The Task of the Korean Church for Peace in the Time of Globalization: Seeking Ecumenical Social Ethics in the Context of Northeast Asia

Sungbihn Yim

Dr. Sungbihn Yim is former dean and professor of Christianity and Culture at Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea, and an advisor to the senior pastor of Somang Presbyterian Church in Seoul. He delivered the Sang Hyun Lee Lecture on Asian American Theology and Ministry on March 16, 2015. This lecture is excerpted from Sungbihn Yim, Reinhold Niebuhr, Christian Realism, and Social Ethics (Seigakuin University Press, 2014) and appears with permission of Seigakuin University General Research Institute in Japan.

Elements that Threaten the Peace: Globalization and Militarization, the Clash of Civilizations and Terrorism

The twenty-first century has begun with the so-called “war on terror.” The initial point of “the war on terror” was the September 11th tragedy. The significance of 9/11 invites the Westerner, especially Americans, to seriously examine Samuel Huntington’s theory of “The Clash of Civilizations.” The people in Northeast Asia, however, cannot get rid of concern about its Western hegemony and bias toward other cultures. Even The Co-existence of Cultures by Harald Müller assumes Western-civilization-centered value systems.[1] While Huntington distinguishes Westernization from modernization,[2] Müller sees Westernization as the result of modernization. The common ground of the two scholars is that both are rejecting cultural pluralism. Huntington seems to accept cultural pluralism on a worldwide setting, but he refuses it within the context of America. Müller emphasizes the common characteristic of cultures, though he has a limited understanding about cultures other than the Western one.

While The Clash of Civilization by Huntington reflects a worldview based on the hegemony of the United States, The Co-existence of Cultures by Müller reveals a worldwide plan based on the hegemony of Europe. But these plans reveal a destructive force in the reality of globalization, especially when the reality of globalization turns out to be a neo-liberalism that is based on the financial strength of the United States and European Union.

Fareed Zakaria pointed out the paradoxical relationship between globalization and terrorism. He argued, “Two factors made the attacks of September 11 possible: globalization and human nature.”[3] Both globalization and human nature are very difficult to change. Free trade and the technological revolution create a more open society, and this openness makes it easier for terrorists to penetrate and destroy a society. Therefore, according to Zakaria, the technological development of globalization is partially responsible for terrorism.[4]

A Theological Search for Peace in Northeast Asia

Even though we do not fully accept the theory of “the clash of civilizations,”” the theory proves that the understanding of culture and religion is an important factor in the settlement of global peace. The cultural differences based on religion require a search for ethical values that could be shared by the global community.[5] UNESCO has suggested five components for the establishment of global ethics: (1) human rights and duty; (2) democracy and its elements of society; (3) the protection of minorities; (4) an equal negotiation for the peaceful resolution of a conflict; and (5) an equality between generations as well as within generations. In the same context, Hans Küng suggested five topics of global ethics: (1) the elimination of violence; (2) an economic happiness; (3) social justice; (4) ecological balance; and (5) overcoming of individual isolation.[6] To implement global ethics, Küng suggested that the following conditions should be required: (1) an establishment of science technology; (2) a political, economical, and educational standard of judgment for the necessary permission on science and technical actions; and (3) a society that could accommodate the conditions for the standard of judgment. According to Küng, since the technical experts have a tendency to concern only the area that they serve, we need to have a political structure that guarantees democratic participation.

Global ethics is based on the common ground that exists among diverse religions and cultures. We should note that it is an economical and utilitarian action to maximize the happiness for all people. Given the accelerating progress of globalization, we need an establishment of a kind of ethics making global scaled solidarity possible.

But the global ethics that was suggested by Hans Küng has not been well accepted by most theologians, who consider the nature of religion and the difference of faith structure seriously. Those theologians think that there should be another method to accommodate the social responsibility and identity of Christians. Especially with the challenge of Reinhold Niebuhr,[7] many theologians think that global ethics lacks concepts of sin and grace, which are the fundamental elements of Christian ethics. From this point, we argue for the ecumenical social ethics rooted in Christianity, which is based upon serious consideration of the reality of sin and grace.

Ecumenical social ethics is different from global ethics, which attempts to solve global problems without a serious concern of incommensurability among various religions. Ecumenical social ethics should respect the uniqueness of different religious traditions. That type of uniqueness provides a fundamental value structure for social actions. Therefore, it is impossible to execute ecumenical social ethics without a serious concern for the uniqueness of the context.

At the same time, ecumenical social ethics is based on biblical history and Jesus Christ, who is the cornerstone of the gospel and church tradition. Because of God’s creation and the faith rooted in salvation history, a realm of ethics is beyond the earth and is universal. Ecumenical social ethics is fundamentally sensitive to the need of social responsibility and unity that are based on biblical teachings.

Seeking Ecumenical Social Ethics for the 21st Century

Charles West once argued that “the Ecumenical Movement therefore is characterized by a continual direction of repentance which honest dialogue brings forth, responsibility of which it makes the Christian aware, and witness in action to the work of Christ in the world in both judgment and promise for Christian and non-Christian alike.”[8] Compared to global ethics, which aims at problem solving without serious consideration of incommensurability between different religious traditions, ecumenical social ethics more seriously considers the distinctiveness of each tradition. Since such distinctiveness provides a value system as the basis of commitment to a certain social action, it is impossible to construe an ecumenical commitment without serious consideration of the distinctiveness of a particular religious tradition. Ecumenical social ethics should principally be based upon the biblical narrative and its culmination in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and church tradition. The scope of ethical concern, however, is universal, because of the faith in divine creation and redemption. At the same time, ecumenical social ethics is fundamentally sensitive to the need for accountability and solidarity with the marginalized according to the core of biblical teaching.

As Huntington rightly perceived, the acceleration of globalization could result in the clash of civilizations. To resolve the conflicts in this globalization, ecumenical social ethics has the following tasks:

(1) The first task of ecumenical social ethics vis-à-vis globalization is to describe, interpret, and analyze the globalizing political economy. This task requires asking the basic question: “what is going on and why?” This question probes the implications of globalization—what are the power dynamics; what are the theological, ideological, and social theoretical underpinnings; what are the multiple long-term implications for human and other life; what are the historical precursors of corporate- and finance-driven globalization?

(2) A second task is to develop alternatives to the dominant paradigm in light of ethical criteria and to bring into public discourse alternatives that already are being crafted but remain largely ignored by powerful leaders. Here the question is not “what is,” but “what could be?”

(3) A third task is to assist in discerning which modes of global economic interaction are more consistent with the ways of God revealed in Jesus Christ and the Spirit. Here the following question should be answered: “what ought to be, and what norms guide discernment?” What ought to be the purpose of economic life, and what paradigms best serve that purpose?

(4) A fourth task is to identify obstacles curtailing the power to live toward more faithful alternatives. What disables moral agency? Here we will identify ways that Christian theologies have contributed to complicity with neo-liberal globalization.

(5) A fifth task is to recall and rekindle agency for overcoming those obstacles. What enables moral agency?[9] While we agree with the postmodern critique of universalizing descriptive accounts of human reality, we distinguish between descriptive and normative accounts. Moral agency in theological terms is the power to embody a fundamental moral norm of Christian life as being demonstrated through the Trinitarian relationship in God. It is true that liberal notions of moral agency, until challenged by feminist theory, womanist theory, and postmodernist theory, referred to the power or potential of individuals to act freely, autonomously, and rationally—and hence responsibly—in accord with moral norms. In theological ethics, this became the power or potential to make free and rational choices in response to God’s invitation. However, with the help of Niebuhrian insights on human beings and power, we are able to recognize that agency is formed in a historical matrix of structural factors and power relationships. With the insights of an “ethics of conviction,” such as Liberation theology, we clearly realize that this agency is also shaped by continuing legacies of oppression and survival. Constraints to agency include the matrix of oppression and domination in which the agent is formed.[10] Now agency is viewed through an interstructural lens. Memory, vision, imagination, and hope form and malformed agency. Practice shapes moral agency. The power to embody responsible ways of living is the purview of both community and individual where the latter is understood as being-in-relationship. We need to acknowledge the fact that moral agency is, by definition, political.[11]

(6) It is important to note that the task for ethicists is to propose and define practical steps toward what ought to be and could be. Ethics should respond to the question: What does this mean for everyday lives in terms of lifestyle, public policy, institutions, social systems, and belief systems? We should take the key step of ethical formation and policy making: to offer guidance about how we might form a valid ethos and develop those attitudes, institutions, habits, policies, and programs that are in accord with a more ethically viable ethos, rightly legitimated by a valid theological view of ultimate reality.[12]

