Self-Denial is Beautiful Says Rumanian Exile

A Rumanian minister, whose religious views prompted the communist regime to force him out of his native country, said last night that self-fulfillment is found through self-denial and allowing God to govern one's life.

Speaking on the question, "Why is self-denial unpopular today?" Dr. Joseph Ton last night told an audience of 100 in the Science Center that "society has fallen prey to the deception that independence is the way to self-fulfillment."

The talk was the third installment in a lecture series organized by the Harvard-Radeliffe Christian Fellowship, and coincided with a week of house table discussions on current Christian issues.

"The opposite of self-denial is self-government," said the Baptist minister who was persecuted and eventually forced to leave Rumania for his attempts to achieve religious freedom. "Self-denial is giving your life to someone else to govern and dispose with. Self-denial is a way of knowing God."

Saying that nobody likes communism in a communist country, Ton said that it was impossible to find a Marxist in Rumania. "After you've tried Marx, the only alternative is Christ," he said.


During the last decade, the Rumanian government placed Ton under house arrest for publishing papers protesting government restrictions of church services and the exclusion of Christians from the universities. In 1981 the government asked him to leave permanently.

Ton became president of the Romanian Missionary Society in Wheaton, IL. The organization smuggles translations of theological literature to Rumania, produces radio programs for Radio Free Europe and the British Broadcasting Company foreign service, and applies political pressure to promote human rights in Rumania.

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