By Tim Dillmuth,
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Christian media often describe North Korea as “the worst place on earth to be a Christian.” According to the leader of one ministry working with North Korean underground Christians, however, that’s not how the Christians of North Korea themselves feel. The Rev. Eric Foley, CEO of Seoul USA, says that North Korean underground Christians are among the least likely group to defect since they feel their existence in North Korea has divine purpose. Says Foley, “Our reckoning that North Korea is the worst place to be a Christian says more about our own understanding of Christianity than it does about North Korea.” Foley offers his own list of “10 Reasons North Korea is not the Worst Place to be a Christian:”
- Romans 8:28 still applies inside of North Korea.
- If you are a Christian in a country where no Christians are suffering for Jesus you probably ought to be more concerned than if you are a Christian in a country where nearly every Christian is suffering for Jesus.
- Jesus said, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you…For your reward is great in heaven” (Matthew 5: 11-12).
- We Western Christians sometimes confuse God with Mammon. North Korean Christians daily see the difference clearly.
- For Western Christians, our biggest theological preoccupation seems to be not trying to earn our way to heaven. North Koreans are long past thinking they can do anything to impress God.
- North Koreans daily pray and see God move miraculously. We are either theologically or practically convinced that God quit answering prayers for his miraculous intervention somewhere around Acts 28:30.
- We Western Christians also have a hard time believing in Satan. North Korean Christians have no such hangup.
- They understand through their hunger that man does not live by bread alone. Meanwhile, most of our prayers as Western Christians are variations on John 6:34, “Sir, always give us this bread.”
- Most North Korean Christians find Luke 16:19-31 very comforting and are longing for that day. Not us.
- Christians are ambassadors. If one truly understands one’s identity as an ambassador, one glories in that identity rather than grumbling about the country where one got posted.