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Today’s post concludes Dr Craig S Keener‘s excellent course on hermeneutics, Biblical Interpretation.

I hope that my posts on his course these past few weeks have helped to demystify the Bible for you and encourage you to read it either for a first time or to begin rereading it.

Today’s post has a gold mine of information countering those who say that Christianity is a white man’s religion! It also has much detail on the abolitionist movement, which had its origins in British and American Christianity. (Of course, not all churches were on board with the movement.) What Keener says is essential for all Christians to read, wherever they are in the world.

Emphases below are mine.

Conclusion for Chapters 1 -10

A general principle for interpreting any text is to seek to understand it in light of its full context, the whole book in which it occurs (its themes and plot or argument) and its historical background. Another principle is to take into account the kind of writing a work is; thus, for example, we read Mark as an ancient biography, Acts as a work of ancient history, Isaiah as a book of prophecies (mostly poetic in form), and Psalms as a collection of prayer and praise songs. In the same way, we read Revelation as prophecy or apocalypse (which would include many symbols). Each kind of literature has some special characteristics (for instance, we should interpret most narratives literally, but recognize many symbolic figures of speech in poetry and prophecy).

Once one has mastered the skills mentioned above, one needs outside resources only for help with background … and with words or phrases in Greek and Hebrew that might clarify the translations. But this course has focused especially on developing the skills the interpreter needs before pressing deeper. They may be summarized as literary context, cultural context, and context of genre (kind of writing).

Chapter 11: The Reader’s ‘Social Location’

Different readers understand texts in different ways, and that is often because of the cultures and traditions we start with. Being sensitive to this issue can help us better understand why people interpret texts the way they do. Sometimes it can even expose our own prejudices or ideas we simply took for granted because we assumed that everyone thought the same way …

Recognizing the history of various lines of interpretation can help us guard against bias in the way we read the Bible. Church history is a very important safeguard in helping us put our own views in broader perspective. We can recognize the background of our own views and consider how this background influences us for good or ill. We can also challenge ourselves: how “obvious” is a view of a Bible passage if no one in history ever thought of it before? (This is not to say that majority views in church history are always correct, either. Sometimes those majorities simply reflect the cultures of those Christians writing down most of the interpretations! But church history does help us be more cautious.)

Recognizing different backgrounds (“social locations”) of various interpreters can also enrich the way we read the Bible. People in different settings ask different kinds of questions than people in other circumstances do, so we can sometimes learn from people who ask different questions as long as we follow the rules of context noted above … The questions do not contradict one another, and both may come to legitimate conclusions; the Bible is big enough to address both kinds of issues.

Listening to the voices of different interpreters committed to Scripture in different cultures can help us recognize a variety of questions and issues we may not have considered before … (A warning here: some people’s cultural assumptions can bias them to totally misunderstand the Bible. Some westerners start from the antisupernaturalistic assumptions of their culture, hence ignore or try to explain away miracles in the Bible, though God’s powerful acts are all through the Bible and at the very heart of biblical Christianity. By allowing their cultural biases to overrule their faith in what Scripture actually says, they cannot come to the biblical text with honest humility to hear its message. Most Africans, whose worldview recognizes the reality of both God and a demonic realm, will not make this same mistake.) …

1. Afrocentric Interpretation

This is merely one example of Christians in particular cultures asking particular kinds of questions; I offer this example because it is one of those with which I am more familiar.

There are extreme forms of Afrocentric interpretation that distort the biblical record no less than traditional Eurocentric interpretations have, for example, those forms which claim that everyone in the Old Testament was black (as some Europeans assumed they were white). But when by “Afrocentric” we simply mean asking questions relevant to African history, we are ready to explore issues that some Eurocentric scholars have ignored ... Again, we do not identify with characters in the Bible solely on the basis of race; otherwise only Jewish people could identify with many characters in the Bible! But it is helpful to know that a number of Africans do appear there.

