This study presents a comparative approach between the time of the Belgic Confession and of the Korean Church under Japanese rule. Both the early Low Countries and Korea received Protestantism through martyrdom and persecution. During the sixteen century the Low Countries were under the Spanish rule. The Low Countries were deeply influenced by the Reformation. Many historians have noted that the people in the Low Countries suffered persecutions on the basis of their nationality and religious beliefs by the Roman Catholic Church and the Spanish government. The heroes of the Low Countries were William of Orange, the political leader of his native country, and Guido de Bres a religious leader. William of Orange, and his son, Maurice of Orange, accomplished their country’s political independence with outstanding leadership. Guido de Bres was a travelling preacher who preached the gospel in the Low Countries. He drafted the Belgic Confession. It is authorized as one of the most wonderful Reformed confessions. Korea received the gospel through the Western missionary R. J. Thmoas. Korea was under Japanese rule since the end of the nineteen century. Korean Christianity helped the Korean people when the Koreans were oppressed. From the late 1920s, the Japanese forced Koreans in Shinto Shrine Worship. Shinto Shrine Worship was the worship of the King of Japan. The Korean people could not accept Shinto Shrine Worship. Korean Christians judged Shinto Shrine Worship to be idol worship and opposed it. However, Korean Protestants abandoned their faith, due to the Japanese’ threat of military power. Some pastors resisted Shinto Shrine Worship. Pastor Joo Ki-Chul was a leader of the resistance and died for his faith. There are similarities and differences between the struggle of the Low Countries and Korea. Both the early Low Countries and early Korean Church produced spiritual martyrs like Guido de Bres and Joo Ki-Chul. They were martyrs, patriots and preachers. In both countries Christians faced horrible persecutions by the ruling tyrants. But while the Low Countries struggled for their independence to the end, most Korean Christians had to desert their faith in the face of continued pressure from the Japanese. In spite of this some Korean Christians remained strong till the bitter end. The Low Countries’ religious persecution came to an end, but North Korea’s Christians are still suffering under the communist regime. In spite of terrible persecution by the communist government, there are many Christians in underground churches who long for religious and political freedom.
Dissertation (MA(Theol))--University of Pretoria, 2011.