The year 2017 celebrated the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation. How can the spirit of the Reformation be restored in the Church of Korea which has become secularized and lost its life? The Reformation inspires us to return to the fundamentals of the gospel. We are going to look at the direction that a contemporary Reformation will need to go through an examination of what the whole gospel means.
DEFINITION OF THE WHOLE GOSPEL
The whole gospel does not mean to emphasize a particular section of the gospel, but includes all the contents of the gospel as recorded in the Scripture. So what is the gospel?
- Firstly, the whole of the Bible conveys the whole good news. God has revealed himself through the complex phenomenon of the Canon of Scripture. The gospel is to affect every dimension of creation, for it has all been ravaged by sin and evil.
- The gospel announces as good news the historical events of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (1 Cor 15:1-4). The gospel is the unchanging account of what God has done to save the world, supremely through the life, death, resurrection, and reign of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the good news in Christ.
- The gospel includes the good news to restore life to the people through the power of the Holy Spirit who performs miraculous healing, does miracles, and casts out demons (Lk 4:14,19; Ac 10:38).
- The gospel produces a redeemed and regenerated humanity, a single, unified family of God. It brings about the restoration of a community of love through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. This is not merely a by-product but lies at the very heart of the gospel itself (Eph 3:6).
- The gospel is a message of the ethical transformation and justice. The radical change of one’s life accompanies true faith. The gospel is not just to be believed, but obeyed. The gospel is intrinsically ethical, a matter of obedience not just belief (1 Pe 4:17).
- The gospel is the display of God’s transforming power on the universe. The gospel is the power of God at work in history and creation to bring redemption. The gospel is the saving power of God that is transforming history and redeeming creation.
- The gospel is to be proclaimed. It is to be preached to all nations, for they are included in God’s promise to Abraham.
Therefore The Cape Town Commitment states, “We love the whole gospel.” Jesus’ ministry contained every piece of the whole gospel. He preached the gospel as the Word of God, worked in the power of the Holy Spirit, he became the head of the church community, he endeavored for justice for the poor, and he worked as a missionary preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. Therefore, the whole gospel is summed up as the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, church as community, social justice, and missions. With this, as background, we are going to examine what a contemporary Reformation will look like.
THE WORD OF GOD
The Word of God is the foundation of and final authority on all faith and practice. The Word of God is both the basis and the starting point of the whole gospel. The Bible takes precedence over church tradition, personal experience, and an individual’s vision. The church of Korea, which was founded on Calvinistic traditions including Sola scriptura, considers the Word of God as precious and of sound heritage.
Sola scriptura sees no other source as having the same authority as the Bible. Only the Bible is infallible. In this view, all secondary sources of authority are derived from the authority of the Scriptures and, therefore are subject to conform to the teachings of the Bible. The intention of the Reformation was to correct the errors of the Catholic Church by appealing to the uniqueness of the Bible’s textual authority. The Catholic doctrine comes from a mixture of Church tradition and Scripture. Sola scriptura meant rejecting the view that the interpretation of the Magisterium of Scripture and Church tradition was infallible. Luther elaborates:
The Holy Scripture is the queen which must rule over all and to which all must submit and obey. No one, no matter who he may be, is allowed to be the master and judge of the Scripture, rather all must be its witnesses, disciples, and confessors. The Scripture validates itself… The church’s decision is never under any circumstances an authority standing above the word of God but only beneath it. It is not the church which authorizes the Scripture, but quite the contrary: the Scripture validates the Church… The gospel is not believed because the church confirms it, but because one recognizes that it is God’s word.
Calvin also criticized the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, the Church’s council, and the dogmatic Bible interpretation of the pope:
A most pernicious error has very generally prevailed that Scripture is of importance only in so far as conceded to it by the suffrage of the Church; as if the eternal and inviolable truth of God could depend on the will of men… On the determination of the Church, therefore, it is said, depend both the reverence which is due to Scripture and the books which are to be admitted into the canon… Paul testifies that the Church is “built on the foundation of the apostle and prophets” (Eph 2:20). If the doctrine of the apostle and prophets is the foundation of the Church, the former must have had its certainty before the latter began to exist.
