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Korean Protestant Christianity: a missiological reflection.

The first Protestant missionary set foot on the Korea Peninsula in 1884. (1) The growth of Korean Protestantism in the past century and a quarter has been extraordinary by any measure. Korean churches experienced rapid numerical growth, in particular from the 1960s through the 1980s. In 1960 the Protestant population was 623,000, and by 1985 it had grown over tenfold to 6,489,000. From the early 1990s, however, the growth rate of the Korean church began to decline. In 1995, according to the Population and Housing Census Report, 8,760,000, or 19.7 percent of the population, were Protestant Christians. During the following decade the number of Protestants declined slightly, to 8,616,000, a 1.6 percent decrease. During the same period, by contrast, Korean Catholics increased by 74.4 percent (from 2,951,000 to 5,146,000), and Buddhists by 3.9 percent (from 10,321,000 to 10,726,000). (2)

This downward trend has alarmed Korean Protestant churches, forcing them to search for its causes and cures. Their responses thus far, however, have been reactive and shallow; the churches have not yet engaged in the critical theological self-reflection necessary for the renewal of the church at a more fundamental level. Specifically, I believe that Korean Protestant Christianity needs radical transformation at the level of its ecclesiology. In this article I examine the past growth and present decline of the Protestant church in South Korea, identifying major factors in its advancement and their role in the current downturn. I then propose an Anabaptist vision of the church as an ecclesiological tradition to be integrated into a new vision of the Korean church, and hospitality as the context for its mission and evangelism.

Factors in Korean Protestant Growth

It is striking that Korean Christianity began virtually as a self-evangelized church. Even before the arrival of foreign missionaries, Korea had a small number of Protestant communities that arose primarily through the distribution of the New Testament translated into Korean in Manchuria by John Ross and his team of Korean merchant-translators. The first portions were printed and circulated in 1882, and the entire New Testament was available in 1887. (3) The translation of the Bible into the Korean vernacular also significantly contributed to cultural revitalization and the formation of national identity.

A visit to Korea in 1890 by John L. Nevius, long-time missionary to China, turned out to be missiologically critical, for this was a time when the "missionaries were still feeling their way toward an over-all strategy for the evangelization of Korea." (4) The so-called Nevius Plan, which stressed the crucial importance of native leadership for church growth, "became the universally accepted policy of Protestant mission in Korea," spurring the Korean church to be independent and self-supporting. (5)

Besides the significant role of Nevius and his method, several other factors help explain the rapid growth of the Korean Protestant Church.

Historical and geopolitical factors. The historical and geopolitical situations in and around Korea encouraged Koreans to accept Christianity more readily than in other Asian countries. Korea became forcibly annexed by Japan in 1910, and this tragic loss of independence "decisively shaped both the nature of Korean nationalism and the life of the Korean church." (6) By the end of the nineteenth century, the majority of Asian nations had become subjugated by Western powers and turned anti-Western; in Korea, however, the nationalism was anti-Japanese. Koreans welcomed Christianity as "a viable channel for expressing its nationalistic sentiment against the Japanese." (7) Furthermore, Christian education became "the nurturing ground of nationalism, political resistance and democracy." (8)

The early growth of Korean Christianity thus became inseparably intertwined with Korean nationalism. The nationwide March First Korean Independence Movement of 1919 serves as a telling illustration of this unique partnership. Of the original thirty-three signatories of the Declaration of Independence, remarkably fifteen were Christians, even though Christians at that time represented only I percent of the population. Furthermore, Korean Christians became prominent nationalists, even though the missionaries clung to their traditional political neutrality and refused to embrace Korean nationalism. (9) In the March First Movement, "Korean Protestants--by virtue of their disproportionately large participation and suffering--demonstrated beyond all doubts their commitment to the Korean nation," thus gaining for Christianity its "right to be considered a legitimate religion of Korea." (10)

Sociological and cultural factors. Confucianism has been an integral part of Korean society and culture since the fifth century. The Choson Dynasty (1392-1910) created the most Confucian society in East Asia, even more fully than in China. From the fifteenth century onward, Confucianism penetrated all facets of the society, regulating family life, culture, and politics. Yet it carried certain values that could readily resonate with or complement those of Christianity. James Grayson describes the relationship between them as that of "dynamic complementarity rather than of confrontation." (11) For instance, the early missionaries' pioneering work in modern education was in tune with Confucianism's profound reverence for learning, and the missionaries' strict moral teaching was seen as consistent with the austere moral code of Neo-Confucianism. Another element of Christianity attractive to Confucians was its stress on filial piety, which was one of the five relationships considered by Confucius to be the centerpiece of a harmonious society. It would not be an overstatement to say that, "in a very real sense, Protestant Christianity was built on the foundation laid by the moral concerns of Neo-Confucianism." (12)

