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.

2017.07.03

The Presbyterian Church of Korea Association of Women Pastors

 

The original can be found at http://www.newsnjoy.or.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=211937

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