Dietrich Bonhoeffer said “the ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor who vocally opposed Hitler, was arrested, and eventually hanged. His martyrdom in opposition to Hitler’s Nazi Germany inspired other leaders to come forward, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and anti-communist movements in Eastern Europe.
Few Christians living in the United States will experience severe persecution; but Christians living in certain Middle Eastern countries and other parts of the world face life threatening persecution almost daily, even children are being killed. What should our response be? How we respond to the persecution of Christians in the world will greatly effect how our own children will respond when it matters.
In his book Apologeticus, Tertullian wrote “The blood of the martyr is the seed of the church.” The time period of this book was 197 AD, and Christianity was under severe persecution from the Roman emperor. Tertullian wrote the book in defense of Christian faith, and challenged Roman leaders to remember good laws and traditions that had been forgotten, ignored, and neglected.
What can Christians today learn from Bonhoeffer or Tertullian? A great deal. The legacy we should strive to leave our children is one of commitment to Christ, His Church, and His people. Our commitment to our Lord will strongly influence how our children will respond to God.