In the view of Calvin, the Bible did not originate from men but is from God and makes us submissive beyond men’s reason and experience. It makes us wrestle with the secular ideology and ecclesiastical authority that challenge the authority of the Bible.
Today the authority of the Bible is threatened by those with liberal and syncretistic dispositions. The statement of faith and founding papers of World Council of Churches declare,
We are not to regard the Bible primarily as a standard to which we must confirm in all questions arising in our life… The Bible is not a norm imposed on us from outside… The Bible is not a patrimony from which we are free to select at will, nor is it just one source of inspiration among many.
They view the authority of the Bible not as due to its inspiration but from the influence it holds in society. Consequently, they do not view the Bible as a norm for the faith and life.
The church of Korea on the whole firmly maintains the doctrine of the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. Nevertheless, it’s weaknesses lie in the practice of the Word of God. The Korean church needs to thoroughly obey the Word of God by bringing it into practice in their lives. The urgent and serious problem of the contemporary church is orthopraxis which means to radically obey the Word of God and practice it in one’s daily life rather than orthodoxy which refers to the belief in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. The first element of the whole gospel is to believe the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and to thoroughly obey it.
THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:18), by the Jordan river, received the baptism of and was filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 3:21-22; 4:1), after forty days of prayer and fasting, Jesus received the power of the Holy Spirit (Lk 4:14, 19; Ac 10:38) and did all of his public ministry of teaching, healing the sick, casting out demons, and performing miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that his disciples would receive this power and commanded them to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth only after they had received the power which comes on high (Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4-5,8).
The Christian movement deserving the closest attention from the last century is Pentecostalism. The denomination that has shown the greatest growth is Pentecostal denomination. In 1995 there were 217 million ‘Denominational Pentecostals’ throughout the world. In 2011 there were an estimated 279 million classical Pentecostals, making 4 percent of the total world population and 12.8 percent of the world’s Christian population. The study found ‘historically Pentecostal denominations’ to be the largest Protestant denominational family.
However, there is a serious problem to solve before we accept the worldwide Pentecostal phenomenon. The core dispute relating to pneumatology has always been the relationship between the regenerational work and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Here we will examine this dispute and its solution.
1. The evidence in the Bible
Jesus gave his disciples this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Ac. 1:4-5). In these verses ‘the gift my Father promised’ means ‘to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Luke refers to this earlier in Luke 24:48-49: “You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” In these verses ‘what my Father promised’ means ‘to be clothed with power on high.’ Comparing the two verses on the same topic, it is clear that ‘to be clothed with power from on high’ means ‘to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Through these Bible passages, therefore, the definition of the baptism of the Holy Spirit can be expressed as to receive power for the witness of the gospel.
2. Two kinds of the fullness of the Holy Spirit
In the Greek Bible two different terms are used to refer to what is called the fullness of the Holy Spirit: πλἠθηs πνεύμἀτοs άγιου and πλἠρηs πνεύμἀτοs άγιου. The first term plethes (πλἠθηs) refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit as power. Meanwhile pleres (πλἠρηs) is the infilling in order to bear fruits and has no reference to power for ministry. Plethes is consistently used for the outer work of the Holy Spirit and usually refers to a brief, temporary filling. The inner work of the Holy Spirit is consistently referred to as pleres and usually refers to something that gets fuller over time until saturated. R. A. Torrey III calls pleres, the fruit of the Spirit, the internal workings of the Spirit in the believer and plethes the power that is the external, visible work of the Spirit.
For instance, ‘the fullness’ in Act 4:8: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!” is written as pleres (πλἠρηs), and ‘fullness’ in Act 6:3: “Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them” is recorded as plethes (πλἠθηs).
In Act 4:8, when the priests arrest Peter to prevent him from the preaching of the gospel, he is filled with the Holy Spirit in that moment and boldly witnesses to them of Jesus Christ. The fullness of the Holy Spirit in this case is a brief, temporary filling. On the other hand, the fullness of wisdom and the Holy Spirit in Act 6:3 is different from that of Act 4:8. The wisdom and character of Stephen cannot be obtained in a moment for which the people gave him respect are only obtainable through long-term obedience and discipline.
