A Man with a Mission – Part 3
In 1954, the year our church was formally registered in Seoul, David S. C. Kim traveled to Britain to study on a UN scholarship at the age of 38. Even though True Father did not personally assign him to do so at that time, David Kim took every opportunity to reach out to other churches and witness to the truth. The following account records a remarkable and little-known result of that investment. (click here if you wish to read Part 1 or Part 2)
David Sang Chul Kim’s Testimony:
Not long after the founding of HSA-UWC in Korea, I was selected by the Korean government to study in Britain for two years as a UN scholar, along with other under-developed nations’ representatives at Swansea College, University of Wales. Externally I was a UN scholar, but internally I had a mission to spread True Father’s message to Christians overseas and around the world.
While I was in Wales I never neglected my heavenly mission and duty. Whenever I had spare time, I visited many churches and small groups to look for people, and spoke many times at churches as a guest speaker. On those occasions I would introduce our Korean group and preach based on the contents of Divine Principle, which was available only as handwritten notes exchanged among the early members. Near the end of my stay in England, I succeeded in contacting a conservative Christian organization called the Apostolic Church International, which was holding a World Convention in South Wales at that time. I was allowed to speak for 30 minutes, appealing to 3,000 participants at the World Convention about the situation of Teacher Sun Myung Moon, our movement and the Korean government persecution.
In 1956, the Apostolic Church International’s Australian mission headquarters sent one Pastor Joshua McCabe to our group in Seoul, Korea. He studied the Principle for eighty days and helped with Professor Young Oon Kim’s English translation of Divine Principle. Seven hundred copies were completed and distributed throughout the world even before the Korean edition was published. Mrs. Won Pok Choi, Miss Young Oon Kim and I, as a trinity, worked together to teach the depth of Divine Principle and take care of Pastor McCabe as a special guest of the church.
From our own research into Pastor McCabe:
One day, after speaking to a group at a Baptist church in a small town thirty kilometers from Swansea, a couple who attended the Apostolic Church (a Pentecostal denomination) met and befriended David Kim. This led to his appearance at their annual church convention. In a letter to his flock that was read out in churches a few weeks later, then president of the Apostolic Church, Hugh Dawson, mentioned “a Korean brother by the name of Sang-chul Kim,” whom he said, “made a strong appeal to us in the Convention to send a missionary to his land.”
In June 1956, the Apostolic Church dispatched Pastor Joshua McCabe in response to David Kim’s expressions of affinity between our church and theirs. McCabe was a Scotsman who had been sent by his church to Australia in 1932. He had been at the convention in Wales and remembered that while there David Kim had “received the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” Pastor McCabe flew from Melbourne and arrived in Seoul, a city that “still had lots of buildings reduced to rubble.” He stayed for nearly eighty days, lodging in the home of a member. He interacted with the English- speaking members, especially David Kim (1915-2011), Choi Won-pok (1916–2006) and Kim Young-oon (1915–1989). And he met and conversed with True Father. It has to be said that over time, Pastor McCabe found that our beliefs did not coincide with those of the Apostolic Church – though there were interesting parallels. For example, the Apostolic Church had a strong tradition of revelation plus a firm belied in the reality of Satan. Pastor McCabe returned to Australia with an early English translation of at least some of what would later be published as an early version of Divine Principle. However, it appears that no further contact between the Apostolic Church organization and our church ensued.
Although Pastor McCabe’s later letters indicate slightly more jaded memories of his experience, he was certainly the first foreign observer of our church, and he witnessed the early, spirit-filled services that we have heard testimony of by our own elders.
The following is the major portion of the article Pastor McCabe wrote for the Apostolic Church’s own magazine some two and a half weeks after his arrival in Korea in 1956 (printed some months later):
From the Apostolic Church’s magazine Apostolic Herald, November 1956 Edition
Many of you will remember meeting Mr. Sang Chul Kim, who studied at Swansea University as a United Nations student and attended the Ammanford1 Assembly of the Church, later coming to the Penygroes Convention in August 1955.2 He sent an invitation for a representative of the Church to go and visit the group of Christians to whom he was attached and the invitation was passed on to the Australian Missionary Advisory Board. At our Quadrennial Council at Easter I was chosen to make the journey of 8,000 miles from Headquarters in Melbourne, Australia, to Seoul in Korea. I arrived here on June 22nd after three days’ journey by air…
On the following Tuesday I was warmly welcomed at a representative party, when leaders of the group, Mr. Moon and Mr. Yoo [Church president Rev. Hyo Won Eu], together with others arranged a Korean welcome and meal in honor of their Western visitor. Among the members who attended were two college professors, two doctors of medicine and lecturers, an ex-Minister of Labor, a colonel of the Korean Air Force, and a number of businessmen who are all members of the group. Speeches of welcome from various members were delivered, and Mr. Kim made the speech of the evening in English. Others welcomed me in Korean, and I spoke on behalf of the Apostolic Church in the Motherland and Australia. The group of Christians to whom I have come are not Pentecostal or Apostolic as we know it, and yet the Spirit of the Lord is manifest among them, as some have visions, others have tongues and interpretations, while a spirit of prophecy is exercised by others in private….
The fervor and sincerity of the worship, the soul stirring preaching of Mr. Moon, a born orator who stirs his congregation to response both in praying and preaching is wonderful. Almost without exception the members are there because they longed for something deeper.… To this hall come between 300 and 400 people. There are no seats as in other churches; everyone sits on the floor. Half an hour before the service is due to begin we have a time of singing, and the place is packed. Many parts of Seoul are bomb damaged and there is not sufficient money to repair the city. The result is that accommodation is at a premium, and the group here is glad to have their hall.
It is a hive of spiritual activity. Mr. Yoo, the lecturer, gives lectures on the “Principles,” as they term their beliefs, for four to five hours a day. He covers their doctrine in two lectures, and this he does three times a week to enquirers who number as many as thirty to forty, and sometimes as few as five or six. At the end of each half year an examination is held. One hundred and thirteen from four different centers sat the examination on Sunday, 1st July. Of these twenty-eight passed with 80% or more marks. Seventeen diplomas and eleven certificates were presented to successful students who ranged from High School students to older people about fifty years of age, and including a professor from a college and a medical doctor. This week a lady doctor and a congressman attended the lectures. There are eight centers stretching over the three hundred miles from Seoul to Busan in the south, and the total membership is variously quoted at 600 to 1,200. There are always about 300 at the Seoul service on Wednesday and between 300 and 400 on Sundays.
Their doctrines are divergent from ours on several points. I am studying their principles, and though I have been here for eighteen days I have only given one address, due to having met with a slight accident when returning from the welcome party. I have now recovered and hope to give other talks on our teaching. One thing is evident—the condition for salvation is receiving Christ through faith in Him. Satan is a real foe who has to be fought and overcome. They do not baptize in water or break bread on the Lord’s Day as we do. I solicit prayers of all your readers and the Apostolic friends in Great Britain that the Lord’s purpose may be wrought out between our groups in Australia, Great Britain and Korea. The people here are very kind and gracious and the personal stories of how they were led to come to the church are wonderful. Like the Apostolic Church in Great Britain they are sacrificing to make the building of a meeting place possible. There are difficulties, but God specializes in the impossible, so remember to pray.