REVIEW: Tortured For Christ

Posted by Jeffrey K Radt ("JRed") | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010


One of the negative consequences of a fulfillment of the prophesied Apostasy is that many Christians have forgotten that "suffering" is a fundamental tenet of our faith and a necessary component to the authentic Christian life.

I don't care how you try to slice it, but for anyone to suggest otherwise is for them to ignore a ton of Scripture that speaks to this truth.

Today, let's hone in on this often overlooked subject by digesting what one Christian learned during his life that made those verses a reality.

I finally finished reading Richard Wurmbrand's classic Tortured For Christ -- and it only took me a week to do so!

I write "finally" because the book sat here collecting dust for almost a full year before I felt moved to pick it up and start reading. Unlike other books I've read in the past, this one I couldn't put down and that's why it only took me a week to read the whole thing.

That's no small feat for me either because my problem is that I start reading several books at the same time and then bounce around from one to the other, which is why it takes me forever to finish a single one.

See, that's the thing with books like Tortured For Christ. I know that with a name like that there are probably many Christians out there who think you also have to be a sadomasochist in order to get any kind of long lasting value from a work with that title.

You'd be sadly mistaken because this is the type of book that should be REQUIRED READING for all within the Body of Christ. Seriously, I wish I had heard about this book when I first got saved and was "born again" (1 Peter 1:23) because it would've helped me so much.

Then again, in hindsight, everything happened according to His perfect plan and my reading it just now is completely consistent with His providential plan for my life. Of that I have absolutely no doubt.

To date, there's been only one book that's truly changed my life and that's The Book itself; the Holy Bible. Now there are two. This anointed work written by a genuine man of God is chilling, inspiring, and life-changing indeed. I just can't even begin to express how much this FREE book has impacted me. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today.

For the past year now, we've all been sensing that the beginning of the end is imminent. Aside from the various eschatological "debates" about things like the Rapture, many of us have concluded that it's best to "pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass" (Luke 21:36) while preparing spiritually for trials and tribulation.

The thing that has troubled me personally though is that whenever I'd attempt to consider my own personal response in the face of pure evil and tyranny (like how I'd respond if The-Powers-That-Be knocked on my door in the middle of the night to attack and/or round-up my family) it was tough to reconcile my natural, fleshly response with the ones taught to us in His Word through direct commands as well as through the accounts of those brothers and sisters in Christ who went before us.

In addition, with tensions rising domestically, I wrestled with myself often as to how a Christian like me is supposed to engage with culture and involve themselves in political discourse without it damaging my personal witness or testimony, and without it violating Scripture.

I'm sure many of you can relate.

Enter Richard Wurmbrand. Here's a man who's only "crime" was that he loved our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and sought to tell as many people about Him as he could. Wurmbrand was the embodiment of the Great Commission I'd say.

From the back of the book...

Months of solitary confinement, years of periodic physical torture, constant suffering from hunger and cold, the anguish of brain-washing and mental cruelty -- these are the experiences of a Romanian pastor during his fourteen years in Communist prisons. His crime, like that of thousands of others, was his fervent belief in Jesus Christ and his public witness concerning that faith. Meeting in homes, in basements, and in woods -- sometimes daring to preach in public on street corners -- these faithful souls persisted in their Christian witness knowing full well the ultimate cost of their actions. This is their story -- a classic account of courage, tenacious faith, and unbelievable endurance. This history of the Underground Church reflects the continuing struggle in many parts of the world today.


"This book was singularly instrumental in awaking the conscience of the free world to the horrors experienced by our brothers and sisters behind the Iron Curtain."
-- Charles W. Colson / Prison Fellowship

"The written and spoken message of Rev. Wurmbrand is one which needs to be published and broadcast through every available channel of communication today. We thank God for the eloquent pleas and warning sounded out by his powerful best-seller, Tortured For Christ."
-- D. James Kennedy, Ph.D. / Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

"Tortured For Christ is still as important today as it was 30 years ago in calling attention to the plight of persecuted Christians in the modern age."
-- Frank R. Wolf / U.S. Congressman

Hopefully, that gives you some idea of what to expect.

First published in 1967, I was amazed to learn that Wurmbrand wrote the entire book in merely 3 days! Richard Wurmbrand once said, "Tortured For Christ has no literary value. It was written in only three days shortly after my release from prison. But it was written with pen and tears. And for some reason, God has chosen to bless this writing and use it for His purpose."

