Christian Martyrdom and Christian Violence: On Suffering and Wielding the Sword

ISBN : 9780197566596

Matthew D. Lundberg
304 ページ
156 x 235 mm

What is the place-if any-for violence in the Christian life? At the core of Christian faith is an experience of suffering violence as the price for faithfulness, of being victimized by the world's violence, from Jesus himself to martyrs who have died while following him. At the same time, Christian history had also held the opinion that there are situations when the follower of Jesus may be justified in inflicting violence on others, especially in the context of war. Do these two facets of Christian ethics and experience present a contradiction? Christian Martyrdom and Christian Violence: On Suffering and Wielding the Sword explores the tension between Christianity's historic reverence for martyrdom (suffering violence for faith) and Christianity's historical support of a just war ethic (involving the inflicting of violence). While the book considers the possibility that the two are unreconcilable, it also argues that they are ultimately compatible; but their compatibility requires a more humanized portrait of the Christian martyr as well as a stricter approach to the justified use of violence.


Introduction: Naming the Christian Martyrs
1. Identifying Martyrdom
The Origins of Martyrdom
Action and Passion in Christian Martyrdom
Violent Action and Martyrdom?
The Question of Violence in the Christian Life and the Criteria of Martyrdom (I)
2. Nonviolence as Criterion of Martyrdom?
The Biblical Case for Pacifism
Christian Pacifism in History
Martyrdom in Anabaptist Perspective
Nonviolence and the Imitatio Christi
The Criteria of Martyrdom (II)
3. The Just War and the Horizon of Martyrdom
The Rise of the Just War in Christian Ethics
Christian Just War Teaching
The Logic of Christian Just War Thinking
Criticisms of Christian Just War Thinking
4. Soldiers and Saints, Magistrates and Martyrs
Soldiers as Martyrs and Saints in the Early Church
Saints, Martyrs, and the Institutions of Medieval Christendom
Magistrate Martyrs in the Era of Reformation
Martyr Claims in the European Wars of Religion
Interlude: Colonialism, Mission, and Martyrdom
Holy War and Just War
5. Violence, Jesus, and Just War Reasoning
The Nature and Varieties of Violence
Jesus and (Non)Violence
Christian Violence, Jesus, and the Biblical God
Weighing the Just War Ethic
6. Christian Calling and the Ideal of Martyrdom in the Real World
Christian Realism
Christian Calling in the Real World
Interlude: Military Calling, Moral Injury, and Just War Teaching
The Theology of Sainthood (I)
The Criteria of Martyrdom (III)
7. Violence and the Christian Life in the Light of Martyrdom
The Rhetorical Function of Martyrdom
Restraining the Necessities of Realism
Christian Soldiers and the Criteria of Martyrdom (IV)
Soldiers, Society, and the Church
The Theology of Sainthood (II)
Epilogue: The Logic and Absurdity of Violence


Matthew D. Lundberg is Professor of Religion and Director of the de Vries Institute for Global Faculty Development at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the co-author of An Introduction to Christian Theology (Cambridge University Press), forthcoming in its second edition.