"The history of Christian martyrdom is, in fact, the history of Christianity itself."
—William Bramley-Moore, introduction to Foxe's Book of Martyrs.
The New Encyclopedia of Christian Martyrs includes thousands of stories of faithful Christians who gladly gave their lives for the Lord and Master--from Stephen, the first Christian martyr, to those martyred in our day.
- Accounts of over 200,000 martyrs
- Drawn from over 50 countries
- From Biblical Times through Today
The New Encyclopedia of Christian Martyrs testifies to the faith of Christian martyrs over the past 2,000 years. In this volume, readers find accounts--sometimes horrific, always disturbing, often inspiring--of many who died for their faith. Stories are arranged in chronological sections: Bible times, the Roman Empire, the fifth through the fifteenth centuries, the Reformation era, and the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries.
Special feature pages throughout the book explain Christian teaching on martyrdom and persecution, prayers and famous quotations of the martyrs, famous quotations about martyrdom and persecution, and historical details.
The electronic version of this book will be especially useful for instantly locating biographical information about historical and contemporary figures who died for their faith. Browse using the hyperlinked table of contents or search for a name and you will be able to instantly open to valuable information!
Pastors, teachers, Bible study leaders, librarians, and any Christian who desires to learn about the persecuted Church will find a wealth of information in this volume.
Persecution and martyrdom of Christians dates back as far as the stoning of Stephen in the Book of Acts, and continues today. Researchers estimate nearly two thirds of Christian martyrs died in the twentieth century! This companion volume to The New Encyclopedia of Christian Quotations offers a comprehensive history of Christian martyrs from New Testament through modern times.
The word martyr comes from the Greek word for witness. During the history of the Christian church, martyr came to mean "blood-witness." Persecution of Christians is more widespread in this century than it was in the time of the Roman Empire...more than an estimated 160,000 believers were martyred in 1996 alone. Hebrews 12:1 includes martyrs in the "great cloud of witnesses" and encourages Christians to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
Stories are arranged chronologically. Historical features are interspersed throughout, describing related subjects such as tortures of first-century Christians, and providing added insight into the reasons for persecution. While we may know, for example, that the early Christian were martyred for "not sacrificing to the gods" we may have little idea about what "sacrificing to the gods" entailed. The historical feature "Sacrificing to the gods" enlightens the reader on this topic.
Horrific physical and mental tortures were often the prelude and means of Christian martyrdoms. The Encyclopedia does not dwell on these tortures, but neither does it ignore them. For example, we may read that a Christian martyr was "tortured with a currycomb on the hobby-horse" but without some explanation we would have little idea what actually happened. Eight historical features detail the tortures Christian martyrs were subjected to in the early centuries, which were often used in succeeding centuries as well. For this reason the book is upsetting as well as challenging and inspiring.
Other special features include Christian teaching and statements on martyrdom and persecution, as well as prayers, diaries, and famous quotations of martyrs.
In most cases the descriptions of martyrdoms in this book come from eye-witness accounts or from compilations of written records concerning the martyr's death. Sometimes this will be Foxe's Book of Martyrs, at other times the Passions, or Eusehius (who wrote On the Martyrs of Palestine as well as entries in his Ecclesiastical History), or one of the other reliable accounts of Christian martyrdoms found in Christian writings of recognized credibility, such as Prudentius, Chrysostom, Basil, and Augustine. In the case of martyrdom in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, details have been drawn from the records of international missionary societies, and such reliable sources as the Keston Institute, Unevangelized Fields Mission (UFM), Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF), Worldwide Evangelization Crusade (WEC), Wycliffe Bible Translators, and Africa Evangelical Fellowship.
Pastors, teachers, and others interested in the history of the persecuted church will find this book a valuable source of historical information. More importantly, readers will be encouraged to hold fast to the convictions that inspired unwavering strength, even in the face of death.