Before we can look for Africans in the Bible, we have to establish what we mean by “African.”  …

for the purposes of modern Africans who ask the question, it makes sense to include everything from northern to southern Africa

We can look first at ancient Nubia, an empire which existed from perhaps as early as 3000 BC and which nearly all scholars today agree was an African empire whose people were quite dark in complexion. This kingdom is typically called “Cush” in the Hebrew Old Testament, sometimes translated “Ethiopia”; the term refers not solely to modern Ethiopia but to all of Africa south of Egypt. In some periods of Egypt’s history the Nubians conquered Egypt and Nubian Pharaohs reigned on its throne; one of these was Tirhakah, ally of the righteous king Hezekiah in the Bible (2 Kings 19:9). Moses also married a Cushite, or Nubian wife; when his sister complained, God struck his sister with leprosy temporarily to teach her a lesson (Num. 12:1-10). King David had a courier who was Nubian (2 Sam 18:21). One of Jeremiah’s closest allies (and Jeremiah had very few) was not a native Judean but was an African immigrant who worked in the royal court (Jer 38-39). It is also possible that Zephaniah the prophet (Zeph 1:1, if “Cushi” here means “a Cushite,” a possible reading of the Hebrew) and some other figures in the Old Testament were African immigrants adopted into Israel. With Egypt, Nubia was expected to come to recognize the one true God someday (Ps 68:31; cf. Is 19:24-25).

Egypt plays one of the most prominent roles in the Bible, appearing them far more often than Rome. Some nineteenth century European ethnographers, cognizant of Egypt’s great accomplishments but biased by racism, doubted that the Egyptians were of dark complexion. But a survey of ancient Egyptian artwork shows that, at least in that period, Egyptians were typically of reddish-brown complexion and some were quite dark (especially those in the south, toward Nubia). But unbiased by modern prejudices, different complexions mixed freely in Egypt, producing what is often called an “Afroasiatic” population from the intermarriage of Asiatics and Africans.

Such mixing actually affected ancient Israel. Joseph’s wife Asenath, mother of the tribes Ephraim and Manasseh, was Egyptian (Gen 41:45, 50; 46:20). The “mixed multitude” that left Egypt with Israel (Ex 12:38) included those of Egyptian blood, but given the multitude’s behavior in the wilderness, they may not be our favorite models! On the other hand, most of the Israelites probably had some Egyptian blood. Many of Abraham’s servants were gifts from Pharaoh (Gen 12:16), passed on to Isaac (25:5) and Jacob (27:36); though only 70 direct descendants of Jacob went to Egypt (46:27), the number of servants may have been even larger. When Pharaoh enslaved the Israelites (Ex 1:11), it is not likely that he freed their servants; rather, the servants became part of Israel.

In the New Testament, the first fully Gentile convert to Christianity was from Africa, a court official of the Kandake (“Candace,” in most of the translations, was a title for the queen mother). He came from a famous Nubian kingdom known as Meroe, which had existed since 750 BC and was known to the Romans and other peoples (Acts 8:26-40). This conversion was a southward example of the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8), symbolizing a greater harvest to come in church history. Nubia was later converted to Christianity through Egyptian missionaries in the fifth and sixth centuries AD, and maintained its independence as a Christian empire until 1270, then regained it until the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, when internal weaknesses allowed it to be conquered by Arab invasions from the north. During the early Arab period in Egypt, when Arabs there thought of Christians they did not think much of Europeans, with whom they had less contact, but of Africans.

English translations call the court official “Ethiopian,” but “Ethiopia” was a Greek term applied to all of Africa south of Egypt (what Hebrew called “Cush”). Here it applies to Nubia (where the Kandake ruled), not to what is called Ethiopia today. But modern Ethiopia as a whole converted to Christianity before Nubia as a whole did; Syrian missionaries Frumentius and Edesius preached the gospel there, and finally the Axumite emperor Ezanas was converted and led his empire to Christianity around AD 333, about the same time the Roman empire was converting to Christianity. Some Ethiopian Christians were already present as observers at the Council of Nicea (AD 325, along with six Arabian bishops). Later Ethiopia had to defend Egyptian Christians against Arab oppression in some periods of extremism.

The leaders in the church in Antioch, the first major missions-sending church, were multicultural (13:1). In addition to Paul (a Jew born in Turkey but raised in Jerusalem) and Barnabas (a Jew from Cyprus), and Manaen, “brought up” with Herod (possibly as a high-status family slave later freed), two leaders may have been from north Africa. One is Simeon called “Niger,” meaning “Black”; “Niger” was a common Latin name, but as a nickname (as it is here) it may indicate his dark complexion. The other is Lucius of Cyrene. We cannot be sure of his ethnic background, as Cyrene’s population was a mixture of Jews, Greeks, and native Cyrenians; but its location was certainly in north Africa.

