Tea Time with Annie Kate Rotating Header Image

Review: Irenaeus of Lyon by Simonetta Carr

As we look ahead to Good Friday and Easter, it is good to remember that the Bible tells us all we need to know about our salvation and about how to be thankful for it.  We do not need to wait for special revelations or hidden messages.  We just  need to humbly accept God’s Word.

Irenaeus taught that, and more, many hundreds of years ago.

Young Irenaeus, born around 130 AD, was taught by Polycarp who “had studied under the apostle John and had met others who had been with Jesus.”  Besides getting the usual classical education of his time, Irenaeus thus also learned to really understand the Bible.

However, during his days there were those, now called Gnostics, who said that real Christianity involved mysteries that were not part of the Bible. Simonetta writes, “Their message was tempting, because gaining higher knowledge seemed more exciting than admitting that human beings are limited and have to depend on God’s written revelation.

Irenaeus studied these ideas extensively and, despite persecutions as well as disagreements among Christians, he remained faithful to the Bible.  In fact, he worked so hard to understand the confusing teachings that he was asked to write a book to explain them and show how they differed from the Bible. His book, Against Heresies, summarized both Gnostic teachings and Christian thought, exposing the foolishness of Gnostic ideas with humor and clarity.

Weaving in the stories of Polycarp, Blandina, and others, Simonetta tells a tale of faithfulness, confusion, persecution, and mission.  Photographs and Matt Abraxas’s stunning illustrations add visual appeal and details to this story of Irenaeus and his times.  Even so, to the author’s surprise, her Sunday school class found the theological portions of this book the most thrilling and exciting of all.

I am in awe of what Simonetta has been able to do with the story of Irenaeus. Even though little is known about his life, she was able to write a compelling and factual story about those around him and about his writings.  Essentially Irenaeus of Lyon is a history of early theology for children and, as Simonetta’s Sunday school class showed, kids like it.  Teens and adults will also enjoy this introduction to Irenaeus and his wisdom.  In fact, any Christian who absorbs the things written in this book will benefit hugely and be able to detect false teachings much more easily.

Even though Irenaeus of Lyon is written for ages 7-12, it can teach Christians of all ages important and timeless lessons.  I certainly learned a lot.

Note:  In the first edition of this book Lyon has been misplaced on the map on page 4 (it is actually under the ‘u’ of Gaul); this will be corrected in future editions.  You can see the correct map here.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to follow me on Google+, where I often mention helpful or interesting ideas, friend me on Facebook where I am just a newbie, or connect with me on GoodReads where I share what I read. 

Disclosure:  We received a review copy from Simonetta Carr and Reformation Heritage Books.

This article may be linked to Raising Homemakers, Saturday Reviews, Booknificent Thursdays, 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, Literacy Musings Monday, and The Book Nook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *