Showing posts from February, 2012

Brother Andrew, Mao & the hidden bibles

Here is one more great Brother Andrew story which illustrates how big a task lies ahead for today's church in awakening the generation which grew up behind the Iron Curtain to the worth and value of the scriptures.

After his early forays into Eastern Europe, Andrew had the opportunity of getting into China, then during the Cultural Revolution, about as closed as it was possible to be to western influence, never mind Christian thought. Brother Andrew picks up the story on a bridge to the border crossing:

'At long last the British Customs officer (from the Hong Kong side) told us we could cross the bridge. We went single file, stepping cautiously on the cross ties. There were half a dozen of us Europeans in our group; the others were mostly businessmen from England, France and Canada. At the halfway point the shade of green in which the girders were painted was changed. We were in Communist China.

On this side of the border was a much larger complex of buildings, neat and dull, the…

Greenhouse of Atheism

I have enjoyed meeting in the homes of men and women in Romania who knew first hand what it was to be blacklisted from jobs, prevented from getting an education, arrested and beaten for having bibles or even just meeting with other believers.

One man I met in the city of Cluj Napoca recently became a follower of Jesus at a church meeting held in the old Secret Police building. What is more amazing is that this man last saw his father when he was taken into that same building 40 years ago. His father was interrogated for being a Christian and never came out again. Now decades later this avowed atheist, a product of the former Communist regime, gave his life to Christ in the same building his father had given up his life in!

This story is not surprising when we read Brother Andrew's account of life in Romania at that time.I'm posting some more Brother Andrew escapades, realising that most of us have either forgotten these stories, or simply had no idea that such conditions existed…

Brother Andrew stories for the 21st Century

I grew up understanding how the world worked. East and West, the fracturing of Europe after the war, the continuing cold war. It was just how it was. What went on behind the Iron Curtain was the subject of spy novels and a mystery to most of us.I avidly read books like Bother Andrew’s ‘God’s Smuggler’ as a boy, amazed at the terrifying adventures and near misses. Never really thinking that things would be any different, that this closed, controlled world of the communist regime would open up.

Of course it did, and it is now with some awe that I find myself working into Romania, amongst believers who lived through these times, whose lives are still shaped so profoundly by having endured the totalitarian regime. Today, I can travel door to door from my house and be in a city in a former Communist state in under 6 hours. Today I can openly visit churches, preach the gospel, carry a bible, all without fear of imprisonment or worse.

It is hard to express just how incredible these changes are…

Let's give it up for religion this Lent!

What is it about Lent which makes us come over all medieval? It's the 21st century, and we are post modern charismatics, yet to read some of the trending twitter feeds and blogs this week, you would have to assume that the Reformation never happened!
I've got news for you, the Reformation DID happen. Not only do I no longer need to wear a Tudor codpiece to keep in step with fashions, but I've also got the privilege of living after Luther, Calvin at al.

Luther did all the lent stuff, all of the time - all before the light of the gospel of grace broke over his broken life. His mad monastic lifestyle, through which he was trying to get right with an angry God, nearly drove him insane. But then came a glorious moment of relief whilst reading Paul's letter to the Romans over and over - suddenly it came - the righteous shall live by faith!

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for some quiet reflection in the run up to Easter. I like to do a little Lent reading, I even enjoyed wo…