Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey. These two historic personalities have little name-recognition by most Christians and even less familiarity for their children. Yet these individuals were English youth who faced fiery trials, while they remained staunch and steadfast in their faith.
These are but two of many Christians readers will encounter when they read this volume recently reprinted by Sprinkle Publications. The author begins by recounting the youthful years of Luther. He then takes the reader to Castle Gray in the English countryside in 1520. The castle is home to the family of Sir Harry Gray. Through the activities of the “two Harrys”, father and son, the reader learns of the hard fight for acceptance of the Reformation in England. The author's historical account moves forward from the reign of King Henry VIII to the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's rule. We meet many heroic Christians along the way who stood firmly upon the gospel, even if it meant their own death. These include Thomas Bilney, Nicholas Ridley, and Hugh Latimer. Additionally, we encounter hardened opponents to gospel proclamation such as King Henry VIII and Queen Mary. To this list we also add the Pope and others who sought to silence Luther by numerous unsuccessful schemes.
There are several reasons that we as Christians should procure this volume. First, we need to know our history. This volume sets forth adults and youth who sought to faithfully follow the Lord in their time and their places. The youth include royalty, Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey. Truly Christianity is for the souls and daily lives of people of all economic classes and educational levels.
Second, our children need to be reminded that Christianity is valuable. Many in history have lived and died for the sake of the gospel. Our youth too often are unaware of man's hostility to the cross and are oblivious to the price many have paid rather than deny the faith.
Hebrews 11 teaches that God, in His providence, works out His will in different ways in regard to trials His people face. Some die a natural death. This was true of Luther. Others successfully endure a martyr's death: Nicholas Ridley, etc.
Only God knows His perfect plan for the lives of His people. However, this work points to the unchanging God who does all things well. Adults and youth need to know and remember the lives of Christians now gone to their heavenly rest.
Our children are being brought up in a culture that is continually tossing aside any reminder of God. This work realistically recounts the difficulties many faced in getting the free proclamation of the gospel rooted in society.
Johns' writing style engages the reader's interest. He devotes a number of pages to Luther in Germany and then turns our attention to developments in England during the same period. This gives a better grasp of events that occurred in England and Germany during the Reformation.
The second book included in this volume focuses on Luther's life. Because of its singular focus, a more in-depth study of Luther is provided. Numerous quotes from Luther's writings are employed. This enables one to better understand Luther and see his unfailing love for the Lord and the Lord's people.
This quality reprint can be read with much pleasure and profit by anyone interested in history or the Reformation.
- Byron Snapp
Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia. He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina. He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren.