Rick Warren is accepting an invitation to visit North Korea. The Pyongyang government is launching missiles in another attempt to threaten the U.S. and other governments into stabilizing its government. It can be difficult to understand the motives of this secretive nation, whether it is launching missiles into the ocean or inviting Christian leaders to visit the virulently anti-Christian country. Ronald Boyd-MacMillan has visited the country three times, met with Kim Jung Il, and is writer-at-large for Open Doors. He is author of the forthcoming book Faith that Endures: The Essential Guide to the Persecuted Church. CT online associate editor Rob Moll spoke to Boyd-MacMillan from his home in Scotland.
What do you think of Rick Warren's visit to North Korea?
You can travel as religious VIP, but it's a propaganda exercise. I went in as one, and they took me to the Korean Christian Federation, which is this so-called Christian church in Pyongyang, but it's completely set up for the foreigner's benefit. Later, I sent a friend along who wasn't a Christian. I said leave the hotel on a Sunday morning, this was Easter Sunday morning, and see if that's a real functioning church. And he went along on Easter Sunday morning, the place was locked. So there is the Korean Christian Federation, but it's really just a kind of shell church to bring in religious VIPs so that they can be a kind of go-between, between the North Korean regime and the West, because diplomatic channels are very hard for them to use. Billy Graham did it for years. There may be a role for it. I'm sure Rick Warren's well aware that it's primarily a propaganda exercise for the North Koreans to show that they have a free church, which is utter nonsense.1