Warning: Reading this book may cause a sudden increase in your desire to serve God.
As a Christian living in the United States I have grown accustomed to have certain things, namely freedom to say and do what I want in regards to religion. Tortured for Christ tells of a time and place where such a thing was a faint memory.
Originally published in 1967, Wurmbrand tells of his experience being a Christian pastor in both Nazi, and later Soviet-controlled Romania. (The last half of that sentence should be an indication that the word "tortured" was not put in the title simply to pique one's interest.) He wrote mainly of his experience under Communism, referencing the Nazis only briefly, stating that the blessing of the Nazi occupation was that it taught the believers that physical beatings can be endured. Knowledge that would sadly become useful when the Communists came into power. However, the Communists did not come into power as you might think.
Seduction and Standing Up
Wurmbrand stated that the Communists did not come the Romanian church with guns blazing, but rather as a man who seduces a female for a one night stand. Sadly, for the most part, it worked. He wrote of a congress that was convened in the Romanian Parliament building where four thousand ministers of all denomination were gathered. They then voted Joseph Stalin, who was at the time president of the World Movement of the Godless and mass murderer of Christians, honorary president of this gathering of religious leaders. One by one these so called men of God stated how that Communism and Christianity were basically the same and then pledged allegiance to the Communist government. He then wrote,
"My wife and I were present at this congress. Sabrina told me, 'Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ! They are spitting in His face.' I said to her, 'If I do so, you lose your husband,' She replied, 'I don't wish to have a coward as a husband.'"That last sentence pretty much sums up the attitude of the Underground Church that sprung up around that time. Christians fearlessly spread the gospel, and joyfully went to prison and certain torture and death. He told many stories of the believers, but the one that touched me the most was the arrest of a young girl by the secret police. They followed her for some time and waited to arrest her on her wedding day in an attempt to cause the greatest amount of suffering possible. She went peacefully, and left the church kissing her shackles all the while rejoicing that she was the bride of Christ. How many of us would have had the same reaction?
Surprisingly, despite suffering unspeakable tortures at the hands of the Russians they bore no ill will to their captors, rather witnessing to them, winning many to Christ. Wurmbrand put it this way, when a crocodile kills a man, its tragic, but we do not blame the crocodile because it was simply following its nature. He stated that many of these soldiers were so brainwashed that they were little more than animals and should be treated with pity rather than contempt.