The development of South Korea and its growth to become the world’s eleventh largest economy has been accompanied by the introduction of Christianity and its increase to become the major religious group, to which nearly thirty per cent of the population are affiliated. This article probes the connection between these two spectacular examples of development; economic and religious. By highlighting moments or episodes of Christian contribution to aspects of development in Korean history and linking these to relevant aspects of Korean Christian theology, there is shown to be a constructive, although not always intentional, link between Korean Christianity and national development. The nature of the Christian contribution is seen not primarily in terms of the work ethic it engenders (as argued by Max Weber in the case of European capitalism) but mainly in the realm of aspirations (visions, hope) of a new society and motivation (inspiration, empowerment) to put them into effect. In other words, it was the public theology of Christianity that played a highly significant role in the modernization and revitalization of Korean society in the twentieth century.
Missiology and contextual theology are related but not equivalent. Missiology arose from the study of mission activity in the former mission fields of Africa, Asia and Latin America but has come to be understood as the study of the mission of God in the whole world in which the church participates. Global and cross-cultural perspectives are essential to missiology and these challenge all theological parochialism. There is a danger that contextual theology degenerates into relativism, but in mission all theologies are challenged to recognize their own contextuality and at the same time their common Christian confession. Grounded in an understanding of missio Dei that includes a creation theology of the Holy Spirit, missiology can and should affirm contextual theologizing while encouraging and facilitating theologians from different contexts to pursue a global conversation. "Conversation" is preferred over "dialogue" because there are many partners from around the world, various means of conversing, and widely varying access to social power among the participants.