Practical-Theological Diagnosis and Prospect for the Korean Church


Cheong, In-Gyo

한국실천신학회 신학과 실천 제17호 2008.11 pp.159-188
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The rapid growth of the Korean church in just over 100 years has been recognised as a miracle to the world church. But it is not easy to deny that behind such brilliant achievement there is also the shadow of glory and shame.
The proud heritages of the primal church in Korea are that the church came to Korea as a new hope in overcoming the lamentation over the national ruin, as a pioneer giving the new experience of western enlightenment to the Koreans and as a courier of hope to the Koreans who had suffered from the oppressive reign of Japan. During the Korean War, the church as a refuge of the soul and as a spiritual helper encouraged the Koreans in pain to rise again.
On the other hand, the Korean church was severely criticized by the society because most of the churches neglected the public responsibility of gospel. It is evident that this history of glory and shame, whether we like it or not, is the heritage and basis of the Korean church in which the church should carve the way to the future.
In this context the practical theology as a guide of the church should play a great role. As a result of the illumination, most of the Korean churches have limited its status quo to the church itself. Apart from early history, the Korean church concentrated only on mission work through social welfare, education or relief efforts. Most churches went through in silence when dealing with the violations of human rights and anti-democratic attitude of the military dictatorship. This behavior of the church was based primarily on the conservative theology that proclaims the reason of existence of the church is to worship God and the christian is the first object of the ministry; this attitude of the church was seen by non-christian as a church of 'enthistorisierung' and a group just seeking self-welfare which isolated the church from society. Concerning the subject of ministry, the Korean church has been centered for a long time on the pastor; the Korean church did not have enough time to develop a strong religious education system for the pastors. Concerning the structure of the Korean church, the Korean church generally seems to belong to personal-individual christianity and church-centered christianity viewpoints. Most of the churches are experiencing the decrease or stalemate in number of churchgoers especially children and young people. To escape from this crisis, the Korean church must change the leadership of the authoritative-hierarchial- priestridden type of church to one of the democratic- participant- cooperative, use various methods concerning the praxis of the church, overcome the denominationalism and egoism of the local church and reform the worship and preaching


I. Introduction
 Ⅱ. Reminiscence and Diagnose
  1. The two presupposing characteristics of the Korean church
  2. Practical-theological Diagnosis of the Korean church
 Ⅲ. Perspective and Suggestion
 Ⅳ. Conclusion


  • Cheong, In-Gyo Associate Professor of Seoul Theological University


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