The end or purpose of the church militant is to be a people in this world gathered around Word and Sacrament, forgiven of sin, reconciled to God, and sanctified for good works. . . . When the church recalls that she is to confess and act faithfully, and not ultimately to bring political change, she will be ready not only for marginalization but for martyrdom.
Martyrdom signals the impotence, not of the church, but of the state. Whatever it may threaten, in the end, the state can only kill the body. Yet, it cannot even take away the body. The martyred Christian still has his body for the resurrection; he still has life in Christ. Martyrdom reveals the people of the church to be formed differently from the state, in direct opposition to the claim that only the state can form people. Martyrs reveal the empty violence of the state and the people of the eternal kingdom.