North Korea (MNN) ― A disconcerting report is coming out of a fairly reliable North Korea watchdog source.
According to the report, the North Korean government is reportedly setting up fake underground churches and disguising national security agents as defectors to expose Christians.
Voice of the Martyrs Canada's Glenn Penner can't confirm specifics. However, based on the source, he says, "Apparently, they're going into China, infiltrating the Korean churches that are assisting the North Korean defectors, and then coming back into North Korea with money and with Bibles, with the whole idea of unmasking Christians and also taking the funds and then using them for the North Korean government."
Penner says it's not a totally new strategy. He notes the Soviets did something similar during the Cold War, but he urges prayer. "Continue to pray for wisdom and for discernment on the part of believers who work in such restrictive nations. There's always the fear of discovery. You don't want to be controlled by fear, and these are really good prayers to be praying for our brothers and sisters, that the Lord would rule, and not fear."
North Korea has been described as one of the most repressive and isolated nations in the world. The nation is governed under a state religion called "Juche," meaning "self-reliance."
According to VOMC, citizens are required to worship their dead leader, the "Eternal President" Kim Il Sung, and his son, the current dictator Kim Jong Il.
Churches have been bulldozed, and Christians must practice their faith in secrecy and constant danger. Religious prisoners are often subjected to harsher treatment and given the most dangerous tasks, all in an effort to force them to renounce their faith. When they refuse, they have often been tortured to death.
More often, a Christian caught with a Bible can be executed. Those caught worshipping God will be imprisoned with their whole family, where they will be beaten, starved and worked to death.
Pray fervently for what remains of the church in North Korea. Pray for strength for prisoners of faith. And pray that Christians will have opportunities to share the eternal life available through Jesus Christ.