An early picture of Richard Wurmbrand, his wife Sabrina, and their son.
Most Christians familiar with Richard Wurmbrand know that he founded the “Voice of the Martyrs, Servants of the Persecuted Church”, which has been widely purported to be a Christian organization. Richard Wurmbrand himself is reverenced in nearly saintly regard by those who support his work, “VOM”, which has grown to a massive worldwide organization with branches in all free countries. The US and main headquarters of VOM is in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
New Voice of the Martyr building, Bartlesville, OK in the US
It has been generally assumed by most Christians who support Voice of the Martyrs that Richard Wurmbrand was Prostestant, due to his title pastor, and designation as a Lutheran preacher. However, very little is generally known about what his personal beliefs were, although many of them are clearly contained in the books and articles he wrote over the years. We will examine some of his beliefs in this and following posts.
There has been a never ending debate about what constitutes a Christian. Evangelical Christians, at least most of them, maintain that Catholics are not Christians. Catholics and Orthodox Catholics, on the other hand, maintain they are most certainly Christians…and so, there is a divergence of opinions on the matter.
Should the religious beliefs of Richard Wurmbrand be scrutinized for the purpose that the supporters of VOM might know what the religious views of Richard Wurmbrand and the general tone of Voice of the Martyrs have been, both in Wurmbrand’s own writings and the articles, and newsletters of VOM? I think so! The reason for this being, that when support and money is being poured into any organization, it is critically important to examine the roots of that organization, who the founder was, what he or she believed and stood for, what he or she taught, and what the financial support of donors would be used for.Or, of much more importance, whether by supporting VOM, one is aiding and abetting heresy and ecumenism, thereby giving consent to it in disobedience to the commandments of Christ. This is the crux of the issue and not to be taken lightly by any means.
That said, I am posting the following rather obscure article, in it’s entirety, found on the Internet which had been published in the Orthodox magazine, “Again“, for the examination and discernment of all, which I hope will shed some light on the personal religious views of Richard Wurmbrand. Comments from readers will be welcomed.
Our St. Herman Brotherhood and Monastery has for a long time had great respect and appreciation for the life, testimony and work of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, a Jewish convert to Christianity who suffered for fourteen years in Communist prisons in Romania due to his unrelenting Christian activity. Back in 1979, our co-founder Fr. Seraphim Rose spoke about Pastor Wurmbrand to seminarians and pilgrims at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York. In succeeding years we corresponded with Pastor Wurmbrand himself, sent him Orthodox materials, and met with him at some of his speaking engagements.
In 1996 our Brotherhood made personal contact with a man who had been in Communist prisons in Romania at the same time as Pastor Wurmbrand, and for the same reason: the Romanian Orthodox priest, Fr. George Calciu. Fr. Seraphim Rose had also spoken at great length about Fr. George and his courageous preaching of Christ in Romania. We were overjoyed to get to know him here in America, learn from his faith, and benefit from his wisdom and experience.
It soon became known to us that Pastor Wurmbrand and Fr. George were friends. Fr. George told us that Pastor Wurmbrand had confessed to him many times in the United States—not as a sacrament, since Pastor Wurmbrand was a Lutheran—but as before an Orthodox priest and friend. Before these talks, in which he disclosed his struggles, Pastor Wurmbrand would always cross himself.
Pastor Wurmbrand had also confessed to an Orthodox priest many years prior to coming to America, when he was in Communist prison. He told Fr. George about this when he met him in Pennsylvania in 1989. In a recent letter Fr. George informed us about what Pastor Wurmbrand had told him:
Pastor Wurmbrand was in a prison hospital for terminal illness. The majority of the people from this prison had to die.
One day, a new transport of prisoners came to the jail. Among them was a very humble Orthodox priest from a village. He seemed so simple that the guards made all kinds of jokes about him. The prisoners were in the courtyard—a special place surrounded by a fence—and the guard brought in the newcomers, all in rags.
The guard said to them, “Look, guys, this is a priest. He was sent here by the prison administration to hear your last confession—all of you.” He was alluding that they all had to die, including the priest.
Pastor Wurmbrand said, “He [the guard] prophesied: in less than six months, everyone came to this priest and confessed. I was among the first.”
In 1998 Pastor Wurmbrand was in critical condition in a hospital in southern California. He had not eaten for ten days, and it looked like he was dying. He was asked which pastor should be called, and he asked for Fr. George Calciu. Fr. George was telephoned and was prepared to come, but the danger passed and Pastor Wurmbrand got better. Still, Pastor Wurmbrand was in such a condition that he had to be kept in a nursing home—a Catholic nursing home in Torrance, California.
In July of 1998 Fr. George went to see Pastor Wurmbrand. Shortly after this visit, he sent us the following message:
Pastor Wurmbrand was very excited to see me. He is in a nursing home, very weak; he cannot swallow anything, even his own saliva. I found him sleeping, because he wanted not to be tired and to be able to talk longer with me. After half an hour he awoke and was pushed in his wheelchair to a small yard, where there was a statue of the Mother of God. We talked a few minutes all together: his wife Sabina, two Romanian ladies, Nicolae Popa and a young man.
Afterwards, everybody left Richard and me alone. We started by remembering the time in prisons, and he remembered something very touching. He said: ‘I was in prison with different people: Orthodox, Catholic, Romanian, Hungarian, German, etc. And I noticed that the Hymn to the Mother of God existed in all the languages, except Hebrew. And I decided to compose this hymn in Hebrew, because Mary is a Jew and Hebrew was her language.” He started to sing, with his weak and trembling voice, the hymn in Hebrew. The melody was very Jewish, composed by him. I was deeply impressed. The statue of the Mother of God was there, watching and blessing us. . . . He told me that, in his heart, he loved Orthodoxy, but considered he was not worthy of it, and because of this he did not succeed in becoming fully Orthodox.
If you go to Richard and talk to him, ask him to sing “Ave Maria.” And be prepared to tape the song. He loves very much the Mother of God, and I am sure he will be happy in his heart to let this song be a testimony of his secret Orthodoxy. I was not prepared and failed the occasion.
Thinking that this might be our last opportunity to meet and talk with Pastor Wurmbrand, we set off to see him almost immediately after receiving Fr. George’s letter.
Hieromonk Gerasim, Mother Nina (who had spent two years in a monastery in Romania) and I arrived at the nursing home in the morning of July 28. Pastor Wurmbrand greeted us with love and was happy to see us. We went with him in his wheelchair to the same courtyard in which Fr. George had spoken with him.
His first concern was what he could do for us. We were moved by how he, so weak and enfeebled himself, was so desirous to give to others.
