The Nov. 15 Wall Street Journal featured an op-ed from Melanie Kirkpatrick in which she tells about North Korean families fleeing that nation’s horrific violations of human rights and, specifically, religious rights.
While the young dictator, Kim Jong Un, is intoxicated by his authority to wield the power of government over the millions in his country, there are those in his nation and in ours who believe there is a greater authority.
Kirkpatrick tells the story of a believing family in North Korea that hid their copy of the Bible in a bird’s nest that rested in a tree near their home. Even before the nation fell under the heavy hand of a communistic regime, the family was known for being followers of Christ.
During the reigns of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, the family worshipped in secret for more than 50 years. Their secret seemed safe until a neighbor cut a branch off the tree and the Bible was uncovered.
Kirkpatrick says the refugees have told South Korean authorities that the family and other Christians like them are sent to “a place of no return.”
Nov. 3 there were Christians among the 80 people who were “executed” by this totalitarian regime. If you owned a Bible or possessed a DVD of a South Korean pastor, the government deemed you were in possession of pornography, which is an executable crime in North Korea.
Why? Why is Christianity considered punishable? Because the only worship allowed in North Korea is worship of the government that is personified by Kim Jung Un, the dictator. You know, the one you read about as a Swiss educated young progressive and personal friend of pro-basketball player Dennis Rodman. If you will notice the next time the two are standing next to each other, Kim Jung Un really looks up to Rodman.
The November executions were so horrific that even the left-wing media has picked up the sickening reports of the mass executions. One report described the execution of eight people. It occurred in a coliseum where as many as 10,000 men, women and children witnessed the machine gun bullets riddling the bodies of the executed, some of whom were martyred saints.
What possible harm could Christians with their Bibles cause this paranoid despot? One thing we know is that when the witness of Bible-believing followers of Christ permeate a jurisdiction, then some really positive things begin to take place such as justice, personal respect, human dignity and a desire for personal freedom from tyranny.
In spite of some erosion of Christian influence, the items listed above are things we continue to experience in the United States and I for one am very grateful. As a family we bowed at Thanksgiving dinner to express our thanks to the only true God.
As part of body of Christ, we all have a role to play in verbalizing and living out the realities of the transformational gospel. By doing so, the culture begins to take on the traits, the ways of the influencers.
Missionaries are people God calls out to introduce people to the ways of God. As Southern Baptists, we support a small army of missionaries (nearly 10,000 throughout North America and around the world). In cooperation with one another and with God’s call on their lives, we deploy them to places all over the globe. As they witness to and equip others, the culture begins to see how divergent the ways of man are from the ways of God.
If there was ever a time in history when the people of God called Southern Baptists needed to rise to a new level of support of our teams of missionaries, now is it! They are making a huge difference in many cultures of the world.
God is calling out record numbers of people. We are training them. We are preparing them. We are explaining that going to some places may cost you everything including your life. Yet, they are “totally His.” They stand ready to go. Yet, some are waiting on us to hold the rope of support for them.
The season for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions is before us. The theme for this year is “Totally His … Heart, Hands, Voice.” The hope is that not only will our called-out missionaries be totally surrendered to the Lord but that all of us will make a fresh surrender of what is required of us – that is all our heart, soul and mind. All believers – all Southern Baptists – totally His.
Before your church begins to emphasize the Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions, invest some personal time in prayer and ask the Lord for a specific amount this year that expresses the reality that you trust Him for everything. Then see what a difference He will make through you to transform a world one life at a time, one culture at a time.
He previously served as director of communications and public policy for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. He also served as editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger and served the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as director of communications and editor of the Indiana Baptist.
He received a B.A. from Dallas Baptist University, a M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a D.Min. from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.