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Tag Archives: christian martyrs

Even Osteen Would Have Loved Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna

Smyrna 155 A.D-The night is cold and damp. There’s great anticipation that something is going to happen. It is the Asia minor city of Smyrna. There’s feasting around the corner. The proconsul Statius Quadratus is present, and the asiarch Philip of Tralles is presiding over the games. Eleven Christians have been brought, mostly from Philadelphia, to be put to death. This was the pattern of life in the first century –Anno Dommini.

But There’s More

William Tyndale’s Letter While in Prison


William Tyndale had an unequaled mastery of English phrasing, rhythm and style as an individual translator. He dedicated his life in the service of bringing the Bible to the English-speaking people. Tyndale, the translator of our English Bible in 1524, was arrested by the Roman Catholic authorities and put in prison to await his martyrdom. He was incarcerated to an inhospitable dark and damp small 7 feet by 6 feet prison cell dug under and next to the river with no facilities and the interior  without windows for 16 months which encompassed a full winter. While there he wrote the following letter to the Governor or a Noble man, the Marquis of Bergen :

“Wherefore I beg of your lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here through the winter you will request the commissary to have the kindness to send me from the goods of mine which he has a warmer cap, for I suffer greatly from the cold in the head and am afflicted by a perpetual catarrh, which is much increased in this cell. A warmer coat also, for this which I have is very thin. A piece of cloth, too, to patch my leggings. My overcoat is worn out. My shirts are also worn out. He has a woolen shirt, if he will be good enough to send it. I have with him also leggings of thicker cloth to put on above. He also has warmer night caps. And I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening. It is indeed a wearisome to sit alone in the dark. But most of all I beg and beseech your clemency to be with the commissary that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study. Read More

Tacitus: I saw Emperor Nero Punish Followers of Christus

When did Christian martyrdom really begin? Well, the bible does record the death of Stephen (the first martyr) in the book of Acts. But it was not till the summer of 64 A.D, that Christians would see something unheard of under one man. You see, Rome had suffered a terrible fire that burned for six days and seven nights consuming almost three quarters of the city. The people accused the Emperor Nero for the devastation claiming he set the fire for his own amusement. In order to deflect these accusations and placate the people, the vile emperor laid blame for the fire on ….(wait for it) the Christians!

Tacitus was a young boy living in Rome during the time of the persecutions. This is what he later recorded:

“Therefore, to stop the rumor [that he had set Rome on fire], he [Emperor Nero] falsely charged with guilt, and punished with the most fearful tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were [generally] hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius, but the pernicious superstition – repressed for a time, broke out yet again, not only through Judea, – where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and disgraceful flow from all quarters, as to a common receptacle, and where they are encouraged. Accordingly first those were arrested who confessed they were Christians; next on their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the charge of burning the city, as of “hating the human race.”

In their very deaths they were made the subjects of sport: for they were covered with the hides of wild beasts, and worried to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and when the day waned, burned to serve for the evening lights. Nero offered his own garden players for the spectacle, and exhibited a Circensian game, indiscriminately mingling with the common people in the dress of a charioteer, or else standing in his chariot. For this cause a feeling of compassion arose towards the sufferers, though guilty and deserving of exemplary capital punishment, because they seemed not to be cut off for the public good, but were victims of the ferocity of one man.”

Significant Christian Martyrs in Africa and Asia

Throughout New Testament Christian history there have been children, men and women who have shed their blood to stand for truth and their faith in Christ marked them as “men of whom the world was not worthy”. Some of these people are never remembered and their sacrifices are taken for granted by many. Noll and Nystrom in the book, Clouds of Witnesses: Christian Voices from Africa and Asia describe in fantastic details the lives and significance of a lot of these martyrs:

Southern Africa
1 Bernard Mizeki (c. 1861–1896): The First Anglican African Martyr
2 John Chilembwe (c. 1870–1915): Holistic Christian and Accidental Rebel
3 Albert Luthuli (1898–1967): Gentleman of Justice

West Africa
4 William Wadé Harris (c. 1865 –c. 1929): Passionate Prophet
5 Byang Kato (1936–1975): Theological Visionary

East Africa
6. Simeon Nsibambi (1897–1978): Revival Anchor
7 Janani Luwum (1922–1977): Martyr of “the Second Century”

8 Pandita Ramabai (1858–1922): Christian, Hindu, Reformer
9 V. S. Azariah (1874–1945): Bishop, Statesman, Pastor
10 Sundar Singh (1889–1929?): Mysterious Mystic Read More