On the 29th of February 1948 Richard Wurmbrand was taken into custody.
His crime – the spreading of the gospel message throughout Communist Romania.
On the anniversary of his capture we saw the movie, “Tortured for Christ”. The movie is a confronting, yet inspiring, retelling of the testimony of Richard Wurmbrand, who was a Lutheran pastor.
Pastor Wurmbrand publicly stated that Christianity and Communism were incompatible.
Communism sees Christianity as a threat. For sharing his faith, and the gospel message, the Communist State imprisoned and brutally tortured Richard. His ordeal lasted 14 long years.
In 1945, Communists seized power in Romania and a million Russian troops poured into the country.
Even though opposition to Christianity increased, Pastor Wurmbrand continued ministering to his countrymen. He engaged in bold evangelism to the Russian soldiers.
The Congress of Cults
That same year the Romanian Communist government organised the Congress of Cults. The purpose of the Congress was to force the religious leaders of Romania to praise Communism and to swear loyalty to the regime and to Stalin.
The pressure applied by the State was too much to bear for many of Romania’s religious leaders.
Many buckled. In speech after speech these leaders submitted themselves to the position imposed on them by the State.
Pastor Wurmbrand’s speech was different. He declared that the duty of all was to glorify God and Christ alone. It is a most inspiring example of faith.
Pastor Wurmbrand’s Speech
We are gathered here today as the holy priesthood of God, to glorify the name of Christ – not the party. Communism has made martyrs of our brothers. How can it be praised?
Our duty is not to endorse earthly powers. Our duty is to glorify God the Creator, to glorify Christ the Saviour who died for us on the cross.
Jesus was mocked by those who tortured Him. “Perform another miracle”. “You saved others, but you cannot save yourself”.
The miracle was… He looked upon them with love! Jesus looked upon them with love! With love! That is the miracle. What a Saviour is this Jesus!
As a result of this speech, Wurmbrand became a marked man.
Shorty after his speech, the Communists kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured him.
The Take Away
Whilst we in the West do not live in a Communist State today, we do face real forces that seek to destroy our Christian faith through incremental compromise.
Just as Communism and Christianity are not compatible, so many of the changes we experience in our society today are incompatible with sustaining the Christian faith.
Let us take courage from the testimony of Pastor Wurmbrand who refused to compromise and who stood fast for the glory of God.