• Life and Purpose of Pastor Park's Practical Theology



    Life and Purpose of Pastor Park's Practical Theology


    The Misconception of Practical Theology

    The encyclopedia defines “practical theology” as “the aspect of a spiritual life of theological research that concerns practiced church activities”; because practical theology deals with practiced spiritual life and church activities, it can easily lean towards works. In other words, “How can I read the Bible better? How can I pray a powerful prayer? “How can I evangelize to more people?”. There are many cases where books on practical theology emphasize the works of man, but orthodox evangelists emphasize the grace of God that is at the core of all spiritual life and activities in the church. Therefore, in the following discourse, Pastor Ock Soo Park will demonstrate that the core of spiritual life is one hundred percent the grace of God.


    As the encyclopedia defines “practical theology” as “a part of theological research on the theory of putting church activity into practice,” practical theology may have a partial outlook on works as it deals with works of spiritual life and the activities of church.


    The Core of Pastor Ock Soo Park’s Spiritual Life

    “The corruption of ministers and churches begins when they try to do the work instead of having God do it. The problem is that we think, ‘Since John Wesley diligently read the Bible, prayed and preached the gospel, we should do the same,’ while we completely ignore the grace of God that led Mr. Wesley and try hard to do it ourselves. Although I have worked for the gospel for the past 47 years, I have no confidence in myself that I will be able to continue to do so for the rest of my life. That is why I have no choice but to kneel before God and seek His grace every single day because the only way we can keep ourselves in check is by receiving God’s grace.” (Pastor Ock Soo Park, during minister’s meeting at the 2009 Vienna World Camp)


    The Main Message of the Bible

    Through the first, middle and last sentences in the Bible, the following message is delivered:
    “As God is the one who works, man must be denied because man is a creature that must receive the grace of God.” For example, the first verse in the Bible—
    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1)—tells us that it was God alone who worked. The verse in the middle of the Bible—“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man(Psalms 118:8)—tells us that we must trust in God not in man. While the last verse—“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all(Revelations 22:21)—tells that all man must receive grace. In other words, the Bible only acknowledges God’s works and not man’s.


    The Core of an Orthodox Evangelists’ Spiritual Life

    “If you will be obedient then you shall be pleased; and hence there came a failure on man’s part, and the whole covenant ended in disaster. It was the covenant of works, and under it we were in bondage, until we were delivered from it and introduced to the covenant of grace, which has no “if” in it, but runs upon the strain of promise; it is “I will” and “You shall” all the way through. “I will be your God, and ye shall be My People.” Glory be to God, this covenant will never pass away…" - Charles Spurgeon on the Five Points, p.21


    In his diary, Charles Spurgeon (the model of an orthodox evangelist) constantly entreated God that he would never forget that everything he had was given to him through the grace of God, and it was this grace that was firmly established at the core of the Apostle Paul’s heart; someone who lived for the rest of his life solely for the gospel after his repentance.


    For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:9~10)


    Practical Theology Focused on Grace

    Every part of Pastor Ock Soo Park’s practical theology is filled with the grace that is found in the Bible and at the core of orthodox evangelists. If one examines Pastor Park’s practical theology on the basis of that grace, instead of focusing on what Pastor Park does, they will focus on the works of God who works through him. Manifesting the grace and works of God is the core of every spiritual life, which is the purpose and reason for Pastor Park’s practical theology.


    “People who are unable to believe in Jesus rely on their determination, but Jesus wants to work in you instead of you relying on your determination or efforts. The Lord’s will is for He Himself to work, but when you are unable to believe that the Lord will work through you, you try to do it yourself. If you do so, things do not work out. Look upon the Lord. Believe in the Lord. When your heart becomes one with the Lord’s, your body will no longer move according to your will but according to the Lord’s will. And through you, the Lord will do the works that please Him.” (Pastor Ock Soo Park, A Lifetime with Jesus, p.91~92)


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