In the two cases, the fullness of the Holy Spirit of Peter is not a personal thing but a temporary empowerment. Stephen’s fullness of the Holy Spirit is personal, internal and long-term. Therefore the fullness of the Holy Spirit marked as plethes (πλἠθηs) refers to the external and temporary power of the Holy Spirit. The fullness of the Holy Spirit when referred to as pleres(πλἠρηs) is an internal and personal work on a long-term basis. Andreas Kostenberger defines πίμπλημι and πληρόω such that the former is a special power to witness the gospel and the latter refers to being continuously ruled by the Spirit.
3. The solution to the pneumatological dispute
Evangelical and Pentecostal understandings of the role of the baptism of the Holy Spirit come from different points of view. Evangelicals see it as the infilling which starts the process of regeneration and sanctification. It can be called ‘the inner work’ of the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals restrict the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the initial experience of the power of the Spirit. It can be called as ‘the outer work’ of the Holy Spirit. The use of the term ‘fullness of the Holy Spirit‘ can refer to both the temporary filling for an outer work of power and the long-term indwelling, inner work whose purpose is regeneration and sanctification. The theological emphasis of Evangelicals is on the inner work of the Spirit whereas the Pentecostal’s is on the outer. As a result, there are two seemingly conflicting definitions for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As a result both emphasize only one aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work.
Regeneration and sanctification are tied directly to the inner work of the Holy Spirit, whereas the outer work empowers one for service and to be a witness. It is worthwhile to make a distinction between the inner and the outer workings of the Holy Spirit. It is necessary for Christians to receive both the fullness of the Holy Spirit as an outer work (Ac 2:4) and as an inner work (Eph 5:18).
Therefore, the definition the fullness of the Holy Spirit is ‘the first experience of the fullness of the Holy Spirit as outer work.’ The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the baptism of power. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is to be empowered with power of God for the service of God’s work and witness of the gospel.
4. The continuity of charismatic gifts as the power of the Holy Spirit
The work of the Holy Spirit entails more than regeneration and sanctification. It includes the power for service and to preach the gospel. Then we can be assured that the charismatic gifts, speaking tongues, prophecy, healing, and miracles, are well represented today.
Lloyd-Jones often mentioned that the gifts have been continuously present throughout church history including the present day. The Reformed Church and traditional Evangelicals have had a tendency of ignoring the charismatic gifts. Reformed and Evangelical denominations need to recognize and seek the charismatic gifts, the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to have powerful ministries and missions.
Today is the time for Pentecostalism. The reason why churches in China and South America have experienced explosive growth is because they received the power of the Holy Spirit. The 1907 Pyongyang Revival in Korea was truly a work of the Holy Spirit like that of Pentecost to the early church and played a major role in supplying the power that propelled the growth of the Korean Church. Today the Korean Church puts special emphasis on the Word of God but pays little attention to the need for the power of the Holy Spirit. The church of Korea needs to receive both the inner and the outer work of the Holy Spirit and pursue a balanced spirituality that addresses both character and power. The power of the Holy Spirit is the second keyword of the whole gospel.
The church is the family of God that was formed through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul said that the church is ‘the body of Christ’ and ‘the family of God’ (Eph 3:6; 1:22-23). He also emphasized a single community in Christ is the heart of the gospel itself (Eph 2:11-19). The essential quality of the church is defined as communio sanctorum (the communion of saints). The communion of saints means being part of the community which makes up the body of Christ. The Reformers declared communio sanctorum was the very essence of the church.
1. Luther and communio sanctorum
Luther taught that communio sanctorum was integral to understanding the Apostles’ Creed which stood in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church doctrine. Luther’s view of the church as communio sanctorum gave him reason to reject the pope and separate from the institutional Roman Catholic church. Luther said:
The church is the communio sanctorum. This is nothing else than the community or gathering of the saints and of the godly, believing men on earth which the Holy Spirit gathers, preserves, and rules… I believe that in this community of Christendom all things are common, that the goods of each one belongs to the other, and that no one possesses anything that is his own.
