Dr. Yung Suk Kim Publishes New Book
On his newest book, Yung Suk says, "When Jesus says in the Fourth Gospel, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," does he mean that Christianity is the only true religion, or did he mean something else?"
He continues, "As we know, Jesus did not found a new religion nor did he pave a new way to salvation or truth. Rather, Jesus worked for God, by showing the way of God, testifying to the truth, and engaging in the work of liberation. Jesus in the Fourth Gospel, like Moses, is sent by God to liberate people from darkness. Unlike today's triumphant Christianity, the Johannine community was a small, marginalized, expelled community that struggled because of their faith. It will be very interesting to see how this struggling community was transformed into a loving community, following the model of Jesus."
"I wrote this book out of my hope that the Fourth Gospel and John 14:6 in particular could be the scripture of engagement, embodiment, and empowerment for Christian readers. I hope this book will help the reader rethink the role of the Logos or the "I am" sayings in the Fourth Gospel. In a pluralistic society, the focus of the gospel shifts from conversion or theological doctrine to empowerment of people. I dream that this book will contribute to theological education in that the "I am" sayings of the Fourth Gospel give a voice of inclusivism rather than exclusivism, solidarity rather than marginalization, and liberation rather than oppression. In the pluralistic life contexts of America today, the theology that accepts others as friends is very important; it engages others on the basis of God's love and justice. With a focus on the language of embodiment and empowerment, theological education can be more inclusive to others and help students to reorient their attention to the present life in the world."
Kim has a passion for human transformation, rooted in self-knowledge and self-criticism. Traveling many Latin American countries during his business career, he learned a great deal about cultural diversity and the need of human solidarity. With a new vocation of theological education, Kim now asks: What does it mean to live in this world in relation to each other (i.e., meaning of the Other -- which resonates Emmanuel Levinas' "the face of the other," Paul Ricoeur's inter-subjective narrative identity, or Jacques Derrida's "relationless relation"), and How can we do theology in our thoughts and deeds, while moving pointedly away from individualism? How can we read biblical stories with each other when we differ?
Yung Suk Kim is the author of several books: Truth, Testimony, and Transformation: A New Reading of the I Am Sayings of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel (Cascade Books, 2014); Christ's Body in Corinth: The Politics of a Metaphor (Fortress, 2008); A Theological Introduction to Paul's Letters: Exploring a Threefold Theology of Paul (Cascade, 2011); Biblical Interpretation: Theory, Process and Criteria (Pickwick, 2013); A Transformative Reading of the Bible: Explorations of Holistic Human Transformation (Cascade, 2013). His edited books include 1 and 2 Corinthians (Texts @ Contexts, Fortress, 2013) and Reading Minjung Theology in the Twenty-first Century: Selected Writings by Ahn Byung-Mu and Modern Critical Responses (Pickwick Publications, 2013).
Yung Suk earned his M.Div. from McCormick, graduating in 1999. He earned his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt and currently is the associate professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University, in Richmond, Virginia. Kim is also the editor of the Journal of Bible and Human Transformation. Most recently, he received a presidential citation for outstanding service and unselfish commitment from Virginia Union University.