Ecumenical social ethics needs to provide a worldview based on the kingdom of God and the Trinity so that a person or a local community could have a Christian lifestyle. We need to overcome the Western-centered hegemony, , which was evident from the clash of civilizations. Ecumenical social ethics should demand a righteous responsibility of a nation to prevent an abuse from multinational cooperation. It also should encourage NGOs (non- governmental organizations) and other cultural institutions to make cultural policies that are not manipulated by consumerism. The goal of ecumenical social ethics is an establishment of ecumenical culture. The ecumenical culture that we pursue is based on the rejection of the idolatrous absolutism and, at the same time, the respect of each culture. It protects the uniqueness and diversity of each culture. Furthermore, the ecumenical social ethics pursues a more constructive hybridization among different cultures. It pursues an adventurous culture based upon the freedom.

The Role and Task of the Korean Church in Ecumenical Social Ethics

The world is getting smaller and more integrated due to the acceleration of globalization. But, on the other hand, individual persons and communities are being scattered. People and communities are degraded into producers and consumers. People no longer have the sovereignty over their own decisions. Due to labor market change, family members are being scattered to find work all over the world. Local communities are controlled by market values. People are at a point of losing their traditional culture by profit-oriented foreign cultures. In a situation like this, the church not only has to comfort the disconnected and isolated communities but also proclaim prophetic judgment on the economic and political powers that cause disconnection and isolation.

It needs to be pointed out that the production could freely move from one place to another, but laborers could not. Therefore the laborers became an easy target as an expandable variable. It is a paradoxical fact that the devastation of the labor market is the weakest factor, the Achilles heel, of globalization. The income shortage of the laborers will decrease their spending, and less spending will impact the market. But the more serious problem may be social violence by the devastated workers.

A careful study of the unpredictability of globalization teaches a social solidarity of people who lack political, economic, and cultural competitiveness. Christian social ethics should always be concerned first with the least ones. We must realize that the social dichotomy of the rich and poor is being globalized. A worldwide destruction in ecology is accelerated by the process of globalization. We need to pay more attention to maintain the ecosystem in the areas of the two-thirds nations. The environmental policies initiated by one-third nations and the few superpowers could lead to maintaining the status quo of the economic division between one-third and two-thirds nations. In a situation like this, we need to demand the one-third nations help the two-thirds nations with the environmental technology and economic aids. Globalization of the superpower nations also might destroy a local culture, with the thinking that the culture of the superpower nations supersedes the culture of other nations. Therefore we need to respect the regional culture and continue to discuss the global culture that protects all human rights and security.

Globalization might lead to a theological criticism of the trend of enforcing people to follow the image and life of superpower nations instead of following the image of God and the life of Jesus Christ. This is an opportunity for the church to fully function as the body of Jesus Christ. As a critical majority to bring a constructive transformation, it is a critical time (kairos) for believers to decide and to take practical actions. In just such a time as this, from the point of view of ecumenical social ethics the Korean church Church could execute the practical function and task for the establishment of peace and its values.

Values for the Settlement of Peace

(1) Human Dignity

God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness” (Gen 1:26).

Human dignity, focused on the value of a human being, is the core of the Christian value system. Because a human being is created in the image of God (Imago Dei), we have received special value and importance compared with other creatures. The fact of being created in the image of God is divine evidence that we were born with natural dignity. The sacredness of human life also reflects how we should treat each other. All human relationship should be pursued with the goal of human dignity. Since Christian values are free from political ideology or consumer power, Christian values based on human dignity could contribute to a peaceful globalization process.

(2) Love and Justice

If a believer has an assurance of calling to serve the community and neighbors, love and justice are the necessary rules of Christian culture. What is the true meaning of love and justice in our culture? The meaning of Christian love and its application is rooted in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. The life of Jesus Christ shows us agape love, love that is sacrificial and beyond our selfishness. Love lets us give up our own needs and serve neighbors for their benefit. The realm of this love is unconditional, as Jesus Christ showed in his mercy and care for sinners, the ill, and those rejected by society. His life was the reflection of God’s infinite and unconditional love for humanity. Through his death on the cross for the salvation of humankind, Jesus embodied sacrificial love.

