My very first book list for Church History for children are primarily geared for the younger years. For this post, I hope to point you to resources that are made for the older children.
Read Part 1 of Church History for Children.
Heroes of the Faith
by Sinclair Ferguson
There are lots of ‘idols’ these days. But do you have any heroes? What’s the difference? Idols are people we say we ‘adore’ because they are famous, or rich, or good looking, or because they have amazing talents, or special abilities perhaps we wish we could have. Heroes of the Faith heroes are people who are willing to live and die for what they believe.
You don’t find a lot of story books for children about the early church fathers, so these were wonderful finds for our family.
- POLYCARP OF SMYRNA: THE MAN WHOSE FAITH LASTED tells the story of a hero. He was a follower of Jesus Christ. He loved and served his Lord for over eighty years. And from the beginning to the end – his faith lasted.
- IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH – THE MAN WHO FACED LIONS is the story of a hero. He was a follower of Jesus Christ. He was prepared to live and die for his Lord. And one day – he faced lions.
- IRENAEUS OF LYONS: THE MAN WHO WROTE BOOKS tells the story of a hero. He was a follower of Jesus Christ. He served him far away from home. And to help his fellow Christians – he wrote books.
There are only three book in this series, and it a “must have” in your library if you love church history. Any book written by Sinclair Ferguson is well worth your time and money. These books are published the ever reliable, Banner of Truth Trust.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Ages 4-7 (Read to me); Ages 8-10 (Read by myself)
God’s Timeline: The Big Book of Church History
by Linda Finlayson
God’s Timeline is a welcome addition to a growing collection of church history books for children. If you want an overview of church history, this book is the one to get.
With colour illustrations, pictures, and pull-out timelines, this history book brings the church throughout the ages to life! Learn about the Early, Medieval and Missionary church, passing through key events such as the Council of Nicea and the Reformation – right through to the present day. Find out about the people God used and the impact they had on those around them – including us today!
And if you’re homeschooling, it’s an excellent resource to have in your home library. The colorful illustrations and charts are unmatched with any other book for church history for children. God’s Timeline shows you the big picture of His story. It’s also great for adults who enjoy looking at visuals. See a preview of the book here.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Ages 7 and up
Sketches of Church History
by S. M. Hougton
Cathy Duffy acknowledges its popularity among homeschoolers. Although it’s written for adults, it could well serve its purpose as an introduction to church history for younger folks, beginning in elementary.
This book outlines the thrilling story of the onward march of the Church of Christ from the earliest times to the end of the nineteenth century. It is not a dry-as-dust account of long-forgotten events and controversies, but rather a moving record of those who undertook the adventure of faith before us and. through their courage and steadfastness, left an example for the church in every age. Reading of the exploits of those who have gone before us, through times of prosperity and times of persecution, should stimulate, warn and encourage the church in our own age to persevere in the same path, and obtain the same everlasting reward.
It’s a church history survey, so don’t expect a deep dive on the key figures. I used to recommend Bruce L. Shelley’s Church History in Plain Language, but I take that back and would now ask beginners to read this one volume from the Banner of Truth. Or you could listen to Ian Hamilton recommend the book through this video:
It also has an accompanying workbook, if you wish to use it in your homeschool or Sunday school curriculum.
It’s pretty old, but it is still being used and recommended because of it’s concise material and easy to use format. A true church history classic for Reformed families.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Ages 8 and up
Trial and Triumph & For Christ’s Crown
by Richard M. Hannula
If you’re not in the look out for a church history survey, but would like a closer look at heroes that have given their lives for the sake of Christ and His church, these two volumes by Richard M. Hannula are gold.
Trial & Triumph
Thus says the LORD: Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls;(Jer. 6:16). Christianity is a faith in love with history. God took on human flesh and dwelt among us. The Spirit carried that divine work over the centuries, providing courage and maturity even amid our imperfections.
Christians find their true family line not through tribes and ethnic blood but in the bond of faithfulness and shed blood that has united our family for millennia. We too often view Church history as the story of obscure aliens instead of the lives of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers.
In this collection of forty-six brief biographies for children, Hannula sketches the stirring trials and triumphs of many famous and some lesser known figures in our family of faith—including Augustine, Charlemagne, Anselm, Luther, Bunyan, and C.S. Lewis. Through them we can begin to enjoy the old paths and find rest for our souls.
For Christ’s Crown
The word that perhaps best characterizes the Puritans and Covenanters is “faithfulness.” Whether Edward Dering preaching boldly before a fuming Queen Elizabeth, or Sandy Peden evading the king’s men on horse, or Hugh Mackail undergoing the torture of “the Boot” and then execution for his faith, the Puritans’ and Covenanters’ courage and conviction shines as bright as ever today.
In this collection of thirty brief biographies with seven illustrations, Hannula brings these stories to life, both for young people who should grow up knowing their spiritual ancestors and the heroes of our faith, and for adults who need to make their acquaintance for the first time.
Because of the fierceness with which they were persecuted, many left Britain for America to worship God freely. If we are to truly understand ourselves, our theological heritage, and our current situation, we need to know the stories of these brave and faithful men and women and the legacy they left.
These are church history biography “living books,” and I would recommend these if you are homeschooling classically or using the Charlotte Mason method. Each chapter is concise and would be good if you wish to keep lessons short. These books do not contain illustrations.
Both titles are published under Canon Press, a classical Christian curriculum publisher.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Ages 8 and up
Reformation Heroes and Puritan Heroes
by Glenda Mathes and Joel Beeke
If you are looking for a more picture book approach to key figures in church history, these two volumes would be a valuable resource to have in your home library. The illustrations in these books will engage the younger listeners just as the stories would capture the imaginations of the older elementary students.
The Reformation did not happen instantaneously; it was something God patiently arranged over a number of years. As you read this book, you will learn how the Lord used some people to plant the seeds of church reform long before October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther published his ninety-five theses. Luther’s story is well-known; we trust you will find it interesting and instructive to read about him and about forty others (John Knox, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Zacharias Ursinus, Willem Teellinck, etc.) who contributed to the Reformation – some well known and others not so – most of whom are Reformation heroes.
To provide a more full picture of the many sided Reformation, chapters are also included on the Anabaptist and Counter Reformation movements. The book concludes with a brief summary of the influence of the Reformation in different areas of life.
Who were the Puritans, and why are they important?
What can we learn from them today?
The Puritan movement began in England during the sixteenth century and continued all the way into the early eighteenth century. Although the Church of England was formed as a result of the Reformation, the Puritans believed it needed much more reform. Puritan Heroes is a beautifully illustrated book that gives the reader an idea of what the Puritan movement was about and offers a glimpse into the lives of more than twenty of its most well-known leaders (among them William Perkins, Richard Sibbes, Thomas Goodwin, Anne Bradstreet, and Jonathan Edwards). The book concludes with ten important lessons readers can learn from the Puritans and study questions to help them retain these fascinating stories and assist them in applying the lessons to their lives. It also features a bibliography to encourage further study in greater depth, as well as a glossary and timeline to help readers understand historical context. Written for children and young people, it will prove a suitable introduction to the Puritans for adults as well.
Both are available from Reformation Heritage Books.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Ages 6 and up