Polycarp: The Crown of Fire  -     By: William Chad Newsom
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Polycarp: The Crown of Fire

Christian Focus Publications / 2005 / Paperback

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Product Description

Polycarp anxiously waited until the sound of marching footsteps faded away. The Praetorian guard were on the move - ready to pounce on Christians or any other "revolutionaries" that they might find. Papais is ready with his sword but Polycarp has another course in mind.

These are the days when the catacombs are the dark shadowy refuges of the Christians and the roar of the amphitheature is the sound of death to the believer. Polycarp, though, is one of the church leaders called on to give his life for Christ and his Kingdom... and this is something he counts as an honour.

To gain the Crown of Fire he must be willing to suffer for Christ. But will his courage hold? Will he give in to the struggle?

Accompany Polycarp and his companions as they face up to the Roman enemy and their fate yet still pass on the legacy of truth. The golden chain around Polycarp's neck is a link to the past in more ways than one... the truth with it will be passed onto future generations. To people like you. Ages 9-12.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: Christian Focus Publications
Publication Date: 2005
Dimensions: 7 X 4 1/3 X 4/9 (inches)
ISBN: 1845500415
ISBN-13: 9781845500412
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Polycarp anxiously waited until the sound of marching footsteps faded away. The Praetorian guard were on the move - ready to pounce on Christians or any other 'revolutionaries' that they might find. Papias is ready with his sword but Polycarp has another course in mind.


These are the days when the catacombs are the dark shadowy refuges of the Christians and the amphitheatre is the sound of death to the believer. Polycarp though is one of the church leaders called on to give his life for Christ and his Kingdom... and this is something he counts as an honour.


To gain the Crown of Fire he must be willing to suffer for Christ. But will his courage hold? Will he give in to the struggle?


Accompany Polycarp and his companions as they face up to the Roman enemy and yet still pass on the legacy of truth. The golden chain around Polycarp's neck is a link to the past in more ways than one ... the truth with it will be passed on to future generations. To people like you.


Included in the book are a time line and further facts about the early church.

Author Bio

William Chad Newsom lives in North Carolina with his wife, Angela, their three children, Grace, William, and Nathanael, and their dog, Nicholas the Great (Nick). Chad is the author of two books, both published by Christian Focus. He has written more than thirty articles, appearing in such publications as Children's Ministry Magazine, Agape Press, Evangelical Press, and The Charlotte World.

Editorial Reviews

"It was while researching publishers for a children's book I had written that I first discovered Christian Focus. Their website noted that they were looking for authors to contribute to Torchbearers, a new children's historical fiction series on Christian martyrs. Two names jumped immediately to mind: Polycarp and Thomas Cranmer. I don't know why those two, in particular, came first to my thoughts, nor I am certain why I chose Polycarp over Cranmer, except that Polycarp's story is full of drama and adventure, and is so little-known, even among Christians. Polycarp is a true hero, and an exemplar of the truth and grace of Christ. It is essential that we fill our children's lives with such stories, that they might better understand, and love, Christian courage and nobility."

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  1. Wayne S. Walker
    Salem, IL
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    a thrilling account
    October 17, 2012
    Wayne S. Walker
    Salem, IL
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    Set during the time when the catacombs of Rome were the dark, shadowy refuge of Christians and the roar of the Amphitheater meant death for believers, this book is a fictionalized biography of Polycarp of Smyrna (69–155), one of the earliest and now somewhat forgotten post-apostolic leaders in the early church. It begins with a visit by Hippolytus of Rome (170–235) to the aged Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd-3rd C. A.D., c. 202), who was said to have been a disciple of Polycarp. Irenaeus tells Hippolytus about the life of Polycarp, including his relationship to Ignatius of Antioch (35/50-98/117), his friendship with Papias of Hierapolis (early 2nd C. A.D.), and his dealings with the heretic Marcion of Sinope (c. 85-c. 160), as well as his mentoring of Irenaeus. There is a section at the end which explains what facts we do know about the historical characters and how they are woven into the story.

    Author William Chad Newsom starts with what little actual historical information we have about Polycarp, taken mainly from the writings of Eusebius and other later post-apostolic church writers, along with a few legendary anecdotes that may or may not be true, and uses this material to fashion a thrilling account of the history of the church in very late first and early second centuries. Newsom tries to stay as close to the facts as possible, but obviously he had to imagine a lot of events and conversations. I assume that, in addition to the historic persons mentioned in the story, the character of Captain John Strouthion is entirely fictitious. In his old age, Polycarp was given the choice by the Roman Proconsul Statius Quadratus of denying Christ or suffering death. Polycarp replied, “Eighty and six years have I served him, and He never did me an injury, or proved Himself faithless. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” But the Proconsul kept pressing him. What did Polycarp do? What happened to him?

    By the time of Polycarp, various errors had already begun to spring up in the church. Though he never married, Polycarp is consistently identified as “the bishop of Smyrna.” In addition, a discussion of the debate between Polycarp and Anicetus over when to celebrate “Easter” occurs. There are also a few references to drinking wine. However, besides its being an exciting account in its own right, Polycarp: The Crown of Fire serves two important functions for Christians. It not only reminds us of the spiritual strength of those giants of the past on whose shoulders we now stand and to whom we are indebted for so much but also illustrates for us the kind of faith and courage which it is so important for us to develop in case we are ever called on to suffer persecution for the name of Jesus. The book is one of the “Torch Bearers” Series from Christian Focus; others include Jim Elliot: He Is No Fool; William Tyndale: The Smuggler’s Flame; Margaret Wilson: Danger on the Hill; and Jim Chalmers: The Rainmaker’s Friend.

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