But is it possible to implement Christ’s love in our culture? Christian realists, including Reinhold Niebuhr, said that it is not possible to directly apply Christ’s love in our distorted society. Since the goal of love is to seek out a way to benefit our neighbor, they said it is possible to impact the culture indirectly through justice. Thus the love that unconditionally benefits one’s neighbors should be changed into another love, which benefits them conditionally. In the reality of the world, love clashes with sin, evil, and ideas that are incompatible with love. Therefore, living a life that benefits our neighbors requires us to live a life of justice.

These values, which are rooted in faithful love and justice, could help to build the community through cultural formation, and it could stop the destruction of local communities, which is a negative result of globalization. Love and justice also could help local people to expand their boundary of practicing love and justice by regulating nationalism and local exclusivism. The critical weakness of globalization is the negative impact caused by the combination of post-modern consumerism and self-fulfillment based on individualism. In this context, faith-based love and justice have the ability to overcome the critical weakness of globalization by emphasizing communal love and justice.

(3) Life-centered Ecology and the Common Good

Churches’ engagement in the world is centered on the concept of the “kingdom of God,” which was proclaimed by Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God is the realm controlled by God’s will, and it exists among us. The core of the kingdom of God is God’s continuous sovereignty over the created world and, at the end, God’s saving of the world in history. The kingdom of God should be established on this earth, as in heaven. Therefore the kingdom of God is related to a person and social peace, justice, freedom, and well-being.[13]

To advance the kingdom of God is to glorify God and love our neighbors. The core of the movement is transforming a community into a mature and growing community. God reveals himself through the Trinitarian being and in human history. Through revelation, God shows us the nature of the kingdom of God. Therefore the Trinitarian community consists of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, and God’s sovereignty in history is a model for the kingdom of God community. God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, becomes one unity in fellowship and love. By learning from this Trinitarian relationship, we should overcome the difference and diversity in human community with love and fellowship to become one body. This kind of living should be actualized in our culture.

The concept of the kingdom of God guides the believers who want to participate in the peaceful unification process of North and South Korea. It teaches and guides justification, participation, and the attitude of our actions. But this theological concept is very difficult to apply to non-Christians who are also involved in the unification process. Therefore the concept we could substitute for the kingdom of God is the concept of “common good.”[14] According to this concept, people are ordained by God, who is the ultimate destiny. Each person is related to God who is the greatest common good. Therefore the goal of all our actions is to unite all human beings and God. The good that we pursue has both public and private dimensions. The common good is relational and social. It is naturally and intrinsically good. On the other hand, the private good is functionally good. It is good not in and of itself but insofar as it benefit others. The private good is good for the world and human beings only when it advances the common good. Money, service businesses, and most economic goods are categorized as private and functionally good.

The common good not only respects individual human rights but also teaches one to seek out the good for neighbors, society, the world, and God. The common good includes all of the social good that helps to accomplish and complete individual goals. The common good prioritizes not only the dignity of man and woman and the rights of a human being, but also the nature of our society and our destiny, the purpose that is bigger than us. A society is more than a unified body of individual goods, profits, and respected choices. It includes organizations that compete for their own interests and the unstable institutions working for special interests. In a well-organized society, or ecology, the partial thing exists and functions for the complete one. That is, the common good serves the bigger good of God.[15]

To Christians, the concept of the common good provides a solution to overcome extreme individualism, which is based on radical ethnic exclusivism and postmodern consumerism. In a bigger sense, the common good benefits all creatures. Therefore the common good is not only for human lives, but also for the lives of all creatures. It has an ecological meaning. The purpose of the common good should be the harmony of human beings and nature. The common good teaches us to judge our actions based on how the action affects everything: us, others, other species, and the entire ecology. In this action, we find a solution to overcome the negative effects caused by globalization.

