Sermon Illustrations

How the Gospel Came to Korea

Robert J. Thomas, a Welshman, was a colporteur working in China for the Scottish Bible Society. In the course of his work, he learned that the Korean language is based on Chinese and that, as a result, the Korean intellectuals could read Chinese. His main responsibility was toward the millions in China, of course. But the love of Christ for the Koreans constrained him, and he determined to push on to that country. An American ship called the General Sherman was sailing to Pyongyang, a large city in the north. He boarded it. As the ship drew near to Pyongyang, however, a sharp fight broke out between the officers of the American ship and the Korean coast guard. The ship was burned in the conflict, and all the passengers were killed. The death of Thomas was unusual, however. As the ship and the passengers were sinking, he struggled to reach the shore and staggered up out of the water his arms filled with books. They were Bibles. He thrust these into the hands of the Koreans who clubbed him to death. It was through such love that the gospel first came to Korea in the year 1886.