By Timothy S. Lee
Known as Asia’s "evangelical superpower," South Korea this day has many of the greatest and so much dynamic church buildings on the earth and is moment merely to the us within the variety of missionaries it dispatches overseas. knowing 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 publication 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 20th. during this considerate and thorough research, Timothy S. Lee argues that the outstanding upward thrust of this actual species of Christianity may be attributed to numerous elements. As a faith of salvation, evangelicalism appealed powerfully to multitudes of Koreans, arriving at a time whilst the rustic was once engulfed in unheard of crises that discredited tested social constructions and conventional attitudes. Evangelicalism attracted and empowered Koreans through 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 through the eastern career and used to be legitimated back in the course of and after the Korean clash as South Koreans skilled the trauma of the struggle. both very important was once evangelicals’ relentless proselytization efforts through 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 through its intensely useful and devotional bent. He unearths how, after a protracted interval of remarkable growth, together with the colossal campaigns of the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties that drew thousands to its revivals, the Nineties used to be a decade of ambiguity for the religion. at the one hand, it had develop into South Korea’s so much influential faith, affecting politics, the financial system, and civil society. at the different, it came across itself beleaguered through 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 now not got enough therapy from students outdoors Korea. Born Again will hence 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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Extra resources for Born Again: Evangelicalism in Korea
131 These examples also show that even as Korea was entering the twentieth century, being a Christian in that country still entailed a measure of hardship. ”132 That thousands of Koreans flocked to the church despite such costs attested to evangelicalism’s appeal as a vehicle of salvation to the multitudes of Koreans. As has been argued since the start of this chapter, with the traditional order in disrepair, the quest for salvation—the search for a new moral order— was a major concern for Koreans at the beginning of the twentieth century.
From the start, the Korean church regarded these practices seriously. One could not claim to be a proper Christian, it was held, unless she regularly attended church and fervently prayed, studied the Bible and faithfully gave to the church, and actively participated in evangelism. During early years of the church, a person, as a rule, could not be baptized unless she mastered han’gŭl, so that she could read the Bible. 106 Such an imperative tended to institutionalize evangelicalism’s proclivity toward emotionalism: one might exuberate over one’s rebirth, but such exuberance had to be expressed through established devotional practices, without neglecting the more mundane aspects of the faith.
They also attempted to sublimate whatever nationalistic fervor was already seething within the church. Â€. Perhaps, as never before in the history of the church in Korea, there is need for a manifestation of the power of God. The gospel has met with a cordial response as it has been preached here and the Church has steadily increased in numbers. A crisis has been reached. The political situation brings the entire people to a state of unrest. The hope of the nation and the individuals that compose it lies not in agitation and discussion, but in God.