Presbyterianism in South Korea

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Most Presbyterian denominations in South Korea share the name Presbyterian Church in Korea. In South Korea there are 18 million Christians of whom 15 million are Protestants, which group includes about 9-10 million Presbyterians. Presbyterians in South Korea worship in over 100 different Presbyterian denominational churches who trace their history back to the United Presbyterian Assembly.[1]

History[edit]

Protestantism came to Korea in the 19th century. Lay people like Suh Sang-Yoon and Baek Hong-Joon spread the Gospel. Suh was converted by a Scottish missionary. In 1883 the first Christian community was formed by Suh. The first American missionary was Horace N. Allen in 1884 of the Northern Presbyterians. He started medical work a year later, Horace Underwood joined this effort. In 1889 the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, in 1892 the Presbyterian Church United States, in 1898 the Presbyterian Church in Canada started mission work. Together they formed the Council of Mission of Presbyterian Churches and opened a theological seminary in Pyongyang in 1901. In 1907 the Independent Presbytery of Jesus Christ was formed, and seven Korean pastors were ordained. In 1921 the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Chosun was formed and sent seven missionaries to China.[2][3]

During the Japanese occupation, churches from various Christian denominations faced several hardships. The Shinto rite of worship was forced. Many Presbyterians resisted and fought for independence. After the Second World War in the north, Presbyterian churches were dissolved, in the south they were reconstructed in 1946. The 33rd general assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Chosun was held in 1947. Two years later the name, Presbyterian Church in Korea, was adopted.

The following year the Presbyterian church grew significantly. Many reasons can be given for this astonishing development. In the first place the Christian missions in Korea, in contrast with other countries, were not identified with colonial power. The Christian message was brought to Korea at a time when the religious and cultural heritage of the country had lost much of inner strength. Important was the moebius method. They urged each convert to become an evangelist and convert others. Koreans developed a strong commitment to the Christian faith. A special feature of Korean church life is the dawn prayer meeting. An important factor was in church growth was the revival movement. Koreans established their own churches not just in Korea but in other parts of the world; they send an increasing number of missionaries. Several thousand Korean Presbyterian missionaries are active in many other countries. Growth was accompanied by schisms.

After World War II the Presbyterian Church in Korea (Koshin) and the Presbyterian Church in Korea (JaeGun) were formed.[4] A few years later the conservative and progressive parts of the Presbyterian Church separated. As a result the Presbyterian Church in Korea (TongHap) and the Presbyterian Church in Korea (HapDong) were formed.[5] From these bodies several denominations separated. Today there are more than 100 Presbyterian churches/denominations in South Korea.[6]

Confessional basis[edit]

Korean Presbyterian denominations[edit]

All of these churches have the same confessional basis the Apostle Creed and the Westminster Confession.

Korean Presbyterians have many outreach programs. Many are very conservative, some are liberal. There are close connections with the United States and Canadian Presbyterian churches.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chris Meehan (2010-10-04). "Touched by Devotion in South Korea | Article | Christian Reformed Church". Crcna.org. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Presbyterian Church of Korea — World Council of Churches". Oikoumene.org. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  4. ^ Johannes a Lasco Library (2004-02-27). "Address data base of Reformed churches and institutions". Reformiert-online.net. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  5. ^ Johannes a Lasco Library (2004-02-27). "Address data base of Reformed churches and institutions". Reformiert-online.net. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  6. ^ a b Johannes a Lasco Library. "Overview of the worldwide reformed church". Reformiert-online.net. Retrieved 2014-02-21.