Luther preferred not to use the term church but opted to use congregation, assembly, or Gemeine which means a practical community of people that hold everything in common. Luther’s ecclesiology puts a strong emphasis on the communal spirit of the church.
2. Calvin and communio sanctorum
Calvin also emphasized the church as community but also spoke about the necessity of church as an institution. He said, “The church is our mother, insomuch as God has committed to her the kind office of bringing us up in the faith until we attain full age.” Calvin defined church as the universal church and the communion of the saints according to the Apostles’ Creed. On the fellowship of saints, Calvin stated that the communio sanctorum is appropriately expressing the nature of the church. Discussing the communal aspect of the church he states:
Still a community is asserted, such as Luke describes when he says, “The multitudes of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul”(Ac 4:32); and Paul when he reminds the Ephesians, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling”(Eph 4:4). For if they are truly persuaded that God is the common Father of them all, and Christ common head, they cannot but be united together in brotherly love, and mutually impart their blessings to each other.
Likewise the Reformers reemphasized that the church is essentially a community through the communio sanctorum, but the contemporary Church is generally weak in the communal spirit of the church. The concept of communio sanctorum as an essential quality of the church is headed in the right direction but a lot of problems were revealed in practice within the community.
3. The Anabaptists and communio sanctorum
The Anabaptists as the third major group coming out of the Reformation thoroughly practiced communio sanctorum through community life in church history. The central concern of the Anabaptists is an attempt to reinstitute the ‘true church,’ patterned after the lifestyle of the early church. The Anabaptists’ community life is an expression of a brotherhood. The Anabaptist vision can never be lived individually, but must be lived within the context of a group. Robert Friedmann, an Anabaptist scholar, sees this as being most important.
Now then, the central idea of Anabaptism, the real dynamite in the age of Reformation, as I see it, was this, that one cannot find salvation without earning for his brother, that this ‘brother’ actually matters in the personal life… This interdependence of men gives life and salvation a new meaning. It is not ‘faith alone,’ which matters… but it is brotherhood, this intimate caring for each other, as it was commanded to the disciples of Christ as the way to God’s kingdom.
Thus, the Anabaptists saw the essence of the church to be found within a community of believers. Zschäbitz sees the important fact of Anabaptism in its ‘coming together in communities’ outside of the established church. Therefore the basic lifestyle of the Anabaptists is community life. Whereas the Hutterite strictly practiced the community of goods, the Amish and the Mennonites lived a voluntary communal life. The Anabaptists does not deal with the communio sanctorum in a conceptual dimension, but practically practiced the community of brotherly love and tried to establish the essential quality of the church as the communio sanctorum.
One of the problems of the contemporary church is that the community of love is just confined to a conceptual status. The community should be a practical family. Many Christians do not want the church to be just a religious society but need a real family of brotherly love. So they pursue the community as a loving family by sharing their possessions. This kind of enterprise is called as ‘Christian intentional community.’ The New Commandment that Jesus gave us is ‘loving one another’ (Jn 13:34). Loving one another can be realized through the practical community life.
Protestant church has lost the authentic communal spirit of brotherly love for many centuries and the contemporary church became ‘an individualistic Christianity.’ Moreover the church of Korea had been divided into so many denominations and the essence of the gospel as a body of Christ has severely been damaged. ‘The community of real love’ is core element to recover the whole gospel. The recovery of communal spirit of the church is a significant task to move forward to the essence of the church and the whole gospel.
Jesus told us that he had come to preach the gospel to the poor (Lk 4:17-19). The gospel and justice, and justice and poverty have a deep relationship with one another. Jesus was strongly concerned for justice. “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith” (Mt 23:23).
Justice appears 1,060 times in the Bible. Most versions of the Bible translates tsedaqah as ‘righteous,’ and the King James Version translates mishpat as ‘judgement,’ so people do not see the Bible’s insistence on justice. Tsedaqah means delivering, community-restoring justice, and mishpat means judgment according to right or rights, and thus judgment that vindicates the right especially of the poor or powerless.
