"Godless sermons?" : a homiletical analysis and assessment of South Korean Presbyterian preaching

Lee, Shinhyo (2017-03)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The phenomenon of God being missing in South Korean Presbyterian preaching is the main research problem of this study. The researcher purposely states that this phenomenon is a “godless sermon”. One of the aims of the research is to analyze the sermons of the South Korean Presbyterian Church by using the Heidelberg method of sermons analysis. The final aim of this study is to discover faithful ways of preaching in the light of four essential voices of preaching: the voice of God, the voice of the biblical texts, the voice of the congregation and the voice of the preacher, and thereby attain the desired goal, which is reflected in the following South Korean Presbyterian Church’s belief: “Praedicatio Verbi Dei est Verbum Dei”—“The preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God”. In this sense, the hypotheses of this study are as follows: there is the phenomenon of God being missing in the sermonic situation of the South Korean Presbyterian Church. The voice of God can be manipulated by means of exemplary, legalistic and moralistic messages. The pneumatological approach should successfully deal with the problem of godless sermons. According to the aims and hypotheses of the study, the researcher selected four sermons from over forty sermons from the recent Easter Sunday morning worship service in the South Korean Presbyterian Church. In chapter two, the researcher examined the linguistic signs of the four selected sermons using the Heidelberg method of sermon analysis. Consequently, the superficial structures of the sermons were identified. In chapter three, the researcher examined the following essential homiletical questions: which God is at issue here? In what way is the biblical text included in the sermon? What kind of congregation does the sermon appeal to, and imply? How does the preacher him/herself function in the sermon? Through this process, the researcher discerned the depth structure of the four selected sermons. In chapter four, the researcher dealt with the phenomenon of godless sermons. Firstly, the researcher discussed the following issues: what is preaching? What is a godless sermon? There are the different types of godless sermons such as moralistic, legalistic and exemplary messages. Secondly, the researcher investigated each sermon in terms of godless sermons. As a result, the researcher proved that God is missing in some of the selected sermons. In chapter five, the researcher comprehensively examined the problematic sermons. Thereafter, the researcher listed practical suggestions on how to overcome godless sermons in light of the four essential voices of preaching and in terms of theonomic reciprocity. In the final chapter, the researcher summarized and concluded the research.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die verskynsel van God wat ontbreek in Suid-Koreaanse Presbiteriaanse prediking is die belangrikste navorsingsprobleem van hierdie studie. Die navorser dui doelbewus aan dat hierdie verskynsel ‘n “goddelose preek” is. Een van die doelwitte van hierdie navorsing is om die preke van die Suid-Koreaanse Presbiteriaanse Kerk te analiseer met behulp van die Heidelbergse metode van preek ontleding. Die finale doel van die studie is om getroue maniere in die lig van die vier noodsaaklike stemme van prediking te ontdek: die stem van God, die stem van die Bybelse tekste, die stem van die gemeente en die stem van die prediker en die gewenste doel te bekom, wat die Suid-Koreaanse Presbiteriaanse oortuiging is: “Praedicatio Verbi Dei est Verbum Dei” - “die verkondiging van die Woord van God is die Woord van God”. In hierdie sin is die hipoteses van die studie soos volg: Daar is die verskynsel van God wat ontbreek in die preek situasie van die Suid-Koreaanse Presbiteriaanse Kerk. Die stem van God kan gemanipuleer word deur middel van voorbeeldige, wettiese en moralistiese boodskappe. Die pneumatologiese benadering moet suksesvol die probleem van goddelose preke aanspreek. Volgens die doelstellings en hipoteses van die studie het die navorser vier preke uit meer as veertig preke uit die onlangse Paas Sondag oggend eredienste in die Suid-Koreaanse Presbiteriaanse Kerk gekies. In hoofstuk twee het die navorser die taalkundige tekens van die vier gekose preke met behulp van die Heidelbergse metode van preek ontleding ondersoek. Gevolglik is die oppervlakkige strukture van die preke identifiseer. In hoofstuk drie het die navorser die volgende noodsaaklike homiletiese vrae ondersoek: Watter God is hier ter sprake? Op watter manier is die Bybelse teks ingesluit in die preek? Watter soort gemeente doen die preek ‘n beroep op, en word impliseer? Hoe funksioneer die prediker self in die preek? Deur hierdie proses het die navorser die dieptestruktuur van die vier gekies preke beoordeel. In hoofstuk vier het die navorser die verskynsel van goddelose preke behandel. In die eerste plek het die navorser die volgende kwessies bespreek: Wat is prediking? Wat is ‘n goddelose preek? Daar is verskillende tipes goddelose preke, soos moralistiese, wettiese en voorbeeldige boodskappe. In die tweede plek het die navorser elke preek ondersoek in terme van goddelose preke. As ‘n gevolg hiervan het die navorser bewys dat God ontbreek in ‘n paar van die gekose preke. In hoofstuk vyf het die navorser omvattend die problematiese preke ondersoek. Daarna het die navorser praktiese voorstelle opgestel oor hoe om goddelose preke te oorkom in die lig van die vier noodsaaklike stemme van prediking en in terme van theonomiese wederkerigheid. In die laaste hoofstuk het die navorser die navorsing opgesom en tot die gevolgtrekking gekom.

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