Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fiction Worth Reading

It’s not often that I take time out of my busy schedule to read works of fiction. My general attitude on fiction is that it appeals to emotions. Its primary purpose is the entertainment of the flesh. With so very many excellent non-fiction books and articles that I long to read, how can I ever justify taking time out to read fiction? Well, recently I was influenced by my daughter Brittney to read “Duncan’s War” by Douglas Bond. She had ordered it from one of my favorite ministries and internet bookstores, Vision Forum.

The setting takes place in 17th century Scotland. The heroes of the book are the Scottish Covenanters, and the villains are the Anglican English. Actual history is woven throughout this very interesting story. I found myself learning quite a bit that I had not known before. It has encouraged me to secure for myself, and my family, the non-fiction book, The Scots Worthies, by John Howie. Though I have not yet read that one, I have heard it is very good as well. But I digress. “Duncan’s War” held my interest to such a point that when I finished it, I moved on to “King’s Arrow” and “Rebel’s Keep.” Brittney had ordered the entire set.

The story tracks a family of Presbyterian Covenanters as they live their lives, raise their families, attend Lord’s Day worship in the field, and eventually fight for “King and Kirk” against English dragoons who are bent on squashing their free expression of worship to the only Sovereign, the Lord Jesus Christ. One thing that impressed me in this series is the constant singing of the Psalter, the honor given to the Word of God, and the complete trusting in the Providence of God in ordering all that He predestines should come to pass.

There are gruesome parts in this series. Yet, they reflect the horrific atrocities carried out against our Scottish ancestors by the tyrannical English. At times I could relate to each of the characters in seeing through the eyes of the father, son, brother, warrior, and pastor. It was very believable because it was fiction based on fact. It reminds me a little of the Henty novels in their excellent approach to teaching history through stories.

As a parent, I highly recommend this book for children from around ages 10 up to adults. Some younger children could be scared by the graphic details of the spitting of body parts of Christian martyrs. So, its not one I would recommend for family worship if you have young children. However, as a fiction work, I believe it was well worth my time to “entertain my flesh” in this way, for in so doing, I believe I have imparted a new respect for these church fathers into my spirit.

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