I asked him how to face persecution, if and when it comes. He told us not to be fearful of persecution. “Persecution must come to all Christians,” he said, “but do not be afraid.”
Mother Nina asked him how to bear suffering. He said that he had always been afraid of suffering, but then he began to be joyful in suffering. “Be joyful!” he exclaimed, “leap for joy!” As Mother Nina remarked later, as he said this his eyes seemed like a sea of light opening into eternity.
Mother Nina asked him about the song he had composed to the Mother of God in Hebrew. Immediately he sang it for us, and we recorded it on tape(audible from min,7 of recording) as Fr. George had urged us to do. Mother Nina wept. When he finished singing Pastor Wurmbrand said that Mary was the closest one to Jesus, and was the only one to change His will. (Evidently he was speaking about Christ’s miracle of changing water into wine. According to the commentary of St. Cyril of Alexandria, at that time the Mother of God did indeed persuade her Son to do something He did not desire; He did it out of obedience to her.) We could see, as Fr. George had told us, that Pastor Wurmbrand had great love for the Theotokos.
Soon we were joined by friends of Pastor Wurmbrand: a Romanian woman, her two sisters, and her American husband. Pastor Wurmbrand’s legs began to hurt him; he was wincing from the pain, and asked to be taken back inside to his bed. (As we later learned, the pain was due to severely advancing leg neuropathy contracted during his three years of solitary confinement, when he was obliged to stand interminable hours, being kept on a starvation diet.)
Once he was settled into his bed, he sang for us once again his song to the Mother of God: first in English, and then in Hebrew. He explained to us the circumstances under which he composed it (this, too, we recorded on tape). “I was in a very bad situation in prison,” he said. “Prison was not always very bad. Sometimes there are better times, sometimes worse times. It was a very bad time. And I prayed that the times would change, and they did not change. Then I promised that if it [the situation] changed for the good of the prisoners, I would translate this song into Hebrew. In five minutes the situation changed.”
We began to sing Orthodox hymns with Pastor Wurmbrand: “Christ is Risen” and “Holy God” in Romanian. Even though it was hard for him to sing and he would choke and cough, he sang the hymns with his whole heart.
I asked him if he would like to be anointed with holy oil, and he gladly consented. Anointing three times his head, hands and feet with oil from the reliquary of St. John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco, I said aloud the prayer of blessing to our Lord Jesus Christ, asking for St. John’s intercessions. After this anointing Pastor Wurmbrand looked more peaceful and ceased to show obvious signs of being in pain.
We were there for almost three hours. We returned in the evening and were met by Sabina Wurmbrand, who beamed with the same joy as did her husband. She too was very glad to see us, especially Mother Nina. Sabina had been in Communist prison for three years together with Orthodox nuns.
During our second visit Pastor Wurmbrand asked us to gather close to him, and he kept asking us for a “word.” He was extremely interested to hear about the missionary work of our Brotherhood.
I was impressed with his humility. When, for example, I mentioned Fr. George Calciu to him, he said, “Fr. George is a great man. He loves sinners. That’s why he loves me.”
He asked Sabina for their checkbook, because he wanted to give a donation toward Mother Nina’s upcoming trip to Romania. We assured him that it was not necessary for him to go to the trouble, but he said emphatically, “We have to show our Christian love through concrete acts.” (Sabina did not have the checkbook at the time, but soon thereafter she sent Mother Nina a letter with a sizable donation, which was then given to an Orthodox publishing house in Romania.)
After a while Sabina began to be concerned that her husband was becoming too tired, and said she thought everyone should leave and let him rest. But Pastor Wurmbrand did not want us to leave, and tried to postpone our departure as long as possible. Finally we did go when visiting hours ended. He expressed his gratitude to us, and as we walked out of the room he looked at us with longing.
We ourselves were truly grateful for this meeting. We were able to experience firsthand Pastor Wurmbrand’s love for God and neighbor, which had been tested and tried in the crucible of suffering for our Lord Jesus Christ. We were witnesses, too, of his love for God’s Most Pure Mother, and of the respect and esteem in which he held the Orthodox Church and her tradition.
Hieromonk Damascene Christensen is from St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, Platina, California. From left to right: Hieromonk Gerasim, abbot of St. Herman of Alaska Monastery; Pastor Wurmbrand; Hieromonk Damascene; and Mother Nina.
Intro to Pastor Wurbrand’s own article:
Throughout the era of the Communist domination of Eastern Europe, there were many heroes who suffered and died in prison for trying to help Christians behind the Iron Curtain. One of the most well-known of these heroes is Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, a Lutheran minister who started an underground ministry in Romania in 1945. Of the next twenty years, he spent fourteen in prison. Finally ransomed out of Romania in 1965, he established a ministry to smuggle Bibles and practical aid to the families of Romanian martyrs. He died in February of this year, suffering to the end from the maltreatment he had received at the hands of the Communists.
AGAIN Magazine featured an article by Richard Wurmbrand in its September, 1987 issue. As this article, reprinted here, clearly shows, Pastor Wurmbrand was deeply impressed by the faith and dedication of the Orthodox Christians he met in Romania. Fr. Damascene Christensen recently spent time with Pastor Wurmbrand near the end of his life. Fr. Damascene’s reminiscences of those meetings show how Wurmbrand’s attachment to the Orthodox Faith persisted and deepened into his dying days.
Pastor Wurmbrand himself and those whose stories he relates are shining examples of how faithful Christians can not only survive, but be illuminated through the dreadful sufferings of imprisonment.
With My Own EyesA Lutheran Pastor’s Firsthand Account of Prison Life
by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand
I am a Christian from an Orthodox country—the country of Romania. Having been in prison for fourteen years for my faith, it is now my missionary work to help persecuted Christians in Communist countries. I would like to tell you the stories of several Orthodox Christians with whom I was privileged to come into contact during my time in prison. Their examples and their deeds have been a constant source of encouragement to me throughout the years.
The first man was a priest who was put in jail at the age of seventy. His name was Surioanu. When he was brought in with his big white beard and white pate, some officers at the gate of the jail mocked him. One asked, “Why did they bring this old priest here?” And another replied with a jeer, “Probably to take the confessions of everybody.” Those were his exact words.
This priest had a son who had died in a Soviet jail. His daughter was sentenced to twenty years. Two of his sons-in-law were with him in jail—one with him in the same cell. His grandchildren had no food, they were forced to eat from the garbage. His whole family was destroyed. He had lost his church. But this man had such a shining face—there was always a beautiful smile on his lips. He never greeted anyone with “Good morning” or “Good evening,” but instead with the words, “Always rejoice.”
One day we asked him, “Father, how can you say ‘always rejoice’—you who passed through such a terrible tragedy?”
