Title: The history of pentecostal & Charismatic Pnuematologies in the Korean Church CHapter i
Today, many Korean churches have Pentecostal and Charismatic (P/C) characteristics – experiential spirituality: the openness to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, emphasis on prayer, on exuberant worship, on evangelism, and on religious experience – even before foreign Pentecostal denominations initiated the Pentecostal movement in Korea. Yong-gi Hong, a minister of the Yoido Full Gospel Church (YFGC), notes that most mega-churches in Korea are charismatic. It is hard to distinguish between non-Pentecostal and Pentecostal churches simply by focusing on worship styles and structures in Korean churches, even though differences do exit. There are no great distinctions between denominations because most of them follow Pentecostal and Charismatic practices – speaking in tongues, healings, and prophecy. Peter Hocken also points out the charismatic tendencies of the Korean Church as follows. Several of the world’s megachurches are found in Korea; these churches are pentecostal-charismatic or open to charismatic-type worship and ministry. From the 1970s, many denominations joined together in large-scale revival meetings with an emphasis on the Holy Spirit, contributing to rapid church growth, although not as rapidly as Korean Pentecostalism. Most mega-churches and their leaders already have had a charismatic experience; they are strong in prayer and are open to receive the Holy Spirit - baptism in the Holy Spirit (fullness of the Holy Spirit) - and this holds true not only for mega-churches but for most other churches as well. Furthermore, their understanding of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts is like the teaching of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Stanley M. Burgess categorized renewal movements into the Pentecostal, charismatic, and neocharismatic movements. According to Burgess, charismatic renewal represents a transdenominational movement of Christians who emphasize a “life in the Spirit” and the importance of exercising extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, including but not limited to glossolalia, both in private prayer and in public worship; “neocharismatic” is a catch-all category that comprises 18,810 independent, indigenous, postdenominational denominations and groups that cannot be classified as either pentecostal or charismatic but share a common emphasis on the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, pentecostal-like experiences (not pentecostal terminology), signs and wonders, and power encounters. Burgess presents the statistics of three renewals as follows: Pentecostals in Korea are 2,393,749 (32%), charismatics are 2,020,598 (27%); neocharismatics are 3,165,652 (42%). The above data shows that most Korean churches have Pentecostal and Charismatic tendencies. Thus, it is natural to perceive that most Korean churches are Pentecostal and Charismatic. If this is so, what is the understanding of the Holy Spirit, especially baptism in the Holy Spirit, in Korean churches - not only in Pentecostal churches but also in Presbyterian churches? There has been very little study on the pneumatology of Korean Pentecostalism, although there have been four Ph.D. dissertations written on Korean Pentecostalism. Among these four dissertations, two writers implied that they might study Pentecostal theology and especially the pneumatologies of Korean Pentecostalism. However, there exists no in-depth study on the Korean Pentecostal understanding of the Holy Spirit in these works. Boo-woong Yoo’s dissertation, the first dissertation on Korean Pentecostalism, is historical rather than theological, although the title is “Korean Pentecostalism: Its History and Theology.” In addition, Boo-woong Yoo is a Presbyterian pastor, and at the time he wrote his dissertation in 1981, Pentecostal churches – especially that of Yong-gi Cho of the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Korea – were regarded as abnormal or heretical by the Presbyterian...
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