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Book Review // Irenaeus of Lyon

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Irenaeus of Lyon is one of many books by Simonetta Carr in the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series. I first became familiar with this series a little over a year ago when friends of mine introduced me to the book in the series about Martin Luther. My husband and I ended up purchasing the Martin Luther book and have read it with our niece. She loved it and we did too so I knew I would also enjoy the book about Irenaeus.

Prior to reading Irenaeus of Lyon, I had never heard of Irenaeus but I’m so thankful I now know who he is. Irenaeus was taught the Bible by Polycarp who received his Bible knowledge by spending time with the apostle John. During the time Irenaeus was alive, there was much tension in his culture between Christians and non-Christians. This book goes into great detail about the cultural context of the time and explains that many Romans would stop at nothing to see that Christians were put to death. What I appreciate about this series is that it remains true to church history yet explains it in a way that is appropriate and understandable for children.

It was inspiring to learn that in a time when the philosophy of the Gnostics was popular, Irenaeus set about to study the claims of the Gnostics and compare them with Scripture. He was so dedicated to Christians knowing who Jesus is according to the Bible that he even wrote a book titled Against Heresies to combat the error of Gnostic teachings with Scripture.

Filled with beautiful illustrations and photos of historically relevant documents, this short chapter book is perfect for children ages 8 and up (and even adults too!).

One of my favorite parts of the book is that Simonetta Carr is faithful to include the message of the Gospel in simple terms. On page 32 she wrote, “To Irenaeus, the greatest comfort comes from knowing God’s loving plan of salvation for His children. The Bible teaches that evil and suffering came into the world when Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, rebelled against God, but evil doesn’t have the last word. Through his disobedience, Adam has separated us from God, but Jesus, through His obedience, has reconciled us with God. That’s why the Bible calls Jesus the ‘second Adam.’ Even if sin and suffering are still in the world, one day they will be gone forever. Irenaeus encouraged Christians to keep their minds on that final goal.”

If you desire to learn about church history, I highly recommend Irenaeus of Lyon.

I received Irenaeus of Lyon compliments of Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest review.


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