Richard Wurmbrand

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Richard Wurmbrand (1950s)

Richard Wurmbrand (March 24, 1909February 17, 2001) was a Romanian Christian minister of Jewish descent. He was a youth during a time of anti-Semitic activity in Romania, but it was later, after becoming a believer in Jesus Christ as Messiah, and daring to publicly say that Communism and Christianity were not compatible, that he experienced imprisonment and torture for his beliefs. He wrote more than 18 books, the most widely known being Tortured for Christ. Variations of his works have been translated into more than 60 languages. He founded the international organization Voice of the Martyrs, which continues to aid Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith.


  • Some Western Church leaders don't care about [persecuted believers]. The names of the martyrs are not on their prayer lists. While they were being tortured and sentenced, the Russian Baptist and Orthodox official leaders who had denounced and betrayed them were received with great honor at New Delhi, at Geneva, and at other conferences. There they assured everyone that in Russia there is full religious liberty. A leader of the World Council of Churches kissed the Bolshevik archbishop Nikodim when he gave this assurance. Then they banqueted together in the imposing name of the World Council of Churches, while the saints in prison ate cabbage with unwashed intestines, just as I had eaten in the name of Jesus Christ.
    • Tortured For Christ: 30th Anniversary Edition, p. 74-75 (1998).

Tortured For Christ (1967)[edit]

  • I have seen Christians in Communist prisons with fifty pounds of chains on their feet, tortured with red-hot iron pokers, in whose throats spoonfuls of salt had been forced, being kept afterward without water, starving, whipped, suffering from cold--and praying with fervor for the Communists. This is humanly inexplicable! It is the love of Christ, which was poured out in our hearts.
    • p. 55.
  • A great part of my family was murdered. It was in my own house that their murderer was converted. It was also the most suitable place. So in Communist prisons the idea of a Christian mission to the Communists was born.
    • p. 58.
  • It was in prison that we found the hope of salvation for the Communists. It was there that we developed a sense of responsibility toward them. It was in being tortured by them that we learned to love them.
    • p. 58.
  • Writers around the world protested when two Communist writers, Siniavski and Daniel, were sentenced to prison by their own comrades. But not even churches protest when Christians are put in prison for their faith.
    • p. 74.
  • I have decided to denounce communism, though I love the Communists. I don't find it to be right to preach the gospel without denouncing communism.
    • p. 75.
  • Some tell me "Preach the pure gospel!" This reminds me that the Communist secret police also told me to preach Christ, but not to mention communism. Is it really so, that those who are for what is called "a pure gospel" are inspired by the same spirit as those of the Communist secret police?
    • p. 75.
  • I don't know what this so-called pure gospel is. Was the preaching of John the Baptist pure? He did not say only, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2). He also "rebuked [Herod]...for all the evils which Herod had done" (Luke 3:19). He was beheaded because he didn't confine himself to abstract teaching. Jesus did not preach only the "pure" Sermon on the Mount, but also what some actual church leaders would have called a negative sermon: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!...Serpents, brood of vipers!" (Matthew 23:27,33). It is for such "impure" preaching that He was crucified. The Pharisees would not have bothered about the Sermon on the Mount.
    • p. 75.
  • Sin must be called by its name. Communism is one of the most dangerous sins in the world today. Every gospel that does not denounce it is not the pure gospel. The Underground Church denounces it, risking liberty and life. The less have we to be silent in the West.
    • p. 75.
  • We cannot always judge man for only one part of his attitude. If we did so, we would be like the Pharisees in whose eyes Jesus was seen as bad, because He did not respect their rules about the Sabbath. They closed their eyes entirely to what would have lovable in Jesus, even in their sight.
    • p. 82.
  • Some leaders of denominations are not of the Bride of Christ. They are leaders in a Church in which many have long since betrayed the Master. When they meet someone of the Underground Church, a martyr, they look at him strangely.
    • p. 82.
  • Montefiore's impression of Jesus was wrong. Jesus loved the Pharisees, although He denounced them publicly. And I love the Communists, as well as their tools in the Church, although I denounce them.
    • p. 83.

If Prison Walls Could Speak (1972)[edit]

  • A faith that can be destroyed by suffering is not faith.
  • Past sins, if you repent of them, whiten you. They made a great psalmist out of David, a faithful believer out of the prostitute Rahab, a zealous apostle out of the persecutor Saul. I have been a loved preacher and writer with a particular vocation. My sermons and books would not have had the same quality without my past of anarchy, vice, and violent atheism.
  • When you speak in His presence about your past sins, He does not even understand your language. Only the present and the future have any interest for Him. . .I have committed crimes and have blood on my conscience. I told Jesus about it again and again. But because He had long ago washed all this away, there was no possibility of communication between us. He did not understand what I was talking about.
  • 'And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations' (Revelation 2:26). I see myself on a throne. Why should a throne be made of gold and velvet? Can it not as well be the few planks of a prisoner's bed? Men have given a certain kind of chair the name of "throne." I can give this name to any other object I please. From this my throne I decide about nations.
  • The leaves of the tree of life will serve for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:2), which means that there will be in the life beyond people who need a cure for their souls.

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