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Korean Christianity: As Seen from Global, Christian, Historical, and Missiological Perspectives

Dr. James Jinhong Kim
Associate Professor of Missiology and Religion,
Director of the Horace G. Underwood Center for Global Christianity,
New Brunswick Theological Seminary

Seminar Description

Korea is often considered modern history’s singular example of massive and zealous Christianization.  What made Korea such uniquely fertile ground for Christianity?  This lecture will consider evidence of possible Christian contacts in the very early centuries and their impact on subsequent intellectual cross currents, the unusual historical circumstances surrounding the introduction of Catholicism in 18th century Korea, including the interests of Neo-Confucian learning particular to Korea at the time, as well as the global socio-political contexts, approach to church-state relations, and long-term missiological vision that affected the dynamics of the first Protestant missions to reach Korea in the late 19th century.  By examining the interactive nature of both the so-called “providing” and “receiving” sides of the mission, we not only gain new perspective for understanding contemporary Korea’s unusual commitment to mission, but also ideas for the direction and approach of missions beyond Korea toward the future of the newly emerging global community. Co-sponsored by New Haven Korean Church.

Seminar Schedule

Mon., Sep. 11
9 a.m.–12 p.m. Session 1: Early Contacts with Christianity
2–4 p.m. Session 2: Koreans and Roman Catholic Missions
Tue., Sep. 12
9:30 a.m.–12 p.m.  Session 3: Korea and Protestant Mission Dynamics
2–4 p.m. Session 4: Christianity and Korean National Independence
Wed., Sep. 13
9 a.m.–12 p.m. Session 5: Christianity in Korea Today
2–4 p.m. Session 6: Global Christianity and a Christian Korea

Resource Person

Rev. Dr. James Jinhong Kim is a graduate of Princeton and Columbia, where he received his Master of Divinity in History and Ph.D. in East Asian Studies and Philosophy, respectively. He has been faculty at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary since 1993, and also serves as the Director of the Horace G. Underwood Center for Global Christianity at NBTS sponsored by the Luce Foundation, where he is developing a new graduate program in global Christian History and Missiology, as well as expanding the Seminary’s relationships with other theological institutions around the globe.

His publications and writings include Global Missiology & the Early Letters of Horace G. Underwood, 1884-1898 (publication pending 2017); “Migration and the Mission of the Church: Globalization and Interculturation toward Evangelization ‘by Their Own Hands’” (2016); “A Copernican Re-evaluation of Nineteenth-Century American Mission in Korea” (2015); “Inculturation & Global Core Curricula: Tongmong sŏnsŭp (Primer for Youth) as a Case Study” (2013); “Re-evaluating Underwood’s Mission: Crossroads for Tentmakers Mission Today” (2011); “Bible Versus Guns: Horace G. Underwood’s Evangelization of Korea” (2005); and a monograph and complete English translation of Pak Se-Mu’s Primer for Youth 童蒙先習 (2000), among others.

Dr. Kim is recipient of several awards and fellowships, including the United Nations Star of Harmony Award for Outstanding Community Service and Lifetime Achievement Award of Light Community International Foundation.


There will be lecture handout(s) for each session throughout the lectures.

Earlier Event: April 29
Later Event: September 21
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