Academic journal article The Ecumenical Review

A History of Christianity in Korea since 1945, Trans

Academic journal article The Ecumenical Review

A History of Christianity in Korea since 1945, Trans

Article excerpt

The Society of the History of Christianity in Korea, ed., A History of Christianity in Korea Since 1945, trans. Jeong-I1 Moon. Seoul: The Institute of the History of Christianity in Korea, 2017. 236 pp.

This book, A History of Christianity in Korea since 1945, was originally published in 2009 in the Korean language as volume three of A History of Christianity in Korea. The year 1945 in the history of Korea marks the end of the Japanese colonial rule and the beginning of the division of Korea between North and South. In this regard, the scope of historical research on Korean Christianity has been generally limited in a manner unduly reflecting the Cold War mentality. This book provides a holistic picture on the history of Korean Christianity after the 1945 liberation.

It consists of eight chapters. In each chapter, the editor follows the trials and growth of Korean Christianity not only in terms of the church structures, modes of faith, and theology, but also in terms of the relationship between the church and society.

Following the chapter numbers from Volume I (1989) and Volume II (1990), it begins with Chapter 10, "The 1945 Liberation and the New Beginning," which describes the response of the churches in South Korea to the United States military government and to the establishment of the socialist government in North Korea. Chapter 11, "The Korean War and the Church," also depicts the response of the churches to the Korean War. The churches in both North and South supported their government to carry out the war in various ways and prayed for their victory. In these two chapters, the editor of the book clearly explains how the church leaders of both North and South Korea became deeply involved in the realities of the national politics.

The following three chapters deal with some unique characteristics of Korean churches in South Korea. Chapter 12, "Denominational Schisms and the Birth of New Denominations," sets out the many complex factors underlying the denominational schisms and the establishment of new denominations that added diversity and vitality to Korean Christian life. Chapter 13, "Growth and Development of the Churches," discusses aspects of church growth during the period from the 1960s to the 1980s and the overseas missionary movement right after the remarkable growth of Korean churches. …

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