Description: As an explicitly christological witness, martyrdom offers a limited but vital description of the present within the various and unpredictable arenas of living, suffering, and dying. That is to say, martyrdom is not the tragic conclusion of some fatal ideological conflict but a momentary truthful glimpse of present circumstances. Martyrdom reveals, clarifies, and illumines what we take for the real. Martyrs are therefore significant for the church today because they exhibit the sort of truthful living that refuses the claims of history and power without Christ; they show the sort of living and dying that returns forgiveness upon murder, and patience beyond domination. Meditating primarily on the second-century martyrdoms in Lyons and Vienne, France, Pilgrim Holiness offers a view of Christian martyrdom that challenges prevalent misunderstandings about what martyrs are doing in sacrificing their lives. Joshua J. Whitfield argues that martyrdom is a moment of truthful disclosure and thus a moment of forgiveness and peace--gifts for which we are in desperate need. Endorsements: ""In a time when critics of Christianity, and religion in general, point to the practices of martyrs as examples of the inherently irrational, violent, and dangerous character of religious devotion, Whitfield challenges Christians to reconsider Christ's call to ""take up one's cross"" by suspending our suspicions and listening to the stories of the martyrs in conversation with contemporary theological voices such as Rowan Williams, Stanley Hauerwas, Sam Wells, and others."" --J. Warren Smith Duke University ""We are not superior or inferior to those who came before us, we are simply in the same situation as them: called to bear witness--in our lives and perhaps in our deaths--to the nonviolent truth embodied by Jesus Christ. This book, which is steeped in the patristic martyr narratives, unpacks this simple statement in skillful dialogue with contemporary thought. Its goal is to show that the hoped-for unity of Christians has no other plausible basis than peaceful imitation of Christ."" --Charles K. Bellinger Brite Divinity School ""Joshua Whitfield has concocted a perceptive and important antidote to the secular politics of death-making. Insisting that martyrs die for love of truth armed only with the power of description, Whitfield stands against the acrimonious caricatures du jour by uncoupling Christian martyrdom from power but not from truth. This book is a clarion call to any church that has brokered an unholy trade-off in producing members who would more readily kill than die."" --Craig Hovey author of To Share in the Body: A Theology of Martyrdom for Today's Church ""In this erudite tome, Whitfield offers an account of martyrdom that refuses the shackles of liberal secular politics. Such refusal, however, is not rooted in a rejection of the world and its attempts to regulate sacred narratives; rather, Whitfield reminds us that its refusal is predicated on the eschatological promise that God will bring all creation to completion. The witness of the martyr, therefore, is not a discourse about the individual agent; it is a discourse about the saving activity of the Triune God."" --Tripp York author of The Purple Crown: The Politics of Martyrdom About the Contributor(s): Joshua J. Whitfield is an Anglican priest and rector of the Church of Saint Gregory the Great in Mansfield, Texas.