Friday, January 21, 2011

North Korea and the followers of Jesus

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) news has an item that speaks of what seems to be a good way to feed some in the broken land of North Korea. The article is, “Northern Korean Christians help feed most vulnerable: PC(USA), CWS help noodle factory and bakery supply orphans, elderly.”

The article states, “The Bongsu Noodle Factory and Bakery, operated by the Korean Christian Federation — the government-sanctioned church and PC(USA) partner — turns one metric ton of flour daily into much-needed noodles and bread for distribution to orphanages and homes for the elderly.” And then it lists other PCUSA organizations which have aided the noodle factory and Bakery.

This looks like a wonderful program. Still, given the horrible persecution of Christians in North Korea I have several questions.

I looked up the church federation and found this: "North Korea permits only a facade of Christianity to perpetuate the myth of religious tolerance... The government-approved Korean Christian Federation (KCF) presents itself as the presiding body representing 'North Korea's Protestant and Catholic churches.' However, their obeisance to Kim Il Sung... " … "Though Pyongyang's KCF 'Christian' clergy are scrutinized for primary loyalty to Kim Jong Il, many of the laity at Pyongyang's three churches may very well be bona fide believers, "[1]

I also read on Wikipedia that there are only 12,000 members of this state church. There is also an interview “provided by two members of the Korean Christian Federation (KCF), Hwang Shi Chon and Kim Nam Hyok, director of the international department and deputy director of the organizational -department, respectively, of the Central Committee of the KCF” at

Some of the devastating facts they unintentionally reveal are that they have a seminary that only takes ten students every three years. And when asked about Bibles they state , “Of course. In our country, freedom of worship is guaranteed under the Constitution. More than 50,000 copies of the Bible have been printed in our country, translated into Korean by members of our federation.”

And asked what the main work of the Federation is they answer:

The most important task of the federation is to lead Korean Christians to work for the construction and reunification of our country. In order to promote the reunification, we maintain close relations with many organizations including the
World Council of Churches and Christian associations in foreign countries to ensure their support for the peaceful reunification of the Korea Peninsula. As the solidarity of the whole nation is the only way to realize a lasting peace in our country, Christians in north and south Korea and overseas should be united first.
So my questions are, are we reaching any of the other Christians in North Korea. And are we in any way hurting the other Christians because of our alliance with the state church?

My thoughts are with the other Christians of North Korea who are horribly persecuted by the North Korean government. Just recently a young Christian woman from North Korea spoke to the The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism.

Please listen, you will be blessed:

[1] at and from the book, Juche: A Christian Study of North Korea's State Religion. The information is from 1999.


Debbie said...

I was wondering about this when I saw the news article. I hope (but have no idea one way or the other) that the PCUSA is not trying to make North Korea look good.

Viola Larson said...

I think I am just troubled that they never seem to acknowledge the persecution of Christians in N.K.

And I have wondered for a long time why most of those who belong to the WCC seem mostly interested in uniting the two Koreas. How can you do that when one is a horrible dictatorship?

Anonymous said...

A beautiful speech.

So much more meaningful than the endless meaningless banter the US Fundamentalists can muster on their own petty little issues.

Steve Blair

Viola Larson said...

In the light of the concern for Christians in North Korea, I'm not sure that your statement, "So much more meaningful than the endless meaningless banter the US Fundamentalists can muster on their own petty little issues," has any meaning at all.

Anonymous said...


Said concern is a side show. What do the Fundamentalists spend most of their time talking about? Evangelism in North Korea? Not even close. Evangelism in general? Hardly. No, all they ever talk about, it seems, is the evil of gays and abortion, support for Israel, and how terrible all interpretations of the bible are except their own. Repetitive meaningless banter.

But that video was very moving. It reminds us that God's Holy Spirit is alive and well and active even if we are not. Thanks for posting it.

Steve Blair