King Charles I declared himself not only to be the head of state–he also announced that he was head of the church. Uproar over this declaration led many Scottish Christians to sign the National Covenant in 1638. By signing, they affirmed their allegiance to the king as head of state, but not head of the church. Only Jesus could be head of the church, they said.
Strong repercussions followed the signing of this covenant. Many signers were tracked down and either burned at the stake, sent into exile or sentenced to various other forms of punishment. In some instances, they were given a chance to recant their stance; many did not and suffered for it. Today their stories are told and retold. Many historical markers line the roads and cemeteries in Scotland as present-day reminders of the cost of following Christ.
The DVD, Celtic Cry: The Heart Of A Martyr, states that in the last 100 years, over 23 million people have given their lives for the cause of Christianity—more martyrs in the past century than in all previous centuries. Though I’ve whined at times when I’ve encountered difficulties, my problems seem insignificant compared to the price that some people have paid—and the current price many still pay worldwide. I salute those whose testimony puts, or has put, them in imminent danger, and I ask forgiveness for the times when I’ve said that the life of ministry is too hard. “Jesus paid it all … all to Him I owe!”
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” -Philippians 1:21 (NKJV)
By: Glenn Burris Jr., general supervisor