage made in heaven. Simonetta beautifully captures both the life and the key thoughts of Dr. Martin and does so in a manner which is fast-paced and exciting. Parents will love reading this book to their children, and children will love reading it for themselves. --Carl Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary, and pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), Ambler, Pennsylvania
From the Inside Flap
Five hundred years ago, a monk named Martin Luther wrote ninety-five questions, hoping to start a discussion about sin and repentance at the University of Wittenberg in Germany. In a few months those questions had stirred the nation; a few years later, the continent. Today we know that those questions changed the course of both the Western church and world history. In this volume for children, Simonetta Carr tells the compelling story of this father of the Protestant Reformation, tracing his quest for peace with God, his lifelong heroic stand for God's truth, and his family life and numerous accomplishments. The Reformer's greatest accomplishment, she writes, "has been his uncompromising emphasis on the free promise of the gospel." "Carr leads readers into the world in which Martin Luther grew up and then served the church and his society with sensitivity to the times and places where his life unfolded. The adventure of bringing the gospel to his people and the drama of his testimony to the truth come alive as we follow his footsteps into the heart of the German government, when he stood up to an emperor, and into his home and the joys he had in raising his family. An excellent introduction to the life of the great Reformer." Robert Kolb, professor of systematic theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis "I am a big fan of both Martin Luther and Simonetta Carr, so this book is a dream come true, an author-subject marriage made in heaven. Simonetta beautifully captures both the life and the key thoughts of Dr. Martin and does so in a manner which is fast-paced and exciting. Parents will love reading this book to their children, and children will love reading it for themselves." Carl Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary, and pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), Ambler, Pennsylvania
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the story of Martin Luther is a tricky one to tell, especially to children. There is so much more than nailing theses, and much of the things we think we know about Luther aren't true. Carr's biography is faithful to the true story of Martin Luther. She includes the well known elements of his life, like the thunderstorm commitment to monasticism, and his nailing 95 theses to a door, and his statement to the Diet of Worms (excluding the oft quoted, but historically inaccurate "here I am, I can do no other."). She also includes the peasant's revolt, the death of two of his children, and his treatise against the Jews later in his life. These elements of Martin Luther's life are all presented in a gentle way, appropriate for children, while still being faithful to the subject.
Like in her biography of Knox, Carr humanizes Martin Luther. With Knox she made sympathetic an often vilified man. With Luther she makes ordinary a man who has been made so much larger than life. This is, interestingly, more difficult. Luther was a larger than life character. He used large and dramatic language. He had large and dramatic emotions. His life was a large and dramatic one. It is easy to forget that in the midst of that he was a father, husband, and teacher. Simonetta Carr brings that Luther to life. Carr's other biographies serve as a sort of introduction to faithful men and women in church history that have been forgotten or misrepresented in our modern time. Her biography of Luther serves, instead, as an anchor amidst the hype that surrounds the name "Luther."
However, to truly appreciate what drove Martin Luther, and some of the events in his life, I think some of that bigness needs to find a place in the story. One of the driving forces in Luther's theology was the idea of Anfechtungen, or emotional distress that pushes us always to our need for Christ. Luther's struggle to direct and master his emotions in biblical ways is instructional, even for children. However, no biographer can include the details that every reader believes to be most important. The lack of that aspect of Luther's life does not diminish this work.
Finally, in reviewing past biographies, I have been remiss not to mention the excellent illustrations contained in each of the books of the series. There is joy in a beautiful book, and this entire series is beautiful, from binding, to font choice, to illustrations. Troy Howell's work is truly excellent.
Luther ultimately is promoted to higher positions, moving on to the city of Wittenberg to be a professor of Bible studies. Ultimately he also ends up preaching in the city church as well as "supervising ten monasteries". Tetzel comes into Germany with his indulgences and as a consequence Luther writes his "ninety-five questions" (I like how Carr simplifies much of the language for children). He simply wanted to discuss them on a scholarly level, but they end up being translated into the common language of the people and causing a big stir in the nation and around Europe. And then of course the famous 'Diet of Worms" happens, Luther gets taken away to a Castle…etc. Ultimately Luther ends up marrying and having several children. We see how generous Luther and his wife are, they help many people during hard times. They also go through hard times themselves, losing some of their children in death, but they still trust God. The book comes to a close with Luther's death followed by a quick summary of his influence.
There are pictures scattered around the book: old and new paintings and drawings of Luther in various events God ordained that he would go through. There are also pictures of some of his relatives and other historical people mentioned in this book. Also included throughout the book are photographs and old drawings of the various towns and buildings Luther frequented, as well as a few photographs of objects, such as a lute and a chest used to "collect money from the sale of indulgences".
Carr writes in a way that I think children will easily understand and also manages to simplify explanations of erroneous beliefs of the day as well as important Biblical concepts. As Examples, Carr talks about people thinking that they could earn their salvation or the salvation of others, and that many believed that Christ and God were both angry judges of sinners to be appeased by 'saints' (described as "godly people who had died") . She also conveys Luther's struggle with what "the righteousness of God" (as discussed in the book of Romans) actually means and his final realization that in this verse (Rom 1:17), "this is not a righteousness God demands, but a righteousness God gives in Jesus Christ."
At the end of the book there is a Did You Know? section and after that a selection of excerpts from Luther's small catechism. I found the "did you know" section especially interesting. I did not know (or at least I didn't remember) that Luther's last name at birth was actually Luder but he changed the spelling to Luther, "as a wordplay on the Greek eleutherius, which means "free man". I think that kids (and adults) will both enjoy that section as a potential discussion prompting conclusion to the book.
All in all, I really liked this book. I really appreciated that she does not make Luther come across as a hero to be worshiped but rather as a man, saved by God's grace and not his own merit, who was used by God to bring people to a correct knowledge of the Gospel and to point them to the Word of God as the only authority.
Many thanks to the folks at Cross Focused Reviews for sending me a free review copy of this book (My review did not have to be favorable)