By Their Blood: Christian Martyrs Of The Twentieth Century by James C. Hefley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
More Christians have been martyred in our century than during all the other eras of Church history combined.
Hundreds of their stories are told in By Their Blood, a continuation of the classic Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Some of the stories are well known: John and Betty Stam were beheaded by an anti-foreign mob; Jim Elliot and four others were slain by Auca Indians in Ecuador.
Most of the accounts are less known but equally dramatic and soul-stirring. From missionaries terrorized by the Chinese Boxers to believers tortured behind the Iron Curtain, here is a montageof those who have given their lives for the cause of Christ in the twentieth century.
As I write this review, I haven’t yet finished reading By Their Blood. However, having read about two-thirds of it, I think I have a fairly developed opinion of the book. In the name of posting my monthly review, I’m going to go ahead and write it now. If my feelings about the book change (and if I remember), I’ll try to update my words accordingly.
I vote 3/5 stars for the second edition of By their Blood, written by James C. and Marti Hefley. According to Goodreads, this means I “liked it.” The book’s subtitle reads “Christian Martyrs of the Twentieth Century.” It compiles hundreds of accounts by first sorting them according to the region of the world (and country within that region) and then telling the accounts from each country in roughly chronological order.
“Consumed with longing”
That’s such rich language. Can you think of any way to improve upon it to make it more deep-reaching?
The psalms can be like that.
My soul is consumed with longing
for your [God’s] laws at all times.
When I read a verse like that, I tend to have one of two reactions. Either it rings true and my heart says, “yes! Amen!” Or else I gloss over it. I barely notice the heartfelt vocabulary or I might even think it cheesy and self-righteous.
My mind is swimming with ideas for posts that dabble in character development. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea to read about this stuff, but some of you might be curious to learn more about the characters that make up my books.
I was preparing to dive headlong into a Myers-Briggs analysis of Louise Stella (all in good time) when I thought that perhaps I should back up. Let me start by introducing her on a superficial level. Just imagine the three of us – you, her and I – found ourselves together at a Christmas event. I, being the middle link, would have the responsibility of introducing the two of you. This is what I would say about Louise, the protagonist of my novella Isolated.
As I type these words, I’ve recently finished reading another chapter of By Their Blood by James C. and Marti Hefley. This tome contains hundreds of accounts of martyrs throughout the twentieth century.
(I intend to write more about this book when I review it properly, Lord willing before the end of April.)
I began the 600+ page journey with a false assumption. I was caught by surprise to learn that the authors told the stories of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox martyrs in the same way as they wrote about Evangelical Believers of the Gospel.
My younger brother is probably my favorite person to read to from my unpublished manuscripts.
Yesterday, I read him the opening pages of the sequel to Isolated. He shared my excitement about my work in progress and – after having listened – could relate back to me even the minute details.
There is a story ever new,
I’ll tell it o’er and o’er,
How Jesus gave His life for me;
I want to love Him more.
-F.L. Snyder, There is a Story Ever New
Yesterday was Good Friday. Tomorrow will be Easter Sunday.
We are celebrating the sacrifice of Jesus – something that, if you’ve grown up in the Church, you will have heard of many times. I’m praying that the Lord will give me – and you, dear reader – grace to rejoice in the wonder of the Salvation Story with fresh awe.
After two weeks of silence, I’m back.
I never know if I should apologize or not. On the one hand, it seems appropriate since I haven’t been true to my regular writing habits but on the other hand, I don’t like to assume that people miss it when I skip a week of blogging.
In any case, I console myself with the truth that the Lord is always faithful and dependence placed on Him is never dependence misplaced.
Two weeks ago, I shared some thoughts on the fear of the Lord. I had to smile when I read Emily’s poetry about another kind of fear – the type which is driven out by the truth and knowledge of God. It’s not that I’m trying to agree with everyone to win their favor; I just genuinely affirm her message while maintaining the stance I took a couple of weeks ago. So I thought I’d share a bit more of my thought process and invite you to share yours.
As a pre-teen and young teen, I frowned upon the idea of sharing the gospel with fear as a driving motivator for conversion. I heard of instances in which people had been driven to pray the sinner’s prayer by their fear of hell. That approach to sharing the gospel sat wrong with me, and I judged the people who used any such method of sharing the Good News.
A few years later, I find myself considering again the relationship between fear and the gospel. Where once I was quick to judge, I now wonder what truth there is to it.
The fear of the Lord is a good thing. In this post, I shared my heart on that, including some scriptures that speak on the matter.
Can we pause to consider the meaning of “unreached”?
When it comes to the global population, we can look at people in terms of two categories: those reached with the gospel, and those not.
Let’s just face the fact that there are people around the world who have never even heard of Jesus. We’re not talking about people who have heard of Him and rejected Him, but about people who have zero access to a Bible or to a born-again believer who might tell them about Him.