"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

What Kind of Martyr's Death Would You Die for Christ?

News out of Pakistan today details how a seven-year-old girl and her infant sister were brutally murdered by radical Muslims in Islamabad, all because their grandmother, who was also murdered, posted religious 'heresy' on her Facebook account.

This account of religious violence is just one of hundreds coming out of Sharia-law countries, where Muslims believe Allah requires 'death' for heretics and infidels.

The news story caused me to think about Christians in America, and what 'brand' of Christianity we possess. For example, is our faith a New Testament kind of faith and the Foxe's Book of Martyrs type of faith where Christians willingly, cheerfully, and confidently died at the hand of executioners for their faith in Christ? Or is our Christian faith the kind of faith that would angrily fight and attempt to kill the one who seeks to take your life because of your faith in Christ?

Interestingly, it seems to me that the qualifier for what kind of 'martyr' faith a Christian possesses determines if he is in the 'minority' or 'majority' of the culture in which he lives. Historically, Christians in the minority don't fight. Christians in the majority do.

Why the difference?

It seems to me that where Christian principles guide a nation's governing documents, freedom is present. Sharia Law countries are not known for individual liberties. Therefore, if you are a Christian in a Sharia Law country, you are are not free to worship Christ and live.

So, how would you die?

When you are asked to 'renounce Christ,' would you cheerfully, confidently, and willingly keep your faith and voluntarily put your head under the sword, or give your body to the fire, or allow the executioners to take your life in whatever manner they desire? Or would you fight?

The early Christians did not fight. They willingly died. When the Romans called on them to confess "Caesar is Lord," the Christians refused. Some were thrown to the lions, others were drowning in boiling vats of oil, some died by the sword, and others were cast into prison and starved to death. Yet, in the course of 300 years, Christianity changed the western world.

As Americans were love our freedom. Unfortunately, we Christians are now a minority. Even our governing documents are being ignored, and freedoms are being lost in the land of the free. We may be a generation or less away from being persecuted for our faith.

What kind of martyr's death would you die for Christ?

Christ's kingdom is not dependent on His people fighting, for our true battle is NOT against flesh and blood. Jesus told His disciples to 'put up the sword,' for 'my kingdom is not of this world.' I'm wondering if we have confused the kingdoms to which we belong. America is not the Kingdom, nor is being an American equivalent to being a Christian.

Could it be said that the genuine follower of Jesus Christ would lay down his life willingly to those who would take it instead of fighting?

Just wondering.






22 comments:

Christiane said...
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Victorious said...

When you are asked to 'renounce Christ,' would you cheerfully, confidently, and willingly keep your faith and voluntarily put your head under the sword, or give your body to the fire, or allow the executioners to take your life in whatever manner they desire? Or would you fight?

Honestly? I'd probably beg and cry. I'm sorry, but there is very little courage in me in my golden years. When I was younger, the only thing in the world that frightened me was a mouse. Now I'm fearful of my own shadow.

May I never have to face such a situation... I think the Holy Spirit provides the courage and peace in those who do.

I might have been able to save face by saying I would go to my death willingly, but I shared the truth. Unless He strengthens me, I'm liable to be ashamed.

Tom Ross said...

It seems that people confuse "Liberty" and "Freedom" because of their understanding of what these two terms mean. People are given liberty by our society to "worship" the God/god of their choice within the defined boundaries of that liberty. It is the same liberty with the respective defined boundaries that allows people to own and use a gun and to freely assemble with like minded people. Liberty allows us to do things whether Good or Bad with few limitations as to how we actually enjoy the liberty bestowed on us by our society. Liberty can be imposed within and outside of any moral or spiritual limitations.

Freedom, IMHO, is spiritual in character in that I am free from what would cause me to enter into the Second Death. My "spiritual" "freedom" is independent of the liberty practices found within the society I live in, whether the society has a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or "animalistic" characteristic bases. Freedom is something that I cannot lose by exerted force against me yet I can freely relinquish it to my own determent.

