Kukmin Daily Newsletter (Issue 12)

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Kukmin Daily Newsletter (Issue 12)

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Kukmin Daily Newsletter
Issue 12
September 20, 2019
Seoul, Korea

Greetings from Seoul!

We’ve just celebrated the Chuseok holidays, Korea’s traditional “harvest moon festival.” Some Korean churches observe Thanksgiving Sunday near the time of Chuseok, since late November is long after the harvest season in Korea. This issue of the Newsletter includes an example of how Bible meditation can be combined creatively with new communication technology; reports on the publication of two thought-provoking new books; and shares other articles that were enjoyed by our Korean readers.

Drawings on a cellphone communicate the Word

Photo by senior reporter Kang Min Seok

The work space used by Seoul Bitgeurim Church Pastor Seo Jeong-nam (photo) is a 7.5 ㎝ x 10 ㎝ cell phone. Each day, she meditates on the Word for inspiration, which she expresses in the form of a pen-drawing on her Galaxy Note 5, and then sends via Kakao Talk to several hundred acquaintances. She is a “phone illustrator,” an unfamiliar term. A graduate of the Western Painting Department of Sungshin Women’s University, she was a late entrant to the Divinity School at Methodist Theological University, and was ordained two years ago.

“Starting in 2015, I would meditate on a chapter of the Bible, and then paint a sacred picture that wove together God’s Word with things that had been burdening me. Thinking about how to communicate the Gospel easily, as if seated at someone’s side, I decided to do smart-phone drawing,” Rev. Seo said. “When you advise people to read the Bible, they don’t respond very well, but if you show them a picture and a short meditation, they tend to understand and accept easily, as if hearing a confession. I hope this can be a tool for understanding God, though it’s just a picture the size of your palm and a brief sentence… I want to offer my works to churches that can use them for inclusion in bulletins, envelopes, evangelizing materials, videos, etc. I’d also like to open a sacred illustration class.”

“Future of Christology” concludes 3-part series by theologian Kim Dong-Kun

A new book by Prof. Kim Dong-Kun (photo, with book cover in lower left corner) of Youngnam Theological University and Seminary, “The Future of Christology: Jesus Christ for a Global Age,” has come out in the USA and the UK, published jointly by Fortress Press and Lexington Books. It is the third and final volume of Prof. Kim’s “three-part Christology,” the first two being “Jesus: Proclamation and Uniqueness,” and “The History of Christology: From Apostolic Fathers to Modern Theologians” (both published by the Christian Literature Society of Korea). Kim said on August 18, “The book’s theme, ‘future of Christology,’ deals with a Christology inclusive of the cosmos as well as of today’s formal theology. Since it presents various new theories and typologies, I decided to publish it in English first, to introduce it to world theological circles and readers as well.”

Transcending the boundaries of a Christology focused on humanity and history, the book treats 12 kinds of theological themes that contemporary Christology faces or will face in future, such as a cosmic Christology that encompasses ecology and cosmos, scientific determinism, soteriology (doctrine of salvation), and others. In particular, it presents a new type of Christology that harmonizes the cosmic Christ and the historical Jesus. “This type, which considers nature and cosmos as the crux, in harmony with the personhood of Christ, has assumed all the strong points of cosmic Christology and of the historical Jesus,” Kim said. “I expect it will be an important theory for Christology in mediating with the coming era.”

The Korean edition of the book will be published by the Christian Literature Society of Korea at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year.

Those who fall for cults are already dissatisfied with church life

Rev. Jang Un-cheol, a media figure recognized as an expert on cults, recently authored a book uncovering the false doctrines of Shincheonji. The book, “Full Analysis of Shincheonji’s ‘True’ Book of Revelation,” was published by Christian Portal News. “The actual reason behind Korean church members’ going over to Shincheonji is due not so much to Shincheonji’s skillful use of false propaganda, as to the condition of those church members’ minds, which is that they do not enjoy going to church and are thinking about leaving,” Jang explained. “Consulting with cult victims, we have confirmed that they have problems with their families or churches… “The problem ultimately is not that Shincheonji actively pursues church members, but that believers who are ready to succumb to a cult, happen to meet Shincheonji members within the church.” The book concludes with a demand for repentance by Shincheonji leader Lee Man-hui, who has honored himself rather than God and seated himself in Jesus’ place, resulting in the destruction of many people’s lives.

International Justice Mission: Restoring law to protect the poor from violence

Photo by intern reporter Zysu Song

Established in 1997, International Justice Mission (IJM) is an organization that helps people in extreme poverty who are living like slaves due to human trafficking, forced prostitution and violence. This past August 16, Kukmin Daily met IJM CEO and founder Gary Haugen (photo) at the IFC building in Yeouido, Seoul.

Haugen said, “IJM is protecting poor people from violence. Many people think poverty is caused by lack of education, laziness or disease, but they don’t realize that poverty also results from exposure to violence. Around the world, two billion people are living on less than two dollars a day, and are being exposed to violence in the absence of functioning laws. Just as medical missionaries have worked to cure visible diseases while communicating the Gospel, IJM’s role is the curing of “social diseases” that produce violence and permanent poverty in situations where the law has disappeared.” He explained, “Typical cases where poverty and violence are connected are sexual abuse, human trafficking, police abuse of authority, and illegal land seizures… In order to help those who lack legal protection, IJM cooperates with related national governments and local communities to get the laws functioning effectively.” An estimated 40 million persons worldwide are living lives of slavery due to human trafficking, forced prostitution or other injustices.

Plans are under way for a Korean branch of IJM, to be established at the end of this year.

Korean Bolivian pastor nominated as presidential candidate in Bolivia

Rev. Chung Chi-hyun (second from right) and his father Rev. Chung Eun-shil (third right) at a recent ordination ceremony held at UCEBOL. Photo provided by Rev. Chung Chi-hyun.

Korean Bolivian Pastor Chung Chi-hyun was a reconciler of conflict within Bolivia’s Christian Democratic Party (PDC), and became the party’s presidential candidate. He is the first person of Korean descent to run for national presidential office outside of Korea, and has asked the Korean churches for their prayers. In a phone conversation with Kukmin Daily on September 5, Rev. Chung said, “The PDC went through the nomination process, and has confirmed me as its candidate… The present ruling party and government are using the Amazon fires as an excuse to try to postpone the October 20 elections, but due to popular resistance that will be difficult.” Chung was born in Korea, but in 1982, at the age of 12, he settled in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, with his missionary father, Dr. Chung Eun-shil (now 82). Chung, the father, sent as a missionary by the Department of Worldwide Mission Ministry of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK Tonghap), founded the Christian University of Bolivia (UCEBOL) and is its current administrator. Rev. Chung, his son, majored in medicine at Bolivia’s San Francisco Xavier University and is a surgeon.

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