Christian discipleship as power encounter with South Korean indigenous leaders : an intercultural theological study

Kim, Pil-Kyun (2017-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study explores how appropriate Christian discipleship can be carried out in the Korean indigenous religious context, which encompasses belief systems such as shamanism, Buddhism, and Neo-Confucianism, etc. Christian discipleship brings about transformative encounters between Christianity and other religions, but it is impossible without human self-emptying / kenosis. An important concept in this study was therefore kenosis, and it was argued that it is related to both Christian and indigenous leadership. Kenosis can be applied to various realms, but the focus of this study was limited to Korean indigenous leadership based on sangsaeng, jeong and han, Korean Christian discipleship in relation to reconciliation, and mission including translation, healing and ritual. Essentially, kenosis is clarified in the relational dimension, and this research links kenosis to relationality based on the trinitarian foundation, as this notion is thoroughly relational. Of significance, it was found that these two concepts, kenosis and the trinitarian idea, are interlinked with the values of other religions. In addition, this study looks at the influence that the core values of Korean indigenous religions had on the Korean people to accept a new religion, and the impact of this on Christianity and its spread during the era of the early Korean Protestant church. For instance, Koreans emphasized the core values of Neo-Confucianism rather than that of Buddhism during the era of the Chosŏn Dynasty. In Korea, the early Neo-Confucian scholars highlighted the significance of Neo-Confucian core values, and accepted this belief system as their national religion. Neo-Confucianism was therefore the dominant religion during the Chosŏn Dynasty, particularly for the political elite, which was then passed down to their descendants. In my view, the different core values between Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism created much tension. Just as a receiving group adopts a new religion to enhance his or her social identity, Koreans accepted Christianity to increase their social identity during the era of the early Korean Protestant church. Consequently, Christianity has rapidly grown in the Korean indigenous context. However, despite much conflict over the issue of Confucian ancestral rituals, the early Korean Protestant church finally allowed filial piety as the core value of Neo-Confucianism, and replaced the Confucian ancestral ritual with a Christian ancestral ritual called chudo yebae. This is significant because chudo yebae, as the Christian ancestral (or memorial) ritual, applies filial piety, which is the core value of Neo-Confucianism, to the Christian ancestral ritual. Furthermore, it was found that the Korean name of God Hana-nim was used for the Christian God, indicating that indigenous religions are familiar with the Korean name of God. In Korea, the vernacular translation of the Christian God into the Korean term Hana-nim was important because the term was familiar with the populace at that time. The unity of the term Hana-nim in Korean indigenous religions and Christianity facilitated the growth of the Korean Protestant church and its congregations. It also clarified the triune God who is a Being and simultaneously has three Persons. In other words, the term Hana-nim supports the notion that God is fully monotheistic, and at the same time, triune. This study concludes that kenotic mission motivates Christian discipleship to engage in acts of humility. In short, kenosis reveals Jesus’ servant leadership, evident in his prayers, compassionate love, and self-emptying humility. However, there still appears to be much confusion, as a number of missionary leaders and their followers continue to compare shamanistic elements with Christian elements, even though Jesus carried out healing and spiritual deliverance through prayer and exorcism. In the early Korean Protestant church, there was also a group of women who were converted from shamanism, and served as female itinerant distributors called ‘Bible women’. It is challenging to clearly explain how the core values of Christianity are compared and linked to the core values of other indigenous religions such as Neo-Confucian love called yen and Buddhistic self-emptying call gong. Nevertheless, I assert that intercultural studies on how Christianity can be related to the core values of other religions should be an on-going process for God’s kenotic mission and dialogue, although much controversy surrounds this methodology.