The other sad thing is that many Christians cannot distinguish between God's loving corrective nature and when Satan and his other heavenly "buddy" hosts come against us.

Often we do not know when things get tough and hard for us, whether or not, we are within God's glorious purposes for our lives. Sometimes, in these circumstances, we fight against God telling Him in no uncertain terms that we want out of our circumstances where we can demonstrate our love for God. Our understanding often, when we get into those circumstances, that God is not involved and in any case God would not allow it to happen because he is a loving and gentle God and He certainly would not allow anything bad to happen to His Saints.

Sadly within the Christian community there are many theological errors that teaches us that when things get really bad, God will whisk us all away so that we will not suffer during the time of "bad things" happening.

Before I left my safe country to enter into a not so "safe" country to encourage the church there, I had to be prepared to die in my endeavours if that were to be the case, if I was to become an effective witness within that particular "third" world country. Today Christianity is exploding within that country because of the oppression and hardships faced by the people.

The real question I had to answer for myself was, "If God requires me to die during my ministry work, what concern is that to me if I trust Him completely with my Life?" People can only take my physical life, but only God can take my spiritual identity away from me if He chooses to dispatch me into the Second Death.

Wade on your page you have listed one cause which tells me that you probably do not believe that Christians should suffer in any way when they take up their own personal cross to become one of Christ's disciples.

We can wonder, but to be a disciple of Christ's, He requires that we all do take up your own crosses and follow Him.

Bob Cleveland said...

I've thought about this often, particularly after the Columbine massacre. And my belief at present is I would not renounce my faith. That'd be too obvious a case.

To me, the more telling question is what we do when the boss takes God's name in vain. Or when some good friend asks us to go along with the crowd to someplace we know we shouldn't go. Or perhaps when someone blatantly misuses scripture or misrepresents God. I think those are the real tests of faith.

Anonymous said...

Since we are privileged to live in a country like America I am thankful we don't have to answer that question. Our question however is "How will you live for Him?"

Anonymous said...

The idea of persecution of Christians in this nation is well, sort of silly.
You want to see Christians who " Walk the Walk" you need to see Christians in places such as N. Korea or Sudan. They are jailed or executed for their faith.
There are Christians who get unhappy because people say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.
They are upset because there is no prayer in school. Never mind in one class alone there maybe a Baptist, Methodist, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic, and atheist.
They want to put up signs with Bible verses at football games for Christ to lead their team to victory over another team.....I seriously doubt Christ cares who wins the game. And I wonder what would happen if a player would request a sign that says that the one God is Allah? I am sure at Kountze High School, the practice would stop.
I wonder how many of these people would abandon their faith if there was any oppression?
We got it good here. And any speculation that Christians will be persecuted for being Christians in this country is just that....speculation....

Smalltownpreacher said...

I think all would hope we would die instead of denying the faith if ever in that situation, but you probably don't know until you face it. As bad as we like to say things are here, we are still the most blessed Christians in history

Steve Miller said...

Wade,

I would pray that I remember what my seminary professor, Oscar Thompson said, "you can't have dying grace on non dying days". I know the application is for daily living but so true if one had to face martyrdom. His grace is sufficient.

Steve Miller

Victorious said...

I think Corrie Ten Boom's father's wise words could give comfort in a time of possible death for one's beliefs. He gave the ticket to her just before boarding the train and he said God knows our needs and will supply them at the needed time.

Anonymous said...

Victorious....I too would have to pray and hope the Lord would grant me the courage and grace to die willingly. In my flesh I am weak. ( am older and sick) May the Lord have mercy.
Linda

Interesting said...

Not exactly how to feel about this...

RRR said...

I agree with Wade's proposal that our nation is headed toward a time when persecution of Christians will be more intense. We see the trend moving us in that direction today. Animosity and disgust with Christians is on the increase in spite of more and more concessions being made to appease those who are very vocal in demonizing Christians. The Church becomes less "salty" and the unraveling of the moral fabric of America is the result.

