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Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History

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"Thus says the LORD: Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls" (Jer. 6:16). Christianity is a faith in love with history. God took on human flesh and dwelt among us. The Spirit carried that divine work over the centuries, providing courage and maturity even amid our imperfections. Chr "Thus says the LORD: Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls" (Jer. 6:16). Christianity is a faith in love with history. God took on human flesh and dwelt among us. The Spirit carried that divine work over the centuries, providing courage and maturity even amid our imperfections. Christians find their true family line not through tribes and ethnic blood but in the bond of faithfulness and shed blood that has united our family for millennia. We too often view Church history as the story of obscure aliens instead of the lives of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. In this collection of forty-six brief biographies for children, Hannula sketches the stirring trials and triumphs of many famous and some lesser known figures in our family of faith—including Augustine, Charlemagne, Luther, Bunyan, and C.S. Lewis. Through them we can begin to enjoy the old paths and find rest for our souls.


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"Thus says the LORD: Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls" (Jer. 6:16). Christianity is a faith in love with history. God took on human flesh and dwelt among us. The Spirit carried that divine work over the centuries, providing courage and maturity even amid our imperfections. Chr "Thus says the LORD: Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls" (Jer. 6:16). Christianity is a faith in love with history. God took on human flesh and dwelt among us. The Spirit carried that divine work over the centuries, providing courage and maturity even amid our imperfections. Christians find their true family line not through tribes and ethnic blood but in the bond of faithfulness and shed blood that has united our family for millennia. We too often view Church history as the story of obscure aliens instead of the lives of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. In this collection of forty-six brief biographies for children, Hannula sketches the stirring trials and triumphs of many famous and some lesser known figures in our family of faith—including Augustine, Charlemagne, Luther, Bunyan, and C.S. Lewis. Through them we can begin to enjoy the old paths and find rest for our souls.

30 review for Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    I give it 3 1/2 stars. This book has been a great blessing to me to help my perspective in this trying pandemic time. Reading about other believers and their great trials has helped me see how small my struggles are and how protected the church is in this time (ie we are not being persecuted in the west). Not only that, but it challenged me in my faith in a good way--would I/could I stand up for my Jesus like my forerunners? But I was dearly sad over the lack of heroines in the book. There are v I give it 3 1/2 stars. This book has been a great blessing to me to help my perspective in this trying pandemic time. Reading about other believers and their great trials has helped me see how small my struggles are and how protected the church is in this time (ie we are not being persecuted in the west). Not only that, but it challenged me in my faith in a good way--would I/could I stand up for my Jesus like my forerunners? But I was dearly sad over the lack of heroines in the book. There are very few and often, their stories were cut much shorter than the men. Sadly, I wouldn't recommend this book. As a mother to three daughters, I would have liked to hear more about how Sarah Edwards loved her husband through his trials, or about any other women missionaries, so that I could in turn read it aloud to my girls and inspire them to stand firm in Christ. I would ask for a reprint with a woman's edit.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ebookwormy1

    In one volume, Hannula provides 46 biographies, arranged in chronological order and separated out by time period sections, that average 6 pages in length. As is typical of an overview work, some of the writing is better than others. However, this book is great for young students with short attention spans and high energy (yes, I mean boys!), for Dad's who want a glimpse into what you are doing in homeschool, and even for families to read aloud and discuss. A gem that we will be returning to ofte In one volume, Hannula provides 46 biographies, arranged in chronological order and separated out by time period sections, that average 6 pages in length. As is typical of an overview work, some of the writing is better than others. However, this book is great for young students with short attention spans and high energy (yes, I mean boys!), for Dad's who want a glimpse into what you are doing in homeschool, and even for families to read aloud and discuss. A gem that we will be returning to often. ---- Also, if you are looking for church history resources generally, I thought you'd be interested in the following summary... For younger readers, and to engage the student visually, I cannot recommend Simonetta Carr's series "Christian Biographies for Young Readers" highly enough. These coffee book feel long picture book form biographies combine outstanding visual layout with simple, straightforward text that has engaged students in our home from elementary all the way to grandpa! A summary of lives lived in honor to the Savior that your family will want to return to time and again. But, as individuals are the subject of each book and the series is still growing, coverage of the topic is limited. Enter Trial and Trumph by Richard Hannula. In one volume, Hannula provides 46 biographies that average 6 pages in length. For a completely different medium, I cannot recommend the Torchlighter DVDs enough. Each one contains an animated feature, documentary and worksheets! http://www.torchlighters.org/

