If you are like me, you have been stunned and elated by the news that the leaders of South and North Korea have signed declarations of peace and have stepped across the DMZ to shake hands. This truce ends one of the most protracted and most public civil wars in recent history. The signatures and handshakes are indeed significant steps. We can hope that this ends the military build-up and even the loss of life that has resulted from this war.
I am sure there are hundreds of details that need to be worked out. There are questions about travel restrictions, economic ties, and human rights. However, one question we need to ask is, What does peace on the Korean Peninsula mean for the Great Commission?
On the one hand, it is a reminder that doors can open and we need to be prepared.
I have not read anything that indicates a new openness for the gospel. However, as I watch, I am reminded of the dozens of countries across the globe that seem to be closed to the Christian gospel. Forces like governments, economics, cultural pressure, serve as seemingly insurmountable obstacles. However, we serve a God who opens doors and sets captives free....Forces like governments, economics, cultural pressure, serve as seemingly insurmountable obstacles. However, we serve a God who opens doors and sets captives free. Click To Tweet
In Acts 1:8, the Bible promises that the gospel will be preached to the ends of the Earth. This verse is often used by churches as a tool for envisioning their outreach goals. This is fine. However, the true force of this verse is the promise that Christians will indeed be witnesses. God keeps his promises. Our role is to be prepared to follow him through the doors he opens for us.
On the other hand, nothing has really changed for the Great Commission. The line on the ground dividing North and South Korea separated two countries with very different Christian realities. In the South, we find one of the most influential Christians countries on the planet. South Korean Christians serve as stellar examples of prayer warriors and mission-minded believers. The church in South Korea is vibrant and its members serve around the world. Even at Southeastern Seminary, we have a growing population of students from South Korea, and we have established a center for developing leaders from this country.
However, on the north side of this line, we see one of the least reached and least Christian countries in the world. Year after year, North Korea ranks near the top of the most hostile countries on the planet for Christians. Millions of people, simply by virtue of a line on the ground, live in near complete darkness from the gospel. The peace plan has been signed, but they still have virtually no access to the gospel.We should be reminded that the Lord can use anyone to achieve his purposes and that his purposes cannot be thwarted. However, the attention placed on these nations should serve as a call for us to pray. Click To Tweet
We should applaud the amazing events that have taken place on the Korean Peninsula. We should be reminded that the Lord can use anyone to achieve his purposes and that his purposes cannot be thwarted. However, the attention placed on these nations should serve as a call for us to pray:
1. Pray that the church in South Korea would continue to grow and boldly follow.
2. Pray that those in North Korea would hear the gospel. Pray the words of Isaiah 9:2 — “these people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on this living in darkness.”
Oh Lord – may it be so.
Featured photo from IMB.