Archive for the ‘Christian martyrs’ Category

Let Christians make their choice: sin or suffer

December 8, 2009

These times are like to be either very sinning or suffering times ; let Christians make their choice…sin or suffer ; and surely he that will choose the better part will choose to suffer.

The Earl of Argyll before being hanged for his faith in May 1661, quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.199

Surely there’s a comfortable way our flesh prefers?

The Martyrdom of William Seward

November 26, 2009

(William Seward was an early methodist) Seward also tried to preach, but Charles Wesley was not convinced of ‘his call to preach’ (Journal, Sept.23, 1740). But Seward went with Howell Harris on his open-air work in Wales, standing with him as he addressed the unruly mobs, and of a meeting at Caerlon (Sept.9, 1740)

 Seward wrote:

 We had been singing and praying and discoursing for half an hour, when the mob began to be outrageous, and to pelt us…The Lord gave us courage to withstand it for and hour and a half – sometimes singing the hymn in a tumult. The noise often drowned our voices, till at length I was struck with a stone upon my right eye, which caused me so much anguish that I was forced to go away to the Inn. It was given me to pray all the way for the poor people, and especially for the person who struck me.

Bro. Harris continued to discourse for some time afterward…I got my eye dressed and went to bed as soon as possible.

 (The next day they had all manner of things thrown at them and Seward received a stone on his side as well as being hit by something under his right eye again)

 In October in Hay he was struck by a heavy stone from close distance and carried from the scene unconscious. He eventually died Oct. 22 1740 and was buried at nearby Cusop.

 George Whitefield vol. 1 Dallimore pp. 583-4

The Taiyuan Massacre was the mass killing of foreign Christian missionaries and of local church members, including children, from July 1900, and was one of the bloodier and more infamous parts of the Boxer Rebellion

November 17, 2009

The Taiyuan Massacre was the mass killing of foreign Christian missionaries and of local church members, including children, from July 1900, and was one of the bloodier and more infamous parts of the Boxer Rebellion. 222 Chinese Eastern Orthodox Christians were also murdered, along with 182 Protestant missionaries and 500 Chinese Protestants known as the China Martyrs of 1900. 48 Catholic missionaries and 18,000 Chinese Catholics were murdered.


Nowhere does Jesus teach that it is right for his own disciples to offer violence to anyone

October 3, 2009

Nowhere does (Jesus) teach that it is right for his own disciples to offer violence to anyone… If Christians had owed their origins to rebellion, they would not have adopted laws of so exceedingly mild a character. [These laws] do not even allow them on any occasion to resist their persecutors, even when they are called to be slaughtered as sheep.

Origen  Against Celsus, book 3, chap.7, 3rd Century.

NB This does not preclude the posibility of Christians in military service etc. The Church is disarmed and the Kingdom of God advances without carnal weapons. However, the Kingdom of Man has also been established by God. The State has been armed by God, as it were.

Missionaries and Empire

September 10, 2009

In 1957, Nkrumah gave public honor at the Ghana assembly of the International Missionary Council to ―the great work of missionaries in West Africa, particularly those who had died ―for the enlightenment and welfare of this land…the need for devoted service such as they gave is as great as ever . At the same time, Nkrumah and other nationalist political leaders were vocally critical of missionary paternalism reflected in the continued presence of white Christian authority where national churches were already established.

See Brian Stanley, The Bible and the Flag, p.16 source

Polycarp’s Martyrdom

September 9, 2009

The Roman proconsul stood by the prisoner and  asked him, if he were Polycarp. When he assented, the former counseled him to deny Christ, saying, ‘Consider thyself, and have pity on thy own great age;’ and many other such-like speeches which they are wont to make.

The proconsul then urged him, saying, ‘Swear and I will release thee; – reproach Christ.’

Polycarp answered, ‘Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King, Who hath saved me?’

The proconsul again urged him, ‘Swear by the fortune of Caesar.’
Polycarp replied, ‘Since you still vainly strive to make me swear by the fortune of Caesar, as you express it, affecting ignorance of my real character, hear me frankly declaring what I am — I am a Christian – and if you desire to learn the Christian doctrine, assign me a day, and you shall hear.’

Hereupon the proconsul said, ‘I have wild beasts; and I will expose you to them, unless you repent.’

‘Call for them,’ replied Poplycarp.

‘I will tame thee with fire,’ said the proconsul, ‘since you despise the wild beasts, unless you repent.’

