Evangelical - Unification Dialogue


Rod Sawatsky: Let me just state one assumption before we get into our discussion, and then I want to go into a more detailed introduction. In contrast to most of the theological conferences conducted here, this is to be a dialogue. Prior to this conference, they have been fairly much monologues in terms of supplying information from the Unification church to the guests that have come. Our assumption here is that we're speaking in both directions, in that Unification people will speak to the Evangelicals and vice versa. The agenda will be set in both directions, because the questions that we want to work at will come just as much from the Unification side as from the Evangelical side. Accordingly, when we pick up a certain topic such as christology, after the Unificationists tell us what they understand to be the nature and meaning of the mission of Christ, then we'll ask the Evangelicals to do the same. And if differences emerge among Unification people about their definitions, which will probably happen, I would also assume that there will be differences on the other side, because there are no monolithic positions on any of these subjects. At least, that's my impression.

Now, I think that we should begin our conversation by talking about ourselves in a confessional, testimonial way. What I'm interested in having us tell each other is who we are, where we come from, and when and how we entered the faith, that is, the Evangelical faith or the Unification faith. Evangelicals know all about testimonials and so do the Unificationists, so we have a commonality here. And I think we'll begin to know each other more closely, more deeply, and in fact, our initial agenda for the morning may well grow out of these testimonials. I would also like you to say something about your expectations for this dialogue, particularly in terms of one or two questions uppermost in your mind about the other group—those questions which have been particularly disturbing, perplexing, and so on. Is this a good way for us to start?

I'm wondering where we'd best start? I'm going to suggest that we begin with Richard, since he was here on an earlier occasion, and since the conference was his idea, so I think we're going to let him set the pace for the rest of us in our introductions. Then we'll move on to Anthony and around clockwise.

Richard Quebedeaux: I'm Richard Quebedeaux. I was born in Los Angeles as was my father, which is a rarity. I think Los Angeles was very important in my development because it has produced an amazing number of religious movements. The whole Southern California ethos is conducive to that, I think.

My father was a "culture Presbyterian," which means that my father's whole family way back was in the church for business, social and traditional reasons. My mother was a Roman Catholic, but when my parents got married, my father wouldn't be married by a priest, so that was the end of her Catholicism. My father was really always looking for something. He started reading Plato and Aldous Huxley and a whole bunch of things. Finally both he and my mother went to a Presbyterian church in Los Angeles where I was baptized the first time.

Then my parents were "saved"—they became Baptist because of the persistence of a family down the street who "worked on" my parents relentlessly for a whole year. Finally, on Easter Sunday, my father gave in and cussed all the way to the nearby Baptist church—and then boom! I was in the fourth grade and I also walked down the aisle. That was the tradition. But I don't consider that any kind of a conversion experience for me because I didn't know what was coming off really. I was a smart kid—but I just don't think I understood what was happening.

I was raised in that church and was president of this, that, and everything. Then I also went to what is called a Christian day school for high school. It's very evangelical, so of course, I got the full fundamental, evangelical background in formal studies and in my church. I was cultivated to go to Wheaton College in Illinois, what I call the Harvard of evangelicalism. If you were a good student and from my background, there was just one place to go. I had to give a testimony in front of the church, you know —isn't it wonderful Richard is going to Wheaton —I lasted one week there. Everything came to a head, in that I really felt it was time for me to go into the secular world. I got there and met all kinds of other freshmen. The first thing they would talk about is how they could do things incognito that they couldn't do "legally" at Wheaton. It turned me off because I had been leading a double life myself all the way through, and felt that the time had come for me to find out who I was and to be myself, so luckily I had applied to UCLA, which didn't start until later. I called my folks up and said, "Well, I'm going to UCLA and if you won't send any money I'll hitchhike home." So I came home and my parents saw that as the beginning of my decline—secularism and liberalism and all that stuff.

I went to UCLA and I maintained my church involvement. I was also a member of a Christian fraternity, which may be a contradiction in terms, but it was a fraternity that was trying to be in the inter-fraternity council and then also be Christian, to do things and not do other things —it was very difficult, but that was another good experience. At the end of my sophomore year I really reacted to all this evangelical stuff. I had discovered at UCLA that there were Christians who were not Baptist, and I really didn't know that before, quite frankly, and it became very confusing for me. I also discovered Christianity Today, which is an evangelical magazine. I started reading it, and that was really enlightening for me at that time. It's called a conservative magazine by a lot of people now, but it was very radical to me at that time. In my junior year in college I left the fraternity and started associating mainly with secular Jews who I thought were better people. They were more honest, more real, and more interesting. I really got into the academic thing, and from UCLA I went to the Harvard Divinity School. I went there through a quirk. I didn't even know Harvard had a divinity school—I thought the only seminaries were Fuller and Dallas and my own church's school, Bethel Theological Seminary, in St. Paul, Minnesota. But I discovered the Harvard catalog, and one of my professors had been at a conference there and thought that I should go. I wanted to go into church history as a Ph.D. eventually. So I went to Harvard and of course that extended my liberal training. All my doubts then became systematized, (laughter) I wasn't really shocked because I had done enough reading to know what was coming and was glad I went there because it was so extreme that I could see the weaknesses. I had hoped to go there to find an alternative to my bigoted fundamentalist background and I discovered a new kind of fundamentalism, but it was fundamentalism on the left. I was still looking for the open liberalism which I always heard about. And that experience was very interesting to me because it really turned me off to both conservatism and liberalism in Christianity. I got to the point where I had to decide if I was going to really be a Christian. I was so disillusioned by everything - so disillusioned by the hypocrisy of what I saw on both the right and the left—that I suppose during this time I really became a Christian in the sense of really affirming my evangelical roots and my relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet I was very vague and uncertain as to where this was going to go.

My church virtually put me out by making me a "nonperson" because I was against the Vietnam war. I was invited to come back and teach the college class the summer after my first or second year in seminary—this was the beginning of the Vietnam thing—and we were talking about attitudes toward war and peace in the New Testament. I didn't do much talking but all the students were really getting into it. The director of Christian Education sat in on the class and didn't like it, and indicated to me subtly that if he had anything to do with it, I would have nothing more to do with that church's leadership. Well, that was the end, and that's what happened. So I was without a church and in seminary. I joined the United Church of Christ, which was affiliated with Harvard. It's a very liberal denomination and I'm really much more conservative than most of the people, but at least I found the freedom to be a token conservative in a liberal denomination and got along better than as a token liberal in a conservative denomination. At least I could live the way I wanted and people wouldn't criticize me. So I became UCC and became involved quite by accident in a lot of ecumenical ministries.

I went back to UCLA after I graduated from HDS to do a Ph.D. in medieval church history. This is what I had originally wanted to do out of college, but seminary got me into the present. I decided I didn't want to spend the rest of my life going over Latin manuscripts. I was really into the late '60s concerns and into social justice and all these kinds of issues. So I got tired of medieval history and decided I really didn't want to stay at UCLA, so I finished a Master's degree there in history. Then I got an unexpected scholarship from the World Council of Churches to go to Oxford for one year. I got that probably because I came across as an evangelical and the WC C would occasionally pick up a token evangelical.

I went off to Oxford for one year. I took a leave of absence. I didn't want to go back to UCLA. I didn't have anything to do at Oxford, because if you weren't going fora degree at Oxford there was really very little to do. So the principal of my college said, "Find somebody to supervise some reading for you." So I found this guy who was an authority on Pentecostalism and it just so happened that while I was in seminary my parents had gone from Baptist to Pentecostal in the extreme form—the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). They were literally "rolling in the aisles" and dancing and screaming in ecstasy. And that sort of shocked me. Even my father, who is a rational person and very much an intellectual, got into that and I couldn't believe it. My mother I can understand because she's very emotional and likes that sort of thing very much. But anyway, in the course of their involvement and the involvement of some of my friends, I learned a lot about Pentecostalism and was interested in it. I impressed a professor at Oxford and he said, "Well, why don't you do a doctorate here and do something on the Charismatic movement?" which he'd just found out about and wanted somebody to do something on. So I said, "Well, if you can get me in fora degree program I'll do it." And he did. That's how I wound up there.

I spent two years at Oxford and then came back to the States where it took me four more years to finish my dissertation. During that time I didn't have any money, so I had to do some work. Through a number of contacts and interests I got into this kind of "bridge building" business. I guess I reacted so much to my fundamentalist past and the "pure church" idea that I decided there was no such thing as a pure church and really, we Christians needed to find each other and get together.

I became very ecumenical during that time—I met a man named John Coleman Bennett at Pacific School of Religion who used to be president of Union Seminary. He had graduated from my college at Oxford, so I went and talked to him. I told him that the evangelical movement was finally developing a sense of social concern. I was looking at Urbana '70, the big Inter-Varsity campaign of which I had seen a favorable review in The Christian Century that shocked me. So I told him about this and he too was

shocked. He asked me to write an article for his magazine Christianity and Crisis and I wrote an article on that. Harper and Row was looking for someone to do a book on that topic, so they invited me to do it, and that is how I got into writing.

I did the book, and then I spent almost a year in campus ministry at the University of California at Santa Barbara because the campus minister there who had become a friend of mine was going on a sabbatical. He wanted somebody to go there and try to build some bridges between the evangelical campus ministry and the liberal mainline campus ministries, and this was a really good opportunity for me to put into practice what I had just finished writing in The Young Evangelicals* which hadn't come out yet. So I went over there and at that point was forced to deal with the conservative groups which I didn't want to touch after my own personal experience. In the process of doing that I found out they were a lot different from what I thought —they had changed. And so that project went very well. Then my book came out, I got a name and I was hired by the Southern California Conference of the United Church of Christ for a year to do the same kind of bridge-building for them. They were sitting right next to Fuller Seminary and really they had never met each other because they thought Fuller Seminary was a real Bible-thumping fundamentalist institution. I spent a year putting together various kinds of meetings, getting liberal and conservative ministers together, and I enjoyed doing that.

I was also finishing my dissertation on the Charismatic movement at that time—I flew back to England, was examined, got my degree, and came back. Then I got a job for the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, which is the home missions board for the United Church of Christ, and did essentially the same thing for them for a year and a half: that is, organizing ministers' conferences all over the country to introduce UCC clergy to leading Evangelicals. The UCC, a very liberal denomination, was getting to the point of being interested in what was going on with all these Evangelicals and the fact that the Evangelicals were finally getting into social action. I really became involved in this whole ecumenical quest, which I had really believed in for years. Then my dissertation was published and I really got into writing. I was very free in my writing, I suspect, because I didn't have anything to lose. Unlike most evangelical types,I didn't have to worry about losing a job or being fired, so I could say some things that I wanted to say and then I really didn't care what people thought. In so doing, I discovered that a lot of people identified with what I said because they were thinking the same, but were either afraid to say it or really couldn't articulate it. So, that sort of brought me into the present.

My experience in working with liberal Protestants has been somewhat mixed, in the sense that it's good that we all get together and talk, but I came to the conclusion that there was not an awful lot to gain there. I was tired of pursuing that because it was always Evangelicals saying what they believe, so the issue was about seeing how much the liberals could tolerate, rather than what they believe. I got rather bored with this because we weren't really having dialogue. It was a monologue—just our trying to get them to come around to accept us—which had mixed amounts of success. But basically I got into the situation—I still feel this way—where I really felt that I had a knack for bringing people together to talk on various things, and I enjoyed doing that. Now I no longer look for Christian unity in the institutional sense, and I've begun to appreciate our diversity and feel that many of us are doing different parts of the gospel better than other parts and that probably by talking together and occasionally working together we can probably get nearer to what the whole gospel is all about. That's basically where I am today. Now I'm constantly in the process of re-evaluating. My latest book—if you read between the lines—will tell you a lot about where I am, because it's something of a spiritual autobiography, and a lot of the questions that I raise are still the questions that I have.

Rod Sawatsky: Anthony, your life hasn't been as long. (laughter)

Anthony Guerra: I was born in Boston into a Roman Catholic family, and attended a Catholic grammar school, high school, and university. When as a child I was first learning about Catholicism I was very pious. Every day I would say several thousand ejaculations—short phrases like "Lord Jesus, have mercy on me Forgive my sins" and I was very avid. When I turned twelve I began reading philosophy in particular, and I began to doubt my religion. Further, I felt then that the Catholic nuns and priests that I knew were not a model for the life that I wanted to adopt. And so, at a very early age I proclaimed myself an agnostic, and for the next five or six years, throughout high school, I became a philosophical skeptic in the tradition of Bertrand Russell. I agreed with Russell that religion, as the dragon standing before the threshold of the door of progress, had to be slain in order to solve the problems of the world. And I pursued my agnosticism vehemently.

When I was in high school I ran for president of the student body. This was a Catholic high school and there was compulsory mass attendance once a month. I actually ran a campaign on a platform opposing compulsory mass attendance. I had a friend take from the yearbook an image of a lamb and draw it on a huge banner, and when I gave my nomination speech, I held it over my head and said, "Here, this is what the administration of this school thinks about you. They interpret the parable of the sheep and shepherd a bit too literally, and you are the sheep." Needless to say, the administration, the faculty and the students all disagreed about the merits of that speech. The administration refused to print any of my subsequent statements in the school newspaper, and I lost the election by about twenty votes. Two days later I was called out of my homeroom over the loudspeaker by the Prefect of Studies to come into his office and speak to him. I had been a very good student, already accepted to Georgetown University with a full scholarship, and I was a senior, so I didn't have too much fear of being expelled before I entered his office. But as I sat down the first thing he said was, "Well, I guess you know that you're in a lot of trouble. The community has met, the brothers and priests, and they're thinking about expelling you." I didn't say anything. He said, "Do you know why? It is for blasphemy." I said, "Blasphemy? What do you mean?" And he explained that, in my ignorance, the image which I had blown up was actually the Agnus Dei. the Lamb of God. Where I was ideologically, I could have shirked that off and said, "So what? Why is that blasphemy?" But somehow my feeling was to keep silent, and although I didn't in any way apologize before the Prefect, when I left, I felt regret in my heart. I had a profound religious experience. It was my private reformation you might say, where I realized that you could separate your love for Jesus Christ from the Catholic church as an institution. And that was a profound experience. I do not want to belabor that because it didn't change my life in any way, and I didn't even think about it until several years later.

