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The Martyr versus the Fighter

“The pathology of a martyr complex is often a heavy-handed attempt to escape the vulnerability of speaking the turth without the means of convincing others that it is true. It signifies impatience with the freedom of others not to believe. It betrays an insecurity that cannot bear its own knowledge without compulsion for everyone else. In a word, it expresses doubt. Such doubt may explain why martyrdom is sometimes misconstrued and applied to the deaths of fighters. For the New Testament, martyrs do not die because they fight for what is right but precisely because they refuse to fight for what is true. A fighter fundamentally dubts whether his truth is true and anxiously grasps at it, preferring secure knowledge to uncertain promise made certain only through faith. Fighters do not stand by the truth of their convictions.”

~ Craig Hovey, To Share in the Body: A Theology of Martyrdom for Today’s Church (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 148.

One Comment

  1. dcrowe wrote:

    Wow, that is fantastic. It seems like a juxtaposition between a “martyr complex” with the martyrs of the New Testament….is that the case in the wider text? Just making sure I’m following.

    The second half of that quote is great.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 10:36 am | Permalink

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