In the Summer of 2009, one semester before finishing my first Bible degree at Freed-Hardeman University, my family was invited on a trip with the Korean ministers in the United States. That was my first time meeting with some ministers of the Korean churches of Christ. Most of them were retired from ministry or getting ready to retire. They were the first generation of the Korean churches of Christ ministers and their wives in the United States. They worked with congregations in New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Oxford, MS. We were joined by a theology professor from the Korean Christian University and his wife. Through this trip, I learned about the history and current situation of the Korean churches of Christ. The more I got to know them, I realized the Lord’s will for my ministry, and It is amazing to witness His will coming true now at Buford.
The Korean churches of Christ
They were very nice to my family not only because they were nice people but also because they expected me to follow their ministerial steps. During the week, everyone shared their experiences, ideas, and concerns from their ministries. I was very lucky to have the chance to hear the history of Korean ministry among churches of Christ from eyewitnesses. However, it was not a pleasant story, and I felt more uncomfortable hanging out with them the more I got to know what they had been doing in their ministries. I realized that they regarded themselves as different from the Church of Christ. They publicly declared that they recognized doctrinal “problems” of the American churches of Christ, and they separated themselves from them. Some of the doctrinal problems they mentioned were these: insisting on the non-instrumental music worship, lack of unity because of church-autonomy, and denial of the work of the Holy Spirit. All of their observations came from either their ignorance of the practices of the Lord’s Church or the biblical principles regarding the Church.
Their Denominational Move
In Korea, there is more than one group of churches of Christ with each group arguing that they are the biblical church. Each of them has an organization, arching over the individual congregations and their ministers. The same thing is happening to the Korean churches of Christ in the United States. Each of them is affiliated with one of the groups in Korea. As a result, I decided not to associate with them spiritually, and I withdrew my ministerial relationship with them.
A Dream of the Lord
As I was getting to know the Korean ministries, ministers, and professors, I realized more and more clearly the Lord’s will for Korean ministry. He wants to continue His Church among Korean speaking people to save their souls and to spread the pure gospel in their language. I am not saying that I know everything about the Korean Church of Christ. I hope, like Elijah, there are 7000 Koreans who never knelt down before Baal (1 Kings 19:18). However, I have never met anyone so far except the ones here in our congregation.
What Our Korean Ministry Means to the Lord
There were two other Korean Bible major students at Freed-Hardeman when I was there, and there has not been another to my knowledge until my son David. Unfortunately, the two who were there with me each belonged to a different Korean group of churches of Christ, and they used to quarrel with each other. What I am trying to say is this: as far as I know, I am the only Korean minister who never affiliated with any religious group among Korean churches of Christ. I believe it is the Lord who kept me and led me in the right path. Furthermore, He continues with David, my son, a senior Bible major at Freed-Hardeman. He works for a congregation in Kentucky, but the Lord may lead him someday to the Korean ministry. Satan hurled fireballs at the Korean ministry, even at Buford, but the Lord never loses His will. Now, we, Buford Christians, are the warriors fighting forward for His will. All honor and glory of the victory to Him forever and ever, Amen.