By Timothy S. Lee
Known as Asia’s "evangelical superpower," South Korea at the present time has many of the greatest and such a lot dynamic church buildings on the planet and is moment merely to the USA within the variety of missionaries it dispatches in a foreign country. realizing its evangelicalism is essential to greedy the process its modernization, the increase of nationalism and anticommunism, and the connection among Christians and different religionists in the nation.
Born Again is the 1st booklet in a Western language to contemplate the advent, improvement, and personality of evangelicalism in Korea―from its humble beginnings on the finish of the 19th century to claiming one out of each 5 South Koreans as an adherent on the finish of the 20th. during this considerate and thorough research, Timothy S. Lee argues that the outstanding upward push of this actual species of Christianity might be attributed to numerous elements. As a faith of salvation, evangelicalism appealed powerfully to multitudes of Koreans, arriving at a time while the rustic used to be engulfed in remarkable crises that discredited confirmed social buildings and standard attitudes. Evangelicalism attracted and empowered Koreans via providing them a extra compelling worldview and a extra significant foundation for organization. one other issue is evangelicalisms confident connection to Korean nationalism and South Korean anticommunism. It shared within the aspirations and hardships of Koreans through the jap career and used to be legitimated back in the course of and after the Korean clash as South Koreans skilled the trauma of the conflict. both vital used to be evangelicals’ relentless proselytization efforts during the 20th century.
Lee explores the ideals and practices that experience turn into the hallmarks of Korean evangelicalism: kibok (this-worldly blessing), saebyok kido (daybreak prayer), and kumsik kido (fasting prayer). He concludes that Korean evangelicalism is distinguishable from other kinds of evangelicalism via its intensely functional and devotional bent. He finds how, after a protracted interval of notable growth, together with the great campaigns of the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties that drew hundreds of thousands to its revivals, the Nineteen Nineties was once a decade of ambiguity for the religion. at the one hand, it had turn into South Korea’s such a lot influential faith, affecting politics, the economic system, and civil society. at the different, it stumbled on itself beleaguered by means of a stalemate in progress, the shortcomings of its leaders, and conflicts with different religions. Evangelicalism had not just risen in South Korean society; it had additionally, for greater or worse, turn into a part of the establishment.
Despite this importance, Korean evangelicalism has no longer got enough remedy from students open air Korea. Born Again will accordingly locate an keen viewers between English-speaking historians of recent Korea, students of comparative faith and global Christianity, and practitioners of the faith.
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Additional resources for Born Again: Evangelicalism in Korea
We must have the “new man” experience in the Korean church. 57 Not having witnessed Koreans undergoing the “new man” experience, however, some missionaries even began to doubt Koreans’ spiritual capabilities. Thus one of them wrote, “Among a people like the Koreans there is no definite and clear idea of sin, so that when first converted they are not prepared to manifest the deep and awful conviction that is found among those who have been taught what sin really is. ”58 The missionaries, however, did not Breakthrough for a New Moral Order, 1885–1919â•… |â•… 15 have to harbor their misgivings for long.
After 1905, to safeguard and continue their evangelistic work in Korea, it was crucial that they win Japanese toleration. And as was shown by the “Conspiracy Case” of 1911, the Japanese authorities were ever wary of the church’s potential for subversion. 150 Thus it was clear to the missionaries that unless the Japanese could be assured that the church was “apolitical” and was not being used for the independence movement, their prime mission of preaching the Gospel would be imperiled. Having led the church to accept the status quo of Japanese rule, however, the missionaries could not help but disappoint Korean nationalists within the church and alienate those outside it.
Most of them had joined in the hope of finding a personal haven, but some among them were more politically oriented and hoped that the church could serve as a vehicle to save not only their souls but also their nation. Granted, at the time in Korea the concept of nation was not yet fully developed. ”64 Consequently, the notion analogous to minjok at the turn of the century did not necessarily mean the ethnic Korean nation (centered on the mythical progenitor Tan’gun) that the term came to mean in the second half of the twentieth century.
Born Again: Evangelicalism in Korea by Timothy S. Lee