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Thursday, February 28, 2008

This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for a year or two now, and I haven't been able to bring myself to read it. Wurmbrand is a Romanian man who spent many years in jail for believing in Jesus, and this book is about those years in prison - what he experienced, what prison was like, conversations that he had - with a little bit about the years before and what happened after. I knew it would be an intense book, with stories of torture and pain. I recently picked it up, and actually read it in about three days - because the writing is that compelling. There were times i finished a chapter and put it down, sick to my stomach - but I picked it up again later that day to read about this man who truly loved Jesus.

Wurmbrand spent a total of 14 and a half years in communist prison. Most the first three years (or so) were spent in interrogation, torture, and isolation. After that, most of his time was spent in group cells of various prisons. But Wurmbrand and his wife had known this was coming, and had prepared themselves - studying the lives of others who had endured similar things, as well as asking God for strength. Throughout his time, Wurmbrand always found ways to share God's truth and love with those he came in contact with, be it other prisoners or guards or important communist officials. It has been said that prison (especially this kind of extreme, violent prison) makes beasts of some men, and saints of others. By the grace of God, Wurmbrand stayed a saint and faithful to God throughout much evil and pain.

Wurmbrand is an eloquent speaker, and able to answer questions well. Toward the end of his time in jail, the communists tried to make everyone pro-communist, with hours of propaganda lectures, statements over a sound system, and rewards for those who turned and betrayed other prisoners and their own beliefs. One Sunday they did an anti-Christian play, and then asked prisoners to talk about how wonderful it was. When they called on Wurmbrand, everyone waited to see how he would respond. He talked about how all the best parts of communism come from Christianity - reminding them that Jesus was a carpenter, a common laborer, that Jesus drove the rich moneylenders from the Temple and valued the poor, that the first Christians shared all they had as communists spoke of doing. He spoke of God's love and judgment in front of the whole prison, and they allowed him to speak. As a result, things became harder - but Wurmbrand was unafraid of speaking up. This man and his wife (who was also in a labor camp for 3 years) had souls of steel and deep faith, trusting God and standing up for what is right and good, no matter what. And bringing many other prisoners to saving faith, even in the hardest place.

Title:In God's Underground
Author: Richard Wurmbrand
Date published:1968
Genre: Spiritual, Biography
Number of pages: 268
Notes: gift from the Huggins


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