I’m not lookin’ to start a theological debate, nor am I trying to be racist in any way, shape, or form.
But today, as I was driving out of my native New Jersey, I noticed and recollected a lot of the churches on my Southern route having services in and for Koreans . . . and they were Presbyterian Churches.
Is there some sorta precedent for this? Did a Presbyterian get to Korea first? Am I missing something?
In Michigan, I used to go to a Christian Reformed. Down here in North Carolina, there is a Presbyterian and a Baptist one, and then nearby there are several others, none of which are Presbyterian that I’m aware of. So I guess I haven’t really noticed it.
I’ve noted that trend, as well, and when I was in high school my church (well, the church my parents dragged me to), a Presbyterian one, took in a Korean Presbyterian church when their church burned down and shared space for awhile. There was some friction, though, due to differing cultural values in childcare mostly. And also the old Presbyterians didn’t really like the smell of the Korean food.
Actually, I believe that the largest Christian denomination today in South Korea is Assemblies of God (Pentecostal). Indeed, the church in Seoul pastored by Rev. Yonggi Cho is said to be the largest single congregation in the world. Since it claims 750,000 members, that seems at very least plausible. There are entire denominations smaller than that.
Please note that it’s hard to find unbiased information on Rev. Cho - or, for that matter, most well-known Pentecostal leaders. To a greater or lesser extent, this is also true of nearly every Christian minister who becomes well-known, almost without regard to denomination.
Many Christians reluctantly agree to variations on the aphorism that “Christianity is the only army (movement/group) which shoots its own wounded (members/leaders).” While there are some who clearly do or did deserve condemnation, I find it a very sad commentary, clearly contrary to the teachings of the One we claim to follow.
I think the Catholics were in early but had no concept of the written Korean language. It wasn’t until about the 1890’s that this was done. And I think the first Bibles in Korean were produced in the first decade of the 1900’s.
This article says that a catholic translation wasn’t begun until 1989, finished in 2002, and was just being published in 2003. “Since 1977, the Korean Catholic church has used a version of the Bible that it co-produced with Protestant churches.”
Wikipedia says “Korean Presbyterianism is the dominant form of Christianity in Korea.” but that’s the full text of the article and it provides no cites. The article on Christianity in Korea goes into rather more detail, saying: “Emphasizing the mass-circulation of the Bible (which had been translated into Korean between 1881 and 1887 by the Reverend John Ross, a Scottish Presbyterian missionary in Manchuria, the Protestant pioneers also established the first modern educational institutes in Korea.”