Original Research - Special Collection: Applied subjects, Practical Theology and Science of Religion

The early Korean Protestant Churches’ impact on Korea’s democratisation: With special reference to the Korean Presbyterian Church

Jae-Buhm Hwang
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 1 | a2089 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2089 | © 2014 Jae-Buhm Hwang | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 October 2013 | Published: 20 June 2014

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Jae-Buhm Hwang, Department of Christian Studies, Keimyung University, South Korea


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Abstract

This study examines the significant influence of the early Korean Protestant churches in general and the Korean Presbyterian Church in particular on the early phases of Korea’s democratisation. Firstly, the Western Protestant mission works in general were visibly conducive for dissemination and cultivation of egalitarian and democratic ideals, with the mission churches becoming sites of do-it-yourself democracy. Secondly, the Nevius (Mission) Methods of the Korean Presbyterian Church came to foster the democratic spirit of self-support and self-government, resulting in its rapid growth. Thirdly, with the implementation of a nationwide, representative and democratic polity (presbytery) with a constitution, the church even facilitated law-binding and institutional democracy for Koreans in general and Korean Christians in particular. Fourthly, the church’s democratic working deeply inspired Korean democratic politicians, especially Mr Changho Ahn, who had an important influence on the making of the Provisional Government of Korea and its Constitution.

Keywords

Korean Presbyterian church; missions in Korea; democracy in Korea; Nevius Methods

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