Born Again: Evangelicalism in Korea by Timothy S. Lee

By Timothy S. Lee

Known as Asia’s "evangelical superpower," South Korea at the present time has a few of the greatest and such a lot dynamic church buildings on this planet and is moment merely to the us within the variety of missionaries it dispatches in a foreign country. realizing its evangelicalism is important to greedy the process its modernization, the increase of nationalism and anticommunism, and the connection among Christians and different religionists in the state.

Born Again is the 1st e-book in a Western language to think about 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 20 th. during this considerate and thorough examine, Timothy S. Lee argues that the exceptional upward thrust of this actual species of Christianity will be attributed to numerous components. As a faith of salvation, evangelicalism appealed powerfully to multitudes of Koreans, arriving at a time whilst the rustic used to be engulfed in unheard of crises that discredited demonstrated social constructions and conventional attitudes. Evangelicalism attracted and empowered Koreans via supplying 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 throughout the jap profession and used to be legitimated back in the course of and after the Korean clash as South Koreans skilled the trauma of the warfare. both vital was once 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 different kinds of evangelicalism by way of its intensely functional and devotional bent. He finds how, after a protracted interval of outstanding enlargement, together with the tremendous campaigns of the Seventies and Nineteen Eighties that drew hundreds of thousands to its revivals, the Nineties was once a decade of ambiguity for the religion. at the one hand, it had develop into South Korea’s such a lot influential faith, affecting politics, the economic climate, and civil society. at the different, it came upon itself beleaguered by way 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 higher or worse, develop into a part of the establishment.

Despite this importance, Korean evangelicalism has no longer got sufficient therapy from students outdoors Korea. Born Again will for that reason locate an keen viewers between English-speaking historians of contemporary Korea, students of comparative faith and international Christianity, and practitioners of the faith.

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One integrative consequence resulted from the insistence that born-again persons be diligent in devotional practices of the church. Devotional practices in Korean evangelicalism included Sunday worship, Bible study classes, and revival meetings. But they also included less traditional activities, some newly adopted during the great revival—for example, united vocal prayer (t’ongsŏng kido), daybreak prayer meetings (saebyŏk kido), and, in many areas during the early years of the church, obligatory evangelism.

72 Another missionary, who stated the similar point more specifically with respect to the Korean church, seems prescient in retrospect: We are now at a place in the history of the Church in Korea when the problem is not so much of getting people to hear and believe the Word; but it is how to properly care for and instruct those who are now coming to us and begging to be taught. Nothing will solve this like a genuine old fashioned revival of heart felt religion. €. It is all right to have study classes.

By 16â•… |â•… Born Again planning to hold revivals at a time when the Russo-Japanese War was winding down, the missionaries wished to prevent any political unrest from developing within Korean churches. The war had greatly politicized the Korean populace and had caused multitudes to join the church. 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.

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