Living for the Glory of God ~ Vivir para la Gloria de Dios

Finding the Bible in a Closed Culture

As the week wraps up, I find Fridays a beneficial day to capture some event of the week and analyze it from a Christian worldview. The most obvious event has been mid-term elections that continue to show both the division and hypocrisy of our nation. Yet, our Christian response remains the same regardless of the outcome and therefore there is little need to review what I have already written, or what others have written (1). Therefore, I wanted to take a moment to focus on a different story this week. I pray that it will cause you to be both encouraged and discerning.
Through Fox News this week, Christian humanitarian agency World Help and staff writer Rachel Godwin shared the status of believers from within the boundaries of North Korea. The piece, published under the headline “Two secret churches in North Korea shows how powerful the Bible really is” is a discussion of smuggling Bibles to believers within North Korea who are hungry for the word (3). Godwin captures the intensity of meeting underground and undetected as she shares something that man people around the world do not understand.
For those of us who freely worship, freely read, and freely study the Word given to us by God, such a story challenges our faith. For many around the world, reading the Bible is a matter of priority while for others it is a matter of life and death. The decisions people make in circumstances of extreme disproportions is indicative of one’s commitment to our Lord. We should be encouraged that there are many, who in the face of persecution, are so open to the possibility of losing everything for the sake of their Savior. Furthermore, this is a great example of love for our Savior and serves as a catalyst to challenge our faith.
There is an important aspect of the article that we need to note though. Somewhat disturbingly, the article gives many details about when and how one underground meets. While there are no names noted and the details are general, there are enough specifics that gives insight into the behavior of the believers that certainly a country slightly larger than 45,000 square miles and 25,000,000 people does not have a lot of options for secrecy. Caution must be more greatly exercised in such stories.
Despite the encouragement that comes from reading about other believers, the greatest issue comes in recognizing something very important that the author and/or Fox News editors don’t understand: this is not a story of the Bible’s power, but of God’s provision. While the Bible is an important aspect of knowing God, it is not the end in itself. It is a means to knowing God more intimately and therefore, for these believers, it’s not the draw to know the Bible that compels these secret studies but the desire to know God.
As one who elevates the Word because I think it is undervalued in our Christian ‘culture’ of today, I also recognize that it’s not the Word we worship, but God. Without God, the Bible carries no authority and no value, therefore we cannot study it, talk about it, or elevate it, without being directed towards our Lord and Savior.

(1) If you are interested in reading a good article about how Christians should respond to the election, I would recommend the following article, “5 Things Christians Should Do After the Election” from the Gospel Coalition.

(2) I have no experience or knowledge of World Help and therefore I am not writing to endorse nor oppose the organization.
(3) Click the link to read “Two secret churches in North Korea show how powerful the Bible really is.”

Photo “Sunrise” courtesy of user Torley and Flickr.

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