Reviewed by: Anneke Fesko
Wielding the Sword: Preachers and Teachers of God's Word, by Linda Finlayson. CF4Kids, 2014. Paperback, 176 pages, list price $9.99. Reviewed by OP member Anneke Fesko.
Wielding the Sword, by OP member Linda Finlayson, presents the stories of several men and women from church history and relates how God used each to further the kingdom through the preaching and teaching of God's word. The title reminds us of Ephesians 5:17 and Hebrews 4:12, which describe the word of God as the sword of the Spirit.
The author dramatizes the stories of nine men and one woman from the thirteenth through the nineteenth centuries in one or two chapters each, and highlights several others in sidebars and the penultimate chapter. Some of the figures, like John Calvin, are well known, while others, like Henrietta Mears, the Christian educator and founder of Gospel Light, were new to me. The penultimate chapter features twentieth-century preachers and teachers, including Billy Graham and John Murray. Mrs. Finlayson also includes a chapter on false teachers, such as Pelagius. The narratives are engaging and give good biographical summaries, while also explaining their particular culture and its influence on the church.
The book is aimed at middle school readers, and Mrs. Finlayson does a good job in delivering the appropriate vocabulary and length of content for a middle schooler. If I could ask the author one question, I would want to know how she decided about whom to write. There is so much information to present, and it must take great focus and discipline to know where to draw the line. The author does a good job in discerning the appropriate amount for a middle school reader.
She provides a helpful bibliography at the end called "How many books/DVDs does it take to write one book?" This could serve as a suggested reading list and prompt students to further reading in church history. I especially liked the six maps included at the very end and found them useful to refer to while reading the stories.
This book provides a quick overview of the broader historical landscape of various men and women who devoted themselves to furthering Christ's kingdom, describing their times and places, as well as their challenges. I recommend the book to anyone who wants to read about inspiring figures in church history.
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