Justice is one of the key characteristic of God’s kingdom. Justice has four dimensions: (1) deliverance of the poor and the powerless from the injustice that they regularly experience; (2) lifting the foot of domineering power off the neck of the dominated and the oppressed; (3) stopping the violence and establishing peace; and (4) restoring the outcasts, the excluded, the Gentiles, the exiles and the refugees to community.
When Jesus received the fullness of the Holy Spirit, he declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). It means that the poor is a primary focus of his ministry. The poor in Greek is not the poor spiritually but the poor socio-economically (ptokos). Jesus’ vision statement is a declaration of the whole gospel. The gospel that Jesus preached was not just a spiritual gospel and also not just a social gospel. The gospel of Jesus is ‘the holistic gospel’ which includes spiritual and physical problems.
In Jesus’ declaration of the holistic gospel, the Evangelical and Liberal are able to get joined together and the charismatic movement and social gospel movement can be matched together. There were no needy persons in the early church, because those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and shared it with the poor (Ac 4:34). Because the New Testament church is essentially the church to be with the poor, the preaching of the gospel and social justice together can be the elements of the whole gospel.
The Scripture teaches that injustice and oppression, not laziness, are the most fundamental causes of poverty, and that God acts in history to liberate the poor and the victims of injustice. Jesus especially singled out the religious leader and economic oppression of the poor (Mt 23:1-36; Mk 12:38-40; Lk 20:45-47). God’s people bear special responsibility for the poor. Jesus intervened to bring justice and righteousness to the poor. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40). And the church today, if truly righteous, should be concerned with justice for the poor. The Cape Town Commitment proclaimed on the justice of the poor as follows:
All God’s people are commanded to reflect the love and justice of God in practical love and justice for the needy. Such love for the poor demands that we not only love mercy and deeds of compassion, but also that we do justice through exposing and opposing all that oppresses and exploits the poor. ‘We must not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist’… We give ourselves afresh to the promotion of justice, including solidarity and advocacy on behalf of the marginalized and oppressed.
It is true that sharing life with the poor as practiced in the conservative Reformed and Evangelicals is relatively weaker than Liberals. This phenomenon is also similar in the church of Korea. If the conservative Reformed and Evangelical church which represent the value of the individualistic middle class are concerned about the poor and identify with them, it will be an obvious mark for the royalty of the kingdom of God and the stating point of fundamental reform. When the church becomes more of a church for the poor through voluntary sharing and serving, justice will practically be established and the kingdom of God will be strongly witnessed. Justice for the poor is the fourth theme of the whole gospel.
Jesus came to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God. The mission is the great commission that he imposed to his disciples (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15), and the last ministry that the church should carry out.
It has often been pointed out that the Reformers were indifferent to mission. But Luther should be regarded as ‘a creative and original missionary thinker.’ He provided the church’s missionary enterprise with clear and important guidelines and principles.
Luther’s metaphor of the gospel is like a stone thrown into the water – it produces ripples of circular waves that move out from the center until they reach the furthest shore. In a similar way the proclaimed word of God moves out to the ends of the earth. Throughout, the emphasis is on mission not being dependent on human efforts.
Calvin was more explicit, particularly since his theology took the believers’ responsibility in the world more seriously than Luther’s. Calvin’s theology holds significant resources regarding mission theology. On the whole there can be little doubt that at least Luther and Calvin propounded an essentially missionary theology. In spite of what the scholars have identified as the fundamentally missionary thrust of the Reformers’ theology, very little happened by way of missionary outreach during the first two centuries following Reformation.
But the Anabaptists were involved in a remarkable program of missionary outreach during the Reformation period. The Anabaptists accepted and then radicalized Luther’s idea of the universal priesthood of believers by jettisoning special and exclusive offices and limiting a person’s ministry to a given area. This enabled them to regard all of Germany as well as the surrounding countries as mission fields, without any consideration for boundaries of parishes and dioceses. Preachers were in fact, selected and systematically sent to many parts of Europe.
