n International Journal for Religious Freedom - Christian suffering and martyrdom : an opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation : academic articles




Dealing with the recent killings of Christians in Orissa, the Indian author maintains that forgiveness and reconciliation are proper Christian responses to suffering and martyrdom. The Early Church lived this by God's superhuman power and was marked by holiness. Unfortunately, from the time of the medieval church a merger between violence and holiness has led to crusades, post-Reformation religious wars, the Conquista in Latin America and the shedding of blood of Christians by Christians eg. in Rwanda. However, there were Christians strongly objecting this. A brief survey of other religions also shows a merger between violence and holiness. Christians must not let evil succeed by responding with violence and retribution but must try to overcome evil with good by letting the cross of Christ shape their relationships with others. How should the Church remember and respond to the suffering experienced? The memories must be interpreted within the Christian world view, the wrongdoing must be publicly and truthfully remembered, condemmed and forgiven. In the battle against evil, even against evil in one's own culture, the Church needs inter-church community.


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