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1999 COMMON STATEMENT OF THE COUNCIL OF PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES IN KOREA.

PRESENTED IN COMMEMORATION OF THE KOREAN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH WEEK

We are now on the threshold of a new century, a new millennium. While we have expectations and hopes for the new era, at the same time, we are faced with anxiety and confusion about the era to come. Even as we speak, the world is tom by big or small wars, such as the crisis in Kosovo.

Economic globalization, based on neo-liberalism, enlarges mammonism in our whole lives and causes distorted value systems. Poverty, famine, diseases and diasters seriously threaten the welfare of humankind. Furthermore, God's creations are suffering from the devastation to the ecosystem. As such, we are concerned for our nation's future. Our nation, throughout the 20th century, has experienced the deprivation of national identity during Japanese colonialism, the pain of a divided land, the tragedy of war which pitted brother against brother, the oppression of military dictatorship, and the joy of development as an industrialized country. As we near the end of this century, North and South Korea are commonly suffering from a serious economic crisis. Even now, as we prepare to enter the new millennium, our pride and identity as a nation is not wholly realized because of the current reality of division, North and South, of the Korean peninsula.

However, our hope lies in the providential power of God, which governs the path of history. Our Lord, the creator, so loved the world that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to save the world from sin and suffering. He also sent us the Holy Spirit as our counsellor whom we believe is working in our practical lives throughout history. Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Rev. 21:6). We firmly believe that Jesus Christ who governs the past and the future (Heb. 13:3), will save us from the confusions and frustrations of today.

God gave us the mission to build churches and spread the gospel to the world. This gospel was incarnated in Korea during the troubled years of the late 19th century, and the Korean churches have experienced God's special grace and blessings. By the grace of God, the world has never witnessed such growth as that experienced by the Korean churches. They have taken part in both the pains and glories of Korean history and have preached the gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation of our nation. As people indebted to the gospel, we have embarked on world mission, burning with an intense passion to see the gospel proclaimed to the ends of the earth, and have attempted to achieve this task in cooperation with churches all over the world.

However the Council of Presbyterian Churches in Korea (CPCK), while faithfully carrying out its commitment for world mission and the evangelization of our nation, based on a Reformed confession and theology, has also been seriously divided. Contrary to the words in I Corinthians 1:10 which states, "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought", we confess that we have not been united under one God, one Body, one Spirit, or in one Faith (Eph. 4:4-5).

We, the Korean Presbyterian Churches, acknowledge that we are one in the Body of Christ with Christ as the Head of the church, and are now struggling to become one. Since 1983, the Korean Presbyterian Church has been continuing in its ecumenical endeavours and was able to make an historical step forward by visibly uniting the former CPCK (HanJangYon) and the Council of Presbyterian Churches (YeJangHyup), the two most prominent church bodies under the "Council of the Presbyterian Churches of Korea" in October 1998.

We firmly believe that the efforts towards unity by the Korean Presbyterian Churches will be able to provide a constructive contribution to similar endeavours being conducted around the world among the Reformed families as they seek to overcome their multiple divisions, and we also believe that God will be truly glorified and honoured through these efforts.

As we commemorate the Korean Presbyterian Church Week during this year, a year which can be called the stepping stone to the new millennium, we, through this common statement, resolve to further commit ourselves to the following tasks.

1. Recovery of spirituality

For the past century, humankind has been entrapped in worldly desires, and has turned away from God's work. The Korean Presbyterian Church pledges to carry out its mandated mission by overcoming such spiritual emptiness, thus making the new millennium an era filled with God's gracious love.

2. Preserving the peace and integrity of God's creation

Due to the past century's history of conflicts, war and destruction, and the arrogance of humankind, the integrity of God's creation has been eternally damaged. The Korean Presbyterian Church pledges to carry out its mandated mission by realizing on this earth God's love, reconciliation, service and sharing so that the integrity of God's creation may be preserved and humankind and creation may live as one.

3. An economic order based on faith

The Korean Presbyterian Church, in light of the increased suffering, victimization, exclusion and marginalization of the poor by the current system of global financial systems and the trend of neo-liberalism, pledges to carry out its mandated mission by facilitating an economic order which is based on the values expressed in the Bible and Reformed confessions, which state that human economic activity is a gift from God for the establishment on this earth of a just economic system which seeks the sharing, solidarity and preservation of all creation.

4. Korean reunification

The Koran Presbyterian Church humbly acknowledges that the pains of war and division are truly a direct result of our nation's sins. The Korean Presbyterian Church pledges to carry out its mandated mission by healing the wounds and wiping away the tears of the past, and by guiding the nation to a new era of autonomy, peace and unity, ultimately contributing to world peace.

5. World mission

We reconfirm that the Great Commission to "go and make disciples of all nations and teach them to obey everything I have commanded of you" (Matthew 28:20) is our missionary vocation for the new millennium. We realize that world mission is fulfilled not by gold or silver, but by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, we pledge to cooperate with churches all over the world in unity to carry Out this holy calling.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

Amen.

May 23, 1999

Rev. Yu, Eui-woong

Chairperson, CPCK
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Publication:International Review of Mission
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Apr 1, 2000
Words:1124
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