Professor escaped martyrdom

GO SOUTH — Dr. Daniel Kim escaped North Korea and came to the United States to further his education. Kim is now Distinguished Professor of Church History and Intercultural Studies at Liberty.

It was Christmas Eve, 1947.  The bitter cold North Korean air hung solemnly still as the reality of what had taken place sunk in.

“I was supposed to be in that group,” Dr. Daniel Kim said, his voice just above a whisper.

Kim, who was recently awarded Distinguished Professor of Church History and Intercultural Studies at Liberty University, told his story of barely escaping martyrdom.

Kim has been a professor at Liberty University for 32 years. He is also the director of the Seminaries Korean language assistance program, as well as the founder of the Lynchburg Korean School.

Remembering back on that cold day in December, Kim soberly explained that he had gone to the church early that day to prepare for the Christmas service, never suspecting that cold day would change his course of life forever.

“I was there two hours early, and when the time came for the people in the service to arrive they were not showing up,” Kim said. “I began to call and ask, ‘where are they?’ That is when I learned of the arrests.”

Twenty people had been arrested.

One of the many names on the list was indeed Daniel Kim.

“They thought they had arrested me, but they had taken someone else in my place. The Lord has protected me,” Kim said, his eyes distantly glazed as he recalled the event.

“The Lord told me in that moment, ‘Go South.’ I knew I had to follow — my life would never be the same,” Kim said.

Born in a small town in North Korea, Christianity was not simply a choice, but a life sentence, for Kim and his family.

However, unlike many today who fear death, martyrdom for Kim and the Christians with whom he fellowshipped was a great honor and what they strived to have done in their live according to Kim.

He knew even in his youth that the call of God was far surpassing from the knowledge of man.

“The Lord has such a way to do what you could never dream,” Kim said.

Becoming an elder of his church at 22, he became the youngest elder to ever be accepted by the Presbyterian committee at that time.

Kim continued to follow God’s calling.

In the meantime, earning his first Bachelors degree at Young Nam University, Kim said he knew from the beginning that education would be key in preparation to be used by God. He went on to receive his Bachelors of Divinity from Presbyterian Theological Seminary, his Masters of Sacred Theology from the Biblical Theological Seminary and his Doctorate of Theology from the Dallas Seminary.

“It has never been about me. The churches I pastored grew, the people I was faced with gave up, but it was never about me,” Kim said.

He said after being moved from his nation to America by the hands of God to continue his education Kim knew he needed to be a part of the theological educational process in some capacity.

“I knew I had to teach. Evangelical pastors — that is what the world needs — real missionaries,” Kim said.

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