I was undaunted by my failure in politics. I began with a friend from Harvard University an organization called "Youth for Massachusetts" which involved about 500 students in Massachusetts; this group was responsible for getting the voting age lowered to eighteen. I traveled to various high schools giving my political testimony to people. The organization was very successful in an immediate sense. But as we were working, I would talk to my friend and I'd have all these deep doubts about what the value of all this was. I questioned, "Is this really going to solve people's problems? Is this going to solve the suffering in the world?" And I knew the answer was no. So, even as I was engaged in this, I felt a sense of purposelessness, and the more I thought about it, the less and less enthusiastic I became about my involvement in politics.

When I went away to college, to Georgetown in Washington, D.C, I became apolitical. I was still mostly irreligious. During my first year in college I encountered Marxism. I had one internal commitment, which was that if I found something which I thought was reasonable, which I thought was true, and which would solve the problems of mankind, then I would follow it, I would dedicate my life to it. Marxism promised that it was all of those things. It was scientific, it was reasonable, and it was going to solve the world's problems. So I had to confront this very seriously. However, there was one problem: even though, as I said, I wasn't very spiritual, all the people I met who were Marxists repelled me spiritually. I felt a spirit of hatred. I would feel almost sickened, especially by the more vehement, violence-oriented Marxists. But I couldn't in any way admit the validity of that objection, given my own hermeneutics at that point. So what I did was to study Marxism very intensely and to take the equivalent of six credits in writing a paper on it in which I concluded that it was irrational. Therefore,I didn't become a Marxist.

The following year I had a spiritual awakening and I shed my religious biases and became open spiritually once again. This happened in a two-fold way: First, it was through the writings of Soren Kierkegaard, who of course would appeal to me because of his attack on cultural Christianity. I realized that one could be against cultural Christianity and still find some essence, reality and meaningfulness in it. I actually had a profound conversion experience to something (not God or Jesus). I decided to totally change my life after reading Kierkegaard, and I went on a long fast that lasted over thirty days. I also gave the keys to my car away, trying to shed all of my material belongings. During this period when I was fasting, I had what I might term a personal revelation. This was in 1970 in Washington, D.C, when, as you know, there were riots against the Vietnam war and many of my friends were involved in them and believed that the seeds of a new civilization were going to be formed from this revolutionary movement. During this time, I received word that these riots were rather the ashes of a burnt-out civilization. I felt from that experience that we were living in the last days, that we were living in an apocalyptic, eschatological time.

Well, I didn't know what to do about that personal revelation, so I let it lie and decided that all of this spirituality was not getting me anywhere and that I might as well just get my life together. So I compromised my idealism and decided to become a lawyer. As a matter of fact, I planned to study Japanese and pursue a law degree so I could hook up with a firm that did business between Japan and America, so that I could study karate in Japan. I was into karate at that time.

In December, 1970, I met two members of the Unification church—they were called Unified Family at that time —who came to me and said they wanted to talk to me. I said, "O.K., come into my room and I'll talk with you." They said they were members of a religious community and I said, "Well, that's nice. I'm not interested in religion; I'm not interested in communities. What do you want to talk about?" But I was profoundly appreciative of the sincerity that I noticed in these people. One of the sisters visited me for a period of several months, coming to me, befriending me, bringing me cookies, and expressing her desire that I go to one of their workshops to hear the teaching of this community. I didn't want to go. I was busy on the weekends. I used to go to karate tournaments about every weekend. I thought I had more important things to do. Finally, however, I felt a kind of personal obligation to go to hear the lectures because she seemed to be putting herself out so much and was so sincere and so dedicated that I thought I owed it to her to go. I went to hear the teaching of the church and I must admit I was profoundly appreciative of what I thought was a rational explanation of the faith, something I had never encountered before. I left after two days, saying to myself, actually saying to someone else who had attended the workshop with me, "This is a dirty trick. I thought I was just coming to some nice weekend, but if this is true, I'm going to have to change my entire lifestyle, and I wasn't prepared for that." The first thing I did at home was to read the Divine Principle book to see if all the things they had said had been written down somewhere, and they had. After that time I actually didn't have much communication with the movement. I went back to the campus. However, based on the testimonies that I heard from people after the workshop about their prayer life, I decided to begin praying seriously for the first time in my life. And in prayer I realized that God was a real being and that He was concerned for me. Finally, I had encountered the ground of my life, and in the relationship with God I found what I had been looking for.

A few months later, I called up the Unification church center in Washington, D.C. and I said, "I read the book, and I've had a number of experiences, and I think it's true. I'd like to join the community. What should I do?" They were completely flabbergasted, because when I went to the workshop I had asked many abstruse and seemingly objecting questions, and they never expected to see m e again. They were really surprised. However, I did not move into the community for several more months. I finally moved in at the end of m y junior year, and throughout my senior year I lived in the community and commuted to school. After finishing m y undergraduate degree, I then traveled with the One World Crusade team, which was comprised of members from Europe, Asia, and America. We traveled extensively throughout the east coast of America from Florida to Maine. I worked for some time doing research on the Unification theology book that Miss Kim wrote;1 I went to Louisiana to do missionary work; and I came to New England and was state director for the Unification church in New Hampshire and in Massachusetts.

Later, I worked in various campaigns in which Rev. Moon spoke throughout America, and I was the state director in Tennessee before coming to the Seminary. That was two years ago. For me, the Unification church and its teaching have helped me overcome m y bias and resentment toward religion—actually toward God—and have opened up a tremendous relationship with God which I feel is the most essential thing in my life. After I leave here, I'm going to be attending Harvard Divinity School where I hope to systematize my convictions, (laughter)

Rod Sawatsky: Do you want to ask any questions for this particular discussion?

Anthony Guerra: One of the questions I have after reading Richard's book is how Evangelicalism deals with maintaining its spiritual standard, its dedication, its Christ-likeness, while enjoying social success—the tremendous acceptance that you have in society. How, in fact, do you maintain your spirituality and deal with the obvious temptations that arise from such success?

Rod Sawatsky: Well, we've had equal time for two of you. I think our introductions will really have to try to stick to five minutes. You're running closer to fifteen. You probably weren't aware of it, but you were.

These are fascinating stories, of course. But if everybody's going to tell their fascinating story, we'll be here forever, (laughter) I think I saw people beginning to listen closely, Anthony, when you started to say how you joined the Unification church itself, and what you've done with it. I think a greater emphasis on those things would be more valuable. Let's see if we can try for five minutes each.

Roy Carlisle: I think I'll start a year before I entered into the evangelical world. I was a senior in a small high school, won a large scholarship to go to college, was voted most likely to succeed, and junta whole pile of things. I went off to a very good college. In the course of that first year I went from a 4.0 to about a 2.3 and got my mind blown, because I'd never seen a C on a report card in my life. It shattered me emotionally. In the process I had met Christians who were a part of my fraternity. Those Christians, who were very evangelical, cared about me in a way that nobody I'd ever known cared about me. They loved me, and brought me into their community at the end of my freshman year in college. I made a kind of a C S. Lewis attempt at trusting God, although I didn't really understand who Jesus Christ was at that time. But I was in a very academic community and that community was working those questions through.

Over the course of the next three years I became very stable in that faith. It was basically enlightened fundamentalism. In the course of that time I decided that I wanted to go on to seminary. I was a philosophy major. It was incredibly boring, and I decided that theological studies would be much more exciting. So I went to Fuller Theological Seminary. After the first quarter, I had a crisis of faith because it was not just enlightened fundamentalism at Fuller. It was a radical change for me. I dropped out, went to do a counter-culture thing, by editing a Jesus-people newspaper fora year. Finally I started to put my act together. In those years, my life of faith really came together.

The Jesus people movement was a charismatic movement, which I'd never heard of before that time. But I was confronted with a dimension of spiritual vitality that I'd never seen before. It profoundly influenced me. So I went back to Fuller to finish my seminary training and in the course of that did become charismatic. My charismatic experience began to integrate faith and life for me. In this process I felt led to get more involved ecumenically. I was freed by that experience not to be tied by fundamentalism or fundamental Evangelicalism, and I felt that I would walk into any circle and be who I was, share my faith and not be uncomfortable with it.

In the course of that I felt quite strongly moved to go into publishing and prepared myself for that direction. Also, I met Richard Quebedeaux while I was the bookstore manager at Fuller Seminary. He doesn't know it, but he was a real influence in my life then, because he was always blasting my evangelical notions to the pit (laughter) and I had to go back to my Saturday night charismatic group and get put back together. I found it a healing experience to get crushed and built up every week. (laughter) Actually, the way Richard did it was so gracious, I couldn't blame him. It was just a matter of him talking frankly about things that I had struggles with, but it really helped me in many, many ways. I went on to join a major publishing house. My responsibility for evangelical publishing forced me to deal with the great questions I have as an Evangelical.

Now 1 know they are questions about process. The spiritual process that goes on among people who are moving from non-faith to faith and the in-between places. And that is one of the reasons I was very intrigued about the conference. Living at Berkeley, of course, you see examples of faith and non-faith from every spectrum under heaven. You have to become aware of what that means, I think, in the world. I'm also involved in a seminary. It's a new theological training center, and we're having to speak as Evangelicals in a process way in a situation where things are changing. My questions of the conference are questions of how you come along the path and how the paths go. Also it's important because I've received several manuscripts on Unification and the only thing I've ever seen in a manuscript is negative. I've never seen one that was pro. As an editor, to maintain my own integrity, I believe that I need to see the other side of the story.

So that was part of my reason for attending as well.

Rod Sawatsky: That was ten minutes. We're doing better.

Paul Eshleman: I was raised in South Florida, the son of a Baptist minister. I was part of a group of high school students that went to church because it was family tradition. We brought things to amuse ourselves during the sermon. We'd bring watches with sweep-second hands so we could practice holding our breath to build up our lung capacity for skin-diving on Sunday afternoon, and other important things. I went to Michigan State and quit most of my religious activities. As a child I had asked Jesus Christ to come into my life. I'm sure that He did, but I had very little personal commitment to the Lord. I basically forgot about it until my junior year. I was in the Student Union at Michigan State one day when a student from a Jewish background came up to me and said, "Have you ever thought about a personal relationship just between you and Jesus Christ?"

My ordinary reaction would have been, "Look, talk to somebody who needs it. I've had that for eighteen years." But, because he was Jewish, I said, "I thought Jews didn't believe in Christ. Why are you talking to me about it?" He shared with me that he had read the Old Testament, that he had become convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was that promised Messiah. And, on that basis, he had committed his life to Him, and his whole life had changed.

This came at a point in my life when there were kicks and good Saturday night parties, but there was an empty feeling that somehow wasn't being met in my life. I didn't do anything about it at that time. I was interviewed for a number of jobs, but about a year and a half later I was asked to counsel at a church camp. I was in no condition spiritually to counsel at the camp, but I didn't want my friends who were committed Christians to think I was a bad person, so I said I'd lifeguard. On the third day of the camp a girl that I'd been dating came up to me while I was life-guarding and said, "Paul, what are you going to do with your life?" And I said, "Well, I'll probably go into the reserves for six months, and then go to work for Standard Oil and make some money." And she said, "What are you going to do with your life?"

I said, "O.K., I know what you're getting at. What am I going to do for Jesus?" And she said, "You know, Paul, most of your friends who are here don't really respect you because you're just fooling around with Christ and Christianity. Get off the fence."

And I thought, I don't need this. I've been nice enough to give my time, and all I get is a sermon.

I went home and tried to watch television, tried to read, but all I could think about was what she had said. By 2 o'clock in the morning I was having an incredible battle. I said, "Lord, I've gone to camp and made new vows that I'll be a better Christian and it never worked. I'm 23. I know what I'm doing. I'm not making any more new vows or new starts." But that night a verse of scripture started to go through my mind and it was this: "Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them; as the Lord had said." And I knew in my own experience that it had been years since my heart had been soft enough for God to really talk to me. And I was desperately afraid that if I said "no" there wouldn't be another opportunity. I obviously believe that God always gives people more opportunities, but I knew in my own mind how long it had been since I'd been soft enough for Him to talk to me. And so that night, at 2 o'clock in the morning, I got down by my bed and I said, "Jesus Christ, You might already be in my life, I'm not sure, but not only do I want You to come in if You're not there, but I want to give You my whole life. I'm willing to do whatever You want me to do."

Having been raised the son of a minister, I thought the worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody was to have to be a minister, or if not that, to be a missionary in Africa. That's what all the committed people did. That night I said, "I'm willing to do whatever You want me to do. I'll even be a missionary in Africa or a minister." There was such a tremendous freedom that came into my life after that. I had an assurance that I had an eternal relationship with God.

I saw changes in my life. Instead of trying to use people for my own ends, I began to develop a love and a compassion that wasn't me, but was supernatural. I began to find a purpose for living far beyond making money. I saw that I could invest my life to see other people's lives change, and through that I could see the world change. If enough individual lives were changed, the world could be changed. I gave my life to that.

I came into contact with Campus Crusade for Christ; they taught me how to share my faith. In 1966 I joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ as a new trainee and learned all the things that you have to learn as a trainee. I took out the garbage at the director's house and all those kinds of things. I was then made the campus director at the University of Wisconsin. I started the ministries of the Campus Crusade all over the state of Wisconsin and in Northern Michigan. I then moved to Dallas in 1970 and spent two years in preparation for a conference called Explo '72, in which we had 85,000 high school and college students fora week of training in how to share their faith. On the final day almost a quarter of a million attended the Jesus Music Festival.