Then said Polycarp, ‘You threaten me with fire, which burns for an hour, and is soon extinguished; but the fire of the future judgment, and of eternal punishment reserved for the ungodly, you are ignorant of. But why do you delay? Do whatever you please.’

The proconsul sent the herald to proclaim thrice in the middle of the Stadium, ‘Polycarp hath professed himself a Christian.’ Which words were no sooner spoken, but the whole multitude, both of Gentiles and Jews, dwelling at Smyrna, with outrageous fury shouted aloud, ‘This is the doctor of Asia, the father of the Christians, and the subverter of our gods, who hath taught many not to sacrifice nor adore.’ They now called on Philip the asiarch, to let loose a lion against Polycarp. But he refused, alleging that he had closed his exhibition. They then unanimously shouted, that he should be burnt alive. For his vision must needs be accomplished – the vision which he had when he was praying, and saw his pillow burnt. The people immediately gathered wood and other dry matter from the workshops and baths.

When they would have fastened him to the stake, he said, ‘Leave me as I am; for he who giveth me strength to sustain the fire, will enable me also, without your securing me with nails, to remain without flinching in the pile.’ Upon which they bound him without nailing him. So he said thus: – ‘O Father, I bless thee that thou hast counted me worthy to receive my portion among the martyrs.’

As soon as he had uttered the word ‘Amen,’ the officers lighted the fire. The flame, forming the appearance of an arch, as the sail of a vessel filled with wind, surrounded, as with a wall, the body of the martyr; which was in the midst, not as burning flesh, but as gold and silver refining in the furnace. We received also in our nostrils such a fragrance as proceeds from frankincense or some other precious perfume. At length the wicked people, observing that his body could not be consumed with fire, ordered the confecter to approach, and to plunge his sword into his body. Upon this such a quantity of blood gushed out, that the fire was extinguished.


Latimer’s last words to Ridley

September 9, 2009

Then they brought a faggot, kindled with fire, and laid it down at Dr. Ridley’s feet. Master Latimer spake to him in this manner: ‘Be of good comfort, master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.’ And so the fire being given unto them, when Dr. Ridley saw the fire flaming up towards him, he cried, several times, with a wonderful loud voice, ‘Into thy hands, Lord, I commend my spirit. Lord, receive my spirit.’

John Foxe

English Protestant preacher, Bishop of Worcester, Hugh Latimer, burned with Ridley, October 16, 1555 at Oxford.

Martyrdom of a Lollard

September 9, 2009

William Sawtry, a priest at St Margaret’s King’s Lynn, said: “Instead of adoring the cross on which Christ suffered, I adore Christ who suffered on it.” He preached against images and pilgrimages and rejected transubstantiation. In 1399 he was arrested and then recanted. But he went back on this until rearrest and interrogation in 1401 by Bishop Arundel. He stood firm on Scripture. His vestments and clerical clothes were torn off, hi head shaved to remove the tonsure and a layman’s cap placeed on his head. He was burned at the stake at Smithfield.

Douglas C.Wood, Evangelical Doctor, EP, 1984, pp.125-6

Grace in Action

August 25, 2009

Dirk Willems was an Anabaptist. This was dangerous in 1569, especially in the little town of Asperen, Holland. Many of his friends there had given their lives for their faith. Dirk himself was imprisoned in a castle for the same reason.

The castle was gated and surrounded by a moat. As winter set in, however, the moat froze over. Dirk tied some rags into a rope, slid out the window, and dropped onto the ice. Quickly he crossed the moat and raced across a meadow.

Not quickly enough. A guard saw him fleeing and went after him.

As they raced across the dutch landscape, Dirk cut across a dangerous section of ice. Though he made it across, his pursuer did not. He crashed through the ice, crying out for help.

Dirk was faced with a difficult choice. Helping his pursuer could result in torture and death. Many of his fellow Anabaptists had ended their lives in just that sort of glorious martyrdom for Christ.

Dirk proved himself a disciple. “For me to live is Christ; and to die is gain.” He rescued his pursuer, pulling him from the frigid waters.

The obvious question is: did the guard let him go?

The story is that the guard was willing, but the Roman Catholic burgermeister (mayor) told the guard to mind his oath, and Dirk was returned to the castle. This time they were more careful, and soon after Dirk was sent to his heavenly reward by the fires of his persecutors.