Ferguson, Sinclair B. Ignatius of Antioch: The Man Who Faced Lions. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2010. 42 pp. $14.00. Purchase at Westminster for $9.80.
Sinclair Ferguson is well known in Reformed circles. He is a noted author and speaker and is now working toward helping parents pour a solid foundation of early church history through the children’s series, Heroes of the Faith.
Ignatius of Antioch traces the life of the saint of old who stood against the Roman Empire because of his faith in Christ. We learn that Ignatius was born when the Apostle John was still alive thus creating a continuity through church history from Christ on down to the present day. Perhaps what will be most impactful to the children is the truth that he stood before lions and though he was not saved as Daniel was, he never did renounce his faith in Christ. Here, the child learns that Jesus keeps his promises even in death.
At the end of this short little book, as with the rest of the books in the series, Ferguson offers a one page bio that helps to summarize the book. He includes a helpful timeline that spells out, I believe, the titles forthcoming in the series. The last word of exhortation from the author concerns itself with the use of the word heroes and the child’s propensity to have heroes.
I appreciated the way Ferguson treated the death of Ignatius. He never explicitly states that the lions ate him or killed him; rather, he allows the thought to hang there for the child to grasp on his own. Again, the artistic qualities of the book come to the fore as the child is enraptured by the colorful drawings as well as the story line. It is most helpful to see that while Daniel and the Lions Den had a favorable ending, the truth found in Daniel 3:17-18 still holds true. Ignatius is an example of that faith.
Um…get this book. Your children will be amazed that Christians faced lions and were not saved miraculously. They will be surprised to know that faith that leads to death is real. If the Lord is willing, their definition of heroes will begin to change and this is not a bad thing at all.