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By Timothy S. Lee

Known as Asia’s "evangelical superpower," South Korea at the present time has a number of the greatest and so much dynamic church buildings on this planet and is moment basically to the USA 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 publication in a Western language to contemplate the creation, 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 push of this actual species of Christianity could be attributed to numerous components. As a faith of salvation, evangelicalism appealed powerfully to multitudes of Koreans, arriving at a time while the rustic was once engulfed in extraordinary crises that discredited verified social buildings 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 in the course of the jap profession and was once 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 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 through its intensely functional and devotional bent. He unearths how, after a protracted interval of amazing growth, together with the big campaigns of the Seventies and Eighties that drew 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 came across itself beleaguered via 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, turn into a part of the establishment.

Despite this value, 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 international Christianity, and practitioners of the faith.

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R. Moose wrote: “The general unrest and lack of something to which they may cling is causing the people to turn to the Missionary and the message he has; and they are trying to find out if we have something which they can trust. ”52 That many Koreans sought refuge in the church after 1895 was also reflected in the number of Koreans who were accepted as adherents in the years immediately following the Sino-Japanese War. In 1896, for example, the total figure for the number of adherents (the baptized and probationers) was 4,356.

121 To a newly converted evangelical, destroying the “devil house” and the “booth for the evil spirits” may well have been the most conspicuous way of announcing his religious breakthrough, of separating himself from his previous life pattern. However, to Koreans still attached to the traditional worldview, such were acts of sacrilege. To them, the objects destroyed were not a devil house and a booth for evil spirits but a shrine for a mountain spirit and an abode of household guardians. These were sacred entities, whose violations in former times would have incurred grave retribution.

112 As the revival continued on to 1907 and its enthusiasm enveloped both the missionaries and Koreans, more and more missionaries found that they were being disabused of their prejudices toward Koreans and instead were developing a respect for them. Clearly, this was the case of John Z. Moore, one of the most eloquent recorders of the event: Until this year I was more or less bound by that contemptible notion that the East is East and the West, West, and that there can be no real affinity or common meeting ground between them.

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