Introduction to KOSTA
The KOSTA movement began by the participants and speakers at the first KOSTA convention held on May 29 in 1986, with the purposes of growing Korean evangelical leaders through the evangelization of the Korean students studying in North America. We have encouraged students to develop scholarship based on Christian worldview through the fellowship among evangelical student movements and evangelical contribution to the history and culture of Korea. Our movement has also encouraged them to live the mission-driven lives where they are living now as well as at their local churches. In order to extend our movement, we changed at the third KOSTA convention in 1988 the name of our movement from KOSTA to The Evangelical Fellowship of Korean Students International.
One of the main KOSTA ministries is holding the KOSTA convention every year in North America, Europe (including Germany and France), England, Japan, and Russia to provide evangelical leaders and students with the opportunity of fellowship and training. Since the KOSTA ’91, we have published 19 volumes of the collection of KOSTA-related essays by July of 2001.
We also support campus and regional bible study groups and promote all year around follow-up program and exchange of information among students by publishing monthly webzine, eKOSTA ( http://www.ekosta.org ).
The International Board of Directors
Rev. Jeong-Kil Hong, Rev. Dong-Won Lee, Rev. Young-Jo Ha,
The Representatives of KOSTAUSA
Dr. Dong-In Kang, Rev. Choon-Min Kang, Rev. Jason Kim,
The Permanent Directors of KOSTAUSA
Rev. Man-Poong Kim, Rev. Doo-Hwa Kim, Rev. Won-Ki Lee,
The Supporters’ Association of KOSTA/USA
Dr. Bum Chang
What Is Evangelicalism?
J. Gresham Machen who is called the father of fundamentalism denies the title of “fundamentalism” as a name to describe his faith.
Just as he asked why the great faith of the church was called one of “isms,” we can ask the same question about the title of “evangelicalism.”
The reason why we have chosen the name of evangelicalism is, however, that we believe that evangelical spirit is the core of the spirit of Christianity.
Truly, “a Christianity without evangelical spirit can not be a movement that has a historical substance.” (Kenneth S. Kantzer)
Evangelical faith begins with understanding the Gospel. C. H. Dodd defines the kerygma of the Gospel as the facts “that a new era has arrived through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah; that Jesus Christ has become the Judge and the Savior by his ascension and return;
and that the Holy Spirit and salvation will be given to those who answer to Christ with repentance and faith. The spirit of the Gospel is manifested by the religious reformation that was provoked by Martin Luther as follows: 1) Only Grace (Sola Gratia); 2) Only Faith (Sola Fide); 3) Only the Scripture (Sola Scriptura); and 4) Only Christ (Sola Christus).
As Paul defines in Romans 1:2-3, the gospel of God is “the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son.” The gospel teaches us “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), because “he [Jesus our Lord] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25). We find in a historical review of evangelicalism that the Evangelical Left has emphasized the person of Christ, while the Evangelical Right has focused on the work of Christ. In spite of their different emphases, all evangelicals share our common faith in the Jesus of history and his death and resurrection.
We believe that the significance of evangelicalism lies in its historicity rather than in modernity as some people consider evangelical faith to be one of the modern religious movements. We agree with Bernard Ramm when he says that “the evangelicals who have an unhistorical faith are superficial Christians.” We also agree with Robert Webber’s warning that “the indifference to ancient and medieval churches would limit the history of evangelicalism only to after 16 th century.
The historical tradition of evangelicalism is rooted in the doctrinal tradition of the Western Church rather than in the mysterious tradition of the Eastern Church. We believe that Protestantism was not a mere resistance against Roman Catholicism but a movement to restore our faith into the evangelical kerygma of the early Church. The reformist Calvin acclaimed that “Were the contest to be decided by such authority (to speak in the most moderate terms,) the better part of the victory would be ours” when he dedicated the famous Institutes of the Christian Religion to Francis I. The reformists formed alliance with each other on the base of the doctrine of the Bible affirming the priority of God’s Word to the church, the doctrine of salvation about justification only by faith, and the doctrine of the church not as the distributor or administrator of grace but as the means of grace.
