Reformation 500: Martin Luther for Young Readers

Martin Luther, Reformation Heritage Books

The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is fast approaching, and with it a host of new resources with which to celebrate this world changing era. What took place on October 31, 1517 at the hand of an obscure, Augustinian monk was the recapturing of justification by grace alone through faith alone, a doctrine which Luther said was the article upon which the church stands or falls.

When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, he couldn’t have known, indeed had no intention, that he was etching his name into the granite rock of church history. The young man from Eisleben, Germany, who had been preparing to be lawyer but chose to become a monk at the flash of a bolt of lightning, became the catalyst for what would become known as Reformed theology. Those who study his life and life’s work for the spread of the Gospel are blessed.

A New Resource

Luther’s theological works are legion. Their depth and sheer volume have been the focus of scholarly work for generations. Still, Luther is accessible and knowable by all. To this end, author Simonetta Carr and illustrator Troy Howell, in cooperation with Reformation Heritage Books and their series “Christian Biographies for Young Readers,” have joined together to offer parents and their children a new biography on this great reformer of the church.

Set into a book of sturdy construction that ought to last a lifetime if well cared for, Carr takes the reader on a chronological walk through the highlights of Luther’s life and ministry. The prose is accessible to both reader and hearer (i.e. if read aloud by a parent). Parent and child alike will come away from Martin Luther with a clear and articulate grasp of Luther and the effects of his ministry upon the church. As a bonus, the photography and illustrations bring it all together to form a book that young readers will indeed enjoy throughout their years.

The Contribution

Unfortunately, today’s young reader lives in an age that often finds theology and church history to be less than “practical.” The error of this view is clear to those who seek understanding. From a biblical counseling perspective, we understand that theology is not done in a vacuum. Whether we understand it or not, we read Scripture with those who have gone before us. Where ever this is rejected, error is sure to follow.

One of the values of this book, and the others that join it in the series, is the opportunity given to parents to introduce their young reader to church history, in this case, Martin Luther. As young readers engage this beautifully written and packaged book, they will connect the dots between the faith they hold today, and the saints of old, like Luther, who labored for the Gospel so long ago. For parents, this book will help bring a sense of enthusiasm to their child’s heart as they disciple them toward Christ.

A Counselor’s Recommendation

The work of counseling is usually thought of as strictly concerned with clinical diagnoses, and behavior modification. Not so with biblical counseling. We’re concerned with the entirety of the pursuit of sound doctrine and theology, and how they move toward changing a person’s heart. Soul work begins with the faith that Martin Luther came to know, as revealed in Scripture alone, and this book does a masterful job of introducing him.

There are few tasks in this life, if any, that surpass the greatness and responsibility of parenting. In today’s world, parents cannot have too many resources dedicated to shepherding their child’s heart. This series from Reformation Heritage Books is a blessing to the family, and this book on Martin Luther would be a wonderful place to start.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided to the reviewer at no charge in exchange for an impartial review.

~ JW