Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review from Johnny Kicklighter

A Book Review on What is Communion?

By: Johnny Kicklighter

I came across an interesting book titled "What is Communion?" by Victoria Stankus. Victoria happens to be the daughter of a good friend of mine, Dr. James L. McIntosh the Academic Dean of Brookes Bible Institute in St. Louis, MO. Having reared four boys and now working on seven grandchildren, the book interested me. It explains in a clear and easy fashion the religious practice of taking communion in language that children can understand.

This is the first book I've ever seen on the subject of communion written for a child's understanding. The book attracted my attention because my first grandson who at a very early age became interested in the subject. I have found it very easy for people (including myself) to take any subject and make it sound complicated. However, using the concept of studied simplicity, it takes a great deal of effort to explain a complicated theological concept to a child. When my grandson would see us participating in communion on Sundays, he was curious and was not satisfied with a simple answer. I couldn't find any material that would illustrate communion to a child. There's plenty on sex education, but nothing on the Lord's Supper.

This book presents an explanation of Communion based on the Protestant Evangelical view. It explains who Jesus is, why He came to earth, why He sacrificed Himself on a cross, and concludes with a simple Gospel message. It is broken into six sessions and the entire work is only 61 pages in length. The book is written in such a way for parents or teachers to read to with children and stimulate discussion.

Rev Gary E. Gilley, the pastor of Southern View chapel in Springfield, IL wrote the forward to Victoria's work. He is an author himself having written several books on the church and spirituality. In the foreword he points out that in the church there are all sorts of opinions, gifts, preferences and differences. But when we come to the Lord's Table we come to celebrate our commonality in Christ. I appreciate that observation as we often fail to consider the little ones as being part of the body. I'm reminded of Christ's Words in Matthew 18, 5-10:

"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. "

I particularly like the simple, black and white illustrations combined with uncomplicated language. Dr. McIntosh was the main illustrator. Although probably not intended as a coloring book, the line drawings lend themselves to a tempting child with a crayon to add some color. This would make an excellent work book for teacher or parent.

The author believes children can understand what it means to be a sinner and to have a need to be reconciled to God. I believe this book can be used as a helpful tool to explain communion to children (and adults, as well) and give them a better understanding of their need for Christ.

Author Resource:-> Johnny Kicklighter is a counselor at the Gateway Biblical Counseling and Training Center

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