For that matter, North Africa continued to play a major role in earliest Christianity. The Roman Empire was not so much a “European” one (in the modern sense) but a “Mediterranean” one, including southern Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. Over half of the most prominent early church fathers (Cyprian, Augustine, etc.) were from northern Africa; as a nineteenth-century German scholar opined, “It was through Africa that Christianity became the religion of the Roman empire.” Tertullian, a north African theologian, coined the term “Trinity” to describe the biblical doctrine and became known as the “father of Latin Christianity.” The leading defender of the Trinity was Athanasius of Egypt, whom his enemies called a “black dwarf,” suggesting that he was short and of exceptionally dark complexion. After the European invasions into north Africa, one north African bishop fled in a boat to Italy, and a portrait of him found there clearly indicates that he was black.

Ultimately the church declined in north Africa, however. It was torn by internal strife between professing Christians (the Donatist controversy; quarrels with the Byzantines) and later crushed by Christian heresies (Arian invaders, barbarians from northern Europe that had been converted to a very defective form of Christianity, oppressed the orthodox Christians of Africa). Likewise, in Nubia, a gradual loss of clergy because of a lack of adequate biblical training centers led to Nubia’s weakness and decline. In both cases, the Arabs conquered lands where the churches had already weakened themselves. But what much of the world forgot until modern revivals of the gospel in Africa, except concerning Christian Ethiopia, both the Bible and early church history remind us: Christianity is an ancient faith of Africa, even before it was a faith of northern Europe.

2. Slavery and Bible Interpretation

People have taken various religious texts out of their original historical contexts to justify their own behavior. Rarely has this practice been so blatant as when religious texts have been used to justify slavery. Sometimes these texts (like Ephesians 6, treated above) actually were meant to limit the horrors of slavery in cultures that practiced slavery, but such texts were later abused to justify slavery itself …

People sought religious justifications for slavery both in the Arab and western worlds. Arab tradition claims that Muhammad held slaves, but there is no basis for supposing that Muhammad made slavery worse than what already existed in his day, and in fact he may have limited it. After the Arabs conquered the Sassanian empire in 642, however, they took over the east African slave trade. By the ninth century, many Arabic texts (cited by Bernard Lewis in Race and Slavery in the Middle East [Oxford, 1990]) reveal a racial prejudice against Africans as stinky, lazy, and suited for slavery. The mighty empire of Songhay was eventually toppled in part by pressure from northern Arabs and Berbers for more slaves. By the nineteenth century the terrible march across the Sahara, Tippu Tib’s near depopulation of the upper forest region of the Congo, and other horrors had reached their peak, but they had continued for over one thousand years. The Arabian peninsula made slavery illegal only in 1962, and outside observers still claimed a quarter of a million slaves there afterward; it continues today in Mauritania, the Sudan, and elsewhere.

Those who practiced this abuse of others naturally sought justification for the practice. Building from an earlier Jewish tradition not in the Bible, Arab slave traders argued that all descendants of Ham (not simply Canaan as in Gen 9:25, fulfilled in Joshua’s day), hence Africans in general, were meant for slavery. Slavery was engrained in Arab culture; in the nineteenth century the sultan of Morocco resisted outside forces to abolish slavery, claiming that it was part of their religion as well as their culture. In 1855, when the Turks tried to outlaw the slave trade in their empire, under British pressure, Shaykh Jamal issued a fatwa from Mecca declaring the Turks now apostate from true Islam. He announced that it was therefore acceptable to kill them and to enslave their children.

Western slave traders, starting with the Spanish and Portuguese but soon including the British and Americans, borrowed the “curse of Ham” and various racist stereotypes from Arab slave traders. Although the Arabs had been engaged in this practice for many centuries, the Europeans pursued plantation agriculture more brutally, stuffing masses of captured Africans into cargo holds for the three-month voyage across the Atlantic. The earliest slaveholders in the U.S. refused to allow their slaves to hear about Christianity, protesting that the slaves might get the idea from it that they were equals of the slaveholders. (Their fears were justified: most slave revolts in the U.S. involved Christian teaching.) But eventually they were able to secure some preachers who would preach from the Bible more selectively, avoiding its themes of liberation, justice, or other matters that might cause troubles. The south was at that time the least evangelized part of the thirteen colonies, in a country which, before the Second Great Awakening, may have had only seven percent church attendance.

