July 1, 2013

The Gospel for Children, by John B. Leuzarder

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher to facilitate this review with no other compensation.  All opinions are my own.

What exactly is the Gospel?  That is a question that has great depth.  The Gospel for Children answers questions with chapters about God, Jesus, sin, the Bible, repentance and faith, as well as counting the cost of being a Christian.  It does so in a simple and systematic way that will help children to memorize and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Within each "chapter" is a simple outline format.  The main outline point is to be memorized, and below the main point are additional comments and explanations for clarification and discussion.  Each main outline point is also illustrated.  Each main point and supporting comments have footnotes.  The end of each chapter lists the footnotes of the Bible verses references and includes the verses, too.

I would suggest you take a "look inside" to see a few outline points for God at Amazon.  Below I will share just two main points and the supporting statements for sin.  (Nine main points are included for sin.)

SIN
"Sin is living to please self instead of living to please God.
  • We sin when we don't live according to God's moral will for our lives.
  • Sin includes things we think, say, and do as well as things we should do, but don't.
God is greatly displeased when we are not careful to obey everything He commands us to do.
  • Since Adam and Eve sinned, all of us are born with a sinful nature.  That means we want to seek after our own pleasure instead of serving God.
  • God hates pride, selfishness and unthankfulness. 
  • Sin brings on God's just wrath and punishment."
(And much more...)

Children are very good at memorizing, and it makes sense for them to memorize the Gospel in this way.  I do agree with the doctrine statements within The Gospel for Children.  However, in the chapter of sin, I felt that the description of hell was incomplete.  Please note, that this is not a main point to be memorized, but just the description/discussion points and each chapter includes a page for you to write your own notes.  (Obviously, I still felt it was important to mention, though others may disagree.)  The third bullet point says, "Hell separates us from everything that is good and enjoyable."  A fourth bullet is needed, in my opinion, because it neglects to explain that hell is also a separation from God (2 Thessalonians 1:9). 

Included in the final pages of this book are the illustrated memory helps that can assist the children in remembering the main outline points.  That is great they included it there to help the children remember the important Gospel points without peeking at the words.  I think an excellent addition in future editions to The Gospel for Children would be to allow parents to legally photocopy the pages to create cards for the children or to include tear out pages of the memory helps.  (Both pages have text on the back, so you wouldn't just cut them out yourself.)  

The entire book is less than 40 pages (8x10ish size), so a child can certainly read through it or read it with a parent the way they would a picture book, though with more discussion.  Included are a preface and a "How to Use This Book."  

Many churches, Christian schools, and families use The Westminster Shorter Catechism to teach children similar truths in question and answer form.  This book would nicely supplement that or be an alternative, especially for visual learners.  Of course, parents can create their own list of truths they want their children to learn and understand, but The Gospel for Children is a great resource for parents who would like to have the truths with visual cues.  

Thank you, Shepherd Press, for providing my family a copy of this for review purposes.

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}
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1 comment:

  1. That does sound interesting, and I agree it needs to say it separates you from God.

    My kid can all quote verbatim the definition our church uses for sin, "Anything you do, say, or think that makes God unhappy." Simplistic, but it gets the point across.

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