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When Joseph Ton was a pastor in Romania he was arrested by the secret police for publishing a sermon calling for the churches to refuse to submit to the Communist government’s demand for control over their ministries. When an official told him he must renounce his sermon, he replied, "No, sir! I won’t do that!"


The official, surprised that anyone would respond so forcefully to the secret police, said, "Aren’t you aware that I can use force against you?"


"Sir, let me explain that to you," Ton said. "You see, your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying. . . . You know that my sermons are spread all over the country on tapes. When you kill me, I only sprinkle them with my blood. They will speak 10 times louder after that, because everybody will say, ’That preacher meant it because he sealed it with his blood.’ So go on, sir, kill me. When you kill me, I win the supreme victory." The secret police released him, knowing his martyrdom would be far more of a problem than his sermon.


Ton is living testimony to the truth of Paul’s words, written from prison:


Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. --Phil. 1:12-14


Skip Gray

"The Way of the Cross"

Discipleship Journal

Issue 31

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