The Presbyterian Church in Korea

The Presbyterian Church in Korea (“Kosin") is a branch of the true church of Jesus Christ, founded on God's Holy Word, and holds to the Reformed Faith. Since the coming of Protestant missionaries to Korea in 1884, the Korean church has had an astonishing development unparalleled in mission annals. The Presbyterian Theological Seminary was founded in 1901 in Pyongyang, and by 1912, a General Assembly was organized. For about half a century from the first entry of the Gospel, the Korean church grew steadily. But under Japan's imperialistic domination the church underwent many difficulties. In this period two kinds of problems afflicted the Korean church: First, the infiltration of theological liberalism. And second, the Japanese Shinto shrine issue.
Finally, on September 10, 1938, the yet undivided Korean Presbyterian Church, at its 27th General Assembly meeting at the Pyongyang Westgate Church, broke down under this repression, and approved shrine observance. Both before and after this tragic decision, ministers, elders, deacons, and ordinary believers, who merely wished to live according to the Bible and so refused shrine worship, were arrested in large numbers. Eventually some fifty became martyrs of their faith under this terrible persecution.
On August 15, 1945, Japan was defeated, Korea was liberated, and on August 17, those who had been imprisoned for their opposition to Shinto shrine observance were released. Two among them, Rev. Joo Nam-Sun and Rev. Han Sang-Dong, founded Korea Theological Seminary a year later in Pusan on September 20, 1946, to train church leaders in order to reform the erring Korean church. This action began anew the training of church leaders in the historic Presbyterian tradition.
However, the still undivided church's General Assembly would not recognize the new Korea Theological Seminary. The delegates from the Kyun gnam Buptong (legal) Presbytery supporting the new Korea Theological Seminary spent three years trying in vain to normalize their relationship with the General Assembly. But the seminary continued not to be recognized and they were refused membership. Accordingly, on September 11, 1952, organizing its own General Assembly, the “Korea Pa (group)" or “Kosin" church was instituted. It is true that in December 1960, the church united with one of the mainline Presbyterian churches, the “Seungdong" group (later called “Hapdong") which is an anti-ecumenical group. But unfortunately this union did not last for very long and in September 1963, the church returned to its original form and continues until this day as the Presbyterian Church in Korea (“Kosin").
Currently, the PCK, as a member of the universal church, continues the ongoing fight against the worship of idols and other ‘gods' in Korean society. Especially the nationalistic indigenous religion, which worships Tangun (the ancient bear-man believed to be the founder of Korea) as a national god, has become a great challenge to the Korean churches. They have erected statues of Tangun at many public parks and schools in order to get people pay homage and worship it. Kosin is the main denomination actively engaged in public demonstration and appeals to the government not to allow the placement of ‘idols' in public places.

Principles and Standards

At the 26th General Assembly in 1976 the church's principles were recorded as follows: “We believe in, preach, and live by the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament and the original Presbyterian standards (The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and the Shorter Catechisms, the Form of Government, the Manual of Discipline and the Directory of Worship) following Reformed Theology." Our church's doctrinal standards are the Westminster Confession of Faith, with the Larger Catechism and the Shorter Catechism. With the addition of the 1903 American Presbyterian chapters on “The Holy Spirit" and “The Mission of the Church" to the 17th century Westminster Confession of Faith, our confession now numbers 35 chapters. Also, as administrative standards we have the Form of Government, the Manual of Discipline, and the Directory of Worship. These standards have been published (in Korean) in a book entitled “The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in Korea."


Our denomination is now established in every area of the country, with 34 presbyteries, 1,577 churches, and a total of 230,000 baptized members. There are 2,300 ordained pastors, 430 candidates for pastor (licensed for preaching) awaiting ordination, and 4,000 elders throughout the denomination.

Denomination Headquarters

The Presbyterian Church in Korea (“Kosin") national denominational headquarters facility is located in Seoul, Korea. This building houses a variety of offices including: the General Secretary, the main publishing house for the denomination which produces books and Sunday school curriculum as well as other materials, the Department of Church Education, Students for Christ (SFC) national headquarters, The Herald of Christianity (the weekly newspaper), the Corporation of the National Assembly which facilitates the registration of all member churches and their properties with the Korean government, the Department of Historical Documents as well as other general administrative offices, the Research Center for Christian Cultic groups, and the office for the campaign against Tangun movements. The facility also has 15 guest rooms, which can accommodate more than 40 visitors. The Missionary Training Institute (MTI) is located on the 5th floor in the Bruce Hunt Memorial Hall. This Hall is named in memory of Missionary Bruce Hunt with gratefulness to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church of America who donated the major funds for this facility through the sale of their former property here in Korea.

Kosin University

Kosin University was started in 1954 with a 4-year pre-seminary course in Korea Theological Seminary and then it separated from the Seminary for ten years under the name of Calvin College. However, due to the difficulties in maintaining its independence, it later merged again with Seminary. In 1970 it was authorized by the Ministry of Education to become Korea Theological College. In 1981, with the opening of the medical college, the name of the college was changed from Korea Theological College to Kosin University. In 1985 the campus was moved from Songdo to Youngdo. At present, the University has 22 departments with 221 professors (including 138 at the medical school) and 4,373 students.

