Korean-American New Calvinism and Reformation of Korea

April 2, 2013

Christianity is like a divine flame that the winds of history have been unable to blow out. Christendom, however, is never sustainable. Korea, i believe, is fast approaching the state of post-Christendom,. The youths are allured by external beauty, and the church has been more concerned with building up monolithic churches rather than speaking into the culture.

Across the Pacific, Korean-Americans have along with the Christianity at large, have either embraced or were challenged by New Calvinism. With this rediscovery of our theological heritage, the faith of our grandfathers, we were able to speak into, both critique and affirm the churches our parents, the first generation, has established.

But does this rediscovery create a positive obligation to reform the churches in Korea? Or do church in Korea already possess all that New Calvinism identifies as what distinguishes it from Old Calvinism? Korean churches are already known for being missional and being spirit-filled (with the exception of the most conservative churches in Korea).

Perhaps the churches are not so good at working outside of denominational lines; the problem is that the denomination lines are not drawn at all or are drawn institutionally instead of theologically. This then should be the first input New Calvinism can have in Korean churches, that theological beliefs matter. Korea’s cultural and national urge for unity may have over time blunted the theological rigor. New Calvinism, then, should challenge the Korean churches to take theology seriously, to define what it believes.

From theological beliefs, then New Calvinism can speak into the culture. The failure of the Korean church to speak into the secular culture stemmed largely from, I believe, its lack of theological rigor. Otherwise, the Christian’s opinion remains mere personal opinions.

Perhaps the fire will not be rekindled in Korea. But for Korean-Americans, who are heading back to Korea amid the tough job market, they do have a positive obligation to reform. And may the winds of the Spirit blow through them anew.

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