Monday, May 23, 2016

Bearing Witness - Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship

Bearing Witness
Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship
  • Edited by Charles E. Moore and Timothy Keiderling
  • Published by Plough Publishing Company, March 1, 2016
  • Paperback Binding - 242 Pages - English Language
  • 36 Stories of Martyrdom From Early Christianity to Today
  • Learn More By visiting the Bearing Witness Stories Project Website
  • There is Also a Bearing Witness Stories Facebook Page
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  
Matthew 15: 24-25
There have been many martyrs in the history of the Christian faith.  From the stoning of Stephen in 34 A.D. to the modern day terror killings, too much blood  has been spilled.

In the Catholic Church we celebrate our martyred saints who gave their lives in defense of their faith but sometimes it is hard to imagine I might be called to such heroics.

When news breaks about our Christian brothers and sisters being killed for refusing to denounce Jesus I feel a combination of revulsion for the hatred and awe for the martyr. What an amazing witness it is that even in the face of terror they not only accept their fate, but use their last moments for prayer.

In this book, the stories of many martyrs are told.  Because the compilation and editing is the work of an Anabaptist ( A Christian who believes in delaying baptism until an age when the candidate can confesses his or her own faith in Christ, rather than being baptized as an infant - such as the Amish and Mennonites) organization, the majority of modern stories are about members of Anabaptist faiths. Since many of you follow me because we share a faith bond, I should mention here that there is a very anti-Catholic section titled "Radical Reformers".

After a brief introduction there are 36 chapters as follows:
  1. Stephen
  2. Polycarp
  3. Justin Martyr
  4. Agathonica, Papylus, and Carpus
  5. Perpetua
  6. Tharacus, Probus, and Andronicus
  7. Marcellus
  8. Jan Hus
  9. Michael and Margaretha Sattler
  10. Weynken Claes
  11. William Tyndale
  12. Jakob and Katharina Hutter
  13. Anna Janz
  14. Dirk Willems
  15. Veronika Lohans
  16. Jacob Hochstetler'Gnadenhutten
  17. Jospeh and Michaeil Hofer
  18. Emanuel Swarzendruber
  19. Regina Rosenberg
  20. Eberhard and Emmy Arnold
  21. Johann Kornelius Nartens
  22. Ahn Ei Sook
  23. Jakob Rempel
  24. Clarence Jordan
  25. Richard and Regina Wurmbrand
  26. Tulio Pedraza
  27. Stanimir Katanic
  28. Samuel Kakesa
  29. Kasai Kapata
  30. Meserete Kristos Church
  31. Sarah Corson'Akexander Men
  32. Jose Chuquin and Norman Tattersall
  33. Katherine Wu
  34. Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria
The book concludes with some study questions, notes, information about the project, and a list of other titles from this publisher.

I will confess, I have not read this entire book. Of course, I should have done more research before accepting this book for review - I did not realize there would be such an anti-Catholic bent to it, so that is entirely on me.  Because I have so many books about martyrs of my own Catholic faith that I have a preference for, I skipped major portions of this one.  These facts do not diminish the relevance of the premise of the publication, however.  I absolutely think that is important to remember that even two thousand years after Jesus spoke the words quoted from the passage of Matthew's Gospel they remain true.  For most it will be a figurative laying down of our lives, but some will be called to make the ultimate sacrifice.  Is our faith strong enough?
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this book for review purposes.  The opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by any monetary compensation.