Together towards Life in the Korean Context: Missiological Implications for the Korean Church

By Byun, Chang Uk | International Review of Mission, June 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Together towards Life in the Korean Context: Missiological Implications for the Korean Church


Byun, Chang Uk, International Review of Mission


Abstract

This paper examines the implications of Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes (TTL,) the Korean context. TTL presents a renewed understanding of mission and challenges the mission activity of the Korean church and mission community. The paper explores some missiological implications of TTL, for the once marginalised Korean church, which has become the centre of global Christianity. The world church has begun to recognise the rise of the non-Western churches and the emerging roles of the Korean church. TTL, with a study guide, and Ecumenical Missiology should serve as helpful resources for teaching and training theology students and field missionaries. (1)

Carey's Proposal (1806)

In May 1806, William Carey (1761-1834), a Baptist missionary to India, proposed a decennial interdenominational or ecumenical (as we would call it today) mission conference in Cape Town by 1810, or 1812 at the latest.

The Cape of Good Hope is now in the hands of the English...would
it not be possible to have a general association or all denominations
of Christians from the four quarters of the world...once in about
ten years? I earnestly recommend this plan...We could understand
one another better; and more entirely enter into one another's views
by two hours' conversation, than bv two or three years' epistolary
correspondence. (2)

After serving 13 years as a missionary in India, Carey deeply felt the need for such an interdenominational world missionary conference. He believed that the task of world evangelization could not be done by a single mission society or one denomination. He suggested that missionaries of all denominations cooperate in order to facilitate the work of the world mission. Therefore, Carey proposed that a general gathering of missionaries from all Christian denominational traditions convene every 10 years at Cape Town, South Africa, starting in 1810. However, the idea was dismissed by Andrew Fuller, the secretary of the Baptist Missionary Society, as "one of the pleasing dreams." (3)

When the Edinburgh World Missionary Conference was held in 1910, the "pleasing dream" of William Carev had been realized. Thus, the Edinburgh 1910 World Missionary Conference became the precursor to the ecumenical era of the 20th century. The Edinburgh Conference was held because of the active interdenominational cooperation between missionaries from various denominations and mission societies.

Ecumenical Engagement of the Presbyterian Church of Korea

Many pastors of the local church, seminary professors and students, and field missionaries of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) participated in the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) (in Busan, Korea, in 2013. In fact, they were strongly encouraged and motivated to attend the assembly by the PCK to communicate and interact with church leaders from various denominational affiliations.

I was privileged to participate in the third congress on world evangelization of the Lausanne Movement (Cape Town) in October 2010. I attended the WCC Busan Assembly in 2013 as well. Also, I had the opportunity to participate in the subsequent WCC-CWME (Commission on World Mission and Evangelism) gathering held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, in October 2014 to explore the in-depth application of Together towards Life: Mission and Hvangelism in (.hanging landscapes (TTL) in the diverse context of member churches and the mission community. Furthermore, I attended the second CWME consultation in Matanzas, Cuba, from 11-15 September 2016 to share the means and methodologies for the practical application of TTL in the Korean context.

The GETI and KETI Programs

During the WCC Busan general assembly session, the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI) (4) was offered to 150 young theology seminary students of the global churches. The GETI program included approximately 20 slots for Korean theology' students to widen the ecumenical understanding of the younger generations. …

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