A Catechumenate for the Korean Methodist Church: Ressourcement, Formation and a Response to Secularism and Korean Traditional Religions
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Research by Korean sociologists of religion indicates that Korean Protestantism has lost much of the spiritual vitality of preceding generations and that it increasingly shows the influences of Korean shamanism, Neo-Confucianism, and Western secularism and consumerism. Suggestions in the areas of homiletics and Christian social ethics have been offered to help steer the Korean Protestant churches away from these worldviews toward a more biblically-based course. Drawing upon and expanding these earlier studies and proposals, the current work recommends another method for developing a biblically-based, spiritually-revitalized, baptismally-shaped and ministry-committed Protestantism in Korea: a pre-baptismal adult catechumenate, in this case one designed for the context of the Korean Methodist Church. In order to produce a renewed catechumenal structure for Korean Methodism, adult catechumenal processes as well as baptismal theologies and rites are examined and analyzed from three principal sources: the first five centuries of the Christian church, and especially the mystagogical literature of the fourth century; the Roman Catholic Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults developed after the Second Vatican Council; and the United Methodist Church in the United States, both texts officially authorized by the denomination's General Conference and unofficial materials, among them resources for an adult catechumenate in the Come to the Waters series. In addition, previous and current practices of preparation for baptism in the Korean Methodist Church are identified and critiqued. From these findings a set of principles is put forward that guide the proposed catechumenal structure.