June 1: Rev. Bruce Hunt

In Prison for Christ

Refusing to worship the shrine of the emperor of Japan, Orthodox Presbyterian missionary Bruce Hunt was arrested by the Japanese authorities  in 1941. They did not take his wife Kathy or any of the five children, so that was one obvious blessing.  He was encouraged also that in one of his prisons to which he was sent, some thirty other Christians had been arrested for their refusal to engage in emperor worship.

Forty-five days after his arrest, he was tried as being opposed to shrine worship and the Japanese government. In their words, he was disturbing the peace of the country.  Thus, he was going to be put on trial for his crimes.

The trial itself was a strange one indeed.  From ten o’clock in the morning to five o’clock in the evening, Bruce Hunt was peppered with religious questions.  He was asked everything from whether he believed Eve was tempted by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, to questions about the end of the world. The judge asked him what he believed about the return of Jesus, as well as the restoration of  Jews to Palestine. Rev. Hunt answered them all.

To be sure, there were questions about the issue of shrine worship, but even there the answer evolved around why Christians could not and should not worship a man instead of the God-man. When it all came down to it, Rev. Hunt was grilled about the truthfulness of biblical Christianity in his trial.

At the end of the day, with the trial being over, the verdict was handed down.  Bruce Hunt was declared not guilty by the Japanese authorities and given a suspended two-year sentence.  In essence, this meant that if he didn’t get into more trouble, the case would be dropped against him. There was only one problem with it all. The day of the trial was December 6, 1941, one day before Pearl Harbor.

With America’s entrance into the war in response to the surprise attack upon our Naval base in Hawaii, Bruce Hunt was re-arrested by the Japanese, spending the next six months in a number of concentration camps. Finally, on June 1, 1942, he was set free and reunited with his wife Kathy and their children. Deported, the family returned to the United States aboard the next available ship.

(The whole story of Bruce Hunt can be found in his book, “For a Testimony,” published by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.)

Words to Live By: It has been an age-old question, but if it is asked with a sincere intention to answer it, it still has merit.  Here’s the question: if you were tried for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  Think about it, pray about it, and then act to make sure that the evidence of personal Christianity is strong in  your life.

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