And then, he told the crowd, "I've received another invitation." Warren said North Korea would allow him to preach in a stadium seating 15,000, but that he could preach in a larger venue if he could fill the seats.Source (emphasis mine)
Alan Bennett, a self-employed worshipper from Orange County, said he was "shocked" to hear the news, but said it was "awesome. ... I was really taken aback that they would allow a Christian speaker, let alone an evangelist," to preach.
Since 2001, the State Department has designated North Korea a "country of particular concern" for religious freedom violations. Religious freedom essentially does not exist in the highly centralized state, where Kim Jong Il reigns as Supreme Being.
The communist regime prohibits citizens from belonging to unauthorized religious groups. And its authorized groups are largely propaganda, organized for the benefit of foreigners, according to a 2005 U.S. State Department report on International Religious Freedom.
Believers who proselytize or have ties to evangelical groups in China are arrested, tortured or executed, the report said....
Does this strike anyone else as odd? They're inviting a well known Christian leader to come speak? He goes on to admit that the government might be using him to draw out Christians, but that he will "use them," as well. But why? Why would the North Korean government take such a step just to draw people out. The persecuted church remains strong, surely bringing in a well known leader and then arresting, and possibly slaughtering, believers that come to see him is not the best way to go about getting them. One it is going to make them look awful in the media's eyes (and rightfully so), but even more than that the persecution hasn't worked. The church remains even now, so I don't imagine they think this could be an effective way to stomp out Christianity. Though you never know, they just might think that. But Christ's message has been chased down since He walked the earth. People have been beaten and killed for His message, and yet it remains to this day. Persecution will not bring an end to true Christianity, it never has and never will.
Want my theory? The North Korean government views Kim Jong Il as Supreme Being, right? Why invite someone who might draw people away from that? Why bring competition upon yourself? Perhaps he understands that Warren's version of Christianity is of little threat, that the gospel he brings lacks the true power of the Cross, perhaps this is why Warren is so welcomed? Eh, maybe, maybe not. Just a thought.