Sample Thesis

Words 14,161

The history of the Protestant church in Korea began in 1884 when Mr. Suh, Sang-Yoon founded the Society of Hwang-hae province in northeastern Korea.  Mr. Suh had been previously baptized in Manchuria, by John Ross a missionary to China in 1879.  Mr. Suh and Mr. Ross translated the New Testament into Korean.[1] In the late 1890s, missionaries arrived from the United States, Australia, and Canada.  The Nevius Plan (mentioned below) was adopted at this time and the missionaries divided Korea into mission areas to facilitate the cooperation and efficient administration of the mission activities which included building hospitals and schools.[2]

Since that time, the Protestant church has, in South Korea, expanded to include nearly a quarter of South Korea’s population.  The Protestant Church in South Korea has, since the early 1960s, grown to be the second largest religion in the country after Buddhism.[3] An estimated 73 million Protestant Christians live in Asia, comprising about 2 percent of the total Asian population, however, nearly one-fourth of South Korea’s 40 million people are Protestant Christian and in 1989 South Korea accounted for 14 percent of the 2 percent total Asian Protestant Christians.[4] Further, in South Korea in 1989 one could find 29,820 Protestant churches and 55,989 ordained Protestant pastors, making the Protestant Church in South Korea one of the most vital and dynamic in the world.[5]

Andrew Kim argues that there are four key reasons to explain the rapid spread of Christianity in South Korea during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, “1) was due in part to the way the imported faith converged with certain concepts and practices of Korean religion, and 2) that the Korean clergy, in an effort to make Protestantism more acceptable to political converts, accentuated certain messages and doctrines, notably

An emphasis on this worldly life;
The concepts of Hananim;
The image of God as the savior;
The primacy of faith healing; and,
The centrality of ethics and family values.[6]
In brief, missionaries to….

[1] Yunji-dong, Chongro-Ku, The Presbyterian Church of Korea: A Brief History available at:

[2] Ibid.

[3] Andrew E. Kim “Korean Religious Culture and its Affinity to Christianity: The Rise of Protestant Christianity In South Korea”, Sociology of Religion, Summer 2000 v61 i2, p117-25.

[4] Ibid.  p. 118.

[5] Ibid.  p. 118.

[6] Ibid. p. 119.

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