The Practical Task of the Korean Church for Peace Based on Ecumenical Social Ethics

(1) Providing a Vision for the Unification of North and South Korea

First of all, the church should lead the reformation of South Korean society as a pre-existing model for the unification community. The first project of this reformation is expanding the God-centered covenant community. The first task is to educate and sensitize Christians, who comprise about thirty percent of the total population of Korea, about the God-centered unification community before teaching about the ideology of division. One thing needs to be clear: in this setting, God-centered community does not mean Christianity should be the national religion of Korea.[16] God-centered covenant community means that all members of the community are God’s creatures and descendants. It is a community based on the highest dignity of all members, regardless of their awareness of this dignity. Therefore, the covenant community does not favor a partial group, like Christians or South Koreans. It respects the dignity of all members who are created by the image of God. It seeks a way to be faithful to God who is the master of the universal community. Therefore the unification community could not be a nationalistic community. The vision of the unification community that the church should proclaim and educate is a peaceful community that reflects the dignity of all members. The vision must be theological as well as historical so that it embraces the global community.

(2) An Effort to Accommodate Inclusive Social Culture

Secondly, to serve the global society, the church should make a strong effort to accommodate and understand cultural diversity. The Korean cChurch should make the best effort to overcome the sociocultural difference of North and South Korea. To overcome the difference by understanding of North Korean culture, the Korean cChurch should continue the systematic education of the “correct understanding of North Korea.” The church should pay more attention to the cultural exchange of North and South Korea. The Sunday school curriculum should include lessons that teach about North Korea and the peaceful unification process.

At the same time, the task of the Korean cChurch should be the transformation of South Korean social culture, which is predominantly a consumerized popular culture. From the North Korean point of view, the accommodation of such culture could be a moral embarrassment for them. In some sense, such a view could be a prophetic message to South Koreans and churches, which are contaminated by the consumer culture. Of course, the exclusive self-reliance ideology culture of North Korea should be reformed too, but it is a secondary task for South Korean churches. When South Korean society is reformed as the culture of respecting all human dignity and the harmonious relationship of freedom and justice, South Korea could enhance its capacity to invite North Koreans to the unification community.

The Korean church Church should also work hard for the cultural understanding of migrant workers and for their settlement in Korea. The church should encourage the members to lead healthy cultural engagement. Working with diverse NGOs, the church should build a healthy and inclusive culture, which embraces not just North Koreans but also the global community in Korea. The church needs to initiate the hope of peaceful global community.

(3) An Effort to Build Political and Economic Institutions for Human Beings

Thirdly, to guarantee freedom, the church should set up political and economic institutions for human beings. The church should lead in creating a righteous social structure to produce peace. The church should take an interest in shaping and executing the legal system, which protects human dignity, freedom, equality, and justice. In the global market system, the church should also take interest in building ethical values, such as a transparent cooperate culture and community ethics in a highly competitive society. If we think that these matters are not related to the church, then we are abandoning our responsibility as God’s children and denying God’s sovereignty. To build a more righteous political and economic system in South Korea, the church should educate people on the matters of political participation and economic justice. To live like “the chosen people, the holy nation, and the people of God,” the church should engrave the sense of Christian citizenship on the heart of Christians. The church should nurture authentic Christians so they can establish a righteous tax system. In considering the global location of Korea and the sociopolitical situation in Northeast Asia, the Korean church also needs to work with churches in China and Japan. The Korean church needs to participate in the formation of a righteous and peaceful regional community.

Globalization and Peace, the Korean Church and Ecumenical Social Ethics

There were times that people were very optimistic about globalization. But, as globalization is more institutionalized, no one optimistically praises globalization. Socioeconomically, there has been a collapse of the middle-income class, resulting in greater divergence of the rich and poor. Like the situation in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the identity and function of ethnic countries are now in question. The war in Iraq after September 11th proves that political globalization accompanies military globalization. Such political globalization forces nations to participate in highly competitive economic globalization. In a situation like this, each country is eager to strengthen its national competitiveness by neglecting the people who are in the weakest social class. This kind of phenomenon caused by globalization threatens the peace and stability of a society and the world. The clash of civilizations teaches us the cultural aspect of globalization but, on the other hand, it makes us realize that the process of globalization is far from the peace that we pursue.

Taking into the consideration the context of the Korean churches, we found that ecumenical social ethics could be the proper answer for us. The actualization of ecumenical social ethics of the Korean church should start from the Korean peninsula. It is akin to the saying “think globally and act locally.” That is why the peaceful unification of Korea is the primary task of the Korean church. To establish a peaceful unification community in Korea, South Korea must first reform its society to respect the dignity of all people, beyond cultural and racial diversity. Therefore, the actualization of the Korean church for the peaceful unification requires the social reformation of Korea.

