The vocational witness of the layman in a developing nation
A dynamic movement must from time to time review its origins and renew itself by a recommitment to its primary objectives. Otherwise it ceases to be a vital force in human society. In the twentieth century this opportunity for reappraisal and renewal has come to the Christian church in the form of the rediscovery of the people of God as laity, and of their crucial role in the church's mission to the world. To the church in newer nations such as the Republic of Korea, this discovery has come late; it is only now beginning to be made. Yet the lay renaissance, even in newly emerging nations and within the life of younger churches such as Korea's, is unmistakably under way.
It is to assist in and expedite the progress of this “new reformation,” as the essential prerequisite for genuine renewal in the church worldwide, that this study is undertaken. The argument follows an order which, it is hoped, will be found to be both logical and practical. First, the problem is stated in terms of the basic stance of the Christian, lay and ordained, in relation to this world, the so-called “secular order” in which he is summoned to community for the purpose of mission. How is he to live the “heavenly” life of transcendent meaning and significance within the context of his everyday worldly activity? The exploration of this question leads us (in Chapter Two) to the basic documents of Christian faith, and to an examination of the concept of vocation in scripture and in the minds of its prime interpreters, throughout Christian history. Then (beginning in Chapter Three) we survey the environment in which Christian vocation is to be fulfilled within the developing countries of the Orient, and especially in the Republic of Korea which becomes our primary focus. What are the general ethical dilemmas common to vocational man in modernizing oriental society? And what are the specific tensions which he encounters as a Christian within the industrial milieu (Chapter Four)? Does Christian faith provide resources adequate for their resolution? (Abstract shortened by UMI.)