“Self-denial does not kill the martyr. The martyr does not die of neglect or self-mastery, which we would more accurately speak of as suicide. Rather, self-denial enables the martyr to face with courage the situation that calls for death, though that death is inflicted by someone else. In this way, the martyr is freed from the necessity both of killing his accusers and of killing himself. Rejecting the necessity of both requires the kind of formation intrinsic to the askesis of a martyr-church, rejecting the offer to take control of the situation through violent means. The martyr exhibits confidence in peace as a powerless hope that is no less hopeful on account of being powerless, disabused of the means of securing life through coercion. The offer of Christ’s peace cannot be safeguarded from rejection without imperiling its peaceableness. Those who bear crosses do so in the confidence that a new world has been created in which, despite appearances, the peace of Christ is a more sure reality than the violence of human agonism.”
~ Craig Hovey, To Share in the Body: A Theology of Martyrdom for Today’s Church (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2008), 61-62.