Pastor James Park’s sermon from Shiloh's Lord’s Day Service on June 28, 2019
Reasons why we need to learn the history of Korea
First, by learning the history of Korea we can discern the truth from falsehood. In today’s education system, the youth are being indoctrinated with distorted facts regarding Korean history. Many are taught that South Korea attacked the north first or South Korea provoked the north to attack. Thus learning the proper history allows us to discern what is true and what is false. Secondly, by learning the history of Korea, we are able to understand our identity, our roots, and the task that God has given to us. More importantly, through the history of Korea, we are able to learn how the Word of God came to Korea. Just as the Bible is the history of Israel and its nation, likewise, the history of Korea, both the contemporary and the modern history of Korea, shows us the history of how the Word of God came to this nation.
What is communism?
Communism comes from the Latin word “communis” meaning “common or sharing.” Communism is an ideology that believes in a classless society. Thus, no upper, middle, or lower class of people but equality amongst all people and sharing everything. This is the basic ideology of communism; thus, the concept of “community,” sharing, and equality. Outwardly, communism sounds good but is it? Secondly, and fundamentally, communism is a doctrine that does not believe in the God of the Bible and wars against Christianity (Psa 14:1; 10:4). Cain was a believer, but he lost his faith and left the presence of God and his descendants lived a life without God. Thirdly, communism tries to build a paradise on earth through man’s strength (Gen 4:16-17). Thus, apart from God, communist attempts to build an idealistic paradise on earth. Cain and his descendants attempted to live in a civilization and community apart from God and built a paradise here on earth without the help or presence of God. Ultimately, Cain’s family and his descendants ended up in greed, murder and death (Gen 4:22-23). Those who practice communism will resort to murder, violence, stealing and or by force to fulfill their agenda and this is why their ideology goes against the Word and commandments of God. They deny the existence of God and because Christianity is against communism, Christians are targeted first and they seek to destroy the church. Thus, Christians are killed and murdered because of their faith. Fourthly, communist falsely confesses they will share; however, due to their own greed, they seek only power and the love of wealth for themselves and not towards God (1 Tim 6:10; Luke 12:19-21). Because of the nature of greed in one’s heart, fallen mankind cannot obey the command of Jesus to come and be a disciple (Matt 19:20-22). Communism in its essence does not work due to the greed of mankind. Lastly, leaders of communist regimes deify themselves as God and they become the God of the people. This is what is inherently wrong with communism.
Communism in Korea (Latter years of the Joseon Era)
Communism came into Korea through a gradual process, and Korean history can be divided up into four periods. First, there is the period of the “latter years of the Joseon Era,” which was the fall of the royal court members. Due to the power of politics and internal fighting it led to corruption in the government which decreased military readiness and defense, strength of the nation, and increased division between the “haves” and “have nots” which brought on the idea of communism opening up the nation to attacks and uprising from the people.
Communism in Korea (Japanese Annexation)
Secondly, due to decreased military readiness and unfair treaties; the “Japanese Annexation” took place in August 1910. Under the Japanese annexation there was the March 1st movement which was initiated mostly by Christians first through peaceful demonstrations for the liberation from Japan which became a nationwide movement. However, the Japanese suppressed this movement by massacring the people. Dispirited, the people turned to the ideals of communism as a way of salvation from their situation. During the Japanese occupation, there was the establishment of the Joseon Communist party, which was an underground movement that operated in groups and organizations and many people joined as a way of escaping persecution. However, due to being caught and charged with making counterfeit money and causing inflation, this communist party went underground again and the Korean people began to see the unethical practices of communism. On August 15, 1945, there was the unexpected liberation from Japan but there was chaos due to no leadership. Additionally, communists who were in prison or in hiding were able to come out of prison and hiding and reestablish and organize and be active again due to the liberation of Korea from Japan. They spread propaganda and anti-Americanism due to America’s war against communism and pro-democracy.
Communism in Korea (Five years of darkness)
Thirdly, After the Korean liberation in August of 1945 until June 25, 1950, there was a period of “five years of darkness.” The communist party caused division and riots and uproar to encourage people to embrace communism. There was a movement from the south to become a formal nation however, in the north; the communist party formed their nation. The South wanted to hold elections and form their own nation, but the communist rioted against elections and democracy.
Communism in Korea (Korean War, June 25, 1950)
Many Americans died in the Korean War for the freedom of South Korea. The Koreas were divided on the 38th Parallel and remain until this day. Communism entered into Korea due to government corruption in the latter years of the Joseon era and allowed Korea to be attacked both ideology and physically. In order to combat communism, we must trust in God only and not in the ways of man (Jer 17:5, 7; Psa 55:23; Prov 10:27). It is very important that we learn the history of Korea so that we can learn and discover God’s providence and sovereignty in the history of Korea and around the world for God is sovereign over history and leaders of all the world (Psa 33:10).
Conclusion: Whether you are Korean born or those outside of Korea, we have received the Word of God and now it is our task to spread this Word to the nations. With the proper perspective of history, we can know our identity and task of spreading the History of Redemption so that patriotism will continue to burn in our hearts and to love God and keep His commands.