the weblog of Alan Knox

Modern All Saints Day

Posted by on Nov 1, 2007 in church history, discipleship | 7 comments

All Saints Day is the day when Christians have traditionally remembered those who have died because of their faith in Jesus Christ, that is, martyrs. While the eve of All Saints Day (Halloween – from “hallow” meaning “saint” and “e’en” meaning evening) has become more prevalent in some circles, this has not always been the case.

From my research, it seems that remembering martyrs began as far back as the third century, sometime around 270 AD. However, we do not know when this remembrance took place. For some, the day to remember martyred believers falls on the Sunday after Pentecost. For the Western church, this day of remembrance falls on November 1.

In honor of All Saints Day, I want to share this story with you. This is an excerpt from one of Becky Lynn Black’s reports about their trips to Ethiopia. The topic is Muslim converts to Christianity in Ethiopia:

The converts know the price of obedience to Christ; it may cost them everything! A young Christian man in the southern region rode the public bus from his town to a new church congregation in another area. Upon his return home, the bus was stopped by Muslims. Everyone was taken off the bus, and before they were allowed back on the bus they were required to recite the Islam statement of faith, “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” Everyone on the bus said the statement except this young man. Instead, he said “Jesus is Lord.” They shot him in the head. This happened the first week we arrived in Ethiopia. The cost of discipleship can be very high in Ethiopia.

The people on that public bus probably did not know this young man’s name (and I don’t know his name either), but they knew the name of his Lord. He probably did not teach them in words, and he probably did not preach a sermon, but his actions demonstrated that he was willing to follow his Lord to death. This is the kind of life that I want to life: a life that exalts the name of Jesus above my own name, and a life that preaches the gospel and demonstrates that Jesus is my Lord in my actions as well as my words.

I hope this story of faith and obedience and counting the cost – from today’s world – will encourage you to consider what it means to confess, “Jesus is Lord”. Like this young believer in Ethiopia, are you ready to pay the very high price of discipleship?

May the faith and perseverance of those willing to die because of their faith in Jesus Christ encourage us to live out our faith in Jesus Christ.


7 Comments

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  1. 11-1-2007

    What a folly.
    Evangelist ignorance is creating divisions of the orthodox christians and Muslims. I hope you are proud of your works.

    Do you intend to convert all the Muslims ?
    Do you like it if the Saudi’s were to bribe your family to convert to Muslim ?

    Agressive evangelists are no better than fundamentalist Muslims that try to convert every one to their way.

  2. 11-1-2007

    Anonymous,

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I think you misunderstood the purpose of this blog post. This purpose of this post, as I stated in the last sentence, is to encourage Christians to actually live out the faith that they profess.

    This post was not about forcing or bribing conversions. I do not think anyone should be forced or bribed into believing anything. In fact, from my understanding of conversion, I think it is impossible to force or bribe someone into converting at all.

    If you come back by this blog and read my reply, I hope you will help me understand why you reacted the way you did to this blog post.

    -Alan

  3. 11-1-2007

    Alan,

    I agree with ‘anonymous’, that “aggressive evangelists” are no better than fundamentalist Muslims.

    It may well be that ‘anonymous’has experienced such aggressivenous. I’m sorry if that is the case.

    But my heart grieves for the ignorant antagonism displayed in the comment.

    How can great concern for the souls of others be understood as “aggressive”? There is ONLY ONE WAY to God!

    Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the light, NO MAN COMES TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME.”

    Evangelism, towards Muslims or unbelieving non-Muslims, which is not driven by a heartfelt, sincere concern for their eternal destiny and the glory of God, is spurious evangelism. Any attempt to coerce or “bribe” cannot be understood as legitimate “evangelism”, by whomever it is practiced.

    There is no sign of that in your article, nor in those of Becky Lynn Black.

    ‘Anonymous’, there are non-aggressive Christians who have soft, concerned hearts! I hope you meet some.

  4. 11-1-2007

    goodness this post has stirred up some interesting reactions, I have to say I was awed at the bravery of this young man, and challenged to pray for those whose Christian walk is not easy.

  5. 11-1-2007

    Aussie John,

    Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure those kinds of heavy handed tactics can honestly be called evangelism – bringing good new – do you?

    Sally,

    That young man’s testimony has been an encouragement to me since I first read about him.

    -Alan

  6. 11-2-2007

    Great post, Alan. I commend you for your response to anonymous as well…
    and aussie john, the heart you express always seems to warm mine, no matter what blog I find you on!

  7. 11-3-2007

    thanks alan, thoughful and thouht provoking piece ti reflect on