While reviewing movies for Kayleigh’s Reformers history lesson I came across this one. You can imagine my joy, after spending all last year and half this one reading and studying the Patristic Fathers. Polycarp was a man directly discipled by the Apostle John, who was eventually martyred for his faith. There’s a few things I look for, however, when reviewing movies for homeschooling. First, they have to have an accurate depiction of the Bible, no false Gospels. Secondly, they have to have limited amounts of violence or promiscuity. Lastly, they need to flow or she’ll just get bored.
Polycarp certainly contains a Biblical Gospel presentation, along with many, MANY, scriptural references. In fact, Polycarps character frequently uses Gods Word as a response to situations. There is absolutely no promiscuity, which actually tends to pop up in historical movies. Instead it is replete with family values, love for the brethren, Biblical teachings, and a boldness in the face of fear, rather than mushy romance and puppy love. It flows really well, and has excellent acting. There’s only one problem, this is a tale of martyrs. I think I’ll wait a couple years before playing this for Kayleigh, she’s very sensitive to death and frequently falls apart in the consideration of losing one of her parents.
Due to the intense, yet none bloody, scenes of martyrdom, I’d recommend this movie for pre-teens and up. Especially for any of you out there that love to learn about the churches history. In this movie we find historical characters such as Irenaeus and Justin Martyr, along side Polycarp of course. The 2015 movie is set in Smyrna during the second century. It follows a young girl who is rescued from slavery by Christians, which is why I would recommend it to pre-teens as well as youth groups. It will also bless adults, as it’s not based on one single age group, but a family of believers instead. I found this movie on Amazon free with our Prime subscription. However, the official website is Here where you can see a recommendation from a well known evangelist, Ray Comfort. I hope this movie blesses you as much as it blessed me. Let me know if you get a chance to watch it. As
Beloved, let’s go way back for this week and nexts weeks book review. There’s a particular joy I get from reading the writings of men who sat under Apostolic teaching. I’m not referring to the nonsense today from vain men who claim to be ‘Apostles’. As brother Justin Peters likes to say “that jobs been filled”. These men are the Patristic Fathers, Polycarp of Smyrna, in particular, is who I want to talk about today.
Polycarp (69 – 155) was disciples specifically by John. He was friends with Ignatius, whose work we’ll review next Thursday.
Throughout his letter multiple verses from the New Testament are quoted. In fact, it’s been said that you could reconstruct the entirety of the New Testament with the quotes in the Patristic writings. This is fantastic news for the believer who has been questioned on the validity of the Bible. It wasn’t put together hundreds of years after the fact by a counsel. It was widely spread throughout the body of believers, however later heresies would cause a counsel to gather and make clear their stance on what was canonical and what was not.
This letter from Polycarp is short, but a wonderful connection for Christians to their historical roots. Church history doesn’t die with John only to be reborn with Luther. True, converted, believers can be seen fighting heresies throughout history, often times being martyred for their defense of the Gospel. Polycarp, himself, was martyred for his faith.
Another important thing we see repeated in the Patristic writings is the historical form of church service. Polycarp gives brief descriptions of how they fellowshipped, as does Justin the Martyr . Although we have to remember that these writings are not Holy Spirit inspired, they are written by the brethren who came before us. They gave their lives for the truth, that we are saved by Gods grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. I recommend this book to all believers, and history lovers. It’s a great resource for homeschooling families as well. It’s in the public domain, so it can be read as a free pdf, audio book, or a fairly inexpensive kindle version. It would also make a wonderful gift this season for any of your Pastors.
Grace and peace to you, beloved brethren! As always, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.