This book is two historical novels in one. Mrs. Van Halsema has
researched and compiled an excellent historical narrative of the
origins of the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession.
These monumental documents form the basis of the Reformed faith,
dating back to the 1500s and the Great Reformation.
Three Men Came from Heidelberg tells the story of Prince
Frederick of Germany and the preacher (Caspar Olevianus) and the
professor (Zacharias Ursinus) whom he commissioned to write a catechism
which would instruct his people in the true teachings of the Bible.
The story discusses the issues surrounding the Reformation and
the changes of thought that were required for loyal church-going
Catholics to make the mental and spiritual journey to Protestantism.
It also discusses the dangers that were involved and the conflicts
that ensued as these teachings were presented and written up in
a formal document. Biblical proofs for the teachings of the Reformers
are presented in the narrative.
The Glorious Heretic follows the story of Guido de Bres,
a young Belgian man born in the time of the Spanish Inquisition.
When he found faith in the teachings of the Reformers, he fled
to England and studied under the great Protestant teachers of the
day. He began to teach those in his church the truths of the Bible
and penned a confession that would outline the truths he had learned
and taught. His Confession was found along with some of the writings
of Calvin. Though there was no author's name on the Confession,
eventually it was traced to Guido, and he was branded as a heretic.
Thus began his life on the run. Eventually, he was apprehended
and hanged for heresy, but he left behind a legacy, both to his
family and the church.
While these stories will appeal to history buffs and especially
those captivated by the Middle Ages and the Reformation, they are
written in narrative that is somewhat dry, not in a story-like
style. The information is valuable and fascinating but not gripping.
These books are geared toward an older audience (high school) and
would make good report material, but I don't recommend them as
a family read-aloud.