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek hoe toepaslike Christelike dissipelskap in die inheemse Koreaanse godsdienstige konteks uitgevoer kan word. Dit sluit in geloofstelsels soos sjamanisme, boeddhisme en neo-Konfucianisme, ens. Christelike dissipelskap bring transformatiewe ontmoetings tussen die Christendom en ander godsdienste teweeg, maar dit is onmoontlik sonder menslike selflediging / kenose. ‘n Belangrike konsep in hierdie studie is dus kenose, en daar is aangevoer dat dit verband hou met beide Christelike en inheemse leierskap. Kenose kan op verskeie gebiede toegepas word, maar die fokus van hierdie studie word beperk tot inheemse Koreaanse leierskap. Dit word gegrond op sangsaeng, jeong en han, Koreaanse Christelike dissipelskap in verhouding tot versoening, en missie, insluitende vertaling, genesing en ritueel. In wese word kenose in die verhoudingsdimensie verduidelik, en hierdie navorsing verbind kenose na relasionaliteit, op grond van die drie-enige fondament, aangesien hierdie begrip diep gewortel is in interpersoonlike verhoudings. Dit is belangrik dat daar gevind is dat hierdie twee begrippe, kenose en die idee van die drie-enigheid met die waardes van ander godsdienste verband hou. Daarbenewens neem hierdie studie in oënskou die invloed wat die kernwaardes van Koreaanse inheemse godsdienste op die Koreaanse volk gehad het, wat betref die aanvaarding van 'n nuwe godsdiens en die impak hiervan op die Christendom, asook die verspreiding daarvan gedurende die era van die vroeë Koreaanse Protestantse kerk. Die koreane het byvoorbeeld gedurende die era van die Chosŏn-dinastie die kernwaardes van Neo-Confucianisme eerder as dié van Boeddhisme beklemtoon. In Korea het die vroeë neo-Confuciaanse geleerdes die betekenis van neo-Confuciaanse kernwaardes beklemtoon en hierdie geloofstelsel as hul nasionale godsdiens aanvaar. Neo-Confucianisme was dus die dominante godsdiens tydens die Chosŏn-dinastie, veral vir die politieke élite, by wie dit dan aan hul nageslag oorgedra is. Na my mening het die verskillende kernwaardes tussen Boeddhisme en Neo-Confucianisme baie spanning geskep. Net soos 'n ontvangsgroep 'n nuwe godsdiens aanvaar om sy sosiale identiteit te verbeter, het die Koreane die Christendom aanvaar om hul sosiale identiteit te verhoog gedurende die era van die vroeë Koreaanse Protestantse kerk. Gevolglik het die Christendom vinnig gegroei in die Koreaanse inheemse konteks. Ten spyte van veel konflik oor die Confuciaanse voorouerrituele, het die vroeë Koreaanse Protestantse kerk uiteindelik filialiese vroomheid as kernwaarde van Neo-Confucianisme toegelaat, en die Confuciaanse voorouerritueel vervang met 'n Christelike voorouer ritueel met die naam van Chudo Yebae. Dit is belangrik omdat chudo yebae, as die Christelike voorouderlike ritueel (of herdenking), filialiese vroomheid, wat die kernwaarde van Neo-Confucianisme is, toegepas op die Christelike voorvaderlike ritueel. Verder is bevind dat die Koreaanse naam vir God, Hananim, vir die Christelike God gebruik is, wat aandui dat inheemse godsdienste bekend is met die Koreaanse naam van God. In Korea was die volkstaal-vertaling van die Christelike God in die Koreaanse term Hananim van besondere belang omdat die term op daardie tydstip bekend was onder die bevolking. Die eenheid van die term Hananim in Koreaanse inheemse godsdienste sowel as in die Christendom het die groei van die Koreaanse Protestantse kerk en sy gemeentes gefasiliteer. Dit het ook die Drie-enige God wat een Wese, maar gelyktydig drie Persone is, help verduidelik. Met ander woorde, die term Hananim ondersteun die gedagte dat God ten volle monoteïsties is, en terselfdertyd drie-enig. Hierdie studie kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat kenotiese sending Christelike dissipelskap motiveer om betrokke te raak in dade van nederigheid. Kortom, openbaar kenose Jesus se knegleierskap, wat uit sy gebede, medelydende liefde en self-ledigende nederigheid blyk. Daar bly egter steeds baie verwarring, aangesien 'n aantal sendelingsleiers en hul volgelinge steeds sjamanistiese elemente met Christelike elemente vergelyk, selfs al het Jesus genesing en geestelike bevryding uitgevoer, deur gebed en die uitdryf van duiwels. In die vroeë Koreaanse Protestantse kerk was daar ook 'n groep vroue wat van sjamanisme bekeer is en as reisende vroulike verspreiders gewerk het. Hulle is “Bybelvroue” genoem. Dit is ‘n uitdaging om effektief te verduidelik hoe die kernwaardes van die Christendom vergelyk word en gekoppel word aan die kernwaardes van ander inheemse godsdienste soos Neo-Confuciaanse liefde, wat jen genoem word en Boeddhistiese self-lediging, wat gong genoem word. Die skrywer voel steeds sterk daaroor dat interkulturele studies oor hoe Christenskap in verband gebring kan word met die kernwaardes van ander godsdienste 'n deurlopende proses behoort te wees vir die Here se kenotiese missie en diskoers, hoewel hierdie metodologie met veel omstredenheid omring word.

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