Seoul-based “Kukmin Daily” runs interview of Mouw during his Korea visit
Richard and Phyllis Mouw led a delegation in March from Fuller Seminary to visit churches, seminaries, and alumni/ae in Seoul, Korea; mainland China; and Hong Kong.
The group’s first stop was to Korea’s capital city, Seoul, home to 11 of the world’s largest 12 congregations and where many Christians are very active in their faith.
Soon after their arrival, Fuller President Richard J. Mouw participated in a media interview with Fuller graduate Justin Lee, the general manager and head reporter for the Seoul-based Kukmin Daily’s
Mission Life section. Reaching a readership of more than 600,000, the newspaper and related website cover current events, and offer a deep look at issues involving the faith community in the Mission Life section.
In an interview for both print and broadcast news, Lee asked Dr. Mouw to comment on some of the current challenges facing Christians in Korea and Christian viewpoints on the meanings of life and success. The interview resulted in a major story the following day, March 15. Read the translated article below, or click here
for the original story in Korean. An interview with Dr. Richard Mouw, the President of Fuller Theological Seminary, during his visit to South Korea.
“Christian life is a journey lived out by obeying the will of God. Success in life is doing the things God is concerned about. Success is doing the things God demands at a God-given place. To be successful, then, one must first meet God.”
Dr. Richard Mouw (69), one of the foremost American intellectuals, spoke to us of the life of faith and success. I had the privilege of interviewing him on March 13, 2010 at the Marriott Hotel, as he was visiting Korea with the Board of Trustees of Fuller Theological Seminary.
President Mouw challenged us that we could live a more abundant life if we would simply recognize that God is ultimately the one who decides our success. "God’s judgment on success can be quite different from our judgment,” he said. He explained that success before God can happen mystically in a place where no one may even notice. He mentioned that we could live a faithful life and envision the coming of the kingdom of God on this earth as the “ambassadors of God”—regardless of our earthly greatness of smallness, highness or lowness—if our eyes are simply opened to “God’s success.” From this perspective, Pastor Rick Warren, who supervises a megachurch (Saddleback Church) in America, and a pastor who shepherds a small group of people in a remote area can both be considered successful in ministry. Of course, both can also fail as ministers. The question is whether one is “doing the very work God allowed” at “a place God allowed.”
Dr. Mouw also pointed out that there is no concept of the so-called “laymen” in the New Testament, and emphasized that “all people of God” must do their God-given ministries in the particular places God had allocated them, not only at church, but also at home and in the workplace. He said that we must be trained to think from God’s perspective, and to integrate all of life with theology, so as to produce “family theology,” “political theology,” and “marketplace theology.”
Dr. Mouw reminded us not to forget that we are all called to be ministers at the service of our God. He explained that ministry should not be defined exclusively in terms of church, but it must be understood in a broader sense of the world. The role of the pastor and church leadership, then, is to equip all their members to reach out and serve the diverse dimensions of society assigned to them.
In this context of a diversified society, Dr. Mouw introduced the term “convicted civility” to describe the proper attitude that we Christians must maintain. We should endeavor to keep a true sense of civility, along with our strong conviction of faith, particularly here in Korea where anti-Christian sentiment is ever growing.
“It is never easy for a Christian to keep civility and live in the society. Constant effort and sacrifice are required," said Dr. Mouw. "Christians must have sure conviction in the Word of God. At the same time, they must have the conviction to keep civility. Only then will 'convicted civility' be operated.”
He emphasized that Christians should open the door of their minds and listen to the criticism laid on Christianity. This means that we Christians need to be more humble and tolerant, so as to really listen to what the world has to say. Nonetheless, Dr. Mouw says, the Christian efforts to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in this world must ultimately be transcending all contexts and circumstances.
President Mouw is a theologian, philosopher, and writer. He is a scholar who has a great influence on American society, to the extent that his voice is heard whenever significant religious issues are featured in the media. He received his PhD degree from the renowned Chicago University and is an important figure in the area of Christian philosophy and worldview. Since 1993, he has served as the president of Fuller Theological Seminary, which is the largest evangelical seminary in the United States, where he also teaches Christian ethics. Some of his books, such as Uncommon Decency
and Praying at Burger King
, are translated into Korean.
Justin Taehyung Lee, Reporter (email@example.com)