UNIFICATIONISM AND CHRISTIANITY: OVERVIEW AND FAQ
Overview of Christianity and Unificationism
One only has to consider the nature of the birth of Unificationism to understand that its foundations are firmly anchored upon the pillars of Christian faith. On an Easter morning in 1935, a 15 year old Korean youth received his calling from Jesus Christ. Jesus revealed to the young Sun Myung Moon that the “end of the age” was fast approaching and in order for the world to be made ready, Christians everywhere had to enter a new dimension of understanding, commitment and unity.
Jesus also revealed to him that there were three key obstacles standing in the way of the successful fulfillment of the Christian era. Jesus described them as “God’s three main headaches” that plague the modern world:
1. The division of Christians along doctrinal, racial and political lines. Jesus revealed that this state of affairs is in direct violation of his vision and prayer as recorded in John 17:21, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
2. The rise of God-denying ideologies such as Marxism-Leninism and the body-centric life styles void of spiritual values.
3. The decline of the family and moral foundations that underpin it and society. Especially of concern is the impact on the youth.
It was this vision that inspired the founding, in 1954, of The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. The articulation of that vision is the central theme of The Divine Principle teaching. Its clear focus is not in changing the root of Christian faith, but rather is focused on “the fruit” of Christian faith, that is, the fulfillment of God’s historical providence in these last days.
Common questions about Divine Principle asked by Christian clergy.
Responses by Rev. Kevin McCarthy
1. Is the Divine Principle a Christian teaching affirming Jesus Christ as Lord?
The Divine Principle teaching fully affirms the Kerygmatic agenda, the basic affirmations of Christian faith. Christ is the central figure of God’s creation and purpose of salvation. Jesus was born as the sinless Son of God. He proclaimed God’s central dispensation of Salvation. His shed blood on Calvary’s cross atoned for our sin, his resurrection conquered death. Through Jesus and the Holy Spirit the channel of regeneration was opened to all on the day of Pentecost and He will come again at the end of the age to establish his everlasting Kingdom.
2. Why do we need a “new revelation?”
The Bible never says that God will not speak a specific truth to a specific age with regard to that generation’s unique responsibility. God’s warning (Rev 22:18) about “adding or taking away” from “this book of prophecy” pertains to the Book of Revelation and should not be misconstrued to mean that God will not reveal relevant truths to a particular people and time. Indeed does not 1John 4:1-3 guide us to “test the spirits” as a means of discerning truths not fully articulated in scriptures?
Why is revelation needed in any age? Usually it has been a means for God to convey how his Will is to be fulfilled and what role his providential people are to play.
The Divine Principle revelation is relevant for the people of this age. It reveals our time as the “End Times” of Biblical renown. It articulates the unique responsibility of our generation to fulfill the mandate of this age. It contextualizes our age in relation to the history of God’s providence documented through the Old and New Testaments and reveals the principles and dynamics by which God sought to fulfill his Will throughout the ages. It is not “another Gospel” but rather an affirmation and herald of the fulfillment of the Gospel promise of Christ’s return.
3.How do Unificationists view God?
God is the origin and creator of the universe. He created all things “ex nihilo” (out of nothing). As such, God is spirit (John 4:24) and is absolute, omniscient and omnipresent. Of all the qualities that God possesses, his most important one, and the one most consistently revealed in the scriptures, is his quality of Love. (I John 4:16)
When Jesus revealed God’s identity as he prayed, “Our Father. . .who art in heaven. . . not only did Jesus reveal the true nature of God, but also revealed that the true nature of our relationship with God was to be the relationship of parent and child.
Thus, the heart of God is that of a parent and, in view of the reality of the human fall, God is grieving over the loss of his very own (Genesis 6:5-6). Like “the good shepherd” God, since the fall of humanity into sin, has been seeking the recovery of his lost family.
4.What is the Divine Principle teaching on sin?