He said, “Rejoicing is very easy. If we fulfill at least one word from the Bible, it is written, ‘Rejoice with all those who rejoice.’ Now if one rejoices with all those who rejoice, he always has plenty of motivation for rejoicing. I sit in jail, and I rejoice that so many are free. I don’t go to church, but I rejoice with all those who are in church. I can’t take Holy Communion, but I rejoice about all those who take. I can’t read the Bible or any other holy book, but I rejoice with those who do. I can’t see flowers [we never saw a tree or a flower during those years. We were under the earth, in a subterranean prison. We never saw the sun, the moon, stars—many times we forgot that these things existed. We never saw a color, only the gray walls of the cell and our gray uniforms. But we knew that such a world existed, a world with multicolored butterflies and with rainbows], but I can rejoice with those who see the rainbows and who see the multicolored butterflies.”
In prison, the smell was not very good. But the priest said, “Others have the perfume of flowers around them, and girls wearing perfume. And others have picnics and others have their families of children around them. I cannot see my children but others have children. And he who can rejoice with all those who rejoice can always rejoice. I can always be glad.” That is why he had such a beautiful expression on his face.
Let me interrupt to tell you about another Orthodox Christian. He was not a priest, but a simple farmer. In our country, farmers are almost always illiterate, or nearly so. He had read his Bible well, but other than that he had never read a book. Now he was in the same cell with professors, academicians, and other men of high culture who had been put in jail by the Communists. And this poor farmer tried to bring to Christ a member of the Academy of Science. But in return, he received only mockery.
“Sir, I can’t explain much to you, but I walk with Jesus, I talk with Him, I see Him.”
“Go away. Don’t tell me fairy tales that you see Jesus. How do you see Jesus?”
“Well, I cannot tell you how I see Him. I just see Him. There are many kinds of seeing. In dreams, for instance, you see many things. It’s enough for me to close my eyes. Now I see my son before me, now I see my daughter-in-law, now I see my granddaughter. Everybody can see. There is another sight. I see Jesus.”
“You see Jesus?”
“Yes, I see Jesus.”
“What does He look like? How does He look to you? Does He look restful, angry, bored, annoyed, happy to see you? Does He smile sometimes?”
He said, “You guessed it! He smiles at me.”
“Gentlemen, come hear what this man says to us. He mocks us. He says Jesus smiles at him. Show me, how does He smile?”
That was one of the grandest moments of my life. The farmer became very, very earnest. His face began to shine. In the Church today there are pastors and theologians who can’t believe the whole Bible. They believe half of it, a quarter of it. Somehow they can’t believe the miracles. I can believe the whole of it because I have seen miracles. I have seen transfigurations—not like that of Jesus, but something apart. I have seen faces shining.
A smile appeared on the face of that farmer. I would like to be a painter to be able to paint that smile. There was a streak of sadness in it because of the lost soul of the scientist. But there was so much hope in that smile. And there was so much love and so much compassion, and a yearning that this soul should be saved. The whole beauty of heaven was in the smile on that face. The face was dirty and unwashed, but it held the beautiful smile of heaven.
The professor bowed his head and said, “Sir, you are right. You have seen Jesus. He has smiled at you.”
Now, to come back to this priest, Surioanu. He was always such a happy being. When we were taken out for walks, in a yard where there was never a flower, a piece of herb, or grass, he would put his hand on the shoulder of some Christian and ask, “Tell me your story.”
Usually the men would talk about how bad the Communists were. “They’ve beaten me and they’ve tortured me and they’ve done terrible things.”
He would listen attentively; then he would say, “You’ve said plenty about the Communists; now tell me about yourself. When did you confess last?”
“Well, some forty years ago.”
“Let us sit down and forget the Communists and forget the Nazis. For you are also a sinner. And tell me your sins.”
Everybody confessed to him—I confessed to him, too, and I remember that as I confessed to him, and the more I told him sins, the more beautiful and loving became his face. I feared in the beginning that when he heard about such things he would loathe me. But the more I said bad things about myself, the more he sat near to me. And in the end he said, “Son, you really have committed plenty of sins, but I can tell you one thing. Despite all of these sins, God still loves you and forgives you. Remember that He has given His Son to die for you, and try one day a little bit, and another day a little bit, just to improve your character so it should be pleasant to God.”
My experiences with this priest were among the most beautiful encounters of my life. He is no longer on this earth. He was an example of what real Orthodoxy is all about. There exists such Orthodoxy. I don’t see much point in becoming an Orthodox from a Lutheran background or from a Baptist background or from any other background unless one desires that kind of Orthodoxy. His was an excellent Orthodoxy, a pure Orthodoxy. May God help us all to be truly Orthodox, after the example of so many saints who are depicted on the icons, and after the example of so many saints alive today.
“A Good Confession”
There was a brigade in Romania which was only for priests, bishops, pastors, rabbis, and laymen—whoever was in prison for his faith. One day a political officer came to inspect that brigade. Everybody stood at attention, and at random he called out a young man (whose name was Coceanga) and asked him, “What have you been in your civilian life?”
And he replied, “Sir, what I have been in my civilian life, I will be forever. I am a priest of God.”
“Aha, a priest! And do you still love Christ?”
The priest was silent for a few seconds—seconds as long as eternity, because he knew that his eternal destiny would be decided in those seconds. The Lord said, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32, 33).
And then after a little meditation, his face began to shine—I have seen so many shining faces—and with a very humble but very decided voice he said, “Captain, when I became a priest, I knew that during Church history thousands had been killed for their faith. And as often as I ascended to the altar dressed in those beautiful, ornate robes, surrounded by the respect and love of the congregation, I promised to God that if ever I had to suffer, if ever I wore the uniform of the prisoner, I would still love Christ.”
“Captain,” he went on to say, “I so pity you. We have the truth, and you have whips. We have love, and you have iron bars on prison cells. Violence and hatred is a very poor argument against truth and love. If you were to hang all the professors of mathematics, if all the mathematicians were hanged, how much would four plus four be then? It would still be eight. And eight plus eight would still be sixteen.
“You can’t change the truth by hanging those who speak the truth. If all the Christians were hanged, it would still remain so that there is a God, and He is love. And there is a Savior; His name is Jesus Christ, and by confessing Him a man can be saved. And there exists a Holy Spirit, and a host of angels around the earth. And there exists a beautiful paradise—you can’t change the truth.”
I wish there was a way to convey the tone with which he said those words. We, the others, were ashamed because we believed in Christ, we hoped in Christ, but this man loved Christ as Juliet loved Romeo and as the bride loves the bridegroom.