This complementarity, however, did not mean the absence of conflict. "It was Christian rejection of social hierarchy which appealed to many," but it was also "a hindrance to the spread of Christianity." (13) On the whole, the vision of society heralded by Christianity did not seem necessarily to be in irreconcilable conflict with the Confucian social ideal. The initial complementarity between Korean Confucianism and Christianity provided a favorable setting for the rapid growth of the Korean church. Eventually, however, Confucianism came to have a negative influence on the development and maturation of Korean Christianity.

Religious factors. Like most Asian countries, over the course of its history Korea has been deeply suffused with diverse religious traditions. According to David Chung, "The religious tradition of Korea had in a substantial way such congenial elements as the monotheistic concept of God, longing for salvation, messianic hope, [and] eternal life," all of which were conducive to the acceptance of Christianity. (14) In other words, some affinity between traditional Korean religions and Christianity made it easier for Koreans to adopt the Christian faith. As Samuel Moffett aptly described it, "Christianity did not deny much that people had loved in the old beliefs. Like Confucianism, it taught righteousness and revered learning; like Buddhism, it sought purity and promised a future life; like shamanists, Christians believed in answered prayer and miracles." (15)

Conversely, it could be argued that Christian conversions in Korea did not necessarily involve radically disowning formerly held beliefs, in particular those of shamanism. As the oldest religion in Korea, shamanism had taken deep root in the religious beliefs and the worldview of the Korean people. Because of shamanism's enduring and permeating influence, it was typical as well as inevitable for religions later introduced to Korea to assimilate certain of shamanism's beliefs and practices--in particular, its predominant focus on this-worldly and materialistic aspects of life. Christianity was not an exception. It could be safely stated that the phenomenal growth of Korean Christianity in part depended on mitigating possible conflicts between Christian faith and traditional religious values.

Economic factors. From the 1960s through the 1980s South Korea realized extraordinary economic growth, rebuilding itself from the rubble of war and rapidly becoming an industrialized and urbanized country. In 1990, in a little over a generation from the devastating Korean War, its economy became the fifteenth largest in the world. This swift transition from a rural-agricultural to an urban-industrial society resulted in a mass migration of rural villagers to urban areas, causing a widespread sense of intense dislocation and disorientation. Social instability was inevitable, as well as a steady erosion of long-held values and norms, including the breakdown of the traditional extended family. A deep sense of alienation and uprootedness spread throughout the country.

It should be noted that the period of the most explosive growth of the Korean church coincided with that of Korea's rapid industrialization, and that the numerical increase of the church mostly occurred in urban areas. (16) Seeking to alleviate their enormous physical and emotional dislocation and alienation, and searching for an alternative community to the close-knit rural social networks, many Koreans turned to churches. The churches in Korea were, however, not merely a passive receptor of newcomers; they actively helped sustain the moral and spiritual values of the nation in the midst of the country's rapid economic transition. According to Grayson, "Without the spiritual support of Christianity ... the Korean nation would have lacked the moral and social coherence to survive the massive pressures imposed upon it by the radical social and economic changes." (17)

Adverse Effects of These Growth Factors

The very factors that spurred the growth of Korean Christianity through the early 1990s had inherent pitfalls that eventually began to negatively affect the identity and mission of Korean churches. First, it cannot be denied that the Korean church played a major role in the country's opposition against Japanese colonial oppression, providing a crucial impetus for fostering a nationalistic consciousness. Once the country became liberated, however, the church's intimate tie with nationalism metamorphosed into alliance with the state. In the 1970s and 1980s, when the South Korean people were groaning under dictatorial governments, which did not hesitate to use repressive power to maintain their regimes, the majority of Korean churches remained silent. By their apolitical stance they in effect sanctioned such regimes. This indifference to the issues of social justice blunted the prophetic mission of the church and resulted in the loss of its credibility in society. It is noteworthy that, by contrast, the Catholic Church in Korea during this time greatly enhanced its social visibility and credibility by its active struggle for democracy, even at the expense of institutional security, and it has grown steadily since then. (18)

