North Koreans Warn – I’m Gonna Tell On You!

North Korea’s church history,

It could well be that the spiritual fortifying that went on during the famous “Pyongyang Revival” (see “The glorious Pyongyang church” in this series of articles) strengthened the church for what was to come. Others have opined that what came was a judgment on compromising believers as well as a test for the faithful.

What came was Japan. For many years a threat and a power to deal with, Japan now makes its move on Korea. The entire country is to be a Japanese colony, with the accompanying Shinto religion. Koreans, for cultural reasons, and also because Christ now means so much to so many of them, reject the Shinto “missionaries” . The Japanese then begin to arrest Christian leaders, and the persecution begins.

As an excuse for their actions, and all persecutors have deemed it necessary to have such an excuse, they claim that believers are planning to kill the newly imposed governor. For “political” reasons, therefore, three Christians are immediately tortured to death. Nine are exiled with no trial. 123 others are brought to “trial” in June of 1911. Some have already signed confessions under torture, 링크사이트 though they repudiate these “confessions” later. No one is permitted to produce witnesses. Nearly all of the 123 are given prison sentences of up to ten years.

But believers stand up. The missionaries get the news of these horrible happenings to western nations, many of which already are forming a low opinion of Japanese ways. To “save face”, an action critical to eastern peoples, the Japanese release all but six of the prisoners!

Then they announce to the Presbyterians of America that all they will have to do for the release of the six is to confess to the Japanese government their sorrow and their guilt for having sent these missionaries and caused all this trouble. The Presbyterians refuse. But by 1915, pretending to be magnanimous before a watching world, all prisoners are freed anyway.

The method of “telling on” bad governments has worked many times through the years. It is why Kim Jong Il keeps his prisons a secret today. And it is why believers like myself and a host of others, continue to expose him before what we hope will be a watching world.

And why we continue to pray.

Failing in some of its more brutal attempts to smother the church, Japan tries more subtle approaches. Ordinances forbid any religious instruction in mission schools. Classes in these schools have to be conducted in Japanese. No more Christian schools can open without a permit, and preachers have to be “licensed.” But licenses are hard to obtain. So many regulations cause some institutions to shut down altogether.

In March 1919, Koreans rise up once more against the heavy-handed oppression. They take to the streets in several major cities, announcing their desire to be free. The Japanese resurrect their brutality . They burn mission schools and churches to the ground. Those admitting their faith in Christ are killed on the spot. Pastors and other church leaders are rounded up by the thousands and put into jails that reek, and freeze their occupants. Torture abounds.

The great Pyongyang revival at the turn of the century prepared the flock for decades, now a century, of difficulty. Yet the church lives in North Korea to this day. Only in eternity will the entire story be told. More details about the Japanese cruelty when this cycle continues.

[] is a website I put together a few months back to get the word out to believers that they need to pray for North Korea. Just about every day I’m writing a blog featuring some news, a book, or a story of North Korea. There’s a live news feed on the site, lists of resources, picture essays, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let’s love Chosun together!


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