Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church

Under the guise of a concern for missions, Christian education, the defeat of Communism and many other seemingly proper causes, we are being approached by the followers of Sun Myung Moon, members of the Unification Church. They stand on street corners. They may even have come to our homes.

To the eye these followers of Moon appear to be diffe:-ent from the followers of so many other of the current religious movements. They do not appear to be drop-outs from society. They are not rebellious in appearance. They are neat and very polite.

But we must beware. Outward appearance is not enough for making a judgment. We must look beyond the outward appearance. When we do we will find that these followers of Moon are a part of a movement which is not Christian, and which, in reality, is, opposed to the Faith of Scripture.

Moon and his organization – Sun Myung Moon, the organizer and head of the Unification Church, is a native of what is now North Korea. Born into a Presbyterian home in 1920, he later attended a Pentecostal Church while attending high school in Seoul.

In 1936, he had a vision in which he claims that Jesus appeared to him giving him the task of completing what Jesus had started when He had been on earth. During the years that followed Moon prepared himself for this task.

Following World War II, he became connected with a pentecostal group in which there was a prophecy circulating that there would be a new messiah. This messiah was to be Korean. Moon understood this prophecy to refer to himself.

In 1948, he was excommunicated from the Presbyterian Church because of his pentecostal activities.

After a three-year imprisonment by the Communists for reasons that are rather obscure, he escaped to South Korea where he began to teach his religiolLs philosophy which had been developed over the years.

1954 brought about the organization of his Unification Church, or as it is correctly called “The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity.”

The years following the organization of his church have been filled with marital problems, divorce and remarriage, and scandals of various kinds.

The book on which his doctrine is based is Divine Principle which he published in 1957. He claims that this book came to him by revelation from God through the years. According to Time (9-30-74, p. 68f.), he “spent time talking with Jesus and other biblical luminaries in the spirit world. Thus he is able to reveal the true meaning of the Bible, which is Gods ‘coded message’ to mankind.”

Because of a revelation received a year earlier, the year 1973 brought him to Irvington-Tarrytown, New York where he has a large estate. He and his family are permanent resident aliens, a status granted by the U. S. Department of Labor. His movement’s headquarters are now in New York State.

Though he was not too successful in gaining converts at first, his movement is growing in the States. Today there are nearly ten thousand supporters in the United States, according to their literature (“The Unification Church, Who We Are”).

What they believe – What does the Unification Church believe? Why do we say that it is a dangerous group?

To begin with, Moon wants to do away with Christianity. According to Time (9-30-74), he said, “God is throwing Christianity away and is now establishing a new religion, and this new religion is Unification Church.” Moon teaches that Jesus failed to do what was necessary for full salvation. Moon is God’s appointed messenger to bring answers to the fundamental questions of life (Divine Principle, hereafter DP, 16).

The Bible is not “absolute in every detail.” It is “not the truth itself, but a textbook teaching the truth” (DP 9). The Divine Principle explains and clarifies the truth.

For Moon, God is not triune. Borrowing from ancient and complicated Oriental philosophy hc concludes that God is a unit comprised of pairs. These pairs in God are active, blending together, and out of this God comes all that is.

Jesus Christ was a colossal failure, according to Moon. Jesus was to unify all religion and cultures but this didn’t happen because of His untimely crucifixion. Jesus didn’t actually come to die on a cross, the prophecies such as Isaiah 53 notwithstanding. These prophecies only expressed what would happen if Jesus were rejected! Had Jesus not been crucified it would have been that Israel would have accepted Jesus fully. Then He would have found a perfect mate and established a perfect family on earth. Incidentally, this perfect family on earth is a goal of Moon. This being done, there would have been physical and spiritual salvation. Jesus is only a “perfected man,” “by no means God himself” (DP, 210, 211).

Why did Jesus have to come? Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve. This fall, according to Moon, was because of sexual sin. The eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is understood as Adam and Eve having sexual relations before they were at the proper stage of development. Man had been made to develop a perfect society. Satan was insanely jealous. Through seduction Satan was able to ruin these plans. Jesus had to come. But He could not change things, either. He died, but in so doing He was a failure. The cross was a tragedy!

