“The Gospel shouldn’t be presented aggressively…It doesn’t help to increase religious freedom,” said the Rev. Kim Tae-hyon, director of the church and ecumenical relationship department of the National Council of Churches in Korea.Other Christians in South Korea support the action of Park, a 28-year-old from Tucson, Ariz.
Kim and other Korean church leaders raised concern about how North Korea would interpret actions of Robert Park.
They said the North could think the Christian activist was politically motivated or being intentionally disrespectful to the government.
Father Raphael Seo Jong-yeob, executive secretary of the Korean Bishops’ Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People, went further and predicted that Park’s action will “aggravate the North’s hostility toward the South and the rest of the world” and hinder the reunification process of the peninsula.
While crossing the Tumen River, Park reportedly shouted, “I am an American citizen. I am coming here to deliver God’s love. God loves you.” He also carried a letter addressed to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il that proclaimed God’s love and forgiveness toward the dictator, and called on him to shut down the country’s prison camps, release all political prisoners, and open the country up to humanitarian groups.
Friends and family of the Korean-American activist say he was willing to die to raise awareness of the human rights abuse in North Korea.
“His act could be another chance to evangelize North Korea if we see it positively,” the Presbyterian pastor said in defense of Park.North Korea has announced that it has arrested and was interrogating an American who crossed it's border. Maybe they should just hand him back to the South Korean Christian leaders for more verbal thrashing of how to properly share the Gospel.
Similarly, Mi Young Kim, research department head at Korean War Abductees Research Institute, defended Park and his motivation for entering North Korea.
Kim said she witnessed his “passionate” prayer at a North Korea prayer event several years ago in South Korea. In a commentary posted on Christian Today Korea, she wrote how she believes everyone that attended the event “could testify with what heart he had as he crossed the [Tumen] river” when they recall the tears he had shed for the North Korean people during the event.
“I am on the side of this strange youngster,” Kim wrote, “for I can understand that what he took to North Korea is the heart of God.”
Didn't Jesus cross a border into a country that might misunderstand his message?