Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

How Forgiveness Is Possible: A Theological Reflection on Secret Sunshine

Author: LIU Wenjin, Associate Professor, Department of Chinese Language and Literature, East China Normal University



The popular and controversial Korean film Secret Sunshine (2007) explores various aspects of Christianity in contemporary Korean society. Focusing on its central question—whether God can forgive in the place of victims—this article teases out some simplified and distorted understandings of forgiveness in the film in order to make sense of the necessary equilibrium between forgiveness and justice. Engaging in a detailed analysis of the film, the paper offers a theological reflection via film theory. Film theory can help reveal how Christianity is presented in this film and sharpen the theological questions which emerge concerning the possibility of forgiveness. Reflecting on the problem of cheap grace revealed in the film and present in many fast-growing Asian churches, the author argues that Christians in today’s world might look to German theologian Bonhoeffer to develop a fuller understanding of grace and forgiveness.



Secret Sunshine, forgiveness, Cheap Grace, faith, the “world come of age”, Bonhoeffer


Full Text (International Version):

LIU WenjinSCN JSCC.pdf


Full Text (Simplified Chinese Version): 

LIU WenjinSCN JSCC.pdf