“An Undying Love”
When I was in jail I fell very, very ill. I had tuberculosis of the whole surface of both lungs, and four vertebrae were attacked by tuberculosis. I also had intestinal tuberculosis, diabetes, heart failure, jaundice, and other sicknesses I can’t even remember. I was near to death.
At my right hand was a priest by the name of Iscu. He was abbot of a monastery. This man, perhaps in his forties, had been so tortured he was near to death. But his face was serene. He spoke about his hope of heaven, about his love of Christ, about his faith. He radiated joy.
On my left side was the Communist torturer who had tortured this priest almost to death. He had been arrested by his own comrades. Don’t believe the newspapers when they say that the Communists only hate Christians or Jews—it’s not true. They simply hate. They hate everybody. They hate Jews, they hate Christians, they hate anti-Semites, they hate anti-Christians, they hate everybody. One Communist hates the other Communist. They quarrel among themselves, and when they quarrel one Communist with the other, they put the other one in jail and torture him just like a Christian, and they beat him.
And so it happened that the Communist torturer who had tortured this priest nearly to death had been tortured nearly to death by his comrades. And he was dying near me. His soul was in agony.
During the night he would awaken me, saying, “Pastor, please pray for me. I can’t die, I have committed such terrible crimes.”
Then I saw a miracle. I saw the agonized priest calling two other prisoners. And leaning on their shoulders, slowly, slowly he walked past my bed, sat on the bedside of this murderer, and caressed his head—I will never forget this gesture. I watched a murdered man caressing his murderer! That is love—he found a caress for him.
The priest said to the man, “You are young; you did not know what you were doing. I love you with all my heart.” But he did not just say the words. You can say “love,” and it’s just a word of four letters. But he really loved. “I love you with all my heart.”
Then he went on, “If I who am a sinner can love you so much, imagine Christ, who is Love Incarnate, how much He loves you! And all the Christians whom you have tortured, know that they forgive you, they love you, and Christ loves you. He wishes you to be saved much more than you wish to be saved. You wonder if your sins can be forgiven. He wishes to forgive your sins more than you wish your sins to be forgiven. He desires for you to be with Him in heaven much more than you wish to be in heaven with Him. He is Love. You only need to turn to Him and repent.”
In this prison cell in which there was no possibility of privacy, I overheard the confession of the murderer to the murdered. Life is more thrilling than a novel—no novelist has ever written such a thing. The murdered—near to death—received the confession of the murderer. The murdered gave absolution to his murderer.
They prayed together, embraced each other, and the priest went back to his bed. Both men died that same night. It was a Christmas Eve. But it was not a Christmas Eve in which we simply remembered that two thousand years ago Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It was a Christmas Eve during which Jesus was born in the heart of a Communist murderer.
These are things which I have seen with my own eyes.
Note: Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was the founder of Christian Missions to the Communist World, Middlebury, Indiana.
VOM, Voice of the Martrys has become a world wide behemoth. We will support the work they do “when” indeed they assist persecuted evangelical Christians, not when they use the money of their supporters to help Catholics rebuild their churches, or continue to publish newsletters with heretical Catholic doctrines. It’s amazing to me that this activity has slipped under the radar almost unnoticed by VOM’s evangelical supporters.
Just so you know, there is another organization similar to VOM; the so named International Christian Concern; http://www.persecution.org/.
Apparently, this group does the same thing as VOM. Checking out their site I found they support Coptic Catholics. I have begun to wonder if these groups are just plain ignorant of scripture, or perhaps there is more of a profit motive involved rather than legit Christian love and compassion. As for me, I plan on knowing first hand, in my own community, where and who to support financially. I don’t think I shall ever again send checks to “mystery meat ministries”, where you really have zero idea where the money is going.
“We have just confirmed that Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) does not differentiate heretics from Christians in their reporting; They lump Catholics, Adventists and any other group professing Christian faith in with their claim of being persecuted for Jesus. Will they next add Mormons just because they claim Jesus?
I find this disturbing VOM cannot discern the difference between heretics and Brothers.
Why is that important to identify those who practice heresy? Is there a difference between Catholics, Christians, Mormons and Adventists, for example? Why identify when you are speaking about Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Buddhists from Christians? What is the difference between them and Roman Catholics; These are all works righteousness systems and NOT Christianity.
“Why are you lumping Catholics in that list, isn’t Catholicism Biblical?” Is it?
In matters like these, it is always wise to seek out elders with good reputations for their clear exegetical exposition of the Bible to see what they have to say. So let’s ask John MacArthur, Pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969, and founder of the Ministry Grace to You (http://gty.org).
On his website John answered that question in his article…
Is Roman Catholicism Biblical?
“As long as the Roman Catholic Church continues to assert its own authority and bind its people to ‘another gospel,’ it is the spiritual duty of all true Christians to oppose Roman Catholic doctrine with biblical truth and to call all Catholics to true salvation. Meanwhile, evangelicals must not capitulate to the pressures for artificial unity. They cannot allow the gospel to be obscured, and they cannot make friends with false religion, lest they become partakers in their evil deeds (2 John 11).”
John also has an audio series on Catholicism called “Explaining the Heresy of Catholicism“, which title makes clear his opinion on the matter.
John’s view of Calvinism, however, is entirely another matter.
So, did you catch that? Evangelicals must not capitulate to the pressures for false unity and must oppose their doctrine with Biblical truth! It is a much greater evil to send a man to Hell thinking he is safe than to burn down his false assumptions with the Law, for example, showing him his great need for a Savior. The pain will not be forever in the latter but will be endless in the former. There is a very clear distinction between denominations that “differ in non-essentials” and pagan worship that sends a man to Hell, isn’t there?
A few points I have seen myself about Roman Catholic beliefs:
1. Where does the Bible say to worship Mary or that she is in any way a co-redemptrix with Jesus for your salvation?
2. Why do Catholics still claim infused righteousness is correct, in direct opposition to Ephesians 2:8-9?
3. Why do Catholic Priests venerate tradition and what their High priests say over the Bible and what God says, when there is a conflict between them?
Roman Catholicism doesn’t sound Christian to me. And those points are not “non-essentials.”
I asked a representative of VOM on Twitter what the Roman Catholic policy was, after discussing the issue with him, and he gave me this link on their website: http://www.persecution.net/faq-kinds.htm.
In that document you can see the ministry policy is not to be concerned with who is who. Apparently all someone need to do is claim Jesus to get on “the list.”
Why is VOM wasting your support on heretics, funds meant to help Christians?
