Envisioning a gospel-driven Korean Methodist ecclesiology: a constructive homiletical theological proposal
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AbstractThis dissertation is a homiletical-theological response to the current ecclesial identity crisis of the Korean Methodist Church (KMC) that stems from the ongoing influences of U.S. imperialism and neo-colonialism. The ecclesial identity of the KMC has been colonized in many aspects, and the decolonization of its self-understanding and ecclesial practices is a pivotal task for the renewal of the church. This dissertation attempts to construct a Korean Methodist ecclesiology in the postcolonial context of a divided Korea through and for the practice of preaching.
The understanding of the church and the practice of preaching mutually shape one another. Thus, the renewal of preaching can be a way to renew the ecclesial identity of the KMC. By reconfiguring Edward Farley’s influential understanding of theologia and the emerging discourse of homiletical theology, this dissertation offers a contextual, homiletical-theological approach to attend to the intersection of ecclesiology and preaching, which is the theology of the gospel. The gospel of reconciliation as a contextual gospel in postcolonial Korea is the center of the ecclesial identity of the KMC. It also functions as a guiding principle for my ecclesiological discussions of John Wesley, the Korean Non-Church movement, Minjung Church, and Miroslav Volf into a contextual, gospel-driven Korean Methodist ecclesiology.
After offering an understanding of a gospel-driven Korean Methodist ecclesiology, the dissertation provides a homiletical method for reconciling preaching in dialogue with conversational approaches and postcolonial approaches to preaching in North American homiletics. Reconciling preaching refers to both sermonic movements and the process of sermonic dialogue and ongoing ecclesial conversation in a church. Reconciling preaching has a three-fold movement: a dialogical movement, a prophetic movement, and a healing movement. These rhetorical movements intend to create an ecclesial version of Homi Bhabha’s Third Space in which people can renegotiate their identities in relation to God and others and can reimagine a new way of being God’s people and a church in light of the eschatological fulfillment of God’s final reconciliation. This dissertation offers a practical theological method of decolonizing and renewing the ecclesial identity of the KMC through a homiletical theological reflection and a concrete homiletic method.