The Bible says, “And cast him (Stephen) out of the city, and stone him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7: 58-60).
June 29, 2019, is the day designated as The Day of the Christian Martyr by The Voice of the Martyr magazine. “According to church tradition, June 29 is the date on which the Apostle Paul was beheaded on the Appian Way in Rome. In 2019, Christians around the world will gather on this day to honor the legacy of those who, like Paul, have sacrificed their lives for the advancement of the gospel.”
“A Christian martyr is one who chooses death rather than renounce Christ or His finished work, who endures great suffering for the sake of Christ, or who makes great sacrifices for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ.” Christian martyrs are those that loved Christ more than life itself and were willing to suffer for His name.
Martyrs are made during the times of great persecution when the Christian is harassed, injured, afflicted, tortured, and put to death by the ungodly pagans because they will not participate in their ungodly religious practices (Heb. 11:36-38). Persecution may come from civilized pagans as well as from uncivilized pagans.
A martyrology is a historical record of the persecution, trials, tortures, witness, and death of Christian martyrs. The book, Fox’s book of Martyrs, was written by John Fox (1516-1587) and is a martyrology that records the martyrdom of the apostles in the first century to the christians in 1572. An enlargement of the book has been made to record the martyrdom of Christians up to 1997. Since 1997, many Christians have been martyred, and many more will be (Rev.13: 15, 17: 5, 6).
Every Christian should read Fox’s Book of Martyrs. There was a time when a home was not considered a christian home unless it had a copy of the Bible, Fox’s Book of Martyrs, and Pilgrims Progress in it.
We honor the christian martyr because like the Apostle Paul, many suffered great hardships and even death to carry the gospel to all the world and to preserve the word of God (KJV) so we could have it today.
James H. Cagle is a resident of Ray City.