But while slaveholders came up with a selective way to read texts, a growing abolitionist movement looked for more general biblical principles. Passionate for justice, British evangelicals in the 1790s (especially related to Wesley’s growing Methodist brand of Anglicanism) had two main causes: missions and opposing the slave trade. The Wesleyan revival shook Britain in a number of ways, but one was creating a new climate of concern for evangelism, justice, and obedience to God. William Wilberforce and his Clapham Sect worked to abolish slavery in the British Empire until finally, on Wilberforce’s deathbed, they succeeded in persuading enough people about their Christian views.

The Methodist revival impacted the Americans, too. The 1784 Methodist General Conference declared slavery contrary to God’s law; the 1812 conference forbade slaveholders to be church elders; in 1826 the Maryland conference unanimously denounced laity holding slaves. In 1825 even the bishop of Georgia, in the heart of slave country, considered requiring all Methodists there to free their slaves. The African Methodist churches in the U.S., as well as other black American denominations, also opposed slavery. In 1789 the Virginia Baptists resolved that slavery should be abolished; Quakers like John Woolman had always opposed slavery; as early as 1710, Anglican Bishop William Fleetwood had condemned slavery. By the mid-1800s the American debate became fiercer and some churches withdrew from it, but many continued the fight.

Abolitionist Christian leaders like Charles Finney, Lewis Tappan and Theodore Weld built their case against slavery from biblical principles …

Meanwhile, the slaves engaged in some Bible interpretation of their own. The slave preachers often allowed them to hear only a small selection of biblical texts, but they could not avoid texts which talked about all humanity being descended from Adam or about all people having equal access to God’s grace through faith in Christ. Slaves would sing songs about God delivering Israel from slavery in Egypt, and the slaveholders, who were too morally depraved to understand the connection, did not realize that the slaves were praying for their own deliverance. One slave who had learned how to read later reported that he used to read the Bible while he was a slave and he found in it confirmation of what most slaves already believed–that God opposed slavery. He found there the principle that God made all humanity from one person, and that they therefore were of equal worth in God’s sight.

because the slaves heard the Bible at their point of need, they were able to hear themes that were already there which the slaveholders did not expect. Our attachment to our traditions can keep us from hearing anything new. Not everything new is right; but not all of it is wrong, either. To apply the Bible most fully, we must be ready to ask fresh questions, as long as we search the Bible on its own terms (in context and original background) to supply the answers.

3. Other Issues in Application

The ideal in applying any biblical text is to find analogies in our setting as close as possible to the original setting. The closer the analogy, the more likely our claim to be explaining how the biblical writers would preach to our situations today. We must be careful to get the correct analogy; for example, we should read Jesus’ criticisms against the Pharisees as criticisms of religious people in error, not as against modern Jews (Jesus was also Jewish). We should read the plagues of the exodus as directed against an idolatrous empire enslaving God’s people, not against modern Egyptians (God actually wanted the Egyptians to know about him–Ex 7:5, 17; 8:10, 22; 9:29; 14:4, 18; and God has a good purpose for Egypt–Is 19:24-25). In other words, we should hear Scripture humbly, rather than using it as an excuse to condemn other groups to which we do not belong. We should be read to apply its teachings to ourselves first, when applicable (Jms 3:1; Ezra 7:10). Of course, not all Scripture is applicable individually; prophecies of judgments against nations are corporate judgments, not judgments on every individual who happens to read them.

We need to know Scripture well enough to know which texts are applicable to which problems. In the long run, this is best served by knowing the Bible thoroughly, not simply by using a concordance ... A concordance is helpful for locating a word; your own personal study will help you learn and remember where to find a concept

End of series

Last week, I featured excerpts from the first four chapters of Richard Wurmbrand‘s Marx and Satan, the full text of which is available free of charge on Scribd.

In Chapter Five — A Cruel Counterfeit Pastor Wurmbrand discusses Marx’s successors in the Communist world, among them Joseph Stalin, Yuri Andropov, Mao Tse-Tung and Che Guevara.

He also relates news items about Communism turning children against their parents, effectively sentencing them to imprisonment and death, as well as horrific, unimaginable murders of clergymen.  If you are of a sensitive disposition, this post is best avoided.

If you have any teens or university age students in the house, this book is well worth sharing with them.  Originally written as a pamphlet, it won’t take them long to read.  Wurmbrand, a victim of torture over 14 years under the Communists, did painstaking research, which clearly shows in his content.  Marx and his successors were not nice people.  If more of our youth were aware of just how awful Marxist regimes were and are around the world, they would be less enamoured of this man and what he started in the 19th century.