The Divine Principle defines sin as a condition of thought or action, in violation of the Word of God, that makes a base for satan to exert sovereignty over the sinner. Sins fall into one of four categories: 1. personal (sins committed by the individual) 2. collective (sins committed by a group, such as God revealed to Gideon) 3. ancestral (sins committed by family line). The most significant of all categories of sin, however, is, 4. original (the sin committed by the first human ancestors.)
The original sin of the first human ancestors stands as the root and origin of all sin. Its commission is revealed in the book of Genesis. Adam and Eve, by disobedience to God’s Commandment and by accepting the false-word of the archangel Lucifer (the serpent), in fact, did set up a human legacy under a contested sovereignty of both God and satan. Thus, all descendants of Adam are born in sin and separation from God. Owing to our ancestral affiliation with the dead Adam, all humanity inherits sin and death, without exception.
The reality of original sin and its consequences necessitates the dynamics of salvation: a new living Adam (Christ) unto whom we can graft and thereby escape the vestiges of sin.
5.How do Unificationists view the cross?
The Divine Principle affirms the way of the cross as the pre-planned, pre-destined dispensation of God through which sin was atoned.
Satan exercised his maximum power to crucify Jesus, when “he entered the mind of Judas” who then betrayed the Christ, and, thereby attained the goal satan had sought throughout the four-thousand-year course of history.
On the other hand, by delivering Jesus to satan, God set up as compensation the condition to save sinful humanity. How did God achieve this? Because satan had already exercised his maximum power in killing Jesus, God was then entitled, according to the principle of atonement by blood, to exercise His maximum power to bring Christ back to life.
While satan uses his power to kill, God uses His power to bring the dead to life. As compensation for satan's exercise of his maximum power in killing Jesus, God exercised His maximum power and resurrected Jesus. Thus, through the shed blood of Christ, God opened the way for all humanity to be engrafted with the resurrected Jesus and thereby receive salvation and rebirth.
6.How do Unificationists view the Resurrection of Jesus?
The Divine Principle teaching fully affirms the resurrection of Christ as having conquered death. Paul’s adamant assertions of I Corinthians 15:14 “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain,” rightfully places the resurrecting power of God as the citadel of our faith.
Misunderstanding sometimes arises in the Divine Principle’s effort to make a distinction between the miracle of corporeal resurrection as exemplified by 1 Kings 17:21-22 when Elijah revives a dead child and the resurrection exclusive to Christ as exemplified in John 5:24. The motive in the attempt to make a distinction is to clarify and magnify the ultimate value of relationship with Christ as the sole benefactor of eternal life.
6.How do Unificationists view the Second Coming of Christ?
How Jesus will fulfill his promise to return is the most divisive issue of Christian doctrine. In what manner will he come, what events will precede his arrival or is his arrival an event that is imminent are all issues that have fostered a wide range of doctrinal assertions. Such a wide range of adamant doctrinal assertions on such a fundamentally important issue have, ironically, been one of the key reasons for disunity and derision amongst Christians.
Thus, no matter in what manner Christ is to return, he cannot satisfy the wide range of doctrinal expectations that presently exist. It would mean that only the smallest number of those with the “correct” view could have any hope to successfully recognize and participate in the event of the Second Coming of Christ. In that “God so loves the world,” and in view of Jesus’ own prayer for the ideal that ALL believers be one “as God and Christ are one,” this circumstance is not acceptable. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Christian leaders to address this circumstance in preparation for Christ’s return.
The Divine Principle attempts to do that by examining God’s motive and purpose for creating and in what manner that ideal was postponed by the human fall. It further clarifies the purpose of Christ as central within the context of God’s original purpose of creation. That is, the goal of the history of salvation is culminated by Christ in the role of True Parents, eradicating evil and establishing the Kingdom of Heaven under the uncontested sovereignty of God. In this way, as the mission and purpose of Christ’s return becomes clear, likewise our understanding of how it will unfold and in what manner we are to participate in the fulfillment of that glorious quest.