Alumnus Rev. Dr. Oak With the Lord

September 24, 2010

Rev. Dr. John Oak (Oak Han-Heum), DMin '96, died on September 2, 2010.  He was 72 years old.

Dr. Oak lost his battle with lung cancer on Semptember 2.  He was the founder of SaRang Community Church, in southern Seoul, as well as a prolific writer.  One of his books is available at the Westminster Bookstore: Called to Awaken the Laity.  In 2001, he received an honorary doctorate from Westminster.

During the 2010 opening convocation, Dr. Peter Lillback, president of the seminary, announced Dr. Oak's death and prayed for his family and loved ones.  To hear the announcement and prayer, click here.

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Oak's obituary in The Korea Times
To read the whole article, click here

By Lee Hyo-won

Rev. John Oak (Oak Han-heum), the founder of SaRang Community Church, one of the world's largest Presbyterian houses of worship, passed away Thursday. He was 72.

Oak had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006 and on Aug. 8 was hospitalized when he experienced high fever and respiratory problems due to pneumonia, said SaRang Community Church. He was being treated in the intensive care unit of the Seoul National University Hospital but died Thursday morning.

The pastor was born in 1938 in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province. After studying English literature at Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, he pursued graduate studies in theology at Chongshin University and Calvin Theoglogical Seminary, Michigan. He completed his doctorate at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.

He opened the doors to SaRang Community Church in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul, to a handful of believers in 1978; it now has over 80,000 registered members including 45,000 attending believers.

Oak is recognized for initiating a program for fostering disciples that reached out to other Christian denominations, and was widely respected as a model evangelist. He was particularly known for his focus on both the Bible and realistic ways of following the teachings of the scriptures on a daily basis.

Please join the Westminster community and President Peter Lillback as we mourn the loss of Dr. Oak.

Banner at Dr. Oak's funeral