The following excerpts come from pages 32 – 47.  Subheads are in the original.  Text emphases in bold are mine.

Chapter Five — A Cruel Counterfeit

Bukharin, Stalin, Mao, Ceausescu, Andropov

It might be instructive at this point to take a look at some modern Marxists. Bukharin, secretary general of the Communist International and one of the chief Marxist doctrinaires in this century, as early as the age of twelve, after reading the Book of Revelation in the Bible, longed to become the Antichrist. Realizing from Scripture that the Antichrist had to be the son of the apocalyptic great whore, he insisted that his mother confess to having been a harlot.

About Stalin he wrote, “He is not a man, but a devil” …

Similarly, Kaganovitch, Stalin’s brother-in-law and closest collaborator, writes about him in his diary (soon to be published):

I started to understand how Stalin managed to make himself a god. He did not have a single human characteristic… . Even when he exhibited some emotions, they all did not seem to belong to him. They were as false as the scale on top of armor. And behind this scale was Stalin himself – a piece of steel. For some reason I was convinced that he would live forever…. He was not human at all…

He told Kaganovitch:

When I have to say good-bye to someone, I picture this person on all fours and he becomes disgusting. Sometimes I feel attached to a person who should be removed for the good of the cause. What do you think I do? I imagine this person sh-tting, exhaling stench, farting, vomiting and I don’t feel sorry for this person. The sooner he stops stinking on this earth, the better. And I cross this person out of my heart.

… Stalin also thinks that separation from children should be the main punishment for all parents belonging to sects, irrespective of whether they were convicted or not …

Stalin said that the greatest joy is to cultivate a person’s friendship until he lays his head confidently on your bosom, then to implant a dagger in his back – a pleasure not to be surpassed …

It is significant that many of Stalin’s comrades-in arms spoke about him as demonic.

Milovan Djilas, prominent Communist leader of Yugoslavia who was personally well acquainted with Stalin, wrote:

Was it not so that the demonic power and energy of Stalin consisted in this, that he made the [Communist] movement and every person in it pass to a state of confusion and stupefaction, thus creating and ensuring his reign of fear.

He also says about the whole ruling class of the U.S.S.R.:

They make a semblance of believing in the ideal of socialism, in a future society without classes. In reality, they believe in nothing except organized power.

Even Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, who never learned about the depths of Satanism, wrote:

Beria (the Soviet minister of interior affairs) seems to have had a diabolic link with all our family…. Beria was a frightening, wicked demon…. A terrible demon had taken possession of my father’s soul.

Svetlana further mentions that Stalin considered goodness and forgiving love to be worse than the greatest crime.

Such is the Satanic priesthood that rules almost half of mankind and which orders terrorist acts all over the world.

Stalin was the illegitimate child of a landlord by a servant-maid. His father, fearing notoriety, bribed a cobbler to marry the pregnant girl, but the affair became known. During his childhood

Stalin was mocked as a bastard. During Stalin’s teen years, his real father was found murdered. Stalin was suspected, but no proof could be found against him.

Later, as a seminary student, he joined Communist circles. There he fell in love with a girl named Galina. Since the Communists were poor, Galina was given the assignment to become the mistress of a rich man and so provide the Party with money. When Stalin himself voted for this proposal, she cut her veins.

Stalin himself committed robberies for the Party, and in this he was very successful. He appropriated none of the stolen money for himself …

(Andropov, late premier of the Soviets, produced the same impression as Stalin. The French minister of external affairs, Claude Cheysson, who met him, described Andropov in Le Monde as “a man without warmth of soul, who works like a computer…. He shows no emotions…. He is extremely dispassionate…. He is accurate in words and gestures like a computer.”)

Stalin, like Marx, Engels, and Bauer before him, started out as a believer. At fifteen, he wrote his first poem, which begins with the words, “Great is the Almighty’s providence.” He became a seminarian because he felt it his calling …

When he began to write as a revolutionary, the first pseudonyms he used were “Demonoshvili,” meaning something like “the demoniac” in the Georgian language, and “Besoshvili,” “the devilish.”

Other evidences of Satanist persuasion among Marxist leaders are also significant. Troitskaia, daughter of the Soviet marshal Tuhatchevsky, one of the top men of the Red Army who was later shot by Stalin, wrote of her father that he had a picture of Satan in the east corner of his bedroom, where the Orthodox usually put their ikons ...

