In the introduction to Reformation Heroes, authors Diana Kleyn and Joel Beeke claim that the Reformation is the most important event in the Church since Christ instituted it at the end of his earthly ministry. While we would add the Nicene Councils and the writing of the Athanasian Creed to that list, the point is well taken and one more Christians would do well to take to heart—the significance of the Reformation was nothing short of the recovery of the true Gospel as delivered to the apostles.
This unique book celebrates that recovery by exposing teenagers to the key men and women of the Reformation movement, as well as their ideas and historical context. All the immediately recognizable characters are here—Martin Luther, John Knox, John Calvin, William Tyndale—as well as many less well-known but just as important figures, including Hugh Latimer, Guido de Bres, the authors of the Heidelberg Catechism, and assorted queens and nobles.
There are 34 chapters, most of them in the form of brief biographies, though some cover movements (like the Anabaptists and the Counter Reformation) or "The Influence of the Reformation." The text is extremely readable and no-nonsense (there's no made up dialogue, no fictionalized accounts, no conjecture), and is intended to teach kids about the Reformation, provide them with godly role models, and give them a greater appreciation for Reformation doctrines and worship.
Several appendixes provide background information, quick reference, and other useful material: a map and grid of countries and areas affected by the Reformation; a list of pertinent monarchs of England and Scotland; maps of Cambridge and Oxford; a glossary of important terms; and study questions for each chapter. With these helps and the extensive bibliographies included for each figure, Reformation Heroes would make an excellent Church history supplement to any history course.
Black and white illustrations bring the text to life—most of these are reproductions of classic artwork, though there are several original portraits courtesy of Caffy Whitney. While there are better biographies of some of these individuals (more thorough ones, at any rate), you aren't likely to find a better compilation, especially for a non-specialist, non-adult audience. Reformation Heroes is accessible, informative, and Christ-centered, and an excellent addition to any Christian home library.
NOTE: There are no color illustrations in this text.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
Did you find this review helpful?