Richard Wurmbrand

Heroes of the Faith

By Pastor Roger Eng, September 05, 2021

Philippians 1:27 (NLT), “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.”

Heroes of the Faith – Richard Wurmbrand (the iron curtain Paul)

  1. His Early Life (birth – 26)

• Born in Bucharest, Romania (03/24/1909) • Father died at age 9. • Poverty (material, spiritual). • Jewish, atheist, and Marxist. • Read books and fluent in several languages. • Resourceful and successful in business. • Wurmbrand said, “I despised others and hated myself.”

  1. His Early Christian Life (age 27-31)

• 1936 – Married to Sabina Oster (Jewish, atheist). • The doctors ordered him to recover from TB in a mountain village. • They met a village carpenter who prayed for and witness to them. He gave them a Bible. • Richard was saved in 1937 (Sabina in 1938). • Discipled by Rev. Isaac Feinstein from Jassy, Romania. • 1939 – WW2 begins and the Nazi reign of terror. Their son was born. • 1940 – Richard became the leader of a church when the Anglican ministers fled Romania. Richard went from church secretary to Pastor in a few months! • Ordained as a Lutheran Minister and became targets for persecution. They were beaten and arrested several times for ministry to the Jews.

  1. His Persecuted Life (age 32-55)

• 1941 – The Nazi massacre begins (13,266 Jews in Jassy). Richard’s mentor Isaac Feinstein was killed along with his entire Church (1000 Christian Jews.) Two young girls escaped. Sabina’s family killed. • Richard and Sabina rescued six children, adopted them, the sent them away for safety, but they were lost at sea. • 1945 – Soviet Army “liberates” Romania. Now, there’s a million Russian soldiers in Romania who need the Gospel! • 1945 – Richard publically declares his allegiance to Christ at the “Congress of the Cults.” The underground church begins. (They print and distribute a million Russian Gospels, disguised as communist literature). • 1947 – Communists officially take control of Romania. • 1948 – The secret police kidnapped Richard on his way to church. 8 ½ yr. imprisonment (first 3 yrs. Solitary 30’ underground). No sunlight, Bible, books, writing, people – just interrogations and beatings. They beat his feet first, so he could not walk. Sabina imprisoned for 3 years and was told Richard was dead. How did he survive? He practiced preaching sermons to the walls! • 1956 - Released and resumes underground church work. • 1959 – 5 ½ yr. imprisonment.

How did Richard Wurmbrand get in so much trouble?

It began back in 1945, when they were forced to attend the Congress of Cults. About 4,000 political/religious leaders were there, and the session was broadcast live throughout the country. One by one religious leaders went to the microphone and pledged loyalty to communist rule. Sabina couldn’t take it any longer…. she whispered to Richard, “Richard, stand up and wash this shame from the face of Christ! Richard slowly turned toward Sabina and stared into her angry eyes. It was clear he knew she was right, but she could also tell he understood the consequences. “If I do,” he warned, "you’ll lose your husband.” Sabina’s eyes bored into Richard’s, and she squeezed his hand harder. Her nails dug into his palm. With courage only from the Holy Spirit, she spoke again. “I don’t want a coward for a husband.” Richard took the stage, and the entire nation watched him publically declare his allegiance to Jesus Christ alone and preach the Gospel. - TFC

Richard spent 14 yrs. total in prison. Once he was out of solitary, prisoners were housed in large rooms together. He said,“It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their terms. It was a deal; we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching. They were happy beating us, so everyone was happy.”- TFC

Jesus said, Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. Richard was persecuted in prison, and Richard was blessed in prison with the presence of Christ.

  1. His Kingdom Life (age 56-92)

• 1964 – Released from prison. • Given an “official” church of 35 but they took his preaching license, so he worked with the underground again! Two Christian organizations raised money and former secret police, whom he led to Christ, worked for his rescue. • 1965 – Escaped to Norway due to $10,000 ransom. • 1966 – Testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee. • Became the voice for the persecuted church. • Preached Christ and spoke against Marxism/communism. • 1967 – Founded The Voice of the Martyrs. • Authored “Tortured for Christ.” • 2001 – Died in California (Sabina 2000).

He said, “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…. We saw that communism was not from people but from the devil. It is a spiritual force – a force of evil and can only be countered by a greater spiritual force, the Spirit of God.” One of his books was Marx and Satan.

In 1989 the Communist ruler Nicolae Ceaușescu was forced out of office in Romania. 42 years of Communist rule ended. In 1990 Richard and Sabina returned to Romania. Richard visited his old cell, 30’ underground. Guess what he found? It was used as a storage room for a Christian Bookstore.


“We Christians are often half-heartedly on the side of the whole truth. They are wholeheartedly on the side of the lie.” – Richard Wurmbrand in Tortured for Christ (TFC)