Korean Christianity Suffers From Korean Religions -- By: Sung Hun Lee

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 12:3 (Fall 1969)
Article: Korean Christianity Suffers From Korean Religions
Author: Sung Hun Lee

Korean Christianity Suffers From Korean Religions

Sung Hun Lee

Korean churches were founded on the Word of God. Early believers from the beginning rejected all human authority, accepting only the Word of God for the foundation of faith. Most churches accepted the confession, “The Bible is the Word of God; it is the sole authority in all moral and religious matters.” Because of this, the Korean churches have several Bible schools and more than ten correspondence courses of Bible study. Every church has systematic study of the Word in Sunday School. Also, every church has a Bible conference (Bible study) once or twice a year.

At first the method of evangelism in Korea was the indirect method, through medical care, education and charitable works, rather than the direct. Then, a few years later, the missionaries invited the Rev. John L. Nevius, an outstanding missionary to China, to learn his principles of mission work. Their decision was important for the growth of the Gospel in Korea. They reported, “After careful and prayerful consideration, we were led in the main to adopt the ‘Nevius Method,’ and it has remained the policy of the mission. First, to let each man abide in the calling wherein he was found, teaching that each was to be an individual worker for Christ, and to live Christ in his own neighborhood, supporting himself by his trade. Second, to develop church methods and machinery only so far as the native church was able to take care of and manage the same. Third, as far as the church itself was able to provide the men and the means, to set aside those who seemed the better qualified to do evangelistic work among their neighbors. Fourth, to let the natives provide their own church buildings, which were to be native in architecture, and of such style as the local church could afford to put up.” However, in spite of this foundation of sound principles based on the Bible, elements of earlier religions in Korea have been retained. These have been bad influences on the churches.

SHAMANISM. Man has been described as incurably religious. This is but another way of saying that religion is a universal phenomenon.

Missionaries testify to the presence of religion, in some form or other, among all the nations and tribes of the earth. Every nation has its own culture, and at the base of the culture there is a stream of thought originated by some kind of religion. This affects the manners and customs of the people. This “folklore religion” in Korea was Shamanism, similar to Animism in other primitive nations on the earth.

A report comes from a missionary in Korea as follows: “To say that ninety percent of the Korean people are not religious is far from ...

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