Second, the early receptivity by Koreans to Christian faith and the ensuing church growth distracted Korean churches from the need to continue working for the conversion of Korean culture. At some point, Korean Protestants stopped pursuing "the steady, relentless turning of all the mental and moral processes [of culture] toward Christ." (19) Consequently, "the direct Christian influence on Korean society and forms of cultural expression is disproportionately less than one would anticipate." (20) Above all, the persistent influence of a Confucian vision of a harmonious society based on hierarchical relationships has kept the Korean church from overcoming social stratification among its members. The existing hierarchy of the larger society has often been reflected within the church, with the result that those not valued by society have become invisible to the church.

The role of the church in enlightening women and elevating their status in Korean society should be recognized. It was the Protestant missionaries who first introduced formal education for women and thereby paved the way for their attaining equal rights with men. However, according to an ethnographic study of Korean Christian women, in particular evangelical women, the church has served a contradictory, double role--liberating as well as oppressing. The Christian faith has certainly contributed to the reconstruction of their self-identity as well as to their self-empowerment and social autonomy, enabling them to cope with the patriarchal environment of the traditional family and gender structure. Yet, most Korean churches have left women "subordinated within the church hierarchy and authority structure" and been successful "in re-domesticating contemporary women for the [existing Confucian] family system" and social arrangements. (21)

A bitter fruit of Confucianism in Korean Christianity has been the development of clericalism, with clergy exercising excessive power in both the faith and the polity of the church. A kind of "Protestant sacerdotalism" (22) has limited the participation of laity--whose fervent prayer and passionate evangelism have been a driving force for church growth--in the church's life and ministry as true partners with clergy; it has stifled the enormous potential of the laity as agents of Witness and transformation both inside and outside the church.

Third, Korean Christianity's accommodation to shamanism, in particular its predominant interest in this-worldly and materialistic aspects of life, has produced a significant presence of nominal Christians. Shamanism has tamed the radical claims of Christianity. Consequently, Christian discipleship has been understood in narrowly individualistic terms, often as a gateway to personal prosperity, while its costly nature, as well as its communal and social dimensions, is ignored or underemphasized. Unfortunately, Korean Christianity has not yet critically reflected on and confronted its predilection for materialistic prosperity. Nominalism has also led to a large number of Protestants leaving the church. According to Gallup Korea's 2004 survey, among those who changed their religion, 45.5 percent had once belonged to a Protestant church, in comparison to 34.4 percent who had left Buddhism, and only 14.9 percent who had left Catholicism. Moreover, both the 1997 and 2004 surveys revealed that, presently in Korea, Protestantism is the religion least likely to be considered for adoption by those without religious affiliation. (23)

Finally, the rapid industrialization and urbanization that once created a favorable climate for church growth now adversely affects it. For South Koreans, with the growth of economic stability and upward social mobility, "leisure becomes a functional alternative to religions." (24) The church no longer is seen as a place to search for ways to cope with people's social insecurity and emotional anxiety. In fact, economic prosperity has become a snare for Korean churches, holding them in the bondage of materialism. Pastors of large and megachurches now enjoy social prestige and economic privilege, as the nation's economic growth has translated into increased giving by church members. Impressive church buildings and a large membership roll have become symbols of a successful church. Presently, we could say that ecclesiocentrism, or "churchism," pervades Korean Protestantism.

At its beginning, the Korean Protestant church was a home for the poor and oppressed, and during the industrialization of the country, it provided both moral and social stability to the working class. As the country's economic prosperity began to benefit the church's own life, however, the church unfortunately began to turn its back on the poor and marginalized. With the middle class now composing the largest segment of its membership, (25) the Korean church is no longer able to communicate with the common people; it has become too rich to hear the cry of the needy and powerless. In contrast, "to the shame of many of the Protestant churches, the Catholic Church has never lost the memory of its origins among the dispossessed members of society and has made evangelism and ministry among the poor a primary focus of the work of the church." (26) The Korean Protestant Church now needs to remember afresh that evangelism is "to be undertaken from below ... from the depth of human suffering, where we find both sinners and victims of sin." (27)

Whither Korean Protestant Christianity?

