The Suffering Church by James M. Kushiner

The Suffering Church

Mere Christianity Is Fundamentally Cruciform

One of the prayers of the First Hour of the Orthodox Daily Office begins: “The universe offers you the God-bearing martyrs as the first fruits of creation, O Lord and Creator.” Tertullian’s oft-quoted line comes to mind, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” In both it is suggested that the martyr is the one closest to the essence of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Christian martyrs are likened to seed or first fruits—both the beginning and the end of the life in Christ. They are the fertile signs of the coming kingdom of God.

A Christian writer and journalist recently asked me what I thought was necessary for the renewal of Christianity in the West. I answered, a return to a cruciform faith, by which I meant an embrace of the martyrs not only of our Christian past but also of our present age.

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James M. Kushiner is the Director of Publications for The Fellowship of St. James and the former Executive Editor of Touchstone.

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