Ferguson, Sinclair B. Polycarp of Smyrna: The Man Whose Faith Lasted. 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 on helping parents pour a solid foundation of early church history through the children’s series, Heroes of the Faith.
Polycarp is the “linchpin” of the first three books in the series. He connects Ignatius to Ireneaus and also goes back to when the Apostle John was still alive as did Ignatius. The children will learn that he was burned at the stake for his faith in Christ. This is important as all too often today we are told that the Christian life is one of ease and comfort. The life of Polycarp will prove that to be false.
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.
Reading about Polycarp, in the Heroes of Faith series, should be done after reading about Irenaeus and Ignatius as he does bring those two lives together. What is more, the early life of the church, post apostolic age, really comes to life in these children’s books. There is much learned without the child even realizing what is being learned!
Once again, Sinclair Ferguson delivers in his work. This time, he offers a simple and concise biography of one of those who are in that great cloud of witnesses that has gone before us. His work will be appreciated by the adults and the children will find themselves wanting to read more about these heroes whose faith is in Christ. I praise the Lord for the gift of writing that has been given to Sinclair Ferguson.