Richard Wumbrand is not a Catholic but, as I am told by @VOMC on Twitter, Richard suffered in a prison “with Catholics.” It is clear by their policy statement on the matter that V.O.M. considers Roman Catholicism to be merely a denomination of Christianity. (I suspect their Reformed Catholicism, called Calvinism, is to blame
Not True Richard!
There are many Protestants that were tortured by Roman Catholics that would argue very vehemently with you if they could; We must argue for them instead.
Catholics are not Christians!
Richard Wurmbrand seemed to have elevated his personal experience above scriptural authority; he knows better today.
I like(d) what Voice of the Martyrs does, so I am saddened to hear they are allowing themselves to be used by heretics to spread their heresy as they help “persecuted” Catholics rebuild their “churches.”
It would not be difficult for you, Voice of the Martyrs, to identify the “denomination” of the person under persecution, but yet you refuse to do even that and so color your news of Christians Persecution with doubt:
“Our focus of ministry is on those who are mistreated because their persecutors consider them Christians” is their stated justification for helping Catholics as if they are brothers in Christ. So now the persecutors define what you do Richard? No, brother, no; That is a mistake. Many make this very same mistake about Mormons.
“Should we not still assist those being badly treated?” OF COURSE! Christians are responsible for the VAST MAJORITY of all assistance in the world. And MOST of those receiving such help are NOT Christians, as the Bible says. But let’s not identify these as being persecuted for Jesus when they are not.
If a Catholic is being abused he has to know he isn’t being persecuted for Jesus! A Catholic doesn’t even have a saving faith! Consider his soul man lest he die in his sins and you be called to task by Jesus for not telling him the truth!
Truth is more important than unity, Richard Wurmbrand, even at the cost of your own $upport. It is far far better to lose the ministry than foster lies as truth and help a single soul into Hell, am I right?
And why is that important? Why is it so all-fired important to know the difference between a Catholic, a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness and a Christian? Because JESUS cares who is His and who is being persecuted for His name’s sake. Jesus cares very much who is lying about their associations and using His Name to garner support for their heresy, taking such help from His Children. God is not mocked! He is not jerk to be jerked around.
Christians cannot have unity with darkness. PERIOD.
Any co-operation with Catholicism lends credence to their apostasy – Jesus is not pleased.
So, as long as the Voice of the Martyrs ministry continues to identify with those who are not being persecuted for Jesus then Joyce and I cannot recommend supporting their work; They might as well just become a secular news service for all the good they will do, I’m genuinely sorry to say.
I had to let our support for a housing ministry go when I found out they were Catholic. Now I find Voice of the Martyrs is Catholic friendly as well.
The final word on this, as always, must be from the Bible:
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
2 Corinthians 6:14
“for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”
2 John 11
Should Voice of the Martyrs see the error of supporting Catholicism as if it is Christian, when they stop, then we will be happy to recommend them again.”
Patrick and Joyce Burwell
Much has been made of Richard Wurmbrand being prisoner in Rumanian Communist Prisons, his book, “Tortured for Christ” and the suffering he endured as a “Christian pastor” believer in Christ. These things as well as his intellectualism and the fact that he founded what has become known as the Voice of the Martyrs has propelled him and the organization into a huge widely known, and so far, “well-respected” iconic ministry of mega proportions with vast financial resources and power.
All that seems admiral on the surface but what has apparently slipped under the radar is his ecumenical, and Marxist socialist so-called “Christian” apologetics and doctrine.
More recently during this past year of 2012 is the suicide of the US Director of the Voice of the Martyrs, Tom White, under mysterious circumstances, apparently as a result of the molestation of a minor 10 yr old girl.
All well and good you might say, for the organization has all appearances of doing much good for the persecuted Christians of the world……….but, at what expense to the truth of the gospel, considering that from the get go, Richard Wurmbrand, and Tom White, have consistently blended the evil of ecumenism and a pro-Catholic persuasion into the writings of the Voice of the Martyr newsletters and publications, making NO DISTINCTION between the pure evangelical gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the cult of the Roman Catholic church and it’s mysticism. I leave this for the readers discernment and ask you to pray about it. Also, I wish it to be known there is indeed another organization which gives relief to persecuted Christians, that of the International Christian Concern. Please understand I am not enforcing this group, and in fact do not know all there is to know about them, but merely offer this as a possibility for the reader to explore as an alternative to VOM.
Two important persons with respect to the Christian faith passed away in the last two weeks (This was written 2-23-01). They were both prophets. One was John Rushdoony. He was a true prophet of the Lord and made significant contributions to the defense of the Christian faith and the understanding of God’s law, especially in his magnus opus, “The Institutes of Biblical Law”. He was a prolific writer and many of his books were key attacks on the citadels of secular humanism in our society. As a warrior for the Christian faith he will be missed, even if a few of his more extreme theonomic views, such as keeping the dietary laws of Moses, were rejected by most of those who loved and respected him.
The other prophet who has just passed away is Richard Wurmbrand, the premier apostle of the “underground church”. Wurmbrand, best known for his best-selling “Tortured for Christ,” was also a prolific author, and well known for his opposition to the Stalinist terror of the U.S.S.R. and its satellites. What is less well known is his theology. Taken as a theologian Wurmbrand has to be classified as a heretic and a false prophet. Even a cursory study of some of his writings displays a breadth of error, mysticism, idolatry, and confusion that is appalling and at times blasphemous.
The following article about the “underground church” was written back in the early 1970’s and documents, even back then, some of Wurmbrand’s strange and heretical beliefs. As it was written in the Editor’s “wild and wooly youth” (I was in my twenties) please attribute the intemperance of some its statements to the exuberance of youth. The article was scanned in so it may contain a few glitches.
CULTURAL WARFARE II – THE UNDERGROUND CHURCH
FALSE PROPHETS While few Christians have recognized the realities of false prophets, the scriptures clearly do. The Apostle Peter declares, “There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you”. Paul, too, makes such deceitful penetration of the church a matter of certainty, warning, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock”. Christ himself, constantly exposing the false teachers of his day, continually warned the disciples, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, bur inwardly they are ravening wolves”, and, “Take heed that no man deceive you . . . For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets . . . insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” That Christians who confess the scriptures as the infallible word of God should continue to ignore at their peril the warnings of the Head of the Church and His Apostles, is incredible. Yet the Church in general continues on as if the very problem or the possibility thereof did not exist. Too often the subject is considered exhausted when one has rebuked a Joseph Smith or a Herbert Armstrong, as if such were actually in danger of deceiving the very elect. Neither should the Christ deniers and blasphemers of the National or World Council of Churches pose a problem to the Lord’s people. Christ reserved his rebukes for the Pharisees, who posed as the most zealous and orthodox teachers of the law. Similarly, Paul warns not of every Hellenistic cult but rather of those that are “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness.” It is with such that the church has to deal, and it is of such that Paul declares, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you lei him be accursed ” Paul’s churches were prepared to face Satanic impersonations of angels from heaven and of the apostles themselves; today’s churches are not.
