Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship
Bearing Witness is a compilation of stories of Christian martyrs from around the world and through the ages to inspire and challenge the next generation of believers. We have all heard that we can learn by the mistakes of others and this would be one area that we would be wise to heed. So many mean things have been done to people over the years in the name of Christianity.
This book is based as part of the Bearing Witness Stories Project, a collaborative story-gathering project involving Anabaptist believers from many different traditions. It isn’t an easy read. It will break your heart. I don’t think it matters what your faith base is when it comes to feeling the pain of those that suffered in the name of their faith.
When I fuss and complain about how bad things are and how far this country has drifted from the founding father’s intentions I have to stop and remember that we, as current day Christians DO NOT suffer like those of the early to mid history Christians. Today we have the privilege to worship and be open about our beliefs.
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.
Bearing Witness tells the stories of early Christian martyrs Stephen, Polycarp, Justin, Agathonica, Papylus, Carpus, Perpetua, Tharacus, Probus, Andronicus, and Marcellus, followed by radical reformers Jan Hus, Michael and Margaretha Sattler, Weynken Claes, William Tyndale, Jakob and Katharina Hutter, Anna Janz, Dirk Willems. But the bulk of the book focuses on little-known modern witness including Veronika Löhans, Jacob Hochstetler, Gnadenhütten, Joseph and Michael Hofer, Emanuel Swartzendruber, Regina Rosenberg, Eberhard and Emmy Arnold, Johann Kornelius Martens, Ahn Ei Sook, Jakob Rempel, Clarence Jordan, Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, Tulio Pedraza, Stanimir Katanic, Samuel Kakesa, Kasai Kapata, Meserete Kristos Church, Sarah Corson, Alexander Men, José Chuquín, Norman Tattersall, Katherine Wu, and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria.
Some of the names and stories in the book I knew, others were not familiar to me at all. My recommendation would be to do a little research on your own on those names not familiar to you. Some of these names are going to only be familiar to those in the Anabaptist believers base.
For more information on this book and the authors, you can purchase on Plough.com. Also you can connect with them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest discussions and promotions in this series.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book to read from Propeller Consulting.
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