The Anabaptists who had been misunderstood in its essence and identity were actively involved in missionary outreach during the Reformation period. The Anabaptists were at the vanguard of missions during the Reformation period. By the middle of the sixteenth century Anabaptist missionaries were preaching in every European state. The Anabaptists were among the first to make the Great Commission mandatory for all believers. The Anabaptists were the first pioneers of Protestant missions.
What are the fundamental types of mission that the Bible teaches? Jesus described two forms of mission. The first is centripetal mission through the New Commandment of loving one another, and the other is centrifugal mission through the Great Commission of preaching the gospel to the ends of the world.
1. Centripetal mission
The word centripetal means moving or tending to move towards the center. Centripetal mission is the way of mission that attracts and wins people through sincere and mature life of the Christians. The idea of centripetal mission is “Come and see.”
One of the controlling features of the Old Testament’s concept of Israel’s mission to the world is centripetal. Christian mission should be primarily centripetal through a Christian’s attractive life. The quality of Christian life is attractive. They become the attractor – not attractors to themselves, but to the God they worship. Christians are the people who attract others to God. God’s people have the task of attracting others to God, to find his blessing and salvation. Jesus mentioned centripetal mission that nonbelievers could believe Jesus by seeing Christians’ community life of love (Jn 13:34-35; 17:21). KÖstenberger and O’Brien (2001: 226) remark:
The church’s mission is not to be carried out as an individualistic enterprise. The mission should rather be undergirded by the corporate life of the community, as believers reflect God’s love and unity (cf. Jn 13:34-35; 15:12; 17:11, 20-26). Where direct proclamation of the word may initially fail to persuade, the more indirect approach of providing an example of loving, unified relationships may provide the needed corroboration for the mission to succeed. Conversion to Christ necessarily involves incorporation into a Christian community.
Mission is a ministry of love. Mission without love is just religious activity. To practice the community of love and to be one in the body of Christ is the pathway to being a witness for Christ’s presence in the world. This is the biblical mandate of centripetal mission. Loving each other is the basis of mission. Lausanne Movement declares that loving each other is the very dynamics of mission:
As those, then, whom God has loved from eternity to eternity and throughout all our turbulent and rebellious history, we are commanded to love one another. For ‘since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another,’ and thereby ‘be imitators of God… and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.’ Love for one another in the family of God is not merely a desirable option but an inescapable command. Such love is the first evidence of obedience to the gospel, the necessary expression of our submission to Christ’s Lordship, and a potent engine of world mission.
2. Centrifugal mission
The word centrifugal means moving or tending to move towards the outer. Centrifugal mission is the way of mission that with deliberate efforts to win people through proclamation and persuasion. The key word of centrifugal mission is “Go and preach” (Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; Rom 10:14-15).
Centrifugal mission includes the proclamation of the gospel. Proclamation is the act of communicating the gospel about Jesus and the gospel of Jesus. Mission includes verbal testimony, standing up to speak the truth about who is truly God and about what God has done through the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring salvation to the nations. Lausanne Covenant primarily emphesizes centrifugal mission by preaching gospel.
To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gifts of the Spirit to all who repent and believe… We affirm that Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him, and that this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world…World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.
There are the two billion people who may never have heard of Jesus as Savior, and are not within reach of Christians of their own people. There are some 2,000 peoples or ethnicities in which there is not yet a vital, indigenous church movement. Centrifugal mission means to go directly to the unreached peoples and proclaim that Jesus is the Savior.
3. The problem of the contemporary mission
When we mention mission, the most cited Bible verse has been Matthew 28:19-20. The mission of the past has usually been confined to centrifugal mission. There has been a tendency only to send missionaries to the mission field abroad. But the contemporary definition of mission has been changed as this: “The mission field is everywhere, including your own street – wherever there is ignorance or rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” As mission was only confined to sending missionaries to cross cultural boundaries, there was the deficiency in training for missional life. That is, there was not much community of love by loving one another. David Bosch points out the problem of contemporary mission:
We may have been fairly good at orthodoxy, at ‘faith’, but we have been poor in respect of orthopraxis, of love… There has been countless councils on right believing; yet no council has ever been called to work out the implications of the greatest commandment – to love one another… The mission is the good news of God’s love, incarnated in the witness of a community, for the sake of the world.