Yet, there is hope, says Moon. In Young Oon Kim‘s Divine Principle and Its Application we read, “To complete Jesus’ unfinished mission, the Second Advent of Christ must come to pass” (p. 70). But this Christ is not Jesus (p. 191). He is the messiah that will come from Korea, which we are told is the Third Israel. Kim continues (p. 196), “Jesus was chosen to be the Lord of lords, but because he could not complete his work he was unable to attain that position. Through the accomplishment of his ministry, however, the Lord of the Second Advent will eventually be recognized by the people of the world . . . The Lord of the Second Advent is to restore the sovereignty of the cosmos to God by prosecuting Satan before Him. It is he who, through prosecution and subjugation of Satan, established the crossing point between good and evil in 1960.” Incidentally, 1960 is the date of Moon’s marriage to his present wife. This was said to fulfill the marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 191 (These quotations were cited by Harry J. Jaeger, Jr., “By the Light of a Masterly Moon; a look at Unification Doctrine—complex, coherent, and heretical.” Christianity Today, 12-19-75, pp. 13ff.)

Moon is careful not to claim to be this messiah, of course. It would be bad for his proselyting efforts. However, in an interview for Newsweek (614-76, p. 62) the question was asked, “Do you consider yourself the new messiah?” He answered, “We are in a new Messianic age. But 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ never spoke of himself as a Messiah, knowing that would not serve his purpose. I am not saying, ‘I am the Messiah.’ I am just fulfilling God’s instructions.” Though he doesn’t say it in so many words, his followers still believe that he is the messiah who will unify all religions and cultures, thus accomplishing the full salvation.

By the way, all people will be saved—none will be missed. Even Satan or Lucifer will he reclaimed! Ultimately, Hell will be abolished.

One more comment is in order about Moons doctrine of salvation. Kim in his book already mentioned writes, “God does not and cannot forgive men unconditionally . . . If we pay only five per cent of our actual indebtedness to God, He will wipe out the rest—the ninety-five per cent” (p. 48). Through physical acts this five per cent is paid. According to Moen, works bring Divine approval!

Moon‘s elaborate empire – To bring about this salvation Sun Myung Moon has a very elaborate empire. There are many different organizations con· nected with the Unification Church, namely;

World Freedom Institute, American Youth for a Just Peace Educational Redevelopment, One World Crusade, Creative Community Project,

to name only a few. Besides, there are a number of business firms owned by Moon.

Many, many young people have been drawn into this movement. They are thoroughly committed to Moon and all they do is for him. Getting little sleep they spend their hours selling a number of different items or just begging for donations.

To be a follower of Moon means that you must follow some rigid rules for behavior. He does the thinking for his followers. He arranges marriages for his followers. But until the marriage a loyal follower does not know who his partner will be!

Followers must leave their parents and families behind. However, some who have escaped report that they could contact their families for money. This, in turn, would be given to the organization.

According to a report in Christianity Today (3-1-74, pp. 101, 102), a young couple that joined the group were split up. The husband was sent to a church commune in the Pacific Northwest while the wife remained in the Midwest. Their children were sent off to a church-operated nursery where they were taught that Mr. and Mrs. Moon were their true parents. The mother eventually quit the cult, thankfully.

The answer to Moonism – The answer to Moonism is very clear and simple. It is the answer of Scripture.

For Moonism, there is no salvation or victory until “the last Adam” or “the Lord of the Second Advent” comes. But in I Corinthians 15 this Last Adam is identified as Jesus Christ (vv. 45 and 57), not another messiah. Earlier in that same epistle Paul writes, “For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God” (1:18). Concluding that first chapter of I Corinthians, Paul writes, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” That Lord is the crucified and risen Christ. Elsewhere (Col. 2:14, 15, I Cor. 2:2, Gal. 6:14), we learn the same truth: the cross was no failure!

On Ascension Day the disciples were told that that same Jesus who was going into heaven would return (Acts 1:11). He would not be replaced by a Korean messiah! Jesus, Himself, warned of those who would claim to be the Messiah (Mark 13:6). To believe them is to be beguiled!

Is Jesus God? Indeed. Colossians 2:9, 10 tells us that “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Cf. John 1, Hebrews 1.

But what of the new revelations? Have they superceded Scripture? No. Prophecies have ceased (I Cor. 13:8). All we need to know we find in Scripture. To add to Scripture is to bring confusion and to sin against God (Prov. 30:5, 6, Rev. 22:18, 19).

Paul, in writing to his spiritual son Timothy, wrote, “For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine, but having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their cars from the truth, and turn aside unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3, 4).

There is even a stronger word in Scripture: “If anyone cometh unto you, and bringeth not this teaching (i.e., concerning the Christ), receive him not into your house, and give him no greeting: for he that giveth him greeting partaketh in his evil works” (II John 10, 11).

Jerome M. Julien is pastor of the First Christian Reformed Church of Pella, Iowa.