Thursday, September 23, 2010

The King Without A Shadow by R.C. Sproul

Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Children love to ask questions, and this story is based upon the questions of a young boy to a king. Your children will thoroughly enjoy the “once upon a time” storyline as well as the colorful and detailed illustrations.

One day as the king was sitting on his throne, a young boy asked to see him. This young boy had come to seek answers from the king. Answers about shadows, where they come from and where they go to. He wanted to understand the mysteries of shadows. The king too was intrigued by the young boys questions and began his search for answers. His search eventually brought him to the wise Man of the Cave, a prophet who spoke of the great and mighty King Without A Shadow.

R.C. Sproul uses the ideas of shadows, darkness and light to explain the holiness of God to children in a unique and delightful way. The King Without A Shadow is God himself and He has no shadow because He is light and in Him is no darkness at all, a simple, yet profound message for children as they grasp the concept of God’s perfect holiness.

Positives: Sproul does an excellent job of using simple language to describe God's holiness.  He says "...to be holy means two things...holy means to be greater than anything else in the whole world.  It means that God is different from us.  He is higher than high, and deeper than deep...(secondly) He is called holy because He is pure.  There is no evil or wickedness in His heart.  He never does anything wrong.  He has never once committed a sin."  He uses many references to Scripture as well.

Negatives: The story appears to be written for young children however it is quite lengthy for children under the age of 5 to get through in one sitting.  The first time I read it to my 5 year old daughter at bedtime, she fell asleep before we finished.

Talking Points: I would begin my discussion and questions with sin and holiness. Use Scriptures like Rom. 3:23 and Eph. 2:1-3, tell your child that the "shadow" of sin on their own heart is very serious. Explain their utter sinfulness, their inability to know a holy God because of their sin. Help them understand that we are all born with sinful hearts. Then explain how because we are sinful and God is most holy, we cannot know him or have a relationship with him. Point them to the many Scriptures that talk of God's holiness (Ps. 77:13, Ps. 99, Luke 1:49, I Pet. 1:16, Rev. 4:8). Ultimately this should lead to a discussion of the gospel and how we can know God because of the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21, Col. 1:13-23). Other points to discuss would include God's rule over the whole earth, that His kingdom has no boundaries; that He is Light, and that He is Spirit.  Here is a list of other Scriptures that you could use as well.  Isa. 45: 5, 46:9, 66:1; Acts 7:49; Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29; I John 1:5, Rev. 22:5. I love the final words of the king to the children, “Since I talked to the Man of the Cave my eyes have been opened to things I never understood before. Now I am hungry and thirsty to know more about the King without a shadow…But now I charge you all. Seek the Great King.”

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