There has been wall-to-wall coverage of country music sensation Jason Aldean’s song, “Try That in a Small Town.” The song has been surrounded by controversy, but for Christians who have watched the protests push the song to the top spot on music charts around the world, there is something else that is revealed if believers looks a little closer.
While it is true that Jason Aldean’s song has taken the number one spot, another artist of a different brand has taken four of the spots out of the top 10!
The artists name is known as Jung Kook and he is a South Korean artist. His prominence on the music charts points to a phenomenon that is quickly growing around the world – the unprecedented influence that South Korea is having.
The South Korean influence factor is undeniable. How many people do you know who currently own a South Korean car like Kia, Renault Samsung Motors, Hyundai, or Daewoo? How many friends own a South Korean Samsung phone? How many own an LG television or washing machine?
What makes South Korea so fascinating is that it is a growing star in Asia and around the world. Not only is the music making a splash, but South Korean movies and dramas are extremely popular around the world.
Missionaries need to take notice that all of this is happening in contrast to what is happening in North Korea. North Korea is on the same geographical peninsula, speaks the same language, and shares the same basic culture and history, but there is one significant difference – Christians have freedom in South Korea and they do not in North Korea.
In the early 1900s, Korea only had a handful of Christians, but today they boast the largest Christian church on the planet. Yoido Full Gospel Church, a Pentecostal congregation belonging to the Korean Assemblies of God is basically a household name in South Korea and their weekly attendance is upwards of 800,000 people.
Even though Yoido Full Gospel Church is the largest, it is not the only mega-church. There are 17 mega-churches just in the capital city of Seoul alone, some of them looking more like sports arenas than churches.
Social scientist, Robert Woodberry, published empirical evidence in the flagship secular political science journal American Political Science Review, showing a statistical connection between Christian missions and free societies. He presents a strong argument for the free societies we see today, like South Korea being the result of Protestant missions and the implementation of mass education, mass printing, rise of social institutions, and the rule of law. Woodberry shows how, historically, missions transforms nations to recognize the equality and dignity of the individual before God.
Is the rise in influence seen in South Korea today connected to the rise in Christianity? Perhaps it would not hurt for North Korea to at least give it a try, because it is clear that atheism, under the enforcement of communist regimes has never worked.