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    I have enjoyed reading the many snippets of lives of Christians past who gave their lives, even unto death in many cases, in this well written book about church history. This is geared toward children so they may have an introduction to church history from a young age. While there are scenes depicting the way martyrs died, and were tortured, it is not too graphic, and certainly no more than scripture depicts. The stories are short enough for one per sitting even for a young child. Descriptive en I have enjoyed reading the many snippets of lives of Christians past who gave their lives, even unto death in many cases, in this well written book about church history. This is geared toward children so they may have an introduction to church history from a young age. While there are scenes depicting the way martyrs died, and were tortured, it is not too graphic, and certainly no more than scripture depicts. The stories are short enough for one per sitting even for a young child. Descriptive enough for older children to enjoy, yet simple enough for younger ones to grasp what's going on. The sections are broken up as follows: Early Church, Middle Ages, Reformation, Post-Reformation, Modern Missions, and Recent Times. There were many I was familiar with, and new names and histories I was not acquainted with. This is such an excellent resource. I have used it the last few months to accompany morning bible reading with my son. I borrowed this from our church library but will purchase my own copy to continue to read to all our children as the Lord blesses us. I believe this is a must have for every Christian family to see God's work in history and the faithful men and women He has raised up in various times past.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lani Bethe

    I wanted to find a book that would introduce martyrdom to my 10 year old daughter. It was a real eye opener for her. For the first time she heard how Christians have suffered for their faith. This launched us into many rich discussions about our love for Christ and what we can do today to serve Him. An excellent book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jacquie

    Previous to this book I had not read anything about martyrs. I was struck by how each martyr's story we read about all desired to teach people the simplicity of the Bible, but those in religion hunted them down to stop them. Previous to this book I had not read anything about martyrs. I was struck by how each martyr's story we read about all desired to teach people the simplicity of the Bible, but those in religion hunted them down to stop them.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    What a great book. We learned lots. Was the backbone of our morning time this school year.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Ray

    Read Aloud to kids for church history: Ellie (age 6): I liked it Connor (age 7): It was not as good as some books, but it was better than Richard III Emalee (age 10): It was okay. I recommend it to those facing troubled times Bennett (age 12): It was okay. 😊. My favorite story was the C.S Lewis one, especially where they dug the hole. My review: This book is a treasure trove of short biographies of Christians. I think we don’t learn as much church history as we should, and this is a good way to begin Read Aloud to kids for church history: Ellie (age 6): I liked it Connor (age 7): It was not as good as some books, but it was better than Richard III Emalee (age 10): It was okay. I recommend it to those facing troubled times Bennett (age 12): It was okay. 😊. My favorite story was the C.S Lewis one, especially where they dug the hole. My review: This book is a treasure trove of short biographies of Christians. I think we don’t learn as much church history as we should, and this is a good way to begin rectifying that. This book does have a strong anti-catholic bias, so if you are a Catholic, you’ll want to skip this one

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Reading for CC2. Not reading the book from cover to cover but rather reading the chapters that correlate to the history sentence for that week. Already read about Charlemagne and loved that chapter!!! Looking forward to reading this book each week as part of our curriculum..krb 9/7/16 Read about the Reformation for CC2 wk7..krb 10/31/16 No more readings in this book follow CC for this year. Setting this gem aside for now to catch up on other books we are reading. Definitely coming back to this, it Reading for CC2. Not reading the book from cover to cover but rather reading the chapters that correlate to the history sentence for that week. Already read about Charlemagne and loved that chapter!!! Looking forward to reading this book each week as part of our curriculum..krb 9/7/16 Read about the Reformation for CC2 wk7..krb 10/31/16 No more readings in this book follow CC for this year. Setting this gem aside for now to catch up on other books we are reading. Definitely coming back to this, it is a great book..krb 1/23/17

  9. 5 out of 5

    Peter Jones

    A good introduction to some major and minor characters throughout church history. Excellent for read aloud to children.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Kyriosity

    I'll never get tired of stories of God's faithfulness to His saints and their faithfulness to Him. Can we please find a way to get Daniel Newman to read more Canon Press books? I'll never get tired of stories of God's faithfulness to His saints and their faithfulness to Him. Can we please find a way to get Daniel Newman to read more Canon Press books?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amy Meyers

