Sorrow & Blood

Christian Mission in Contexts of Suffering, Persecution, and Martyrdom
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On behalf of the WEA Mission Commission, William Carey Library is pleased to launch a landmark anthology and resource.

This is a new publication in the Globalization of Mission series, Sorrow & Blood: Christian Mission in Contexts of Suffering, Persecution, and Martyrdom. The editorial team of William Taylor (USA), Tonica van der Meer (Brazil), and Reg Reimer (Canada) worked over four years to compile this unique resource anthology.

This book is the product of the Mission Commission's global missiology task force and a worldwide team of committed colleagues and writers. Some 62 writers from 23 nations have collaborated to generate this unique global resource and anthology. Ajith Fernando of Sri Lanka and Christopher Wright of the UK each wrote prefaces to the book

This latest WEA volume has the potential of profoundly shaping our approach to mission in today’s challenging and increasingly dangerous world.

  • ISBN: 9780878084722
  • Pages: 568
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: William Carey Library


It is with reverence that I touch Sorrow and Blood. The data, reports, witnesses, and biblical reflections open before my eyes allow me and push me to see the faces of people who tell me with their lives that in Jesus Christ they found the meaning of life and of history. The world is not worthy of them (Heb 11:38) nor am I. But in grace they minister to our lives and to our generation, calling us all into a deeper commitment to being agents of God’s Kingdom in the corners of the world in which we live. I feel honored to be ministered by those who tell me, through suffering, that it is good and necessary to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and to live, or even die, for him. It’s an amazing work. Gloria Deo.

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Sorrow and Blood is a powerful and comprehensive global study of persecution and suffering. Every follower of Christ who wants to be informed and inspired should read this book. It should be required reading for pastors, missionaries, activists, or any other Christian who wants to engage biblically in a complex world where millions of fellow believers are under great pressure or persecution for their faith.

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For most of us it is incomprehensible the suffering that our sisters and brothers have endured in many places around the globe for the sake of the Gospel. Sorrow and Blood is the best effort done by evangelical reflective practitioners to provide a comprehensive description and a deep analysis of what Christian suffering and martyrdom mean and what the situation looks like today. This is not just another book produced by the Mission Commission of WEA, but one of the most profound and challenging to read, particularly if you do it with an open mind and a warm heart.

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As I read this book and write these lines, I am aware that right now native evangelical Christians are forced to leave their land and their towns in southern Mexico because of their faith. The question of religious persecution has become all pervasive and urgent, both in the European post-Christendom societies as well as in countries dominated by Islam and other religions. This book is a most valuable compendium and it should become required reading for future missionaries and mission educators. The rich diversity of nationalities, perspectives, and styles represented is a good example of how Christian missiology is becoming truly global.

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The motto of those in China’s house churches responsible for the “Back-to-Jerusalem” vision today is “Sacrifice, abandonment, poverty, suffering, death”! I suppose they must know what they are talking about, given the phenomenal growth of the Chinese church since the 1970s. Although there will always be those whose ingenuity will help them find a way around it, those who are concerned about the advance of the Gospel know that the cross is always central. Sorrow and Blood powerfully makes the same point. Read it if you want to be serious about missions!

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It is not only inside the Christian church but also in civil society and global foreign policy today that the question of religious freedom has made a comeback. What unites church and civil society is the challenge of how to enter a future where relations between religions will be even more tense. Followers of Jesus will now realize more and more that “with the message of the cross goes the cross of the message.” In this situation I thank God for the new book Sorrow and Blood. After reading many books on persecution that deal with parts of the challenge facing the future I find here the best book I have seen as it goes into all the dimensions of the challenge but also gives good practical advice. This is a must for everyone that wants to be relevant in missions work or in religious freedom work in the days ahead.

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The history of our church is one of suffering and martyrdom. While it’s impossible to completely comprehend God’s sovereignty in this, our role is to be ever aware of the growing difficulties of our brothers and sisters worldwide and to do our utmost to understand, assist, and intercede. We should each also be prepared to face both unexpected and expected challenges in our own ministry and life. In this light, Sorrow and Blood paints us a fuller picture of suffering through splendid biblical, theological, historical, missional, and pastoral insights.

