Martyr Monday: Was Martin Luther King Jr. a martyr?

A martyr (for Christ) is usually identified as one who dies for the cause of Jesus Christ at the hands of those who are antagonistic to Christianity.  Does MLK fit this description?  (feel free to give your answer in the comment section)


My answer is a resounding yes.


Martin Luther King Jr. fought and died, not simply for a cause he believed in, but for a cause his GOD believes in (Psalm 106:3Micah 6:8Zechariah 7:9Matthew 12:18Deuteronomy 16:20Deuteronomy 27:19Proverbs 28:5Proverbs 29:7Leviticus 19:15, Isaiah 1:17Isaiah 10:1-2.)  MLK’s life was a cry for justice.  He was a preacher in word and deed, and his passion for human rights are historically unparalleled.  Where did this passion come from?  Let’s let Dr. King speak for himself:


From Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)

“I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the eighth century prophets left their little villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns; and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Graeco-Roman world, I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.”

“Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks, before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman empire.”

“There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.” But they went on with the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.”

“Was not Jesus an extremist for love — “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice — “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ — “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist — “Here I stand; I can do none other so help me God.”   So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be.  In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thusly fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment.”


This is not the sound of a man who gave his life for ONLY racial equality.  This is the sound of a man following in the footsteps of his Lord….laying down his life for the sake of the weak, oppressed, and marginalized…..for the sake of the gospel….for the sake of the LORD.


He was murdered on April 4, 1968 by one antagonistic to his cause, James Earl Ray.  MLK died a hero, a christian, a martyr.


May we believers, like dr. King, not only know our doctrine well, but live our doctrine better.  Let us know the Truth, and let us fight that others may know it as well.


Writing that you might join the fight-