Stories of Christian martyrs from around the world and through the ages to inspire and challenge the next generation of believers.
What does it cost to follow Jesus? For these men and women, the answer was clear. They were ready to give witness to Christ in the face of intense persecution, even if it cost them their lives. From the stoning of Stephen to Nigerian Christians persecuted by Boko Haram today, these stories from around the world and through the ages will inspire greater faithfulness to the way of Jesus, reminding us what costly discipleship looks like in any age.
Since the birth of Christianity, the church has commemorated those who suffered for their faith in Christ. In the Anabaptist tradition especially, stories of the boldness and steadfastness of early Christian and Reformation-era martyrs have been handed down from one generation to the next through books such as Thieleman van Braght’s Martyrs Mirror (1660). Yet the stories of more recent Christian witnesses are often unknown.
This book is part of the Bearing Witness Stories Project, a collaborative story-gathering project involving Anabaptist believers from many different traditions and locations.
About the authors: Charles E. Moore has compiled and edited several acclaimed books, including Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard, and Everyone Belongs to God: Discovering the Hidden Christ. Timothy Keiderling is a researcher for the Bearing Witness Stories Project.
It is my belief that the book Bearing Witness should be required reading for all Christian high school and college students. By keeping the stories alive and fresh, we can impact generations and help them realize that these valiant people did not die in vain. It's important for us to remember the great cost behind our Christian beliefs. Many gave their lives so we could have the religious freedoms we experience today.
Brief, but emotionally moving accounts of persecution and martyrdom from the Biblical account of Stephen's martyr to Anabaptist persecutions and martyrdoms in Nigeria under Boko Haram. Included are five accounts, out of 36 stories, of persecution and martyrdom in the United States from the late 1700's to the mid-1900's. This book is a good introduction the the reality of Christian suffering and bear witness not only to the depths of cruel violence men will inflict upon others, but the courage that graces those under persecution committed to their Christian faith and, especially in many stories involving Anabaptists, the depth and strength of conviction to non-violence as taught and exemplified by Christ in the Gospels. I found that the introduction to this book was honest in dealing with the complexity of human nature in the face of persecution and martyrdom. Especially insightful is where we read, "At their best, martyr stories help communities validate their own cultural identity. At their worst, these memories can serve to justify resentment of one group against another and even lead to retribution." An excellent read that will not only cause you to examine your faith but question the nature of your love for enemies.
Bearing Witness prompts us to examine the strength of our own beliefs and the depth of our faith. It’s the perfect book to reflect upon during your personal or family devotional time. It’s also a great book to use for Bible Study, for missionary groups, and as an educational or homeschooling resource. These stories in are meant to be shared. To encourage discussion, the editors provide engaging questions for reflection and discussion at the end of the book.
These stories start with faithful discipleship from the Church's earliest days and the Radical Reformation. But there are more modern stories here, and stories of lives lived throughout the world, from the Virgin Islands to the Congo to Romania. What you’ll find here is a testimony of lives that point to the King of kings and Lord of lords. Lives that live and die in testimony to the Prince of peace. Bearing Witness is an important spiritual discipline for the contemporary church, because it's here that we learn to tell the story of Jesus in real, everyday lives. That makes Bearing Witness a book not to be missed.
I believe that martyr stories are important, because how we die matters. But a true martyr story isn't mostly about death.... it's about life, lived well in imitation of Christ, as we're all called to live. In each story, the believer's particular circumstances in life lead to a particular death, meted out by someone who hates or fears their Christ-centered life. That death is a witness to the believer's confidence that there is a deeper reality beyond what we see, and that Christ is the true ruler of all things.