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In Sorrow and Blood, a chorus of trusted global voices share the most compelling and comprehensive historical, theological, and missiological overview of ministry in a context of suffering, persecution, and martyrdom ever compiled. This volume will push you to reflect anew on the true cost of discipleship and inspire a fresh commitment to stand in the gap for those living out their faith under the storm clouds of oppression in its various forms.

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At a recent Mani (Movement for African National Initiatives) consultation, a Sudanese brother shared his heart on the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and North African countries. This resulted in an outpouring of prayer as I have seldom experienced. We were informed and it touched us. This most comprehensive book on suffering and persecution will be of immense value to the global church, but especially to the African church. It will create an awareness that is often lacking. May we all be shaken out of our complacency. Every pastor, mission leader, and Bible school student should read this book.

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With a wonderful balance of insight and passion this volume addresses the most neglected mark of the true church: suffering. Readers will not only be enlightened, but also deeply moved and challenged listening to voices from around the globe reflect theologically, report accurately, and testify personally on this topic. Sorrow and Blood is a profound and vital contribution to our understanding of the church and mission.

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The human cost of the Great Commission in hostile environments is something Christians too often overlook. In this important resource book, Taylor, van der Meer, and Reimer provide an encyclopaedic study of suffering, persecution, and martyrdom in global Christian mission. It combines survey, scholarship, and stories to speak to both head and heart about the cost of discipleship for many believers. This is a well-researched call to pray and advocate for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world and to prepare believers to suffer for their faith. Every mission agency, seminary, and church should have a copy.

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This is an essential, impactful, disturbing book: clear and forthright without denying the complexity of the matter. This book is close to my heart because I grew up in the state of Chiapas, southern Mexico, in a context of severe persecution of those who confessed their faith in Jesus Christ and read the Bible for themselves. But we were not alone. The editors are eminently qualified to compile this volume. The authors and case studies provide the reader with breadth of experiential familiarity coupled with depth and sensitivity of understanding. The structure of the book provides the reader with a broad and deep treatment of a very difficult topic, offering theoretical, biblical, historical, and practical reflections. This is essential reading for anyone involved in cross-cultural mission on every continent.

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This volume jolts us out of our complacency by reminding us that one-third of all countries have either no religious freedom or it is severely restricted; it looks at the implications of this reality in terms of experience, Scripture, theology, and history, and it draws us into the implications of what all this means for prayerful action, spiritual warfare, political advocacy, and human caring. Finally, it brings a fresh perspective on what it means to genuinely pursue “the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.”

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This book brings to us a vast research on its proposed theme. One will not only learn about the present suffering situation. But one will also become aware of the need to have one’s mission practices based on the Scripture’s teaching. As the Bible and reality come together, naturally the book emphasizes the need of proper training before sending missionaries. I am sure that the reader will be able to engage in mission aware of its danger, price, and eternal reward.

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Sorrow and Blood is a priceless, comprehensive compilation of material providing practical, biblical, and theological grist for any discussion of Christian suffering. Advocates for religious freedom will be emboldened, missionaries will receive wisdom, and the persecuted will find a tangible support base that allows hope to be both credible and sustained. For all, dove-like innocence will be buttressed by reptilian shrewdness, as pragmatic and best-practiced initiatives are taken on behalf of those who suffer. Quite simply, the “learned obedience” of Gethsemane will provide greater richness to the glorification that comes from Calvary’s pain.

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Sorrow and Blood shows that we cannot properly conceive of mission apart from suffering and persecution, and its sixty authors consider every dimension of their relation. In no other book can we find such careful biblical and theological discussion combined with history, a range of case studies, and nuanced discussions of countries and trends in the modern world. To this it adds information and advice on training and preparation, and guides to a range of resources. Anyone involved in mission, or studying mission, will profit immensely from this excellent book.

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I recently stood in Cairo at the spot where just days earlier sixteen Egyptians had lost their lives— because they were Christians. Indeed, as this book vividly describes, Christians are being brutalized and killed the world around because of their confession of faith in Christ. Sorrow and Blood, with rich insights provided by a breadth of writers, is a milestone of analysis. My hope is that it will do more than sober a few mission specialists, but that these pages will find their way into messages, articles, film, and video media, expanding an ever-growing awareness of heroic, Christ-like suffering, and also about what can be done to effectively advocate for persecuted people of faith.