    We read this over three years in our homeschool Bible time for church history--scheduled with MFW. I have not yet seen a better collection of short biographies of church heroes, covering such a range of well-known as well as little-known Christian heroes as this one. We did try to read aloud the set by the Withrows, which had been recommended by Tapestry of Grace (we have books 2-5 Monks and Mystics, etc.), but we didn't get far. I still feel I need to give it another shot, but it was actually b We read this over three years in our homeschool Bible time for church history--scheduled with MFW. I have not yet seen a better collection of short biographies of church heroes, covering such a range of well-known as well as little-known Christian heroes as this one. We did try to read aloud the set by the Withrows, which had been recommended by Tapestry of Grace (we have books 2-5 Monks and Mystics, etc.), but we didn't get far. I still feel I need to give it another shot, but it was actually boring to us though written in a story format. This book by Hannula published by Canon Press, which is connected to Doug Wilson--Reformed, is alive. The writing style is vivid. Be careful with young children though: there was a section in the Waldensians, and a few other stories, that were simply heartbreaking, especially for little ones. I was moved to tears several times in this book, and it motivated me to research on Elizabeth of Hungary more. I'd never heard of her. I'm glad he included Machen, Kuyper, and C.S. Lewis and such moderns in there as well.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kirk

    This book is aimed at a younger audience, and there are plenty of fascinating stories from the 46 short biographies from church history. However, the author has a penchant for picking the most sensational and best parts from each character, although there are some limited exceptions. The women tend to be "beautiful" or "fair," and the men often represent the greatest of masculine aspects. Some of the legendary stories or quotations from figures such as Luther or Constantine are presented as fact This book is aimed at a younger audience, and there are plenty of fascinating stories from the 46 short biographies from church history. However, the author has a penchant for picking the most sensational and best parts from each character, although there are some limited exceptions. The women tend to be "beautiful" or "fair," and the men often represent the greatest of masculine aspects. Some of the legendary stories or quotations from figures such as Luther or Constantine are presented as factual without caveat. The author states that the "stories were not written to exalt great Christian men and women," yet it is somewhat difficult to think otherwise after reading through. This isn't a condemnation of the book, just a calculated caution.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    The stories are inspiring and give you a sense of courage in standing up for your beliefs. Each chapter is about a different person and not terribly long. We read 1 every couple days as a family until we had read the entire book. Even though I could tell the author and I had differing opinions about a few things I still very much enjoyed this book and would read it again. Anyone over the age of 7 would enjoy this group of stories.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Bammes

    This is an excellent book we’ve actually read in our homeschool over the course of 3 years! It contains short chapters about missionaries and important people in church history told in a very engaging story format. We read the first section in our ancient history year, the Reformation and post reformation sections on year 2, and modern history this third year. An excellent resource on church history!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leonard

    Hannula takes us on a journey through church history by presenting us with a short description of the lives of some heroes of faith or persons who partook in the spread of the gospel and reformation by simply doing what was required of them. The book can be used as a complementary source in a church history course for younger readers (grades 5 through 9). Recommended.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Violet Bleger

    I love this book. It is so informative and honest. Even though I read it for school, it was such an amazing book. It is really encouraging and uplifting for new Christians and all believers to read. Definitely would recommend. I love all of the stories of amazing and wonderful people who devoted their entire lives to Jesus Christ and his ministry.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    If you want a book that will teach your kids about some of the greatest heroes in the Christian church, look no further. The author knows his subject matter, makes it interesting, and aims at affecting the heart of his readers--exactly what kids need. Really liked it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kim Coleman

    I didn’t finish this with my kids because I was unimpressed. It seemed to push against what I’m teaching my children as an Anglo-Catholic. So we replaced it with saint studies in our Ambleside Online schedule. (Our Island Saints and God’s Garden we’re so much better suited.)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Really excellent retellings of stories from church history. I read these with the kids over the last year. The choices cover the various time periods well; the kids enjoyed the modern stories most. Definitely worth rereading on a semi-regular basis.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Filip Sekkelsten

    Inspiring and touching. All of the stories that Hannula presents are intriguing, and they encourage us to give it all for Christ; all of our intellect, our time, our strength, our heart and soul.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Grant Van Brimmer

    Loved every story. Read it to my saplings as part of family worship.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Johns

    Clear, bite-sized chapters which illuminate many of the heroes of the Christian faith. A wonderful read!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Recommended by Jodi Mockabee

