Someone I know has been martyred!

That American tourist who was murdered in Israel–I knew her!  Kristine Luken.  She worked for Patrick Henry College for awhile, helping us with accreditation issues.  (She had previously worked for the Department of Education as a liason with colleges.)  She became friends with my wife.  A Jewish convert to Christianity, Kristine began to feel a strong calling to go to England to work with a ministry there involved with evangelizing Jews.  That was surely a calling to her martyrdom.

Kristine was gentle, sensitive, and extremely devout.  One account I read said that police were investigating if she had any sinister dealings of any kind, and I can assure them that she most certainly did not.  I’d stake my life on that.

The first assumption was that she was killed by Muslim terrorists, but I’m not so sure.  Judging from the detail about the Star of David necklace, recounted by another woman who survived the attack, I’m thinking it sounds like the two assailants might have been Jewish radicals who attacked her for evangelizing Jews.  At any rate, I have no doubt that she was murdered for her Christian faith.

And I have no doubt she has joined this number:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Revelation 6:9-11)

American Tourist Kristine Luken Killed in Israel, No Arrests Made, Say Police – Crimesider – CBS News.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Booklover

    I am so sorry. . . . :’-(

  • Booklover

    I am so sorry. . . . :’-(

  • Tom Hering

    Might this have been a tragically random, opportunistic crime? Might the attack have been the work of two Mizrahi (Arab/Oriental) Jews against women perceived to be Ashkenazi (European) Jews?

    (1.) The surviving victim described the assailants as Arab. (2.) One of the assailants seemed to show respect for the Star of David worn by the survivor. (3.) The survivor was wearing a Star of David, not a Cross. (4.) Nothing in the news reports indicates the assailants knew their victims, i.e., knew they were Christian missionaries, i.e., knew they were something other than what they would have appeared to be upon encountering them for the first time (Ashkenazi Jews). And the survivor’s testimony seems to indicate her assailants were complete strangers.

    I’m not suggesting the attack was political (a planned anti-Ashkenazi attack), though Mizrahi resentments may have played a part.

  • Tom Hering

    Might this have been a tragically random, opportunistic crime? Might the attack have been the work of two Mizrahi (Arab/Oriental) Jews against women perceived to be Ashkenazi (European) Jews?

    (1.) The surviving victim described the assailants as Arab. (2.) One of the assailants seemed to show respect for the Star of David worn by the survivor. (3.) The survivor was wearing a Star of David, not a Cross. (4.) Nothing in the news reports indicates the assailants knew their victims, i.e., knew they were Christian missionaries, i.e., knew they were something other than what they would have appeared to be upon encountering them for the first time (Ashkenazi Jews). And the survivor’s testimony seems to indicate her assailants were complete strangers.

    I’m not suggesting the attack was political (a planned anti-Ashkenazi attack), though Mizrahi resentments may have played a part.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    May her memory be blessed.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    May her memory be blessed.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    My condolences to our gracious host and to her family!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    My condolences to our gracious host and to her family!

  • Joe

    Dr. Veith, whatever the reason for her death, she is now with Christ, with the Church Triumphant.

    Tom, perhaps a small allowance of time for grief and consolation before you go in for your normal contrarian rebuke of the good doctor’s post?

  • Joe

    Dr. Veith, whatever the reason for her death, she is now with Christ, with the Church Triumphant.

    Tom, perhaps a small allowance of time for grief and consolation before you go in for your normal contrarian rebuke of the good doctor’s post?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Very sorry to hear of her death, but very pleased to hear that she was ushered into glory! God be praised for her salvation and preservation!

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Very sorry to hear of her death, but very pleased to hear that she was ushered into glory! God be praised for her salvation and preservation!

  • Tom Hering

    Joe @ 5, yes, I realize I’m being insensitive. And I’m sorry for that. But I think it’s very important we at least consider this wasn’t the work of anti-Christian Jews. A Lutheran speculatively blaming Jews for killing a Christian is potentially explosive. Especially when the surviving victim has herself blamed Arab nationalists (according to the Jerusalem Post).

  • Tom Hering

    Joe @ 5, yes, I realize I’m being insensitive. And I’m sorry for that. But I think it’s very important we at least consider this wasn’t the work of anti-Christian Jews. A Lutheran speculatively blaming Jews for killing a Christian is potentially explosive. Especially when the surviving victim has herself blamed Arab nationalists (according to the Jerusalem Post).

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Whoever killed her, if it was because of her Christian faith, still killed her, be it a Jew, a Muslim, an atheist-whatever.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Whoever killed her, if it was because of her Christian faith, still killed her, be it a Jew, a Muslim, an atheist-whatever.

