Reviewed by: Celeste Jenkins
The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New, by Marty Machowski. Illustrated by Andy McGuire. New Growth Press, 2015. Hardback, 224 pages, list price $29.99. Reviewed by Celeste Jenkins, OP pastor’s wife.
This book is a must-have treasure for families with children. Beautifully written, this illustrated systematic theology walks children simply and clearly through seventy-one short chapters, each covering one important truth. The chapters are organized into eleven units, each focused on a different “ology”—the ology of God, people, sin, the promise and the law, Christ, the Holy Spirit, adoption into God’s family, change, the church, the end times, and God’s word. The flow of the book carefully shows how each truth is connected to the next, providing a framework for a solid, biblical worldview.
Each chapter is short, usually a couple of paragraphs, making it convenient to cover a chapter during family devotions or to use the book as a children’s Bible curriculum. A benefit to using The Ology is that it is set up to engage children from about four years old through teens—and even adults. Preschoolers will enjoy looking at the illustrations while listening to the conversational style of the lessons. It would take little effort to tie a question and answer from the Children’s Catechism into each lesson. The illustrations in each chapter are sprinkled with a few supporting Bible references. Elementary-age children can participate by looking up the verses and using the Think Theology, Talk Theology discussion questions at the back of the book that correspond to the chapters. With each lesson, teens can be challenged to verbalize how the Scripture references connect to the truths covered in the chapter and how they tie in to the larger theme of that unit.
The introductory chapter reads somewhat like an adventure story, following two children who stumble upon a hidden room in the cellar of an old church. There they find a mysterious package with a note explaining that it contains the last known copy of a rare children’s book called The Ology. From there the book proceeds with its lessons.
The unit on the ology of sin does such a good job of showing children their depravity, that it would be a comfort to little ones to end those lessons with prayer, thanking God for sending Jesus. The Ology gets to the amazing work of Christ, but not until many chapters later.
For a richer use of the book, the author suggests using a companion album by Sovereign Grace Music, also called The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New, which is a systematic theology for kids set to music.
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