Kosin University Homepage Korea Theological Seminary

Our Seminary was founded on September 20, 1946 as the primary training institute of the PCK for the formation of church workers. The seminary actually gave birth to the PCK. However, in the course of time, the seminary has undergone changes from seminary to theological college to university. These changes have been understood by the denominational churches as steps towards eventually becoming separated, so the seminary has become independent from the university in administration. In 1998 KTS moved to its present location in Chonan with the purpose of fully spreading “Kosin" churches nationwide. The faculty consists of 15 full-time pro-fessors and several adjunct professors and lecturers with 400 full time students. The M.Div. degree is authorized from the Ministry of Education along with the Th.M. degree in missiology. The seminary's new Chonan campus is spacious and well organized. The churches financially and spiritually support the administration and maintenance of KTS and the pastoral internship of the students. Recently the seminary started English programs.

Korea Theological Seminary Homepage Kosin University Graduate School

With the purpose of giving continuity and deeper content to its education program, Kosin University Graduate School, on February 15, 1978, received authorization from the Ministry of Education to establish the Graduate school in which they can offer master and doctorate degrees. In addition to the main graduate school, there are the Graduate School of Education, the Graduate School of World Missions, the Graduate School of Public Health, and the Graduate School of Human Life and Information. Concerning the doctoral degree, they offer Ph.D.'s in Theology, Medicine, Christian Education and Public Health. In the graduate school we have some international students.

Kosin University Hospital

The Kosin Hospital began in 1951 as a tent hospital called the “Gospel Clinic" which cared for refugees during the Korean War. It has grown into a large hospital, which presently has over 1,110 beds. The hospital now is serving the Kyong-Sang province as well as the city of Pusan. In October 1980 after the medical department of Kosin College was established with the affiliated hospital, the rate of growth rapidly increased. There are presently 25 specialized departments and related research and test centers, a tumor research center, and a cancer treatment center. There have been many achi-evements through the treatment of cancer patients and various cancer prevention research programs. Furthermore, through the establishment of hydrotherapy even greater scholarly research is being accomplished. Also, there have been many successful results with kidney transplants and heart surgery. There are also three specialized clinics, which are now being opened: a diabetes, an allergy, and a hearing impairment clinic. It is our hope that through the hospital even greater efforts will be made to proclaim the Gospel as we carry out our medical research. Currently, the medical school is sending several medical doctors and nurses to the mission field as missionaries.

Kosin University Hospital Homepage Home Missions

From the 1990's The PCK has become more active in home missions by strengthening the Committee for Evangelism. Starting this year, we will have a full time general secretary for home missions and a full time staff for the Youth Groups in PCK. The PCK is involved in military evangelism, which is called the “Golden Fisheries for Evangelism," by sending 30 chaplains to the Korean army. Also, under the general denominational umbrella, Students For Christ, Christian Endeavor, the Sunday School Association and other groups are zealously spreading the truth. The Students for Christ Movement (SFC) is a unique organization for campus evangelism, in which 100 full-time staff are serving for evangelism and discipleship. The Committee of Evangelism of Rural Areas is in charge of helping the churches in the rural areas and fishing villages, and the Committee of Evangelism is in charge of planting and helping new churches.

Foreign Missions

The foreign missions of the PCK began in 1957 by sending the late Rev. Kim Young-Jin to Taiwan as a missionary. However, the churches have not been actively engaged in foreign missions until Rev. Yoo Hwan-Joon joined Rev. Kim in Taiwan in 1974. In 1979 the Mission Board stated the mission's principles and regulations by which the churches can carry out the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ, and established the Mission Research Center. During the 1980's the PCK has emphasized foreign missions and expanded the mission fields by sending 220 missionaries to 46 countries around the world. The Mission Board also set up the Missionary Training Institute (MTI) to train missionary candidates. We are much indebted to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America both in terms of mission training and mission properties. The aims of the Kosin missions are to plant self-supporting, self-propagating and self-governing churches in the mission fields based on the Reformed faith and theology with the Presbyterian form of government.

Foreign Missions Homepage Church Education

Church education has always been a strong part of the PCK. For years now we have been developing good curriculum and producing a variety of Sunday school materials. The Board of Church Education consists of pastors and elders with 10 full-time staff to serve the church's educational programs and the development of educational materials for the denomination. The board operates the Bible Correspondence School, Sunday school teacher training and laymen training programs. They also publish the Christian Education Journal and various other magazines.

Church Education Homepage Literature Activities

From the beginning, our church has placed special emphasis on literature ministries. Beginning in 1955, "The Christian Reporter" (weekly) was for a while our denominational paper. Also, publications centering on Korea Theological Seminary appeared: “The Watchman", “The Reformed View", “Church Life," and “The Reformed Faith." Now, however, “The Herald of Christianity and Kosin Monthly" serve as the denominational magazines.

Literature Activities Homepage International Relations

Our denomination earnestly seeks to maintain close relationships with other churches and organizations taking a Reformed stance around the world, for the sake of more fruitful ministries worldwide. As a member of the International Conference of the Reformed Churches (ICRC), we maintain a sister or fraternal relationship with most member churches of the ICRC, including The Orthodox Presbyterian Church (in America), the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated), The Reformed Church in Japan, Canadian Reformed Church, and Christian Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, the Free Reformed Churches of Australia. We want to extend sister and brother relations with other member churches of the ICRC in Asia. Most notably we exchange seminars every year with the Reformed Church in Japan. The Fraternal Relations Committee of the PCK is in charge of international relations.

Address : Rev. Chong Soo Lim, Dr. Min.
General SecretaryPresbyterian Church in Korea (PCK: Kosin)
58-10 Banpo-Dong Seocho-Ku Seoul, Korea 137-803
Office: 82-2-592-0433 / FAX: 82-2-592-5468



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