Reflections on Martyrdom
Dr. William Weinrich has written an outstanding article on martyrdom (linked here - Christian Martyrdom: Some Reflections) and it is well worth your time to read and contemplate. As we live in an increasingly hostile world it is good for us to reflect on what it means to be a martyr.
Here is a preview:
Christians have faced hostility and rejection at some time and in some place ever since the foundation of the Church. Yet special factors, new to our experience, may be mentioned which make the theme of persecution and martyrdom understandable and pastorally necessary at the present time. A recent report of the Vatican on the persecution of Christians throughout the world makes mention of two of these special factors. In part, the report states the following: “Credible research has reached the shocking conclusion that an estimate of more than 100,000 Christians are violently killed because of some relation to their faith every year. Other Christians and other believers are subjected to forced displacement, to the destruction of their places of worship, to rape and to the abduction of their leaders … In addition, in some Western countries where historically the Christian presence has been an integral part of society, a trend emerges that tends to marginalize Christianity in public life, to ignore historic and social contributions and even to restrict the ability of faith communities to carry out social charitable services.”
Groups such as Persecution.org concur with such findings: According to this group, some “two hundred million Christians currently live under persecution.” And the number is rising. Concerning active persecution of Christians, Persecution.org mentions especially places like Africa and the Middle East. In Egypt, the ancient and traditional Coptic Christians face increasing hostility, and according to one observer “what has happened in Iraq and Syria is de facto ethnic cleansing of Christians” (Neil Hicks of Human Rights First).
There are two major threats in the world to Lutheran churches: the rise of an expansionist, jihadist Islam, which is unwilling to give place to Christian communities, and the increasing dominance of Western secular egalitarianism, which claims that traditional Christian thinking and habit are intolerant and discriminatory, and so secularists also are unwilling to tolerate Christian influence in the public square. Those of us who live in Western Europe or in the United States are well aware of the social and even legal forces which intend to define Christian faith as a mere private opinion and rob it of any legitimate public or social role. This is, to be sure, a new phenomenon, and our people are largely ill-prepared for this emerging challenge.
We need to speak clearly and stand up for our daughters. On December 3rd the Secretary of Defense opened up all combat positions to women. Yesterday there was already a report about military leaders saying that women should be required to register for the draft. This is an important issue for us as Christians to think through -- especially as it regards the order of creation and the roles of men and women.
Please take a moment to read this overture that has been prepared for the 2016 Synod Convention:
Overture to Condemn the Conscription of Women
There is a fantastic website that you may not be aware of -- The Hausvater Project.
Hausvater is German for housefather and Spiritually responsible head of household, including the housefather as assisted by the housemother. For example: "As the Hausvater should teach it [Christian doctrine] to the entire family ..." (Martin Luther, Small Catechism, 1529)
This is their Mission Statement: The Hausvater Project seeks to equip Christian men and women for distinctive and complementary vocations in family, church, and society, by fostering research and education in light of Holy Scripture as proclaimed by the Lutheran Confessions.
To give you an idea about how beneficial this site is, please check out these two new articles:
Parenting: Putting the Brakes on Fighting a review by Jonathan Conner
A Soft Answer Breaks the Crazy Cycle by Dr. Ryan MacPherson
There is a lot on that site that will be a great blessing to you and your family. Enjoy!
A place for Pastor Packer to post articles, links, and his own thoughts.