Quite simply, Korean Protestants are now in desperate need of transforming their ecclesiology. They likewise, in humility, need to adopt biblical hospitality as the proper focus and ethos of all their mission and evangelism.

Transformation in ecclesiology. Since the 1960s, the focus of the Korean Protestant church has been rather exclusively growth-oriented. Its operating missional framework is still that of growth, and in response to decline, the church appears to direct most of its attention to finding ways to reverse it. An exception has been minjung theology, which grew out of the particular experience of South Korean people in their political and socioeconomic struggles for justice in the 1970s and 1980s. It affirms Korean culture and history as the context for a proper Korean theology, regarding the biblical stories and the social biographies of the suffering minjung (lit., "the mass of the people") as the two primary reference points. Minjung theology in part arose in protest against the overall apolitical stance of Korean evangelicalism and its indifference to systemic injustices; it has challenged Korean Christianity to be more integral and prophetic in its theology and practice of mission and to be on the side of the marginalized minjung. This theology began, however, as a theological exercise among intellectuals and educated groups. Whether it has become a theology among and by the minjung themselves is a troubling question. Lacking a grassroots movement like the Catholic "base communities," it has not been successful in developing as an organic theology.

It is crucial for Korean Christianity to continue to engage in critical theological reflection in its particular historical and social context so as to make its unique contribution to the understanding and practice of the Christian faith. Yet it is equally important for the Korean church to continue to be engaged with other churches and traditions for mutual correction and transformation. I believe that Korean Protestant Christianity must seek a radical transformation in its ecclesiology; specifically, the Anabaptist vision of the church can provide it with a fresh perspective and a much-needed corrective at this juncture in its history. Up till now, Anabaptist ideas have had no formative influence in Korean Christianity. There are presently only a handful of Mennonite churches in Korea, all of which were started within the last decade. Anabaptist ecclesiology has its own weaknesses, (28) yet I agree with Douglas John Hall that this tradition, which has a historic link with the radical wing of the Reformation, could be of enormous help to churches that intentionally seek to disentangle themselves from the "cultural establishment" so as to recover something of their genuine identity and mission. (29)

For one thing, one of the marks of the Radical Reformation tradition is its stress on the integration of evangelism and discipleship. Evangelism is an invitation to discipleship; evangelism and biblical demands related to committed discipleship are not to be separated. For Korean Protestant Christianity, it is pivotal not to set aside the ethical content of conversion for the sake of making the acceptance of the Gospel easier. Korean churches have been rather exclusively preoccupied with personal salvation and piety, ignoring the call of the Gospel to social and cultural transformation. Korean Christians' understanding of discipleship needs to be broadened and deepened so as to include seeking justice as well as caring for the poor, the excluded, and the stranger.

Second, Anabaptist ecclesiology focuses prominently on the communal nature of the church. It refuses to grant excessive authority or prerogatives to certain ones in the church. Instead, the church is to be a discerning community in which every member is heard and participates in moral reasoning and decision making. More important, the church is to be a "hermeneutic community" that gathers around Scripture for faithful interpretation and committed witness. Since the Korean Protestant church has been too clergy dominated in its worship and polity, the communal nature of the church needs to be recovered. Furthermore, the corporate dimension in experiences of both salvation and sanctification should be restored and renewed. As John Howard Yoder says, even salvation is not to be considered as only a personal, individual experience but also as a communal reality. (30)

Third, Korean Protestant churches have become much too worldly, allowing the secular and materialistic spirit of the age to penetrate deeply their life and ministry. They now need to pay careful heed to the "central importance of the Christian community as a new humanity" or as "a new kind of social reality." (31) The mission of the church is first and foremost to be and remain a faithful community of faith with a new and distinctive identity and life. Peoplehood and mission cannot be separated, and the life of the church should not invalidate its witness. Evangelism and mission are practicable and feasible only when there is a community whose life reflects authentic differences from the rest of the world, in particular with regard to power, Mammon, and violence.

Finally, the Anabaptist understanding of the Gospel as a message of peace is crucially pertinent to Korean churches, for "participating in national reunification remains an important part of [their] mission." (32) A small segment of the Korean church has actively engaged in the reunification movement, in particular since the 1980s. Yet the general sentiment among Korean Christians settles for a strong anti-Communist position, which has kept them from engaging reunification issues from a biblically informed perspective of reconciliation and from moving beyond their evangelistic interest and humanitarian concern toward undertaking peacemaking initiatives. (33) Korean Christianity needs to be reminded afresh that witness to peace is "something very central to the Gospel ... [and] always a part of the Gospel." (34) It is crucial for the Korean church to construct a theology of reconciliation based upon the peace message of the Gospel, for without forgiveness of the past history between the North and the South, genuine reunification is not likely.

