An Evolving Train Wreck and Debacle, Pt. 6 : Aren’t You Folks Telegraphing This Just A Bit?

As I noted before, things have proceeded with some speed in this evolving psychodrama, even to the point where I’ve decided that it’s time for me to take some action on this (you’ll see more below). However, I’ve skipped the events surrounding the 18th Korea Queer Culture Festival – which I will be writing on, I promise(!) – to get to the next important installment.

As you will read, the joint witch-hunti – er, excuse, joint heresy investigation committee (the first one does sound more appropriate, doesn’t it?) met to conduct their ‘investigat’tion’ (if you can call it that!). Strange, though – they saw fit to issue this report to a news service which was likely favorable to them (the Kookmin Daily, a conservative news service) but didn’t send it to others, like Newsnjoy, where most of my articles have come from, or to the Rev Borah Lim herself! What’s that all about?! Playing to the gallery? Preaching to the choir? Gathering the wagons? I guess you can figure that out!

Anyway, here’s my rough translation:

Pastor Borah Lim – A False Theology of Salvation

A heresy investigation committee of 8 major denominations meet on the 20th to determine the heresy of Pastor Lim

Posted 2017.07.21/Last amended 2017.07.27

On the 20th, the joint heresy investigation committee, made up of representatives of eight Korean church denominations, met at the headquarters of Korean Christian Methodist Church (Sejong University) in Jongno-gu, Seoul to examine the heresy of the Rev Lim Borah.

The chairmen are planning to report at the end of each denomination’s synod meeting in September as soon as the joint heresy investigation is over.

On this day, five Presbyterian Churches of Korea (GAPCK – Hap Dong, TongHap, Daesin, Kosin, Hapsin), as well as the Methodist Church of Korea, the Evangelical Holiness Church of Korea, and the Korea Baptist Convention, who make up the heresy investigation committee, pointed out that Pastor Lim is promoting a wrong theology and soteriology[1]. They also determined she makes anti-biblical claims which defend an incorrect family system, and is attacking orthodox churches and theology.

They said, “Pastor Lim asserts that homosexuality is biblical because God mistakenly puts a variety of sexual identities on humanity, and that the Bible does not forbid homosexuality.”

They added, ‘She argues that homosexuality is not the cause of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, since the prohibition is not against homosexuality but improper sex’; consequently, ‘she argues that claiming homosexuality is sinful is the product of a society centered on heterosexuality’.


On the 20th, the joint heresy investigation committee, made up of representatives of eight Korean church denominations, met at the headquarters of Korean Christian Methodist Church (Sejong University) in Jongno-gu, Seoul to examine the heresy of the Rev Lim Borah. (Photo from the Kookmin Daily)


The members of the heresy investigation committee analyzed the problems of soteriology and an incorrect family system, and took the position that they posed problems with the Pastor Lim’s criticism of orthodox churches and theology.

The members of the committee said ‘Pastor Lim insists on a pluralistic soteriology by distorting God’s word about sin and judgment’ and that ‘Justifying a same-sex marriage family system justifies the wrong family system, and this is a concern that it will develop into a logic that justifies not discriminating against polygamy or incest.’

They added ‘Pastor Lim criticizes the orthodox Christian stance against homosexuality as being based on a literal interpretation of the Bible and that its understanding of human rights is superficial, ignorant, and based on prejudice’; thus ‘She argues that the orthodox church is distorting the Gospel and should repent.’

The committee stated ‘Because of this heresy, Pastor Lim is encouraging homosexuality and is participating in queer festivals to pray for and bless homosexuals, rather than calling on them to repent and return.’

If the report of the joint heresy investigation committee is adopted, the Assemblies of God Korea (excluding the Full Gospel Church, Youido) will also confirm the heresy of the Rev Lim.

The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea Association of Women Pastors (PROK-AWP), of which Pastor Lim is a member, issued a statement on the 3rd, saying, ‘Pastor Lim has been a pastor who has worked hard to build up the family, church, and society properly’, and urged a halt to the heresy investigation, ‘Do not automatically brand the expression of one’s freedom of conscience and one’s love for the weak as heresy.’

