A Book Review from Books At a Glance
by Kristin Stiles
According to the preface, the word “radical” has multiple meanings: going to the root; extreme, drastic, revolutionary; and excellent, cool. Champ Thornton has certainly met all three definitions in this fantastic book for children. The subtitle is “Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith.” Thornton takes the reader by the hand and leads him on a journey packed with information, advice, activity, and fun.
There is so much contained in this book, which is only the first of two volumes. The 67 chapters cover an enormous breadth of information. I will attempt to categorize the chapters and give an explanation of some of the material that is covered.
Theology: In language that is geared toward 8—14-year-olds, Thorton lays out the major tenets of our faith. He devotes several chapters to the topic of God: His existence, His character, His triune nature, and His plan. Thorton covers the significance of Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection. There are chapters describing the Old Testament law and system and how they have been superseded by grace. There is a clear presentation of the gospel and a call for repentance and faith.
Spiritual Disciplines: Thornton makes much of the Bible. There are many chapters that are focused on specifics such as understanding the Bible, knowing that the Bible is true, making a daily practice of reading the Bible, clarifying culturally relevant topics that are in the Bible (food, money, travel, weaponry, etc.), following how the Bible has been accurately passed down through the centuries, and memorizing scripture. Prayer and church attendance are other disciplines that are presented throughout this book.
Biographies: There are numerous biographies that Thorton includes. He writes 1–2-page summaries of key figures whom God has used to build the kingdom. These biographies describe men and women who were early church figures, missionaries, martyrs, and authors—from Athanasius to Hanna Faust.
Application: Thornton provides biblical suggestions for everyday struggles that are common to children, such as what to do when you are angry or afraid, how to clean your room, how to deal with your enemies, how to make good decisions, and how to practice good manners.
Activities: There are directions for making items that would have been used during Bible times: a sling, a catapult, pottery, and a sundial. There are lessons on learning the Greek and Hebrew alphabets and some key Latin phrases. And there are instructions for making a Dogs and Jackals game.
This is such an impressive book! This is no dull textbook. It’s the kind of book you and your children will want to spend so much time pouring over. Not only is it filled with information, but that information is presented in such an engaging way. The graphics and illustrations are so interesting and well done. There are “Did You Know?” pop-ups throughout the book with fascinating tidbits. There are suggestions for further study with titles of books that are of the highest quality for children. There are one-sentence summaries of every book of the Bible. There is just so much! This book is really radical. And when I say “radical,” I mean it is an excellent book that takes an extreme look at the roots of our faith. And it’s really cool!
Kristin Stiles is a home-school mom, a Sunday School teacher, and helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.
Buy the books
THE RADICAL BOOK FOR KIDS: EXPLORING THE ROOTS AND SHOOTS OF FAITH, by Champ Thornton