Handong — A Beacon of Light in the East

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Jul 13, 2009 3 Comments ›› John Eidsmoe

Handong — A Beacon of Light in the East

One year ago, little did I imagine that I would spend the next Fourth of July flying to South Korea.  But that’s exactly what happened, because I was invited to teach a class in Constitutional Litigation for Handong International Law School (http://lawschool NULL.handong NULL.edu/english/default NULL.asp) (HILS), which is part of Handong Global University (http://old NULL.handong NULL.edu/n_english/main NULL.asp) (HGU) in Pohang, South Korea.

(http://lawschool NULL.handong NULL.edu/English/)Handong Global University first opened its doors in 1997 and has grown to well over 3,000 students.  HILS opened in 2004 and has an enrollment of about 160.  The vast majority are from South Korea, but some come from other Asian countries, a few from the Middle East and Africa, some from former Soviet satellite nations, and a few from the United States and Canada.

What makes Handong unique?  It describes itself as a “worldchanging global Christian university” with a goal of training “honest Christian laymen who will change the world through a spirit of love, humility, and service for the glory of God” and “honest intellectuals with a Christian world view in various academic fields, reestablishing the true purpose of education and rebuilding destroyed biblical creationism and morality (Isaiah 58:12).”  Handong’s statement of faith affirms the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture and the Genesis account of creation.

The Law School holds its classes in English, and most of its professors come from the United States.  Most of the students plan to take an American bar exam, and many then plan to go back to their home countries to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in the practice of law or in some law-related capacity.  The Law School’s Statement of Faith and Commitment (http://lawschool NULL.handong NULL.edu/English/general/general3 NULL.asp?categoryID=1&subID=3) is prefaced by the words of the Dutch statesman and theologian Abraham Kuyper:  “There is not a single inch of the entire cosmos of which Christ the sovereign Lord of all does not say, This is Mine!”

Handong Global University, like South Korea, is uniquely positioned to lead and influence Asia for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Strategically located between Japan and China, Korea has a strong economy, a strong military, and a live and active evangelical church.  Christians comprise about 40% of the South Korean population, including many high government officials, and most of the churches are strongly evangelical.  South Korean churches commonly display red luminated crosses atop their buildings, and it is inspiring to drive through a South Korean city at night and look out upon the many red crosses that show a strong Christian presence.  Graduates from Handong can go to many Asian countries and be accepted in ways that might be difficult for an American or a European.  It is exciting to watch these students graduate and go back to their homelands and transform their countries in the Name of Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 21:33-44 (http://www NULL.biblegateway NULL.com/passage/?search=matt%2021:33-44&version=9), Jesus delivered His parable of the husbandmen in the vineyard who turned against the householder.  When the householder returned, he cast them out of the vineyard and hired new husbandmen in their place.  Over the past 2,000 years, many nations have been used mightily of God to spread His Gospel and the truths of His Word.  After Jerusalem fell, for 300 years North Africa was the center of Christian endeavor.  Then the center changed to southern Europe, then northern Europe, and for the past century America has been the center of Christian activity and missionary endeavor.  But in recent decades Americans have become lukewarm toward the Gospel, as did Europe in earlier times.  It may be that the center of Christian missionary endeavor is changing once again, and possibly it is moving toward South Korea.  South Korean Christians are very missionary-oriented, and perhaps the day will come when South Korea will send Christian missionaries to the United States.

Those American professors who have come to Handong are performing a wonderful work.  If America is dying, then these professors are perpetuating America’s legacy by communicating the Christian values upon which America was based to a people who are willing to embrace these values and carry them forward.  On the other hand, if Americans should repent and turn back to the faith of our fathers, we will be blessed to have South Korea as a strong Christian ally in Asia.

In either event, the eagerness of these students to learn and embrace Biblical values and Christian concepts of constitutional law has been a joy to behold.

P.S.  I’ve grown to love Korean food.

The class meets from 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, July 6-17.

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  1. Changhwan Lee says:

    Hello. I’m a student who takes the prof. Eidsmoe class. It’s a great plivilege to listen his class. His class broght me to have interest again in Constitution. Also, I enjoyed private counselling with the prof. His comment that he made effort to make christainity to be treated in a fair way in the society brought me to realize that ‘it is what I want to do.’
    As prof. mentioned, churches become very popular in korean soceity. Also, there are many mission minded persons in Korea. However, christians are not generally respected from this society. I think this is due to the misbehaviors of korean christians in this society.
    I hope korea really becomes a beacon of light in the world for next generation. To be so, I hope the young christians in korea really follow God’s words and become true diciples whom God uses for the next generations.
    Thank you professor and all of you who had interests in Handong and korea.

  2. Stephen Bloom, Esq. (http://www NULL.IsThereALawyerInTheChurch NULL.com) says:

    This is exciting. Have you met Kerriel Bailey? She is also teaching at Handong Law this summer, and she and I are co-authoring a new book project, “The Believer’s Guide to Religious Freedom: Knowing Your Legal Rights to Be a Christian at School, at Work, and Everywhere Else!” If you haven’t met Kerriel, please introduce yourself to her. Hopefully we can all collaborate in some manner once the book is completed and released.

  3. John Eidsmoe says:

    Good to hear from you, Stephen! Your book THE BELIEVER’S GUIDE TO LEGAL ISSUES is excellent and a worthwhile addition to every Christian’s library.
    Yes, it was a pleasure meeting Kerriel Bailey at Handong this summer. She is a kind, conscientious Christian attorney, and her legal writing course is a blessing to the students and the Law School.

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