Giants have been known to fall, Negrut preaches
By Allen Palmeri
March 2, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – Paul Negrut, president of the Romanian Baptist Union as well as the Emanuel University and Seminary in Oradea, in a message Feb. 19 at the Baptist Building tried to help Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) staff see that it is possible to overcome giants.
“I was born in a country with giants," Negrut said. “I grew up in a country that was controlled by giants. Our giants were the communist giants.
“Now those giants were scary. Those giants did whatever they could to destroy the church of our Lord Jesus. They pledged on the very day that they took power that within 20 years, Christianity would belong to the past. And the giants meant what they said."
Romania fell to communism in 1945, but communism fell to freedom in 1989. Much of what God used to topple the giants was the faith of Negrut and his fellow Baptist pastors had in Jesus Christ.
“I wish you could have been with us in those days when I decided to baptize people openly in the Black Sea," Negrut said. “Baptism was totally prohibited in Romania unless cleared by the communist party agencies. As I baptized them in the open and thousands of people were watching, other people on the shore were saved. So we started a Bible class with them and we baptized them a little later."
The communists used to bulldoze church buildings, arrest pastors and harass prayer meetings in homes. Negrut remembers being humiliated in school because he was the child of Christian parents. Bibles were confiscated and either burned or turned into toilet paper, he said.
“In those days," Negrut said, “it was so difficult to be a Christian, because the giants were so scary."
Negrut encouraged Missouri Baptist staffers to look at the giants from God’s perspective. In that sense, a giant like Islam, for example, would appear to be puny. This can be applied to the Missouri Baptist partnership with Iraq in the sense that Iraq’s religion, like communism, is meant to fall.
The lesson that Negrut learned as he stood up to communism is that if Jesus is Lord, we are not obeying the giants. Prayer helped topple the Romanian communist giant. Prayer can do the same to the Muslim giant.
“When we saw how great God is, we decided to start a theological seminary," Negrut said. “We have students from the neighboring countries because we want to train a new generation that will say in the name of Jesus, ‘Give me that mountain.’"
Negrut referred to the courage of Caleb in Joshua 14:12, who asked for the mountain of Hebron and received it. He drove out the giants, the Anakim, even though he was 85 years old.
When American Christians can come to the point where they, like Romanian Baptists under communism, are praying for God to give them the land, a victory like Caleb’s becomes possible, Negrut said.
“Lord, give me Scotland, or I die," John Knox prayed. This was how Romania’s pastors prayed, Negrut said.
Missouri can be an example to the rest of America, based on what Negrut saw and heard during his travels across the state Feb. 18-24 to speak about the partnership between Missouri Baptists and Romanian Baptists.
“I’ve never met a more committed team of people to the kingdom of God in partnership for missions than Missouri Baptists," Negrut said.