DISCERNMENT While Christians often prefer to hide behind such a pious and sell-righteous misquote as, Judge not, that ye be not judged”, the scriptural warnings obviously require some judging and a great deal of discernment. Rather than evade the issues the Apostle John exhorts us, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” and to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” To discern such requires the inspiration of the Spirit of Truth. The body of Christ is composed of many members, each fitted for their particular function by the respective gifts of the Holy Spirit. And when Paul lists these in I Cor. 12 he includes the ‘discerning of spirits’. Then, as now, the church’s armor is incomplete when she fails to exercise this gift of the Spirit.
THE TEST The Mosaic law had a test for false prophets (Deut. 18:20-22), but what test can the church apply today to ferret out false teachers? False teachers who come in sheep’s clothing, with wonderful testimonies, proclaiming all the fundamentals of the faith, establishing their credentials and winning the hearts of the Lord’s people by being all that could be expected of an angel of shining light. For if they came as scoffers and deniers, they could never accomplish their objective of disarming and destroying the church by the introduction of more subtle heresies. What test, what standard of discernment can be used to identity these emissaries of Satan?
Christ declared that no man can serve two masters, and that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Neither Satan nor his emissaries can deny themselves; they must consistently promote the Kingdom of Anti-Christ. The nature of that kingdom is revealed in Rev. 13. It is an economic dictatorship where the beast controls the right to buy and sell and thus coerces all men to worship him. When the state controls the marketplace it is socialism, and the Kingdom of the Beast will be a Marxist socialist, totalitarian dictatorship. Socialism is internationalism and prepares the way for the one-world rule of Anti-Christ. It is in these areas that the false teacher will strive to establish the kingdom of his lord, and it is there that he will inflexibly affirm that theology of Anti-Christ: Marxism! The resultant Christian Socialism will mightily prepare the way for the coming and acceptance of Anti-Christ. People will have been deluded that the Kingdom of God is to be established here on earth by social reform, and will have accepted the principle that only the state can carry out the sweeping social changes necessary to institute the new world order. Thus, it is in this area that the false teachers and the deceptive apostles will do their subversive work. Such is the American Apostle, Billy Graham, when he identifies himself as a “fundamentalist with an ecumenical heart and a social conscience”. And such are the apostles of the underground church.
THE COMMISSION NKVD agent, Anatoli Granovsky, was one commissioned as just such a false teacher He was instructed to defect and then by his virulent condemnation of communism to gain the ascendancy in anti-communist organizations. Once there, his specific instructions were,
“Most foreign anti-Soviet publications attack us for the alleged poverty of some of our people, for our prisons, concentration camps and Cheka. This sort of attack is not in the least dangerous to our cause- in every country there are poor people, jails and police. Furthermore, Communist sympathizers are convinced that, being loyal to the doctrine, they themselves would never be sent to jail. . . They are quite prepared to believe that our Cheka, concentration camps and restrictions exist because they have to exist . . . If a man is in any way inclined toward the Communist doctrine, he will not be in the least deterred by being reminded of the harder and severer aspects of Soviet government.
‘When you talk publicly against the Soviet Union,’ I was laid, ‘follow the same harmless line as fanatically as possible. TALK OF PURGES, PRISONS, AND THE CHEKA. BUT DO NOT DRAW POLITICAL CONCLUSIONS OPPOSED TO THE MARXIST-LENINIST PHILOSOPHY. If you do that you are finished, finished for good. ” (I Was An NKVD Agent, pp. 148-149, Emphasis mine.)
THE APPLICATION The Bible says, “not everyone that saith Lord, Lord” but rather, “by their fruits ye shall know them” Examining the fruits of the apostles of the underground church is a discerning but disappointing exercise. While vocal in their opposition to communism, they are strangely silent concerning Marxism. While decrying the brutality of their alleged torturers, they often affirm their ideology. They all speak of terror, torture and persecution but they never deny the political conclusions of Marxism. From Wurmbrand’s “Tortured For Christ” to Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag-Archipelago” they all follow the same harmless line as fanatically as possible.
THE POLITICAL CONCLUSIONS OF MARXISM Richard Wurmbrand is the original and undoubtedly the foremost apostle, if not the patriarch, of the underground church, and all others are but carbon copies. Rather than denying the political conclusions of Marxism, Wurmbrand’s writings reveal a consistent propensity for the theology of the beast.
Marx summed up Communism as the abolition of private property. Wurmbrand agrees, declaring that “Property is theft” and that Christians must renounce the abomination of private ownership of goods (p. 177). Wurmbrand’s endorsement of the socialist welfare state includes a reinterpretation of the text, “If any would not work, neither should he eat” to mean that the state is obligated to feed all men and therefore the state has the right to make them work (p. 176). Thus he endorses the very principle behind every socialist slave labor state. He also advocates a Marxist classless society and proposes. to accomplish this by the nationalization of all the land, the first point of the Communist Manifesto (p. 174). Sounding more like a Trotskyite than a Christian, Wurmbrand reproaches the Communists for not taking the revolution far enough. There are still classes in the Soviet Union, such as ‘Party Members’, Wurmbrand complains, as in his not infrequent praise of Marx’s idealism he affirms the views of those whose only contention with the slave masters of the Kremlin is that they have betrayed the revolution by their infidelity to the ideals of Marx and Lenin.
But the conclusive test is Wurmbrand’s affirmation of the social gospel. For him salvation is not only personal but social, and such social salvation will usher in the Kingdom of God here on earth (pp. 171-172). Here Wurmbrand stands solidly as a Christian Marxist, declaring that there is much common ground between Communism and Christianity and that the good points of the former all stem from the latter. Thus Wurmbrand’s Christian Socialism as well as his persistent Zionism (pp. 190-192) continue to lay the necessary groundwork for the Kingdom of Anti-Christ.
