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Doing Battle with Dragons

Dragon Slayers by Joyce Denham and Roger Snure is a wonderful book for children ages 9-12. Being an adult, I was not sure how I would receive the book. Yet, as I began reading, the book came to life as a resource in the battle of spiritual warfare. To start with, the book is very attractively put together, from the cover emblem of a warrior in battle to the maps in the inside and back covers. Secondly, the illustrations by Roger Snure are fabulous. The artwork depicts the ensuing dragon (vice or sin) as a compelling creature calling its victim to do battle. I had a good laugh with the dragon named Braggen who is seen with two heads waving his finger at himself with proud stature (Braggen, tempts you to brag about yourself, 68-69). Next, the book's layout is very suitable for digesting the main content of exposure to the method of the dragon and the practice of arming yourself against him.

I was very pleased with the material involved with each dragon. For instance, in the section relating to Braggen (tempting you to brag), the reference is to Paul's letter in 1 Corinthians 13:4. This referral back to God's Word gives the young person an anchor to fight against the sin of conceit and pride. Secondly, the author gets back to the heart of the message in writing, "What, then, is a Dragon Slayer to do in the face of Braggen?...Simply admit...What I'm trying to say is that if yo simply admit what you've done, then you can ask the Chief Slayer (Jesus) to help you ignor Braggen" (71). Pride is not an erasable entity like a mark on the way. The author is right that to combat pride (Braggen) we need to come before Jesus with our prideful thoughts and ways and and admit our wrong. Coming before Christ in confession rids our hearts of the desire to hide and run away, and rather gives us the opportunity for a renewed spiritual life.

I was also very excited that the author time and time again decided to use Paul's letter to the Ephesians 6 as a template for coming to do battle with the dragons. Not only are we given strength through the Sword of the Spirit and the breastplate of righteousness, but these things are part and parcel of our life given over the work of the Holy Spirit. Overall, I though the way in which both tradition and Scripture were used enhanced the message of the book.

The section on Senior Dragon Slayers of old was a great place to find a history of saints devoted to Christ, but also devoted to living holy lives amidst temptation. In this section, you find such people Catherine of Siena, St. Francis of Assisi and the apostle Paul. My only criticism here is that many of these people would be relatively unknown by a younger generation. Secondly, I would like to see some of the great people of Christendom such as Marin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, and Charles Spurgeon (yet I know that is a more Protestant leaning). Yet, I think that these examples are what young people need of those who have stood in the gap (standing for Christ amidst great struggle).

I know this book will be of good use to those young people (probably boys) who are both interested in battle (dragons and warfare) and also interested in matters of faith. This book will help young people, with parent's aid, in realizing the destruction that sin causes and the need to bring Christ to bear over all of life. Lastly, the book calls attention to the Ancient Manual (the Scriptures) as a fount of nourishment and blessing for those who read it. In terms of layout, illustrations, and message this book was very exciting to read and challenging to meditate on.

Much thanks to Paraclete Press for the review copy.


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