Born Again: Evangelicalism in Korea by Timothy S. Lee

By Timothy S. Lee

Known as Asia’s "evangelical superpower," South Korea this day has the various biggest and such a lot dynamic church buildings on this planet and is moment in basic terms to the USA within the variety of missionaries it dispatches out of the 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 kingdom.

Born Again is the 1st ebook 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 should 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 unheard of crises that discredited demonstrated social buildings and conventional 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 throughout the eastern profession and was once legitimated back in the course of and after the Korean clash as South Koreans skilled the trauma of the battle. both vital used to be evangelicals’ relentless proselytization efforts through the 20th century.

Lee explores the ideals and practices that experience develop 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 by means of its intensely useful and devotional bent. He unearths how, after an extended interval of extraordinary growth, together with the significant campaigns of the Seventies and Eighties that drew hundreds of thousands to its revivals, the Nineteen 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 by means of a stalemate in development, the shortcomings of its leaders, and conflicts with different religions. Evangelicalism had not just risen in South Korean society; it had additionally, for larger or worse, develop into a part of the establishment.

Despite this importance, Korean evangelicalism has now not obtained sufficient remedy from students outdoors Korea. Born Again will as a result 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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A different type of conversion experience characterized the great revival, one in which persons became profoundly aware of their moral shortcomings and their inability to merit salvation, leading them to repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. To some, repenting was a painful process, in which the agony was so unbearable that they exhibited unusual physical behavior such as prostration and prolonged crying. But such behavior was epiphenomenal and, more often than not, discouraged.

These yangban evangelicals were largely from the disaffected portion of their class. 137 For a significant portion of them, however, politics played a role in their adoption and support of the religion. Such, for example, was the case with two of the first yangban to be converted to evangelicalism: Sŏ Chaep’il (Philip Jaisohn) and Yun Ch’iho, influential progressives linked with the failed coup d’état of 1884. Yun, Sŏ, and other yangban like them believed that evangelicalism could help reform their people and their nation.

In large part, this dimension consisted of upholding personal morality, such as proscriptions against theft, smoking, drinking, and promiscuity. Since the Korean society at the turn of the century tended to be fairly loose against these vices—at least for men and except theft—they provided the converts with clear and demanding, yet feasible, means of distinguishing themselves from the rest of the society. The sense of separateness and uniqueness thus achieved helped integrate the church. In Korea, upholding personal morality became associated with Protestantism early on, and this association became axiomatic, established in the minds of Christians and non-Christians alike.

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Born Again: Evangelicalism in Korea by Timothy S. Lee
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