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Sorrow and Blood hit me in a powerful way before this book went to press. My friend, Artur Suleimanov was gunned down because of his bold witness for Christ. When I picked up this book I thought of Artur. I know he would be thankful for the wonderful research found in its pages. He would praise God for such solid biblical theology regarding suffering. He would rejoice that global mission will never be the same as a result of this work and its application to our teaching, preparation, and prayers.

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What a resource! I knew this book would be packed with information, but I did not anticipate how much it would provoke and challenge me in my own life as a disciple. If suffering and sorrow drive us to desperation, where Jesus transforms, then we have much to learn from the persecuted church about Christian devotion. This anthology serves not only as an outstanding theological, historical, and missiological resource, but also as a prophetic witness to consumer Christianity. It’s a bracing reminder that there is only one way to Christ, the way of the cross.

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As Latins in mission to the Muslim world, we receive this book with enthusiasm and gratitude. Reading it has been a consolation and personal encouragement because of the various perspectives of this challenging reality, whether theological, historical, pastoral, or through case studies. I have the impression that this text will become required reading for all of us who aspire to continue serving and honoring the Lord of the Harvest on mission. Our prayer is that this book will contribute to a better church and mission preparation as we face these disturbing challenges, and also as we cultivate the same attitude and spirit of Jesus.

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Sorrow and Blood takes an unflinching look at the cost of Christian mission in a violent and hostile world. Contributors from around the world tell the awe-inspiring story of missionaries and local believers who have followed their Savior in faithful and sacrificial witness. Theologians help us reflect on the redemptive impact of their suffering for the faith. Advocates advise on how to help without making matters worse. Digesting this epic work will require uncommon fortitude, effort that will be richly rewarded. May God use this volume to rouse his church to take the baton from those who have so valiantly gone before us.

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Table of Contents

-William D. Taylor

-Christopher J. H. Wright
-Ajith Fernando

PART ONE: Building the Foundation

-William D. Taylor, Antonia van der Meer, Reg Reimer

Chapter 1: A Global Survey
-Christof Sauer and Thomas Schirrmacher

Chapter 2: Reflections on Mission in the Context of Suffering
-Beram Kumar

Chapter 3: Christian Responses to Suffering, Persecution, and Martyrdom
-Reg Reimer

Chapter 4: The Demographics of Martyrdom
-Todd M. Johnson

Chapter 5: A Response to the High Counts of Christian Martyrs Per Year
-Thomas Schirrmacher

Chapter 6: Redefining Persecution
-Charles L. Tieszen

Chapter 7: Persecution, Martyrdom, and Mission
-David Tai-Woong Lee

PART TWO: Reflections from Scripture and Theology

Chapter 8: Deliver Us from Evil
-Rose Dowsett

Chapter 9: From Genesis to Revelation
-Wolfgang Haede

Chapter 10: A Biblical Theology of Persecution and Discipleship
-Glenn Penner

Chapter 11: The Prosperity Gospel
-Grant LeMarquand

Chapter 12: Reflections on the Prosperity Gospel
-Femi B. Adeleye

Chapter 13: In the Context of World Evangelism
-Marvin Newell

Chapter 14: The Teaching of Jesus on Suffering in Mission
-Antonia Leonora van der Meer

Chapter 15: Biblical Teaching on Suffering and Perseverance in Paul and Peter
-Margaretha N. Adiwardana

Chapter 16: The Problem of Evil and Suffering
-Isaiah M. Dau

Chapter 17: God’s Plan of Perseverance and Suffering in the Book of Revelation
-Margaretha N. Adiwardana

PART THREE: Reflections from History and Case Studies

Chapter 18: Picturing the Persecuted Church in the Art of the Early Christian Catacombs
-Kelley Magill

Chapter 19: From Asia Minor to Contemporary Turkey
-Carlos Madrigal

Chapter 20: How Saintly Should Biographies Be?
-Miriam Adeney

Chapter 21: An Inductive Approach to Understanding Persecution in the Middle East
-Andrew Edward

Chapter 22: Suffering and Persecution in the Middle East
-A Pastor from Egypt

Chapter 23: The First Christian Martyrs of Japan
-How Chuang Chua

Chapter 24: Tsarist Russia and the Soviet and Post-Soviet Union
-Mark R. Elliott

Chapter 25: Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union
-Johannes Reimer

