Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Sufferology and the Christian Life

The Voice of the Martyrs is an organization that serves the persecuted church around the world in more than 50 countries.  It was founded by a Lutheran pastor, the Rev. Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001) of Romania, who spent 14 years in Communist prisons. Pastor Wurmbrand was a prolific author, and (good news), a lot of his books are available for Kindle (or any Kindle reader, including a rooted Nook Color) for a dollar!

The full-color monthly newsletter of The Voice of the Martyrs is available free of charge by simply e-mailing VOM at the voice@vom-usa.org.  This month's issue (June 2011) focuses on Christian persecutions in India.  The current issue contains an excerpt from Wurmbrand's devotional Reaching Toward the Heights from page 320:

Sufferology

"Many... will betray one another." ~ Matt 24:10

One of the darkest features of the Chinese church under communism has been the denunciation movement, when friends and members of the same family were turned against each other in betrayal and hate, everyone seeking only to save his or her own skin.  A "Christian" conference in 1951, attended by 152 Protestant leaders, asked the death penalty for the Methodist Bishop Chen and the Evangelist Ku-Jen-en.  The Communist Party was more gracious than the brethren.  They gave the bishop only five years of prison.  No one heard anymore from Ku.  He probably died in some jail.

The Christian pastor Lu Chih-Wei was attacked in a public meeting by his own daughter: "I now accuse my father, for the way in which he has blinded me, causing me to lose my standing with the people."  The father wept.  She continued. "Do you think that your false tears are able to bribe my conscience?"  

Good Christians, thousands of them, could be induced vehemently to denounce their beloved ones.  Brother Sun, editor of the Christian Farmer was subjected to such mental pressure that he committed suicide.  Only a few resisted, among them Watchman Nee and Wang-Min-Tao.

Your not becoming a traitor and your resistance in times of intensive trial depends on your earlier Christian life.  When, after the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, the Lord appeared to Ananias, He told him how to teach a new convert: "I will show him how many things he must suffer for My Name's sake" (Acts 9:16).

Every Christian church that does not teach its members the main religious science, sufferology, does not fulfill its duties.  Impose upon yourself mortification.  Learn to suffer and not to yield.  The time may come when you will need this knowledge.

This is the Theology of the Cross.  This is the reality that many of the world's Christians live in day in and day out.  Reading VOM is a real eye-opener about what being a follower of Jesus Christ is in much of the world.  Our brothers and sisters need our prayers and our support, and we need to be careful about taking our liberties for granted.  The Christian faith has always been a martyriological faith.

3 comments:

kllybdn said...

Our family enjoys the VOM newsletters immensely. We use them as supplements in our homeschool bible class to get a better understanding of what our brothers and sisters are facing around the world.

The June 2011 issue gripped our hearts in many ways but especially when we read this quote by Pastor Peter Paul of Bangalore, India:

"Persecution is not an accident. It is the expectation."

It was a reminder to us not to be amazed when we have trouble but to wonder when the next wave will come. There is a way to suffer well but as the article states it's, "when we are rooted in God's Word."

May He help all of us keep believing.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear K:

Well said! Thanks for posting. Let us keep our brothers and sisters in our prayers. Peace be with you and your family!

clifRad said...

Yes. I'm ardent respecter and student of Richard Wurmbrand. I first heard the term sufferology from him and never forgot it. It is part of the gospel, the despised part.

I'm writing a blog today on this.

Thanks

cliff Williams