Prophetic preaching within the Korean Presbyterian Church? A practical-theological investigation

Jeon, Dong-Hyun (2012-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research begins from the concern of the Korean Presbyterian Church about the tension between affirming and rejecting attitudes toward the world. The tension between these two attitudes regarding the world is also evident in the homiletical situation. The affirming attitude secularizes the message of the gospel through “positive-thinking” and “possibility-thinking”. Contrary to this, the attitude of rejecting the secular minds makes moral instruction or societal reform the primary focus of the message. However, congregants who hear the message are not only in the church, but also live in a secular society. To Christians, a balanced perspective on the world is required in the sense of that to deny the world is to deny the grounds of their life, and to affirm the world is to lose their distinctive identity. In chapter 1, this research states the problems faced by the Korean Presbyterian Church. It is described in terms of the tension between keeping the church‟s distinctive identity and performing God‟s command. On the one hand, preachers must enter deeply into Korean culture in order to preach the gospel. On the other hand, the church must be distinguished from the surrounding culture to display its distinctive identity. Chapter 2 depicts contemporary people living in the world in terms of three notions: individualism, the pursuit of happiness, and consumerism. In chapter 3, this researcher describes the coming together of these characteristics and narrative preaching. In the development process of narrative preaching, the core motive is popularity. In the religious market, the main interest of the church has been popular satisfaction. Today‟s sermon has fallen into consumerism through being ruled by the notion of congregational preference. When people come to the church they want to hear the hopeful message from the pulpit. The pulpit has been moralized through ignoring congregations‟ needs, and secularized with a consumer ideology. Preachers should restore the eschatological perspective in order to overcome consumerism and deliver true hope to congregations. In chapter 4, the researcher portrays Christians as resident aliens on a journey through the world, and their gathering as a colony helping pilgrims to complete their journey. This world is not home to Christians who are living as resident aliens. Christians are those who are journeying toward the Promised Land. Their gathering as a colony has covenantal, communal, and alternative characteristics. To Christians as resident aliens living in this world, hope is to proclaim that God is ruling this world and Jesus will come again with the Promised Land. Therefore, in chapter 5, the researcher suggests to the Korean Presbyterian preachers that prophetic preaching is the best way to deal with the tension between “the already and not yet” of the kingdom of God. Prophetic preaching has simultaneously both prophetic and pastoral functions. Preachers cannot be prophetic without fulfilling their pastoral function, and vice versa. Because of this, the prophetic voice is the language of hope, and also the language of compassion. Prophetic preachers offer hope to people in despair, and change the apathetic world through the language of compassion. Therefore, prophetic preaching delivers hope in a paradoxical situation, deals with ethical issues from an eschatological perspective, and heals the church from amnesia through repeatedly and continuously speaking about the covenant and the shared memory and story of the faith community.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie navorsing begin met die besorgdheid van die Koreaanse Presbiteriaanse Kerk rakende die spanning tussen die houdings van bevestiging en verwerping jeens die wêreld. Die spanning tussen hierdie twee verskillende houdings teenoor die wêreld is ook sigbaar binne die homiletiese situasie. Die bevestigende houding sekulariseer die boodskap van die Evangelie deur te fokus op “positiewe denke” en “moontlikheidsdenke”. Hierteenoor maak die houding wat sekulêre idees verwerp, morele onderrig of maatskaplike hervorming die primêre fokus van die boodskap. Gemeentelede wat die boodskap aanhoor is egter nie net in die kerk, maar ook deel van die sekulêre samelewing. Christene benodig ʼn gebalanseerde perspektief op die wêreld in die opsig dat die ontkenning van die wêreld, die ontkenning van die rede vir hul bestaan is, en die bevestigende houding jeens die wêreld die verloor van hul eiesoortige identiteit veronderstel. In hoofstuk 1 word die probleme wat die Koreaanse Presbiteriaanse Kerk in die gesig staar bespreek. Dit word beskryf in terme van die spanning tussen die behoud van die kerk se eiesoortige identiteit en die uitvoer van God se opdrag. Aan die een kant moet predikers diep in die Koreaanse kultuur indring om die evangelie te verkondig. Aan die ander kant moet die kerk van die omringende kultuur onderskei word ten einde sy eiesoortige identiteit te vertoon. Hoofstuk 2 stel kontemporêre mense wat in die wêreld leef in terme van deur drie fases voor: individualisme, die nastrewing van geluk, en verbruikersgesindheid. In hoofstuk 3 beskryf die navorser die verband tussen hierdie eienskappe en narratiewe prediking. In die ontwikkelingsproses van narratiewe prediking is gewildheid die kern-motief. Vanuit ʼn godsdienstige perspektief was populêre tevredenheid vir die kerk van wesenlike belang. Vandag neig prediking tot ʼn verbruikersgesindheid wat deur die idee van gemeentelike voorkeur oorheers word. Wanneer mense kerk toe kom wil hulle die boodskap van hoop vanaf die kansel hoor. Prediking word egter ʼn morele les, en met ʼn verbruikersideologie gesekulariseer omdat gemeentes se behoeftes geïgnoreer word. Predikers moet die eskatologiese perspektief herstel ten einde die verbruikersgesindheid te oorkom en ware hoop aan gemeentes te verkondig. In hoofstuk 4 word Christene as vreemdelinge op reis deur die wêreld beskryf, en hul samekoms as ʼn kolonie wat pelgrims help om hul reis te voltooi. Hierdie wêreld is nie Christene, wat as vreemdelinge woon, se huis nie. Christene is mense wat op reis is na die Beloofde Land. Hulle vergader as ʼn kommunale en alternatiewe kolonie wat binne ʼn verbond bestaan. Vir Christene, wat as vreemdelinge in die wêreld leef, is hoop die verkondinging van God se heerskappy in die wêreld, en Jesus se wederkoms met die Beloofde Land. Derhalwe het die navorser in hoofstuk 5 voorgestel dat Koreaans Presbiteriaanse predikers op profetiese prediking moet fokus om die spanning tussen “die alreeds en die nog nie” van die koninkryk van God te hanteer. Profetiese prediking het gelyktydig beide profetiese en pastorale funksies. Predikers kan nie profetiese wees sonder om „n pastorale rol te vervul nie, en omgekeerd. As gevolg hiervan is die profetiese stem die taal van hoop en medelye. Profetiese predikers bied hoop aan mense in wanhoop, en verander die apatiese wêreld deur die taal van medelye. Profetiese prediking bring daarom hoop in ʼn paradoksale situasie, fokus op etiese kwessies vanuit ʼn eskatologiese perspektief, en genees die kerk van geheueverlies deur herhaaldelik en aanhoudend die verbond, en die gedeelde herinneringe en storie van die geloofsgemeenskap te beklemtoon.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71598
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