A group of US evangelical leaders has issued a statement calling for Christians to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The statement, which was issued on 27th March, said the leaders were “heartened” by proposals for dialogue to take place between US and Korean national leaders “at a time when increasing tensions seemed to be marching our countries perilously in the direction of greater conflict, if not war”.
“We call on all Christians everywhere to join us in praying for a just and peaceful resolution,” it said. “We pray for wisdom for our political, diplomatic and military leaders as they work across differences toward a goal of peace, security and freedom. We pray that God will bless the efforts of citizens who seek to bridge the vast differences between our countries.”
The statement said that decades of people-to-people contact between North Korea and the US had “put a human face on those who are sometimes characterised by one another as enemies”.
“So, we pray with empathy and in a spirit of friendship, noting the image of God in every human being. However profound the differences between our governments, we do not view the North Korean people as our enemies. On the contrary, we desire only the best for the people of North Korea.”
Signatories to the statement included Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Hyepin Im, founder of Faith and Community Empowerment, Dr John P Hartley, chair of Evangelicals for Pace, Rev Johnnie More, founder of The Kairos Company and Nikki Toyama-Szeto, executive director of Evangelicals for Social Action, as well as more than 80 evangelical leaders including former Southern Baptist Convention presidents Ronnie Floyd, Sojourners founder Jim Wallis and Eugene Cho, senior pastor of Quest Church.
Peter Prove, director of the World Council of Churches‘ Commission on International Affairs, said the statement comes at a “pivotal juncture”.
“After months and years of escalating tensions and threats of war, a new moment of opportunity has arrived, with preparations for a high-level inter-Korean summit and a summit between the US and North Korean leaders now underway.”
Jim Winkler, general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, said: “The Christian voice for peace on the Korean Peninsula clearly spans theological and ideological divides and offers a rare moment of near consensus at a time of global polarisation among our political leaders.”