Han, “The Queer Thresholds of Heresy,” The Journal of Korean Studies 25:2 (2020)
Disputes over heresy are not new or uncommon, as mainline Protestant denominations in South Korea have historically deemed numerous minor sects and radical theologies to be heretical to the Christian faith. However, when the largest evangelical denomination in the country, the Presbyterian Church in Korea (Hapdong), began investigating Reverend Lim Borah (Im Pora) of the Sumdol Hyanglin Church in 2017 and subsequently ruled her ministry to be heretical, they charted new grounds by denouncing LGBTI-affirming theology and ministry as heresy. This article traces the semantic ambiguity and politics of the term for heresy, idan, and highlights the intersection of heretical Christianity, gender and sexual nonconformity, and ideological dissidence. The argument is that growing interests in queer theology and calls for LGBTI-affirming ministry stoked the flames of efforts by beleaguered Protestant denominations to use heresy to discredit and stigmatize dissident practices, and that rather than simply stifle dissent, the subsequent controversy also exposed the limits of dominant power and the contours of vital resistance.