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Book Review: Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God by Bruce A. Ware

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The doctrinal quality of the titles published by Crossway never fail to amaze me, and Big Truths for Young Hearts has only served to cement my opinion. Theologian Bruce A. Ware has penned a work that attempts to capture the bedtime conversations he had with his own adult daughters (now grown), so that parents can step up to the plate in equipping their own children to understand the great, fundamental truths of the faith.

Ware writes from a distinctly Reformed perspective though classic Calvinistic terms familiar to believers aren’t often seen throughout the text. For our family, this work is a Godsend; new believers are often ill-equipped due to a lack of sound doctrinal instruction in the church as a whole, and Big Truths is just what we needed to guide us through the big questions our children ask us. Ware’s work is essential for any parent, or new believer seeking to beef up on the main tenets upon which Christianity stands.

Broken into nine major topics, Big Truths provides six three-page readings for each major section. At the end of each reading a memory verse and questions for discussion with your children are provided. You can look forward to tackling “God’s Word and God’s Own Life as God”, “God as Three in One”, “Creator and Ruler of All”, “Our Human Nature and Our Sin”, “Who Jesus Is”, “The Work that Jesus Has Done”, “The Holy Spirit”, “Our Great Salvation”, “The Church of Jesus Christ”, “What Will Take Place in the End”.

While written for children age nine and over, Ware can’t entirely break free of the language of theologians. Though he does try to simplify complex subjects for young ones, he still reads like the professor of Christian theology that he is.

Here we’ll consider three key ideas that try to explain why the cross of Christ was needed. Each of these must be a part of explaining the cross, but only as we put these together do we have a full explanation for the cross of Christ. We’re familiar with these ideas, but seeing them together here is important both for understanding the need for the cross and for understanding the gospel.

The above excerpt could just as easily be drawn from a simple book on doctrine for adult believers. As a result, parents may wish to read through the relevant reading several times in order to familiarize themselves with the key points, in order to paraphrase or summarize as necessary.

Ware’s text is filled with scriptural references, and all of the doctrine he puts forth is grounded firmly upon the Word of God. Though the text is Reformed in nature, and Ware teaches at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he’s careful to hold only to what the scriptures state and avoids extra biblical standards. Ware takes care to point out that varying points of view exist on baptism, though he puts forth a case for baptism by immersion. He also notes that believers differ on matters of spiritual gifts and briefly touches upon both positions without adding value judgments.

A firm foundation based upon the clear teachings of God’s Word prevents confusion and the adoption of fallacious beliefs concerning the nature of God, salvation, the trinity, and the final destinations of those who die. With solid doctrinal understanding of Christian doctrine on the decline, Big Truths is my first recommendation for families in which any member of the family – large or small – is in need of instruction.

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