Chapter 26: Post-Communist Perestroika Russia
-Eugene Bakhmutsky

Chapter 27: The Modern Secular West
-Janet Epp Buckingham

Chapter 28: Angola
-Antonia van der Meer

Chapter 29: Brazilian Missionaries
-Antonia van der Meer

Chapter 30: Training Our Missionaries to Die
-Reuben Ezemadu

Chapter 31: The Rwandan Martyrs of Ethnic Ideology
-Antoine Rutayisire

Chapter 32: The Rwanda Martyrs
-Célestin Musekura

Chapter 33: God and Red Caesar
-Xiqiu “Bob” Fu

Chapter 34: China
-G. Wright Doyle

Chapter 35: Sri Lanka
-Godfrey Yogarajah and Roshini Wickremesinhe

Chapter 36: India
-Richard Howell

Chapter 37: Graham Staines (1941–1999)
-Abhijit Nayak

Chapter 38: Vietnam
-Reg Reimer

Chapter 39: Surviving Evin Prison
Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh,
-Interview by Sam Yeghnazar

Chapter 40: The Korean Hostage Incident
-David Tai Woong Lee and Steve Sang-Cheol Moon

Chapter 41: The Refugee Highway Partnership
-Heidi Schoedel

Chapter 42: Suffering in Mission Among the Poor in India
-Iris Paul

PART FOUR: Preparation, Support, and Restoration

Chapter 43: A Pastoral Theology of Suffering in Mission
-Antonia van der Meer

Chapter 44: Global Dialogue Summary
-Pastors, Mission Pastors, Agency and Network Leaders

Chapter 45: Missionary Training
-Rob Brynjolfson

Chapter 46: Preparing Church and Mission Agencies
-Stephen Panya Baba

Chapter 47: Preparing the Local Church and Our Missionaries
-Paul Estabrooks

Chapter 48: Preparing the Local Church and Our Missionaries
-Paulo Moreira Filho with Marcos Amado

Chapter 49: Preparing a Mission Agency
-S. Kent Parks

Chapter 50: Missionary Families
-Laura Mae Gardner

Chapter 51: A Story of Missionary Martyrs’ Children
-Dave Thompson

Chapter 52: Code of Best Practices
-Voice of the Martyrs Canada

Chapter 53: Best Practices for Foreign Teams Visiting the Persecuted Church
-National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka

Chapter 54: Guidelines for Crisis Management and Prevention
-Global Connections, in association with the Global Mission Network

Chapter 55: Policy Recommendations
-Crisis Consulting International

Chapter 56: Best Practices for Ministry To and With the Persecuted Church
-The Religious Liberty Partnership

Chapter 57: What Do We Learn from the Persecuted?
-Ronald R. Boyd-MacMillan

Chapter 58: Human Rights and Persecution
-Thomas Schirrmacher and Thomas K. Johnson

Chapter 59: Advocating for the Persecuted
-Reg Reimer

Chapter 60: Reflections on Theology, Strategy, and Engagement
-Chris Seiple

Chapter 61: Jesus Christ’s Comfort and Healing for Traumatic Wounds
-Kyle Miller

Chapter 62: Counseling Victims of Human Induced Trauma
-Patricia Miersma

Chapter 63: A Review of “Healing the Wounds of Trauma”
-Patricia Miersma

Chapter 64: The Place and Function of Academics
-Christof Sauer and Thomas Schirrmacher

Chapter 65: The Place and Function of Research
-Steve Sang-Cheol Moon

PART FIVE: Final Themes

Chapter 66: Prayer without Ceasing
-Mindy Belz

Chapter 67: A Call
-Faith J. H. McDonnell

Chapter 68: A Service of Thoughtful Prayer for the Persecuted Church
-Yvonne Christine DeAcutis Taylor

Chapter 69: Approaching the Final Door of Our Journey
-William D. Taylor, Antonia van der Meer, Reg Reimer

PART SIX: Resources

Appendix A: The Bad Urach Call

Appendix B: Select Annotated Bibliography
-Samuel and Roberta Chiang and Brian F. O’Connell

Appendix C: Persecution Information on the Web
-A. Scott Moreau and Mike O’Rear

Appendix D: Partnering Platforms Serving the Persecuted
-Brian F. O’Connell

Appendix E: Member Care Resources
-Harry Hoffmann and Pramila Rajendran

Appendix F: Globalization of Mission Series
World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission Publications

Appendix G: Index

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