Since 1974 significant changes have occurred in the life of the Baptist church in Oradea. The Lord has showed us the importance of prayer, ridding ourselves of formalism and tradition, and reforming the church’s life according to the teaching of the Bible. As a result, the church has experienced growth and known increasing maturity. God has worked powerfully in the lives of many people through the preaching of his Word.
Previously, such growth was viewed by the communist authorities as a threat. The secret police put heavy pressure upon our pastor, and he went into exile. This persecution brought about a crisis for us. Many in the church asked themselves: ‘Is God’s blessing now coming to an end? What are we going to do about the future?’ I remember the church praying day and night, asking God to resolve the situation. We could not complain to people about the injustices, but we could cry to God in our desperation.
God answered us abundantly by raising up godly men, under whose ministry the church has continued to be blessed. These blessings led to widespread repercussions within Romania, and again attracted the attention of the secret police. Once more the church gave itself to prayer and, in spite of opposition, continued to grow. From 500 members in 1974 it has over 3,600 members today.
The downfall of Romania’s communist regime in December 1989 brought new opportunities for the gospel in Oradea. There is now a general consensus in our society that the communist idea of an atheistic state was disastrous. Without belief in God, everything in society is impoverished, right down to its culture. It is the lack of Christianity that has caused the decline in moral standards in Romania.
As believers, we know that the way for Romania to recover moral uprightness is to turn back to God in repentance and true faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. To this end we now put a high priority on giving Oradea’s children a solidly Christian education. A Christian high school and Bible institute have been established, and young people can now take their Bibles to school without fear of harassment. The schoolteacher has become not only a good friend but also a brother in Christ to believing children. The Ministry of Education has commended the school’s academic standards, and non-Christian visitors have commented on its good atmosphere. As a church, we are endeavouring to nurture a new generation with strong Christian convictions, which will be a godly foundation for the new Romania.