Hospitality as the context for mission and evangelism. A focus on missions, especially very active sending out of missionaries, has been a distinctive feature of Korean Christianity from the very beginning. In 1908, less than a single generation from the arrival of the first missionaries, the Korean Methodists organized a missionary society for Chientao (an area of China along the Korean border with a large number of Koreans) and sent its first missionary. In more recent history, the number of Korean overseas missionaries grew an astonishing 160-fold: from 93 in 1979 to nearly 15,000 in 2006. South Korea is now the second largest missionary-sending country, behind only the United States. In the same period, the number of countries where they serve increased from 26 to 168. (35) Considering that Koreans are a monoethnic and monocultural people, their active role in world mission appears even more remarkable. Korean missionaries "have become known for aggressively going to ... the hardest-to-evangelize corners of the world," even at times being "at odds with the foreign policy of South Korea's government." (36) In most mission fields they are more readily accepted by the local people than are Western missionaries, who may suffer from their own postcolonial guilt as well as from a perception of their being imperialistic.

Because of the Korean church's own riches and power, however, one of the possible dangers of Korean mission is to share the Gospel from a position of cultural and economic power, not from that of vulnerability and humility. The 1999 "Statement on the Mission of the Korean Churches in the New Millennium" rightly warns Korean churches of "the tendency of partnerships in mission to lapse back into colonial and neo-colonial patterns of domination." (37) For Korean missionary involvement to be of genuine service to the missio Dei, it must be carried out in the spirit of biblical hospitality. Hospitality to the stranger is both intrinsic to the Gospel and crucial to its proclamation. Biblical hospitality never violates the identity and integrity of the other, and it always calls for mutual respect and recognition between evangelists and hearers, as well as between missionaries and Christians of hosting countries. Furthermore, the practice of biblical hospitality "integrates respect and care," seeking "to respond to the needs of persons while simultaneously respecting their dignity." (38)

Mission to North Korea could well be a test case for the integrity of the Korean missionary movement. It definitely would be a cross-cultural mission, for North and South Korea have lived in two different ideological and political systems for more than six decades. Given the economic superiority of the South, it is critically important that missionaries welcome North Koreans with both respect and care. Mission and evangelism must be carried out with sensitivity to the fragility of North Koreans, resulting particularly from the heavy economic dependence on the South that can be expected of North Koreans. For South Koreans to welcome and accept North Korean defectors would be "a very important precedent" for the Korean church's mission of reconciliation toward North Korea. (39)

It is also pivotal for Korean missionaries to extend hospitality to one another, and thus to overcome competitiveness and rivalry. In light of the temptation to impose denominational patterns and structures on indigenous churches, it is crucial that missionaries guard themselves from creating or perpetuating on the mission field "the divisions experienced in Korean Protestantism." (40) Partnership in mission through the practice of biblical hospitality and mutual coordination will prove crucially important, in particular in the future mission to North Korea. The North Korean Church Reconstruction Council, formed in 1995 by the Christian Council of Korea, presented a three-stage plan for rebuilding the churches in North Korea: first, to form a single channel of evangelization to prevent missionary competition; second, to build a single Christian denomination without transplanting the schisms and splits of the South to the North; and, third, ultimately to enable churches in North Korea to be independent and self-reliant without the domination of South Korean churches. (41) For such a plan to succeed, true ecumenical unity among the churches in South Korea should first be embodied through the practice of welcoming and showing hospitality to each other.