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Finfrock

    What an amazing thing to learn of brothers and sisters past! I dearly loved this, and am grateful it is a kindle unlimited!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    We read this over 2 years in homeschool. It is packed work short bios of Christians from the past - one chapter each.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    I've been prepping the Audio Book and listening to it ahead of time. So here are some thoughts provoked by the selected biographies: *Polycarph & Blandina: the Romans are practically helpless, despite their power, because they choose the tool of violence to try to bend wills. * Constantine: certainly favorable, but they still hint at a fall, not with regard to Empire, but with the leaders of the Church and power. * Athanasius: The Trinity should not be conceived as a 'doctrine' in the usual sense, I've been prepping the Audio Book and listening to it ahead of time. So here are some thoughts provoked by the selected biographies: *Polycarph & Blandina: the Romans are practically helpless, despite their power, because they choose the tool of violence to try to bend wills. * Constantine: certainly favorable, but they still hint at a fall, not with regard to Empire, but with the leaders of the Church and power. * Athanasius: The Trinity should not be conceived as a 'doctrine' in the usual sense, side by side with predestination, supralapsarianism, theonomy, etc., but should be understood as central to the faith: who is God and how are we redeemed? * Ambrose: a man who gave up all his power and actually ended up having far more influence as a result. He lived the Way of the Cross. * Monica and Augustine: This is the first time when you could be a 'nominal' or cultural Christian and it is out of this that salvation is conceived in individualistic and emotional terms. Not entirely bad and not Augustine's fault, but definitely representative. For Augustine, getting close to God means getting farther from others. * Patrick: I love this guy. "I bind unto myself today..." He stuck up for the low. * Gregory: The story about seeing the Angles is corny, but the stuff of legends, so I'm okay. Really good guy with some bad mistakes. * Boniface: Another cool guy who made even more disastrous mistakes it seems, but the preaching of the gospel led to wealth and power for Germany and England. * Charlemagne: Wow! What a king. His speech to the diligent and lazy students sounds irritatingly like Jesus. Christianity has always involved books. Literacy was not wide in the ancient world, but everywhere Christ has gone literacy has increased with tensions, of course, between it and evangelism and helping the poor. Yet, Charlemagne, though sometimes flawed, was interested in these two things as well. In a post-evangelized society, education is often the next step.

  27. 4 out of 5

    James

    I read this to my children in the evenings and we all really enjoyed it. It was really special to listen to the children talk about the different stories and say things like, "I want to be a missionary" or "I want to tell others about God" or "I want to die for Jesus." The stories are short (4-5 pages) and cover church history in a very summarized way. I would consider it an introduction at best and it is a simple and succinct book. It never struck me as a well written book but it was very enjoy I read this to my children in the evenings and we all really enjoyed it. It was really special to listen to the children talk about the different stories and say things like, "I want to be a missionary" or "I want to tell others about God" or "I want to die for Jesus." The stories are short (4-5 pages) and cover church history in a very summarized way. I would consider it an introduction at best and it is a simple and succinct book. It never struck me as a well written book but it was very enjoyable and very profitable for my family. It served as a simple reminder of the saints that have sacrificed for the kingdom and the example they give us in mirroring the sacrifice of our Lord.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Read it to my son before bed over the past several months. Some great stories of well known and obscure martyrs and heroes is the faith, the writing is prosaic at times and went long in places where it could have been shortened or went short on stories where I thought there was a lot more to say, but overall a great book, especially for introducing children to church history. One of the memorable responses of my son was “Dad, it seems like in order to be a Christian you have to die!” and of cour Read it to my son before bed over the past several months. Some great stories of well known and obscure martyrs and heroes is the faith, the writing is prosaic at times and went long in places where it could have been shortened or went short on stories where I thought there was a lot more to say, but overall a great book, especially for introducing children to church history. One of the memorable responses of my son was “Dad, it seems like in order to be a Christian you have to die!” and of course this is in many senses true.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Clare S-B

    The lives of all the people of the book are so encouraging. Our Lord Jesus is so amazing in what he can accomplish despite opposition. This book is great for readers young and old, the deaths of martyrs are told about but not in detail. The book focuses on the lives and how god worked through all theses individuals in history. Each biography is only a few pages long and they are all in chronological order and are further divided into a few phases of the history of the church. It is very easy to The lives of all the people of the book are so encouraging. Our Lord Jesus is so amazing in what he can accomplish despite opposition. This book is great for readers young and old, the deaths of martyrs are told about but not in detail. The book focuses on the lives and how god worked through all theses individuals in history. Each biography is only a few pages long and they are all in chronological order and are further divided into a few phases of the history of the church. It is very easy to read I recommend it to everyone.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dulci

    I am currently reading through this book with my kids as part of our homeschool curriculum, My Father's World. It is amazing! The courage and devotion of the Christian brothers and sisters that have gone before us is stunning. I am often overcome with emotion as I read many of these stories. My kids are used to it. :) I greatly hope that these stories will impact them (and me) to live bravely for Jesus no matter what. I am currently reading through this book with my kids as part of our homeschool curriculum, My Father's World. It is amazing! The courage and devotion of the Christian brothers and sisters that have gone before us is stunning. I am often overcome with emotion as I read many of these stories. My kids are used to it. :) I greatly hope that these stories will impact them (and me) to live bravely for Jesus no matter what.

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