One of the leaders of a terrorist organization in Argentina took upon himself the nickname “Satanovsky.”

Anatole France, a renowned French Communist writer, introduced some of the greatest intellectuals of France to communism. At a recent exhibition of demoniac art in Paris, one of the pieces shown was the specific chair used by that Communist writer for presiding over Satanist rituals. Its horned armrests and legs were covered with goat’s fur …

One of the oldest devil-worshiping sects, the Syrian Yezidi, was written up in a Soviet atheistic magazine, Nauka I Religia (July 1979). It is the only religious sect about which the magazine wrote not one word of criticism.

Furthermore, Mao Tse-Tung wrote:

From the age of eight I hated Confucius. In our village there was a Confucianist temple. With all my heart, I wished only one thing: to destroy it to its very foundations.

… At the other extreme is St. Paul of the Cross, who from the age of eight spent three hours in prayer every night.

Cult of Violence

Che Guevara learned his Marxist lessons well …

Hate is an element of fight — pitiless hate against the foe, hate that lifts the revolutionist above the natural limitation of man and makes him become an efficient, destructive, cool, calculating, and cold killing machine.

Marx writes in The Communist Manifesto:

There is only one method to shorten the murderous pains of death of the old society, the bloody birth pangs of the new society; only one method to simplify and concentrate them, that is revolutionary terrorism.

There have been many revolutions in history. Each had an objective. The American revolution, for example, was fought for national independence, the French revolution for democracy. Marx is the only one who formulates as his aim a “permanent revolution,” terrorism and bloodshed for revolution’s sake. There is no purpose to be attained; violence to the point of paroxysm is its only objective. This is what distinguishes Satanism from ordinary human sinfulness …

A further insight into the fundamental attitudes of Communists can be gained from a few brief quotes …

Lenin: “Atheism is an integral part of Marxism. Marxism is materialism. We must combat religion. This is the ABC of all materialism and consequently of Marxism.”

Lenin, in an address in 1922: “First we shall take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia. After that, we shall surround and undermine the U.S.A., which will fall into our hands without a struggle – like an overripe fruit.

Khrushchev: “If anyone believes our smiles involve abandonment of the teachings of Marx, Engels and Lenin, he deceives himself. Those who wait for that must wait until a shrimp learns to whistle.”

Satanist Cruelty

Solzhenitsyn reveals in his monumental Gulag Archipelago that the hobby of Yagoda, the Soviet Union’s minister of interior affairs, was to undress and, naked, shoot at images of Jesus and the saints. A couple of comrades joined him in this …

In Russia, in Stalin’s day, some Communists killed a number of innocents in the cellars of the police. After their bloody deed, one of the henchmen had second thoughts and went from corpse to corpse, apologizing: “I did not intend to do this. I don’t know you. Speak to me, move, forgive me.” One of his comrades then killed him. A third was converted and later related the incident.

Russkaia Misl, a Russian-language magazine in France, reported (March 13, 1975) the following from the Soviet Union:

D. Profirevitch, in Russia, had a daughter and a son whom he brought up in the faith. Naturally, they had to attend Communist schools. At the age of twelve the daughter came home and told her parents, “Religion is a capitalist superstition. We are living in new times.” She dropped Christianity altogether. Afterwards she joined the Communist Party and became a member of the Secret Police. This was a terrible blow to her parents.

Later the mother was arrested. Under Communist rule no one possesses anything, whether it be children, a wife, or personal liberty. The state can take them away at any time.

After the mother’s arrest, the son exhibited great sorrow A year later he hanged himself. D. Profirevitch found this suicide letter:

Father, will you judge me? I am a member of the Communist youth organization. I had to sign that I would report everything to the Soviet authorities. One day the police called me, and Varia, my sister, asked me to sign a denunciation against Mother because as a Christian she is considered a counter-revolutionist. I signed. I am guilty of her imprisonment. Now they have ordered me to spy on you. The consequence will be the same. Forgive me, Father; I have decided to die.

The suicide of the son was followed by the jailing of the father.

