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Book Review Bruce Hunt, For a Testimony

Book Review

Bruce Hunt, For a Testimony (Willow Grove: OPC, 2000), 152 pgs., pb., $5.00

Persecution for being a Christian is something that most Americans Christians seldom, if ever, experience.  How often do American Christians get imprisoned for their faith in Christ.  Though this is something that is largely foreign to American Christianity, it does not therefore mean that we should be ignorant of those who have suffered persecution for the sake of the name of Christ.  For a Testimony is the story of Bruce Hunt, an OPC missionary to Korea during the final two months leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Bruce Hunt was ministering in Korea when the Japanese took control prior to their attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.  It was at this time when the Japanese government was imposing emperor worship upon Korea.  Hunt, of course, refused to acknowledge that the emperor could be worshipped equally with Christ.  He stuck to the truth that God alone is to be worshipped.  For his faithfulness to God and the message of the Gospel, Hunt was separated from his family and imprisoned because of his refusal to endorse emperor worship.  The book tells the story of Hunt’s imprisonment.

This is a worthwhile book to read because it places many issues before us as Christians that we do not often think about.  Hunt recounts, for example, that while he was in prison he became extremely emaciated to the point where he could place his fingers around his upper arm.  Yet, there was a fellow Christian prisoner who was in worse shape than he.  Hunt was faced with the decision of whether he should pray and fast for his brother in Christ.  Despite his emaciated condition, he decided to fast for his friend.  What would we do in similar circumstances?

Hunt also recalls that while he was in prison there were times when he was not allowed to have his Bible.  During those difficult times he lamented not having memorized more Scripture.  When he had the opportunity to read his Bible he set about memorizing as much as he could in the event that he would be without his Bible once again.  Do we know enough Scripture that were we in similar circumstances that we would be able to whisper the Word of God to our downtrodden souls?

This is an excellent book because it places the issue of persecution for the Christian faith squarely before the reader.  Moreover, it is helpful because it is not a story that is separated by hundreds or even thousands of years from the reader’s own world.  This is a story that happened some 60 years ago and to a missionary of our own denomination.  For these reasons, we can heartily recommend For a Testimony as a book worthy of reading.   

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Just what does...

The Means of Grace

...mean, anyway?

One remarkable truth much neglected by Christians is known as the means of grace. By this we mean the outward ways through which God grants grace to the Christian. The means are like channels or avenues – designated paths by which God provides strengthening grace to his people.

The three means of grace are the Word (the Bible), the Sacraments (the Lord’s Supper and baptism) and prayer.

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Word: The Bible is the very word of God that he has given to his people. Scripture tells us that the Word of God is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) – that is, the original documents of Scripture come to us as the very will of God, without error or confusion.
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Sacraments: Perhaps you are not familiar with idea of sacraments. You may have heard baptism or the Lord’s Supper referred to instead as "ordinances." How can it be that either baptism and the Lord’s Supper be means by which God grants the Christian to grow in grace?
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Prayer: In prayer, we draw close to God and praise, thank and bless him for who he is, and offer to him prayers concerning our needs. We pray, just as we read the Word and take the Sacraments, in faith. Without faith, none of these means of grace is effective.