This paper examines the theology of martyrdom, both Catholic and Protestant, and argues that in the 18th century there was a Protestant belief that knowledge of the Pacific Islands had been withheld from Europeans so that the work of the original apostles could be resumed, and that, as in apostolic times, martyrs were 'the seed of the church'. John Williams, the first Protestant martyr of Melanesia, consciously prepared himself for martyrdom and set the pattern for Samoan and Cook Islander missionary martyrs and other European martyrs who followed. The reasons why the missionaries were killed, when known, are discussed and mostly fall short of the classical definition of martyrdom though it was acceptable to Protestants that they had died while attempting to introduce Christianity.
|Journal||Journal of Pacific History|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|