Priest Zynoviy Kovalyk was arrested by the Bolsheviks in the year 1941 and was confined in the Brygidka jail in Lviv, Ukraine. When the Germans put the Bolsheviks to flight that same year, the people of the city found the priest’s blood-stained body nailed to the wall by the arms and legs, as if it were the crucified Lord. They also found about six thousand massacred prisoners, shot in the nape of the neck, whom the Bolsheviks had piled on top of each other in the cellars and covered over with plaster

Dr. O. Sas-Yavorsky (U.S.A.), after the capture of Lviv by the Germans near the end of June 1941, went searching for his imprisoned father and saw in the jail a priest nailed to a cross. Into his slashed stomach the Communists had placed the body of an unborn baby, taken from the womb of its mother, whose corpse lay on the blood-soaked floor. Other eyewitnesses recognized that this was the body of the renowned missionary Father Kovalyk.

Generally, to the Communists human life is cheap

During the Spanish civil war, Communists killed four thousand Catholic priests.

A renowned Russian Orthodox priest named Dudko reported that six Communists entered the house of Father Nicholas Tchardjov, pulled out his hair, gouged out his eyes, made many cuts on his body, passed a pressing iron over it, then shot him with two bullets. This happened on the Eve of St. Nicholas. It was not only a crime against the priest, but also a mockery of the saint.

The Western press reported on March 10, 1983, that in Zimbabwe three thousand of the Ndebele tribe were killed by the soldiers of the Communist dictator Mugabe. The army had been trained by North Korean instructors. Tribe members were asked to shoot their grown-up sons themselves; if they refused, they were shot along with their sons.

The Devil apes God by promising still waters and green pastures which are not his to give. Therefore he must pretend. And the less he can offer, the more he must pretend. To gain a foothold, he puts on a false front (did you ever wonder about Communist front organizations?) and makes benevolent gestures. But he delivers only misery, death, and destruction– “awful, complete, universal, and pitiless.”

The Devil is jealous and becomes enraged at spiritual beauty. It offends him. Since he cannot be beautiful– he lost his primal beauty because of his pride– he does not want anyone else to be. If it were not for the saints’ spiritual beauty, the Devil would not seem so ugly. Therefore he wishes to deface all beauty.

This is why Christians in the Romanian Communist prison of Piteshti, as well as other Communist jails, were tortured– not only to betray the secrets of the underground church, but to blaspheme.

Regimes under which such horrors occur again and again, regimes that turn even Christians into murderers and denouncers of innocent victims, can only be abhorred by the children of God. Whoever bids them Godspeed is a partaker in their evil deeds (2 John 11).

Satanic Sin

… Satanic crime is of another order. Hitler killed millions of Jews, including babies, with the excuse that Jews had done harm to the German people. For the Communists it was a matter of course to imprison and torture the family members of a person they considered guilty. When I was jailed, it was taken for granted that my wife must be jailed too, and that my son must be excluded from all schooling

To gain an insight into the life and thinking of a Satanist, one need only read a few mild excerpts from the writing of Al[e]ister Crowley (1875-1947), notorious for his involvement in occult practices:

Pity not the fallen. I never knew them. I console not. I hate the consoler and the consoled 

Blasphemous Versions of the Lord’s Prayer

The ultimate aim of communism in conquering new countries is not to establish another social or economic system. It is to mock God and praise Satan.

The German Socialist Student Union also published a parody of the Lord’s Prayer, indicating that the “true” meaning of the prayer upholds capitalism …

The identification of Christianity with the interests of capitalism is outrageous. The true church knows that capitalism, too, is stained with blood, for every economic system bears the marks of sin. Christians oppose communism not from the viewpoint of capitalism, but of the kingdom of God, which is their true social ideal. The above is nothing less than Satanic mockery of Jesus’ most holy prayer, as is the one published by the Soviets.

Mockery of the Lord’s Prayer is customary in many Communist lands. Ethiopian children were taught to pray as follows:

Our Party which rulest in the Soviet Union,

Hallowed be thy name …

Give us this day our daily bread, and don’t forgive the trespasses of the Imperialists as we will not forgive them

Over an Ethiopian Lutheran radio station confiscated by the Communist government, a Satanist version of the Bible a was broadcast. First Corinthians 13 sounded like this:

Though I speak all the languages and have no enmity toward the landlords and capitalists, I have become as sounding brass…. Class hatred suffers no exploitation and is brutal. Class hatred envies their riches and vaunts itself with the successful revolutions in many Socialist states….And now abide faith, hope, and class hatred, but the greatest of these is revolutionist hatred.

Tomorrow: Chapter Six – A Spiritual Warfare

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