A STRANGE THEOLOGY Theology, the knowledge of God, must he based on the scriptures. Wurmbrand doesn’t think very highly of the scriptures, placing them on the same level as the writings of Shakespeare and other religions (p. 101), quoting the Talmud and the Kabala as frequently and as authoritatively as the scriptures. Wurmbrand doesn’t think very highly of theology either, calling it sin and terming systematic theology an impossibility (p. 186). But if skeptical of the scriptures, he confidently asserts his own opinion, in his defense of atheism, that the Bible is wrong when it considers all atheists fools. Stating that those who pass from a belief in God to becoming God (pantheism) have achieved a religious atheism that is a higher form of Christianity, he declares that those who deny God may be closer to the truth than those who don’t (pp. 131-133). Wurmbrand’s persistent pantheism (pp. 96, 162, 179, 182) ought to be considered in the light of Samuel J. Andrew’s warning that pantheism “lays a broad basis for the deification of man and so serves as a preparation for the Anti-Christ ” (Christianity and Anti-Christianity In Their Final Conflict, p 158)
Much of Wurmbrand’s theology can only be classified as weird. His writings teem with fables and legends, with mysticism and superstition, with Mariolatry (pp. 30, 35-37, 79) and veneration of saints (pp. 67, 72), and even a pagan Hindu deity (p. 169). But of the heart of the Christian gospel, in keeping with his social gospel, Wurmbrand denies the sufficiency of Christ’s blood atonement (p. 156). Wurmbrand’s contemporary popularity should echo Paul’s warning, “for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” in the heart of every true believer.
A MARXIST THEOLOGY But if Wurmbrand fails to conform to the scriptures he certainly doesn’t hesitate to conform to that unholy triumvirate, those three prophets of scientific socialism: Darwin, Marx and Freud. The principle of evolution, heralded by Darwin and seized by Marx as the basis for his messianic drive to the utopia of Anti-Christ, finds fertile soil in the theology of Richard Wurmbrand. There we find that God himself evolved (pp. 19, 44), Christ evolved (p. 291, and Christianity as a religion evolved from paganism (p. 11 1).
Although Freud regarded himself as “one of the most dangerous enemies of religion” (Rushdoony: Freud, p. 34), Wurmbrand plunges into the jungle of Freudianism as he proceeds to psycho-analyze Marx, Lenin, Stalin and company. He thus concludes that they were basically good men unjustly harmed by emotional traumas and complexes in their childhood and that society is to blame for turning such talented and beneficial geniuses against itself (Why Am I A Revolutionist, pp. 5-16). Total depravity, apostasy, the rejection of truth and the judgment that follows (Romans 1, 2 Thess. 2) are ignored as the true genesis of these fountainheads of anti-Christianity
But above all it is especially a Marxist theology. Wurmbrand’s morality is a Marxist morality. To the Marxist, peace, the absence of resistance to communism, is the highest goal, and morality becomes anything, including murder, theft, deception, etc. that will advance that single goal. For Wurmbrand, love is the highest goal, and love is to love the communists, for in this religion anti-communism is hate and therefore its single sin. Thus his love is the Marxist’s peace as he declares, “Sin is every second of my life spent on something other than the destruction of what opposes the triumph of love . . . For me the only criterion of a deed is: does it prepare the way for the final triumph of love” (p. 51). While the scriptures say, “If ye love me, keep my commandments”, Wurmbrand says, “Love God, and do what you will” (p. 53).
But Wurmbrand’s Marxism runs deeper than to stop with even such communist amorality. He says that no law can be righteous, even if it is divine, because every law fixes standards for men of unequal abilities who are put in unequal situations, and therefore God’s law is unjust, unfulfillable and evil (pp. 16-22). For Wurmbrand, justice, which is the highest goal of Christianity, is only possible in the Marxist classless society where all men are equal. His hatred of the divine law is only matched by his blasphemies against the divine Legislator (p. 22), declaring that such a God needs forgiveness’ for his evil laws, that such a God needs a Savior like Jesus, too (P. 18).
Again, Wurmbrand’s Marxism runs deeper than even his Freudian justification of the heroes of the U.S.S.R. He holds the Marxist doctrine of Economic Determinism, that all human actions are determined solely by one’s environment, especially the economic environment. Hence Marx preached that human salvation requires a new economic environment, socialism, to replace the capitalistic environment that produces war, racism, and poverty. Wurmbrand agrees, saying that conscience is unfair because “it does not accept DETERMINISM” It does not acknowledge the obvious fact that my action was the UNAVOIDABLE RESULT of my character SHAPED BY MY WHOLE PAST LIFE . . . THE ONL Y RESPONSE which I . . . could give to EXTERNAL STIMULANTS. Conscience attributes to me alone the guilt of an action which was the end result of . . . the PRESSURE OF MY SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT” (pp. 26-27, Emphasis mine). Wurmbrand goes on to justify every sin from adultery and homosexuality through suicide, since obviously society and not the criminal is to blame. And in this faith it is obviously not spiritual regeneration but a revolution in the social environment that is called for. Other than complaining of the environment of terror, prisons and secret police, Wurmbrand’s faith, theology and gospel is Marx’s faith, theology and gospel. A gospel of creating the Kingdom of God on earth by an environment of love through social action. A gospel of social salvation till we have a classless society ruled by love, not law. An international love, an ecumenical love, that will produce One World, One Church, One Race!
NEUTRALISM What is the mission of a false teacher? He cannot destroy the church against which even the gates of hell will ne’er prevail, and he cannot blot the names of God’s elect out of the book of life. Thus his mission is to neutralize. To neutralize the Christians who are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and to seek to fulfil the words of Christ, “but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” He knows that that light must be quenched and that salt neutralized before the program of Anti-Christ can succeed. He knows that it is a spiritual battle (For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers), and if the Christians can be neutralized, then indeed there will be no opposition.
LOVE ? Christians love justice. Wurmbrand loves love, and like most religions of unbiblical love it degenerates into an indiscriminate, promiscuous love of evil. It justifies the wicked in his sin and calls us to love the criminal, the homosexual, and most of all the Communist. Such permissive love knows neither morality nor justice, as Wurmbrand justifies Laban’s deception of Jacob. “But Laban did not allow him to have her (Rachel), unless he took the ugly Leah too. Laban was a just man, and did not allow preferential love. Christian love must embrace both the good and the bad” (Sermons In Solitary Confinement, p. 67) But as Christians face the greatest onslaught of anti -christianity of all history, Wurmbrand’s neutralizing line is, anti-communism is sin, it lacks love. But Biblical love, regulated in terms of God’s law, knows nothing of such indiscriminate love of evil in defiance of God’s word, which declares, ‘ Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is wrath upon flee from before the Lord.” To love evil is to hate the good, to love the Communists is to hate the Christians, to love the Anti-Christ is to hate Christ. Rather than love the evil, the Bible declares, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” David’s love of God compelled him to declare, “Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? . . . I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.” David’s triumphal song was, “Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight” David rejoiced and gave thanks because, “thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly” and “thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies’ that I might destroy them that hate me.” This is the spirit of militant, victorious Christianity that has carried the Lord’s people onward since the days of King David and must sustain those that would occupy till Jesus comes. And that is the militant Christianity that the Wurmbrands must destroy to prepare the way for the beast.
