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Romanian Baptist recounts Christian life under Communist rule

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–The fall of Romanian communism and the rise of Christianity was Paul Negrut’s testimony to students Feb. 28 at Midwestern Seminary.

Paul Negrut, president of Emmanuel University and Seminary in Oradea, Romania, recounted his personal experience of being a Christian under a Communist regime so he could demonstrate the power of prayer and God’s faithfulness in conquering giants. Negrut also is a pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church and president of the Romania Baptist Union. Midwestern Seminary president Phil Roberts was the first academic dean at Emmanuel University and Seminary, where he currently is a trustee.

Midwestern students were encouraged to pray, “Give me that mountain” in conquering any giants in their life. Negrut used Joshua 14 as his basis for encouragement. Negrut shared how he was born in a Communist country with Communist giants.

“We were not allowed to meet for Bible study. A group of us would meet way out in the mountains in bushes to study the Bible in hiding. 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 giants confiscated Bibles and they would turn them into toilet paper. They were determined to destroy Christianity within 20 years after they took power.”

Negrut 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 the presidential palace. The group prayed from 1973 to 1989 every day. So, as Caleb prayed, “Give me that mountain,” this group prayed for God to move their giants and mountains.

After 45 years under the Communist regime, Negrut said the day of conquering came in December 1989. “Our mountains came tumbling down and the giants disappeared in the split second,” he said.

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 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 the first night of a revival, Negrut said they found out that the police were about to arrest a pastor of a nearby Hungarian Church. The group decided to stand around his house and form a chain of prayer. They started out with 200 people on Thursday. By Friday night, the group grew to 2,000 and to 10,000 people by Saturday 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.

“All the giants disappeared overnight,” Negrut said. The group organized crusades in the major stadiums with Luis Palau as evangelist. This was followed by a half hour a day on Romanian television where 30,000 people a day responded to the program of Bible reading.

The Emmanuel University and Seminary was started with 60 students and the blessing of the government to train missionaries to be public school teachers. It is the only conservative, evangelical university on the continent of Europe with students from 13 other countries.

Negrut said, “Jesus conquered the greatest enemy. He conquered sin and death for us. So, we can say, ‘Give me that mountain.'”

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  • Rebecca Megli