What is the history of Christianity in Korea?
Christianity spreads nationwide. Despite being started by aristocratic men, the first Korean Christians understood that the church was for all people. In a society stratified by ancestry and segregated by gender, early Christian communities included women and people of different ranks, and those from outcaste groups.
How did Suh Suh start Christianity in Korea?
Suh carried copies of a Korean translation of the Gospel of Luke there and began to pastor a group of Korean believers. That community is now regarded as the “cradle” of Protestant Christianity in Korea, a symbol of the self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating nature of Korean Christianity.
What is the significance of Korean female evangelists?
Because of this taboo, the missionary wives initiated women’s ministry and Korean female evangelists, or “Bible women,” played an important role in the early spread of Protestantism. In fact, most of them were wives who had been neglected by their husbands in the patriarchal society of Korea.
What was the Korean Peninsula governed by?
Until the late 19th century, the mountainous Korean Peninsula was governed tightly by a Confucian tradition and closed off to most foreigners. Missionaries found it difficult to penetrate the reclusive nation, focusing instead on Korea’s larger neighbors, China and Japan.
What was the Korean government threatened by?
By the 1880s, the Confucian order was crumbling and Korean sovereignty was threatened not only by Western powers but also by the rise of Japan. Progressive Koreans sought to modernize the country and pressed for the entry of foreign missionaries to help with medicine and education. Some saw Christianity as the religious or ideological basis of Western society, believing the nation would benefit from a spiritual renewal of the people.
What was the impact of Christianity on the Korean elite?
The application of the teachings of the Chinese sage Confucius (551–479 BC), which centered on wisdom and right social relations, had resulted in a remarkably stable society with a highly developed culture . However, it also produced an elitist culture, resistant to the innovations of the modern world and to possibilities of Christianity, which scholars saw as driving Western development.
What did the Korean Christians believe?
Despite being started by aristocratic men, the first Korean Christians understood that the church was for all people. In a society stratified by ancestry and segregated by gender, early Christian communities included women and people of different ranks, and those from outcaste groups. Some aristocrats who converted to Catholicism or were sympathetic to the faith disguised their views, caring for exiled believers by allowing them to live on land they owned in more remote mountain areas or islands. Some of the exiled made their living as potters and itinerant tradespeople who spread the faith by disseminating Catholic literature and religious objects across the country.
Why did the Korean government crack down on converts?
As the government cracked down, Korea’s new converts also faced pressure due to a change in policy of the Catholic Church. In 1790, Korean Christians learned that the pope had forbidden converts to venerate their ancestors according to the “Chinese Rites.” But such dereliction of duty especially drew the ire of Confucians for whom the veneration of the fathers by the sons was axiomatic for societal well-being. Christians who openly discontinued veneration were not only ostracized from their families but also risked persecution and death.
Where was the second seedbed of Christianity?
The second seedbed was Sorae, on the west coast, the hometown of one of the first Protestant evangelists, Suh Sang-ryun (1848–1926). Suh carried copies of a Korean translation of the Gospel of Luke there and began to pastor a group of Korean believers. That community is now regarded as the “cradle” of Protestant Christianity in Korea, …
Where was Protestantism in Korea?
There were at least two seedbeds of Protestantism in Korea. One was in ?iju, near the modern-day border between North Korea and China. On business in Manchuria, several young Koreans met John Ross and John McIntyre, two Scottish Presbyterian missionaries, who had long been interested in Korea but were unable to enter.