What exactly is a Martyr? And Why do I go by Justin Martyr?

Written and Published by: Justin Martyr on 2/2/19

My real name is Justin Francis and I used to go by the stage name “Justin-Credible.” The first 4 albums & musical projects I participated in were all under this name. However, I now go by the name Justin Martyr. I still use Justin-Credible as a secondary name and I have a production company called Justin-Credible Productions but overtime as my theology grew and changed, I realized that the name Justin-Credible did not fit my theological convictions nor was it a great representation of who I am as an artist. 

I wanted a name that partially used my real name (Justin) and as I studied church history, I learned about a Church Father named Justin Martyr. He was a great scholar and is regarded by many to be the creator and/or father of Apologetics which is the branch of Christian theology and philosophy that seeks to defend the Christian faith. 

I began to consider a name change and the final decision came during a time I was speaking with one of my mentors and heroes “The Ambassador” aka William “Duce” Branch. He encouraged me to “point to the one who actually is Incredible.” That was all I had to hear. 

So, what exactly is a martyr? A lot of people don’t know what a martyr is, or they can’t even pronounce the word; let me help you. It is pronounced (Mar-ter). There are actually a few misconceptions about what a martyr is; so, let me clarify.    

Original: μάρτυς 

Transliteration: martus  Phonetic: mar'-toos 


1. a witness, in a legal sense and a historical sense 

2. one who is a spectator of anything, e.g. of a contest 

3. in an ethical sense; those who after his example have proved the strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by undergoing a violent death 

Therefore, a martyr is primarily a witness to an event. In Acts 1:8 after Christ rises from the dead, he says this to his followers; “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Overtime, a martyr also came to signify someone who dies for their faith. I am a witness to the Gospel of Christ not only changing hearts and lives; but being the only source of hope for humanity.