Richard Wurmbrand’s Marx and Satan: The most relevant book you can read this year

(Here’s an English version of the Foreword I wrote for our new Korean language edition of Rev. Wurmbrand’s book Marx and Satan, to be released in a few weeks. You can find an English language edition of the book here–minus my Foreword, of course.)

What do Marx and Satan have in common?

Some might answer that the commonality is that no one believes in either one anymore, that they are both personages whom the world has outgrown and left behind.

Yet more than one billion people live in countries which continue to officially espouse Marxism, with the largest of those countries, China, emphatically committed to it. The two hundredth anniversary of Marx’s birth in 2018 was marked by supportive popular and scholarly appraisals of his work. A new film portraying Marx’s early years received enthusiastic response worldwide. Even a giant new 4.5-meter tall bronze statue of Marx was erected in the town of his birth—a two-hundredth birthday gift from China.

But Marx’s deepest and most lasting impact may not be on the countries that continue to adhere to his ideology but rather on the countries that opposed it. For in the countries that opposed Marxism—the countries of the so-called “free world”—the cost of overcoming Marxism was that they came to have such faith in their own contrasting system of economics and political rights that they ended up adopting Marx’s central tenet: That human beings no longer need God.

Herein lay the commonality between Marx and Satan and the nature of their shared work–not in the economic system of communism, not in the political system of totalitarianism, not on behalf of one side of the Cold War, but instead in the advocacy of the promise that ultimately captivated the nations on both sides of the Iron Curtain and that holds sway around the world today: You shall be as gods.

Today, statistics show the nations of both sides of the former Iron Curtain to be about equally forgetful of God. Atheism has firmly taken root in all political and economic systems. In fact, what either is or soon will be the largest Christian nation in the world is an officially Marxist nation: China. Lest this suggest that Marxism is somehow compatible with Christianity, it is worth noting that the Chinese church is presently engaged in one of the worst waves of persecution in history as the Communist Party of China seeks to remake Christianity in its own image. Marxism is still not compatible with Christianity, and it is no longer afraid of it. It has seen much of the church around the world brought to heel in our day by Marx’s materialism, and it is more than happy to repeat to the church in China Satan’s standing offer, “All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.”

This is what makes Marx and Satan more relevant today than when it was first published in 1976: In the light of history it is more apparent than ever than Marx and Satan were double agents in the Cold War. Through their partnership which Rev. Wurmbrand details in the book, they ensured that their real work—the work of presenting a world without God as achievable, reasonable, and inevitable—would triumph regardless of which political and economic system actually won. In this way, God imprisoned all—communist and capitalist alike—in disobedience, so that he might have mercy on us all.

But that mercy can only come to us when, as we read this book, we confess, “The times that have now befallen us have come because we—in the West and in the East, in the Communist world as well as the capitalist one—have forgotten God.” As Rev. Wurmbrand would no doubt note were he writing a Foreword for the book today, it was not free market economics that saved us from Marx and Satan, nor was it liberal democracy, nor military strength. It was God.

And it is God who must save us once again from Marx and Satan. We need to read and re-read Pastor Wurmbrand’s book until it is clear to us how deep a partnership these two personages have had. This is not Cold War history. It is about a battle that remains to be fought. Perhaps many will say that no one believes in Marx or Satan anymore. But that likely troubles neither one, since they have always done their main work underground.


About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is also the International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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3 Responses to Richard Wurmbrand’s Marx and Satan: The most relevant book you can read this year

  1. Jacquelynne H. Titus says:

    Great article!

  2. 란다 says:

    Power words: “In this way, God imprisoned all—communist and capitalist alike—in disobedience, so that he might have mercy on us all.”
    I take comfort in knowing that Jesus is capable and worthy to take the burden of all sin while prayer and preaching is my part.
    So thankful for your writing, Pastor Foley.

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