  • http://satellitesaint.blogspot.com/ Tucker

    When I was younger I thought it would be glorious to be a martyr. Now it just seems so ugly. And yet, I cannot help but have the highest regard for Kristine. I would hope my life may be a testament to my faith as was hers. And I pray that her killers would come to recognize their need for salvation.

  • http://satellitesaint.blogspot.com/ Tucker

    When I was younger I thought it would be glorious to be a martyr. Now it just seems so ugly. And yet, I cannot help but have the highest regard for Kristine. I would hope my life may be a testament to my faith as was hers. And I pray that her killers would come to recognize their need for salvation.

  • Bob

    This is a sad story, but the news report provides no evidence to support the conclusion that she was killed for being a Christian.

    Hering’s comment @1 that this could be a random, opportunistic crime sounds reasonable.

  • Bob

    This is a sad story, but the news report provides no evidence to support the conclusion that she was killed for being a Christian.

    Hering’s comment @1 that this could be a random, opportunistic crime sounds reasonable.

  • Ron Priggee

    She was in Israel because she was called to witness her faith to others.
    She is a martyr. The same is true of any missionary who works in a dangerous place to witness of his faith.

  • Ron Priggee

    She was in Israel because she was called to witness her faith to others.
    She is a martyr. The same is true of any missionary who works in a dangerous place to witness of his faith.

  • sge

    @11
    Are not all Christians called to witness to others?
    Are not all our deaths the deaths of martyrs?

  • sge

    @11
    Are not all Christians called to witness to others?
    Are not all our deaths the deaths of martyrs?

  • http://derek4messiah.wordpress.com Derek Leman

    I am appalled that, with no information, you have decided that this case is about Jewish terrorists killing Christians. While acts of Jewish terrorism are not unheard of in Israel, you are jumping to uninformed, outrageous, and incendiary conclusions.

  • http://derek4messiah.wordpress.com Derek Leman

    I am appalled that, with no information, you have decided that this case is about Jewish terrorists killing Christians. While acts of Jewish terrorism are not unheard of in Israel, you are jumping to uninformed, outrageous, and incendiary conclusions.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Derek, no knee-jerks, please. Veith (and Tom) said that the information is sketchy, but he reported on the theories that were formulated on the sparse information, and clearly stated that everything is still uncertain. It is you who jumped to conclusions.

    As to her death- memory eternal!

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Derek, no knee-jerks, please. Veith (and Tom) said that the information is sketchy, but he reported on the theories that were formulated on the sparse information, and clearly stated that everything is still uncertain. It is you who jumped to conclusions.

    As to her death- memory eternal!

  • http://www.roshpinaproject.com Joseph W

    Hi Cranach,

    I am deeply sorry for your loss. There are many here in the UK who are grieving for Kristine. I’m not sure you can say that she was killed by Jewish terrorists, especially as Kay Wilson (the other victim) mentions that they were attacked by Arabs.

    This is a tragedy in any case, and it is very hard to know how to respond. But I think we should listen to what Derek is saying here.

    Sometimes, tragedies are not logical, and we are left to struggle in the dark without an obvious answer. Things happen without a clear purpose, yet we must believe that all things work together for the good of those who love God.

    This is the challenge of faith that we all face, it is tremendously difficult yet we do not face it alone. My thoughts are with all those affected by Kristine’s death.

    In Messiah Yeshua,

    Joseph

  • http://www.roshpinaproject.com Joseph W

    Hi Cranach,

    I am deeply sorry for your loss. There are many here in the UK who are grieving for Kristine. I’m not sure you can say that she was killed by Jewish terrorists, especially as Kay Wilson (the other victim) mentions that they were attacked by Arabs.

    This is a tragedy in any case, and it is very hard to know how to respond. But I think we should listen to what Derek is saying here.

    Sometimes, tragedies are not logical, and we are left to struggle in the dark without an obvious answer. Things happen without a clear purpose, yet we must believe that all things work together for the good of those who love God.

    This is the challenge of faith that we all face, it is tremendously difficult yet we do not face it alone. My thoughts are with all those affected by Kristine’s death.

    In Messiah Yeshua,

    Joseph

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith –

    God bless you, your wife and Kristine Luken’s family and loved ones. Such a tragedy. May God comfort those who’s heart is heavy with grief.

    Below is a story and link. There is a lovely photo of Kristine Luken as well.

    JERUSALEM, Dec. 20, 2010
    Slain U.S. Woman Had Deep Ties to Israel
    Kristine Luken Was Staffer at Evangelical Ministry Promoting Christianity Among Jews

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/20/national/main7168295.shtml

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith –

    God bless you, your wife and Kristine Luken’s family and loved ones. Such a tragedy. May God comfort those who’s heart is heavy with grief.

    Below is a story and link. There is a lovely photo of Kristine Luken as well.

