What does it cost to follow Jesus? For these men and women, the answer was clear. They were ready to give witness to Christ in the face of intense persecution, even if it cost them their lives. From the stoning of Stephen to Nigerian Christians persecuted by Boko Haram today, these stories from around the world and through the ages will inspire greater faithfulness to the way of Jesus, reminding us what costly discipleship looks like in any age.
Since the birth of Christianity, the church has commemorated those who suffered for their faith in Christ. In the Anabaptist tradition especially, stories of the boldness and steadfastness of early Christian and Reformation-era martyrs have been handed down from one generation to the next through books such as Thieleman van Braght’s Martyrs Mirror (1660). Yet the stories of more recent Christian witnesses are often unknown.
Bearing Witness tells the stories of early Christian martyrs Stephen, Polycarp, Justin, Agathonica, Papylus, Carpus, Perpetua, Tharacus, Probus, Andronicus, and Marcellus, followed by radical reformers Jan Hus, Michael and Margaretha Sattler, Weynken Claes, William Tyndale, Jakob and Katharina Hutter, Anna Janz, Dirk Willems. But the bulk of the book focuses on little-known modern witness including Veronika Löhans, Jacob Hochstetler, Gnadenhütten, Joseph and Michael Hofer, Emanuel Swartzendruber, Regina Rosenberg, Eberhard and Emmy Arnold, Johann Kornelius Martens, Ahn Ei Sook, Jakob Rempel, Clarence Jordan, Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, Tulio Pedraza, Stanimir Katanic, Samuel Kakesa, Kasai Kapata, Meserete Kristos Church, Sarah Corson, Alexander Men, José Chuquín, Norman Tattersall, Katherine Wu, and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria.
This book is part of the Bearing Witness Stories Project, a collaborative story-gathering project involving Anabaptist believers from many different traditions.