Tuesday, October 27, 2009

From the pen of the persecuted: God’s perspective versus ours

Richard Wurmbrand was an evangelical Lutheran pastor of Jewish origin who was born in 1909 in Romania. When the communists seized his native land in 1945, he became a leader in the underground church. In 1948 he and his wife, Sabina, were arrested, and he served fourteen years in prisons. For three years in an underground cell, he saw no one except his guards and torturers. Christian friends in Norway purchased his freedom for $10,000. Pastor Wurmbrand is the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs. A prolific writer, these excerpts are from his best-selling book Tortured for Christ.

God sees things differently than we see them, just as we see differently than an ant. From the human point of view, to be tied to a cross and smeared with excrement is a horrible thing. Nonetheless, the Bible calls the sufferings of martyrs “light affliction.” To be in prison for fourteen years is a long period to us. The Bible calls it “but for a moment,” and tells us that these things are “working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17.)

This gives us the right to suppose that the fierce crimes of the Communists, which are inexcusable to us, are lighter in the eyes of God than they are in our eyes. Their tyranny, which has lasted almost an entire century, may be before God, for whom  a thousand years are like one day, only a moment of erring astray. They still have the possibility of being saved.

The gates of heaven are not closed for the Communists. Neither is the light quenched for them. They can repent like everyone else. And we must call them to repentance.

Only love can change the Communist and the terrorist (a love that must be clearly distinguished from compromise with non-Christian philosophies, practiced by many church leaders.) … In the West I found many church leaders the contrary sentiment of that which was predominant in the Underground Church behind the Bamboo and former Iron Curtains. Many Christians in the West have no love for those in captive nations. Proof of it is that they do nothing for their salvation. They have missions to persuade Christians of one denomination to change to another. But many have no mission to captive nations, claiming that such work is “against the law!” They don’t love them.

… By not loving the Communists and those from other captive nations, and by doing nothing to win them for Christ (under the pretext that they are not allowed to do so, as if the first Christians asked permission from Nero to spread the gospel)  Western church leaders do not love their own flocks either, if they do not allow them to participate in this spiritual battle around the world.

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