Fortress Press

A Gospel for Workers: Cho Chi Song, Yeongdeungpo Urban Industrial Mission, and Minjung

A Gospel for Workers

Cho Chi Song, Yeongdeungpo Urban Industrial Mission, and Minjung

Seo Deok-Seok (Author), Jione Havea (Volume Editor), David Song (Translator), Jooseop Keum (Foreword by), Kim Yong-Bock (Foreword by), Bae Hyunju (Preface by)


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This book tells three overlapping stories: first, the life story of Rev. Cho Chi Song, a pioneer of urban and industrial missions, which served Korean society's working population; second, the Urban Industrial Mission (UIM) in Korea, which Cho Chi Song pioneered; and third, the story of how UIM provided the roots for Korean Minjung Theology. Owing to Cho Chi Song, UIM became the birthplace of missions for the working population and an enduring haven of a worker's right to life and dignity. Cho shared both tears and laughter with workers. At times moved by righteous anger, he worked to bring "healing to a sick society." Cho stands out in the history of industrial missions in that he trained and empowered a handful of ordained clergy as well as some dispossessed people to be agents of transformation. He helped working women take ownership of the Urban Industrial Mission and act as the very agents whose struggles for justice brought conviction to greedy business owners. They became potent catalysts for change in the unjust working conditions that were previously marked by very low wages and long working hours. A disciplined leader, Cho Chi Song was a constant friend to workers. Those who knew him personally could sense, in his life, a genuine depth of spirituality and godliness. UIM was one of the roots for Minjung Theology, but it is not well known outside of the UIM circle. The author, Seo Deok-Seok, was trained by Cho Chi Song.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506493664
  • eBook ISBN 9781506493671
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 293
  • Publication Date November 14, 2023


This book should be placed on the reading list for all seminarians and set as a devotional text for the two million Korean Christians who have left organized Christianity so that they may follow Christ. It should also be added as the seventeenth chapter of Mark, telling the story of continued witness in the urban industrial mission of Korea and one of the most powerful moments for the Minjung since the days of Jesus Christ.

Chang Yoonjae, Ewha Womans University, South Korea

A man with compassion and preferential options for the workers, the Minjung, Cho Chi Song lived a revolution in the church, in the factories, in the public, and in theology. His story is moving--it captivates and motivates--and obliging. I celebrate his attention to women workers. A Gospel for Workers deserves to be on bookshelves and lived out in the streets.

Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon, Pilgrim Theological College, Australia

Meeting Jesus in the coal mines, factories, and many other places of work is not just the beginning of an individual awakening but a series of profound awakenings of Christianity. The historical examples presented in this book show the multifaceted implications of such awakenings and provide insights that have the power to transform churches and a world ruled more by corporate interests than by the gospel. Highly recommended.

Joerg Rieger, Vanderbilt University, USA

A Gospel for Workers: Cho Chi Song, Yeongdeungpo Urban Industrial Mission, and Minjung is the testimony of the life and witness of a creative and courageous prophet who offered, through his public witness, alternative models of being and becoming the church in the public sphere. This is not a hagiographical work to valorise one's mentor. Rather, this is a social biography, narrating how deep solidarity with the Minjung working class could transform the cartography of Christian mission. Inspirational and transformative.

George Zachariah, Wesley Lecturer in Theological Studies, Trinity Methodist Theological College, New Zealand

A Gospel for Workers breaks new ground in the study of world Christianity and mission studies generally, and in urban and industrial mission and the origins and growth of Minjung theology in South Korea specifically. It is an essential reading for anyone who is interested in the emergence, development, and growth of Minjung theology in South Korea under the umbrella of the Yeongdeungpo Urban Industrial Mission, as well as the important role played by Cho Chi Song, who was not only a pastor and urban missioner, but an important pioneer of Minjung theology, a tireless advocate for the workers and the subaltern urban poor in Korea's period of rapid industrialization, and a key leader for the Yeongdeungpo Urban Industrial Mission.

Jonathan Y. Tan, Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan Professor of Catholic Studies, Case Western Reserve University, USA