Reporter: Baek Sang-hyun

The original article can be found at

A Final Request:

I hope that you share my sense of disgust at the actions instigated by the General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in Korea (GAPCK). This denomination has decided, on their own volition, to subject a minister of another denomination, over whom they have no disciplinary or pastoral authority, to an investigation for doctrinal error, over an issue on which many Christians disagree, but which is not a central doctrine of the Christian faith.

However, the GAPCK has convinced the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK – the TongHap Church) to be part of this endeavor. This denomination is part of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). In Article IV of the WCRC Constitution (Values), it clearly states:

The World Communion of Reformed Churches in its order and actions is called to respect, defend, and advance the dignity of every person. In Jesus Christ all human differences must lose their power to divide. No one shall be disadvantaged for, among other reasons, race, ethnicity, or gender, and no individual or church may claim or exercise dominance over another. (my emphasis)

As I read it (at least), the GAPCK, through instigating these actions, is encouraging churches to exercise dominion over other churches. Therefore, it is appropriate and necessary that international pressure be brought to bear on the GAPCK.

With this in mind, I have posted a petition on the petition website, It has already gained many signatures, for which I’m grateful. However, if you have not seen it yet, I would ask you to take a look and consider signing it. You can find it at:

Thank you.

[1] Soteriology is one’s theology of salvation – how one is ‘saved’, so to speak.


An Evolving Train Wreck and Debacle, Pt. 5.: The Strength of Women

My publishing of these article translations is picking up apace, mainly because there have been recent developments on the ground which deserve your attention, Gentle Reader. Nonetheless, I do believe it’s also important to put this process in the order of its chronological development. Therefore, the latest instalment.


I made a mistake when I originally put this translation out into the online world, so I express my gratitude to the person who corrected me on this, and gratitude for the chance to publish this correction. This statement of support came from the Association of Women Pastors within the Presbyterian Church of Korea. As often happens, it’s the women who ‘cut to the chase’ and name the real issues which need addressing in many of these more conservative churches.


What was it I heard Peter Seeger say in an interview for Democracy Now? ‘It’s women, working together with children, who will bring change’. Yep. Please read on:


The Investigation of the Rev Lim Bora Should Stop Immediately

National Women Pastors’ Association makes statement of declaration

Lee Eun-hye, Reporter, NewsnJoy, 2017.07.04

The Presbyterian Church of Korea Association of Women Pastors (Kim Song Hee, chair), issued a statement on July 3 calling for the investigation of heresy aimed at the Rev Imbora, a pastor of the same denomination, to be stopped.

On June 16,the General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in Korea (GPACK, Kim Sun-kyu, Moderator), said they would investigate the Rev Lim Bora for heresy because she advocates homosexual human rights and is preparing to publish the Queer Bible Commentary. Other Korean churches also agreed with the GAPCK. On June 27, they said they would join the investigation of the Rev Lim Bora for heresy.

The statement of the PROK-AWP was addressed to the chairperson of the committee who opened the heresy investigation. It said that before ordering the investigation of ministers from other denominations for ‘heresy’, the other churches should concentrate first on investigating sex crimes within their own ranks. The statement read, ‘They do not recognize the ordination of women but continue anachronistic sexist discrimination, so it is recommended that the ministers of these joint denominations first look at the beams in their own eyes before looking for the specks of dust in other people’s eyes.’

Here is the full statement:

We Urge You to Stop the Investigation of the Rev Lim Bora for Heresy Immediately!

‘…(may Christ) dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Recently, the General Assembly of Korean Presbyterian Churches (GAPCK) sent a letter to a pastor of our denomination, the Rev Lim Bora, entitled ‘Request for information on heretical thought research’. We must deeply lament that you are investigating the Rev Lim Bora for heresy based on the issues of protection of sexual minority human rights and a translation of the Queer Bible Commentary by a committee of the Presbyterian Church. In the past, we remember that when medieval churches were shaken by famine, pests, etc., many women were forced to confess to being witches and burned for sacrifice. Stop this modern witch hunt.

We cannot help asking what kind of qualifications the GAPCK has to carry out this investigation and whether it is a proper focus of its ministry. Theological interpretation and ethical value judgments require dialogue and discussion. You should not drive a unilateral witch hunt. In 1952, the church condemned the Rev Kim Jae-joon for heresy, but in 2016, the TongHap church withdrew its judgment  and asked for reconciliation in brotherhood. Yet, at this time. At the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the GAPCK is in a position to declare a pastor a heretic. If there is a problem with her, it is clear that it is our duty to investigate in our denomination, and not to be investigated by other denominations.