I went from there and took over the directorship of 600 campus ministries for Campus Crusade nationally, and then finally 2,500 full-time field staff in the United States working on the campus, in high schools, among laymen, military, athletes, prisoners, and in several other areas. Then, in 1975-6, I directed the "I Found It" campaign nationally, working with 17.000 churches. For the last year I have been in New York City on a special assignment—the Genesis project—serving as vice president of a firm that's producing the Bible on film for distribution throughout the country and throughout the world.

Rod Sawatsky: Any more specific questions?

Paul Eshleman: As I've read the materials that have been sent out, I obviously disagree in strong measure with much of the doctrinal content that I have read in the statements and in the book that I have been sent. I am not vindictive, nor am I judgmental because I know there were people who thought that I would never amount to anything. I think everybody is on a pilgrimage of discovery, the pilgrimage to find a relationship with God, so I don't write off the Unification church. I believe there are people here who are genuinely searching for God. Every time I have an opportunity to share my faith, I do that. I don't understand how the Unification church would hope to succeed without the primacy of a living vital faith in Jesus as king and Lord and master and ruler of the universe. I think without that primacy in the central part of the doctrine that it can't possibly succeed.

Mark Branson: My early life was within the liberal tradition and it included everything from liberal Methodism to process theology to Campus Crusade to Inter-Varsity and quite a few things in between. Now as long as I can remember,I have wanted to be a preacher. That's from when I was five or six. There has always been a basic desire to serve God. I haven't had any traumatic experiences or any big emotional conversions or even second blessings or whatever. It's been a slow growth. I got started early and it's taken every bit of that time! (laughter) The continuous and constantly growing ingredient for me has just been more and more coming to love Jesus. His life and what He taught were an attraction to me very early. My understanding was that He was head of the church, so I was a part of the church. It was during high school that I met Chuck Melcher, an older high school friend, who shared with me the idea that Jesus was more than the head of the church, that Jesus could forgive personal sins, and I found this true in life. That began an incredible new change in my life. Although it wasn't dramatic, it began my commitment.

Over the college years as a religious-studies major and at seminary, education has always played a part, though minor, in my life. During the early '70s, I moved from Kansas to California to become involved in some street ministry in Hollywood. While there I also helped TA at Claremont Men's College and completed a degree at the School of Theology in Claremont. More and more the focus for me was Jesus. Even though I'd read the gospels and the whole New Testament, the focus came down very much to the study of the gospels with the quest of knowing and imitating Jesus Christ. This concern went deeper and deeper in my life. This involved several different chains of events at that point in which a contemplative life became more significant to me. I became involved in what was called Evangelicals for Social Action at that time, finding some camaraderie with some other individuals who felt the gospel was not something spiritual but the good news that included all areas of one's life and therefore had political, economic, and social ramifications, not only for the believers, but also for the believers' behavior in the world. How do we imitate Jesus and serve the world in the way that He did as an agent of the good news? Issues of traditional evangelicalism have not been attractive to me. I generally have been very much annoyed with institutionalism, yet I see that it can be an agent of grace as many things can.

I now work at a Presbyterian church in Los Angeles. I'm not ordained. My main thrust still is ministry with college and seminary students. I like conducting Bible studies. I work with a Theological Students' Fellowship (that's a ministry basically to Evangelicals who are in "liberal seminaries"). Many evangelical students studying at mainline seminaries are working with faculties who don't have the background to understand evangelical theology and to offer those resources. We work in providing those resources, and we're very close to some of the faculty in those schools. Our membership grew from 200 to 1,000 over the last couple of years. I've spent a lot of time traveling, speaking and working with fellowships at the seminaries. So my job's about half and half—it's college ministry half the time, and travel for the TSF half the time.

The focus for me still really comes down to what it means for God to be incarnate in Jesus. What did Jesus do? Because if He is the main way I understand God, as He is, I know God because I know Jesus Christ. Then, how do I proclaim the gospel in my actions, my words and the words of forgiveness, the words of new life, the words of the kingdom, and the words of what it means for the King to be alive?

The main questions I bring to the conference are twofold: one has to do with integrity. I have been tricked by comments of friends who have been formally involved with the Unification church. One friend was involved for eight years. My questions have to do with them explaining certain Unification beliefs to me and saying, "You may bring these up but they will be denied." Also, there are different issues about the conversion process which sometimes I find are very similar to evangelical conversion processes, so I'm led to question my own tradition at the same point. But the whole issue of honesty, the issue of methods, the issue of integrity are very key questions in my own thinking. If I get answers to my questions, are they honest answers? I'm not interested in dialogue that doesn't have a presupposition of honesty. The other question I bring is the one that Paul mentioned, and that is of Christology, of messiahship. I obviously don't like the understanding that Jesus did not complete the job, did not do what He was supposed to do, did not do what was intended for Him. And then, there is the understanding of how Rev. Moon has instead done that and takes care of God's needs.

Pete Sommer: Pete Sommer is my name and I work with Inter-Varsity. My parents were converted the year I was born, out of a background on the one hand of Christian Science, and on the other of post-Jewish Gnosticism. I was born in 1949 and raised perforce in a Christian home. My earliest encounter with God, I guess, would be when I was seven. We went down to the Cow Palace in San Francisco when Billy Graham was conducting his crusade and at the end of the meeting that night, he asked people to come forward, and I saw all these adults getting out of their seats and it looked like the thing to do. And my parents turned to me and said, "Now, do you know what you're doing?" and I said, "I don't know. Don't you think I should?" So I went down to the front, and I was surrounded by adults who were weeping over the issue of sin and having their guilt forgiven and experiencing cleansing, and I had no idea really of what was going on. And I think my counselor at the crusade understood that and he just kind of patted me on the back and brought me back to my mom and dad. But the one thing that I did come away with from that meeting was an indelible impression that this was really the question—the spiritual question.

Then I forgot about that and got into some deep emotional trouble in my junior high years a few years later. I was on an ulcer diet and a few other things at the age of thirteen, went off to a camp in California known as Mount Hermon, which is a prominent evangelical conference site. That week I had a counselor at the camp who just showed me a love and a toleration for my antics which somehow penetrated the screen, and I was really convinced that somebody could know who I was and still love me. And at the end of that week I finally realized that I could have a deeply personal experience with the living Jesus Christ, and I asked Him to come into my life and to forgive my sins. And in that instant, I felt a deep cleansing of myself, and I felt utterly free and loved and known and forgiven. I was in a state of euphoria for two weeks, after which I promptly forgot all about it and lived my life my way for two or three years.

I started to receive some help in high school through a movement known as Young Life, which is touched on briefly in Richard's book, and also in my Presbyterian church. Our church

was very involved in social action throughout the San Francisco Bay Area as well as in very active evangelism. I went to the Urbana Missionary Convention which Inter-Varsity does every three years. I'd never heard of Inter-Varsity at that time, my freshman year of college in 1967. And there for the first time I was confronted with people from seemingly every country and cultural background and I was confronted with the question of what I would do with my life and that again was a deep watershed experience for me. I saw Jesus Christ as the one who was really the answer to the needs of man. It had an interracial and international, supernatural thrust; it hit me deeply and I committed myself to it at that time. The conversion experience that was really exciting for me is my wife's, and I'm sorry that she can't be here to tell her story. It's really a miraculous story, if any of you want to ask about it, you can. It's short. I now work in the Bay Area. We both work together supervising a team of sixteen staff. Every time I count them off it comes out a little different. We're having some turnover right now. But I'm based near Stanford University, and it's exciting to see students responding to the gospel. That's what I do.

Rod Sawatsky: Do you want to say anything, Pete, regarding this particular discussion? Questions?

Pete Sommer: The few things that have provoked me as I've read all the material sent to me and some other material as well and as I've talked with former members of the Unification church who are in our Presbyterian church on the peninsula, are, first of all, the christological issue again, the failure, or whatever you want to say, of the mission of Jesus, and therefore the necessity of Moon to improve upon or, say, to fulfill, the mission of Jesus in a way that Jesus Himself did not succeed in doing. Yet, I would just say I radically disagree with that, but I hope we will unpack that and get at it. And secondly, again, is the honesty question that I am very interested in. The stories that I get from the former members and then from you is that of real variance, and I would hope that we can talk absolutely frankly about that. I've done a little bit of research but not much. So those are the two things.

Lloyd Howell: My name is Lloyd Howell and I'm a second-year student here. I'll begin my story when I was in college. In college I took engineering, which was enough for my mind because it stimulated my thinking, but there was something missing in my heart. There was always an emptiness that I filled up with poetry. I really found poetry to be a vehicle to help me along during that period with "heartistic" expression and creative exploration. When it came time for job interviews, I just couldn't go to them. In my heart I said, "I don't feel a call,a pull, an urge or anything in that kind of direction. I'm just not going to the job interviews."

I graduated from college and I thought I would just go on writing poetry. I got a job at a supermarket fora little while, and finally I thought I would check out this engineering. I had to at least see if it was worth something, if it wasn't just some concept I had about big business, or being swallowed up by some organization to which I didn't feel I could be loyal. I went to a couple of engineering jobs. Then there were layoffs and I hitch-hiked around the country, which had always been one of my dreams. It was during one of these layoff periods that, on one trip around the country, I met Rev. Moon. He had just finished a campaign in New York. His picture was plastered on all the billboards. I had seen enough of his picture, and a friend said to me, "This guy thinks he's the second coming of Christ." And I said, "Well, another one, that's good." It didn't mean much to me.

I went to an Episcopal church—and I never found anything there. I got tired of the word "church" and I got tired of their inability to answer my questions. I have to admit, it wasn't a very lively church; some churches are alive and some people in the church are alive. I didn't think much of the word "church." When I met someone in Oregon from the Unification church, I liked the person and I liked the word Unification. The person, I could feel, was concerned more about me than about himself. He said to me, "Do you want to come to this meeting? We're concerned about a world brotherhood and God," and I said, "Well, I'm going to a movie;I think I can find God at the movie."

At that time I was into the I-Ching, and I figured there were cosmic principles and true laws. But I didn't know the heart of God: I didn't have anything personal going on. So I tested this person. I said, "Why don't you come to the movies with me, God is there I know." And the person said, "Yes, I'll walk with you." And I felt something really sincere; there was no thought in my mind that this was wishy-washy. I realized that that person just wanted to know me for an "I" reason, for a purpose of love. I then said, "I don't want to go to the movies. What is this lecture?" So I went to the lecture. I wasn't impressed. They wanted me to go to the weekend workshop. I had plans to go to the Oregon coast. But I went to the workshop. I wrote a letter back to my girlfriend and said, "You know, these people are different from how I imagined them in New York." When you meet people in New York everybody's just a hassle, (laughter) You go to Port Authority and you meet the Black Panthers and the Black Muslims, and maybe you meet a Moonie and everyone else, and you just want to make it home, (laughter) So I said to her, "These are good people, you know." And that's it; I wrote the letter.

I went back to New York. To me, love was important, but the kind of love as I understood it came between a man and a woman. Then about a month later, my girlfriend met this church and she was invited up to Barrytown, at the time when they had workshops here. She disappeared for a couple of days and she came back and she wasn't happy about her experience. So the relationship really just fell apart, and to me love was all I cared about. I didn't care about money; I didn't care about jobs. Those things were all at the bottom of the list, and so without my love I didn't know what to do. It was about four or five months later she got an inspiration to go back and check out whatever she ran away from the first time. So she came back up here. I supported her. I knew she needed to change some and I needed to change some. Something had to get better. So she came to the three-day and the seven-day workshops and I was angry. She said that they were detaining her. I wanted to go up, put her in the car, go on a picnic and just take her back. These kinds of feelings came over me but I fought through them and I said to myself, "If there's trouble going on inside her and she really wants to change, then I'm just going to support her 100% even if she's not going to be orbiting around my life; something good is happening to her—I can feel that from my perspective. And as I did that I received many revelations, things that I was later to find out coincided with the Divine Principle. I came to realize I had to live my life for God; I had to give it to God 100%. There was no doubt that the love between her and me wasn't anything that could sustain me, or carry things on. I, from the middle of my I-Ching and whatnot said, "I'm going to give my life to God and I'm just going to get on a boat and go." I guess spiritually I understood it, as I wanted to leave this world and just find God and that was it.

I was going to go into the merchant marine—I had everything prepared—but I went around to visit this church a bit—I thought I should go. In fact, my girlfriend was beginning to change her life. And I went around and she said, "Why don't you come to a weekend workshop?" And I said, "Fine, but I can't get in the way of what I have to do which is to find God."

As I came here I felt that there was no fooling around. I felt some kind of commitment to something, and I had a fear inside me that this was the time when I had to make my decision. And I heard these lectures and I had deep experiences of repentance during the lectures on creation, on the fall of man, and on Jesus. I went into the chapel there and said, "I'm giving up my old way of life, and I'm just going to give everything to this direction." I'm always glad to tell you more, to share more, but that's enough.

Rod Sawatsky: Do you want to say anything about our discussion here?

Lloyd Howell: Well,I have a number of questions, such as, I meet people who say, "Are you born again?" What must you do to be born again? I'm always wondering what they want to do once they're born again. What do you do after you're born again? What is discipleship? I went to the Jesus '78 and I saw a lot of healing. They wanted to heal the body of Christ. But I didn't see any tears of repentance around me. I didn't see people weep; I didn't feel they would be willing to pay a price. I thought that somehow they thought the spirit would come down to heal the body and I understand that a man has a responsibility and role in this and I want to know how my evangelical brothers and sisters feel towards healing the body of Christ. How is God working in this world? Socially? And on different levels? As I have my ways of comprehending His work, I want to comprehend your understanding.

