Rick Warren's invitation to visit North Korea has been postponed. Warren had been invited to visit the Communist country last month, but today ThePurpose-Driven Life author was informed that his Monday trip had been changed.
Warren learned of the change at a pastors training conference at the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea. During the conference, Warren was told that Monday's trip, which had been scheduled as a planning meeting for a preaching trip next year, would be delayed. The trip may be rescheduled during the next two weeks while Warren is on the Asian leg of a 13-country tour.
Warren is still scheduled to speak at a 15,000-seat stadium in Pyongyang for the March centennial of the 1907 Pyongyang revival, widely considered the birth of the Protestant church in Korea. The event would be the first outdoor Christian gathering in North Korea since 1945, when the Soviet Union instituted Communist rule in the northern half of the peninsula following World War II.
Since then, Christianity has been largely wiped out of the country, though Operation World estimates that there are 400,000 Christians, with 100,000 of them in labor camps. But the accuracy of these numbers is difficult to determine in the secretive country.
Visits like Warren's are largely propaganda exercises, Ronald Boyd-MacMillan told Christianity Today earlier this week. Boyd-MacMillan, who has visited North Korea three times and is a writer-at-large for Open Doors, says religious VIP trips are a common way for the North to establish communication with other countries, because diplomatic channels are largely cut off.
In his statement announcing the delay of his meeting with North Korean officials, Warren addressed the tensions caused by North Korea's ...