Saturday, 4 May 2013

Korea 2 - Friday 3 May

Busy day! Today's sessions were held in the main lecture theatre at the university. This brought happy memories for me. I preached here on my last visit to Korea to 1200 students.
The first address today was by Prof Yonggu Park of Chongshin university who spoke movingly about the great Korean revival 1901-1910. This was a defining period in the Korean church.

The second address was given by Prof Dongmin Chang of Baeksoek University.
He is a direct descendant of the subject of his address, Dr HyungNong Park, 1897-1978, who was one of the most important and influential figures in the Presbyterian church in Korea. He was a contemporary of Dr J. Gresham Machen in the USA, and like him he led a movement against the influx of Liberal theology which had introduced a flawed view of Scripture opposed to the Reformed view of the Bible as the inspired word of God.

We then heard Prof Jerry Pillay, President of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, who adressed the gathering on Revival and Unity of Reformed Churches: how to deal with this Challenge. Prof Pillay's paper emphasised the importance of unity in the Reformed Faith, but did this with a view to engagement in mission, justice and social ministry.

Getting as much as possible into the morning session we had a fourth address! Phew! Not even a break for coffee! Not even a Lewis communion packs as much into three hours! Prof Giho Park spoke about the Missionary Movement of the Korean Church. With thousands of missionaries already in places throughout the world the aim of the Presbyterian Church of Korea is to have 100,000 missionaries in various fields by 2040! Mission is such a great emphasis with this church and one of the benefits of being here is to get a feel for their passion for mission as well as other important facets of being a gospel church in today's world.
From 11.50-12.30  we joined with the students for worship. Wonderful singing! Rev Andrew McGowan, Professor of Theology in the University of the Highlands and Islands, preached on Union with Christ from Romans 6.
We had lunch at a Korean restaurant close to the university. It was good to share a table with Dr Joseph Pipa, Greenville Theological Seminary, USA, Rev Changwon Shu and Prof Jeffrey Jue. Dr Pipa has the distinction of having been to Lewis, and Dr Jue of having attended Bon Accord Free Church while a student in that city during Rev Iver Martin's ministry there!

After lunch we had the first set of lectures, as distinct from the main addresses mentioned above, took place, from 1.50-2.50pm. There were 6 lectures in total, all held at the same time in separate seminar rooms, so obviously we had to choose which one we wanted to hear. I attended one given by Prof Johan Buitendag, University of Pretoria, South Africa. His lecture was called The Dialogue between Theology and Science and the Orthodoxy's Notion of the Fall. The room was packed with students. Mmmm, must confess I had a bit of a problem staying awake! Choosing a lecture with lots of philosophical ideas after lunch was not such a good idea!

Another session with everyone together from 3-4.30pm, heard addresses from Prof Jeffrey Jue of Westminster Theological Seminary, USA and Prof Bruce Baugus, Reformed Theological Seminary, USA. Prof Jue's paper was Reformed Theology for a Global Church in the Twenty First Century. Prof Baugus spoke on Presbyterianism Now, The Urgency of Church Polity in the Mission to China and the World. Both these papers were excellent.
Dinner was at followed by a much looked forward to concert. This was the first ever public concert in this new music hall. Very enjoyable if you like classical music.

We got back to the hotel at 9pm, and jet-lag is all too obvious. I have serious doubts about my ability to be at the the first item in the morning, because we are to have a wake-up call at 4.30am so that we can attend an early morning prayer meeting at 5.30am! I'm making no promises!

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