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That They All May Hear

Introduction:

            The author of this book”That They All May Hear” is Professor of ‘Graduate School of Mission in Chongshin Christian University’ and Pastor of ‘World Vision Community Church’, Korea. His name is Chung Byung Kwan.

Comments:

            In this book the writer said, today a crisis in Christian communication affects the entire world. The crisis manifests itself in churches being overly concerned with their own institutions, their own theology, and own mission. Crisis of Christian communication causes many problems in world mission too. We are shocked to hear that somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0 billion people are presently beyond the direct witness of the church and yet to be reached effectively with the Gospel, in spite of communicational works of innumerable missionaries for about two thousand years. Evidently, our churches need to face the sobering reality of mission in both world and local context. Some look to Korea as a kind of miraculous field of mission and church growth, but this can be misleading. S the 1990s drew near, Korean church growth waned. In this sense, the 1990s are labeled “the era of crisis of Christian communication.” Numerous Christians are being nominalized. For many years, external growth has led the Korean church to believe that it was a complete success. So the crisis of this moment and looming in the future is shocking.

            He said our obligation is to attract the attention of the Korean people, who are losing the vision toward the Kingdom, and convey our intended message in such a way as to communicate the relevance of the Word of God. Researching church history in Korea confirms that the Korean church has experienced explosive quantitative growth. About thirty percent of the population is Christian. Considering its relatively short history of only one hundred years, the Korean church is indeed a miraculous event. One significant reason for this is that the Korean church at one time communicated appropriately with Korean society and people. The church had communicational adaptability and balance in a multi-dimensional approach. In others words, the communication of the Korean church was effectively receptor-oriented and contextualized. However, the Korean church today faces a moral and spiritual imperative. It must somehow resurrect meaningful Christian communication and thereby encourage healthy church growth. The church has especially failed its young people. For many years, the external quantitative growth indicated to the Korean church that it was a permanent success, so it ignored the dangers to come when communication with the young people would break down in the 1990s. In 1980s many younger people are leaving the church. The main reason for this is in the rise of the different theologies of mission within the Korean churches since the 1950s. These different theologies have caused antithetical problems in the Korean church: church growth without social credibility versus mission without conversion to Christ. Different theologies of mission on the Korean church influence communication with the younger generation. Different or antithetical theologies produce two kinds of communicational patterns in response to changes society—its social structure and worldview.

            We always need to review our mission lest it fail to communicate true faith. The leaders in the next century will be young people who have grown up in a social, cultural, political and economic environment radically different from their parents. Individual and social issues of the young are to be distinguished from the older generations. The Korean church is rife with social and spiritual problems easily perceived by the young people. He specially studies around the younger generation as people between the ages of twenty-five through thirty-nine.  In Korea, people at age twenty-five are generally recognized as adults. These ages group of people are postbellum generation, because they have not experienced the war which held in 1950. They all have been raised during the transitional period from the ‘older’ society to the rapidly growing modern society, which resulted from the miraculous economic growth after the Korean War. They are the first generation to have received the various benefits of economic growth. The Korean church is markedly losing its members in the same ages groups. It is failing to evangelize new people of this age group.  A marked percentage of the young people who have attended church are leaving it as they reach their mid-twenties, and as they become active adults in society. This is in spite of the external growth of the Korean growth. The Korean church today is failing to communicate with the younger generation. Enjoying quantitative growth, the church has sacrificed genuine Christian growth. In comparison with the past, credible and efficient Christian communication with the younger generation today is much more complex, and urgently demands an adapted mission approach.

            For effective communication with the younger generation in Korean context theology needs to be more integrative and multi-dimensional. This situation also calls for involvement of individuals and communities as well as society, with soul and body, in the present for the future. A renewed theology does not point to mere absorption of the church into the world’s new era, but rather to discovering new methods of approach in communicating with the younger generation. The Korean church must decide on whether the next century will be rife with danger or be a fulfillment of prophetic opportunity. The mission of the church needs to be renewed constantly. In believe that the crisis of the Korean church is not the devil’s doing, but the challenge of God in order to renew the Korean church, and recovering the whole Gospel in Korea.

Application:

In this book the writer talked about the problems among the young generation in Korea, and he discussed many issues and give good strategies to overcome the problems. The author employs historical, sociological and communicational research with statistical analysis for the evaluation and suggestion urgently needed for effective Christian communication in Korea.  The author also introduces a receptor-oriented missiology for effectively communication in the Korean church, with emphasis on the younger people in their context. In this endeavor, the author has attempted a dialogue with the younger generation in Korea. The dialogue leads to a receptor-oriented contextual theology of mission. The author points out that the crisis of communication in the Korean church actually represents a mission opportunity.

Through the understanding of this book, I think in order to effectively communicate with the younger generation; the Korean church should indeed be faithful to the whole Gospel and to the fullness of our Lord Jesus Christ toward the world to which God has sent us. I also think through effective mission, the Korean church will be able to inspire the younger generation to see the billions who have yet to hear the good news of salvation and to commit their real lives to the Lord in multi-dimensional, and will also be able to rid themselves, the church community and the structure of society of much ‘evil’ and ‘injustice’ through prophetic courage, insight, and action. Today’s Korea is more crowded, complicated, and captive than it has ever been. But never before have Christians been in a better position than they are today to do something about this need.

Bibliography:

That They All May Hear “A Case for Receptor-Oriented Contextual Communication with the Younger Generation in Korea” by Prof. Byung K. Chung, printed from Institute of Christian Culture, Seoul, Korea.

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