It's sad to see the decline in our American society's identifying itself as being a "Christian" nation as it did some decades ago. Prayer to God in the Name of Jesus Christ, recitation of "The Lord's Prayer" and reading a Bible passage at the beginning of the school day was done without apology to those choosing not to believe.

To literally "fight" the opposition risks our becoming radical fundamentalists like those opposed to Christianity. Perhaps the most meaningful/effective opposition to those who seek to extinguish the influence of the church is to practice bold submission as did our Lord but as so many of the comments on this blog post already reflect, we'll only have the strength to do that if we're consumed with God's grace when that confrontation comes.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I would hope to die well for Him but the self preservation gene might make me a sniveling coward.

Linda (frequent to this site, not the Linda above.)

kevin said...

Are we privileged or is it because we have been so weak.

Christiane said...
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Nathan Thompson said...
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Nathan Thompson said...

Maybe I misread the post, but I don't see the choices offered by Wade as "willing die" or "deny the faith." The choices were "willing die" or "fight against that death (maybe/probably violently)."

I think Wade's choices are much more difficult to consider.

When I was in Enid we had a discussion along these ideas. Someone stated if the violence was personal, they felt called to turn the other cheek. However, if the violence or injustice was against the least of these, then they felt called to resist/fight.

Anonymous said...

Whilst your statement that "It seems to me that where Christian principles guide a nation's governing documents, freedom is present" is generally true, it's not always the case.

Calvin had Servetus executed for heresy and the Salem witch trials took place under a Puritan government. Christianity was used to justify slavery, racism, and apartheid, and Christian influence was behind Uganda's recent attempt to impose draconian punishments for homosexuality.

History therefore shows that Christians can be responsible for oppressive totalitarian regimes.

But if Christians take the view that their faith teaches that all men are created free and equal, that there should be checks, balances, and limits on the power of the government, that the state should be secular and separate from the church, and that freedom of religion and worship is a fundamental human right, then yes, Christian principles do bring about freedom and liberty. And, by some strange coincidence, Christianity thrives best in such a setting!

Gordon said...

Wade,
For me, I can't give an answer to the question in advance. I might speak confidently now, like Peter did, only to find deep weakness in my resolve when confronted by severe trial, persecution,suffering or even martyrdom. I know I need the Lord's help to be faithful to the end, and I cannot rely on my perfect performance.

We see from the experience of Job that God uses suffering and martyrdom to accomplish three things: 1. The glory brought to His name by His suffering servants. The blood of the martyrs is still the seed of the church (Tertullian) 2. The growth in grace, patience, personal character and worthiness of the one enduring suffering like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 3. Job's end reward for faithful endurance was great...greater than eye could see or ear could hear for those who share in the sufferings of Christ.

Gordon

Curious Thinker said...

I feel sad for Christians who are being persecuted because of their faith in Eastern countries like the Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for marrying a Christian man despite herself being raised by a Christian mother, even though her father was Muslim which apparently in that country qualifies her as a Muslim. I prayed for her and was relieved when I learned she was spared finally left Sudan to Italy and now is in the US with her family. She was even forced to have her baby in prison while chained. Anyway, I wish none would martyr themselves for their faith and wouldn't blame anyone for fighting for their lives and their loved ones if they had the chance. That being said I'm also glad hear in the US, we Christians would never be forced to make such a choice. I would personally pray for miracle if the occasion presented itself.

Anonymous said...

We living very easy life here in sweden we too from Finland and no persecute or hate but kindful and care ,but alot another place in the world in Asien are very difficult to live for Christ and alot the poeple has been killed for theyr faith sake so, pray for them who are in trouble for Jesus ,thanks and bless,keijo sweden

Anonymous said...

Did Jesus say we were called to be martyr's? If so, where in the Bible can this be found?