Embed Size px x x x x Because his story is about a Christian who sufferedfor his faith, and because of a letter he later wrote toour General Conference, we will here tell part of theRichard Wurmbrand story. His book, Tortured for Christ,is well-known and you may already have read it. Butfew know the following story:. Richard Wurmbrand died on February 17, inWhittier, California, at the age of A Romanian Jew, heand his wife converted to Christianity in
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In the national television channel Romania 1 TVR 1 launched a campaign among its viewers to nominate a person — one born in, or who has lived in Romania and that made a seminal contribution to the development of this country. Among the top ten nominees, there were former kings, political and military leaders and a surprise nomination. The pastor Richard Wurmbrand, got But with Wurmbrand and Steinhardt the situation was somehow different. One major problem is raised by the common cultural background that Richard Wurmbrand and Nicolae Steinhardt Nicu-Aurelian Steinhardt shared as young men.
Nae Ionescu, one of the spiritual leaders of the right wing intelligentsia at the time, gave a negative and restrictive answer to the question, one rooted in the Nazi Arian propaganda.
As so this is, if we consider only the measure of human capabilities. But that which is not possible for men is only possible for God. On a humanly level, one cannot make the leap from the quality of. What about by means of transfiguration … biologically and ethnically, yes. This meant psychic and physical torture, lack of basic civil rights and moral degradation, constant threat and violence.
Still, both Wurmbrand and Steinhardt embraced and praised the Romanian ethos, and this love for Romania and the Romanian identity is common for both writers. Overwhelmed by emotion, I kissed the ground. Steinhardt finds an even more profound signification, one of theological relevance:.
This law was followed by dozens of other laws and decrees, all inspired by the Nazi Nuremberg laws, and all anti-Semitic The Tragedy of Romanian Jewry. There are no official records, but between According to the Final Report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania Final Report…, November , extermination, anti-Semitic actions and general violence against Jews in Romania were widespread.
So it can be said that Steinhardt and Wurmbrand were victims of the Gulag and the Holocaust at the same time. And Christian! The paradox of the survivor: What both Steinhardt and Wurmbrand provided the post communist Romanian literature and culture was their somewhat paradoxical inheritance. The first paradox we can identify in our two authors is the ability mixing several different identities. Richard Wurmbrand was an Evangelical Minister, the youngest son of a Jewish dentist converted to Christianity, a Communist illegalist turned into preacher for the Red Army soldiers.
There is this common legacy of the two men, which goes beyond their Christian missionary writing. Nicolae Steinhardt sympathized with socialism, until one of his friends provided an insight about left wing totalitarianism. Later they both witnessed the atrocities of the totalitarian system. But during their imprisonment they showed the force of this paradoxical ethos, the moral character of being able to stop perceiving differences.
The passage of Wurmbrand and Steinhardt through the communist penal system, from Gherla to the Black Sea Canal and Jilava, was a long journey of spreading Christian faith, by words and, especially, by actions. The same ecumenism is mentioned by Steinhardt. I choose Orthodoxy by free will because in the cell there were Catholics and Protestants and Neo Protestants and by total acknowledgement, because it is dear to me and I am convinced I will remain faithful to this belief to the end.
A letter to Victor Rusu, quoted in Ziua, nr. The teachings of Christ are surprising and unexpected. Written testimonials against Communism: Wurmbrand and Steinhardt were Christians convicted for their beliefs, their Jewish identity was used against them, they were condemned to torture and death, still they survived and they were able to give us a legacy of their survivor.
And the first and perhaps the most important heritage they left were their literary testimonials of the Communist Gulag in Romania. From the very beginning of the freedom of publishing, immediately after the political changes in Romania after , there was a subsequent and substantial publication of the literary works of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and Nicolae Steinhardt.
The Diary of Happiness was said to be the most read book in Romania of that day, in Dacia editing house in Cluj announced that During that time, more than twenty books signed by Nicolae Steinhardt were published, by several editing houses in Romania. But soon enough they were famous figures of post communist public debate in Romania. After his death in March , Steinhardt remained a symbol of the Orthodox Church, a cultural figurehead recognized both by the intelligentsia and the other denominations.
The story of their survivor is on one hand the story of resistance and on the other hand one of remembrance. The fact that one remembers the experience of Communist Gulag has a pedagogical finality, those who were never subjected to this tragedy. Wurmbrand was a witness against Communism both in prison and outside the prison.
Condemning people for their normal actions — one is not condemned for illegal activities but for what he is! Courage and Happiness: Wurmbrand and Steinhardt are proofs that any dictatorship is afraid of free men.
And why was the Communist regime afraid of these men? One of the motives comes from the reason Wurmbrand was arrested. Never will it fall. Religious leaders stepped forward to swear loyalty to the new regime. And so Richard stepped forward and told the 4, delegates that their duty as Christians was to glorify God and Christ alone.
You will have to leave the country, but perhaps we will let some time pass, because your remembrances of prison are too fresh and you have too good a pen. This living testimony was given by Wurmbrand who stripped his clothes before the American senators in the committee and showed his torture marks.
His books stand out as a shattering testimonial of the atrocities of the communist regime. For Steinhardt The Diary…, p the courage feeds on Biblical reference, on personal life experiences and on literary and cultural examples. He quotes equally from Descartes as from Saint Paul, giving examples of kings and of historical facts. For him, it is the lack of courage of the people that brings dictatorships into being. And the differences between Communism and Christianity lie not only in the way they treat individuals.
The fundamental opposition between Communism and Christianity resides in the conflicting values. This sense of elevated happiness is portrayed by Steinhardt in The Diary of Happiness, which offers an exemplary account of all conceivable torments of Communist detention.
Their faces glowed, and it was quite an achievement for the glory of God to shine on the face of a Christian in Communist jails. We did not wash I had not washed in three years , but the glory of God can shine even from behind a crust of dirt. They had triumphant smiles on their faces. I know about Christians who were released from Communist prisons. You look like such a happy man.
Dee, Chicago, Nicolae Steinhardt, Jurnalul fericirii, Dacia, Cluj, Ioan Pintea, Dacia, Cluj,
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