So I have this idea that this summer I will read at least 10 books. I have started out quickly but before I got too far along, I wanted to share what I’ve been reading so far.
Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand – This book gives the amazing story of Richard Wurmbrand in Communist Russian occupied Romania. He gives vivid accounts and word pictures of what it was like to live as an underground Christian in the late 40’s, 50’s and 60’s under Communist rule. He talks about how the Communists would leave certain churches open so they could control the people, having the pastors report to them regularly who was seeking Christ earnestly and who might be a threat to them, and to show the outside world that they allowed religion to continue. He talked about the torture he and other Christians endured while in prison. How a minister watched his son beat to death before him. How they were made to wear handcuffs with razor sharp nails in them, how the communists pulled out fingernails, drugged, beat, starved, and humiliated these men and women in their care. He told of how when someone was thrown in jail for being a Christian, it was against the law to help their children, so the children became orphans. It was quite a wake up call to those of us in the West who have always had a comfortable life and think suffering as a Christian is having Bill Maher say Christians are dumb and close minded. It definitely puts problems and inconveniences into proper perspective. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to know what has been endured in the eastern bloc to preserve Christianity.
God’s Pursuit of Man by A.W. Tozer – Although the name A.W. Tozer has been heard by me throughout the years, and I’ve even seen quotes attributed to the man, this was the first work of his that I endeavored to read. Man, what a writer! Tozer delved into issues within the Christian experience that I have only heard a few others touch on. For one, his dealing with the holy life or what I’ll call sanctification. He spent a number of chapters, especially towards the end, on the person of the Holy Ghost. He went into how we grieve Him, how we minimize Him, and how many in the church just ignore Him all together. Although at times he uses words and sentence structure we’re not used to seeing now, overall this is a pretty easy read. His chapters aren’t laboriously long nor does he talk over the average believer’s head. I really enjoy books that can strengthen my understanding of the Holy Spirit and Tozer’s writing definitely has done an awesome job with that task. One point I drew out of his book was one of the crisis moment along with the process of Sanctification. It seems popular in our Nazarene churches to agree with sanctification and say “Yes I’m sanctified” but to never have had a moment where we know it happened. We’ve allowed a weaker substitute to be used because our understanding is only second in it’s smallness to our actual experience. The truth is, just not wanting to sin anymore is a desire given in conversion and strengthened by the Spirit in you to work you towards the crisis moment. However, many of us don’t ask, don’t seek, nor see the need to move beyond the desire. Tozer tells us otherwise.
Other than that, I’m about 3/4’s the way through Wrestling Prayer by Eric & Leslie Ludy, 1/3 through Unleashed by Erwin McManus and about 1/3 of the way through Rees Howells: Intercessor by Normal Grubb. Two of which are pretty good, I just have to finish them. The other so far is mostly a shadow of Truth, but I’m going to finish it and give it a proper chance.