The Secret to Breaking the Stranglehold in North Korea
11/25/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – For many years, North Korea has been labeled as the worst country in the world to be a Christian. Prison camps, torture, forced abortions, and other atrocities continue to plague the nation’s Christians and anyone else who dares to speak out against the Kim regime.
Yet, in a recent interview with Suzanne Scholte, she explained that hope remains. One defector who used to work as a highly ranked leader in the North Korean regime explained that the Gospel had the power to break the stranglehold of control in North Korea.
Therefore, we are actively working to send the Gospel in through daily Christian radio broadcasts. Day after day, we are receiving reports of hope from those being touched by the Gospel for the first time. To listen to the full podcast episode, click here.
If you follow persecution or you know anything about the world today, you already know about North Korea. It’s the worst place on Earth to be a Christian. Right now, as we speak, tens of thousands of Christians are in prison, and they’re in prison camps. So there’s Christians that are hidden but tens of thousands in the prison camps. There’s different levels of prison camps in North Korea, so if you’re a Christian and you’re in prison for that, you’re in one of the worst ones. And that means it’s a one-way door, so you go in and you’re not coming out. You’re going to die there.
And in those places, there’s torture, women go through forced abortions, the babies, the live babies are born and are killed. It goes on and on. You just can’t imagine what this place is like. I’ll never forget one defector I sat down and interviewed and he told me he had been in one of these camps, and he said, to this day, he has to sleep with headphones on with loud, blaring music just to keep out the demons, so to speak. It’s the only way he could get to sleep.
In 2017, we held a conference at Saddleback Church just focused on North Korea, and we had Francis Chan there and Rick Warren. And during the conference I read a letter. And this is a letter, I think it’s from the 1700s, and it was from a Catholic priest who was imprisoned and he was going to be killed, which really tells you something. It shows you how far back the Lord was reaching into North Korea and how far back the persecution goes. But anyways, listen to this letter. I want to share this with you.
But here is a letter. This is from Andrew Kim Taegon. He was in prison. He was going to be killed, and here’s the letter, and just feel this. Listen to it. “My dear brothers and sisters, know this, our Lord, Jesus Christ, birthed the Church through his own pain. Now 60 years since the Church entered Korea, the faithful suffer persecution again, and many of our friends, including myself, have been thrown into prison. However, as Scripture says, God cares for the least hair of our heads and therefore how can the persecution be considered as anything other than the command of God or His prize?” Do you hear that? The command of God or His prize.
“We are 20 here and we’re still well, but if any of us are killed, I beg you not to forget his family. I have so many more things to say, but how can I express them with pen and paper? Since we are now close to the end of the struggle, I pray for you to walk in faith so that when you have finally entered into Heaven, we may greet one another. I leave you with my kiss of love.”
Here, I don’t know about you but I just cannot forget the believers in North Korea. They kind of haunt me. And one of the things we do is we actually pay for the Gospel to be broadcast into North Korea, and I want you to listen to this little snippet. This was recorded inside North, so we sent it in over radio. This was recorded inside North Korea and smuggled out.
Earlier this year, I interviewed Suzanne Scholte, who is one of the world’s leading experts… she is the leading Christian expert on persecution, in fact. If you want to know more about North Korea, and especially with Christians and what’s going on there, you should listen to her, Suzanne Scholte. But listen to this piece from the podcast we did earlier this year.
You know, when the Nazi death camps were liberated, we said, “Never again. Never again will we allow this to happen.” And it’s happening.
At the very least at this time, we should be asking for the Red Cross to be able to go to these camps. We should be raising this issue. This should be on the forefront that this is happening. And the North Koreans say, “Well, we don’t have political prison camps. These are like re-education centers,” or whatever. Fine, so we want to bring some doctors and some medical relief to these re-education centers. We should be pressing on that. Because every day people are dying in these camps, and this never again is a farce because it’s happening again and we’re not doing anything about it. It’s horrible. And we’ve got the eyewitnesses now. They can’t deny it. We have the satellite photos, the images. We know they’re real, that this is happening. We can’t deny it anymore like we used to do decades ago, because there’s too much evidence.
Yeah, and there’s a lot of good research out there. People, just go look at satellite photos of prison camps and you’ll fall into the rabbit’s hole and really discover more than you want to know and just be horrified. And what were you saying … Before the interview, we were talking about the … was it the highest level defector? But he said, “What was the Achilles’ heel of the Kim regimes?”
Hwang Jang-yop, I got to know very, very well. He was the highest ranking defector. He was the right-hand man of Kim Il-sung. In fact, if you see pictures of the early days of the regime, Hwang Jang-yop is in every one of them. He was literally his right-hand man. He was a tutor to Kim Jong-il. He was the one that created the religion of Juche, the self-reliance.
He said that the way to break down the stranglehold of the mind-control over the people of North Korea was through the Gospel message. Because people in North Korea don’t understand that they have human rights, that they are, just by virtue of being born, entitled to certain human rights. And Hwang Jang-yop came to embrace that, that there was a loving God who created us.
And so he felt that the Gospel message was the most powerful way to change that stranglehold they have over the people of North Korea, who are raised from childhood to worship the dictator.
One of the reasons that North Korea stays on my heart is that when I got into Persecution ministry, I was studying all kinds of things, and then I found out about North Korea’s history, or rather Korea’s history. It didn’t use to be a North and a South, right? So one of the fascinating things is that the Lord started reaching into North Korea and sending in missionaries and the Gospel starting in the 1700s and there were terrible persecutions.
But then in 1900, one of the greatest revivals in the world happened inside North Korea. So thousands, thousands, thousands came to Christ in a very short time. And that means that it was targeted. When the Lord pours out His love like that on a country, it’s going to be targeted. Satan’s going to have a response, and that’s exactly what happened.
So think about this. Everything that’s happened to North Korea, first of all the split in the Koreas. There’s the split. There was the Korean War. There was the Japanese invasion. All this happened after this massive revival. And all that to me says that, look, North Korea is the Lord’s bride. He poured His love in there. He birthed so many people. He has not forgotten them. Satan cannot kill off His work. And when the doors open, and they will open, North Korea’s going to be free. You watch. It’s just a matter of time. Then we’re going to hear all the secret stories. We’re going to hear it all about how the church survived and what happened, and the most amazing believers in the world. Sometime soon, you’re going to hear their stories, so keep in prayer for North Korea and believe that she will be free. It’s going to happen. Let’s pray that day soon.