Martyrdom ; Christian vs. Muslim

31 01 2011

I have written a number of historical posts on the martyrdom of believers simply for the sake of their belief. I have not even mentioned the present day martyrs and more recent martyrs.

There was an incredible Pastor who started off as an Atheist born in 1907 in a Bulgarian village called Haralan Popov. In his book, “Tortured for his faith” he tells the story how he was tortured ostensibly as an American spy but mostly because of his faith. He eventually went on to establish the “Door of Hope” ministry and died in 1988 in California. He was not killed which would make him a martyr for his faith, but his experiences would have killed any normal person but for the intervention of God.

We still get a number of requests for prayer from various areas for believers who are being threatened or have been put to death simply for what they believe in.

What I have noticed however when talking about martyrdom is it is dependant on your audience how it is taken up. When talking to a Christian based group it is always without violence or retribution and a coming together in spirit to pray for those affected or family of the martyred.

When speaking to a muslim based group it is with a sense of revenge and duty. To chose to be killed by someone and actively cause the killing to take place or to take your own life in the name of martyrdom for faith is the accepted norms. With Muslims it is mostly about “duty” with a strong political sense although it is ostensibly about religion.

That is the intrinsic difference. One offers life because of circumstances out of their control driven by love for man while the other takes lives (including their own) driven by the beliefs they hold of politics with the veneer of religion .  

I have recently been to a wedding, which was held in a VERY old world traditional way and was hurtful to some of my lady friends. All the woman had to wear hats and only the men stood to pray while the sermon lasted over 90 minutes and had very little to do with the joy of matrimony, but had a lot to say on the functions of a woman in serving her husband. It was all very scriptural (although very out of context in my opinion) and on the face of it seemed acceptable if you were of that mindset. It set me thinking once more! Our belief system is strongly driven from our birth by the environment we are in (although there are many examples of those breaking free from the environment like Haralan Popov). This environment linked with our personality could cause us to strongly believe and act upon that belief to the extent where with minimal training we are willing to sacrifice our lives. Actually that is not the problem. The problem is that we are willing to offer OUR lives by taking OTHERS lives which is beyond me.  

The Quran speaks of honoring creation as that of God, but the practice seems very far removed from the writings.  We have the same phenomenon in Christian society where we speak of love one another as ourselves and to support those less fortunate and especially Widows and orphans but you know what…I have been involved in Christian ministry for many years and very seldom see these practices taking place. Oh yes, I have seen and even had the great fortune of being involved in some great programs. Inevitably they are of a specific time program and is not the “soul” of the church. It is a function that is undertaken.

I want to suggest that we move to a new martyrdom. A martyrdom of self and of living rather than dying! Where we serve others even at a cost to ourselves be it financial, emotional or physical. I encourage the church to stand up and say we want to live what we claim to believe irrespective of the cost.

Now that you have read through this I hope you get the real message. The message is that martyrdom is valued, if for the right purposes and that is upliftment and not for manipulation, threat or enforcement of your belief. To die to self is the most noble you can do and to be willing to offer your life driven by love is spoken of in the bible and a special reward awaits those who have given their lives for the sake of Jesus. Please note that it is not based in violence or retribution of any sort but the martyrs spoken of here are those who will not forsake the name of Jesus.

Dear friend, look at life and look at yours specifically and ask yourself if it ends now what are the consequences. To those I know. To those who depend on me and for how long will that last? To me in eternity? What value do I have for this?

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One response

20 03 2011
REV JAVED YOUNUS

DEAR SIR, RANDY CATLETT AND FAMILY GREETINGS FROM PAKISTAN IN THE WONDERFUL NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST,
SIR, YOUR AND NOW OUR FRIEND JEFFREY ZUMWALT GAVE ME YOUR CONTCAT SO HERE I AM IN YOUR SERVICE BY THE GRACE OF OUR GOD
REV. JAVED YOUNS

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