Diaconate is the horizon of hope

Coming Friday & Saturday, Oct. 30st & 31st the Korea Evangelical Theological Society will organize a conference on the topic of Evangelism & diaconate. They invited me to deliver a speech in plenary session about diaconate, and a workshop about Cultural Transformation, alias Metamorphosis. Although I’m not a specialist in deaconal affairs I managed to dig in some literature, aided by the Deaconal Helpdesk of the Ref Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated), at Zwolle. And, I could read again the speech of Abraham Kuyper of 1891, after 125 years still very usefull. I’m impressed by the scope of the topic as a means of grace, as Kees de Ruijter has suggested in his thesis.

OK, OK, I will not publish my complete lecture, having 24 pages. But maybe the basis thesises can represent the content.

1/ The ministry of mercy by the community of saints is the prefiguration of the paradise regained as the evidence of the radical restoration of the human condition & dignity with a view on the thanksgiving to God for the obedience accompanying confession of Christ’s gospel.

2/ God has been distributing the welfare, health & joy to mankind at an unequal basis in order that the Christian community will redistribute their divine gifts of life and condition to the world in need to evoke the praises of God.

3/ The basic need is man’s alienation from God (spiritual) causing alienation from self (psychological & cognitively) from others (social), and nature (physical). The gospel preacher is called to stimulate Christian giving and instruct the congregation to be generous in sharing the gifts of God’s grace to others.

4/ Orthodoxy without social concern is NOT orthodoxy. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich, 2 Cor. 8:9

5/ The deacons function as motivators, stimulators facilitators & presenters of the congregation’s ministry of God’s mercy to the world in need.

6/ As God intents to restore the whole humanity and whole world to become his Kingdom, so the range of the ministry of mercy also includes the restoration of the dignity of the needy worldwide and the care of creation in all aspects.

7/ To be really the ministry of God’s mercy any action of love, compassion & mercy should be performed in Jesus’ name, accompanied by intercessory prayer, and evoking faith & praises of God’s love.

8/ The marks of the true church as confessed in the Belgic Confession of Faith,

article 29, being

  • the pure preaching of the gospel,
  • the pure administration of the sacraments, and
  • the exercise of the church discipline

should be reformed by adding the topics of

  • faithful execution of world mission,
  • the compassionate ministry of mercy to the world in need, and
  • an ardent prayer for Christ’s return and the coming of God’s Kingdom

This study convinced me again and again that we, in the West, are multi-rich people, far beyond the level of simple lifestyle. And, that we are called to serve the world in need in many other parts of the world, including the refugees coming by thousands to our region. It is God’s mercy that he is giving us another change to repent from materialism since WW-II. Let us humble ourselves by this sign of God’s providence to other people like he has been caring for us in abundant ways. Maybe then, the Lord will have mercy with us… Kyrie eleison for the rich people.

Cheonan, October 26th, 2015

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