Eisenhower, Muggeridge, and Sabina Wurmbrand
Biographies have been powerful in my life. Great heroes of the faith, courageous leaders in the teeth of war, missionaries braving cannibalistic tribes, explorers meeting the challenges of cold, heat, heights and all manner of adversity, athletes rising to extreme levels of to reach new goals and new records, these are the stuff that have inspired me and challenged me to be an become more than I am. I want to be a better man, a better husband, a better father, a better friend, a better man of God and outside of the Bible, NOTHING has been more helpful than the noble lives of others.
As promised, though delayed, this is the first Sunday of what I hope will become an every Sunday afternoon series. Brief, Inspiring reviews and recommendations of Biographies and memoirs of men and women who themselves have lived noble, inspiring lives, many of them Christians from every walk of life. This week, I have two men and one woman. Three impressive individuals, one of whom, has major motion picture devoted to her story about to hit theaters in March, and two, who have been largely overlooked or under appreciated for too long.
First, Malcolm Muggeridge: A Life by Ian Hunter
Muggeridge was a British journalist and satirist who lived an interesting life. That sentence deserves to be satirized. His was an extraordinary life. Born in 1903 to a father who was a socialist and early Labour Party member. Muggeridge himself was attracted to communism and moved to the Soviet Union in the 1930’s. Reality, always a good teacher, changed him. His experience in the U.S.S.R. turned him into a staunch anti-communist. During the World War II, he served as a British spy. His journalism career took off and was lauded for its bite and wisdom. His was an agnostic, cynical and pungent view leaning toward atheism but in the 1960’s he experienced a conversion to Christianity. Brits loved his wit and satire. American’s too learned to love him late. In the 70’s and 80’s William F. Buckley introduced him to a larger audience through THE FIRING LINE TV interviews (see some of the them on YouTube).
As a key intellectual of the 20th Century, this biography is a great read and filled with wisdom.
Second, The Pastor’s Wife, by Sabina Wurmbrand
The pastor of course is Sabina’s husband Richard Wurmbrand. I heard Wurmbrand speak once. I was a young Christian, the only one in my family at the time, and I was reading a newspaper (remember those?) and saw that he was speaking at Davisville Baptist Church (Southhampton, PA) in the summer of 1974. I snuck into the balcony and heard the great man speak of the torture he had endured at the hand of communists in Romania and his years of imprisonment for his faith. Somewhere before that night, I had become a reader of the newsletter, “Jesus to the Communist World” now known as the magazine and the ministry Voice of the Martyrs. This particular book is about the woman who helped to make that great man and their great love for one another and the Savior.
It is a book filled with adventure, courage, escapes, tears and joys. After her husband was arrested for sharing the gospel, Sabina continued to work for his release but also to build an underground railroad to protect Christians in restricted areas around the world. This is a story worthy of a movie and that is precisely what is happening in March. (Click here for information)
Finally, The Soul of An American President: The Untold Story of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Faith, by Alan Sears and Craig Osten with Ryan Cole
For many years, I knew that President Eisenhower was the only American President to have been baptized while serving as President. But I never knew the story of his faith, so last year when I saw this book it was an opportunity to fill in some of the gaps. I would not call this a great book, but it is a solid story of a man who had immense power and found it illusory and who had a humble and real faith that satisfied him in his latter years. I recommend it.
Next Sunday: three more biographies.