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The final (published) version of the Acts of Synod 2009 is available as a single PDF file here.
The Acts available in HTML format are an "Approved Draft", and contain spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and typos.
These draft acts are being retained online for convenience and ease of access. Quotes should not be taken from these draft acts.
 
Synod Legana 2009
Address by Prof. Dr. Hae-Moo Yoo
on behalf of the Presbyterian Churches of Korea
Thursday 18th June 2009, Synod Legana, Tasmania, 2009 (Acts Article 44)

Mr. Chairman and esteemed delegates of this Synod,
Beloved brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus,

It is an honour to address your synod and to bring you warm brotherly greetings from your Korean brothers and sisters.
I am very pleased to be here among you. On your brotherly invitation, I am here to confess and experience the unity procured by our Lord Jesus Christ who, by his crucifixion, brought all of us together into the family of His Father and His Spirit. By your invitation, I feel richly blessed in the Triune God who calls us into His new family.

This is the second time that I visit your synod. I was delegated to your synod of Kelmscott in 2006. Before I came here, I was talking over my visit with one of your Deputies for Relations with Sister Churches. He invited me to stay in Australia for a few weeks. First, I asked him whether he was making a joke, but it turned out to be a cordial invitation. You treated me as a family member. I was invited to a birthday party, to a picnic, or to a dinner. I have greatly enjoyed your most kind hospitality. In retrospect, I have realized that you are living half a globe away from us. You show boundless hospitality to your visitors, and you are emigrants led by our holy Father. Once again, I'd like to thank you dearly for your kindness and sincerity in Christ.

Some of you have migrated to Australia. Others are descendants of emigrants. All of you must go through some struggles to get accustomed to the new culture and surroundings. In your struggles, please remember that you are like a tree planted by the rivers. We are all trees planted by the living water, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is Immanuel, He is wherever we go or live. Right now, Christ is also present among us here to give us His living water.

On my previous visit, I have enjoyed good fellowship with you. One evening, I had also the opportunity to introduce our Korean churches to the brothers and sisters in and around Armadale.
I have also led five Sunday services in your church.

I would like to share an experience which deeply moved and impressed me. That is when I was guided to see the John Calvin Christian College in Armadale and the Rockingham John Calvin Primary School. Boys and girls of both schools greeted me heartily and behaved nicely. I could see that they were well disciplined. I also had an opportunity to listen to briefings on Christian education by some teachers and two staffs of the John Calvin Schools Support Office. These two staffs happened ever to have given lecture in Korea. After having seen the Christian education at these schools, the John Calvin Christian College admitted my youngest daughter to study for three months in 2007 on my request.

I was especially impressed by the fact that you regard it as your mission to support Christian schools. As I have studied in the Netherlands myself, I am also familiar with their Christian education. Both of you are sincere in your promise to have your children instructed in the doctrine of salvation. Still, you have a unique system that the minister of each congregation teaches the Bible and the Catechism in class every Wednesday. This is an education system that I would also like to introduce in Korea.

At the Synod sessions, I was particularly grateful to observe that issues were always discussed on the basis of the Scripture and argued from the Three Forms of Unity. The parity between office-bearers was clearly testified in the discussions. This was for me a very meaningful experience.

With all these inspirational memories from your church life did I come back to Korea. I contributed a long report on my experience of your church life to the weekly paper of our churches, which became an official report at the same time.

As for myself, I strengthened my regular lecture on Symbolics at the Seminary. On my proposal, the Presbytery to which I belong, made an overture to request the General Assembly the translation of the Westminster Confession and its Lager and Shorter Catechism into modern Korean language. The General Assembly entrusted this important task to the Seminary, and the faculty appointed me as chairman for this task. These days, I am occupying myself with giving the finishing touch to the translations.

Rev. W. Huizinga, your deputy who visited our General Assembly in 2007, suggested whether we could adopt and use the Heidelberg Catechism to teach in our church. We are not so far yet as to adopt the Heidelberg Catechism, but many churches are more and more using and teaching it. We are thankful for Rev. Huizinga for his sensible advice, and also very grateful to have you as our sister church.

Your sister churches in Korea are advancing with the help of our Father against the attacks of satan. The last few years, we had to fight against many faults and shortcomings of the Kosin University, especially in its medical faculty. In 2003, the Ministry of Education divested the Board of Governors of their office, but in April 2007, the Ministry authorized the divested Governors back to their office. The members of the Board of Governors are nominated by our General Assembly. There are still some conflicts within the Senate of the Theological Seminary, but peace is retrieving.

There are also many sectarian movements within Korea that threaten the well-being of our church. We are also vulnerable to all forms of secularization. However, in the Word and in our prayer, we are successfully contending with these problems.

Another problem is that there exist many Presbytirian groups in Korea. The division did not come into existence because of doctrines, but mostly because of human conflicts and frictions. This is one reason why interdenominational activities easily and frequently take place in Korea. But you may take ease. The one and only exception is the start of your sister churches.

During the Korean war in 1951, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church decided to expel our fathers from the church. Our fathers urged the Korean church to repent of their sin of having bowed down before the Japanese Shinto shrine during the imperial occupation of Japan over Korea. The majority refused to repent, and our fathers were forced to separate themselves (Afscheiding) from the unrepentant rest to secure pure faith and doctrine based on the Scripture and our Westminster standards.

Nevertheless, we realise that church unity is an important mandate given by our Lord. That is why we try to make contributions to church unity on confessional basis in Korea. Likewise, I would also like to ask you to succinctly endeavour in keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3). May our heavenly Father help us in this endeavour!

Above all, we promise you that we will keep doing our best in remaining in our common Reformed heritage, developing it on a deeper level, and handing it over to the coming generations. It is our desire to thoroughly investigate the Reformed theology and to withstand the influences of all kinds of anti-Christian modern trends.

This week, on the 15th and 16th, I was the keynote speaker at the minister & elder conference on the confession. I sketched the history of our Kosin church, starting from John Calvin who was born on 10th July in 1509. Sadly enough, the English speaking missionaries in Korea who came from America, Canada and Australia were not confessional enough. But thanks to the virtuous work done by Rev. Yune-Sun Park who had studied under the supervision of C. Vantil at the Westerminster Seminary in Philadelphia, the Kosin Churches were the first and became the foremost confessional church in Korea.

Unfortunately, in the vortex of the church growth which took place during the last 40 years, our Kosin Church was in danger of losing the true characteristics of our reformed identity. Indeed, it is a very intense struggle in Korea to stand firm in truth and in the reformed tradition. Still, we are always on the alert to remain faithful in our reformed identity. I am very happy to be able to report at this synod that all participants of the conference have unanimously agreed to defend the legacy of our reformed faith.

Please remember that there are faithful churches half a world away from you which tenaciously hold on to the Reformed tradition. I hope that this will encourage you in your struggle in this secularized Western society.

We differ from each other in almost every aspect. But we resemble each other thanks to our crucified and risen Lord. Even though we cannot daily meet, we may enjoy intimate communion in the power of the Spirit our Lord. Please do remember us in your private and public prayers, as we will pray for you with sincerity.

As there are many matters on this Synod agenda to be discussed and to be decided, I pray that the Holy Spirit will give you all wisdom and power to deal with these matters.

May God's blessing remain on you and your churches!

Thank you very much.

Prof. Dr. Hae-Moo Yoo, delegate of the Korean Presbyterian Church.



last updated 22 Jun 2009
 
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