Ulrich Tuente: My name is Ulrich Tuente. I'll try to make this short because my conversion is not so dramatic. I feel that I've not much to say. I'm from Germany, and my parents are farmers. My father's from a Reformed background. My mother is from a Lutheran background. I met the Unification church in 1973 at the University of Mainz. I actually was not very impressed by the members when I encountered them standing there in front of the campus witnessing and approaching students. There were two women who were then in the center, and I really was not very much impressed with them. But I was interested when they spoke about the idea of the unification of religion, and I was especially interested because their ideas encompassed all the practical aspects of life, even the political and economic realms. This attracted me very much and this was the reason I came to the lectures. I didn't particularly feel any love, but I felt that I definitely had the responsibility to do this if it was right, if it really was going to establish God's kingdom, and if it would accomplish the will of Jesus Christ for today. After I was convinced of this, I decided to join.

Patricia Zulkosky: My name is Patricia Zulkosky. I'm originally from Seattle, Washington. I got my bachelor's degree in occupational therapy from the University of Washington. From the time I was very young, I was very greatly distressed by man's suffering and by the whole question of good and evil and how it all fit into the world. I couldn't accept sin. I felt that I always made the most conscientious decision possible in any given circumstance. I might make mistakes, but I didn't feel that I sinned. Eventually, I left the Catholic church because no one could explain sin to me in a way that I could understand. And when I was a junior, one of my nuns had told me to stop asking questions because I was destroying the life of faith of the people in my class. It was at a time when I was thinking about entering the convent, so it was a rude awakening to me that people didn't have the answers to the questions that I was searching for.

Eventually I went into occupational therapy and my whole life was dedicated to serving others. My apartment was a drop-in center. At some point in my little apartment I had as many as nine people living, all dependent on me, including a 13-year-old foster daughter and a 30-year-old man who'd been in prison for fifteen years and anyone else I knew who needed help. I took phone calls at any hour of the day or night from people who were in distress. So I was really into helping people. Halfway through college I came into contact with eastern philosophy to the extent that for the first time I got the idea that perfection was not only possible but also the goal of man. And so when someone witnessed to me on campus, he happened to say the word "perfection" and that caught my attention because I knew the drive to reach perfection. It was like an innate feeling to me. But also I was the first person he ever witnessed to in his life. He was obviously trying too hard to share something which was precious to him and he was scared to death to try to witness to me. Since I was into giving success to people (laughter), I told him that I'd come over and hear his group.

At that time there were twenty people in the Unification center from many different countries living in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house, but it was a temporary situation—they were passing through on a traveling team. It was clean and the atmosphere was so pure that you would never believe such a thing. As a matter of fact, most of them didn't even speak English, but it didn't interrupt the harmony at all; as a matter of fact, the harmony was that much greater. It was clear to me that somehow these people had something that I didn't have, or they were closer to perfection in a way that I wanted to be. So I listened to the people, and I could understand how uniting around an ideology could bring people together. And I think in the past five years I've come to a much deeper relationship with God. especially with Jesus, through the Unification church. I guess we all have numerous spiritual experiences that we can share, but this particular conference is very important to me because I'm very interested in evangelical Christianity.

I want to raise the question of perfection and the direction we must go to become perfect. I'm one of those people who studies the lives of the saints thoroughly, upside down and inside out, to understand mystical relationships with Jesus, how people became who they became, and what kind of life of sacrifice they led to become a channel through whom God could do something great. So I greatly admire many of the saints and reformers of the past, but I'm really seeking to learn how to apply those things of the past, those examples of a life of faith, today, and how we can become this kind of really powerful vehicle to reach so many people, and to bring them back to God and to really revolutionize this world in a deep way.

Joseph Hopkins: I'm Joe Hopkins. I was here in March and enjoyed myself so much that I came back again. I have a rather unconventional background, I guess. My father was Quaker; my mother, a Presbyterian. I graduated from high school in Laurel, Maryland, when I was barely sixteen, so I was sent to Westtown school, a Quaker school, for a year before going on to college. Then I went to Westminster College, my mother's alma mater, and struggled to find myself spiritually. I remember going to the minister of the United Presbyterian church in Wilmington and telling him that I'd come to the point where I didn't know whether there was a God. He advised, "Don't cut loose from your moorings. Keep praying, reading the Bible, and attending church. Continue to pursue your search for God with the assurance that He will reward your search." A verse that has come to mean a great deal to me is Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart." In the course of time my quest was rewarded, though I can't point to a specific experience when I committed my life to Christ. But in time, God came to be real to me and I answered God's call to the ministry.

After graduation from Pittsburgh-Xenia (now Pittsburgh Seminary),I served a church fora year, then served for two years as a navy chaplain, and after that returned to Westminster to teach—and I've been there ever since. Over the years I have grown into a more mature faith—not a mature faith, because there is always room for improvement. During the '50s and '60s I guess I was a radical, because I was a militant crusader for racial equality and later against the Vietnam war. I resigned from my national fraternity over the racial issue. During the late '60s I preached a sermon denouncing the Vietnam war in a large suburban church. During the course of the sermon, a number of people got up and walked out. It was a very traumatic experience for me. I feel I'm in Richard's category of the evangelical left. I very strongly believe in the born-again Christian experience, and feel I have come to know God through the surrender of my life to Christ as my Savior and Lord. My first concern in the conference is the question of authority. The biblical authority versus the concept of continuing revelation. I think that's very basic. Another thing that concerns me—in addition to christology, which has already been mentioned—is the doctrine of salvation by grace alone versus grace plus works.

Rod Sawatsky: Next man up.

Virgil Cruz: If you don't give me at least half an hour I should probably plead racial prejudice or something! (laughter) My work is now in Iowa, but my home is in upstate New York. I was brought up in Cambridge, which was the home of my mother. We like to say that we've been in that tiny town forever. Our family dates back from about 1790 there, so when other Blacks had to engage in a search for roots, I always was able to say that I know who I am because I know my predecessors. We have an interesting racial mingling in my family, including a component from a native American background. I was brought up in the old United Presbyterian church which Joe knows; I can't point to a specific time of a conversion experience. I can point to a general period in my life at the time of graduation from high school, after which, I can say, a relationship with God became a vital thing for me. So that's the native United Presbyterian way of looking at a kind of conversion experience.

After having had two years between high school and college, I did go off to Houghton College; some of you know that college—a poorer sister of Wheaton College. There as a Presbyterian I had a difficult experience encountering for the first time the second blessing phenomenon, sanctification, and so forth. I attempted to receive that blessing, because I, of all people, knew I was not perfect and could really benefit from that kind of thing. I remember the counsel of an upper class-man after I had gone to an altar call a number of times seeking the second blessing. He said, "Cruz, why don't you just forget it and remain Presbyterian?" (laughter) "Don't you think that it is completed at the end of your time here? Why don't you just remain Presbyterian?"

While I was in college I had planned to major in history and teach history ultimately. During college I received a call to the gospel ministry, and turned to a pre-seminary program. Also I discovered Greek at that time and became a Greek major at Houghton. My seminary was Pittsburgh-Xenia, an institution of the old United Presbyterian church of North America. Having graduated from seminary, I had a pastorate in New York for four years. It was just a marvelous experience for me. It was the first time in the old denomination when a Caucasian congregation called a person from a minority race its pastor. And while maybe we didn't accomplish a lot of responsible ministry together, we had an awfully good time. I sometimes feel guilty about the enjoyment I experienced in that pastorate. It was a marvelous time for me. While there I received a fellowship from the Hazen Foundation of Chicago to study wherever I might choose, and I finally decided upon the Free University in Amsterdam. That was just a marvelous experience for me. I was coming out of a very conservative background, and it was great for me to be at a place that was really a crossroads of theological ferment. We experienced radicalism out of Germany and were influenced by the sanity of England many times.

I really had a fine experience in educational formation at the Free University; it moved me out of my theological provincialisms. When I went to Europe I was also provincial with respect to political-social stances. I remember once —you mentioned the business of working with students and organizations—I organized a protest in Amsterdam, a counter demonstration against those leftist students who were saying bad things about my nation, my country. We had a permit and were all set to go, but it rained, so that major event didn't take place. I had known when I went to Holland that socialism is of the devil; when I got there and found out that so many of my Christian friends were involved in one or another expression of socialism, that was a great enlightening change.

A major event in my life happened in the Netherlands. I married. I met my wife who was a student. Her field was Spanish. I was married later in life, so God planned it that way in bringing me and this one individual into contact. My marriage is extremely important in my life.

I've been at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian school, since 1966. My professional interests are the apocalyptic writings, in general, and especially the book of Revelation. My dissertation, published in Amsterdam by Academic Press, deals with the interpretive problems in Revelation. I enjoy very much my work at Dubuque, and maybe the Unification church would be interested in looking at what we're doing there. We have really far-reaching, ongoing ecumenical cooperation there. In addition to the Presbyterian and Methodist schools in that city, there is a vital Lutheran seminary, Wartburg (ALC Lutheran), and there is an active Roman Catholic school of theology which is ecumenical in its own right, both Dominican and Franciscan. And we're totally integrated in our academic program. It's fun to look out and see nuns in habits and nuns also in shorts, Dominican brothers, Lutheran men and women, Presbyterian men and women. It's a marvelous attempt to work through to some sort of cooperative position, all the while keeping in mind the fact that we have differences. And we enjoy and respect each other enough that we can face those differences.

In the city of Dubuque, I've become involved in social action and have had some real good run-ins, fights with the establishment there, which have resulted in, I think, improvement. Governor Ray of Iowa has appointed me to the State Crime Commission, which has given me another means whereby I think I can do ministry in the state. I've had fun the last few years doing things for the larger church, for the denomination. Perhaps the most significant responsibility has been the ordination exams which each of the Presbyterian candidates for the ministry must take and pass. I had particular responsibility for the open Bible exegesis exam and Bible content exams. This has been a good involvement on my part and a worthwhile expenditure of time.

For four summers I've also been on the staff of the Young Life Theological Institute in Colorado Springs, and have had just a great time getting to know that group. I learned one summer that Jeb Magruder was going to be in my class, so I decided even before class started that I would flunk him and the whole class at once, but as a result of our engagement, we became rather good friends. I have appreciated him and know that his testimony is legitimate.

I, too, am interested in the question of christology, and a whole cluster of issues surrounding that; I'm sure they will begin to emerge as we begin to discuss. The other point that I'd like to mention has been alluded to also: the phenomenon of new scripture. There's no place for that in my theology, so I think it will be very helpful for me to understand how this phenomenon can indeed be advanced by the Unification church. Particularly, I have problems with new revelations, with new scriptures, when I think they are at variance with biblical writings. So, frankly speaking, this would be a real issue I'd like to engage in.

Rod Sawatsky: There's some iced tea in the corner there, and some ginseng fizz! (laughter)


How are we doing, folks? Is everyone keeping their interest up? Very much so? I'm finding it fascinating. I think it's worthwhile.

Maybe we can speed up just a little bit more so that we can get done by noon. Can we do that? Just a little faster pace? Let's see if we can. If we can't,it's O.K.

Jan Weido: My name is Jan Weido. I was born in Nemacolen, Pennsylvania, which is a small coal-mining town named after Nemacolen, an American Indian. I was raised a pagan Catholic pantheist, and at the age of thirteen, my parents just got sick of the hypocrisy they saw in the Catholic church (at least where I was raised), so they just gave it up. That pleased me, because I didn't have to go to catechism; I didn't have to go to church. My religion became athletics. I became a super jock—played football, basketball, track, whatever. That was my religion and my discipline. At the end of my senior year, I started to question and search and get out of the provincial little coal-mining town. I began to become radicalized. I had a deep sense of the "haves" and the "have nots," being a coal-miner's son and seeing the oppression, the exploitation, that goes on with the workers. I think Malcolm X, his autobiography, moved and changed me during that period in my life more than anything else I've ever read or heard. Basically, that area is pretty racist, and I'd had a pretty racist upbringing. I think there was one Black at our school. All that changed for me. I took a scholarship to play basketball at a small school in Maryland. I lasted about a year. I started smoking pot, got involved with campus radicals, and became one of the leaders on campus. That was my first conversion, into the counterculture, into the radical culture. I accepted that as my "lord and savior"first. I wanted to continue on in school, so I decided to look for another school. Rutgers University was developing an experimental program so I decided to go there.

Later, I did some traveling; I really got into art, into that Bohemian artist kind of trip. At that point, I had totally rejected Christianity. I didn't want to be bugged by Jesus freaks. I thought they and Christianity were a justification of the death machine in America. They blessed the bombs, lived in suburbia, and did their thing with America. That turned me off. What turned me on was the eastern spirituality, the kind of internal search for self and God. So I went that route. Where I really started to relate to Christianity and Christ was at the end of my senior year in college. I had a professor who was pushing me towards getting into art more, going to graduate school, and getting into the New York art scene. But I was turned off by civilization, so I decided the thing to do was to get a little piece of land off in the country somewhere.

I had a very good relationship with a woman. I was very spiritual. We meditated together. We were very open and honest with one another. We were very loyal to one another, and we were searching together. We understood that our relationship was part of a spiritual search. So we worked and we bought some land in West Virginia with a few other people back in the hills, figuring that if there was a nuclear war, we were far enough away from Pittsburgh that the fallout wouldn't get us, and when it all came to a grinding halt, that we could last it out eating roots and berries and things like that. Who knows, maybe somewhere along in there we would reach enlightenment; we were basically neo-Buddhist Hindus, (laughter) After we had decided to do that, things started happening. I met my patron saint, Thomas Merton. He's not a "saint" yet, but I look to him as a saint. I've taken him on as my patron saint. As with Jacob, God or the Archangel or someone came in and threw my body out of place, so that I had to continue to struggle; but I had also to stop. I twisted my knee and tore the cartilage, so I had to stay in bed for about a month. It was at that point, I think, that the Holy Spirit began to work in my life. I was really into reading all of Thomas Merton's books, and it just happened that one friend brought me one of them, so I told my girlfriend to go to the library and get his other ones. I read through all of them, and as I lay there and watched life revolve around me, my friends into their trips, into their spirituality, I was at the mercy of God, at the mercy of other people (because I couldn't get up too much). I had a lot of time to think. A voice came to me one night and said, "O.K., you want to go out into the woods and do your thing out there. How about the suffering people in the world?" I think I was convinced in that moment by the Holy Spirit, or by God or Christ or whatever, that life wasn't to be escaped from, but is to be lived for other people. At that point, I read in one of Merton's books about a Catholic apostolate up in Ontario, Canada. Something moved me to inquire about it. I played with the idea of either becoming a Trappist monk, following his course in modeling God, or going to this Christian Catholic apostolate and checking it out. Their vows of chastity, obedience and poverty I could accept. My leg got better. I had another experience with the Holy Spirit. I had a choice of whether I should get an operation or let it go. I made the decision that I believed God could heal, that there was a healing force in the universe, so I said rather than put my faith in the hands of a surgeon, I would put my knee in the hands of God and let Him take care of it. And it happened. Many times I would experience a warm current flowing through my leg. I haven't had to have an operation. I can predict the weather sometimes with my knee. (laughter) It's O.K.!