And use it He has! Over the years, Tortured For Christ has been translated into 65 languages and millions of copies have been distributed throughout the world. There's no question that He has been using it to mature, prepare, and strengthen His flock.

As I prayed and thought about how I should go about writing this "review" I remembered something I had underlined on the first page of this book. It was so profound, and seemed so providential to me given the times we're living in (especially lately here in the US), that I decided to reference that portion of the text and then simply share a few additional excerpts that I had noted and/or underlined along the way from Chapter 1.

In just the third paragraph of this revolutionary work, Wurmbrand wrote the following...

"Vietnamese house church leaders once shared with me how they prepared their Christian flocks to survive and grow under the expected Communist takeover of South Vietnam in the 1970s. They distributed the Vietnamese translation of Tortured For Christ as a survival guidebook, a testimony of an overcoming faith in incredibly difficult circumstances."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Martyr" / Page 7]

I don't think it's hyperbole to call this book a "Survival Guide For 21st Century Christians In America" either. Not the way things have been going lately and where we know they're going to end up according to end times Bible prophecy.

The following is a list of some of the parts I underlined or noted in the margins -- just in Chapter 1 -- while reading this book...

"The very truth to which we bear witness comes at a great cost -- it can cost us our reputation, popularity, and prestige. It may even cost us our families, friends, or our lives. But the message of our witness is so powerful that we are exhorted to 'lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us' (Hebrews 12:1), in order to run with the endurance the 'race' that God has set before us in our life."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Martyr" / Page 8]

"Martyrdom is not depressing, but necessary for movement into a prayerful understanding of global Christian reality...necessary in order to receive that which has been 'granted on behalf of Christ' -- 'to suffer for His sake' (Philippians 1:29)."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Martyr" / Page 9]

"Tortured For Christ not only reveals the facts surrounding a man who has suffered at the hands of a brutal Communist regime, it reveals the faith and perseverance of a man totally committed to Christ and his desire to share the truth with others."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Martyr" / Page 9]

"The Bible he gave me was written not so much in words, but in flames of love fired by his prayers. I could barely read it. I could only weep over it, comparing my bad life with the life of Jesus; my impurity with His righteousness; my hatred with His love -- and He accepted me as one of His own."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ" / Page 13]

> May we all come to recognize these truths and feel that way too.

"Here stood before me a man whose mind was dead, a man who had lost a great gift God has given to mankind -- his individuality. He was a brainwashed tool in the hands of the Communists, ready to believe or not on an order. He could not think anymore on his own. This was a typical Russian after all these years of Communist domination!"
[Tortured For Christ / "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ" / Page 14]

"The language of love and the language of seduction are the same. The one who wishes a girl for a wife and the one who wishes her for only a night both say the words, 'I love you.' Jesus has told us to discern between the language of seduction and the language of love, and to know the wolves clad in sheepskin from the real sheep. Unfortunately, when the Communists came to power, thousands of priests, pastors, and ministers did not know how to discern between the two voices."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ" / Page 15]

> What a warning for us!

"Christianity has become dramatic with us. When Christians in free countries win a soul for Christ, the new believer may become a member of a quietly living church. But when those in captive nations win someone, we know that he may have to go to prison and that his children may become orphans. The joy of having brought someone to Christ is always mixed with this feeling that there is a price that must be paid. We had met an entirely new type of Christian -- the Christian of the Underground Church."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ" / Page 23]

"As there are many who believe they are Christians and in reality are not, we found that among the Russians there are many who believe they are atheists, but in reality they are not."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ" / Page 23]

"It is such a tragedy that Russia and its peoples are very hungry for the Word of God, yet many have seemingly written them off."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ" / Page 26]

> We must never forget that there are people living and breathing outside the US who need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We don't own a monopoly on the Lord and Savior.

"Like John the Baptist, we spoke openly to men and rulers about Christ."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ" / Page 29]

"Nearly every family had a member in prison, and the poverty was great. Men asked, 'How is it that a God of love permits the triumph of evil?' It likewise would not have been easy for the apostles to preach Christ on Good Friday, as Jesus died on the cross crying, 'My God, why have You forsaken Me?' But the fact that the work continued to bear fruit proves that it was from God and not from us. The Christian faith has an answer to such questions."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ" / Page 28]

"There was a price, bu we were prepared to pay it."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ" / Page 30]

> How many Western Christians alive today are "prepared to pay it" I wonder?

