What do you pray for in South Korea
It is hard to believe that little more than fifty years ago Korea was a poor agrarian country. And you reflect: and what does the explosive growth of the economy and the explosive growth of Christians in Korea over the past five decades?
Koreans say that South Korea today is a country where the fastest in the world the number of Christians increases. Primarily Protestant. In Seoul there is a Presbyterian Church, which has 150,000 members. Let me explain: some Protestant denominations, as I understand it, profess the principle of “one parish, one Church”.
I mean, 150,000 people belong only to that Church, only to this particular community and are aware of themselves as a separate Church. And call themselves the second largest in Seoul (and, hence, in South Korea). The largest is another Protestant community, which includes 500,000 people.
Explain to me the difference between the most common in Korea Protestant denominations — Presbyterians, Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists, etc. — I asked the former rector of the Presbyterian College and theological Seminary in Seoul, Professor young-Il Jang.
He replied that for Koreans there is no fundamental difference — not in the sense of formally documented by the unity of creeds, but rather at the level of personal feelings. The Baptists make a life for his Church, inspired by the example of the Presbyterians, and the Presbyterians like to pray like Pentecostals, and all together feel of “just Christians.”
Read this aspiration to unity. And even if Korean not speak, subconsciously the idea of unity of all Christians is directly connected for him with the idea of the unification of the two Koreas.
As I thought, the Korean war of 1950-1953 for the Korean people — the same thing that the Great Patriotic war to us. In the sense that the same living memory, the same understanding that we are talking not about the events of the day before yesterday and yesterday. Many on the other side of the border remained a close family.
About the tragedy of the separation of the two Koreas and the hope of reuniting children hear from infancy. Guests of the country show performances, the Opera tells of the events of that war and the struggle for the overcoming of schism.
The history of Korean Protestantism has 130 years — and amazingly, the history of the country the last 100 years — perhaps the most painful period for the whole period of the existence of Korea. In a sense, the Christian faith came to the Peninsula at a time when the need for comfort was the most acute.
The pastor of the largest in Seoul Presbyterian Church begin his sermon by thanking God for what He has given South Korea the prosperity and welfare of the people. And neighborhood with North Korea — a kind of silent testimony: even a remote semblance of such economic success are unable to reach a state where atheism is engendered.
It’s no coincidence that I felt that for Christians South Korea the dream of a Union of two States is inseparable from faith in God. Such a relationship is for two reasons.
First, many Korean believers, I heard that the unification of the North and the South is immense potential for expansion. Say, even in one small South Korea so many Christians, their number will increase at least twice if to them to add potential believers of the North. And for this thought and another read: “And then how much we, Koreans, will be able to give to the world!”
And the second reason why the dream of the unity of the nation and faith in God — related. In fact, explicit political preconditions for the unification of the two Koreas, as far as I know, no. And perhaps most importantly, giving people hope is the belief in the efficacy of prayer. This was at the South hardly pray at every service.