Rev. Dr. Kim Yong Bock – A Tribute

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) mourns with the ecumenical movement worldwide over the passing over of the Rev. Dr. KIM YONG BOCK, an eminent Asian theologian of depth and significance. He has pioneered the Minjung Theology, which together with the Dalit theology of India and the Theology of Struggle here in the Philippines, formed a reading and appreciation of theology that seriously took its context seriously as the ground and basis upon which doing theology must be done.

His accompaniment and solidarity with us in the Philippine struggle for human rights, justice, peace, and the struggle and fight for democracy in the light of Martial Law and one-man rule are forever etched in our heart and in our minds. We are forever grateful to his friendship and wise counsel as well as his incisive theological reflection and analysis.

I had the pleasure of inter-acting with him when we were having a theological consultation that worked on the theme of the World Council of Churches Assembly at Busan, Korea. And prior to an online meeting for the Peace for Life Board late last year, Bishop Rex Reyes, former NCCP General Secretary and I, had conversation with him on the COVID pandemic. He critiqued the injustice seen in the gaps of accessibility between rich and poor nations; as well as the huge economic profit of the big pharmaceuticals. Very much characteristic of him, during the conversation, he shifted to ask us of how our advocacies for justice and human rights in the Philippines is, especially among the indigenous peoples.

In the final decade of his life, his theological focus was directed at what he described as “conviviality of life,” the “OIKONOMIA CONVIVENCIA” which ties together the ecumenical agenda of justice, peace and integrity of creation even as the world struggles against the hegemonic control of the Empire.

The NCCP has lost a great friend of the Philippine ecumenical movement in the Rev. Dr. KIM YONG BOCK but his theological thoughts and articulations will be a light that shines on our path to full human and ecological transformation reflective of the “new heaven and new earth” we long and struggle for.

For the NCCP:
Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza
General Secretary