New York, NY – February 24, 2019
Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance Bp Efraim Tendero gave a message to Korean leaders who gathered to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 3-1 Movement. Also known as March 1st or Sam-il Movement, the reading out of the Korean Declaration of Independence by a group of 33 activists on March 1, 1919 marked the beginning of non-violent protests for Korean independence from colonial rule.
Invited to give an opening address at the International Conference for the 100th Anniversary of the 3-1 Movement, Bp Tendero shared his admiration for the ways God has worked in the nation of Korea: “We thank God for the amazing work that he has done in Korea. Your growth and faithfulness have been a great inspiration to all of us. Over the last 50 years, no country has exhibited both economic development and expansion of the Gospel more impressively than South Korea.”
“Today, we see the impact of Korean Christians’ commitment to love of God, love of country, hard work, and self-discipline. South Korea is the shining light of Asian Christianity and a beacon to the world, sending more missionaries than any country except the United States,” he added.
Reflecting on the contemporary situation, Bp Tendero went on to say: “As we reach the 100th anniversary of March 1, 1919, we have much to celebrate regarding God’s work in Korea. But we also have serious threats to address. […] History has shown that diligence leads to affluence, but that affluence undermines diligence.”
He expressed concern about the younger generation that grows up in a culture that no longer reflects the values of earlier generations. “In Korea as elsewhere, affluence and pop culture can distract us, especially young people, from their need for the gospel. We need to present living for Christ as the most fulfilling, life-enhancing decision in a world that offers many other choices,” Bp Tendero said.
Finally, Bp Tendero also emphasized the importance of churches coming together in the spirit of John 17 as a witness to the world. “We also need to recapture our unity in Christ. One of the most striking facts about Korean Christianity is that you have 100 different Presbyterian denominations! […] Pursuing Christian unity does not require us to merge our separate organizations, but we must not let secondary differences in doctrine or personality override our primary purpose. Jesus said that others will know we are Christians by our love, not our internal debates.”
But he concluded with hopeful anticipation for what God has in store for the future: “The cooperation of so many Christian groups and other organizations in holding this event shows that you can indeed come together with a shared purpose, that you treasure the legacy of those who came before you in Korea, and that you care about continuing the great history of Korean Christianity for the next 100 years.”
Timothy K. Goropevsek
Chief Communications Officer
Over two billion Christians in the world today are represented by three world church bodies. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is one of those, serving more than 600 million evangelicals. Launched in 1846 to unite evangelicals worldwide, the WEA continues to be a dynamic movement with 7 regional and 129 national Evangelical Alliances, and over 150 member organizations. WEA's mission is to establish and strengthen regional and national Evangelical Alliances, who in turn enable their national Church to advance the Good News of Jesus Christ and effect personal and community transformation for the glory of God. For more info, e-mail [email protected] or go to Worldea.org.