The Words of the Haines Family

Korea and Great Britain

William Haines
February 16, 2010

It is a bit of a mystery considering the not insignificant contribution Britain made to the providential development of Korea. For example the Bible was translated into Korean by a Scottish Presbyterian by the name of John Ross who hailed from the small village of Balintore in Scotland. He became known as the father of the Korean church. In 1872 he went to China as a missionary and within a year was giving weekly sermons in Chinese and had built up a congregation of 100. In 1877, sponsored by the National Bible Society of Scotland, he started to translate the New Testament into Korean. He distributed it throughout the Korean community in Manchuria and many congregations spontaneously formed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It was also taken by Korean converts into Korea itself where hundreds of churches were founded. Ross himself went to Seoul in 1887 to see for himself the fruit of his work. You can read more about Ross here [] Translation work was continued by the founding of the Seoul Bible House established in 1893 by the British and Foreign Bible Society. One of the main translators was the Anglican Bishop of Korea, Mark Napier Trollope, an ancestor of Ashley Crosswaite. []

The first Protestant missionary to Korea was Robert Jermain Thomas who was born in Rhayadar, South Wales in 1839. His church in Hanover, Llanover, sent him out on mission and he went to China with the London Missionary Society. While teaching in Peking, he met some Korean traders and heard that there were Christians in Korea who didn't have Bibles. These were Catholics who had been growing in number since 1770 when a Korean envoy to China brought some of Matteo Ricci's texts back with him. The same year, 1865, he set off for Korea with Chinese Bibles as an agent for the National Bible Society of Scotland. He travelled through Korea heavily disguised as anyone found with a Bible could be beheaded by the authorities.

The following year Korean was threatened with invasion by Russia. Two Catholic leaders suggested that the Prince Regent should consult the French Bishop, who was still a secret resident, on the best way to respond. He suggested forming a triple alliance between England, France and Korea. The Prince Regent seemed open to this suggestion at first, but the anti-foreign (or anti-Christian) faction in the State Council prevailed and the bishop was executed in March, 1866 marking the beginning of the great persecution, which lasted until 1871, during which about 8,000 Korean Catholics and some French priests were killed. This was merely the latest, if worst, in a series of intense persecutions. So the argument that Korea was qualified to be the nation of the return of Christ because it did not persecute Christianity has always been rather unconvincing.

Despite these events Thomas travelled on a British owned merchant schooner up the river to Pyongyang distributing Bibles along the way. After an altercation with the Korean authorities the vessel was attacked but Thomas leaped into the river giving out his last remaining Bibles while shouting "Jesus, Jesus". He was arrested and gave his executioner his last Bible. A few days later an edict was issued threatening arrest for anyone found in possession of a Bible. Many were destroyed but some were gathered up and their pages used for wallpaper. After a while people started to read the texts on their walls and through this the Holy Spirit brought them to believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior and in this way a Presbyterian church was formed. You can read more about this here []

So it would appear that Britain as the Eve and mother nation in God's providence gave birth to Christianity in Korea, the third Israel. It also gave birth to the second Israel, the United States, and the first Israel in 1948. Unfortunately Britain was unable to do much more for Korea as contacts with westerners were violently rejected by the xenophobic Hermit Kingdom. Had Korea made an alliance with England and France it could have avoided 40 years of occupation by Japan. So who failed to set up the Adam-Eve-Archangel trinity and make the bridge to the messiah?

There is still more. In 1904 revival broke out at Moriah Chapel in Loughor, South Wales. It swept through the valleys and sparked off revival in parts of India. Word of the revival came to Christians in Pyongyang who were hungry for the Holy Spirit. Some of them set aside a week for fasting and prayer. Following a confession of sins there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and what came to be known as the Korean Pentecost began.

So it would appear that the Presbyterian faith that Father's family came to adopt came from this country. Of course it would have been nicer if he had become an Anglican. We would have a much more beautiful and deeper liturgy than the rather spare Presbyterian one combined with Korean folk traditions. Still, I imagine this was the reason Father sent the first overseas missionary, David S. Kim, to Swansea in South Wales in 1954. Perhaps he wanted our movement to connect with its spiritual roots. And if that's what he wanted to do maybe we should too. 

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