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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?
19th-Mar-2006 11:51 am (UTC)
Hello and welcome to the forum. Nice of you to join and write.

I’ll take this as an opportunity to put some things straight about our criticism of Korean Christianity. First, I learned that seeing things critically is often helpful. I learned I should always question my own motivations, but also my own culture. However, in my time of UBF I learned never to question the motivation and culture of others. That is wrong. One should not criticize from a judgmental point of view and a stance of “I am much better.” But one should be also careful and not accept every teaching and spirit as genuine or great just because somebody is making a lot of buzz of it. Jesus said “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” I think when we blindly accepted everything that came from UBF Koreans, we were not really shrewd as snakes, but stupid sheep whose wool could be easily pulled over their eyes.

We learned to be more careful. If you want to understand the Bible, study the context. And if you want to understand the problems of UBF, study the context of Korean Christianity.

What we are criticizing (or rather just observing) is that UBF Korean theology is sort of tainted with Confucianism, Shamanism and Nationalism. Later we understood that this is a general problem of Korean Christianity as well.

Now you are argumenting: Well, hasn’t American Christianity problems as well? Right, it has many problems as well, but they may be different problems. A problem does not get better if you realize that other problems exist as well.

Actually, I think the Western world has faced the same problems as Korean Christianity, only much earlier, and much more extreme. The European Christianity in the medieval times was full of superstitiousness. The church has to make many compromises with paganism. They tried to “reinterpret” their pagan beliefs, but until today we have ancient customs which are from our pagan heritage, sometimes intermingled with Christian festivities. Particularly the Catholic church has not overcome superstitiousness. However, in the time of Reformation and Enlightenment, these things have been dealt with and they are not much of a problem any more in the various Protestant Churches in the western world. Similarly, the problem of Authoritarism has been dealt with thoroughly when Luther said we need to obey the Bible more than any authority, even the pope. A good example is the Presbyterian Church which is based on a plurality of elders and mutual accountability, not on one-man/top-down hierarchies.

The ironical thing is that Authoritarism and Superstitiousness is now rising from the dead again particularly in the Evangelical churches in Korea who claim to be based on “sola scriptura”. I think it is highly ironical that an authoritarian cult as UBF emerged from a Presbyterian background in Korea. I think that’s what most of all irritating us. Other countries have their pagan and non-Biblical elements as well, but there is no country that is so vehemently claiming that it is strictly “Bible believing” as Korea.

Concerning the Korean “mission spirit” – yes, the western world made the same mistakes in the last centuries, when they were “evangelizing” foreign countries “by force” – after having made them their “colonies.” It seems Korean Christians are making the same mistakes today, believing their “Korean” Christianity and culture is the best and needs to be exported to others.

Anyway, let me reassure you that we are not anti-Korean at all. If I criticize somebody, this does not mean that I am “anti” somebody. The Bible says if you love your neighbor, you need to rebuke him. And actually, we are not even rebuking, but just trying to understand. Our emphasis is on Korea, simply because UBF is coming from Korea. You cannot understand UBF without understanding Korean culture and the background of Korean Christianity. We just all happen to be ex members of a Korean based cult, therefore we are talking about the origins of the cult based in Korean culture, and are not discussing the problems of German or Arabian or whatever culture, which certainly exist as well.
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