First, solve sexual violence and sexual harassment problems in your denomination.

Recently, the chair of the joint investigating committee closed the investigation of a former pastor who has been convicted in court for sexual harassment. Was that it? You have misinterpreted the words ‘women should keep quiet in the church’ and continue sexually discriminatory and anachronistic statements such as ‘pad-wearing women cannot stand in the pulpit’, and you do not accept the ordination of women. Stop trying to clean up the crimes of your own pastors, stop discriminating against women, and stop condemning suffering neighbors.

Before the heresy investigation, the GAPCK should deeply recognize the love of Jesus Christ and look to see if there is a limit to the love of Christ. Jesus loved the Pharisees in spite of the suffering wrought by their despair and discrimination, and even took the cross for all sinners. We are Christians who strive to preach the love of God according to Jesus Christ. Churches and pastors should strive to love all.

Should we reject those who are bound to the Lord’s love and come to Church? Should we be ignorant of our neighbors and their families who are suffering from social despair and discrimination, and instead be pointing at and condemning sinners? Can minorities and their families not be Christians and share the fellowship of the church community? We confess that it is the call of the pastor to live as a good Samaritan who reaches out to their suffering neighbors.

The Rev Lm Bora is a woman pastor who has worked hard to build up the family, the church, and society properly. Being with suffering neighbors and the marginalized is a difficult thing to suffer, but she is devoted to this in accordance with her faith and conscience. We have trusted and supported her love for God and her love for the weak through knowing her faithful pastoral ministry and life.

To the GAPCK, we say, do not unilaterally push the freedom of faith, conscience, and love for the weak into the realm of heresy. We urge once more to cease immediately the investigation for heresy of our co-worker, Bora.


The Presbyterian Church of Korea Association of Women Pastors


The original can be found at

An Evolving Train Wreck and Debacle, Pt. 4, or: Just What the @#$%&! Is This All About?!

I realize that some may be surprised if not offended by my use of a expletive, even a censored one, in my blog post. It’s not my intention to offend, I assure you.

Yet, this whole ‘investigation’ has been a rather offensive enterprise. As you will read in my rough English translation of this article, there did not seem to be unanimity among leaders of the eight denominations involved in this investigation as to what it was all about.

In the days ahead, I intend to continue publishing these rough translations a little more frequently, because things have picked up apace surrounding this issue, and the original investigating body, the GAPCK (or as I affectionately call them, ‘the JESUS Presbyterians!’), have taken even more extreme stands, and are seeking to bring in bigger groups.

So, without further ado, here you go:

‘We have not come to the conclusion of the heresy “investigation” concerning the Rev Lim Bora’

What is the idea of these 8 denominations?

Reporter Lee Yong-pil (posted 2017.06.30 16:34)

newsnjoy 20170630 1

A major denomination decided to investigate the Rev. Lim Bora (left) for heresy. Although it was reported that Lim’s homosexual advocacy was a problem, the results of the interviews were different. (Choi Seung-hyun, NewsnJoy)

‘It does not matter if you are homosexual or not. However, this person is a member of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PROK). God has said that not only is homosexuality a sin, but also to defend homosexuals and to take actions like translating the Queer Bible Commentary (QBC). This is serious. It must be clearly identified whether the Rev Lim Bora is a heretic or not.’ – The Rev Kim Jeong-nam, Moderator, General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in Korea (GPACK)

If a pastor works for minority rights, they may well be branded a heretic. Eight Christian denominations (the HapDong, DongHap, Kosin, Hapsin, and Daesin Presbyterian churches, the Methodist Church of Korea, the Evangelical Holiness Church of Korea, and the Korean Baptist Church of Korea), have jointly gathered information. It is not yet a full-fledged investigation, but if you listen to the Rev Kim Jeong-nam, moderator of the GAPCK, Rev. Im Bora is already a ‘heretic’.

The investigation of the Rev Lim’s purported heresy has been conducted by the Rev Kim Seong-kyu, chair of Korea’s largest denomination. The Rev Jin Yong-sik, chair of the joint Tribunal, has said, ‘”It is a doctrinal and biblical problem that the pastor is carries out a support movement for homosexuals and is translating the Queer Bible Commentary.’ The leaders of the other denominations also imply that Minister Lee’s homosexual advocacy is to be taken seriously.

