Pastor Ji-Il Bang, the oldest and one of Korea’s most well-known pastors, passed away of old age on Friday morning at age 103. He was located at Korea University Anam Hospital at the time of his death.
His funeral took place at Severance Hospital, located in Sinchon, and his burial service will be on October 14 at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Korea.
Pastor Bang served as the senior pastor at Yeongdeungpo Church, and those who had been close to him from his church said that he had been unable to eat or go anywhere outside of his home for four months due to his weak body. However, he had shown signs of recovery and had even recently spoken at several seminars. Though he moved around in a wheelchair, he had always insisted that he remain standing while speaking to an audience.
On the day of his passing, he was taken to the hospital when he suddenly lost consciousness. He passed away after nine hours of hospitalization.
“There has been a tendency of not only the Korean church, but churches all over the world, to lose sight of the gospel and focus too much on programs and events,” Pastor Bang said recently. “Jesus came to this earth to die. And he rose again from the grave. And he will come again. We must remember this gospel.”
Pastor Bang was born in 1911 as a pastor’s son in Sincheon, located in Pyongando Province, which is now a part of North Korea. While studying at Pyongyang Seminary, Pastor Bang was also involved in the great spiritual revival that occurred in Pyongyang at the time. After graduating from seminary, he lived as a missionary in China for 21 years.
After returning to Korea in 1958, he has been serving as the senior pastor at Yeongdeungpo Church in Seoul, South Korea, during which time he became well-known in the Korean church sphere and was the president of various Korean church councils and associations. He also wrote several books during his lifetime, even as recently as 2011.