Then, one night I met some Christians. I was outside the Rutgers Student Center. I had just come back from New York City and was waiting to be picked up. I was sitting there very tired. I noticed that God works in my life a lot when I'm pushed to the physical extremes, when I'm very tired or injured. He has to cut my feet down underneath me, because I'm a very active person. I was very tired and wiped out, when these people, these Christians, were witnessing and they came up to me and surrounded me; basically, they were pretty arrogant. This one girl kept calling me "dirty old man" and laying the hell and damn-fire thing on me. "What if you die tonight in a car accident, where will you be?" That really turned me off very much. It just turned me off. But there was one person there who was very loving. He didn't come on like that. He just spoke to me as a person. It was Halloween night, October 31, 1974, that I accepted Christ. At that point, I knew my life was, as you said last night, "O.K., what do you want me to do?" That's the kind of attitude I've taken since. Now, I said, "O.K., I'll put Christ or God—I didn't make too much of a difference there—on the throne of my life."

Things started happening. I started talking to my friends about Christianity, and they were turned off by it. They were I-Ching'ers, and Taoists, and T'ai Chi'ers; some of my friends were Guru Mahara-ji people. They didn't want to hear about Christ. Not one person could help integrate things for me in my life, show me how Christianity and how Christ related to the world's religions, to Buddhists, to Hindus, and all these other people. What turned me off about this little group of Christians that I met was that they were very judgmental. They condemned Buddhists. They said, "Hindus are satanic and they're doomed to hell; they might have good intentions, but the road to hell is paved by good intentions." I couldn't buy that. I couldn't buy that there was a loving Father, God, who was going to throw people into this cosmic burning junk-heap forever and ever because they didn't buy a western Christian trip. It didn't sit right with me. Thomas Merton spoke to that, and Paramahansa Yogananda spoke to that. I had a week of vacation coming. I decided to go visit the place in Ontario. But I couldn't get in touch with the people. A lot of things happened. It was Easter week and I felt something symbolic was happening. Merton gets into the liturgy and the meaning of the Christian year. I was re-connecting with that, with my Catholic past, in a way. But Ontario didn't work out, so I had this week to space out. I was disappointed. But I accepted it. I thought maybe there was something else God had in mind for me.

I went to the dentist one day. I got an overdose of sweet air. If you've never had that experience,it's kind of nice. I OD'd on it, and got sick. I went home and went to sleep and I woke up with this craving for strawberry Continental yogurt. Strange how God works, (laughter) I went into a health food store and sat down to my first Continental strawberry yogurt. I wanted another one; so I ate another one. Then, this friend of mine, whom I hadn't seen in a while, came in and started talking about this Christian group in Barrytown, New York, but I wasn't paying any attention to him. He was talking to these Guru Mahara-ji people, and they were kind of negative on it. They would say, "Oh, Rev. Moon, the Bible, that's a bunch of baloney." They were against his whole enthusiasm. But he was looking for someone to talk to; so he came over to me, and he started talking to me and I said, "O.K., I'll listen to you." He wasn't a convert or anything; he'd just attended a workshop, and he said, "There's a spiritual community. They're into integrating eastern religions and Christianity." My ears perked up, and he said, "I'm going to go back up there. What do you think?" I said, "Yeah, I'll go with you.

Let's go. I'll go check it out."I thought—I'd be open to this. I'll see what they have to say. We hopped into his junker and made it as far as the turnpike and then it broke down, so we had to go back. We stayed at his house. We took a bus into the city but I still ended up here in Barrytown fora three-day workshop. I was freaked out by all the short hair and that everybody seemed so happy. I said what's going on here! But I was open to it. I had realized in my life that my plans had to be put aside, that I had to let things happen, let God work in my life. So I listened to the lectures. I got into it. I prayed deeply and for the first time really could understand God's heart, and the personal God. And also repentance. I was brought to a very deep sense of repentance at Barrytown, not just through the lectures, but through the attitude of the people, the prayer, the fellowship that we had. So I decided to stay for another week to hear more and to see what was going on.

I called my girlfriend up and I said, "Why don't you come and check this out?" She said O.K., and she came; but I didn't want to influence her. If this is my path, then I'll follow it, but maybe this isn't her path. So I wouldn't tell her she should do this if she loved me. Actually, I avoided her. I wasn't cold to her, but I didn't speak too much about how I felt about it. After a week, I decided, O.K., I'll join. She stayed around another week, and decided separately that she would also join. So we went back and got all our possessions together, put them in our truck, gave a lot of things away to our friends, because Jesus said, "Sell all that you have, and distribute to the poor.. .and come, follow me." I moved into the community, and went through some training workshops here, became a pioneer, which is kind of a missionary. I went to Minnesota, where I encountered Christianity on another negative note. It also brought me to an understanding of Christ, because those who persecuted me the most were the evangelical Christians, the Lutherans, and all these so-called followers of Jesus, who had nothing but hate and venomous words and judgment for me as a Moonie and as a person. I didn't see any love manifested there, so I became resentful and turned off to their whole thing. That's what happened to Jesus, too, you know. I worked that out here, but I think in our movement there are still a lot of people with resentment which we have to work out towards Christians who have persecuted us. It's very strong persecution. I was once in a group of people who were all calling me Satan and pointing their finger at me and shouting Bible verses at me. They thought they were going to exorcise me when, in fact, one of their own people got possessed and freaked out. It was a very negative experience. Then I became a state leader in Nevada for a couple of months, until I came to the Seminary.

Here, it's been a very challenging experience. This isn't a place where your faith is just reconfirmed. Your faith is challenged here. I think I changed a lot of my ideas about our faith and other world religions and the Christian faith. I have grown a stronger sense of mission and calling toward working with world religions. And that's one of the questions I have for you people here. How do Evangelicals relate to the world's religions—to Africans, to the Confucians? I don't think they're going to end up in hell. There might be some Christians in hell, and I don't think these other people are necessarily going to go to hell or stay there. I also see this as a question for my Moonie brothers and sisters. How do we relate to the world's religions? When we become too sectarian, get turned off? We're really supposed to be the Unification church or the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. Some of the things that are important in my faith are the idea that God is personal, that God works through history, through governments; I relate to Jesus more as an elder brother. God is my Father and Jesus is my elder brother. He's also my Messiah, and I know it's through Him that I learned to repent, to find God's forgiveness. I also believe that God is speaking today and I'm open to other scriptures, other revelations, not just the Divine Principle, but other people. I think that God is speaking through the world's religions, to the Moonies, to those traditions that aren't Christian. What are the Evangelicals going to do in response to that, other than write books that denounce them? What positive things are the Evangelicals going to do? Also, what's your response to Marxism? It has become very important for me to bring my faith into social action. I think the Unification church has to move in that direction a lot more. Other than that, I'm glad you folks came, (laughter)

Rod Sawatsky: Let's keep running. Jonathan.

Jonathan Wells: O.K. I'll just hit a few points here. I was raised a nominal Presbyterian, but I promptly abandoned it when I left high school. I found myself attending the University of California at Berkeley in the mid-60s, and was caught up in the feeling that our generation was going to be a force to change the world and bring about a new society. And in the course of that I got very righteous about civil rights and the anti-war business. So one thing led to another, and I wrote letters of rebellion and refusal to the army. One day I was walking down the street next to the Pacific School of Religion when a black limousine drove up and three plainclothesmen jumped out and packed me in the back seat and took me off to jail where I spent the next year for protesting the war. During this time I wasn't religious, except in a very general sense, but my models were Jesus and Gandhi and King. And every chance I got, I read about these three men. I read things by them and was very idealistic while I was in prison. When I got out in '69 and came back to Berkeley, I felt that things had changed somewhat. There was a lot of violence, bitterness, destruction, and window-breaking. People had died. When I went back to my old friends and associates, I found a strong Marxist influence which I noticed particularly because I had been away during a critical time. And I still can't say that I was religious, that I believed in God, but I was really turned off by the Marxists and I was really turned off by the violence.

So, lacking anything else to turn to, I left the Bay Area and headed for the hills, up in Mendocino County, which some of you may know. I lived in various cabins, bought a farm eventually, and read a lot of the same things that Jan just described, and I had a lot of friends who were neo-Buddhist-Hindu, American Indian, this and that. At that time I underwent a conversion experience, centered on the Old Testament, and I realized that God was real. Then, through the Old and New Testaments, I realized that God was personal. I was in the mountains, partly to avoid the holocaust that I felt was coming, because I knew the impetus that our movement had built up and I felt that this country was headed for very serious trouble. I just didn't want to have any part of it at that point. But at the same time my conscience bothered me because I knew that a lot of people were unhappy, that the world needed something. So I was looking for a movement that could combine the dynamism of the one I had left with the spirituality that I had found in Mendocino County.

About the same time,I encountered the Unification church by visiting an old friend of mine who had joined the Oakland church, and just about the same time I read the Time articles about Rev. Moon, accusing him of being this and that. I heard various things from all kinds of people against Rev. Moon and against the church, but because of my experiences in the '60s, I know better than to believe anything the first time I hear it from anybody, anywhere. So I did a lot of checking and spent about a year and a half actually looking into not just the Unification church but also these other Christian and non-Christian groups, and I gradually became more and more impressed with the Unification church. So, through my prayer life, which was deepening quite a bit at that time, I decided that this might be the group that God was leading me to. So I decided to join, but I decided to join on a very conditional basis. The church membership form is just, you know, one piece of paper that lists name, address, educational background, job experience, and one spiritual question: "When did you accept the Divine Principle?" I never did answer that, because I didn't know whether to accept the Divine Principle or not. I wanted to test it and felt the best way to test it was to become involved in the church activities. But I didn't know whether Rev. Moon was a preacher, a guru, a businessman, a fascist, or the antichrist. I just had to see for myself.

So I found myself in 1974 in New York City at a rally in Manhattan to fire people up for the Madison Square Garden campaign. Rev. Moon spoke to a group of maybe 2,000 church members and got them all excited, and by the end of the speech they were standing up and throwing their fists in the air saying, "Monsei!" which is Korean for "Victory!" With all this power and excitement, they were going to go hand out leaflets and invitations for the MSG rally which was a week away. I was standing at the very back of the church when this was going on, fresh from the hills of Mendocino County, and I was horrified because here was all this power and energy, and I didn't know whether to trust this group or not. When Rev. Moon finished and the shouting died down he stepped off to the side of the stage and the head of the German Unification church got up and started speaking in a very heavy German accent (laughter) and I thought, "Wow! This is it! If this isn't a neo-fascist group I don't know what is!" (laughter) The look on my face must have been terrible. Nobody could see me, except Rev. Moon, who I noticed was looking at me. He pointed his finger directly at me, until he realized that I was fully conscious of his awareness of me. Then he lowered his finger. Nobody else, apparently, saw what he had done. Just after that, the meeting broke up and I went to stay at my mother's house in New Jersey to begin writing an article that I was going to submit to the New York newspapers exposing this fascist group. It was a pretty fair article, not too unlike the ones that you've seen. But as I wrote the article I remembered Rev. Moon looking at me, and I prayed very seriously because I wanted it to be honest. Finally I realized that what I was doing was projecting my own fears and suspicions—and my own sin actually—on what I had seen in New York. When I looked at it really objectively, I realized that all I'd noticed was a lot of energy. There hadn't been any talk of nationalism. In fact, it had been the most international group I'd ever seen. There hadn't been any talk of hatred, or racism. All they were going to do was stage a rally for God in New York City, which I knew was probably the most sinful place in America. Well, in a way, this was my idea. I wanted to find the group that had the courage to go into the worst place in America and have a rally for God. That's what I wanted. And so, I tore up the article I was writing, threw it away, and went back to attend the rally and stay in the church. But ever since then I've tried very hard to maintain that kind of skeptical distance at the same time that I'm involved, to make sure that what I'm doing is for God.

In response to some of the things I've heard from our visitors, I have to say that some of the criticisms of us are undoubtedly true. Some of them I've looked into myself and found that they're false. As for what I expect to get out of this conference, I don't know how much we're going to agree on by the time the weekend's over. I don't have too many illusions about strong-willed people changing their minds in three days, either way. But I do have to say, especially after reading Richard's book last week, that I feel a strong tie of brotherhood and sisterhood with the Evangelicals. I admire them more than many other religious groups in America. So I'm looking forward to a lot of good fellowship and clarification and I hope this all serves God's providence somehow.

