By Poitras, Edward W.
International Bulletin of Missionary Research , Vol. 22, No. 3
Perspectives on Christianity in Korea and Japan: The Gospel and Culture in East Asia.
Edited by Mark R. Mullins and Richard Fox Young. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1995. Pp. xxiii, 230. $89.95. This volume presents papers from Christianity in East Asia, a project with meetings in 1991 and 1993 sponsored by Meiji University in Japan and the Presbyterian Church (USA). The authors include Japanese, Korean, and Western scholars, mostly Presbyterian, all of whom share an ecumenical Protestant perspective.
Missiologists often cite the contrasts between South Korea's large, rapidly growing Christian population and Japan's tiny Christian minority, but this study attempts the more difficult analysis of the complex tapestry of differences within a shared cultural context. Its three sections address the development of Christianity, its encounters with local religions and societies, and reflections on the future of mission. While each chapter focuses on a particular issue, together they cohere in covering a wide spectrum. Despite the Presbyterian orientation of the writers, they refer to other Christian groups and wider issues, avoiding the parochialism of many denominational studies. Of special interest are the analysis of Christianity and nationalism, the comments on the variety of factors in church growth, the exploration of ancestor veneration, and the references to self-critical developments in Korean Minjung theology. …