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Japan & Korea

Watch Japan & Korea
November 21, 2019
27:06

Jesus the Game Changer

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Japan & Korea

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  • And then it was just a brutal suppression.
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  • We're in Nagasaki, in Japan, and this is the 26 Martyrs Monument.
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  • In the 16th century, there was a crackdown on Christianity in Japan,
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  • and they wanted to make a spectacle of a group of Christians. So, in Kyoto,
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  • they arrested a group of Christians and they marched them 770 kilometers to here in Nagasaki.
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  • Two of the group were just young boys aged around 12 to 13.
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  • When they arrived in Nagasaki on this hill, the crosses were already set up for them to be crucified.
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  • One of the young boys looked at the crosses and said, 'Show me my cross'.
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  • And the other said, 'Show me mine'.
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  • It's a reminder that the heritage of Christianity in Japan is in the face of brutal oppression.
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  • In the early days, Christianity was no easy decision.
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  • It was faith in the face of persecution.
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  • You visited Nagasaki with the 26 Martyrs, that's the first series of crucifixions.
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  • But there were many more that happened after that.
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  • Miyazaki Kentaro, a Japanese scholar who's one of the experts in this area,
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  • estimates that in about a 10-year period, they called it the great martyrdom,
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  • there must have been five to eight thousand crucifixions or beheadings.
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  • And this would include women or children.
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  • strong presentation of the message and it meets a felt need in the population.
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  • So, it was a time of confusion, military conflict, intellectual unrest,
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  • and that, as it were, opening lasts for 50 or 60 years.
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  • And the Catholic evangelization of Japan, by the early 17th century, is just remarkable.
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  • We want to explore the first entry of Christianity into Japan.
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  • Francis Xavier brought it, how did that occur?
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  • Francis Xavier arrived with a couple of other Jesuits and he only spent two years
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  • and managed to get permission eventually to do mission work in different areas,
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  • mostly in Kyushu, but later expanded to other areas.
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  • After he left, then there was just a series of continual arrivals of missionaries
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  • and training of missionaries and language work so that in about a half a century,
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  • by 1603 or so, there were roughly three hundred thousand converts.
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  • And this is also when Japan is beginning to close down.
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  • Beginning then in the early 17th century, you have the very stiff persecution of Japanese Christians,
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  • and the expulsion of Catholic missionaries.
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  • A kind of Japanese Catholicism survives, it's attenuated,
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  • it looks a little funny over the centuries, but it actually is there for when,
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  • in the mid 19th century, the Catholic and Protestant missionaries are able to come into Japan.
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  • Some of these communities had lasted under strong persecution and had to be in secret for centuries but were revived.
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  • In the middle of the 19th century, Japan opened up to other foreign nations and they wanted a place to worship.
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  • And in 1865, this church, the Oura Cathedral, was opened by Father Petitjean from France.
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  • What's remarkable is once it was opened, hidden Christians started to come out and worship here with Father Petitjean.
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  • The incredible thing is that for that period of time, those 250 years, they had to make a really difficult choice.
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  • These are two replica Fumi-e here at the Oura Cathedral Museum in Nagasaki.
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  • We know that Christianity was banned for 250 years and during that time
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  • you had to prove that you weren't a Christian on a yearly basis.
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  • And the way that you did that is you lined up and you stood on
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  • either the face of Mary or on the face of Jesus to prove that you weren't a Christian.
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  • And knowing that that was coming up left you with a terrible choice.
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  • Do you come along and refuse to stand on the Fumi-e?
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  • Which meant that you would be tortured until you died, or you recanted.
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  • The second option was to come and stand on Mary's face and stand on Jesus's face
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  • and then be wracked with guilt and go home that night praying for repentance
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  • because you had denied knowing Jesus. It's an awful choice to have to make.
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  • The Fumi-e ritual was connected with what's called the 'danka seido', a temple registration system.
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  • So, they put in place a system where all Japanese families across the country had to register with a local temple.
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  • They figured out if they tortured you, you wouldn't recant.
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  • But if they tortured your wife, you would.
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  • So, they would take your family and torture your family to try to get you to recant.
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  • That type of psychologically brutal methods.
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  • And so, everyone had to step on a picture of Jesus or a picture of Mary every year to prove that they were not Christian.
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  • And that's the type of context that you had going on for 200 years.
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  • In addition to that temple registration and Fumi-e ritual, they also created what's called 'gonin gumi'.
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  • They would organize villages around five families, and they were basically expected to monitor each other.
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  • And if a Christian family appeared among those five families and you hadn't reported it,
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  • all families would be penalized or punished.
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  • So in Korea, 20, 30 percent Christian, obvious influence.
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  • In Japan, it's only one or two percent.
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  • Does that mean that Christianity, and so the missionary movement, had little to no influence in Japan?
