Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nothing Is Small With Matters Of The Heart

How to address God among Korean Christians is an area where we do not agree. The Protestants want to use the word Hananim "God who is One" (하나님), the Catholics and Anglicans prefer the Haneunim "God of Heaven"(하느님). Protestants think the word "God of Heaven" would not make clear the monotheistic position of Christianity-- the one and only God.

In 1971 the Scholars on both sides translated the Bible from the original languages in a common translation. They decided to use the Korean word "Haneunim". The majority of the Protestants did not like the choice, so the Common Bible was used mostly by Catholics until the Catholics decided to translate their own Bible.
Not only doctrinal points separate the Protestants from the Catholics but even how to address God has the possibility of dividing Christianity.

Catholics did have problems with the lay out of the Bible because there was a section which was called the deuterocanonical (books in the Septuagint Greek Old Testament--but not in the Hebrew). The Jews in Egypt translated the Scriptures into Greek before the time of Christ. This is called the Septuagint, the book the early Christians used. The New Testament is the same for Catholics and Protestants,but the Catholics accept all the books in the Septuagint and the Protestants decided to accept what the Jewish leaders declared to be their official canon of Scripture after the destruction of the Jewish Temple. This eliminated seven books of the Septuagint: Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch and 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, and parts of Esther and Daniel.

Catholics and Protestants working together to publish a Korean Bible both groups could accept was a great ecumenical step. A sign of what was possible and gave hope for more progress in this area, but it was not to be. The translation was from the Hebrew Masorectic Text and the name chosen for God was just too much for the majority of the Protestants to accept. It does indicate how difficult rapprochement is despite efforts being made by both sides to overcome the difficulties.

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