Reenchanted: Divine Healing in Korean Protestantism

Sean C. Kim

in Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780195393408
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894390 | DOI:
Reenchanted: Divine Healing in Korean Protestantism

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The growth of pentecostalism in South Korea since the 1950s, fueled largely by divine healing practices, is symbolized by the Yoido Full Gospel Church, the world’s largest Christian congregation, founded by David Yonggi Cho. Korea is second only to the United States in number of overseas missionaries. Ironically, divine healing first emerged in Presbyterian churches founded by “cessationist” Western missionaries who believed miracles had ended. Despite the “disenchantment” of the Western worldview, because missionaries emphasized native initiative in church planting, Korean evangelists were able to use divine healing and exorcism in conversion. In 1923, the Korean Presbyterian Church abandoned the doctrine of cessationism. Pentecostalism was appealing because it drew on traditional Korean cosmology of spirits and the supernatural and also presented Christianity as more effective than other religions in meeting this-worldly needs. It is misleading to reduce Korean pentecostal healing to “shamanism”; healing is better understood as indigenization of Christianity.

Keywords: South Korea; Yoido Full Gospel Church; David Yonggi Cho; missionaries; cessationism; disenchantment; exorcism; Korean Presbyterian Church; shamanism; indigenization

Chapter.  7329 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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