48 J. Church & St. 659 (2006)
Fresh Wineskins for New Wine: A New Perspective on North Korean Christianity

handle is hein.journals/jchs48 and id is 661 raw text is: Fresh Wineskins for New Wine:
A New Perspective on
North Korean Christianity
DAE YOUNG RYU
THE NEED FOR A NEW PERSPECTIVE
Since the 1980s, North Korean Christianity has demonstrated
phenomenal changes.      Scriptures and a hymnal have been
published, churches have been newly built for the first time since
the Korean War, and the Protestant seminary in Pyongyang has
nurtured future leaders. These changes are not limited to the
external environment, but rather there-has been a striking rebirth
in rei gious activities. Worshippers fill churches each Sunday,
and many other Christians reportedly attend hundreds of house
churches scattered throughout the country. In addition, church
leaders have been actively involved in dialogues and exchanges
with South Korean and international Christians and Christian
organizations.
These have been puzzling phenomena for many outsiders
because the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was
infamous for its intolerance of religion and its particularly harsh
treatment of Christians. Many have held tat North Korea
practically eradicated all religious institutions and practices, and
ence there was no religion feft except for some underground,
private   practitioners.  These   people   interpreted    recent
developments in    North   Korean   Christianity  as communist
political propaganda that lacked any genuine religious signifi-
cance. However, there have also been compelling views put
forward   that  North   Korean    Christianity  has  been  truly
*DAE YOUNG RYU (B.A., Seoul National University; M.Div., Union Theological
Seminary; Th.M., Harvard University; Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is associate professor,
Handong University, South Korea. His articles have appeared in Korean Journal, Journal of
American-East Asian Relations, Ching Feng, Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religion,
Religion and Culture, and History and Christianity in Korea, among others. Special
interests include history of Christianity in North and South Korea, nineteenth-and
twentieth-century American religious history, and inter-religious dialogues.

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