Wurmbrand (1909-2001) was a Jewish convert to first Anglican then Lutheran Christianity in Romania where he was
imprisoned and tortured for many years by the Communist regime.
left behind some invaluable words of advice for Christians
contemplating a dark future - you need to read the whole thing.
PREPARING FOR SUFFERING
Suffering cannot be avoided in the Underground
Church, whatever measures are taken, but suffering should be reduced to the
What happens in a country when oppressive
powers take over? In some countries the terror starts at once, as in Mozambique
and Cambodia. In other places religious liberty follows as never before.
it begins. Some regimes come to power without having real power. They do not
have the people on their side. They have not necessarily organized their police
and their staff of the army yet.
In Russia, the Communists gave immediately
great liberty to the Protestants in order to destroy the Orthodox. When they
had destroyed the Orthodox, the turn came for the Protestants.
situation does not last long. During that time
they infiltrate the churches, putting their men in
leadership. They find out the weaknesses of pastors. Some might be
some might be
love of money.
Another might have a
somewhere, wherewith he may be blackmailed. They explain that they would make it
known and thus put their men in leadership.
Then, at a certain moment the great
persecution begins. In Romania such a clamp-down happened in one day. All the
Catholic bishops went to prison, along with innumerable priests, monks and nuns.
Then many Protestant pastors of all denominations were arrested. Many died in
In a free country, to be a member of a church,
it is enough to believe and to be baptized. In the Church underground it is not
enough to be a member in it. You can be baptized and you can believe,
will not be a member of the Underground Church unless you know how to suffer.
You might have the mightiest faith in the
world, but if you are not prepared to suffer, then when you are taken by the
police, you will get two slaps and you will declare anything.
So the preparation
for suffering is one of the essentials of the preparation of underground work.
A Christian does not panic if he is put in
prison. For the rank and file believer, prison is a new place to witness for
Christ. For a pastor, prison is a new parish. It is a parish with no great
income but with great opportunities for work...
So do not fear
Look upon it as just a new assignment given by
I am very grateful to Dale Nelson for pointing me at this essay, which made a big impact on me, and which I find keeps coming to mind.
I think one reason I find it especially encouraging is that Wurmbrand was a convert, and into a Christian denomination which was not large or dominant in his country.
This somehow makes his example seem more remarkable and relevant for the likes of myself, compared with those who have been raised from birth in their national faith.
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