This week the blog is sponsored by Reformation Heritage Books, with news of books that point children to Christ.
Is this a familiar scene? You go to a bookstore to buy a Christian children’s book as a gift, and what you find are plenty of titles that provide good moral lessons – but are they spiritual lessons? Are they specifically Christian lessons? Do they point children to Christ and the character and nature of God?
What follows is a transcript of a recent interview with Joel and Mary Beeke – the publishing duo behind books for both family worship and character building in our kids.
Hello, Joel and Mary. Tell us a little about what inspired you to write your new set of books, God and Me?
Joel: My dad originally said to me as a boy that when God saves someone, He puts into their heart the three jewels of faith, hope, and love, so we thought it was really important to do a series of books for young children on these three jewels—some of the basic fruits of salvation. This was important because very few books focus on a child’s need to be saved.
Mary: We want children to understand that – what does it mean to be saved?
Joel and Mary, how did you collaborate on this project? Did one of you take the lead?
Mary: I would say we came up with the ideas together. We brainstormed together for ideas about children’s books. We came up with this as the very first need. I then wrote the stories. Joel edited them and added the theological content, including the section for parents.
What makes God and Me different from other children’s books?
Mary: It pulls in the story at an everyday level—something that commonly happens in a child’s life. It puts that in the context of faith, hope, and love and some of the children’s struggles. Also, the really special thing is that it has two soul-searching questions at the end of each book. It also includes concise explanations that help the parents understand saving faith and then explain it to their children.
We wanted artwork that was a little more realistic. For us, cartoons are not quite as attractive for these important topics. Why treat something true like you would fiction? We went with watercolors that are nicely done. We hope this artwork attracts children to interact on a more personal level.
Joel: The goal is to be very realistic about their souls, their needs. Hopefully, as children read this with their parents, they are talking to them about the “one thing needful—” to be united with Christ by faith, hope, and love.
Okay, Joel and Mary, last question. Why is it important to teach children theology at a young age?
Mary: Because they have to be born again. They have to know God. That is the most critical need; children too must be born again. If they can be taught these basics of the Christian faith at a young age, it will help them to know the Lord and grow in the Lord.
Joel: We are also hoping to help them avoid the two extremes of easy believism and presumptive regeneration. We truly want parents to evangelize their children, their Covenant children. The Covenant does not mean that they are automatically saved; the Covenant does not replace the need to be born again.
Please pray with us that God will bless these books and use them to convert many children and maybe even your child as well as they wrestle with “Do I have faith, hope, and love as a fruit of the Spirit’s work in my soul? Have I been born again?”
Thank you, Joel and Mary.