Rachel Spang: My name is Rachel Spang. I'm from Massachusetts. My father is Roman Catholic, my mother was Protestant and I was brought up in a little town outside Boston in a Congregational church. I was really very active in politics, sports and social life in high school, and it was very easy for me to cruise along and have a good time or really get into whatever I was doing without really even thinking about God or a spiritual life. When I got to college, the University of Pennsylvania, because of certain experiences I had—some tragedy in my family and just certain personal experiences—I was really open to searching, so I made a whole new start in my life. Early in the year I was met by Campus Crusade for Christ, which I talked to Paul about last night. That was a very big turning point in my life, because I attended their meetings and their fellowship. It was just a whole new experience to put my trust in Christ and really feel and experience that God really has a personal relationship with me. You just feel spiritually that that's where real truth and love start. I was just so disturbed by the dichotomy among all of these supposedly intelligent and very capable, brilliant people at Penn, knowing how different their emotional and personal lives were. That was very disturbing to me. So I just got more and more involved with Campus Crusade, which I honestly felt was a little bit superficial in answering certain spiritual questions I had. Nevertheless, it was my introduction to my spiritual life, and by the end of the year I became very intense about furthering what that really meant in my life. I went to Geneva, Switzerland, fora year to get out of the American environment, my own culture, and experience what that could mean.

My interest in the experiential aspects of my faith was very conducive to my living in the woods for quite a long time to feel what it was like to live in the creation and, since this was God's world, feel what that meant. So I did that. I was also very influenced by eastern philosophy, and I integrated that into the Gospel of John and the life of Jesus particularly, especially what He said our life was meant to be like in the world. And if this is God's world, then how are we to experience that reality as children of God in this world? Beyond the fact that we're saved, what does it mean once we're reborn, with reference to our relationships and in every aspect of our life?

So I came back to the United States and I still was dissatisfied with a particular direction. I really was directionless spiritually; I wasn't going to associate with a group, but nevertheless I was very intense about my spiritual life. Then I got into my Volkswagen van, made a little home, got my Bible and decided that the next step was to see further what God had in mind for me. I would travel around the country and really get a feel for America and the spiritual times that we were living in and what that meant for me in terms of what God wanted me to do in this life. I just didn't know because, living in Europe, I heard so much criticism about America. I really wasn't too concerned about politics at that time but just wanted to feel my way around. So I traveled around the country. When you spend so much time alone things become very internal for you and you react very sensitively to every little thing you see. Every part of the country had such a different spirit, and in every different part of the country I listened to Christian radio stations. Sometimes I'd stop in different churches in different parts of the country and sheepishly walk in and participate to get a feeling of where other spiritual people are at, or what their faith means to them.

And so I was cruising around the country. I went out to California. I had an interview. I thought maybe I should transfer to a Christian college and I had an interview at a Christian college out in California—I don't remember the name of it —but I felt like it was too set on such a uniform way of acting, thinking and approaching the gospel; it was just so western. I felt narrowed down by that so I kept going. I traveled to Illinois and had an interview at Wheaton; that was a pretty deep experience for me also. It was not that I wasn't impressed, but I also felt a little bit narrowed down. I felt that the person who interviewed me there couldn't cope with the experience that I was having, he couldn't relate to it. I was pretty intense at the time so maybe.. .because I'd just come off from being alone, just searching and being so serious about what I was experiencing that it was difficult for somebody really plugged into a set way of doing things to just be totally open and embrace that experience. So I decided I really didn't want to go to one of these Christian colleges. I went back to Penn and decided to major in religious studies, although all the time I was still searching, because one thing I really discovered while I was doing this is that even though I'd spent so much time on my own—being alone or living in the woods with either one or two other people—very simply, I absolutely felt responsible to God to do something in the world. I really wasn't led to associating with a group at that point. Sometimes you become a little aimless in that position, but you just don't know what to do about it.

At that point I did meet the Unification church through a friend in New York. When I was over at the center I was very moved by the experience of the community way of life. I believe the Christian life is a way of life, not only a faith, but a way of life. I think the whole confrontation with the oriental way of life is very important for Christians today to learn how to live in a smaller and smaller world. Since I've been in the movement, I've been involved in its ecumenical wing. I've been working interdenominationally for about four years, setting up theological conferences, and also being involved with minority and social action projects. I'm working in Harlem; I have been for about three years. Since I've been in that wing of the movement, I've also gone back to Penn and am getting my Master's in Religious Studies there.

Through the conference here, I'm not really expecting anything. I really respect everybody's point of view, where they're at in their life of faith. And I just hope that we can fully realize how seriously each one of us is dealing theologically with the questions of the Christian gospel, the purpose of creation, the fall of man, the nature of evil (and how it works in the world), the nature of Satan, and how we can overcome sin within ourselves. I think that we can share many things in common at that level, even though on specific theological points we're obviously different. But there is an internal aspect where I think we can learn to respect and love one another.

Rod Sawatsky: I think we're going to have to break here. It's lunch time. We have only covered about half of the participants. But I think we are accomplishing, at least in part, what we're hoping to accomplish with this conference. I think we'll simply continue the same approach after lunch.


Rod Sawatsky: The basic value of the testimonials has been achieved. We have been getting various Unification stories and various Evangelical stories, and I think that from here on in we can just shorten them a bit, so that we can get on to the other issues.

Irving Hexham: I've noticed a lot of people have been talking about their religious backgrounds—how they were brought up in Christian homes and so forth. Well, I'm going to start off by saying that I wasn't brought up in an evangelical home. My experience is different, in that when I was eleven,I took an exam which English children took at that time called the Eleven Plus. It decided whether you went to a grammar school or a secondary modern school. I failed it and went to a secondary modern, along with 90% of the school population. That meant I left school at fifteen, and I became an apprentice in the gas industry as a gas fitter. I worked there for nine years. That was a very interesting experience because the main aim of most of the people I worked with was getting to bed with the woman of the house we were working in and similar things. On hot days in summer we would go swimming in the afternoons and fiddle our time sheets pretending to be working. When I was eighteen, I met some Christians who asked me if I'd read the Bible. I started to read the Bible and after a few months became a Christian. I was converted after having a very vivid dream in which I realized Christ had risen from the dead. That made a big change in my life, because I could no longer go along with fiddling time sheets and so on. The change made me a very unpopular apprentice, and I very soon found I was on my own. No one would work with me, so I was given jobs I could do on my own without having to be with anyone else.

When this conversion happened, a change in my social class occurred as well because people in British churches are very middle class and I was in the working class. The people I worked with never went to church or expected to go to university. All the young people I met at church were expecting to go to the university. Three people I knew went up to university to do theology. Over the next couple of years they all lost their faith. I couldn't see how one could really lose one's faith through study. So I became interested in reasons for faith and theology. As a result I became a Calvinist through reading Calvin's Institutes. I then met Clark Pinock, who was at Manchester University. He suggested I visit L'Abri in Switzerland. There I met Francis Schaeffer and was strongly influenced by him. He suggested that I ought to go to university, so I started to study for matriculation. I entered Lancaster University in 1967 to read philosophy. As it happened, the year I went, a Ninian Smart came there —some of you know his work —and started a new course. It was the first course in Britain in religious studies. So I enrolled for religious studies.

The courses I took raised many questions relevant to this discussion. There I learned that you do not understand Buddhist or Islamic traditions if you make the kind of statements folks are making here, because religions are fundamentally different. I'd like to hear your replies to this view of religion. The other big influence in my life is my marriage to a South African who had been brought up an agnostic and converted in England. I say this because her mother was very active in politics in South Africa in opposition to the government. So when we were married in '69 in South Africa, my mother-in-law's cry was, "How on earth can you be a Christian? Even worse, how can you be a Calvinist, when you see what has happened in South Africa?" This led to my doing my Master's degree in course work on African religions and my writing a thesis on a new religious movement in England. I then did my doctorate on the relationship between Calvinism and apartheid, taught for a few years in England, and then came to Regent College in Vancouver. Regent is particularly designed for laymen. I've been there since September. One of my main research interests is new religious movements; I teach a course in that area. The other interest, of course, is African studies.

Helen Subrenat: My name is Helen Subrenat. I was raised in a rather liberal Christian home. We moved around a lot and so tended to go to the local church, whatever it was, whether it was Methodist, Presbyterian, or Congregationalist. My mother is a Quaker, so I spent about ten years going to Friends Meetings as well. Thus,I was raised believing in Jesus but not believing in any particular way of following Him.

My parents didn't feel that any one denomination was necessarily right, but I didn't really have a personal relationship with Jesus until my senior year in high school, when I was living away from my family, missing them a great deal and facing a lot of personal crises. A friend of mine had had a born-again experience over the summer and he had really changed so much that I knew something definitely had happened to him. He shared his experience with me, and through that, I became a born-again Christian. Then I began to frequent mostly Baptist churches, went away to college, and really began to break away from the fundamentalist Christianity which I'd found in the Baptist church. I sought the way I wanted to commit myself to serving God through Christ. I had many friends who weren't Christian at all and sometimes I'd try to convert them, but through those experiences I came to the realization that I had to love them as human beings and respect them and their own beliefs. Many of them were Islamic and Buddhist, and so I had to realize I couldn't force my Christianity upon them. I could be a witness through my life, but not necessarily through my words, and I again made a conscious commitment to serving Christ.

I had some experiences before college in which my credo became I Corinthians 13—that is, to live a Christian life I had to be able to love unconditionally. I really had to be able to do that to be His representative. So then I began shopping around different churches—this was in New York City in 1965, '66, '67. Nora (Mrs. Spurgin) and I were both going to an Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at NYU and were pretty active in that. It was a pretty small chapter, but I was really turned off by the narrow mindedness of most of the people who were in Inter-Varsity at that time.

The next year I lived in a Christian dormitory, the ideal of which was really beautiful—that of having a Christian community, building on that community, and going out into New York City to serve it in some volunteer way. Through that I encountered Paul Tillich's Dynamics of Faith, and the one phrase that always kept striking me during this time was, "Faith is the act of being ultimately concerned." I knew I wasn't ultimately concerned. I wasn't really centering my life on God and couldn't find anywhere an example of Christ in a church. I went to Episcopalian, Baptist, and Methodist churches, etc. I couldn't really find any specific way, so I just prayed a lot and searched a lot. My other concerns were world religions and uniting the different religious groups. How can we work together for a family of man? All these things were influencing me, and in my sophomore year of college I was witnessed to by a member of the Unification church. Many questions I had had about the Bible, specifically, which came up

about six months previous to my being witnessed to, all began to be answered through the lectures. The thing that really struck me, however, was that this was a true community centered on God which I hadn't been able to find anywhere else, one which was really manifesting Christ's love. I had been struggling with the question of who Jesus really was and what He wants us to do in this twentieth century. I felt very clearly that Jesus had guided me to the Unification church, to a deepening relationship with God, and also to a deeper relationship with Him. Of course, we'll discuss our christology, which is a little bit different, but I've had many experiences through prayer and some inspirations or whatever you want to call them. I've really come to a much deeper relationship with Jesus, a personal relationship, than I had before, or was able to find in other churches. Since I joined the Unification church I've done missionary work in Berkeley. I was in Berkeley for three years. I also worked in Los Angeles, directing a nursery school that was owned by the church. Then at one time I was part of a tour with Rev. Moon. Most recently I've been a missionary in Gabon, West Africa, for two years. I've just come back from that. That's it in a nutshell.

Rod Sawatsky: Actually, my story is really very uninteresting compared to most of yours, because I was raised Mennonite, my parents were Mennonites. I am a fourth generation North American Mennonite, my ancestors having come from Russia in the 1870s. My undergraduate years were spent in Mennonite colleges in Winnipeg and in Kansas. I find myself quite comfortable in Anabaptist-Mennonite theology and feel myself very much to be a Christian within that context. Therefore I see myself as neither Evangelical nor Liberal. In fact, Mennonites usually insist that they are somewhere in between, and—I think—rightly so.

One of my biggest concerns theologically is our view of the Church. My own position is that the Christian faith calls for a very high view of the Church. My belief is that evangelicalism by and large, and liberalism as well, have a relatively low view of the Church, in the sense that for them the two primary agencies for building God's kingdom are the individual in his search for personal salvation and the nation or state as a redemptive community. By contrast, I see the Church as the primary agency of God's reconciliation in the world. In this I feel somewhat at one with Unification in some of its emphases.

I am, at the same time, somewhat of a heretical Mennonite, in that Mennonites, like Unificationists, have a very strong commitment to faith made active in works, usually defined as discipleship. And there is always a latent perfectionism in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition, while I'm not a perfectionist at all. In fact, on this point I find myself very much with Luther and pretty much with Evangelicals, in that I feel that which I would, I do not; and that which I do, I would not. And so constantly I have to return to God for His grace for what I'm not. In fact, I find when people make statements about how intensely they're committed to following Jesus I have to constantly say, "Isn't that nice? I wish I was." I have a deep commitment to the Christian faith but I think my profession is very weak. In comparison to many others, that commitment is probably very thin. And I have to live with that and struggle with my faith accordingly. So I guess, given my background, the way I was raised, my own faith and commitment, I'm a mixture of many things—in part Evangelical, in part more Liberal, and maybe that brings me to this role here as moderator.

I first became fascinated with evangelicalism during the Vietnam war. I was doing a Master's program in history at the University of Minnesota. Timothy Smith was there at the time-some of you know him —the Church of the Nazarene historian. I was working with him, and I did my thesis on "The Influence of Fundamentalism on Mennonite Nonresistance." I was rather concerned at that point to hear people like Billy Graham serving basically as military recruiters. And so I did a little bit of research back into the 1920s and '30s and found that this has a long history among Fundamentalists. I learned that the reticence of the Mennonites to speak out in the twentieth century on what they traditionally claimed they believed was largely due to the growth of fundamentalism among them. And I've been trying to undo some of that in my own work since then. So I have from that time on continued my fascination with fundamentalism and evangelicalism, and I now teach a course on evangelical Christianity.

There are very few courses in religious studies departments across North America on evangelical Christianity. I use some of Richard's books as texts. The reason is that Evangelicals have not written their own history, by and large. There's hardly anything available other than what Richard has done. But it's a movement which I take very seriously, which I respect very deeply, in part, because I have at least one foot in it. Besides, students in universities need to be taught another angle on the history of Protestantism besides the basic history that goes through the rise of liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, on to the theology of hope and so on. We need other angles to tell the whole story of modern Christianity. So that has convinced me to work on this area. The students are fascinated by it, which is rewarding.

