Dr. Eui Whan (“John E.”) Kim, a worker of God, passed away at 2:30 p.m. on 10 May 2010; he was seventy-seven years old.
Dr. Kim was in the Sunchonhyang hospital in Seoul, South Korea, and underwent surgery because of a chronic disease. However, he did not recover following surgery.
Visitation was in the Yonsei Severance Hospital in Seoul. The funeral lasted five days; the encoffining rite was at 8:00 p.m. on 13 May ; the bier left home at 9:00 p.m. on 14 May. The burial place is the Family Park in Cheonan, South Korea. Surviving Dr. Kim are his wife, Won Sun Gang, his three sons, and two daughters.
One son, Samuel Jon Kim, and one son-in-law, Sung Yun Han are Teaching Elders in the PCA; Samuel Kim serving as Pastor of the iVision Community Church in Pomona, Cal., and Dr. Sung Yun Han as pastor of the Lamp Church in Gardena, Cal. Dr. Han also serves as Stated Clerk of Korean Southwest Presbytery.
Another son, Paul “PK” Kim, is the founder and executive director of Kollaboration – an Asian and Pacific Islander (API) organization and movement that was founded in 2000. Kollaboration is an annual event and movement produced by young Asian and Pacific Islander professionals and students, volunteering their time and skills to celebrate the talents of their community and bring them into the mainstream.
Dr. Kim was born in Daeduk-eup, Jangheung-Gun, Jeollanam-Do in Korea on 19 November 1933. The Korean War broke out while he was in junior high school. In the middle of the battlefield, he prayed, “God, if you rescue me in the war, I will believe in you.” That was the first time Dr. Kim ever prayed in his life. Throughout the war, his values were changed and he started to knock upon the door of theology.
He graduated from Jinju High School in 1951 and Kosin University 1957. He attended Covenant Theological Seminary in 1959 and transferred in 1960 to Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, graduating with a bachelor of divinity degree (B.D.) in 1961. He obtained a master of theology (Th.M.) degree from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1963 and received his Ph.D. from Temple University.
He was ordained as a pastor by the Philadelphia Presbytery in 1966.
After a year, he became an assistant professor in Chongshin University in 1967. He became an associate professor in 1969 and a full professor in 1973; he resigned his professorship and returned to the United States again in 1976, when he joined the Christian Reformed Church as a pastor.
He was founder and president of International Theological Seminary in Los Angeles. In early 1970s when the number of Korean immigrants increased in Los Angeles area, some Korean church leaders in the area commonly felt an immediate need to establish schools to train men and women for the rapidly sprouting Korean churches among the immigrants. Dr. Kim, a church historian, seminary professor, and successful pastor, was one of those church leaders.
Unlike his peers, however, who went on their ways to open schools to provide theological education only for Korean-Americans using their mother tongue, Dr. Kim was inspired by the dream of world mission and decided to found a seminary for international students from Third World countries.
His intense desire to launch such a unique theological seminary was motivated by the conviction that trained national church leaders would be far more effective in many tasks to which foreign missionaries were normally assigned, such as evangelism, church growth, church planting, and others.
After sharing his desire with the elders of his church and ensuring support from some of them, his dream was effectuated in founding International Theological Seminary in 1982 as a venture of faith. From the beginning of the seminary till today, the core philosophy of the seminary, which is the training of church leaders from Third World countries, remains unchanged. (http://www.itsla.edu/)
He spent a year in 1985 as a Visiting Professor at Reformed Theological Seminary and remained part of their Adjunct Faculty in Practical Theology until his death. He returned to South Korea to serve as president of Chongshin University from 1995 to 1999 and then served as the third president of Calvin University in South Korea in 2002 to 2007.
Dr. Kim showed great talent not only as a scholar, but also as a pastor. He founded and served Saehan Church in Korea (1968 to 1972), Eden Church in Castro Valley, California (1972 to 1975), and Los Angeles Korean Christian Reformed Church (1976 to 1995).
While the pastor of the Los Angeles church, which had become the second largest in the Christian Reformed Church, Dr. Kim led a secession by nearly forty percent of the CRC’s Korean membership in the fall of 1993. The ‘straw’ issue was that year’s decision in the CRC General Synod to approve women service in office in the church. The new denomination was called the Christian Presbyterian Church (Korean) and had a membership of 6,000 at its founding, with 3,000 of the members coming from the CRC. Most of these churches are now part of the Korean Southwest Presbytery of the PCA.
After returning to Korea in 1995 to a seminary position, he was later called by Sungbok Jung Ang Church as pastor where he served from 1999 to 2002.
Portions of this article first appeared in the Christian Observer and are used with permission. Source: http://christianobserver.org/category/pw-news/