The phenomenal growth and spiritual vitality of Korean Christianity are to be explained neither as an accident nor as the result of merely historical factors. The Christian churches in Korea were firmly established by the blood of martyrs, and they have rightly been known as praying churches. In noting their status as the predominant religious force in early twenty-first-century Korea, we thus wish to ascribe the primary cause to God's gracious providence, which defies human analysis. Yet Korean Protestant Christianity is now at a crossroads. Either it can recover its essential identity and mission, channeling anew its enormous resources of personnel and finances into participation in God's redemptive work, or it can remain concerned only about its own well-being and survival, unfaithful to the movement of divine providence. The Korean church must turn from an interest in its own numerical growth and institutional expansion, looking instead with single-minded focus on becoming a hospitable and transformative missional presence that is deeply involved in the struggles and aspirations of Korean society, as well as those of the rest of humanity. If Korean Protestantism fails to be renewed as a faithful, reconciled, and reconciling community of Christ, we cannot assume that it will avoid the kind of major decline that has affected churches in the West. Korean Christians must take to heart the humility implied in the biblical warning, "God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham" (Luke 3:8).


(1.) This article originated as a faculty lecture at Methodist Theological School in Ohio, Delaware, Ohio, on February 16, 2011. I thank James H. Grayson for helpful comments on an earlier version.

(2.) Young-Gi Hong, "Revisiting Church Growth in Korean Protestantism: A Theological Reflection," International Review of Mission 89, no. 353 (April 2000): 190; and Jong-Seop So, "Kaeshinkyonun wae holro soetoeha'go itnun'ga" (Why is Protestantism alone declining?), Sisa Journal, October 16, 2006, pp. 34-38. According to the 2005 census, "the Korean population consists of 23 percent Buddhists, 18 percent Protestants, and 11 percent Catholics, with 47 percent nonreligious" (Jibum Kim et al., "Trends of Religious Identification in Korea: Changes and Continuities," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 48, no. 4 [2009]: 789).

(3.) For the significance of John Ross in the history of Christian mission in China and Korea, see James H. Grayson, "A Spark in Northeast Asia: A Personal Hagiography of a Scottish Missionary to Manchuria, John Ross (1842-1915)," in Sainthood Revisioned: Studies in Hagiography and Biography, ed. Clyde Binfield (Sheffield, Eng.: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), pp. 93-105.

(4.) Samuel Hugh Moffett, The Christians of Korea (New York: Friendship Press, 1962), p. 59.

(5.) James H. Grayson, "A Quarter-Millennium of Christianity in Korea," in Christianity in Korea, ed. Robert E. Buswell, Jr., and Timothy S. Lee (Honolulu: Univ. of Hawai'i Press, 2006), p. 13.

(6.) Myong Gul Son, "Korean Churches in Search for Self-Identity, 1930-1970" (Ph.D. diss., Southern Methodist Univ., 1974), p. 13.

(7.) Ibid., p. 14.

(8.) David Kwang-Sun Suh, "American Missionaries and a Hundred Years of Korean Protestantism," International Review of Mission 74, no. 293 (1985): 9.

(9.) For the missionaries' ambivalent role in the independence movement, see Frank Baldwin, "Missionaries and the March First Movement: Can Moral Men Be Neutral?" in Korea Under Japanese Colonial Rule: Studies of the Policy and Techniques o f Japanese Colonialism, ed. Andrew C. Nahm (Kalamazoo, Mich.: Western Michigan Univ., Center for Korean Studies, 1973), pp. 193-219.

(10.) Timothy S. Lee, "A Political Factor in the Rise of Protestantism in Korea: Protestantism and the 1919 March Movement," Church History 69, no. 1 (2000): 120, 142.

(11.) James H. Grayson, "Dynamic Complementarity: Korean Confucianism and Christianity," in Religion and the Transformations of Capitalism: Comparative Approaches, ed. Richard H. Roberts (London: Routledge, 1995), p. 76.

(12.) Ibid., pp. 82-83.

(13.) James H. Grayson, personal correspondence with the author, March 18, 2011.

(14.) David Chung, Syncretism: The Religious Context of Christian Beginnings in Korea (Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 2001), p. 179. Disagreeing with Chung, James Grayson states that "there is no evidence that Koreans ever worshipped a monotheistic deity," and that they believed instead in "a High God, not a unique divine being" (personal correspondence, March 18, 2011).

(15.) Moffett, Christians of Korea, p. 52.

(16.) Byong-suh Kim, "Modernization and the Explosive Growth and Decline of Korean Protestant Religiosity," in Christianity in Korea, ed. Buswell and Lee, p. 323.

(17.) Grayson, "Dynamic Complementarity," pp. 85-86.

