Our family has fallen in love with learning history through biographies
and story-telling, rather than the standard textbook model. History
is more meaningful to us when we read it in this format, and that
makes it easier to understand and remember. In her new book, Parade
of Faith, Ruth Tucker has applied this biographical method to teaching
church history. Tucker chose the title, Parade of Faith, to represent
the continual march of history, and as a celebration of the Christians
who have gone before us.
Parade of Faith is a hardcover textbook, with thick sturdy pages
and black/white illustrations. Although it was written with the
intent of being a college-level textbook, it has an engaging style
that can also serve as a high school textbook, or a resource for
any Christian adult desiring to learn more about church history.
The book has 509 pages and is divided into two chronological parts:
The Early Church through the Magisterial Reformation, and Sixteenth-Century
Anabaptism to the Twenty-first Century. There are 28 chapters in
the text, and it is designed to provide a full year's material
for high school, or a full semester for college.
Each chapter begins with an introduction explaining that point
in church history. The chapter then moves on to cover the biographies
of key people, covering their life and the role they played in
church history. At the end of each chapter, there are "what if" discussion
questions, which could also be used as essay topics, and a list
of recommended books for further study on the topic. There is not
a test booklet with this book, so grades would need to be based
on discussion and writing assignments. If tests are required to
comply with your state's homeschool laws, you'd need to create
tests for each chapter yourself.
Parade of Faith is an excellent church history textbook. The biographical
nature helps bring church history to life, and provides natural
divisions to break the chapter up into reading and discussion assignments.
Even though it would be impossible to cover ALL the important people
in the history of the Christian faith, Ruth Tucker has included
a wide variety of people, including women. My 16-year-old daughter
and I both enjoyed reading it, and learned so much new information.
I studied church history in college, using a standard textbook
style, but Parade of Faith brought it to life through its biographies
in a way that my college courses did not. One of my favorite parts
of Parade of Faith is that it includes segments of diaries, letters,
and books written by the actual people being studied. This allows
you to "hear" the voice of the individual so you can understand
Some families, who have stricter rules about the content their
children read, may not like the sensitive topics that are sometimes
covered in Parade of Faith. However, I think most families would
be comfortable with their high school students using it as a textbook.
I would not recommend that it be given to anyone younger than that,
other than in parent-approved, assigned segments. Additionally,
the vocabulary of the author would be too difficult for most elementary
students, and many junior high students.
Parade of Faith is an excellent resource for homeschool families
wanting to add a Church History course to their high school transcript,
or for families looking for a church history supplement for their
world history course. Likewise, anyone interested in expanding
their personal understanding of the progression of the Christian
faith, and the divisions of churches and theology, would benefit
from reading Parade of Faith. The story-telling style of Parade
of Faith will appeal to those who are bored by a list of dates,
places, and events usually portrayed in textbooks.