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.
The Death of a Prophet
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
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.
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 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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”