Jeffrey Fowle arrested...

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A man's enemies will be the members of his household. - Matthew 10:36

Imagine having retreated into the radical two kingdom (R2K) posture toward the state, then waking up to find you are a citizen of North Korea. Your civil magistrate is Kim Jong-un and he's just arrested Jeffrey Fowle, an American missionary in his seventies on a group tour through North Korea, for leaving his Bible behind in a hotel room. You have many brothers and sisters in Christ who have been executed by the state for testifying to Jesus Christ and you're a pastor of a house church. What do you do?


A: You disband the house church because it is in violation of national law.

B: You write essays to other North Korean pastors, exhorting them to submit to Jong-un and to disband their churches, also.

C: You refuse to administer the sacraments, even to your own family members, because Sacraments belong to the Church, not the family, and there is no church.

D: You work hard to explain to anyone who will listen that God's law is sorta-kinda not binding on Jong-un, that there's no reason for Christians to oppose his laws persecuting Christians, that he's the authority God has placed over you and thus he must be sorta honored and kinda obeyed, that there's no Scriptural law that requires public displays of piety such as preaching and witnessing, particularly when those public displays are violations of the law; that the Kingdom of God is a private kinda other-worldy kingdom, primarily for deep down in our hearts; and that if some Christians don't like Jong-un's laws and massacres, they should emigrate.

E: You write the Escondido men an encrypted e-mail asking if you've got it all right?

These thoughts come after reading Shusaku Endo's Japanese classic, Silence, telling the story of the martyrdom of seventeenth century Roman Catholic priest-missionaries to Japan; but also the story of unfaithful priest-missionaries' betrayal of the Lord and His sheep, and their escape from death.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!