The ethical meaning of baptism as the foundation of the Christian life in the theology of Karl Barth
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Most Korean Christians have been affected by Pentecostalism, which emphasizes the Holy Spirit and particularly baptism with the Holy Spirit. However, there are several problems in theological and ethical perspectives such as the materialistic faith, the lack of an ethical mind, and the narrow viewpoint of baptism with the Spirit, because Pentecostalism not only has a theological weakness in itself, but is also closely related to Korean Shamanism.
In order to solve the problems related to Korean Shamanism and Pentecostalism, Ba1th's doctrine of baptism provides theological insights to a Korean Christian context. For Barth, baptism with the Holy Spirit as the act of God is distinguished from baptism with water as the response of humans. However, the two forms of baptism arc also connected as one event based on the reconciling work of Jesus to provide the true reciprocity between God and humans for the foundation of the Christian life through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Barth's doctrine of baptism has several strengths in theological and ethical aspects: pneurnatological understanding based on christological foundation; the emphasis on God's free grace and human response; and a Christian's responsive life in obedience and gratitude based on God's gracious act for the foundation of the Christian life in the Holy Spirit.
These christological, pneumatological, and ethical emphases in Barth's doctrine of baptism are very important in a Korean Christian context which bas been affected by Korean Shamanism and Pentecostalism. They not only correct some of the weaknesses of Korean Christianity, but also clearly articulate the distinctiveness of the Christian gospel, helping Korean Christian [sic] to see their own cultural setting more perceptively.