It looked like the world’s largest “I Found It” campaign. But the significance of the August ’80 World Evangelization Crusade (WEC) in Seoul, Korea, ran deeper. It publicly signaled that the church in the Republic of Korea (South) has deliberately moved front being a missionary receiving church to a missionary sending one.
A three-point declaration—read on the final night of the crusade to a crowd estimated by crusade officials and news reporters at an unprecedented 3 million—committed the gathering to “place at God’s disposal the resources of the church of Jesus Christ in Korea, for world evangelization.”
The human resources of that church—which, while multiplying rapidly, has been rent by schisms in the last generation—are considerable when united. The crusade demonstrated that.
The shoulder-to-shoulder multitude was impressive by any measure. The Korean press calculated turnouts of 2 million or more on two of the four evening sessions preceding the record-breaking final one. But, massed as they were on the giant outdoor plaza on Yoido Island in the Han River where the rallies were held, there was no way to verify accurately the crowd estimates. (In the past, police estimates have been more modest than those of organizers and the press.)
They came by bus loads from nearby cities, such as Inchon, and from cities as far away as Pusan. They camped in some 3,000 tents skirting the outdoor, asphalt plaza; they sat on half-inch styrofoam mats or newspapers spread out on the tarmac. The frequent heavy, soaking rains did not quench the gusto of the singing or the fervency of the mass prayers. Five all-night prayer meetings continued until five o’clock A.M. with a nightly combined attendance estimated at 600,000. Some 5,000 non-Korean ...1
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