【June 2016 No.388】Mission Planning Conference Highlights Evangelism

The 17th Kyodan Mission Planning Conference was held at Fujimicho Church, March 7-8, 2016, under the sponsorship of the Committee on Evangelism. The theme of the conference was “How will the Kyodan Promote Evangelism?” In addition to representatives of each committee of the Kyodan, the 83 participants included representatives from the districts and related schools as well as the top four Kyodan officers. After the opening worship, led by Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo, there were presentations by four participants, a panel discussion, a lecture followed by small-group discussion, and then a concluding discussion by the entire assemblage.

 

The first presenter, Pastor Kita Kiyoshi of Matsuzawa Church, stated: “Evangelism was once thought of as an evil that infringed on personal thought and belief, but today, by giving God his sovereign place and through service, the individual and the church can both fulfill the mission of evangelism.” Next, Pastor Shibata Moyuru of Hakodate Chitose Church expressed “resistance to the mixing of talk about evangelism with the issue of church membership and church attendance. There is a tendency to see things in a unitary way when we use the word evangelism, but does that not leave out regional issues? Now the starting point needs to be the acknowledgment of our differences.”

 

Tokyo Christian University Professor Yamaguchi Yoichi spoke about the need to define more clearly the revision of the church’s Basic Theory of Mission from an evangelical Protestant perspective, saying: “The fundamental point is the importance of promoting cooperation in evangelism between the Kyodan and other denominations. However, the appreciation of historical context since World War II has been weak. In particular, the right to resist  (in regard to religious observance in the political realm) needs to be clarified.*

 

The final speaker, Kyodan missionary Nag Woon-hae spoke about “the need to engage in domestic evangelism also from the perspective of world mission and to have a sound faith based on the Holy Spirit and a holistic understanding. I recommend a major prayer assembly where the Kyodan as a whole can repent of the current situation.”

 

Among the opinions expressed from the floor during the panel discussion was the following by the Reverend Gushiken Atsushi from Okinawa, who said: “The anger surrounding the issue of U.S. military bases in Okinawa can only be addressed through prayer, and this anger makes the Okinawa problem hard to see.”

 

On the second day of the conference, Tsukuba University Professor Emeritus Ohama Tetsuya delivered the main address entitled “What is Japanese Christianity? A Historical Perspective.” Ohama suggested that history be interpreted from the point of view of Jesus’ identification with “the least of these.” He argued that we should recall and interpret history from this perspective. Early Japanese Protestant leaders accepted Christianity during the “expel the barbarians” period. Anti-foreigner, jingoistic tendencies were strong, and these early leaders were probably loyal servants of the nation. (This is a kind of analogy of early Japanese Protestant leaders.) It is necessary to review the history of the emperor system to find out what it is, for example. In the pronouncements of the church nowadays, how often do they ask about our faithful existence as Christians? Ohama spoke of the need for the church to identify with and speak on behalf of church members living and struggling in the world, while at the same time being understanding of the faith of others. (Tr. DB)

 

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

 

*“Religious observance in the political realm” in this context refers to the attendance of public figures, in their official capacities, at Shinto religious ceremonies, which Japanese Christians and others have protested is contrary to Japan’s Constitution.

宣教方策会議報告

 2016年3月7日、8日、富士見町教会を会場に宣教委員会主催、第17回宣教方策会議が開催された。主題は「日本基督教団は伝道をどう進めて行くか」。教団各委員会代表に加え、教 区や関係学校の代表者と教団4役で83名の出席であった。プログラムは石橋秀雄教団議長による開会礼拝に続き、4名の発題者による発題、パネルディスカッション、講演、分団、全体協議であった。

発題はまず松沢教会の北紀吉牧師が「かつて伝道は個人の思想信条を侵害 する悪とされたが、今日、神に主権を置き、仕えることで個人も教会も伝道の使命を果たせる」と語った。次に函館千歳教会の柴田もゆる牧師 が「教勢の問題と絡めて伝道を語る事には抵抗がある。伝道という言葉のもとで一元化の傾向があり、地方の課題が置き去りにされていない か?今こそ互いの違いを認め、出発点にしてほしい」と主張した。東京基督教大学教授の山口陽一氏は第二次改訂宣教基礎理論について福音派の視点から「基本線は、教団 にとっても他の教派との伝道協力を推進するために重要である。ただし、戦時下からの歴史的コンテキストが薄く、特に抵抗権(政治的神奉仕 に対する)をより明確にすべき」と語った。最後にナグネ教団宣教師が「世界宣教の視野で伝道を捉え、健全な聖霊信仰とホーリスティックな 理解が必要。現在の状況を教団全体で悔い改めて祈る大祈祷集会を勧める」と語った。

パネルディスカッションではフロアーから幾つかの意見が出されたが、沖縄在住の具志堅篤牧師からは「基地問題に怒りを原動力として対応することは、祈りによってでしか解決できない沖縄の問題を見え なくする」との意見が出された。

2日目は、筑波大学名誉教授、大濱徹也氏による「日本キリスト教とは何であったか・歴史として問い質す」と題されたがメインであった。歴史を読み解 く作法として大濱氏は、主イエス・キリストが小さな者に寄り添い、個別的な場から問いかけた。この視点に立ち歴史を想起し読み解くべきと 語った。日本のプロテスタント初期の指導者は、攘夷の志の中でキリスト教を受入れており、排外、愛国主義の傾向が強く、国家の忠実な僕 だったと考えられる。天皇制とは何か等の歴史検証が必要。昨今の教会が発する言葉に、キリスト者としての信仰的な実存をかけた問いがどれ だけあるか?他者の信仰に対する共鳴を持ちつつ、大地に這いつくばって生きる教会員の呻きに寄り添う「私」の言葉を教会が語ることが必要 と語った。加藤誠