Prisoner For Christ

Christ in the Communist Prisons, by Richard Wurmbrand and Charles Foley (Coward-McCann, 1968, 225 pp., $5), and The Wurmbrand Letters, by Richard Wurmbrand (Cross Publications, 1967, 169 pp., $2.50), are reviewed by David Foster, director, Eurovangelism, Bournemouth, England.

Richard Wurmbrand is likely to become one of the most controversial religious figures ever to emerge from behind the Iron Curtain. A Lutheran pastor, he was first arrested by Rumania’s Communist regime as he was walking home from his church on Sunday, February 29, 1948. This was the prelude to more than fourteen years of “relentless interrogation, attempted brainwashing and physical torture.”

Christ in the Communist Prisons is a well-written autobiographical account of this experience. The author impresses one not only with his ability to withstand unbelievable pressures with quick-witted arguments and answers for his persecutors but also with his ability to remember in detail conversations that took place under acute mental and physical stress as much as twenty years ago.

“What’s Jesus doing tonight?” jeers a bullying interrogator.

“He’s praying for you,” Wurmbrand replies.

Later, as the climax of a long period of sleeplessness and torture, he was threatened: “If you don’t answer properly, we’ll have you stretched on the rack” (a machine last used three hundred years ago for forcing confessions).

His reply: “In St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians it is written that we must strive to reach the measure of Christ’s stature. If you stretch me on the rack, you’ll be helping me to fulfill my purpose.”

It is interesting to see the number of purged Party members, including high officials, who show up as prisoners throughout the story. Sometimes ...

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