Monday, December 03, 2018

Revival in Korea by Rose McCormick Brandon

The first signs of revival in Korea appeared in 1903 when medical missionary, Dr. Robert Hardie, began a series of talks on prayer at conferences and churches. Within a year, ten thousand had turned to Christ. In 1906, at Ping Yang (Pyongyang) several believers met for noon-hour prayer asking God for an out-pouring of His Spirit. By the time Christians gathered for the universal week of prayer in January 1907 they expected a first century blast of blessing. Instead, their meetings were dull and weak and their prayers earth-bound.

On the last day of prayer week, a highly-respected man stood and tearfully confessed before a congregation of 1500 that he had stolen from a widow in the church. "God can't bless because of me," he said and promised to make restitution. This man's shocking admission set off a flood of confessions. One after another confessed their sins. The meeting lasted until two o-clock in the morning. In the months following this mass confession thousands came to Christ. Missionary to China, Jonathan Goforth, visited the revival and concluded that hidden sin had hindered God but uncovered sin glorified Him. (When the Spirit’s Fire Swept Korea by Jonathan Goforth)

       By mid-1907, 30,000 converts attended the Pyongyang church. People attended services in shifts. Churches sprang up all over Korea. Confession remained a primary factor in this revival. Many repented of racial bias, including Dr. Hardie. Koreans repented of hatred toward the Japanese, their occupiers. Love from Christ filled their hearts and erased their biases. (John 13:34,35).

       One man, after learning about Jesus in the city, returned to his village with a New Testament which he read to his neighbours. When believers numbered fifty, they decided it was time to form a church, but they had no idea how to do it. Thinking it must have something to do with water baptism they each went home, took a bath, reassembled and declared they were now a church.

       Many Korean Christians suffered imprisonment. They became known for turning their confinement into an opportunity to read and memorize scripture. One man read the entire Bible seven times. Prisoners committed whole books to memory.

Pyongyang became known as “Jerusalem of the East.”

In this land where many experienced an amazing outpouring of God's Spirit, Christians today are cut off from the world, deprived of their Bibles and divided from their countrymen. They need our prayers. When North Korea's iron curtain lifts – may it be soon – we’ll see its remnant church and discover that those revival fires of long ago haven’t been extinguished.  
Rose McCormick Brandon is the author of four books: Promises of Home - Stories of Canada's British Home Children, One Good Word Makes all the Difference, He Loves Me Not - He Loves Me and Vanished. She blogs at Listening to my Hair Grow and Promises of Home. 


Peter Black said...

A marvellous account, Rose. Thank you for sharing it.
I have four 'Goforth' books, but not the one you mention here; however I think that I've only read one of mine completely through, so far. ~~+~~

Rose McCormick Brandon said...

Peter, many years ago I met the Goforth's youngest daughter, Mary. She was widowed by then. She and her husband had pastored the Presbyterian church in the Soo and her son, Fred, still lives there. She wrote a letter to me to say she was coming to the Soo and asked if I would like her to speak at the Christian women's group. That began a tradition - every year she came and spoke to our ladies. At that time, she was re-publishing and distributing her parent's books. She gave me copies of each one. I don't believe she re-printed "When the Fire Came to Korea." I found it - it's very small - at a local book sale. Mary travelled all over the US and Canada and even to China with her parent's books. I've read them many times, especially two of them: How I know God Answers Prayer and Climbing. If you would like a copy of the Korea book, I could photocopy it and send it to you. Rose

Peter Black said...

Rose, it's neat that you met Mary nee Goforth!
I have "by My Spirit," "Jonathan Goforth," "How I know God Answers Prayer," and "Climbing."

That's a lovely offer, and I would appreciate having a copy. Thank you. However, I wouldn't want to put you to a lot of work to copy and get it to me. Perhaps it could be scanned and sent electronically. I'll email you . . . ~~+~~

Ed Hird+ said...

I love reading about the Korean revival. Its links to the Welsh revival and the East African Revival, with 1 John confession of sins, are very powerful.

Rose McCormick Brandon said...

Ed, the study of revival is fascinating, isn't it? Each one is unique, but always with similarities - especially the confession of sin.

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