Korea, People's Republic of
- (North)The Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established in the northern half of the country at the end of World War II. A variety of Protestant groups from the Presbyterians and Methodists to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Swe-denborgian movement had established work in the region before the war.In 1946, shortly after its formation, the government began to suppress religion. A Christian League (Ki Dok Kyo Kyo Do Yen Mange) was established to mobilize Christian support for the new Marxist government, but as the Korean conflict came to an end, thousands of Christian joined the 2 million Koreans who escaped to the southern half of the country.Harsh repression of all religion became the standard practice through the country for decades. Churches were taken over for secular purposes and ministers arrested. Protestant Christianity survived, however, and found representation in the Korean Christian Federation. Only in the 1980s was there any sign of relief. In 1983, the Korean Christian Federation was allowed to publish an edition of the Bible. Representatives of the World Council of Churches were allowed to visit in 1985, and the following year members of the federation were allowed to visit the council in Geneva. The council is said to represent some 10,000 Christians, most of Presbyterian background. In 1997, four members attended a meeting of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.At last report, there were only 25 Protestant ministers in North Korea. There is a Protestant seminary that is allowed to accept as many as nine students every three years. There are continuing reports of suppression of Christianity and arrests of leaders.Further reading:■ Jean-Jacques Bauswein and Lukas Vischer, eds., The Reformed Family Worldwide: A Survey of Reformed Churches, Theological Schools, and International Organizations (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1999)■ A. D. Clark, A History of the Church in Korea (Seoul: Christian Literature Society of Korea, 1971).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.
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