The evangelical movement of twentieth century began as an anti-movement against the liberal theology that arose in nineteenth century. Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) argued that religion was not adherence to dogma or the Bible but “the feeling of absolute dependence.” He doubted the absoluteness or supernaturalism of religion, undid the difference between nature and grace, and gave up the singularity of Christianity’s revelation, which led to the doctrine of universal salvation by Albrecht Ritschl. As a reaction to this liberal theology, The Fundamentals was published in 1909 (which was republished by Los Angeles Bible Institute in 1917), which began the current movement of fundamentalism. This movement defended the inerrancy, trustworthiness, authenticity, and sufficiency of the Bible. The doctrinal basis of fundamentalism consists of Biblical inerrancy, the Virgin Birth, the belief that Jesus died to redeem humankind, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and a n expectation of the Second Coming or physical return of Jesus Christ. We are, however, aware that fundamentalism has committed cultural and ethical errors due to the hostile nature of its reaction against liberalism.
Philip Schaff critiqued fundamentalism in that it overlooked the importance of the church by emphasizing individual holiness and that it downgraded Christian tradition in its emphasis on faith. Kenneth S. Kantzer, an evangelical, also critiqued fundamentalism, especially its indifference to social issues, and the fact that it simplified the Christian ethics by seeing individual salvation as an answer to all other problems and that it brought about radical separation and defeatism through its narrow interpretation of eschatology.
Current fundamentalism or evangelicalism consists of fundamentalist evangelicalism, dispensational evangelicalism, conservative evangelicalism, reformed evangelicalism, Pentecostal evangelicalism, Wesleyan evangelicalism, traditional evangelicalism, and radical evangelicalism. According to the Confession of Faith of the National Association of Evangelicals formed in 1942, evangelicalism 1) does not sharpen the conflict between Calvinism and Arminianism 2) does not make an issue the different denominational positions on eschatology 3) liberates itself from non- essential issues on doctrines 4) denies liberal theology 5) facilitates a flexible interpretation of Scripture 6) admits the results of modern scholarships 7) calls for the interest in the social ethics with the position of evangelicalism.
Theologians such as Edward Carnell, Harold Ockenga, Harold Lindsell, Wilbur Smith, Carl Hnry, and Kenneth Kantzer developed an evangelical movement called neo-evangelicalism after the World War II with the evangelist, Billy Graham. This movement centered around Christianity Today, by both criticizing traditional fundamentalism and shifting away from liberalism. They had interests in overcoming secularization and expressing a mature Christian faith. The modern characteristics of the evangelical faith that they represent are as follows: keeping the inerrancy of Scripture and evangelicalism, conversation with non-evangelicals, interests in scholarship and society, and the emphasis upon the historicity of the church.
The confession of Evangelical faith has been manifested most recently in the Lausanne Covenant taken by International Congress on World Evangelization held at Lausanne, Swiss, in 1974. We, evangelical Christians who have grown in the historical contexts of Korea confess our faith with keeping the ideal of Korean Christians as well as that of World Christians.
1. We believe in the divine inspiration and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
2. We believe in the only true God, the almighty Creator of all things, existing eternally in three persons–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
3. We believe in Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine, who is the only Savior of sinners and the only Reconciler between God and humans, and put our faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
4. We affirm the responsibility and significance of the universal Church and local churches that Lord has given us as the body of our Lord, Jesus Christ, for the sake of worship, fellowship, teaching, service and world evangelization.
5. We affirm that God has called us into the missions of the evangelization of our country, Korea, both in our country and abroad, and realization of God’s will toward our country.
6. We are grateful that God has graced us with the privilege of learning as Korean intellectuals. And we believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord of our lives including our academia and that we should live as his stewards to accomplish the tasks given by God.
7. We affirm the privilege of our being God’s fellow workers to join His work to pursue justice and reconciliation and to liberate all people from all kinds of oppression. We believe in the primary responsibility for the spread of the gospel, but we also confess that Christian duty consists of both evangelism and social action.
8. We affirm the responsibility of pastors established by God to serve the church and at the same time the significant role of the laity who is indispensable to the church. We believe in the laity’s active and positive contribution to God’s kingdom realizing the role and responsibility of the laity based on “the priesthood of all believers” in the Bible.
9. We believe in the victorious reign and future personal return of Jesus Christ, who will judge all people and complete salvation. We determine to obey the authority of the lordship of Jesus Christ over all of life rejoicingly and to commit ourselves to love and serve God and our neighbors.