Church-state relations in the history of the Presbyterian churches in Korea
The purpose of this thesis is to challenge the existing research which has blamed the Korean conservative Presbyterian churches’ apolitical attitude and their ignoring of their socio-political responsibility on account of their conservative theological thinking. It also seeks to analyze and re-evaluate the conservative churches from a socio-theological perspective because hitherto the research has neglected the social factors which have played an important role in influencing their attitude no less than the theological factors. The historical period covered by this research is from 1884, the year the first Protestant missionary arrived in Korea, to the early 1990s. The reason is that during this period the church had had a relationship with three very different ruling political powers: (1) the Japanese colonial government, (2) the United States Military Government (USMG) and the first Korean republic ruled by a Christian president and (3) the military regime led by three Buddhist presidents which had ruled Korea until 1992. While the Korean Presbyterian churches in a different political setting maintained the principle of the separation of church and state, they formed and developed a different political ecclesiology in their own interests and kept a close relationship with the establishment for different reasons.