    JERUSALEM, Dec. 20, 2010
    Slain U.S. Woman Had Deep Ties to Israel
    Kristine Luken Was Staffer at Evangelical Ministry Promoting Christianity Among Jews

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/20/national/main7168295.shtml

  • Grace

    Derek –

    Please take care while commenting on this very sad time. Dr. Veith and others have views, we all do, including myself. Kristine Luken was a light in this blackened world of sin, she wanted to share the light of the world, Jesus Christ, which she obviously did – Through her death, the light of Christ will reach many, and that includes the Jewish people who will see how much she loved them them to spread the Gospel of the risen Messiah in the land of Israel.

  • Grace

    Derek –

    Please take care while commenting on this very sad time. Dr. Veith and others have views, we all do, including myself. Kristine Luken was a light in this blackened world of sin, she wanted to share the light of the world, Jesus Christ, which she obviously did – Through her death, the light of Christ will reach many, and that includes the Jewish people who will see how much she loved them them to spread the Gospel of the risen Messiah in the land of Israel.

  • Grace

    'Remember to search out the goodness of God in the face of tragedy': Last message of American stabbed to death hiking in Israel

    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Last updated at 5:13 AM on 21st December 2010

    Murdered: Kristine Luken was described as a woman whose commitment to god and the Jewish people were ‘everything to her’

    A friend of Kristine Luken, the American missionary murdered in Israel, says she is haunted by the final message sent to her before the brutal attack.

    Naomi Harralson, a friend and former colleague of the 44-year-old, said she and Miss Luken regularly shared inspirational messages via email.

    Ms Harralsion said: ‘She has always from the first day I met her had a love for the Jewish people. She felt nowhere more at home than in Israel. Her relationship with God was everything to her.’

    It was a relationship so meaningful to Miss Luken that she left her job at Patrick Henry College in 2009 to move to the United Kingdom to work with an evangelical Christian ministry called the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people.

    Ms Harralson told ABC News: ‘It was not an easy process for her, but she was so confident that it was what she was supposed to do.’

    Ms Harralson was Miss Luken’s boss at the Virginia college where Miss Luken worked as an assistant.

    When Miss Luken moved to the UK, she and Ms Harralson kept in touch by emailing inspirational quotes to each other. The last quote Miss Luken sent Ms Harralson a few weeks ago now haunts her. It said 'Remember to search out the goodness of God in the face of tragedy'.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340416/Last-meesage-Kristine-Luken-killed-Israel-Remember-search-goodness-God-face-tragedy.html#ixzz18mfYO0M1

  • Grace

    'Remember to search out the goodness of God in the face of tragedy': Last message of American stabbed to death hiking in Israel

    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Last updated at 5:13 AM on 21st December 2010

    Murdered: Kristine Luken was described as a woman whose commitment to god and the Jewish people were ‘everything to her’

    A friend of Kristine Luken, the American missionary murdered in Israel, says she is haunted by the final message sent to her before the brutal attack.

    Naomi Harralson, a friend and former colleague of the 44-year-old, said she and Miss Luken regularly shared inspirational messages via email.

    Ms Harralsion said: ‘She has always from the first day I met her had a love for the Jewish people. She felt nowhere more at home than in Israel. Her relationship with God was everything to her.’

    It was a relationship so meaningful to Miss Luken that she left her job at Patrick Henry College in 2009 to move to the United Kingdom to work with an evangelical Christian ministry called the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people.

    Ms Harralson told ABC News: ‘It was not an easy process for her, but she was so confident that it was what she was supposed to do.’

    Ms Harralson was Miss Luken’s boss at the Virginia college where Miss Luken worked as an assistant.

    When Miss Luken moved to the UK, she and Ms Harralson kept in touch by emailing inspirational quotes to each other. The last quote Miss Luken sent Ms Harralson a few weeks ago now haunts her. It said 'Remember to search out the goodness of God in the face of tragedy'.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340416/Last-meesage-Kristine-Luken-killed-Israel-Remember-search-goodness-God-face-tragedy.html#ixzz18mfYO0M1

  • kerner

    Dr. Veith:

    Please accept my condolences as well.

    Is Naomi Harralson at Patrick Henry?

  • kerner

    Dr. Veith:

    Please accept my condolences as well.

    Is Naomi Harralson at Patrick Henry?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Kerner, thanks, and yes she is. (Or was. She is at Law School, but she still does consulting work for us. I know her quite well. I’m impressed that she is getting “press” even in international newspapers.

    And, everybody, I know the crime has not been solved. I’m not accusing anybody. But there are mysteries about the case. We’ll be learning more, I daresay.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Kerner, thanks, and yes she is. (Or was. She is at Law School, but she still does consulting work for us. I know her quite well. I’m impressed that she is getting “press” even in international newspapers.

