by Rebecca MegliLest We Forget
Romanian Pastor Recalls Christ's Victory Over Communism
"[Under Communism] we were not allowed to meet for Bible study," recalled Romanian Christian Paul Negrut. "A group of us would meet way out in the mountains in bushes to study the Bible in hiding." Furthermore, he told students at Midwestern Seminary, "we were not allowed to elect our own pastor for the church. Pastors were imposed on us by the Communists. We were not allowed to print or distribute Bibles. The Communists confiscated Bibles and they would turn them into toilet paper. They were determined to destroy Christianity within 20 years after they took power."
Negrut, now president of Emmanuel University and Seminary in Oradea, Romania, explained how a group of Christians began to pray for the day when the gospel would be heard on the radio and television, in the stadiums, sports halls, in the marketplace, in public schools, and even in the presidential palace. The group prayed from 1973 to 1989 every day. Then came the day of conquering in December, 1989, after 45 years under the Communist regime.
On Dec. 13, 1989, a group of Baptist pastors met together for prayer and felt led to write an open letter to the Communist dictator [urging him]to let churches worship freely and to let the people train their children in the ways of the Lord. "When we signed that letter we knew we signed our death certificate," he said.
On Dec. 17, after preaching at the first night of a revival meeting, Negrut said they found out that the police were about to arrest the pastor of a nearby Hungarian church.
They decided to form a chain of prayer around his house. Starting with 200 people on the first night, by the next night the group grew to 2,000-and to 10,000 the third night. Then they decided to move downtown and pray over the headquarters of the Communist Party.
"The Communist dictator sent his army and they opened fire. People were shot dead there in the crowd. That was an electrifying moment," Negrut said. "Men took off their jackets and their shirts and shouted, ‘There is God. God turn his face to Romania. There is God.'" Two hours later, the army had sided with the protestors, Negrut said.
On December 21, the Communist leader was arrested by his own army and was killed on Dec. 25.
The pastors' group organized crusades in the major stadiums with Luis Palau as evangelist. This was followed by a half-hour daily program of Bible reading on Romanian television, to which about 30,000 people each day responded.
Encouraging the students to exercise the power of prayer, Negrut said: "Jesus conquered the greatest enemy. He conquered sin and death for us. So, we can say, ‘Give me this mountain' (Josh. 14:12)."