For everyone who has been missing Bible study, and for those who might want to look back at what we’ve studied, here are notes I prepared from the last few weeks of class.
On August 2 after service, we watched Tortured for Christ, the story of Romanian Lutheran pastor Richard Wurmbrand. If you weren’t able to attend, you can find the link below.
- Persecution of Christians in the USSR – Provides broad overview of the Soviet response to the Christian Church, especially after WWII
- Marxist-Lennist Atheism – The ideology that drove the restriction, arrest, and torture of Christians, including Wurmbrand.
- Soviet Occupation of Romania – The situation specific to Romania, where Wurmbrand lived
Sermons by Wurmbrand
For three years during his imprisonment, Pastor Wurmbrand was in solitary confinement 30 feet underground. He would sleep during the day, and woke during the night. Each night, he prepared and preached a sermon. Owing to his extraordinary memory, he memorized those sermons and they are published in this volume.
The Soviets outlawed possession and distribution of the Bible. This action has accompanied all the major efforts to repress Christianity over the past 18 centuries. Pastor Wurmbrand had a remarkable memory and the movie mentioned that he had memorized a verse of the Bible about fear for every day of the year.
What would we do if we were to lose our Bibles? If we rely on a mobile device, a recent discussion about Tik Tok revealed that Google and Apple are able to remotely wipe out apps from our phones. Even though the pressure isn’t on the near horizon, it is good practice to immerse ourselves in God’s Word so that we will be able to recall it whenever the need arises. Here are some suggestions:
- Pray the psalter daily (the Psalms). It is the first songbook of the Church, addressing topics related to our whole life before God. I suggest praying it aloud because you will be using two senses (sight and hearing) which help you remember it better. One suggested plan is for morning and evening. Here is a bookmark with the schedule.
- Listen to the Bible. Even if you have a busy schedule or many distractions, Faith Comes by Hearing has provided audio Bibles in both the ESV and King James. It is available as the Bible.is app, and also in standalone formats.
Influence of Government on Religious Practice
It’s shocking to think of what happened just 70 years ago under gross abuse of state powers. Persecution like this is happening today in China. But something to which we can relate is the use of state power over religious practice, especially as it has to do with public health during the pandemic. From the state’s perspective, they are enforcing restrictions to protect the good of the public, but from many Christian’s perspective, state governments are overstepping the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment.
In addition to that, there are currently socialist movements and calls for revolution in several major cities. If fascism in the name of equality brought on the evils of the USSR and China, what could happen in our own land?
It’s something we should be mindful of, as Christians who live in the End Times.