The Billy Graham family has quite a legacy in North Korea. According to Thomas Belke's Juche Billy visited the nation in 1992 and 1994, the year Kim Il Sung passed on. He was permitted to preach at state "churches", and at the Kim Il Sung University. He gave his personal testimony to Mr. Kim, though with no positive results.
Belke theorizes that Graham was allowed such liberty because his wife had attended a Christian school in Pyongyang in the 30's. Others impute a more sinister motive to the Great One. Perhaps he was trying to tell a watching world that he was really open to religion, and how could they ever have thought otherwise?All of this drama while thousands of believers suffered in his prisons.
Belke says that the facade goes on today. Tourists to Pyongyang tell of visiting both Catholic and Protestant churches, and seeing some of the same North Korean faces! They see unused Bibles and "members" who don't know how to find songs in their hymnals. All actors. But actors whose job is of limited tenure. Repeat performances are never allowed by those who have genuine tears in their eyes after a performance...
And now, son Franklin Graham has visited son Kim Jong Il. Though far from praising the dictator, he urges that we keep communication lines open. I'm not necessarily in agreement with either of the Grahams' philosophy, but I feel it is important that we see what is going on as the door may be opening ever so slightly. We will not be of those who sit in judgment in "the seat of the scornful" though we offer our warnings regarding compromise and selling out the suffering.
The Gospel will get in to North Korea. It is circulating even now. It is for this that we continue to long and pray. Let us rejoice for any Light that penetrates. And let's keep praying.
http://chosunhouse.com 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!
And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Who are you? Would love to fellowship with believers who respond on my site.