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  • Not at all. The missionary movement profoundly influenced Japan,
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  • but less so in terms of actual conversion.
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  • There is a much broader impact of Christianity in Japanese society
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  • that you wouldn't imagine with that 1 percent figure.
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  • Survey research sometimes gives you 2 percent or higher.
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  • That means a lot of people are unaffiliated.
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  • But where does that gap come from?
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  • Why are there even more people that have some sort of identification with a faith?
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  • And part of it comes from the wider impact Christians have had in fields of social welfare, medicine and education.
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  • Another big earthquake happened in 2016.
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  • So, I thought we should do something for the people who were hurt in Kumamoto.
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  • There were Christians from all different parts of the world that came to help.
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  • Where did they come from and what influence did they have?
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  • Normally people think Christianity is a Western religion.
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  • But after the natural disaster happened, actually, many volunteers,
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  • not from inside Japan, but also from overseas, many foreign Christian volunteers came in.
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  • So, the local people encountered Christians. They came from Asian countries,
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  • and they looked like the Japanese, you know, they've got black hair, and look like the Japanese.
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  • So, they thought, 'Oh, Christianity is not the Western religion'.
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  • That's a new understanding of Christianity.
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  • In Japan how do you think the church will reach those unreached people, how will they break those barriers?
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  • Well, I think churches should have more contact with the local people.
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  • Because churches tend to be inward-looking, inside the church building.
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  • But we should be the light of the world.
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  • That means we should go out of the church building, and to serve the community.
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  • But actually, there's a weak link with the local people,
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  • so the disaster relief is one way to make a bridge with the local people.
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  • It's intriguing to compare Japan, where we are here, to South Korea.
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  • If you're in Seoul, South Korea, there are churches and Christian symbols everywhere.
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  • Some of those churches have hundreds of thousands of people involved.
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  • Thirty percent of the population of South Korea are Christian.
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  • But you come here to Japan and you don't really see many Christian symbols.
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  • The average church in Japan is only 25 people and only one per cent of the population are Christians.
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  • Japan and South Korea are geographically very close,
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  • but they couldn't be further apart in their response to Christian faith.
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  • How did Christian faith first become an influence in Korea?
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  • Korea had this relationship with China, and obviously China was very big and powerful, and Korea was a relatively small nation.
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  • So, each year representatives from the Korean court would go to Beijing and they would pay tribute to the Emperor of China.
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  • And before long, they met the missionaries, particularly,
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  • after Matteo Ricci came there was a Jesuit community in Beijing, and they heard about Christianity there.
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  • So, it's interesting because the first influence is almost an indigenous influence.
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  • Yes, Koreans themselves imported Christianity.
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  • And then they looked for people who could teach them and help them to practice it more effectively.
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  • How was the response in Korea to Christianity?
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  • Korean commoners accepted Christianity as a social power and spiritual power.
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  • By Christianity, they wanted to overcome poverty,
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  • discrimination and to quench their spiritual hunger.
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  • And that's when they fell afoul of the authorities
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  • and eventually Catholicism was banned, and it wasn't permitted again until the 1870's.
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  • Now, they weren't just banned, were they? There was fairly stringent persecution.
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  • They were indeed.
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  • I mean, the first priest who'd been smuggled in from China was discovered and killed.
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  • Leading Christians were also executed, or else they were banished.
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  • Catholicism survived by people going to the mountains,
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  • Korea's a very mountainous peninsula, or going to the off shore islands.
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  • The Catholic missions in Korea in the 19th century experienced extraordinary persecution.
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  • In the course of the 19th century, maybe 8.000, maybe 10.000 Catholics in Korea were martyred.
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  • When I was a little child, that's the end of the Second World War.
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  • I got into school maybe in 1941, they finished in 1945.
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  • And Japan was almost losing the war, yet they took everything from South Korea.
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  • Korean people, all of them, were so poor.
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  • Then after the end of the Second World War, five years later, the Korean War started.
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  • So, we've been going back and forth evacuating, then going back up.
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  • Then of course, communist soldiers took everything they could take.
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  • Rice, ox, cart, whatever.
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  • I worked as a houseboy for the American soldiers.
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  • Americans are very generous about giving out chocolate candy bars.
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  • So, we wanted to get some candy bars, so we went running around the army camp.
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  • And one of the soldiers invited me to watch the stove, it was very cold.
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  • So, I'd been with them for a year and a half until I met Sergeant Carl Powers.
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  • And he asked me if I would go to the U.S.
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  • Well, U.S. is much better than the Korean War, so I decided to go with him.
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  • And many people would be surprised that the 1906, 1907 revival was in Pyongyang, in North Korea.
