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: http://www.newsnjoy.or.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=211795

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