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Missions Incredible South Korea sends more missionaries than… 
11th-Mar-2006 06:19 am

Missions Incredible
South Korea sends more missionaries than any country but the U.S. And it won't be long before it's number one.

Has anyone seen this article in the current issue of ChristianityToday? I saw the cover of the magazine but I haven't read the article yet. Here is the link: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/003/16.28.html

If you read it before I get around to it let me know what think. If other Koreans have a tendency to be like UBFers this could be a scary prospect. What does this say about the state of Christianity in America? Why are Koreans so anxious to go out as missionaries? Conversely, why are Americans so reluctant? Look forward to seeing what the article actually says and hearing your comments. Wonder if it mentions UBF?
14th-Mar-2006 08:33 am (UTC) - churches and cults
I think there's a danger of zeal without knowledge when it comes to Christian missions. This applies to Christianity in Korea but also elsewhere. One danger is of ethics and morality taking a back seat to missionism, a mentality of the ends-justify-the-means, a mentality that accepts a few broken eggs (broken lives) to make an omelet. There's also the danger of discernment taking a back seat to missionism, a mentality that those who speak "mission-ese" can't possibly be that bad, so that even a group's cult reputation is dismissed or minimized because "they seem so zealous for mission." I think UBF has taken advantage of this tendency in Korean Christianity and has also pulled the wool over some non-Korean Christians' eyes with their fluent mission-ese.

The sad fact is that a group's or person's zeal for missions is not a guarantee against cultic beliefs or incredibly abusive practices. A couple of examples among many are the International Church of Christ and Feroze Golwalla. Among the many "mission-centered" individuals, churches and groups in Korea, it's guaranteed that there are going to be those that have crossed the line into cult or abusive church territory, EVEN IF the current missions movement as a whole was every bit a genuine work of the Holy Spirit. UBF would be just one of those cults or abusive churches that has crossed a line.

The Korean nationalism evident in the article bothers me, but you can be nationalistic and not cross the line into false nonsense as UBF has done with its misinterpretation of 1 Pe 2:9. The numeric goals in the article also bother me, but numeric goals can serve a purpose (such as resolving to lose 20 pounds through a diet) without crossing the line into obsession as UBF has done, making numbers goals into daily-weekly-yearly burdens that can hardly be borne, multiplying shame and guilt, strangling the grace out of Christianity. The desire to "pioneer" evident in the article also bothers me, but you can actually claim to be a "pioneer" if you go somewhere that was previously unreached by missionaries, and you won't have crossed the line into exclusivism as UBF has done, claiming to have "pioneered" a campus in which there might literally be a dozen Christian groups operating already.

Yes, this article and others reveal problems with Korean Christianity. But a church that has problems should be distinguished from the church that's crossed the line into the realm of being an abusive, controlling and deceptive group. I see UBF as having crossed that line more than 30 years ago.

In the future UBF might cite this CT article and claim that they are just part of this thriving missions movement from Korea. Of course, this would undercut their previous claims of being THE pioneers of this missions movement, claims which implied that they were "the biggest (and maybe the only) mission movement in Korea," claims that it was THEIR vision which lifted Korean students "out of post-war despair and into the mission field," that Sam Lee did for Korea what Bill Bright did for the U.S. (quote from a 2ndgen's web page).
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