Korean Persecution: A Command or a Prize
04/13/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – “God cares for the least hair on our heads. Therefore, how can persecution be considered anything other than the command of God or His prize” – St. Andrew
We praise God for the history of Korea and we pray expectantly for the future of the Church. The Gospel is the secret to breaking down walls and allowing His Holy Spirit to rush through.
Through Korea’s story we are reminded that God’s unstoppable river is covering the whole earth. Be encouraged and ask the Lord to flow in and through you wherever you are today.
My dear brothers and sisters, we suffer a persecution again. Many have been thrown into prison. However, God cares for the least hair of our heads. So therefore, how can persecution be considered as anything other than the command of God or his prize. I have many more things to say, but how can I express them with pen and paper? We’re now close to the end of the struggle. I pray you walk in faith.
Well, Korea is now two countries, it used to be one prior to world war II. And so we’re going to look at that history. And if you go back prior to the 1900s, for hundreds of years, God had been sending in missionaries. They are mostly Catholic missionaries, incredibly brave. They would build small communities of believers. Heavy, heavy persecution, and had suffered any number of great persecution.
So you go to the end of that period, 1866, and the Catholics are going through the last great persecution. And I think 10,000 were killed off in just that year, it might’ve been more. But there was a letter that survived from that time. And it’s from a priest, Andrew Taegon, who’s become known as Saint Andrew. He said persecution was either a prize or command. And I think if we had a further conversation with him, he would tell us these things. He’d say, look, you’ve got to see the world properly. That we are an invading force. Those of us with the gospel, those of us who wear the uniform of God, are an invading force into hostile territory. And so there’s going to be losses. There’s going to be attacks. That is to be expected. We’re in a war. And too many have forgotten that. We want a safe place. That’s natural.
So the same year St Andrew’s killed, 1866, there is a Protestant missionary, Robert Jermain Thomas. Now, he comes back to Korea for the second time. The first time he was almost killed. And so he’s coming back. And this time he has crates of Bibles on a ship and he wants to distribute them in Korea. And he’s on a boat called the General Sherman. And the General Sherman is attacked and everyone is killed off. And one of the last two guys to be killed was Robert Jermain Thomas. And one of the relatives of one of the attackers, the Korean attackers later told the story. They said there was a man, one of the last guys to get off the boat was a white man and he had a red book and he was imploring his killers to take the book and to read it. And that was Robert Jermain Thomas.
Within 15 years of Robert Jermain Thomas’ death and the death of Saint Andrew, Pyongyang had 15,000 Christians. 40 years later, Korea goes through one of the greatest revivals in history. God’s spirit is poured out and hundreds of thousands of people come to Christ in just a couple of years, within a space of like five years. That’s the rest of the story.
And now Korea or South Korea, it’s completely a Christian country and has become one of the great senders of missionaries to the whole world. It’s too easy and natural to look at the world, to look at our country through a political lens and to think, Oh my gosh, all hope is lost. It all seems so dark. And in the natural it is. But that’s because we forget the river. And this river that starts with the throne of God, he said, this would start to trickle and become a stream and then become a river that you could not cross. And that’s kind of where we’re at now. And he said, soon, it will be an ocean that covers the whole earth.
So call out to him and say, “Hey, I want to be part of the river” and say, “Father flow into me, give me your living water”, and then go out to the lost. All around you are those dying of thirst and they don’t know where to find the living water. That’s our job. Let’s go out and reach them. And we’re going to change one heart at a time. Be encouraged.