Church history is not a topic that’s come easily to me. Nor has it been a topic that I had much exposure to until my adult years. In fact, I’m largely self-taught on the subject, so the importance of different ideas and even the reformation can be a little foreign to my understanding of the Bible and of my faith. However, I have often enjoyed learning more about how to teach my faith and church history to my children from Danika Cooley’s Thinking Kids Blog, so when I received the opportunity to review her new book, When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther, I was pleased with the idea of learning a little more about Luther’s life and his contribution to the church and using this as a resource for learning with my children.
About the Book
When Lightning Struck! is biography of the central figure of the time of the Reformation. Martin Luther is the one, for those who are as church-history impaired as I am, who had a 95 point objection the the selling of indulgences by the Roman Catholic church that he, as a monk, shared with his archbishop and later published on the printing press and widely distributed.
What’s important, of course, about Luther’s objections is his assertion that the source of these objections comes from his fidelity to interpreting the scripture and his relationship to God on the basis of the scripture alone. Cooley’s book spends copious amounts of time going through Luther’s education and his training as a monk, only to find himself questioning God, salvation and the church teachings as he ends his training.
It is through the very questioning and struggle that Luther has with the church teachings that leads him to Romans 1:16-17 and his realization that it by God’s grace alone that he has been saved and to a new understanding of God and of his faith. Through teaching these ideas, Martin Luther finds himself in a place where he is able to change the church, and by doing so, to change the world.
My Thoughts on This Book
This is truly a lovely book. It is action packed. It draws heavily on Luther’s ideas and allows for us to see how his theology is developed. For the first time, it really clicked with me to see how his struggle with faith was what formed him into the person he is. This is really meaningful to me because, for me, every once of faith I have is a gift from God against the struggle that is all too real of doubt and discord in my life. Just seeing this struggle mirrored in one of our great church fathers is definitely worth the read in my book.
I haven’t stopped to share it with my children yet, but when I do, I’ll be sharing it as a part of the 12 week unit study that Cooley offers free for subscribers on her website. If you’re reading with readers that are younger than middle school, Cooley also offers a discussion guide for 3rd-12th graders that has discussion questions, scripture passage discussions and short biographies of important people of the time. These are both great ways for your children to sink deep into the book and interact with the ideas that are contained within it.
This Tuesday, there will be a Facebook party with prizes to celebrate the release of this book, and there’s a giveaway going on that there is still time to enter!! So, come check both of these out, and make sure that you check the book out. It makes a great addition to the study of church history and to medieval studies for your home!!