How accurate are the Rev Jin’s claims? Newsnjoy contacted the leaders of each denomination on June 30th. The opinions of all denominational leaders except of the Methodist Council were heard. Aside from the opinion the it is necessary to investigate the Rev Lim, there was no unanimity among these leaders.

‘If she were not a pastor she would not have been investigated; if only one denomination had investigated, it would have been attacked’

newsnjoy 20170630 2

‘The main leader of the denomination has entered the heresy investigation of the Rev Lim Bora. This is because the Rev Lim has participated in homosexual advocacy and translated the Queer Bible Commentary’ (pictures are not related to article contents) (Choi Yu-ri, Newsnjoy)

The Rev Kim Jeong-man, moderator of the Presbyterian Church (Daesin) strongly condemned the Rev Lim Bora. He said, ‘A pastor who advocates homosexuality does not believe in God. (The leaders of the eight denominations involved) decided to deal with it.’ He also explained the reason for co-ordinating the heresy investigation. He added, ‘Although she belongs to another denomination, we take the matter of protecting members of the Korean church seriously. If only one denomination investigates, it can be attacked. If the eight denominations stand side by side, they will also accept the decision.’

If the Rev Kim had been an ordinary citizen, he added, there would have been no need for investigation. However, he said ‘A pastor, as servant of God and preacher, should speak God’s word correctly. Defending homosexuality is problematic. A conclusion has not yet been reached, but it can be seen through here words and actions that she is a heretic.’

The opinion was also expressed that it is impossible to compromise on the issue of homosexuality without creating other problems.  Yoo Young-kwon, moderator of the Hap-sin Presbyterian Church, said, ‘Homosexuality is not a matter of personal taste. To God it is the most terrible crime. In this matter, the Korean church should never relent.’

On the issue of why the eight denominations are working together, the Rev Yoo said, ‘If only one denomination investigates, it can be pushed to one side. When several denominations investigate together, it is possible to reduce bias and to make an objective evaluation.’ Unlike the Rev Kim Jeong-man, however, he said, ‘I do not know what the results will be.’

The Rev Yoo added, ‘I personally think that Christianity can be more compassionate and loving toward homosexuals than any other group. We need to find ways to help with homosexuality, not through agreement and consensus, but through human dignity.’

Not all the leaders’ ideas were the same. There were leaders who had not been able to sort out their positions yet. The Rev Seo Seong-gyu, leader of the Presbyterian Church (TongHap) briefly commented, ‘I have not considered this specific matter yet. It remains to be seen.’ The Rev Yoon Hyung-joon, leader of the Presbyterian Church (Kosin) responded, ‘I did not attend the meeting on the 27th. I will answer after I have thought and studied the matter, but I have no comment now.’ The leader of the Baptist church, the Rev Han Myung-kook, also said, ‘I do not know because I did not attend the meeting on that day.’

There are also some voices concerned about these eight denominations. ‘Homosexuality is a different issue from heresy’, said the Rev Kim Cheol-won, past leader of the Evangelical Holiness church, who finished his term in May of this year.

Opinions vary, but the eight denominations will continue in their investigation of the Rev Lim Bora. The Rev Kim Jeong-man said he will proceed with the hearing in July.

Although the Joint Committee of the GAPCK instigated the controversy of the investigation concerning the Rev Lim Bora, the general secretary of the denomination did not seem to be aware of this. Kim Sung-kyu, chairperson of the Joint Committee, who attended the meeting on June 29th, said, ‘I do not know about this issue because I have not received reports from the Ethics Committee.’

In answer to the criticism that the chair of the Ethics Committee is in charge of judging this case, he briefly said, ‘Individual ethics investigations and investigations of heresy over homosexuality are different matters.’ When asked whether there was a conflict with the denominations over the investigation of heresy, he replied, ‘Homosexuality should not be a source of friction between denominations.’

newsnjoy 20170630 3

The Rev Kim Jae-kyu, General Secretary of the GAPCK, was not aware of the investigation. (Lee Yong-pil, Newsnjoy)

Translated from the original at:

An Evolving Train Wreck and Debacle, Pt.3: Battle Lines Drawn

I realize you might think it inappropriate to use conflict- and war-driven imagery for the latest installment in this series, but I tell ya, it sure feels like war sometimes…

Fortunately, this article for which I’m providing a rough English translation described the first sign of public support showing for the Rev Dr Lim Bora in the wake of the decision by the GPACK to ‘investigate her’ for ‘heresy’. It came from a group of ministers of Korean heritage working in my original spiritual home, the United Church of Canada. Funnily enough, at the time when the United Church of Canada originally admitted that it was possible for gay and lesbian person to make it through the process to ordination, a Korea-Canadian (the Rev Sang-chul Lee) was Moderator at the time – interesting coincidence, that!

