I found a couple of posts from two women apologists that I wanted to highlight for you today.
Let’s start with Amy Hall, who blogs at Stand to Reason’s blog.
She found a quotation from Richard Wurmbrand, which I will reproduce in full.
But first, let’s see who he is (I had never heard of him).
The founder of the Voice of the Martyrs, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, loved people. He and his wife, Sabina, had a great passion to lead others to Christ.
We have written about his courage as he stood alone among more than 1,000 leaders to denounce the control of Romanian communism. The communists had closed Sunday schools and oppressed the church. Pastor Wurmbrand resisted the communists’ control of the church and went underground. He held services for youth attending his church in front of the lion’s den at the Bucharest Zoo to prepare them for battle with the world. Pastor Wurmbrand led his little Lutheran congregation, composed of many Jewish converts, to the Bucharest train station to toss Russian Gospels into the windows of passing trains filled with invading Russian soldiers. The soldiers kept the Gospels. For many such acts of aggressive love, he and his wife both went to prison.
When Richard and Sabina began the work of VOM in October 1967 in America, some might think they would have been changed by living in an open, wealthy nation where everything could come easy for famous, gifted people. But their love, their burden — whether for helping those persecuted abroad or right next door — remained the same.
Pastor Wurmbrand woke up early in the morning with long lists of names of people. One by one, he would pray for them. He and Sabina fasted one day a week.
One night there was a great crash. Richard, now in his 70s, had fallen on the bathroom floor and fractured his skull. The next morning in his hospital room, he began to pull on his clothes to leave. The frantic nurses came in to tell him he could not get up. He said, “How can I sit in bed with only a little pain in my head when I am supposed to speak in Berlin where the people suffer much more than I do?” At the time, Berlin, Germany, was a walled-off city surrounded by the East German communist military. He flew to Germany.
After coming to America, Pastor Wurmbrand never owned a house or a car. Being older, he took driving lessons but was kindly told by the instructor that it would be better to save his money. On one of their trips flying overseas, he and Sabina would approach an airline counter with about 12 suitcases of clothes they had purchased at a used clothing store, clothes to be carried into communist Eastern Europe for persecuted Christians. The stunned airline agents crumbled under their heartfelt appeal and let them take the clothes.
When Richard and Sabina passed from earth, the house they lived in was sold and the funds used for international ministry. They had moved to an eternal house.
I know I am not as good as this man, but I do admire him. I’m grateful for his courage and focus.
Now let’s see what Amy quoted from Pastor Wurmbrand in her post.
What shall we do about these tortures? Will we be able to bear them?… And here comes the great need for the role of preparation for suffering which must start now. It is too difficult to prepare yourself for it when the Communists have put you in prison.
I remember my last Confirmation class before I left Romania. I took a group of ten to fifteen boys and girls on a Sunday morning, not to a church, but to the zoo. Before the cage of lions I told them, “Your forefathers in faith were thrown before such wild beasts for their faith. Know that you also will have to suffer. You will not be thrown before lions, but you will have to do with men who would be much worse than lions. Decide here and now if you wish to pledge allegiance to Christ.” They had tears in their eyes when they said yes.
We have to make the preparation now, before we are imprisoned. In prison you lose everything. You are undressed and given a prisoner’s suit. No more nice furniture, nice carpets, or nice curtains. You do not have a wife any more and you do not have your children. You do not have your library and you never see a flower. Nothing of what makes life pleasant remains. Nobody resists who has not renounced the pleasures of life beforehand.
Then Amy has some very stirring, sober words for us, which you can read in her post. I recommend you click through and read her last four paragraphs. I liked what she had to say, but I also think that we should redouble our efforts to preserve the liberty we have in the face of attacks from the secular left. The communists in Romania were on the secular left, much the same as our own Democrat Party are today. Persecution does bring out the best in some, but I would prefer not to be persecuted, or to see others persecuted. Let’s try our best to keep our freedoms until there is no alternative left.
Melissa Cain Travis
The second post is from Melissa Cain Travis on her blog Hard Core Christianity. Melissa is a famous science apologist, lecturer at HBU, and author of apologetics books for children. Her post offers advice to apologists.
A year or so into my grad school work, I tentatively assumed the role of public apologist. The landmark day was in the summer of 2010, when I instituted this blog to formally make myself available to both believers and non-believers struggling with questions about the alleged truths of Christianity. Not surprisingly, as I’ve worked to educate others, I have learned many valuable lessons on what to do and what not to do in apologetics ministry. For the benefit of apologists of all levels, I’d like to share a couple of important insights that may change the way you see and practice this discipline at the interpersonal level.
I’m going to tell you what your job is NOT.
Here’s one of the things your job is NOT:
You are not a spoon-feeder. I have found that many folks, abrasive atheists/agnostics in particular, aren’t willing to undertake serious research on their own. They’re armed with a hundred pop-atheism talking points that have long been answered, which goes to show they haven’t investigated the opposing viewpoint at all. Instead, they expect you to take a significant amount of time out of your schedule to distill your entire bank of knowledge on a topic into a few paragraphs and then relay it to them on social media or by email. If you do go to the effort, they often wave their hand at your response and change the subject. Don’t fall into this trap. Pay attention to verbal cues and the attitude of the individual to determine whether or not they are sincerely interested in your answers, give them a sentence or two to chew on and then direct them to a book, article, or lecture by a reputable scholar. If they come back at a later date, having studied the sources, further dialogue is warranted, so long as they maintain a respectful tone. If they simply dismiss your words and suggestions with poor logic, make snide comments about the scholars you recommend, or change the subject, cut off the conversation and stop wasting your time. Such a person is a distraction from ministry, not a legitimate beneficiary. Often, such persons will try to goad you into arguing with them further by questioning the depth or breadth of your knowledge or even your credentials. Don’t succumb to the temptation to defend yourself. Never forget that one of the strongest tactics of the Enemy is to keep you busy with futile business.
Click on through for the rest. The rest of the advice is just as good. The whole post is worth reading if you are finding yourself frustrated in your discussions.
I know several people who are just starting out in apologetics who keep spending time on people who are not interested in doing any serious studying.
Earlier this year, I was mentoring a young lady from Canada who was constantly focusing on discussing apologetics with atheists with no academic background. I kept giving her scientific papers and the like, and she would never give those to the atheists. She would just offer her opinions, and then her quarry would reply with a quote from some atheist comedian or a Youtube video and around and around it went. It was like she was afraid of offending them with complicated material. I think the best thing to do is to stand up atheists with peer-reviewed papers at the start and then let them rant at it with their opinions and leave them to it. People reading can tell the difference between Science Daily and the Daily Show. Don’t reply to any replies that are not related to the evidence. You’re wasting your time if you do. There is a lot of stand-up comedy in the world of atheism, and if that clowning around what people are impressed by, it’s best not to talk to them at all.
Filed under: Mentoring, Apologetics, Christian Apologetics, Self-Denial, Self-sacrifice