The state of Christianity in North and South Korea
by Nick Bishop
North Korea contains, despite the efforts of the Communist government to stamp it out, a significant Christian population. Christians currently endure the harshest persecution and suffering under the regime of Kim Jong-un, with detainees in labour camps working under the most extreme conditions. There are also re-education camps where deviants from the Communist path are taught to be (in the eyes of the government) good Communists again. Despite all of this, the Christian population survives and remains a resistant force in the country.
Donald Trump is expected to meet Kim next month to talk about scaling back the tension between the US and North Korea. He will no doubt bring up the subject of human rights and the plight of religious minorities which include Christians.
North Korea’s neighbour, South Korea is made up of Buddhists, Muslims, Confucians and Shamanistic religions. However, there is a large and growing Christian population in the country, which compared to their northern comrades, enjoys complete freedom of faith.
South Korean Christians are made up of Catholics, Methodists, Baptists and other denominations. According to a 2005 census, 29.2% were Christian, up from 26.3% from the previous year. In 1980 South Korea sent 93 missionaries by 2009 the country was sending 20,000 missionaries worldwide and South Korea is famous for the largest church in the world – a Pentecostal church called Yoido Full Gospel Church.
From Christians keeping the faith alive in the North to the South where the Christian faith is expanding and exporting this spiritual revolution to the world. The Lord is indeed doing a great work in both these far east nations.
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