Adventist News Network®

The official news service of the Seventh-day Adventist world church

Christianity in North Korea and the Adventist Church

Seoul, Korea ... [ANN] Seventh-day Adventists began church activities in Chinnampo, North Korea in 1904 through missionary Im Ki Pan. The Church grew in both the north and south until World War II and the Korean War. During the Korean War (1950-1953), many Adventists escaped to South Korea, though some remained in the north

According to Korean Newsreview, a monthly magazine, there are 520 house churches and 12,000 Christians in North Korea. The Religious Liberty Advisory Committee of the State Department in the USA recently announced that house churches are growing in North Korea though all religious activities are forbidden. The report also says that the lack of pastors and the persecution policy of the government are factors that are behind the growth of house churches in the country.

Reports from the North indicate that former ruler Kim Il Sung and his family are deified with one source saying that "Kim Il Sung, who was a man and passed away, is the only god in North Korea."

At least 700 defectors from North Korea now live in the South. It is not so easy for them to become Christians because they are confused in the democratic society which is totally different from their former communist one which does not recognize God. Christians are encouraged to approach them kindly, understanding their cultural difference and to help them according to their felt needs. Among the 700 defectors at least three people are studying theology and two of three are studying at Korean Sahmyook University (a Seventh-day Adventist institution).

In 1997, two families (14 people) came to South Korea from North Korea by boat. One of the families (the Won Hyung Kim family), decided to become Christians like their ancestors who were Seventh-day Adventist Christians. Kim’s father had once studied theology in the Philippines as a Seventh-day Adventist. Because of the Korean War, the family members were scattered. When Kim’s sister in South Korea visited North Korea, she found him.

Kim then decided to escape from North Korea to South Korea in order to meet his brother and sister. Kim’s mother, living in South Korea, had prayed earnestly with her daughter for her sons in North Korea for 46 years. Therefore this reunion between her and one of her sons is considered as God’s answer to their prayers. They are still praying for the oldest son in North Korea so that they may unite together in the near future.

Today, Seventh-day Adventists in South Korea number 145,000 worshiping in 670 churches. Adventists in South Korea are praying for the people of North Korea and wish to share the gospel with their neighbors at any time. [Tadaomi Shinmyo]