The Christian Broadcasting Network

Related Links

More book reviews and feature articles on

Ted Dekker's Web site


The Martyr's Song: What are You Willing to Die For?

Jeremy Reynalds
Assist News Service ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) -- Do you sometimes worry about the shallow state of Christianity today? Described by some as being a mile wide and a foot deep, the Christian faith leaves much to be desired. However, best-selling author Ted Dekker gives me hope!

In his new novel The Martyr's Song, Dekker, in the powerful style which accompanies his writing, forces readers to confront issues of life and death. More specifically, the book is replete with statements about one of life's most important issues, the question being not what would we be willing to live for, but rather; what would we be willing to die for?

The Martyr's Song has the potential to change your perspective on life - and death - and give you a profound appreciation for what really matters while you are still alive and breathing.

Describing the book, the publisher writes on the back cover, "What would you die for? That's the question suddenly thrust upon a small band of women and children in Bosnia at the close of World War II. When a group of bitter soldiers stumble upon their peaceful village, they suddenly face an insidious evil ... and the ultimate test. It is then, in the midst of chaos and pain, that the Martyr's song is first heard. It is then that the window into heaven first opens. It is then that love and beauty are shown in breathtaking reality. You have in your hands the story and the song that changed ... everything."

Here's a sample from the story. Talking about the book's hero, a priest, being violently persecuted for his faith, Dekker writes that "the priest wanted to die now. He'd found something of greater value than life. He had found this love for Christ."

Here's another statement. The priest is speaking to a soldier who has threatened his life and the lives of some of his parishioners. He says, "‘Your threat of death doesn't frighten us, soldier.' He spoke gently, without anger, through tears that still ran down his face. ‘We've been purchased by blood; we live by the power of that blood; we will die for that blood. And we would never, never renounce our beloved Christ.' His voice croaked. ‘He is our Creator, sir.'"

I found that reading The Martyr's Song prompted me to engage in some deep introspection, and forced me to evaluate whether I really believe the Bible's words; that as a believer my ultimate destiny is an unimaginably glorious eternity in heaven.

I've been thinking that if I really believe heaven lies ahead of me, shouldn't the way I live my life be dramatically different from someone who doesn't have that hope?

If the Bible means as much to me as I've claimed for the last 29 years, I shouldn't have any fear of death, right? But how come I (along with millions of other Christians) worry about what comes after I die?

Is it because of our fondness for the things of this very short-lived world that we really don't give ourselves much of an opportunity to think about eternity, so as a result this transitory existence consumes us to a much greater extent than our eternal destiny?

Maybe we need some lessons on how we can experience more of the reality of our eternal destiny. Dekker is a master teacher in this regard. As readers make their way through the pages of The Martyr's Song, they will experience lessons and questions like this, delivered in the way that only Ted Dekker can.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about.

"‘Participate in the sufferings of Christ,' Paul had said. And yet so many Americans had turned forgetting into a kind of spiritual badge, refusing to memorialize suffering for fear they might catch it like a disease. Indeed, they stripped Christ of His dignity by ignoring the brutality of His death. The choice was no different than turning away from a puffy-faced leper in horror. The epitome of rejection."

After reading that, I thought this passage to be so contrary to much of the prosperity-laden theology of today's American church, but words so essential for us to grasp and propel us to an understanding of what's really important.

But to understand that statement about suffering we have to understand this one. "In every truly life-changing story is a mountain that rises to the heavens. But before the mountain is a valley that descends into the depths. In all honesty, (she) didn't know whether (her) death was a mountain or a valley. It really depended on perspective. And truly, the perspective was about to change."

While Dekker's position on suffering is in absolute conformity with the historic beliefs of the Christian church, sadly, it is a philosophy that is missing from most of today's Christian experience. Fortunately for us, Dekker is using his writing pulpit to draw us as American believers back to our Biblical roots. It's a lesson we need to pay attention to and learn from.

With that in mind, you will want to own this book. Be prepared to weep, though, as you begin to realize how far short we've fallen from what wonders the Lord has for us. But rejoice, and thank God and Ted Dekker, as you begin to glimpse a taste of the glorious treasures that the Lord has stored up for you.

For more information about Ted Dekker visit his Web site.

Jeremy Reynalds is a freelance writer and the founder and director of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter. He is married with five children and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

More from Assist News Service

ASSIST News Service is brought to you in part by Open Doors USA, a ministry that has served the Suffering Church around the world for nearly 50 years. You can get more information by logging onto their website at

Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.