Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand (Link for Free Copy in Review)

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My wife ordered this book for me a few weeks ago. My prayers, my attitude, and my soul haven’t been the same since. This book has changed me.

Though “Tortured for Christ” by Reverend Richard Wurmbrand is a relatively small book (160 pages), I found myself unable to move through it as quickly as I have other books. My typical reads consist of theology books or works written by the Puritans. Though my head and heart rejoice at beautiful truths I glean from those reads, none has impacted me in the same way “Tortured for Christ” has.

The Holy Spirit has used this book to awaken me to the needs of my brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer persecution around the globe.  

My soul has never felt so grieved, while reading a book, other than the Scriptures, as it had while reading this one.

My soul has also never rejoiced, while reading a book, other than the Scriptures, as it had while reading this one.  

As Reverend Wurmbrand described the persecutions that he and other brothers and sisters in Christ have faced and continue to face under communism, I was brought to a place of confession and repentance for the comfortable Christianity that I’ve enjoyed in the “Bible Belt”. Wurmbrand described the moment of conversion for those in communist Romania, a moment that feels foreign to us in the free world, even though it should be the universal reality for believers:

“The joy of having brought someone to Christ is always mixed with this feeling that there is a price that must be paid.”

There is a cost of following Christ. In a land that doesn’t persecute Christians as openly as communist nations, it’s easy to forget that.

However, Wurmbrand also gives great detail into the love that those persecuted have for their persecutors. They long to see their persecutors converted! Even further, to quote Iuliu Maniu, former Prime Minister of Romania, who was thrown in jail for following Christ, said, “If the communists are overthrown in our country, it will be the most holy duty of every Christian to go into the streets and at the risk of his own life defend the Communists from the righteous fury of the multitudes whom they have tyrannized.”

Wurmbrand’s love for the persecuted church and the persecutors of the church overflows in this book. He also gives the reader ways to support the underground church in communist countries and calls us all to pray for our brothers and sisters and their persecutors.

“Tortured for Christ” is available for free at http://torturedforchrist.com.

Order the book. Read it slowly. Pray for our persecuted family and their persecutors. Support them in whatever way you can (Chapter 7 is full of ways to support the underground church). Finally, tell others.

-James

 

“Persecution has always produced a better Christian – a witnessing Christian, a soul-winning Christian. Communist persecution has backfired and produced serious, dedicated Christians such as are rarely seen in free lands. These people cannot understand how anyone can be a Christian and not want to win every soul they meet.” – Reverend Richard Wurmbrand

 

The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, & Gospel Assurance - Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters by Sinclair Ferguson

You’ll probably find it no surprise that I found “The Whole Christ” by Sinclair Ferguson to be an outstanding book.

In 2016, this book had pastors, theologians, and laypeople alike clamoring for more readers. Personally, I came across this book while perusing my Instagram account. The light green, scaly look of the book jacket and Ferguson’s subtitle fascinated me.

“The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, & Gospel Assurance –Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters.”

Here is my short review:

Though this book isn’t a history lesson on the Marrow Controversy of Scotland in the eighteenth century, Ferguson masterfully brings to life a debate that held much importance at its inception and also, as his subtitle remarks, “still matters” today.

Oftentimes, legalism and antinomianism are considered only in regard to their polar distinctions. However, they’re similar in that both are founded on false assurance – assurance that is not found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ, is himself, the gospel. Therefore, before offering the benefits that Christ provides, one must put forth Christ in whom all blessings are found. Throughout the book Ferguson’s allusions to (slightly) post Puritan Pastor Thomas Boston, and his own thoughts carry this message, “You must first have Christ himself, before you can partake of those benefits by him” (47).

Ferguson convincingly writes of the unseen motives behind the actions of both legalists and antinomians. Both are the result of distortions of God’s character and misconceptions regarding the grace of Jesus Christ. The true gospel, when rightly understood, destroys both of these notions.

The book reaches its peak in latter chapters as Ferguson reminds readers of the work of the Trinity in the hearts and lives of believers.

“Christian assurance is not self-assurance and self-confidence. It is the reverse: confidence in our Father, trust in Christ as our Savior, and joy in the Spirit as the Spirit of sonship, seal of grace, and earnest of our inheritance as sons and daughters of God. When these are the hallmarks of our lives, then the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ has come home to us in full measure” (226).

To close, “The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, & Gospel Assurance – Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters” is a book that I’ll return to in the future, not only to refill my soul with a wonderful reminder of the assurance of my salvation in Christ alone, but also for Ferguson’s careful yet riveting storytelling of the Marrow controversy. Throughout the book, I not only learned Ferguson’s heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ, but also the heart of Thomas Boston, who sought, as Ferguson, to set forth Christ as the foundation, glory, and aim of the gospel. And this will always matter.

-James