I think now and then about persecution and how different it is to be persecuted for the name of Jesus Christ here, compared to other parts of the world. I strive to pray daily for those who are suffering for His name; especially in times when I feel the sting of offense and persecution myself I remind myself that we are told in His Word to rejoice in these things. For we are partakers of His sufferings. Sobering reality.
Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship is a book, one of the many in the Bearing Witness Stories Project.
Throughout the pages of this book we read of and learn about many different martyrs; all persecuted for His name. We hear their stories, some from times long past, others quite recent, like Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria who continues to suffer in this present day.
It is said within the pages of this book that “we should continue to tell stories of courageous witness because persecution is not just an ancient story but a contemporary reality” (p. xii). I was pricked in the heart when they said “North American Christians need to tell stories of persecution and martyrdom because remaining silent, or willfully forgetting, or averting our attention from the reality of suffering, is simply unchristian” (p. xiii).
These are very sobering words for so many of us here; I question often whether I am truly doing enough for the cause of the Kingdom. So many, I fear, live for Christ in their free time and fail to really appreciate all that He did for us. And what it really means to be a called and chosen child God.
Within the pages of this book there is much that should bring us to our knees; the words written in these pages should make all of us question and seek from the Lord what more we can do to fulfill His will in whatever place we are in.
There are four parts to this book: Part I: Early Christians; Part II: Radical Reformers; III: Early Modern Witnesses and Part IV: Recent Witnesses. Within the final pages of this book, there are Questions for Reflection and Discussion. Again, these are very sobering questions. For example: “If you were called to give an account of your own faith, would you be ready and able to do so?” Another says, “How does God use persecution to spread the Gospel?” We should be able to answer every one of these, I believe, as followers of Christ.
As the author says: “… truth cannot be killed” (Introduction p. xvi)
As a home educator I encourage you, if you have older students, to consider this book even, for your students. This could make a great addition to any study on history and faith.
You can purchase your own copy of Bearing Witness here.