I have also been working in the field of newer religions. I know a little about the problems of minority traditions given my own heritage. My first experience here with Unification was an exciting one. Since being here a year ago and then working with some other religious movements, we formed a society in Canada known as Canadians for the Protection of Religious Liberty. Religious liberty problems are becoming more intense in Canada. I think they will also become more intense in the United States, not around deprogramming issues only, but primarily because the psychologists are defining legitimate religion under the rubric of healthy religion. Evangelicals have as much to fear here as Scientologists, Moonies, and others. So I have involvements either through my own faith or scholarly interests on both sides of our discussion here, and find my role and participation here very fascinating.

Johnny Sonneborn: My last name is Sonneborn, spelled with two n's in the middle. My given name is John Andrew; people call me Johnny. I'm a Jew. I was born in 1930 in New York City in a middle-class home. My grandfather had been borough president in Manhattan and held other kinds of political offices. My family had absolutely no connection with any religious institution of any kind, my mother being a militant atheist. I myself have been interested in mythology and supernatural types of things all my life, the present life being so unsatisfactory. At the age of twelve I decided I was going to be a musician, and I became a musician,a classical musician. One of the first times I was ever in church was when I went with a family friend to hear a music program at her church, and she was probably the only Christian, probably the only religious person who was one of my family friends. She had been an employee, and she was a member of the church in Harlem. And later on I went to take organ lessons from the organist there at St. Mark's Methodist Church in Harlem.

After high school I went to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania where I sang in the chapel choir because I loved the music so much. I'd been told many things about the Christian church by my mother. I guess they described the Christian church in Germany around the time of Marx, Freud, and others like that, which was that it always favored the bourgeoise, the capitalists, with emphasis especially on conformism. If there was one thing I was against it was conformism. I was 100% non-conformist. I didn't care what somebody else thought. I was going to be exactly as I liked to be.

I was singing in the chapel during Religious Emphasis Week, and minister McCracken from Riverside Church, the number-one Protestant church in the country—any New Yorker knows that— came out. His topic was The Perils of Conformity. This was mind-blowing; he preached that Jesus was the original nonconformist—you know the scriptural texts as well as I do. So this began to reduce some of my prejudices against Jesus and Christianity, and through attending chapel services in order to sing, I began to listen to what Jesus had to say, and it made a lot of sense. Some of it I had figured out myself, and other parts of it I saw were sharp thinking. I saw that He was really a great teacher, and was smarter than I. And that was about as far as I went fora year.

There were many IVCF people on the Bucknell campus, and they walked around with the light of Jesus in their eyes. I was attracted to that, but I didn't have any way of relating to them personally—because they didn't offer me anything directly. But I always remembered that. Instead, the Methodist Youth Fellowship was a really embracing fellowship; they could take a nonconformist in and make him comfortable, and they were socially active. I was becoming a World Federalist and becoming active in social concerns. I transferred the next year to the University of the Redlands in California, which is a very accepting place, a wonderful school. There I quickly became a pacifist, and from then on my interests in Christianity and pacifism were just inextricably linked; this was the way of peace and the way of love. I began to take very, very seriously the teachings of Jesus, and I became a religion minor and a music major. At this time I was really into church music as well.

After one year of helping in the liturgy in the Methodist church there (the community I was in was the Methodist Youth Fellowship and the Methodists Student Movement, all of whose leaders were in jail during the Korean War for draft evasion), I became a conscientious objector and worshipped with the Quakers. For most of my life after that I worshipped with the Quakers, finding this was the way to God most open to an intuitive person.

By the time I graduated, I had begun to realize that prayer was not just self-hypnosis but that there really was a God and also that my respect for Jesus had been not just for one more great teacher but for somebody who was at least such a super doctor that if I couldn't understand Him I knew He was right anyway. He was the one who really knew it all. The only question was how I was going to appropriate it.

I came back to New York and entered the field of music. My sister had been converted very dramatically in her first year at college. She had been a stronger atheist than I and had never been interested in supernatural things at all, although she had always believed in fate. She became a Southern Baptist. 1 was very pleased with her conversion. When I was back in New York she began saying simple Baptist formulas to me which actually began to sink in.

A number of years later I looked back and I realized that Jesus wasn't just a teacher but there was, through Jesus, an experience of God and that Jesus had changed me. There was the "Rock experience." I could really stand on this. I could never really disbelieve again. I had been saved. I knew that God and Jesus are really with me, and it's only a matter that I sometimes recognize it and sometimes I don't, but they're never going to leave me, so why should I want to turn away from them?

I was a musician for many years, working as organist in church and in synagogue and as a pianist. And I also associated very much with Catholic Worker people. So I really began studying theology and talking to many different people, and my theology concerning Jesus became much more conservative, in terms of the incarnation of the second person and so forth, although I was still very liberal on certain world-views and lifestyles. I had a very low opinion of eastern religions, and I had a strong argument with a very important Catholic who said he could be a Christian and a Buddhist at the same time. I said, "You can't be; you have to be one or the other." I was always turned off by people who were into eastern religions and self-help and so forth. Also, I was influenced strongly by Tillich, and Leslie Dewart, the Canadian who showed that to have faith you have to be completely open; that you can't just have faith that you know what God's going to tell you to do. Rather, you don't know what God is going to ask you to do, but you have to have open faith and be ready to do it anyway.

I came to the end of my career as a musician and I thought of going into the Christian ministry, but I had become so degraded personally the last years of my musical life that I felt I wasn't qualified to do this, so I became Regional Executive for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Christian pacifist organization, for three years. This was '68, '69, and '70, during the height of the Vietnamese protest. I was organizing protests, and vigils and doing draft counseling. I was very strongly into faith and love but I understood love only in relation to individual people.

With the Fellowship of Reconciliation I could never speak openly about Jesus, and I always could argue any point on both sides equally unless I put Jesus on one side. I always came to that conclusion. So I felt frustrated with the Fellowship. I just had to go into the Christian ministry, so I chose the Presbyterian church. I enrolled in Union Theological Seminary to become a Presbyterian minister.

Three weeks before my first class I heard the principle of creation in the Unified Family. As it came about, it was given by a young woman I had known in the musical field when she was in high school, who had had a very strong relationship with God the Father and Jesus the Son since she was fourteen. I had known her to be a very pure and quiet person. I spoke to her on the phone one day and said that I was going to go to Union and she said, "Oh, I'm into religion now, too." I said, "Susan, you've always been in a deep relationship with God and Jesus," and she said that this was something new. I realized in the conversation that she had changed, so I wanted her to tell me more about it. She had joined the Unification church in a period of ten days, earlier that spring. So in September we met and she told me a few things about the church, that it was really dedicated towards changing the whole world and had a strong emphasis upon the family. She knew that I'd always valued the family emphasis in Catholicism. I went to a lecture, and later on that fall I wanted to hear the rest of the Divine Principle. They didn't have any workshops at that time. The Unified Family was living with fifteen people in New York City in a slum on the edge of Spanish Harlem. I liked the people and I went back to hear the ideas, arguing all the way. But the person who taught me had all the answers, so I was really convinced by the teachings. At the same time I was very much into Union Seminary. So first I thought of Union Seminary,

"Well, since I'm learning this much and here's an extra free class from the Unified Family—I'm learning a great deal." But by the time we got into Moses and the Old Testament and all that material about the Completed Testament age, the three ages, I realized I was viewing everything at Union as extra courses and the Divine Principle as the main course by which I was interpreting everything. So, therefore, I believed the Divine Principle and Rev. Moon as the truth-teller who had given this.

But the question was, could I trust him as a leader? He was in Korea and very few people here had met him. So it took me the better part of a year before I was finally able to read things that he had written about God's heart and God's grief, and I came to the conclusion I could trust him, so I joined the church. Since I've been in the Unification church I've completed my Master of Divinity at Union Seminary. I've been doing theological studies and research, especially studying the Divine Principle itself, analyzing what it says on a point, comprehensively, although there's always a problem to really understand what it says, not just to know what it says. I've lectured on the Divine Principle to members of the church and done Interfaith lecturing on it. Currently I'm doing advanced studies at Union Seminary. I've taken four semesters, each with six credits in systematic theology and the history of Christian thought.

I have been sharing ideas with professors of religion and philosophy whom I encounter in New York, learning, and sharing our ideas, and also trying to work out ideas within the movement. I've written a number of essays based on the Divine Principle for the movement.

In the dialogue here at this conference there are two issues that I find very central—they are related. The first is that I think many Christians believe we are sinners who have been justified by Jesus. But we aren't happy being sinners. How will this ultimately be changed so that we wont always be such miserable people? And the second is that it's obvious that Jesus established the kingdom and that He has active spiritual lordship; the question is about political governments of the earth, which in light of what I've just said are made up of sinful people. Does Jesus want to change them and if so, how would He go about doing this? The Unification church has certain answers. What are the evangelical answers to these questions?

Dan Davies: My name is Daniel Davies. I was born May 27, 1948, in Winlock, Washington, a small town of five hundred people. My childhood was a happy one; my parents were good and my brothers and sister were very close. My father and mother often took us into nature. My father was very kind, wise, and a leader in the town. My mother served us night and day; but we five children were too much for her and her health broke trying to take good care of us. My family went downhill until my parents were divorced in 1963. We moved from Winlock to Seattle when the divorce finally took place. We all suffered a great deal from this.

I sought a profession in the first year of college, 1967-68. I wanted to be a doctor. I thought this was the way that I would make a name for myself and find my place in society. But when my brother. Marc, returned from Vietnam, he brought with him the Buddhist religion and philosophy. We talked for hours about this religion and about truth. I had several experiences with love I had never experienced before while we talked. The love was not coming from any person; it completely surrounded me and gave me the greatest comfort and joy. I experienced the love of truth and I changed my direction from the medical profession to be a seeker of truth, a philosopher. Marc and I found Ramakrishna Vedanta especially attractive. Basically, Vedanta respects all the leaders of the world religions and believes that all religions are paths to God.

America was involved in Vietnam and I had to struggle with whether to participate or not. I was threatened by the draft in the 1969-70 school year. I had been persuaded by the communists on the University of Washington campus that America was fighting Vietnam for imperialistic reasons. I decided not to fight in Vietnam, but rather, join the National Guard. I joined a missile unit near Seattle and did not learn until later the missiles carried atomic warheads. My job included installing the arms plug into the missiles prior to firing. The arms plug is the final step before the missile can be fired. My action made it possible to explode the atomic warhead. The men on the base were convinced we were going to blow up the world.

My education at the University of Washington was bringing me to the conclusion that the world lives in a crisis. The population explosion would be out of hand by the year 2,000. There would not be enough food or space for all the people of the world; that meant the world was on the verge of war, famine, pestilence, and genocide. A hungry man has no choice but to fight for his food if he is starving.

I had an opportunity to receive many scholarships for graduate study in 1970-71. I had thoughts of raising a family. But I realized, "How can I bring up children in a world headed for destruction?" I decided to give up thoughts of graduate school, a family, and look for some way to change the direction the world was headed for instead. I would have been foolish to live my life as if everything was O.K.

I left Seattle in the summer of 1971, owning nothing but what I was carrying on my back. I flew to London, England, with a one-way ticket and a determination to find a better way of life or die. I had faith God would lead me to a better way if one existed. If a better way didn't exist, I'd rather not live anyway.

I traveled for two years throughout Europe, the Mediterranean and finally Israel. My journey was a day-by-day journey. I prayed that God would lead me His way. I worked in Germany when my little money ran out. I spent most of the time on the move, except when I arrived in Israel; I lived on Kibbutz Sasa in Galilee for about one year.

I was given an invitation to join the kibbutz community and I seriously considered it. I felt they had a better way of life than any people I had ever seen before. But, I felt they didn't quite have the answer. Their ideology, essentially Freud and Marx, was not holding up to the tests of reality.

Their children were leaving the community and never returning. I could predict that in about twenty or thirty years their decline would be complete. They would be without an ideology they could believe in within one or two generations. They would then be like a suburban community in the United States: upper middle class with all the upper-middle-class problems. They would have all the material comforts they wanted, no dream to live for, and no God. I realized the need for God to be central in community life for the community to be successful.

I left the kibbutz in spring 1972 and began to travel around Israel. I rededicated myself to find God. I took part in the movie "Jesus Christ Superstar" for several months. I played a stand-in for Ciaphas, a wine-merchant in the temple, a friend of Jesus,a leper in the Valley of the Lepers, in a dance scene with Simon Peter, and a friend of Jesus at the crucifixion.

I had my first encounter with Jesus Christ during the filming. Three days after the crucifixion scene, Jesus appeared to me in a dream and said, "I am the divine Son of God." I was shocked; I hadn't believed Jesus Christ was real at the time. I told others about the experience and I was made to think seriously about Jesus Christ through this experience.

I developed the dream to establish a God-centered community in New Zealand while working on the film. I thought the kibbutz was the right idea, but God had to be at the center of the community. I went to work in Elat, Israel, after the film, to earn the money I would need to leave the country and travel to New Zealand. But I came to the traumatic realization that I could not find a place in the world where we could live out our lives in peace and freedom. I realized there was a conflict going on within myself and between myself and others that I could find no place on earth to escape from. I realistically viewed the world situation and realized it was only a matter of time before communism took over the world. New Zealand would be easy pickings after the communists had defeated the United States and the rest of the Free World. I was not looking for an escape from the real problems of life. I was looking for a place to live in a God-centered community, raising my family in peace and freedom. I realized that the peaceful way of life I was looking for was not possible on any continent on earth. I lost my last ideal. I reached the bottom-point of despair. I had absolutely no direction and no will to go on.

