Congregational participation in preaching? : a practical-theology inquiry within a South-Korean context

Jang, Seungkwon (2019-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The value of the congregation in preaching is underestimated in the Korean church, an institution unfamiliar with having the congregation participate in preaching. Preaching has, instead, been hierarchical and preacher-centered, with the congregation playing a passive role. Authoritarianism of the preacher in the Korean church, a consequence of traditional Korean religions and Korean socio-history, was found to be a fundamental cause of hierarchical, preacher-centered preaching. However, a number of homiletical problems arise from this form of preaching. The importance of the congregation in preaching has been neglected, leaving the congregation with little opportunity to have a positive impact on preaching. Additionally, in light of the changing views towards authoritarianism, and the impact of these changes on Korean churches, much criticism for hierarchical and preacher-centered preaching has come about. In order to overcome the problems arising from hierarchical and preacher-centered preaching, this dissertation highlights the congregation as a valuable preaching partner. Using McClure’s homiletics, and an understanding of the most fundamental elements of preaching, the Word of God, the preacher, and the congregation, as understood in The Roundtable Pulpit, an alternative to preacher-centered preaching is presented: collaborative preaching. This form of preaching overcomes the problem of a submissive congregation, and encourages the congregation to participate in preaching. Collaborative preaching has both positive and negative attributes. While it recognizes the congregation as an important preaching partner and creates an environment in which the congregation can participate in preaching, conversations with the congregation that do not involve a certain level of theological capability in the interpretation of the Bible may cause a disconnect between the preacher and the congregation. Another anticipated limitation of applying collaborative preaching, with regards to Korean churches specifically, is that these churches are not yet sufficiently ready for it. Moving towards collaborative preaching without reducing the gap that currently exists between the preacher and the congregation may cause confusion among the congregation. The suggestion this dissertation makes for overcoming these limitations is encouraging the preacher to abandon a distorted sense of authority and to change his perspective to one where the congregation is a partner in preaching. This is a priority for narrowing the gap between himself and his congregation. However, sufficient preparation is necessary to achieve this.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die waarde van die gemeente as deel van die prediking word onderskat in die Koreaanse kerk, ‘n instelling wat nie bekend is met die feit dat die gemeente aan die preek kan deelneem nie. Die preek is in plaas daarvan hiërargies en predikersgesentreerd, terwyl die gemeente ‘n passiewe rol speel. Gesaghebbendheid van die prediker in die Koreaanse kerk, ‘n gevolg van die tradisionele Koreaanse godsdienste en die Koreaanse sosio-geskiedenis, was gevind as ‘n fundamentele oorsaak van hiërargiese, prediking wat gesentreerd is om die prediker. ‘n Aantal homiletiese probleme ontstaan egter uit hierdie vorm van prediking. Die belangrikheid van die gemeente in die prediking is verwaarloos, waardeur die gemeente min geleentheid gegee word om ‘n positiewe invloed op die prediking te hê. In die lig van die veranderende sienswyses ten opsigte van gesaghebbendheid en die impak van hierdie veranderinge op Koreaanse kerke, het daar ook kritiek op hiërargiese en predikersgesentreerde prediking ontstaan. Om die probleme wat voortspruit uit hiërargiese en predikersgesentreerde prediking te oorkom, beklemtoon hierdie proefskrif die gemeente as ‘n waardevolle mededeler van die prediking. Deur die gebruik van McClure se homiletiek, en ‘n begrip van die mees fundamentele elemente van prediking, die Woord van God, die prediker en die gemeente, soos dit verstaan word in die preekstoel van die Rondetafel, word ‘n alternatief vir predikersgesentreerde prediking voorgestel: samewerkende prediking. Hierdie vorm van prediking oorkom die probleem van ‘n onderdanige gemeente en moedig die gemeente aan om deel te neem aan die prediking. Samewerkende prediking het beide positiewe en negatiewe eienskappe. Terwyl dit die gemeente erken as ‘n belangrike mededeler van die prediking en ‘n omgewing skep waarin die gemeente kan deelneem aan die prediking, kan gesprekke met die gemeente wat nie ‘n sekere vlak van teologiese bekwaamheid in die interpretasie van die Bybel het nie, ‘n skeiding tussen die prediker en die gemeente veroorsaak. Nog ‘n verwagte beperking van die toepassing van samewerkende prediking, veral ten opsigte van Koreaanse kerke, is dat hierdie kerke nog nie voldoende daarvoor gereed is nie. Om na ‘n samewerkende prediking styl te werk sonder om die gaping tussen die prediker en die gemeente te verminder, kan ‘n verwarring in die gemeente veroorsaak. Die voorstel wat hierdie proefskrif maak om hierdie beperkinge te oorkom, is om die prediker aan te moedig om ‘n verwronge gesagsgevoel te laat vaar en om sy perspektief te verander na een waar die gemeente erken word as ‘n mededeler in die prediking. Dit is ‘n prioriteit om die gaping tussen die prediker en sy gemeente te verklein. Hiervoor is egter voldoende voorbereiding nodig.

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