We need to note that the positive role of the Korean church for peace begins and ends with the church being the church. Of course, it is necessary to understand and analyze the social context in which we work to be able to function more responsibly. In this sense, we need to encourage the work of the laity and acknowledge our position as a member of civil society. However, the church being the church rests on the basis of the individual citizen being a true Christian, and also the Christian being a true citizen. A citizen in this sense is a member of society who carries out his or her own social responsibilities. The criticism that the Korean church receives as not having fulfilled her social responsibility is, at the same time, pointing to the fact that the Korean Christian has not truly lived a life of faith. Therefore, we must first reaffirm the basics of what it means to be a Christian. The acknowledgement of the close relationship between faith and life, a new confession of the sovereignty of God, and a continuous self-renewal founded on the confession of deeply rooted sins are important prerequisites that need to be addressed in order for the Korean church to properly carry out her social responsibility. Such a life of re-evaluation and reassessment of the basic foundations of faith, allows us to have a more open attitude to the Gospel. Such an open attitude to the Gospel will help the Korean church to carry on the tradition of ecclesia reformata semper reformanda. It will also help the individual Christian to live a more responsible life as a citizen, combining a life of loving God with a life of solidarity and journeying together with the weak and poor, which is the core of ecumenical social ethics. Ecumenical social ethics would play a more constructive role for making peace in the context of accelerated globalization through reinforcing Christian character formation as a global citizen as well as being more conscious of the core of the Gospel, “taking the side with the least.”

[1]              Harald Müller, Das Zusammenleben der Kulturen (trans. Young Hee; Seoul: Pu Ren Soup, 1999), 138. In the book, The Co-existence of Cultures, Müller argues that the influence of Asia is limited to Japanese gameboys, walkmans, and computer games. But the influence of the Western world is the modern constitutional nation, human rights, and freedom.

[2]              Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilization (trans. Hee Jae Lee; Seoul: Kim Young Sa, 1997), 21.

[3]              Fareed Zakaria, “A Plan for Global Security,” Newsweek Special Davos Edition, Dec. 17, 2001.

[4]              Ibid.

[5]              World Commission on Culture and Development, Our Creative Diversity: Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development (Paris: Unesco Pub., 1995), 34.

[6]              Huntington, The Clash of Civilization, 40–45.

[7]              June Bingham, Courage to Change: An Introduction to the Life and Thought of Reinhold Niebuhr (Lanham: University Press of America, 1972), 276–292. In 1936, the leaders of the Ecumenical Movement sent Niebuhr to help prepare for the World Conference on Church, Community, and State, to be held in Oxford the following year. At the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam in1948, Niebuhr played a major role with Barth, Tillich, and Brunner in the formation of ecumenical social ethics, insisting that “there is nothing in the Christian faith which gives us a sudden freedom over these tragic ambiguities of the world politics.”

[8]              Charles West, “Ecumenical Movement, Ethics in” Dictionary of Christian Ethics (ed. John Macquarrie; Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1967), 99.

[9]              Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda, Healing a Broken World: Globalization and God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002), 8–9.

[10]            Ibid., 37.

[11]            Ibid., 38.

[12]            Max L. Stackhouse with Peter Paris ed., God and Globalization: Religion and the Powers of the Common Life (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 2000), 16.

[13]            Paul G. Hiebert, Cultural Anthropology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academics, 1983), 18.

[14]            David A. Krueger, Keeping Faith at Work: The Christian in the Workplace (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994), 65. Usually the concept of “common good” is known as an ethic of the Roman Catholic Church. The representative scholar of this idea is Thomas Aquinas. The concept is descended through the line of natural law and reached Jacques Maritain in the 20th century. In this context, however, I borrowed the concept for two reasons. It informs the church’’s sociocultural ethics and contributes to the better relationship of North and South Korea. Although Thomas was a theologian before the time of the Reformation, his thought can inform not only the Roman Catholic Church but also the ecumenical church, broadly speaking.

[15]            Krueger, Keeping Faith at Work, 66–68.

[16]            We should not forget that the task of unification is not just for Christians but also for the seventy percent of Koreans who are non-Christians. Therefore the theological term that we use for the unification process should be inclusive rather than exclusive. The use of theological terms in an exclusive manner is only in reference to the discriminatory sacrifice of Christians.