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A Mission to the “Graveyard of Empires”? Neocolonialism and the Contemporary Evangelical Missions of the Global South

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This essay examines how contemporary evangelical overseas missions carried out by the churches of the so-called majority world are imbricated with neocolonialism, especially U.S. neocolonialism underpinned by its military hegemony, in light of the South Korean mission fiasco in Afghanistan in summer 2007. Author situates the 2007 South Korean missionary hostage case within the transnational social field of evangelical Christians, which helps the reader understand the South Korean hostage incident as not just a single isolated case of Korean Christianity. Through the examination of the common biblical, theological, and cultural references in which transnational connections among evangelical Christians are rooted, this essay illuminates how contemporary evangelical missions are involved in the neocolonial systems of power in the current global context. This essay also pays closer attention to the ways in which the 2007 South Korean mission in Afghanistan has revealed, wittingly or unwittingly, “cracks and contradictions” in the U.S. imperialist military interventions in Afghanistan, a region once called the “graveyard of empires.”

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Email:


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