Last week was an exciting one for the Bearing Witness Stories Project, as we celebrated the release of a new book!
Over the course of the past year, the Bearing Witness Stories Project and Plough Publishing have worked together to produce a collection of stories of costly discipleship that illustrate Christ-like nonviolence in a diverse array of lives.
Some narratives feature well-known martyrs of the early church, whose stories are claimed and revered by Christians across all traditions. Yet others come from the Radical Reformation, including stories that have been foundational for Mennonites, Hutterites, and other Anabaptist groups.
One of the unique contributions of this collection, however, is that over half the book is dedicated to the stories of individuals and church communities from the 1700s to the present, going well beyond the early church and the Martyrs Mirror. Although many of these stories may be lesser known on a global scale, they are no less challenging.
There is the story of the Moravian mission on colonial St. Thomas in the Caribbean, where African slaves and white German missionaries worshiped and suffered together as a church community, despite opposition from the island’s slaveowners and officials. Or the story of Ahn Ei Sook, who was imprisoned for refusing to participate in Japanese-mandated Shinto worship during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Or the still-unfolding story of the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, a Nigerian church conference that has lost more than 10,000 members in attacks from radicalized Islamic group Boko Haram.
Together these stories create a powerful sense of a great cloud of witnesses, illuminating the way of Jesus for those of us who read them and spurring us to deeper faithfulness in our own contexts. We pray that they serve as confessions of faith and as connecting points with others across the global church.
Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship can be purchased directly from Plough Publishing or from other major online booksellers. Visit Plough’s website for a complete table of contents and a free preview of the book.