Seongho Kim pointed out that one of the most serious problems in Korean Mission today is the division and over-competition between denominations and the mission circles. Missionaries, mission agencies, and the churches are divided and perform very individualistic mission. The competition among 252 denominations is still related to mission fields and also caused division and the overlapped investments.
Today the centripetal mission which preaches the gospel through a community of brotherly love as a body of Christ is urgently needed. A. T. Pierson mentioned that the mission of the united and associated Christians is the practical solution to the problem of mission.
Therefore a balanced approach to mission is not just preaching the gospel cross-culturally but practicing centripetal mission according to the New Commandment of loving one another. The most desirable and balanced approach to mission is a combination of the centripetal mission practice of the New Commandment and the centrifugal mission practice of the Great Commission.
It is a special blessing that the church of Korea has become a missional country for world evangelization. The church of Korea should actively participate to the overseas missions. But to perform more desirable mission, the church of Korea should overcome the phenomenon of severe division among denominations and mission agencies, and practice with balanced both centripetal mission and centrifugal mission.
When we examine the church of Korea in view of the whole gospel, it has a sound basis in the authority of the Word of God but it is weak in the practice of the Word of God. In the matter of pneumantology, the work of the Holy Spirit is biased toward regenerational and sanctifying inner work of the Holy Spirit while ignoring the power of the Spirit. As regards to community, the church is not a practical community and is in a status of conceptual community. The ministry of pursuing social justice is also very weak. In the matter of missions, overseas mission as centrifugal mission is overemphasized, but the centripetal mission as a community of love is still meager. Therefore, the church of Korea in general is severely unbalanced in view of the whole gospel.
In the church of Korea one denomination emphasizes the Word of God, another the power of the Holy Spirit, the next emphasizes community of love, a different one attaches importance to social justice, and others focus on world evangelization criticize and condemn the others. All these happen because they are sticking to just a part of the whole gospel. This is ‘the disaster of a fragmented gospel.’
A reformation is a movement to return to the fundamentals of the whole gospel. The whole gospel includes the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, the community of love, and justice, and missions. All these elements of the whole gospel should be integrated into and practiced in balance in the church of Korea. In addition the church should totally be born again enough to reform the church and society. When the church of Korea sets aside individualism, narrow-mindedness, and division and starts to live out the whole gospel in balance, there will be a future of the church of Korea and the kingdom of God will be more soundly expanded on earth.
 Christopher Wright, “According to the Scriptures: The Whole Gospel in Biblical Revelation”, Evangelical Review of Theology Vol. 33-1(2009): 4.
Lausanne Movement, The Cape Town Commitment. https://www.lausanne.org/content/ctc/ctcommitment#p1-8
J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, “Signs, Wonders, and Ministry: the Gospel in the Power of the Spirit”, Evangelical Review of Theology Vol. 33-1(2009): 32-46.
Christopher Wright, The Mission of God’s People (Grand Rapid, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 191-92.
Wright, The Mission of God’s People, 194-95.
Wright, The Mission of God’s People, 197-98.
Wright, “According to the Scriptures”, 18.
Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther. trans. by Robert Schultz (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1966), 75.
 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1989), 68-69.
Ellen Flesseman-van Leer, The Bible: Its Authority and Interpretation in the Ecumenical Movement (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1980), 56.
Vinson Synan, The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997), 286.
R. A. Torrey III, “A Study on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, in The Holy Spirit (Seoul, Youngsan Publishing House, 1981), 80-82.
The instances of the fullness of the Holy Spirit recorded as πλἠθηs / πλἠθω /πίμπλημι: Ac 2:4; 4:8; 9:17; 13:9.
