Rev. Dr. Jong Yun Lee Received Honorary Degree

June 27, 2010

Rev. Dr. Peter L. Lillback, president, conferred the Doctor of Divinity to Rev. Dr. Jong Yun Lee (WTS BDiv, 1971) at our May 27, 2010 Commencement.


Dr. Jong Yun Lee was born in Chun-An, Choong-Nam, Korea in 1940, ten years before the Korean War. He began his theological studies at Yonsei University, in Seoul, Korea, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. At the beginning of his undergraduate studies, the direction of his life was changed through a chapel service, where Dr. Cornelius Van Til, Westminster professor of apologetics, spoke on “Barth or Paul?” Deeply moved by the lecture, and through personal encouragement from Dr. Van Til himself, Dr. Lee dreamed of one day studying at Westminster Theological Seminary.

God answered his prayers and he enrolled in 1968. He completed a Bachelor of Divinity at Westminster Theological Seminary in 1971, receiving an award for an Apologetics paper written for Dr. Cornelius Van Til’s class. After completing his degree at Westminster, he earned a Doctor of Philosophy in New Testament from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. His dissertation was entitled, “The Problem of Paul’s Understanding of the Historical Jesus in Critical Study.”

With the hope of evangelizing countries in Asia, Dr. Lee began his teaching career at the Asian Center for Theological Studies and Mission (ACTS) in Korea. Over the years he has lectured at many seminaries and universities, and also served as president of Jeon-Ju University, a university with over 12,000 students. He has authored numerous books, which include Paul and the Historical Jesus (English), Introduction to the New Testament, and over thirty commentaries on the Old and the New Testaments. Dr. Lee was instrumental in producing a new Korean translation of the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer in 2006, which was adopted by numerous churches in Korea. He continues to serve as the chief editor of the Standard Commentaries of the New Testament of the Presbyterian Church of Korea.

Dr. Lee planted five significant churches, the first when he was in his mid-twenties as a private in the Korean Army. While he was studying in America, he planted the Philadelphia First Presbyterian Korean American Church. After he returned to Korea, he planted Hallelujah Church, Jeon-Ju University Church, and Seoul Presbyterian Church. Dr. Lee has served as senior minister of Seoul Presbyterian Church, a church with over 7,000 members, for the past nineteen years. He will be retiring from his pastoral ministry at the end of this year.
In addition to church planting, Dr. Lee is committed to a ministry model of “a church serving other churches.” This model was implemented through the Korean Institute for Mission and Church renewal International (KIMCHI), which provides continuing-education seminars for pastors. Over 12,000 Korean pastors have participated in these seminars. KIMCHI not only serves the Korean pastors’ educational needs, but also church leaders and pastors from around the world. To date, more than 900 pastors from 145 countries participated in the KIMCHI theological seminars.

As a gifted national and international leader, Dr. Lee serves as the President of the Council of Presbyterian Churches in Korea, which represents 27 denominations, with over 10 million members. He is also the chairman of the Asian Lausanne Committee. He was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2009 from Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary, in Seoul, Korea.

Dr. Lee has been married to Soon Bok Lee (Ph.D. in Micro-Biology) for forty-three years and God has blessed them with three daughters, three son-in-laws, and four grandchildren.