The Presbyterian Church in Korea
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The Presbyterian Church in Korea (“Kosin") is a branch of the true church of Jesus Christ, founded on God's Holy Word, and holds to the Reformed Faith. Since the coming of Protestant missionaries to Korea in 1884, the Korean church has had an astonishing development unparalleled in mission annals. The Presbyterian Theological Seminary was founded in 1901 in Pyongyang, and by 1912, a General Assembly was organized. For about half a century from the first entry of the Gospel, the Korean church grew steadily. But under Japan's imperialistic domination the church underwent many difficulties. In this period two kinds of problems afflicted the Korean church: First, the infiltration of theological liberalism. And second, the Japanese Shinto shrine issue.
Finally, on September 10, 1938, the yet undivided Korean Presbyterian Church, at its 27th General Assembly meeting at the Pyongyang Westgate Church, broke down under this repression, and approved shrine observance. Both before and after this tragic decision, ministers, elders, deacons, and ordinary believers, who merely wished to live according to the Bible and so refused shrine worship, were arrested in large numbers. Eventually some fifty became martyrs of their faith under this terrible persecution.
On August 15, 1945, Japan was defeated, Korea was liberated, and on August 17, those who had been imprisoned for their opposition to Shinto shrine observance were released. Two among them, Rev. Joo Nam-Sun and Rev. Han Sang-Dong, founded Korea Theological Seminary a year later in Pusan on September 20, 1946, to train church leaders in order to reform the erring Korean church. This action began anew the training of church leaders in the historic Presbyterian tradition.
However, the still undivided church's General Assembly would not recognize the new Korea Theological Seminary. The delegates from the Kyun gnam Buptong (legal) Presbytery supporting the new Korea Theological Seminary spent three years trying in vain to normalize their relationship with the General Assembly. But the seminary continued not to be recognized and they were refused membership. Accordingly, on September 11, 1952, organizing its own General Assembly, the “Korea Pa (group)" or “Kosin" church was instituted. It is true that in December 1960, the church united with one of the mainline Presbyterian churches, the “Seungdong" group (later called “Hapdong") which is an anti-ecumenical group. But unfortunately this union did not last for very long and in September 1963, the church returned to its original form and continues until this day as the Presbyterian Church in Korea (“Kosin").
Currently, the PCK, as a member of the universal church, continues the ongoing fight against the worship of idols and other ‘gods' in Korean society. Especially the nationalistic indigenous religion, which worships Tangun (the ancient bear-man believed to be the founder of Korea) as a national god, has become a great challenge to the Korean churches. They have erected statues of Tangun at many public parks and schools in order to get people pay homage and worship it. Kosin is the main denomination actively engaged in public demonstration and appeals to the government not to allow the placement of ‘idols' in public places.