Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship - #review

From the stoning of Stephen in the first-century Jerusalem to Nigerian Christians persecuted by Boko Haram in 2015, these stirring accounts will inspire greater faithfulness to the way of Jesus, reminding believers what costly discipleship looks like in any age.  Bearing Witness brings together dozens of accounts from around the world of Christians who gave witness to their faith in the face of intense persecution, even if it costs them their lives.

In selecting stories for this book, the editors focused on Anabaptist martyrs and others who suffered for their commitment to believer’s baptism and nonviolence.

Publisher: Plough Publishing House
Category: Christianity/History
Binding: Softcover
240 pages



I'd like to be able to say that I would claim my faith with the grace and quiet strength of the witnesses and martyrs described in Bearing Witness, even in the face of death.  Most of us are not called upon to make the 'ultimate sacrifice' in the name of our faith.

My own first 'crisis of faith' came one Sunday when I was 12 or so.  I chose not to give the answer to a question the Sunday School teacher had asked, even though I knew what he was expecting to hear, because I was not sure what I believed at that point, and felt it better to be quiet than to say the expected words by rote.  Then I received a very vocal, very public dressing down (at least it seemed so to me at the time).  After that, when I went to church it was because my mother wanted us to go, not because of what I could get out of attendance.

I had, of course, heard the term "Anabaptist" before, but did not really know what it meant until I read this book.

Despite some of the descriptions of the persecution and executions described in Bearing Witness, it is a profound and engrossing read.  And it was surprising to me how much of (at least) the (early) confrontations were Christian on Christian.  And it makes me wonder if other religions face the same issue - a significant portion of disagreement on religious beliefs occurring within factions of the same religion vs between one religion and another.

The stories of these martyrs and disciples is a call to action.  Our faith should be so much more than our petty concerns about how we are dressed or what kind of car we drive.  We need to focus on others more than we focus on ourselves.  We need to consider how we can serve others rather than figure out the best outcome for us personally.

I was in a church nursery when I was three days old.  I have been 'saved' as use of the term goes.  But reading Bearing Witness has brought another dimension to my discipleship and worship.



Charles E. Moore has complied and edited several acclaimed books and Timothy Keiderling is a researcher for the Bearing Witness Stories Project.


I received a copy of this book from the editors and publishers via FlyBy Promotions in exchange for my honest review.

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