The distinctive vision of Evangelia University stems from its affiliation with the Korean Presbyterian Church in America (Kosin). The Kosin denomination is a Reformed denomination with a unique history. It was born out of the context of persecution and martyrdom. When Korea was colonized by the Japanese military power in 1910, they persecuted the Korean Christians, and forced them to bow to the emperor as a god. In 1938, all the representatives of the Presbyterian denomination gathered for the 27th General Assembly in PyungYang, which was called the “Jerusalem of Korea.” The meeting proceeded under the “watch” of the Japanese police. The Assembly voted unanimously for Shinto shrine worship. The only objector, Rev. Bruce Hunt, was removed from the meeting by the Japanese police. Other objecting pastors were not even allowed to attend the meeting. Eventually, some of the objecting pastors were imprisoned and tortured to death. After the independence of Korea, the survivors called for a period of repentance for all the churches and pastors who bowed to the Shinto shrine. They also began a new seminary named Korea Theological Seminary. In 1951, at the 36th General Assembly, these pastors were removed from their membership of denomination, so they could not attend. Without membership in the denomination, these pastors began a new denomination named Koryu. The founders were committed to the Reformed faith and were those who did not submit to the Shinto shrine worship. The founders of both the denomination and the seminary included Rev. Bruce Hunt, Rev. Sang Dong Han, the leaders of the repentance movement, and Rev. Yune Sun Park, whose scholarship and piety were acknowledged by all Korean Christians. Dr. Kun Sam Lee, the previous president of Evangelia University, was one of the early faculty members of the Korea Theological Seminary. Eventually, the seminary and the denomination adopted the name Kosin. Thus, the Kosin denomination has a history akin to that of the French Huguenots and the English Puritans, who at the cost of their lives, have strived throughout history to maintain the purity of doctrine and life. It is in the light of such a beginning that the Kosin denomination has valued and strived to maintain the spirit of martyrdom to this day.
In 1995, Dr. Kun Sam Lee founded the Korean Theological Seminary in California and in 1998, it merged with Pacific Baptist University, which was founded in 1992, and which sought to establish a theological seminary for the purpose of training ministers to fill the growing demand for bilingual pastors for the rapidly expanding Asian-American churches in the United States. The uniqueness of such an institution was its vision to serve as a bridge between the East and the West, academically and missiologically, and ministerially. It would meet the increasing challenge of studying and applying the Scripture contextually. Furthermore, it would both equip students from the States to be sent abroad and train students from abroad to serve in the States. Finally, it would train students to serve in bi-or multi-lingual congregations in a world that is increasingly becoming multiethnic.
In 1999, the seminary changed its name to Evangelia University, to reflect the vision of bringing the Gospel to the entire world. Under Dr. Kun Sam Lee’s leadership and the seminary’s affiliation with the Kosin denomination, Evangelia developed its Reformed identity and vision. With such a heritage and foundation, Evangelia has built the reputation of providing both a sound and rigorous theological training, and developing a purity of heart among students. More recently, with the help of donors, Evangelia is able to implement its vision of providing an excellent Christian and classical education at the undergraduate level and an improved Reformed education at the seminary level. Furthermore, plans are underway to drastically improve our current library and to establish a mission center.
In 2008, under the new leadership of the President, Dr. David H. Shin, Evangelia University became a Candidate Member of Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), and in April 2012, EU became a full member of TRACS. In November, Doctor of Ministry program and Distance Education were also approved by the commission on TRACS. Now EU is accredited for the all degree programs that EU offers (accreditation, category IV level) As a fully accredited institution, Evangelia University continues to improve its education and operation for achieving its vision and goals.