In this Voice of the Martyrs guest blog series, Pastor Kim Sung Chul tells the intriguing story of Lee Su Jung, the man responsible for bringing Christianity to Korea–and the man who was martyred because of it.
In August, 2002, a folding screen was found in the birthplace of Pastor Nijima Jo, the founder of Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. It contained a confession of faith written in a Chinese poem by Lee Su Jung, who made stupendous achievements in Korean church history. Lee Su Jung was a Man of Macedonia for Korea, and he served as a guide for the path of the Holy Spirit to embrace Korea; otherwise the Holy Spirit may have passed by Korea from Japan to Southeast Asia. The Chinese poem on the folding screen is the only bequest in his own handwriting. The translation of the poem reads as follows:
If man has a heart to believe in God, it is compared to a tree with a root. If man does not have a heart of compassion, the tree seems to have its root dried up. A loving heart is like water and enriches the root. The leaves fall in fall and winter, but its root does not dry up.
It is always spring for the tree; it sprouts, blooms, and gets leafy. If man fears God and believe in His Word, he will be like a tree full of flowers, full of great and sweet fruits with deep fragrance on each and every bough. Its stalk is like that of a pine or a nut pine; snow and frost will never get it withered.
To the brothers and sisters in Doshisah University by a Korean, Lee Su Jung whose nickname is the Center of the Heart.
 Kim Su Jin, Lee Su Jung, Forerunner of Korean Christianity, (Seoul: Jinheung, 2006), pp. 175-176.
Until now, his trace could be scarcely revealed in the memorial photo taken after the All Nation’s Japanese Christians meeting held in Tokyo from May 8-12, 1883. Lee Su Jung is seated in the middle on the first row, the fourth from the right, in white. Also in the picture are Elder Yuhasa, the Chair of the Japanese House of Representatives; Dr. Tsuda Sen, who presented a Chinese Bible to Lee Su Jung; Pastor Nijima Jo, the founder of Doshisha University; and the famous Pastor Uchimura Kanzo.
Who is Lee Su Jung who seats himself in all dignity at the center of the Japanese Christian leaders? Who was this Korean “Man of Macedonia” from the late 19th century? Read Lee SuJung: A Man of Macedonia for Korea, Part 2 here Monday to find out.
About the Author
The Rev. Kim Sung Chul
CEO, ITC Inspirational Theatre Company
Former Professor, Theatre Department, Seoul Institute of the Arts
Former Guest Professor, English Department, Yonsei University