New Realities Facing Korean Christianity?
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).