"The secret police greatly persecuted the Underground Church, because they recognized in it the only effective resistance left. It was just the kind of resistance (a spiritual resistance) that, if left unhindered, would undermine their atheistic power. They recognized, as only the devil can, and immediate threat to them. They knew that if a man believed in Christ, he would never be a mindless, willing subject. They knew they could imprison the physical body, but they couldn't imprison a man's spirit -- his faith in God. And so they fought very hard."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ" / Pages 30-31]

"We instructed Christians to join the secret police and put on the most hated and despised uniform in our country, so they could report the activities of the secret police to the Underground Church. Several brethren of the Underground Church did this, keeping their faith hidden. It was difficult for them to be despised by family and friends for wearing the Communist uniform and not reveal their true mission. Yet they did, so great was their love for Christ.To go around dressed in the uniform of the torturers is a much greater sacrifice than to wear the uniform of a prisoner."
[Tortured For Christ / "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ" / Page 31]

Folks, all of that sobering truth came from Chapter 1. There are six more chapters just like that one. Now do you see why this book had such an impact on me? I didn't even get to the parts that reference all the passages in the Bible that speak to us about how we should expect to suffer for our cherished faith either.

As amazing as all of that is, there's another side to Wurmbrand's work that is even more significant and appropriate for our prayerful consideration: his forgiveness of those who tortured him and his brothers and sisters in Christ.

Wurmbrand says that he learned so much from the Communists. As they allowed no place for Jesus in their hearts, he decided he would leave not the smallest place for Satan in his. Why? You mean besides the obvious? Because if the heart is cleansed by the love of Jesus Christ, one can resist all tortures.

In closing, I would like to share one final passage from this book...

In the Western world, persecution of Christians is often deemed a "human rights" issue, with an emphasis on the government to guarantee religious freedom and the protection it awards. While this may be true in part, we need to look beyond human reasoning and into the heavenlies. Jesus said, "'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). He also warned us that "in the world you will have tribulation" (John 16:33), and "you will be hated by all for My name's sake" (Matthew 10:22). "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:12).

Although we are called to take every opportunity to help those in need, we are to recognize that the "rite" of Christians is to be persecuted. Eleven of the twelve disciples were murdered. Jesus never said it would be any different for us. It is part of who we are in Christ. Not all of us are called to suffer persecution, as Richard Wurmbrand did. But when trials do come, we should not be surprised but rather should rejoice that we have been considered worthy to suffer for Christ. For He has also stated, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10).

It becomes clear as we study the New Testament that persecution is not, nor ever will be, foreign to the Church on this earth. Therefore, we have an obligation as members of that Body to "encourage one another and build each other up" (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV) until Christ returns. To do otherwise would be to reject our Christian responsibility and the teachings of Jesus.

It is difficult to comprehend that joy and freedom can coexist with some of the worst sufferings known to man, to reconcile how suffering can be granted to us as a "gift" on behalf of Christ (Philippians 1:29). But there is little place for human understanding in the spiritual man destined to live eternally with Christ.
[Tortured For Christ / "Epilogue" / Pages 152-154]

I pray that you get your hands on a copy of this remarkable book.

I pray that you find encouragement in this story of an overcoming faith, and take the opportunity to prepare spiritually for what's coming while you still can.

I pray that you take this opportunity to be an encouragement to those around the world who suffer greatly for their faith in Jesus Christ.

I pray that you will support The Voice Of The Martyrs today.


Comments Posted (2)

Amen! Amen! Jeffrey, thank you for reading this wonderfully powerful book, and thank you again for then sharing it with your other readers.

Similarly to you, I was GREATLY inspired in my reading of this book just over 1 year ago. It is perhaps the most encouraging look at the true deliverance of faith that I have ever read.

The courage gained by reading these stories is indescribable. The love and pain and raw, heartfelt faith described in those pages will convict any believer to deeper faith, and to a firm resolve to action.

God Bless us in our coming troubles with the grace and peace necessary to bear our cross. Pray that we are worthy to withstand that challenge.

Dear Jeff,
Thinking of all sorts of suffering...this is the latest from Joseph Herrin.

"you are a slave to whatever has mastered you".

"Perhaps you would like to persuade yourself that this is a trivial matter and will not have any bearing upon your appearance at the judgment seat of Christ. I would counsel you against such a conclusion. It is in our willingness to walk separately from the world, and a worldly religious system, that Yahweh proves those who will stand as overcomers. Where else is persecution to arise in the life of a saint if it is not in our obedience to be led of the Spirit by walking contrary to the path of the masses." JH