Ecclesial spirituality in the Korean Presbyterian Church : a practical and hermeneutical investigation into the problem of marginality

Kim, Soon-Seong (2004-12)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2004

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The focus of this study is on the unique and unparalleled features that the Korean Presbyterian Church (KPC) representing the broad Korean Church has displayed during last 120 years' mission history: a strong revivalism in the formative phase; a remarkable Church growth in the growing phase; a rapid moral secularisation in the declining phase. Specifically this study aims to account for the problematic phenomenon manifested during last three decades and further to suggest a substantial alternative for the . problem at this stage. To achieve this aim, this study employed a practical hermeneutical methodology and was approached in terms of ecclesial spirituality. Chapter II, paying special attention to the marginality of the Korean nation destined to be a victim of world powers in modem history, provides a short history of the KPC from a marginal perspective to discern the particular geopolitical, socio-politicoeconomic, and cultural situations that presumed to have had a crucial impact on shaping the spirituality of the KPc. Chapter III proposes, as a base theory, a definition towards the phenomenon of ecclesial spirituality: EccLesial spirituality is eccLesial apprehension and response to the meaning and power of God ~ presence and redemptive activity in the powerdominated world. According to the proposed definition ecclesial spirituality takes shape through the hermeneutical process of the faith community in the dynamic interplay between divine, human and contextual powers operating in socio-historical situations. Chapter IV analyses and explains, on the basis of the proposed definition, what and how contextual realities historically operated in shaping the spirituality of the KPC and further evaluates the features of the KPC's spirituality manifested in each historical phase. The result shows that the marginal situation of the nation operates as a crucial factor in the formation of the KPC's spirituality in each particular socio-historical context in either a positive or negative way. Chapter V, as the normative and strategic phase of our research methodology, concludes by examining the theological identity of the Church in relation with the power-dominated world and by investigating the hermeneutical locus of ecclesial praxis, whereby marginality is suggested as the praxial hermeneutical locus of authentic ecclesial identity and spirituality in the world. And further, identifying the Church as a marginal community in the world, this study finally proposes a spirituality of marginality as an incomplete suggestion of the direction towards which the spirituality of the KPC should steer. This study contributes towards the development of an ecclesial hermeneutic for the benefit of ecclesial transformation in the world. Specifically, its contribution is to realise the distinctive identity and position of the KPC as ecclesia crucis in the contemporary situation. It can also motivate the significance of studies in ecclesial spirituality, not only for the KPC, but also for both Western churches and the South African white Church in their identity crisis in the contemporary dominant culture and drastically changed socio-political context.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie navorsing fokus op die unieke karaktertrekke van die Koreaanse Presbiteriaanse Kerke (genoem die KPC) soos gemanifesteer gedurende die afgelope 120 jaar: 'n sterk aksent op herlewing in die vormingsfase; daama 'n merkwaardige kerkgroei fase en uiteindelik 'n snelle sekularisasie fase in die laaste fase. Dit vertoon ooreenkoms met ander Koreaanse kerke in die tydperk. Die studie pro beer om laasgenoemde problematiese fenomeen van die laaste drie dekades teologies te verantwoord en 'n altematiewe optrede met betrekking daartoe te suggereer. Die studie gebruik 'n prakties-hermeneutiese metodiek om die ekklesiale spiritualiteit te verken. Hoofstuk II gee in besonder aandag aan die marginaliteit van die Koreaanse nasie insoverre dit 'n slagoffer geword het van modeme wereldmagte. Dit word gedoen aan die hand van 'n kort geskiedbeskrywing van die KPC, gesien vanuit 'n marginale perspektief waarin spesifieke geopolitieke, sosio-ekonomiese en kulturele aspekte onderskei word 0 wat almal 'n kritieke impak gehad het in die vormgewing van die spiritualiteit van die KPc. Hoofstuk III pro beer om 'n basisteorie te ontwikkel aan die hand van 'n definisie van ekklesiale spiritualiteit, nl. Ekklesiale spiritualiteit is die ekklesiale aanvoeling van en respons op die betekenis van God se dinamiese presensie en verlossende handelinge in 'n wereld gedomineer deur magte. Hiervolgens word 'n ekklesiale spiritualiteit gevorm deur hermeneutiese prosesse binne die geloofsgemeenskap in die dinamiese wissel werking tussen die goddelike, menslike en kontekstuele magte wat in sosio-historiese situasies hulle laat geld. Op die basis van hierdie definisie word in hoofstuk IV 'n analise en verduideliking gegee van hoe hierdie kontekstuele realiteite die spiritualiteit binne die KPC gevorm het. Verder word die spesifieke aard van die spiritualiteit in elke historiese fase ontleed en geevalueer, Dit toon dan duidelik aan hoe die marginale omstandighede telkens 'n kritieke faktor was in die vorming van die bepaalde spiritualiteit in elke spesifieke sosio-historiese konteks, hetsy positief of negatief. Hoofstuk V verteenwoordig die normatiewe en strategiese fase van die gevolgde navorsingsmetodiek. Daarin word die teologiese identiteit van die kerk met betrekking tot 'n mag-gedomineerde wereld beskrywe aan die hand van 'n ondersoek na die hermeneutiese locus van die ekklesiale praxis. Hierin word gesuggereer dat marginaliteit hierdie praksiaalhermeneutiese locus is van 'n outentieke ekklesiale identiteit en spiritualiteit. Verder, insoverre die kerke wesenlik 'n marginale gemeenskap vir die wereld is, het die studie 'n spiritualiteit van marginaliteit aangedui as die nirnrnereindigende doelwit waarop die spiritualiteit van die KPC telkens weer gerig moet wees 0 'n soort eskatologiese spiritualiteit in hierdie wereld. Die navorsing wil 'n bydrae lewer in die ontwikkeling van 'n ekklesiale hermeneutiek wat die ekklesiale transformasieproses wil dien. Meer spesifiek wil dit die onderskeidende identiteit van die KPC sien as 'n ecclesia crucis in die eietydse situasie. Dit wil verder die diskussie oor ekklesiale spiritualiteit binne die KPC bevorder, maar ook in Westerse kerke en spesifiek in die kerke van Suid-Afrika op soek na 'n ekklesiale identiteit binne die eietydse dominante kultuur en 'n diepgaande, veranderde sosio-politieke konteks.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49937
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