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Heroes of the Faith

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin  which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Throughout the Christian era there have been numerous men and women who have arisen to the challenge of serving God faithfully in the midst of difficulty, bravely testifying to the truth of the gospel in the face of hardship, opposition and even death. Many of these heroes were British and pioneered revival and restoration in our own land.

Every month the Christian Voice newsletter is mailed to those who have joined Christian Voice, featuring  a biography of a different Christian hero, interrupted only occasionally to tell the story of a bad guy. Below is a selection of some of the heroes of faith that we have covered in our newsletter.

Like those saints listed in Hebrews 11 and 12, these brave men and women of faith reach down through the ages to show us what it means to put the gospel into action. They encourage us to expand our vision beyond what we thought possible, to never cease striving against the enemies that confront us in our own day.

Contending for the Faith: The Witness of Perpetua

The date is 202 and the Roman emperor, Septimius Severus, has just enacted a law prohibiting the spread of Christianity and Judaism throughout the Roman empire.

While persecution was nothing new to Christians in the early third century, this was the first time there was a universal decree forbidding conversion. If someone was discovered to have become a Christian, the choice offered by the emperor was simple: either curse Jesus and make an offering to the Roman gods, or be executed.

One woman who was offered that very choice was the young mother Perpetua. Keep reading…

Against the World: the Tenacity of St. Athanasius

It was the year 313, and the bishop of Alexandria stood at his window and looked out upon the city he was responsible for.

Beyond the line of houses, Bishop Alexander could see the city’s port bustling with the activity that had made Egypt such a rich trading centre during the height of the Roman Empire. Beyond that, stretching as far into the distance as the eye could see, the bishop looked upon the waters of the Mediterranean.

Just as Bishop Alexander was about to turn away from the window and prepare for some guests he was expecting for Sunday dinner, his gaze caught something he hadn’t seen before. Keep reading

Fun Towards the Roar: The Courage of Boniface

In Wessex England, sometime in the late seventh century, a group of boys gathered on the grass after church. While the rest of the villagers enjoyed their church’s fellowship meal, the boys were being led by one young man in his favorite sport – throwing boulders at one another.

The young man would be known to history by the name he would later adopt: Boniface. As this young man grew, he quickly distinguished himself as the roughest, toughest boy in the village. Keep reading


The Fellowship of His Sufferings: The Testimony of Amy Carmichael

Few would have expected David and Catherine Carmichael’s eldest daughter, Amy, to grow up to become one of the world’s most famous missionaries. Born in 1867 in the small village of Millisle, Northern Ireland, there was nothing particularly unusual about this girl, who was known for her wilfulness, tomboyish attitude and a propensity to get into mischievous pranks.

Little did the Carmichael parents realize that their daughter would be God’s tool for rescuing hundreds of children from a life worse than death in the darkness of the Indian jungles. Keep reading


George Whitefield: Awakening the Nations to Repentance

If you had been at the Bell Inn, in Gloucester England in the 1720’s, you would have witnessed an unusual site. A small boy was acting out a sermon for the entertainment of the guests. It was not uncommon for this boy, the youngest among widow Elizabeth Whitfield’s seven children, to engage in theatrical re-enactments of sermons and Bible stories for the guests at his mother’s inn. But this time, something was different. Reciting the sermon he had heard on Sunday as a type of game, young George Whitfield was quite unprepared for the response he received as some of the onlookers began to weep.

It was a portent of things to come. When George grew up and became a famous preacher, he found that his words had a strange affect on people, provoking emotions for which he was often unprepared. Keep reading