(18.) For excellent studies on the Korean Catholic Church's transition from a ghetto mentality to active involvement in human rights and the struggle for democracy, see Don Baker, "From Pottery to Politics: The Transformation of Korean Catholicism," in Religion and Society in Contemporary Korea, ed. Lewis R. Lancaster, Richard K. Payne, and Karen M. Andrews (Berkley: Univ. of California, Institute of East Asian Studies, 1997), pp. 127-68.

(19.) Andrew F. Walls, "The Mission of the Church Today in the Light of Global History," Word and World 20, no. 1 (2000): 21.

(20.) James H. Grayson, Korea--a Religious History, rev. ed. (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002), p. 169. Grayson lists the following three areas as demanding the Korean church's serious attention: creation of Korean hymns, building of churches in a Korean style, and removal of "unnecessary Western cultural structures and forms."

(21.) Kelly H. Chong, "In Search of Healing: Evangelical Conversion of Women in Contemporary South Korea," in Christianity in Korea, ed. Buswell and Lee, pp. 360, 366-67.

(22.) T. F. Torrance, Theology in Reconstruction (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965), pp. 167-68.

(23.) Gallup Korea, Han'guginuichonggyo wa chonggyo uisik (The Religions and Religious Consciousness of the Korean People), part 1 (Seoul: Gallup Korea, 2005), pp. 4, 7; and Young-Gi Hong, "Nominalism in Korean Protestantism," Transformation 16, no. 4 (1999): 139.

(24.) Chang-Dae Gwak and Jurgens Hendriks, "An Interpretation of the Recent Membership Decline in the Korean Protestant Church," Missionalia 29, no. 1 (2001): 62.

(25.) Hong, "Revisiting Church Growth in Korean Protestantism," p. 191.

(26.) James H. Grayson, "Cultural Encounter: Korean Protestantism and Other Religious Traditions," International Bulletin of Missionary Research 25, no. 2 (April 2001): 67.

(27.) Orlando E. Costas, Liberating News: A Theology of Contextual Evangelization (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), p. 31.

(28.) See Joon-Sik Park, Missional Ecclesiologies in Creative Tension: H. Richard Niebuhr and John Howard Yoder (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2007), esp. chap. 6.

(29.) Douglas John Hall, The End of Christendom and the Future of Christianity (Harrisburg, Pa.: Trinity Press International, 1997), pp. 32-33.

(30.) John H. Yoder, "The Unique Role of the Historic Peace Churches," Brethren Life and Thought 14, no. 3 (1969): 148.

(31.) John H. Yoder, The Politics of Jesus, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), p. 152; and The Original Revolution: Essays on Christian Pacifism (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press), p. 109.

(32.) Eunsik Cho, "Christian Mission Toward Reunification of Korea," Asia Journal of Theology 14, no. 2 (2000): 376.

(33.) For transformative peacemaking initiatives, see Glen H. Stassen, ed., Just Peacemaking: The New Paradigms for the Ethics of Peace and War, new ed. (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2008).

(34.) John H. Yoder, "The Place of Peace Witness in Missions," Gospel Herald, January 3, 1961, p. 14. For different approaches to reconciliation among Korean theologians, see Kirsteen Kim, "Reconciliation in Korea: Models from Korean Christian Theology," Missionalia 35, no. 1 (2007): 15-33.

(35.) Steve Sang-Cheol Moon, "The Protestant Missionary Movement in Korea: Current Growth and Development," International Bulletin of Missionary Research 32, no. 2 (April 2008): 59.

(36.) Norimitsu Onishi, "Koreans Quietly Evangelizing Among Muslims in Mideast," New York Times, November 1, 2004, sec. A, p. 1.

(37.) The Council of Presbyterian Churches in Korea, "Statement on the Mission of the Korean Churches in the New Millennium," International Review of Mission 89, no. 353 (2000): 235.

(38.) Christine D. Pohl, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), p. 69.

(39.) Cho, "Christian Mission Toward Reunification," p. 392.

(40.) The Council of Presbyterian Churches, "Statement on the Mission of the Korean Churches," p. 237.

(41.) Cho, "Christian Mission Toward Reunification," pp. 384-88.

Joon-Sik Park is the E. Stanley Jones Professor of World Evangelism, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, located in Delaware, Ohio. He is the author of Missional Ecclesiologies in Creative Tension: H. Richard Niebuhr and John H. Yoder (Peter Lang, 2007)
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Author:Park, Joon-Sik
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Date:Apr 1, 2012
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