One is Not Enough….


Besides Awakening the Hermit Kingdom: Pioneer American Women Missionaries in Korea I read two articles relevant to my topic. Both were very helpful, but the second was very insightful in terms of the significance of the work of women missionaries in Korea.

WOODBERRY, ROBERT D. “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy.” The American Political Science Review 106, no. 2 (May 2012): 244–74. doi:

This article is only somewhat helpful in that its approach is looking at the history of the Korean church in search of present missiological ideas. It give an overview of the history of the rise of Christianity in Korea as a backdrop for its ideas. Ideas of interest include:


  1. Before the arrival of missionaries in Korea, there were native Korean Christians who were converted through New Testaments available in Manchuria and translated by John Ross and his team of Korean merchant-translators. The first portions were printed in 1882 and the entire New Testament was available in 1887. Citable note: (Park, 2012) Earliest Korean Conversions
  2. Article gives an overview of the Nevius sysem and the early missionaries decision to follow it. The Nevius system, devised by missionary John Nevius and disseminated to American missionaries in Korea in an 1890 visit stressed the importance of native leadership in churches and that native churches should be self-supporting. Author believes this helped the spread of Christianity by spurring the Korean church to be self-supporting. Citable note: (Park, 2012) Author believes Nevius System helped the spread of Christianity in Korea
  3. Author also believes that Korea was more open to American missionaries because instead of fostering “anti-western” sentiments, Koreans, in light of the Japanese colonization were “anti-Japanese.” So early church growth became intertwined with Korean nationalism. Citable note: (Park, 2012) Author believes Koreans were “anti-Japanese” instead of “anti-western”
  4. Author believes that Korea was the most Confucian society in all of East Asia, an idea expressed by many authors. (Park, 2012) Korea most Confucian society in East Asia
  5. Author believes that some Confucian ideals, such as the importance of education and filial piety are complementary to Christianity but acknowledges strict hierarchies are not. The author also purports that ideas in Shamanism also are complementary to Christianity. (Park, 2012) Ideas in Confucianism and Shamanism complement Christianity
  6. Author also believes that the role of Protestant missionaries was important in elevating the status of women in Korea because they were the first to introduce education for women and thus paved the way for equal rights with men. Citable Note: (Park, 2012) Protestant missionaries important in elevating the status of women in Korea.


The second article was very enlightening in thinking about the significance of the work of Protestant women missionaries in Korea.

Woodberry, Robert D. “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy.” The American Political Science Review 106, no. 2 (May 2012): 244–74. doi:

Ideas of Interest include:

  1. Theories of democracy usually ignore or minimize the role of culture and religion and rather emphasize material interests of different social classes – secular rationality, economic development, urbanization, industrialization and the expansion of the state.(Woodberry, 2012) Theories of democracy ignore religion.
  2. The author argues that Western modernity is profoundly shaped by religions factors and “although many aspects of this ‘modernity’ have been replicated in countries around the world, religion shaped what spread, where it spread, how it spread, and how it adapted to new contexts.” (244) (Woodberry, 2012) Religion played a major role in shaping Western modernity and its spread to countries around the world.
  3. The author argues that conversionary Protestants were a “crucial catalyst” in spreading religious liberty, mass education, mass printing, newspapers, voluntary organizations, most colonial reforms and codification of legal protections for nonwhites at the turn of the twentieth century in countries around the world. The above innovations helped produce cultural conditions in countries that later would support the development of stable liberal democracies. (Woodberry, 2012) Conversionary protestants crucial catalyst in spreading cultural ideas that supported the development of stable liberal democracies.
  4. The author uses a mix of historical analysis and statistical analysis in the developing of his argument. (Woodberry, 2012) Historical and statistical analysis supports Woodberry’s argument.
  5. As CP’s, conversionary Protestants spread their faith, they became catalysts for mass education, mass printing and proponents of a civil society. Desires for everyone to be able to read the Bible in their own language produced a desire for mass education and printing. These actions hampered the elite from monopolizing these resources and facilitated a resource transfer to non-elites, altering the class structure. (“To most elites, printing seemed ugly, it spread books to those “not qualified to interpret them.”” 250) Civil society ideas helped promote the development of political parties and nonviolent political movements. (Woodberry, 2012) Protestants hampered the elite from monopolizing education and printing.
  6. Protestants changed the idea about who books were for. Books were for everyone, they should be inexpensive and everyone should be able to read in their own language. Also, CP’s expected lay people to make their own religious choices. Each person had to decide to follow the faith or not. This gave rise to mass printing as evangelization tools. (Woodberry, 2012) Books and conversion decision are everyone’s right or choice. This leads to mass printing.
  7. The author uses sources, which I have, to show that these ideas pertained to Korea. (Woodberry, 2012) Woodberry ideas pertain to Korea.
  8. New organizational forms developed in America were spread by CPs. Ideas of organizational form like the temperance movement, abolition movement and other social reform movements were closely linked to missions and many scholars argue that these types of organizational civil society helps foster democracy. (Woodberry, 2012) Author argues CPS linked with organizational civil society.
  9. Statistical analysis backs up the authors claims (Woodberry, 2012) Statistical analysis backs up Woodberry’s arguments.
  10. Author does not discount post-colonial theory but looks intently at factors present in the rise of stable liberal democracy. Statistical analysis becomes very skewed when all factors of religion are taken out of the equation. “Protestant missions are strongly and robustly associated with democracy. In fact, missions seem to explain about half the variation in democracy outside Europe and survive dozens of controls and robustness checks.” (268) author does not claim that CPs are the only cause of democracy but are important and are often neglected in analysis. (Woodberry, 2012) CPs important often neglected factor in analysis of stable liberal democracies.
  11. Synoptic takeaway: “CP religious competition seems to have influenced class structure by dispersing education to women and the poor, making texts widely available, spawning civil society among non-elites, and moderating abuses of power – with demonstrable economic and political consequences.” (269) (Woodberry, 2012) CPs work with women, the poor, printing and civil organizing were important in laying a foundation for stable liberal democracies.


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One Response to One is Not Enough….

  1. Kevin "Tiny" Dawson

    Faith, I am always happy to read your posts, as they are so informative and leave me wanting more. I feel that you have a great grasp on your topic. Have you considered looking fro any period diaries or journals? Do these things still exist (if they existed in great numbers in the first place)? These types of sources might be of some help. I hope that this helps.

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