Anyway, I hope you read on and – well, not enjoy, but have some sense of satisfaction from being informed.

Joint statement, ministers of the United Church of Canada: ‘Stop the heresy investigation’

Criticism of the heresy investigation of the Rev Lim Bora: ‘Arrogant witch-hunting behavior’

Reporter Lee Yong-pil (posted 2017.06.26 17:44)

UCC ministers issue statement denouncing joint denominational action (Seon Hyun/NewsnJoy)

Ministers of the United Church of Canada strongly criticized the ethics committee of the General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in Korea (chair, the Rev Jin Yong-sik) for its investigation of the Rev Lim Bora (Sumdol Hyanglin Presbyterian Church) for heresy.

In a joint statement, 16 United Church of Canada ministers stated ‘It is arrogant witch-hunting behavior to investigate the Rev Lim’ and urged that the investigation cease immediately. In their June 25th statement, ‘The Christian position on sexual minorities should be established through theological reflection on the deeply spiritual Gospel of life and love, as well as through consistent, valid interpretation of the Bible and modern medical, psychological, and sociological knowledge of human sexuality. It cannot be forced through accusations of heresy.’

Through this opportunity, they hope that the Korean church and seminaries will investigate the issue of sexual minorities in more depth. The ministers stated, ‘We will work with the Rev Lim Bora, who works on behalf of minorities who suffer from discrimination and abuse.’


A statement from 16 ministers in the United Church of Canada who are worried about the heresy investigation of the General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in Korea (GAPCK) in connection with Rev. Lim Bora (Presbyterian Church of Korea – PROK)

We are ministers of different Christian backgrounds who are ministering in Korean-heritage congregations in the United Church of Canada. As a result of a long debate and theological reflection that began in the 1970s, the 32nd General Council of the United Church of Canada, held in 1988, passed a resolution that any Christian – regardless of sexual orientation – was able to become a member, as well as a minster, of the church.

Although the denominational interest in and acceptance of sexual minorities has faced controversy and resistance within and outside the denomination, it has become a major missionary asset of the United Church of Canada. In face of the reality that many people are desperate and try to commit suicide because of the discrimination against and abhorrence of sexual minority which still exists even in Canadian society, where same-sex marriage is legalized, and because of the internal conflict through is inflicted on people by this, we have concluded that, although we have a variety of Biblical interpretations, positions, and approaches, we are open-minded to learn from, communicate with, and pray for those who need pastoral care.

Having witnessed the actions of the General Assembly of Korean Presbyterian Churches in Korea (GAPCK), in response to the work of the Rev. Lim Bora (PROK) to publish a translation in Korean of the Queer Bible Commentary, to investigate her for heresy, which was already published in English, we cannot help but express great concern over this arrogant witch-hunting behavior, which goes well beyond a difference in theological views. The Christian position on sexual minorities is built on a theological interpretation of deep meditation on the gospel of life and love, as well as a consistent and valid interpretation of the Bible and modern medical, psychological, and sociological knowledge of human sexuality; it cannot be forced by one-sided accusations of heresy and intimidation.

Therefore, we demand that this so-called ‘heresy investigation investigation’ of the interdenominational joint heresy committee for the Rev Lim Bora be stopped immediately. We hope that this will be an opportunity to encourage further reflection and mature debate in each denomination and seminary in Korea.

Finally, we pledge to work with all sexual minorities who suffer hatred and discrimination, and the Rev Lim Bora, whose work has a prophetic shout in the wilderness that witnesses to the love and grace of God toward all, to invite reflection and change in the church, and to pray for glad tidings of comfort and hope for sexual minorities.

Dated: 25 June 2017


Original article in Korean can be found at: