North Korea (MNN) — A dynastic succession
of power is under way in North Korea. Kim Jong Un, believed to be 27, has
made prominent appearances alongside his father, ailing leader Kim Jong Il.
This follows his promotion to the
rank of four-star general in North Korea's military and appointments to high
positions within the Central Military Commission and Central Committee of the
The point of a dynasty is to
minimize change, and keep the power. Todd Nettleton with Voice
of the Martyrs sums it up this way: "The reality for Christians in North Korea,
especially in the short term, is that change is probably not coming any time
Part of the problem is that Kim
Jong Un is untried as a leader. He came
from relative obscurity–a figurative "blank slate."
"A part of this succession is creating the
mythology to go with the character," says Nettleton. "We would have hoped for a leader who would
say ‘Christianity is not a threat to the government. Let's let the Christians
meet together, let's let them worship openly.' That just is not going to happen."
Now the North Korean government
needs to establish the young Mr. Kim's persona as a powerful leader and a
In speaking to Voice of the
Martyrs partners working with North Korean believers, Nettleton says they're not optimistic about
what this will mean for freedom. "In the
short term, look for aggressive action from North Korea on the international stage,
but they said that also could happen internally with arresting those perceived
to be opponents."
However, the believers in North Korea have not
abandoned their hope. The Gospel is
still moving forward. "One of the
amazing things about the Christians in North Korea is that they continue to
minister in spite of the risk. And in North Korea, they could simply disappear,
and no one will ever hear from them again."
The risks are higher now as the
new leader will be looking to prove himself and make examples of those he views
as enemies. Nettleton
says this only makes the resolve of the Christians firmer. "What
we see again and again is North Korean Christians who say, 'The situation is so
desperate in my country, the people are so hopeless in my country. I have this
hope. How can I not carry it back with
me? How can I not share it with the people around me who
are desperate and hopeless?'"
"Pray for the Christians in North Korea, for
those who are following Jesus and taking those incredible risks," Nettleton urges. Stand in solidarity with North Korea's
remnant church. "We need to pray for their safety, we need to
pray for their encouragement. I think we also need to pray for their revival."