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New Realities Facing Korean Christianity?

April 26, 2012

Seoul, Korea – After three days here for Center for Reconciliation exploration, two startling discoveries:

* After three decades of rapid growth Protestant Christianity numbers are declining, two key voices told me. Why? Their hypothesis: church divisions and highly publicized cases of church corruption and scandal. Meanwhile Buddhism and Catholicism are on the rise. They say Catholics have been more disciplined and also engage a social witness that has won credibility.

* Last night we had coffee and conversation with two North Korean defectors (I’m learning the new language is “refugees”), both students here now and wonderful young men. How many North Koreans have defected to South Korea? A year ago I would have guessed dozens. Actually there are over 20,000. A first-ever North Korean defector was just elected to the national assembly. This will provide a serious test for Korean Christianity to move from homogeneity to embrace ethnic diversity (the young men last night testify they feel decidedly “other” in South Korea).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jongho Kim permalink
    April 29, 2012 10:04 am

    So good to catch up with you here. Pray the rest of your pilgrimage in this part of the world goes well.

  2. April 29, 2012 3:57 pm

    If Koreans want to make in today Christian world and on the mission field the impact they claim they want to have, I think they will have to give up their pride and the imperialistic habits they have learned from their American counterparts and will have to start learning that the world is a much more complex reality than they think and, thank goodness, it cannot fit their per-determined Korean patterns.

  3. May 5, 2012 7:57 am

    If you are still in Korea and have time I encourage you to make a trip down to Gangjeong village in Jeju where Catholics, Protestants, Quakers, Mennonites and oothers of other faiths are resisting an illegal naval base. Thanks!


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