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  • Indeed. If you go back to the early 20th century, the great strength of Christianity
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  • was in the North rather than the South and Pyongyang was the great center of revival,
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  • as you said, and the strongest hub of Christian influence.
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  • It was in 1907, about 22 years after the gospel came into the land.
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  • Also, it was when the whole nation was in despair.
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  • At that time, with the great power of the Holy Spirit, God worked in Pyongyang, a land under communism in present day.
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  • In Pyongyang, God used the Jang Dae-Hyun Church and ignited a remarkable revival of the Holy Spirit.
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  • It is not only a turning point in Korean church history, but also a great spiritual event in world church history.
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  • During this revival in 1907, through proper repentance and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,
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  • similar to the Pentecost in Acts 2, Koreans experienced Jesus Christ
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  • as their only hope for changing their difficult situation.
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  • After the Second World War, basically North and South Korea separate.
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  • What happens with the church?
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  • In North Korea, which is communist controlled, the Christians are suppressed
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  • and so many of them take advantage, especially in the 1945-48 period
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  • and then later during the Korean War, to move southwards across the border
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  • because otherwise they're going to be penalized for their faith.
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  • Many families are separated in that process, because at first it was men that left
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  • because they didn't want to be pressed into the communist army,
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  • and they left their women and children behind. And they had to live the rest of their lives
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  • in South Korea without ever knowing, many of them, what had happened to their loved ones in the North.
  • 00:17:39.210 --> 00:17:44.090
  • It was in that context that the first Korean megachurch was formed in Seoul, Youngnak Presbyterian Church.
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  • Reverend Han Kyung-chik gathered other migrants in the church, they set up tents to house them and feed them and so on.
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  • And eventually this became the large church that it is today, and it was by far the largest in the early period.
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  • It was a refugee movement.
  • 00:18:06.200 --> 00:18:08.090
  • What was it like getting to America?
  • 00:18:09.160 --> 00:18:11.030
  • Well, you know, the language barrier, the culture shock.
  • 00:18:11.050 --> 00:18:15.220
  • And yet, at the same time, American people were very, very friendly and want to help you.
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  • Were they nervous about a Korean? How was their response?
  • 00:18:23.000 --> 00:18:26.200
  • They only knew Korea by the Korean War.
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  • On the newspapers, every morning, about the war in three years.
  • 00:18:29.000 --> 00:18:33.100
  • So, I was right in the midst of the Korean War when I left.
  • 00:18:33.120 --> 00:18:37.270
  • So, they knew all about the news about the Korean War.
  • 00:18:37.290 --> 00:18:42.140
  • And many Koreans had to suffer.
  • 00:18:42.160 --> 00:18:46.250
  • We had about three million people killed during the Korean War and a lot of American soldiers were killed.
  • 00:18:46.270 --> 00:18:51.210
  • And yet they knew about the bad part of Korea.
  • 00:18:52.250 --> 00:18:57.040
  • When you were in America, you went to a Christian school.
  • 00:18:57.060 --> 00:19:00.150
  • What was your response to hearing about Jesus? Because that was new to you.
  • 00:19:00.170 --> 00:19:04.050
  • The only thing, I didn't know too much about Christianity,
  • 00:19:04.070 --> 00:19:08.010
  • but I was lonely, I was homesick. I was behind on studying English.
  • 00:19:08.030 --> 00:19:12.280
  • So, thinking about my family, my mom in Korea.
  • 00:19:14.040 --> 00:19:18.030
  • And consequently, I needed to lean on something, depend upon something for some comfort.
  • 00:19:20.100 --> 00:19:23.170
  • And one of the seminary students came to my dormitory room and explained John 3:16.
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  • And, 'If you trust Christ, He'll take away your homesickness, give you the purpose in life, joy and happiness'.
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  • And I said, 'Well, I will try'.
  • 00:19:40.130 --> 00:19:43.230
  • And at the dormitory room, he prayed, and I prayed to receive Christ, and the whole thing's been changed.
  • 00:19:43.250 --> 00:19:48.170
  • This is Yeouido Park in Seoul, South Korea.
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  • It's only a small strip of park land of what used to be a much larger area called Yeouido Plaza.
  • 00:20:01.230 --> 00:20:06.190
  • It was held by the South Korean government as a reserve airstrip.
  • 00:20:08.020 --> 00:20:11.270
  • In the late 1990's, it was redeveloped for the banking and finance industry.
  • 00:20:11.290 --> 00:20:16.230
  • Before then, it was a large space and many Christian gatherings were held here.
  • 00:20:18.270 --> 00:20:22.150
  • This space demonstrates the reach and the influence of the Christian church.
  • 00:20:24.190 --> 00:20:27.210
  • In 1973, Billy Graham held a crusade and in this space,
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  • with Dr. Billy Kim as his interpreter,
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  • there was 1.1 million Koreans gathered to hear him speak.
