An Ordinary Girl of Extraordinary Faith – Simonetta Carr

An Ordinary Girl of Extraordinary Faith by Simonetta Carr | Reformed Theology Articles at

LadyJaneGrey-SCarrThis month’s Tabletalk (Ligonier Ministries) included a couple of articles which are book-related, and therefore worth mentioning here. First of all, in this post we link you to an article written by Simonetta Carr, a woman whose church history biographies I have pointed out before. In this issue of Tabletalk Carr has written a piece on Lady Jane Grey, a teen-aged girl martyred for her Protestant faith after the takeover of Mary Tudor in England during the Reformation. This article is no doubt based on Carr’s larger work on this young lady titled Lady Jane Grey (Reformation Heritage Books, 2012). It is an incredible story of courage and conviction, and an amazing testimony to the grace of God by which we are saved. I encourage you – and your young people – to read this story. Perhaps you even want to print it out and put it in their hands.
I give you a quote from the end of the article, which tells you the way in which this young queen in God’s church and kingdom died in the Lord.

Her familiarity with Scriptures is also obvious in the letters she wrote during her imprisonment, particularly one to Thomas Harding, her former chaplain, who had renounced his faith in the gospel. In just one paragraph of that boldly explicit message, she very naturally quoted about eleven Bible verses.

Finally, her last letter to her younger sister Katherine echoes the words of comfort and instruction Jane must have heard in her younger years: “Desire, sister, to understand the law of the Lord your God. Live to die, that by death you may enter into eternal life, and then enjoy the life that Christ has gained for you by His death. Don’t think that just because you are now young, your life will be long, because young and old die as God wills…. Deny the world, defy the devil, despise the flesh, and delight yourself only in the Lord. Repent of your sins, and yet don’t despair. Be strong in faith, and yet don’t presume. With St. Paul, desire to die and to be with Christ, with whom, even in death, there is life.”

Jane inscribed the same phrase that she wrote to her sister—“Live to die, that by death you may enter into eternal life”—in the dedication of her book of prayers that she left to her jailer. In her last days, her death as a Christian was the only thing that mattered, and she embraced that task with diligence and devotion.

It’s sometimes easy to see ourselves or our children as the younger Jane—attending almost routinely or even distractedly to the means of grace and the study of God’s Word, seeing little fruit—but Jane’s life is an encouragement to persevere. If we are grounded in the gospel and sound theology, trials will not catch us unprepared. They will strengthen the faith that “comes from hearing,” while “he who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion” (Rom. 10:17; Phil. 1:6).

Simonetta Carr is the author of numerous books and biographies, including her newest book Anselm of Canterbury, which is part of the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series.

For purchasing any of the books in this series, check out Reformation Heritage Books.

Book Alert! “The Mother of the Reformation” – E.Kroker

Mrs. Reformation « THE CHRISTIAN PUNDIT.

MotherofReformation-KrokerThere’s a newly published biography on Katherine Luther out (Martin’s wife), and it looks to be a fine one. “The Christian Pundit” had a post on it yesterday and since we are on Reformation subjects today, I thought I would let you know about it. The “CP” had a detailed description and review of it, so I will simply refer you to that. Below is the beginning of the post; read all of it at the link above.

If it is possible to binge on biographies, that is what a friend of mine spent the summer doing. Books on Luther, from The Barber Who Wanted to Pray to Bainton’s classic Here I Stand, she ploughed her way through volume after volume. There were also a couple books on Katharine Luther, Martin’s wife, that she read and passed along. Mother of the Reformation: The Amazing Life and Story of Katharine Luther is a keeper. If you are married to a pastor, professor, missionary, or extrovert, it would make an especially relevant read.

Originally published in German in 1906, Ernst Kroker’s work was republished this year (Concordia). Mark E. DeGarmeaux’s translation is easy to read but still retains an early 20th century flavour. Katharine is known because of her famous Reformer husband and she lives in his shadow in our minds. Kroker’s biography brings her into the light. There is a lot about Luther in the book—how can you write about only one spouse in a remarkable marriage?—but Katie is the emphasis.

Unearthing much about Katie’s childhood and adolescence, Kroker outlines what we know about her early years, doing a good job of giving a sense of what it must have been like, despite scant sources. Katharine’s early entrance into convent life and her faithful service there, her eventual conversion, escape, marriage, motherhood and widowhood are all there within a rich context. One of Kroker’s strengths is his ability to put this woman not on a pedestal for us to inspect and venerate but in her own world for us to watch and learn from.