    And, everybody, I know the crime has not been solved. I’m not accusing anybody. But there are mysteries about the case. We’ll be learning more, I daresay.

  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • Grace

    Dr. Veith,

    The most important thing that could transpire from this tragic situation, is the message of Messiah Jesus, that would reach the hearts of the lost – there is nothing so life-changing as to know Christ as Savior, it is LIFE itself.

    I believe that Kristine’s last comment to her friend Naomi Harralson – “Remember to search out the goodness of God in the face of tragedy” to be a legacy. Furthermore, to know Christ as Savior, to believe in Him, to accept Him is the only gift that matters, it is the ultimate gift to those who believe in Him.

    I am not impressed that anyone is getting “press” in any newspaper, but that God is glorified, His message is being taught and that includes the Jews and Israel. It is not us, Dr. Veith, however brilliant we may think we are, or how educated, or learned we have become from whatever school, it’s all about HIM!

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith,

    The most important thing that could transpire from this tragic situation, is the message of Messiah Jesus, that would reach the hearts of the lost – there is nothing so life-changing as to know Christ as Savior, it is LIFE itself.

    I believe that Kristine’s last comment to her friend Naomi Harralson – “Remember to search out the goodness of God in the face of tragedy” to be a legacy. Furthermore, to know Christ as Savior, to believe in Him, to accept Him is the only gift that matters, it is the ultimate gift to those who believe in Him.

    I am not impressed that anyone is getting “press” in any newspaper, but that God is glorified, His message is being taught and that includes the Jews and Israel. It is not us, Dr. Veith, however brilliant we may think we are, or how educated, or learned we have become from whatever school, it’s all about HIM!

  • Chris B

    Sorry about your loss. I doubt it was Jewish radicals though. Having traveled in the Holy Land, I can tell you regular Jewish citzens carry weapons to prevent them from being victims of Arab violence in less populated places. We routinely saw school teachers carrying M-16′s in regions very similar to where this young lady was killed. They carry the weapons to protect the Jewish children from being kidnapped. It’s not safe for anyone — man or woman — to be walking in unpopulated places in Israel. We were told that during our time there.

  • Chris B

    Sorry about your loss. I doubt it was Jewish radicals though. Having traveled in the Holy Land, I can tell you regular Jewish citzens carry weapons to prevent them from being victims of Arab violence in less populated places. We routinely saw school teachers carrying M-16′s in regions very similar to where this young lady was killed. They carry the weapons to protect the Jewish children from being kidnapped. It’s not safe for anyone — man or woman — to be walking in unpopulated places in Israel. We were told that during our time there.

  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • Grace

    Nottingham Evening Post

    December 22, 2010 Wednesday
    Edition 1;
    National Edition

    Church worker killed in Israel;
    Notts woman was stabbed to death ; Shock over knife ; death in Israel

    Bryan Henesey

    __________An excerpt from article:

    “Miss Luken, 44, of Blidworth, was a member of the Trent Vineyard Church, in Lenton.

    A statement from John and Debby Wright, senior pastors at the church, said: “We were deeply shocked and saddened at the news of Kristine Luken’s tragic death in Israel.

    “Kristine had recently joined our church and people that knew her described her as a beautiful and positive person who showed a real desire to serve those in need. She will be sorely missed.

    “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family in the USA and with all her friends around the world.”

    http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=574&topicId=25102&docId=l:1327750192&isRss=true

  • Grace

    Nottingham Evening Post

    December 22, 2010 Wednesday
    Edition 1;
    National Edition

    Church worker killed in Israel;
    Notts woman was stabbed to death ; Shock over knife ; death in Israel

    Bryan Henesey

    __________An excerpt from article:

    “Miss Luken, 44, of Blidworth, was a member of the Trent Vineyard Church, in Lenton.

    A statement from John and Debby Wright, senior pastors at the church, said: “We were deeply shocked and saddened at the news of Kristine Luken’s tragic death in Israel.

    “Kristine had recently joined our church and people that knew her described her as a beautiful and positive person who showed a real desire to serve those in need. She will be sorely missed.

    “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family in the USA and with all her friends around the world.”

    http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=574&topicId=25102&docId=l:1327750192&isRss=true

  • Simon

    I am sorry for your loss. I have been asked to write an article for a messianic newspaper regarding Kristine and am interested in speaking with someone who could share her testimony and heart for the Jewish people. Feel free to contact me by email if you or anyone you know would be willing to speak with me. Thanks and Blessings.

  • Simon

    I am sorry for your loss. I have been asked to write an article for a messianic newspaper regarding Kristine and am interested in speaking with someone who could share her testimony and heart for the Jewish people. Feel free to contact me by email if you or anyone you know would be willing to speak with me. Thanks and Blessings.


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