  • 00:20:35.090 --> 00:20:39.290
  • But it wasn't the only large gathering here.
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  • In 1984, and in 1989, Pope John Paul II held gatherings here.
  • 00:20:43.030 --> 00:20:47.290
  • And at the first in 1984, there was said to be a million people that attended.
  • 00:20:50.010 --> 00:20:54.040
  • This space represents the size, reach and influence of the Christian church in South Korea in the late 20th century.
  • 00:20:56.260 --> 00:21:00.020
  • It is interesting that in South Korea, and around Seoul, megachurches grew to enormous numbers.
  • 00:21:13.130 --> 00:21:18.050
  • Have you any ideas of why that was the case?
  • 00:21:19.140 --> 00:21:22.090
  • There's lots of ideas that have been suggested.
  • 00:21:22.110 --> 00:21:25.260
  • Obviously, God was at work. But through various other factors.
  • 00:21:25.280 --> 00:21:30.250
  • Megachurches are generally associated with urbanization.
  • 00:21:32.100 --> 00:21:36.010
  • And Korea urbanized very, very rapidly, or South Korea urbanized very, very rapidly from the late 1960's onwards.
  • 00:21:36.030 --> 00:21:40.250
  • There's also something about Korean culture of that period, I think,
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  • and a great desire for congregational worship on a large scale.
  • 00:21:52.240 --> 00:21:57.090
  • People were energized by being in large groups and doing things together.
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  • I wanted to study political science, come back to Korea and become a politician.
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  • And God had a different plan, and seems to me He was saying,
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  • Your country, you have so many politicians, but because your family's not believers,
  • 00:22:15.070 --> 00:22:18.080
  • I want you to go back to tell your people about Jesus'.
  • 00:22:20.060 --> 00:22:23.160
  • So, I prepared for the ministry, came back here, witnessed to my family.
  • 00:22:23.180 --> 00:22:27.290
  • I have older three brothers and sisters and mother.
  • 00:22:28.010 --> 00:22:32.260
  • And subsequently they all became a Christian.
  • 00:22:32.280 --> 00:22:36.180
  • We had a wonderful opportunity to lead them, the whole Kim family became a Christian,
  • 00:22:36.200 --> 00:22:41.150
  • my nieces and nephews became missionaries, pastors, elders and deacons and deaconesses.
  • 00:22:43.200 --> 00:22:47.120
  • So, we used to have three idols in our home and my third brother took it all out, burned it up in the front yard.
  • 00:22:50.020 --> 00:22:54.160
  • Everybody thought our family's going to be destructed by the ancestors and all that,
  • 00:22:58.210 --> 00:23:03.170
  • but God has blessed the Kim family far beyond our imagination.
  • 00:23:06.170 --> 00:23:10.280
  • Moreover, the Korean church is spiritually indebted. We have to pay back the debt.
  • 00:23:15.140 --> 00:23:20.080
  • There is nothing else we have to do. The mission for the Korean church is to reach out to people who have not heard
  • 00:23:23.040 --> 00:23:26.090
  • and are waiting for the gospel to come and serve them with our whole heart.
  • 00:23:29.050 --> 00:23:34.000
  • According to the statistics, Korea sends missionaries to the world second most after America.
  • 00:23:37.130 --> 00:23:42.110
  • One soldier went beyond the call of duty of his country.
  • 00:23:52.250 --> 00:23:56.150
  • He singled out one houseboy and gave him an education, sent him back to his own people.
  • 00:23:56.170 --> 00:24:01.130
  • And I've seen literally hundreds and thousands of people come to trust Christ.
  • 00:24:03.230 --> 00:24:08.170
  • One of the great events was when Dr. Billy Graham came for the crusade in 1973.
  • 00:24:15.020 --> 00:24:19.270
  • The final meeting he had over a million people.
  • 00:24:21.030 --> 00:24:24.100
  • When he gave the invitation, there's no way to come forward, because there's too much crowd.
  • 00:24:24.120 --> 00:24:29.060
  • He said, 'Those who want to receive Christ, stand up.
  • 00:24:30.230 --> 00:24:34.020
  • The councillors will take your name and address'.
  • 00:24:34.040 --> 00:24:37.280
  • That Sunday afternoon, about 38 thousand decision cards were turned in.
  • 00:24:38.000 --> 00:24:42.260
  • 1973, there's Korean megachurches started.
  • 00:24:44.040 --> 00:24:48.010
  • From its inception they are thinking about missions.
  • 00:24:48.030 --> 00:24:52.110
  • Because 135 years ago, Methodists, Presbyterian missions came here.
  • 00:24:52.130 --> 00:24:57.120
  • Now, it's our time and our turn to send missionaries overseas.
  • 00:24:58.240 --> 00:25:02.230