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A Study of the Christian Nation-Building Theory of Janggong Kim Chai Choon

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2014, (54), pp.251-285
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : June 30, 2014
  • Accepted : August 15, 2014

koh ji soo 1

1성균관대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

Kim Chai Choon, whose pen-name is Changgong, was not only aProtestant pastor but also a social activist who took the lead in socialparticipation of the Korean church. This paper is aimed at examining Kim’sChristian nation-building theory in close connection with The Christian Viewof National Foundation he had introduced and figuring out the characteristicsof “social participation” suggested by Kim during the period of thenation-building movement. Right after Korea’s liberation from Japanesecolonial rule, the Korean church was supposed to newly redefine the relationbetween a new “state” and religion from the perspective of historical andtheological context. “The idea of nation-building based on the Christian ideal”proposed by the Korean church, however, combined with the propaganda of“Christian nation-building” suggested by three right wing figures — SyngmanRhee, Kim Gu, and Kim Kyu-sik — and provided the right wing with apolitical groundwork for the anti-trusteeship and the anti-Soviet Union (lateranti-Communist) movements. As a result, the agenda of the Christiannation-building theory gave birth to the pro-Christian political power and tookroot in the nation in the form of “the alliance of church and state.”Kim’s Christian nation-building theory was categorized as the majorityopinions of the Korean churches when it came to the issue of the Christian ideal, but showed an attitude different from the views of many Protestants interms of participation in politics in that Kim’s theory emphasized the “socialrole” of religion. Kim’s idea was based on the “sovereignty of God” and the“theory of dual-government” in Calvinism, according to which all the areas ofhuman society should be faithful to their own roles at the face of “theabsolute sovereignty of God” and, in this case, the state and the church — andpolitics and religion — are not contradictory but can supplement each other. Kim believed, therefore, the church can participate in the nation-buildingproject by sending conscientious people to society to carry out its moral andethical function. Kim’s theory is based on the principle of “separation ofchurch and state” on one hand but emphasizes the socio-ethical role ofreligion, thus offering a theoretical basis for Christianity’s social participationafterwards in Korea’s history on the other.

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