But Wurmbrand’s strategy goes further than just neutralization. Though any real opposition is sin, we are allowed to fight communism by adopting it. He says, “But, as a Christian must be a Jew to the Jews and a Greek to the Greeks’, so in dealing with Communists, in the same sense we must be Communists. It is . . . impossible to win them if we adopt an anti-Communist approach” (Christ On The Jewish Road, p. 177).. Thus, Communism is not to be opposed with militant, scriptural Christianity but rather with Christian Marxism, as Wurmbrand leads the way showing us the ‘good’ points of communism and the common ground of socialism and Christianity. Wurmbrand, moreover, adds that communism thrives on the injustices of capitalism. Injustices which can, of course, only be rectifiers by adopting socialism, the only path of successful resistance. Thus are the Lord’s people called to surrender and adopt the theology of Anti-Christ.
ATHEISM ? While often steeped in Marxism, the universal objection of these ‘apostles’ to communism is that it is atheist. This, too, is a neutralizing thrust. Atheism may have been a legitimate complaint in Old Testament times, but it certainly is not in the New. The issue now is the claims of the historic Jesus of Nazareth, which men cannot ignore but are universally called upon to affirm or deny. And accordingly all are then classified as Christian or Anti-Christ.
Atheism is a sin of omission. It can easily, be corrected by adding a belief in God. If Communism is merely atheist, that poses no serious objection to it, it being all well and good but merely insufficient. It then becomes only necessary TO ADD A BELIEF IN GOD AND COMMUNISM WILL BECOME ACCEPTABLE! Atheistic Communism can easily be transmuted into Christian Socialism. Clearly, this is Wurmbrand’s line and the extent of his opposition to Communism. Clearly, this is also the way Communism must develop. The Society of Anti-Christ will not be an atheist society but a religious society where a counterfeit Christianity has flourished. Thus Wurmbrand’s position not only neutralizes the Lord’s people and prepares them to accept socialism, but it is also a necessary prerequisite for the establishment of the beast upon his throne. Again, the only refuge from such subversion is the firm belief that Communism is Anti-Christ. Christian Anti-Christianity is a logical impossibility. Only then does the clear alternative ring out to the Lord’s people: Resist it to the death, seek its total destruction and strive for total victory over it without thought of co-existence or compromise. That is the only path of duty and safety, and that is the straight and narrow path from which these false teachers are luring the very people of God.
CREDIBILITY The professed heroics of the ‘Soviet Saints’ abound in tales of the impossible. We are told that Christians have infiltrated the Soviet secret police, the KGB, and even the Communist Party, and thus protect their persecuted brethren, warning them of raids, etc. Granovsky’s testimony of the life of an NKVD agent shows the utter moral impossibility of the former. And any brand of Christianity that would join the ‘Party of the Beast’ to survive is far removed from the standards of loyalty that the Savior established for his church. And are we really to believe that Christians bound by God’s law could beat the masters of deceit at their own game? Then we hear that Brezhnev’s wife is a Christian and that Khrushchev himself was converted in retirement at a Christian Businessman’s meeting in Odessa, U.S.S.R. One is almost tempted to think that there must be free enterprise and prayer breakfasts throughout the Soviet paradise. In fact, Wurmbrand assures us that there is much open evangelism and even public protests by Christians in the U.S.S.R. (If That Were Christ Would You Give Him Your Blanket?, pp. 11, 12, 17, 19, 20). He tells us that there are 45 million underground Christians of the ‘Orthodox’ faith alone, another 4 million Baptist, and that one quarter of the Soviet population are secret Christians. We are told that one whole area of the U.S.S.R. is exclusively populated by Christians and that the phenomenal total of 1,500,000 secret Christians are jailed annually in the Soviet State (Ibid. pp. 31, 37, 50). And thus does Wurmbrand statistically affirm his neutralizing line that while Christianity is weak and decadent in the capitalist West, it is well and thriving under the culture of the beast. And all this we are expected to believe! ! !
And it is being believed! The “Christian Crusade Weekly” of Sept. 1974 featured an article by a student of American Christian College. The student wrote a glowing report of the summer that he had spent evangelizing Russia in a Volkswagen bus. Accompanied by an interpreter, though not knowing a word of Russian, he had gone about contacting the underground churches and passing out Bibles. It seems that although the NKVD has been trying unsuccessfully for over 50 years to smoke out these ‘secret’ Christians, anyone from America, even an immature college youth, can do so with ease Then the “Christian Beacon” of March 6, 1975 haled Solzhenitsyn as a ‘committed Christian’. The same Solzhenitsyn that is the darling of the left, that was heralded by the liberal “New York Times”, was awarded a Nobel Prize generally reserved for socialists and communists, was released by the Soviet government with his family and all his papers, and now follows the same harmless line as fanatically as possible And both these papers regularly feature Paul Voronaeff, another “Soviet Apostle”. But apparently the Soviets still think highly enough of him to employ him as an interpreter when they visited this country with a delegation of other phony churchmen, the official Communist clergy (Christian Beacon, March 20. 1975). Truly, as long as Christians exercise such little discernment, the false teachers need scarcely be masters of deceit.
CONCLUSION Much, much more could and should be said, but one newsletter can only say so much. Paul commended the Berean Christians because they “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Even so, today’s Christians must test the spirits and see if these ‘things be so. We are faced with cultural warfare and the destruction of that Christian liberty and culture that we need to survive as the Church of Jesus Christ. It is a spiritual warfare that far exceeds the barbed wire and machine gun mentality of shallow and artificial anti-Communism. Christianity is being choked out of existence by the political conclusions of Marxism. The false prophets of the underground church represent merely another, a more sophisticated, phase of that same cultural warfare. They are sent to penetrate the church and subvert the remaining foundations of Christianity in the West.
The evangelical churches have been very severely penetrated with Marxism. The scriptures, the foundation of Western Christian Civilization, have been increasingly replaced with the political conclusions of Marxism. And it is on such a foundation of sand that the Wurmbrands and their adherents ask us to fight the Beast of Anti-Christ. If the church is seduced in this respect, when the storms come, great will be the fall of it.
In the final hour of history the church will be called on as never before to be loyal to Christ and to exercise spiritual discernment. Christ commended the Church of Ephesus because “thou hast treed them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars”. Let us likewise, enduring to the end, finishing our course, keeping the faith, and exposing all the unfruitful works of darkness, seek to earn the commendation of our Lord, till he returns in power and glory to destroy the whole Anti-Christ conspiracy with the spirit of his mouth and the brightness of his coming. Amen!”