4 Stars Out Of 5
October 5, 2010
R. C. Sproul has written some helpful books for children. These books are "designed to present deep biblical truths to children on their own level." Each book presents a different aspect of God's character and serves as a wonderful conversation starter. The latter two (of which "The Prince's Poison Cup" is one) even include discussion questions and Scripture references at the end of the story. However, if you could only purchase one of these books, I think that "The Prince's Poison Cup" best communicates the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is therefore, the most beneficial.
There are two things in particular that gave me pause in "The Prince's Poison Cup" that warrant further discussion. The first is the depiction of the deceiver in that he looks evil. This is a very common portrayal among children's books, however, I think it deserves special acknowledgment because often, sin and temptation do not look evil to us.
The second point worth discussing is on Page 20 in a section that parallels Christ's time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. In Dr. Sproul's story, his Prince trembles with fear as he considers whether there might be another way of rescuing His people. I would want to clarify that, although Scripture does say that Christ trembled, it never attributes fear to Christ. In Matthew 26: 37 & 38, Christ is described as sorrowful and troubled. Mark 14:33-34 describes Jesus as greatly distressed, troubled, and sorrowful. Luke 22:44 describes Jesus as being in agony. Furthermore, 1 John 4:18 states: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love" (1 John 4:18 ESV). Christ was perfected in love and perfectly trusted His Father in spite of the coming punishment He was to bear for the sins of His people and so, I do not think he could have been fearful. I could be wrong, but just to be cautious, I would try to use more Biblical language to describe Christ's trembling and sweat in the Garden as we are representing His character. (Please note: Dr. Sproul is not necessarily attributing fear to Christ in this book but rather to his fictional Prince character who parallels Christ.)
I would not allow these two issues to prevent me from purchasing this book. It does a great job of communicating Gospel truth in a clear, concise manner to children. Due to the longer paragraphs, I would recommend these books for children who have longer attention spans (probably starting around age four to six, depending on the child).
(Many thanks to Reformation Trust Publishing for granting me a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!)