Letter To Our Children

by Pastor Joe | February 9, 2022 | Letters To Our Children


February 9, 2022

Between here and there is a never-ending war.

R.C. Sproul


Hello friends.


I thank God for those who have done the hard work of keeping track of history and recording the events that took place. Historian is the title given to those who do this. People like David McCullough, Jon Meacham, and Diana Lynn Severance are historians.


Luke, who wrote the third Gospel of our New Testament, is another. Although a doctor, he wrote an orderly account, after a careful investigation, so that (we) may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)


Sometimes history is hard to read. John Foxe, the writer of The Foxe's Book of Martyr's, is a historian who did the hard work investigating, recording, and then writing down the accounts of people precious to the Christian faith.


What makes John Foxe's book so important is the true stories he told were in a time when Christians would have to live courageous lives in the face of religious hatred fueled by religious people. When we read or even listen to the stories of martyrs, those who gave their lives and suffered death holding to their testimony of Jesus, it is, I think, both sad and moving. Sad, because of the way they died, moving, because of the reason they died.


Here then is a brief telling of four martyrs. Maybe this will interest you to learn more about their lives. And like a good historian, ask the who, what, where, when, and why questions.


Ignatius of Antioch (AD 110) was a student of the apostle John and pastor of the church in Antioch. Antioch was a large and important city to Christianity. Ignatius was well respected and wrote many letters to different churches, encouraging them and correcting them. Because he refused to worship idols, the authorities arrested him. After some time had passed, they took him to Rome, where he refused to deny Christ. Soon after, he was martyred.


Polycarp of Smyrna (AD 70-155) was a student of Ignatius and a pastor of the Church in Smyrna. He lived a long life and provided sound teaching. At eighty-six years old, he was arrested and taken to the arena, where he was given a choice: deny Christ and live or remain true to Christ and die. Polycarp chose death. Before his martyrdom, he said, eighty-six years I have served Him (Christ), and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?


Perpetua (d. 203 March 7) lived in the North African city of Carthage. She was twenty-one years old when she came face to face with this decree. Anyone converting to Christianity would have to go to prison, and if they didn't change their mind would be put to death. Her father and a Roman official begged her to renounce her faith and offer sacrifices to false idols. Perpetua would not. She said, I am a Christian and cannot be called by any other name. Just as a pot cannot be anything other than a pot, a Christian cannot be anything other than a Christian.


Agatha (d.251) was from a very wealthy and noble family. History says she was spectacularly beautiful, and her beauty caught the eye of Quintianus, who was no friend of Christianity. A law was given that said everyone in the Empire must sacrifice to the Roman gods and burn incense to the emperor in the presence of a magistrate. A certificate would be issued to all who obeyed the decree as proof. Agatha refused, and Quintianus had her arrested. Many unthinkable and terrible things had to be endured by Agatha as she sat in prison waiting for her death. There are two recorded prayers she prayed. Her final prayer said, Lord my creator, You have protected me from the cradle; You have taken me from the love of the world and given me the patience to suffer. Receive now, my soul. Agatha died soon after, but she had already died to the world by living for her savior.


On average, eight thousand history books are written a year in America. That number is telling. Inhumane societies have minimal interest in history, and if they do, it is often warped and untrue. What is good or bad in our past is worth insisting on saving and writing so people can know. Good historians believe this.


As you think about this letter, maybe you will think about your future life’s work. Maybe, just maybe I am writing to one or a few future historians!



God bless you with a great week. You are in my day and night prayers.


Pastor Joe