The instances of the fullness of the Holy Spirit recorded as πλἠρηs /πληρόω: Ac 6:3; 6:8; 7:55; 11:24; 13:52; Eph 5:18.
Andreas J. Kőstenberger, “What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?: A Biblical Investigation”, JETS 40/2 (June 1997), 229–240.
The Evangelical scholars such as John Stott, John Walvoord, and Donald Bridge insist that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the first indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the moment of regeneration. See John Stott, The Baptism and Fullness of the Holy Spirit (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1964), 2; John Walvood, The Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1954), 139-140; Donald Bridge and David Phyper, Spiritual Gifts and the Church (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1973), 115.
As an evangelical Lloyd-Jones opposes the theory of John Stott on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Martyn Lloyd Jones defines the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the baptism of power of the Holy Spirit for the special service. See Lloyd-Jones (1996:135). Long and Mcmurry as the Evangelicals, also support Lloyd-Jones’ pneumatology. See Zeb Bradford Long and Douglas Mcmurry, Receiving the power: Preparing the Way for the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Book, 1996), 79-106.
Pentecostal scholars such as Rodman Williams, Don Basham, and Thomas Smail insist that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the first impartation of the supernatural power and gifts for the service of God’s work after regeneration. See Williams (1996:181-208); Don Basham, A Handbook on the Holy Spirit Baptism (Springdale, PA: Whitaker House,1969), 4 ; Thomas Smail, Reflected glory: the Holy Spirit in Christ and Christians (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1976), 143.
 Torrey III, “A study on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, 84.
D. M. Lloyd-Jones, God the Holy Spirit (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1997), 370.
Lewis Berkof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983), 562-564.
Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, 294.
Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, 304.
Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, 295, 296-7.
Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 279.
Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 281-82.
1Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 282.
Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 282-83.
Franklin Littell, The Origins of Sectarian Protestantism: A Study of the Anabaptist View of the Church (New York: Macmillan Company, 1964), 151-152.
Robert Friedmann, “On Mennonite Historiography and on Individualism and Brotherhood”, Mennonite Quarterly, Vol. 18 (1944), 121.
Gerhard Zschäbitz, Zur Mitteldeutschen Wiedertäufer Bewegung nach dem Grossen Bauernkrieg. (Berlin: Rutten und Loening,1958), 76.
Glen H. Satssen and David P. Gushee, Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (Downers Groves, IL: IVP, 2003), 345.
Satssen and Gushee, Kingdom Ethics, 349.
. Hyun-Jin Kim, A Theology of Community (Seoul: Jeyoung Publishing House, 1989), 325.
Howard A. Snyder, Liberating the Church: The Ecology of Church and Kingdom (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1983), 235-37.
1 David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1991), 244.
Bosch, Transforming Mission, 244-45.
Bosch, Transforming Mission, 245-47.
Wolfgang Schäufele, Das missionarische Bewusstsein und Wirken der Täufer (Neukirchen-Vluyn:Verlag des Erziehungsvereins, 1966), 74, 141-182.
Hyun-Jin Kim, “A Study on the Missions of the Anabaptists of the Sixteenth Century”, The Korean Society of Mission Studies, 37(2014): 134.
Wright, The Misison of God’s People, 128-129, 149.
Anderas KÖstenberger and Peter O’Brien, Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2001), 226.
 The Cape Town Commitment. https://www.lausanne.org/content/ctc/ctcommitment#p1-9
Arthur Glasser & Donald McGavran, Contemporary Theology of Mission (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1978), 64.
Wright, The Mission of God’s People, 27.
Bosch, Transforming Mission, 519.
Seongho Kim, “The Reform of Korean Mission and the Proposal”, The Korean Society of Mission Studies, the 9th Conference. 2017. 29.
 Dana L. Robert, Occupy Until I Come: A. T. Pierson and the Evangelization of the World (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003), 71.
Hyun-Jin Kim, A Theology of Community, 418-19.
Dr. Hyun-Jin Kim is the Professor of Missiology, Pierson Graduate School of Theology at Pyongyaek University, South Korea. He is also the Director of Koinonia Community in Tae-an.
He received Ph. D. from North West University.