I met a kindly Jewish woman on December 19, 1972, the day I reached the bottom-point of despair. She asked me if I knew Jesus Christ. I thought, "Ah, you're kidding me! Here you are,a Jewish lady in Israel asking me if I know Jesus Christ!" My first reaction was to laugh, but I was told intuitively that I was in no position to laugh and that I had better listen. She said something that clicked, and I experienced a rebirth at the time, but over the next few days my heart gradually changed. I began to feel love in my heart that I had never experienced before. I completely lost the thought for drugs and the thought of immoral sex became completely contrary to the love in my heart. My mind and life changed. I experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit several days later in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.

I spent the next four months from Christmas until Easter living in Jerusalem waiting for the return of Jesus Christ to Israel. I was baptized in a fresh-water spring on the Dead Sea below the Qumran Cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. I began to read the Bible seriously. I spent a lot of time in the Sinai desert reading the Bible, praying, and asking for direction from God. I did not join any one Christian group exclusively. I believed we are all members of the body of Christ. I had fellowship with all Christians with gratitude for the love we had to share with one another.

I noticed Christians were arguing over the day to worship, how to baptize, how the Lord was going to return, etc., and separating from one another when they disagreed. I did not want to argue. If one group wanted to worship on Saturday and another group wanted to worship on a Sunday, I would worship on both days! I believed that when Christ returned it didn't matter where I was; it didn't matter which group I belonged to or the denomination of the congregation. If I was living the will of Jesus Christ then I'd be with Him when He returned. I reached the point where I was trying to live by the Bible.

I lost many friends trying to live by the Bible. Most of them would fight with me on certain points, such as that I had to work eight hours a day. But I could never find that in the Bible. I found that you were supposed to work long enough to provide for yourself, your family, to provide help for the needy, and the rest of the time was to be used to spread the word of God. I didn't see anything about working eight hours a day. I lost several friends on that one. The time I wasn't spending in prayer, reading the Bible, and working for a meager living, I spent evangelizing. I wanted to help all people to experience the love of God I was experiencing.

I received direction from God during prayer in Jerusalem and in visions in the Sinai desert to return to America in March, 1973. I struggled to confirm this direction. America was the last place on earth I wanted to go to. But the direction was confirmed by many signs. I flew from Israel on Easter morning and landed in Nice, France, to visit my brother, Marc, who was studying there, for three weeks. I was very narrow in my beliefs then; I believed the Bible was the only truth and Christianity was the only true religion. He helped me to understand that other people's religions have value too. My brother was the only one close enough to me to help me out of my religious bigotry, but he did it with patience, love, and understanding.

I traveled to Holland to visit a friend after leaving my brother in Nice and then flew from Belgium to New York City. I arrived in New York City late at night, so it was necessary for me to wait until morning before I could leave the airport. I made the decision to take the bus into New York City and find a way out as quickly as I could; New York was the last place on earth I wanted to go.

I got off the bus in front of Grand Central Station and immediately began walking up 42nd Street toward the Public Library. The buildings were so enormous; I had never seen anything like them before. I didn't know where God wanted me to go or what He wanted me to do, so I decided to head toward the West Coast where my family lives unless God showed me something else He wanted me to do. I was thinking two things as I walked up 42nd: first, I wanted to study history so I could avoid making mistakes Christians have already made; and second, I'd like to find a quiet place in the country to spend the Sabbath, seeing that it was Friday afternoon already.

I noticed several people on the sidewalk wearing banners and talking with people as I walked toward Fifth Avenue. I thought, "Brother, there are all kinds in New York! Those people are communist." I was stopped by a girl who was talking a mile a minute saying, "We're changing the world and helping everyone," and so on and so forth. Well, I was willing to listen to what anyone had to say and then afterwards I'd tell them about Jesus Christ. I asked her if she knew Jesus Christ when she gave me the break. She answered, "Oh, yes. We're Christian!"I was so happy to find a Christian in New York City. I had thought that no Christians existed in New York. She invited me to their center for fellowship, and I gladly accepted. They had a van nearby and people in the van were from all over the world. We drove a long way and finally came to a beautiful white marble building on 71st Street. I entered the building, and the people I saw seemed to be radiating. I was impressed; these people really had it together. They were serious about their witnessing and went about their calling with a very high standard. I thought, "If these people are true, I'd like to work with them. If they're not, I'll stay until I save

them all." I listened to two lectures. I had the deepest religious experience of my life during the first lecture. The lecture dealt with history and answered many questions I had about the right way to live as a Christian, one of the two questions on my mind before I met these people. The religious experience I had was as if a fountain of living water gushed out from my soul and showered everywhere.

I was overwhelmed by the internal testimony I had had to the truth of what I had heard.

I was invited to go to a workshop in the country starting that evening. This seemed an answer to my second prayer. I wanted a place in the country to spend the Sabbath, so I accepted. The workshop was held in Tarrytown, New York, on a beautiful estate called Belvedere. I was impressed; these people do what they do very well. The workshop lasted the entire weekend. By the end I had been presented an entirely new view of the Bible, history, science, and common-sense truth that was harmonized into one consistent and beautiful truth. The Divine Principle was deep beyond my ability to fathom.

The experience is properly called a workshop. The Divine Principle without the example of people living it out would not have been as moving. I decided to spend forty days living in their center in New York without leaving. I still had a big question or two that needed answering. I knew that this was the best place for me to witness to my faith in Jesus Christ. I received answers to my questions at the end of the forty days, from the Bible, and I decided to throw my lot in with the Unification movement completely.

I joined when no negativity existed about the church in America. I worked in New York City from May '73 to October '73, witnessing, fundraising, and campaigning for Rev. Moon's Carnegie Hall speech. I set up pioneer witnessing centers with a team of missionaries across upstate New York from October '73 to March '75. I worked in the training programs at Barrytown from March '75 until March '76.I finished my B.A. degree at the University of Washington and spent a lot of time with my family from March '76 until September '76 in Seattle. I am now attending the Unification Theological Seminary and will graduate in June, to go on to Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, where I plan to enroll in the Master of Theology program.

Tirza Shilgi: My name is Tirza Shilgi and I was born and raised in Israel in a kibbutz. When I finished high school I went to the army, like everybody else in Israel. After the one month of combat training that they give everybody, I was sent to train as a nurse, and served in a military hospital for two years. When I finished the army I came back to the kibbutz to work as a gesture of gratitude before leaving the kibbutz (because I already knew that I would like to go on studying in college). I was in charge of the sickrooms in the kibbutz. While I was there, I realized that one of the things that I'm most interested in is finding some real values—truth. I didn't exactly know what it would be, but somehow, in the kibbutz, in the life I saw around me, 1 felt that something was missing, although externally and socially it was almost the ideal. People have social security from the day they're born to the day they die. They have friends, leisure to pursue interests, and many other things, but I had the feeling that something really fundamental was missing somewhere in their relationships to each other and in some spiritual goals and development.

When I went out to study, I decided to go into art. I liked art. and I had some ability in that area, but also, I chose art because I couldn't picture myself enjoying a routine 8-to-5 type job. Art. I felt, was so open, offered a large variety of occupations, and was constantly in development. At that time,I felt there was some kind of search still ahead of me, and I had to find answers to all my questions about life and about relationships with people, but I really didn't think much about religion. When I graduated from college I came to America to live with some friends, and I had in mind to look for some philosophy groups or study some meditation. I had the feeling that something was going on in that direction, and maybe there were some answers somewhere. In the first month I was here, I met a person from the Unification church who invited me to come to their center. But a year before, I visited their community in Jerusalem and I really did not like it much. We talked some more, and finally I felt that if I was really interested in finding the truth and in finding answers, then I should be able to look anywhere, even if it came from a most unlikely place. I felt I should at least listen to what they had to say before I could mindfully reject them and say no.

One thing that bothered me in the past was that I heard a lot of people saying things that were good and important, people who spoke of high ideals, and morals, but who did not have a sufficient explanation of why these ideals were good and were to be pursued. For example, why is it good to refrain from sexual relationships before marriage, and why is it good to sacrifice for others? There was never a rational explanation for that. Even though intuitively I felt that yes, much of it is right, for some reason I didn't know exactly why and therefore felt that I was not willing to follow anything unless it could be explained very clearly and rationally.

When I was in Jerusalem, just before I was finishing school, I was in a period of great distress personally and also with respect to school. One day as I was thinking of it all, the pressure felt unbearable with no way out. One verse from the Bible came to my mind, one from Psalms which says, "From the very deep I called your name, O God." I don't know why I said it because I was not into the Bible at all. As I said it, all of a sudden, this very warm and embracing feeling came down and there was a definite presence in the room. A presence that communicated in some kind of a voice, "Don't worry, everything will be all right."I was shocked, because it was undeniable—the experience was totally undeniable. It lasted, I'm not sure how long, and it was overwhelming. In the following months, things indeed turned out all right. I could not deny that experience, and in my spiritual search, I had to take things from that point on. I realized that there is something more than just what I thought there was. I think that that experience had a lot to do with my decision to listen to Unification teachings.

While I was listening to Unification lectures, I was already enrolled in a philosophy course in a school in Boston. Ideologically and socially, the philosophy was very appealing to me. However, because of this experience, I knew that now for a philosophy to be satisfactory to me it had to explain God very clearly. Unification church teachings did, and so this was one of the main experiences that led up to my being in the church. Still, even then, it was a long struggle. I didn't want to be a part of a movement or a community. I was too individualistic in my ways. Gradually, a feeling started growing in me, and there were a lot of spiritual experiences and dreams that came along with it—some very strong feelings of responsibility. For example, I had a feeling that God was revealing to me His heart and suffering in the past through the teachings of the Divine Principle, and here I was sitting and not willing to do anything about it, just because of some personal inconveniences. My joining the church eventually was more of a surrender than a heroic commitment. I just gave up to that internal feeling of responsibility. I felt like someone who just witnessed the discovery of a cure for cancer, and for one reason or another, was not willing to do anything about it.

After a period of four months of wrestling with these thoughts, I decided to join. Still, most of my understanding was highly intellectual. I could understand the intellectual aspect of the teachings pretty well, but it came to the point that my center director, who was also from a Jewish background, said to me that I would not be able to advance in my understanding much more unless I understood the New Testament and Jesus' message, upon which Divine Principle is based. I was surprised to find that one had to go through that in order to understand the heart-aspect of the Divine Principle. I was generally not very interested in the New Testament. I thought it was a collection of stories about Jesus' life, and I was not sure it had much relevance for our lives today. He bought me the New Testament in Hebrew, for one of my excuses for not reading the New Testament was that I could not read English well enough. From that point on, in a period of three months or so, I went through an experience of what Christians, as I later found out, call rebirth. I decided to get up in the morning early and to go out into an open field nearby to read a chapter of the New Testament and pray. One morning, while praying after reading a chapter,I saw Jesus standing on a hillside of Nazareth, a place I knew very well. He looked very uncared for; His feet were all dusty and the dust went up to His knees. His disciples were scattered around, each doing something else, and it seemed like nobody was taking care of Him. This feeling of agony He felt came through to me so strongly I couldn't stop crying for a long time. I think this was the main starting point of my relation with Jesus. I felt a great feeling of agony for whatever responsibility the Jewish people had for the pain and misery that He had to go through. And then I was wondering what I could do now; I wished I had been alive then when I could have done something. When He stood there and looked at me, I had the feeling that He was communicating: "By giving yourself to God and to me now, you can help me just as much." I realized, at that point, that it's true: you can understand the Divine Principle intellectually very well, but in order to understand and experience the"heartistic" message, the internal aspect of it, Christ is definitely first. It is indispensable, I think, to a comprehensive understanding of the Divine Principle message, and even more, to the complete realization of the Divine Principle way of life. Since then, I have been two years in the United States, one year in Japan and Korea, and I am now finishing my second year in the Seminary.

John Wiemann:I can in a way pick up where Tirza left off. In my life my search hasn't been for truth—it's been for love. I'm just going to talk about my experience in the Unification church,I think, and not about experiences before then. I always believed in Christ, but that wasn't enough, because I didn't know how I could follow Him. Everybody else seems to have analyzed what they were thinking or what they were doing in their own past, whereas I haven't thought about the past enough to be able to explain it so vividly in a conceptual way. But I do know that my search has been for love and acceptance,a very unconditional acceptance. I can bluntly say that I've never found it anywhere else. I'm not saying that it wasn't around; I just didn't find it. But I found it in the Unification church, and that was probably why I joined.

I came to believe in the Divine Principle, which enlightened me to a much deeper extent than the Bible alone. For three years I went on that initial experience which I had when I first joined the Unification church. But I'd say, within the last six months, I realized that that experience wasn't enough. I prayed before, but it was never really deep, because something was blocking me from God. And I found out what that thing was in very real terms last night. It started when I listened to the lecture by Paul. Actually, I knew intellectually what it was, but I just didn't really know fully what it was. So I listened to the second spiritual law, which is sin. I realized the reality of sin very deeply last night. I decided that if I'm really going to become a religious person,a person who wants to live a life with God (which I had in three years said I wanted to do but was not so sure I actually wanted to do), then I'd better just pray. I'd better just go off to God and leave my past behind. I went down near a trail by the lagoon, and I knew that it was going to get dark soon and I wouldn't know how to get back (it's just a trail and it's not easy to find your way in the dark) but it didn't matter. As I was going there I felt something in my back where I had recently pulled a muscle. It seemed to be a sensation of perhaps healing. At any rate, I ended up down there for four hours and at one point I repented very deeply; I guess that was the essence of it, and I never did that before. I experienced God's love and also experienced the first spiritual law, namely that God has a plan for my life and that God loves me. I never experienced that before. I had always wanted to have a relationship with Jesus. I have felt Jesus very closely with me previously, but I never really felt this sense of repentance for sin. I always thought, "Oh, I'm O.K., I'm not a bad guy," and actually I'm not, I'm very easy-going, (laughter) Well,I found out last night that I'm not so great, at least I recognized it and I spoke about it to God frankly. There was one point at which I said, "God, I'm just leaving, I'm just getting up and I'm not staying here any more." I repented but I didn't know if God wanted me to stick around any more, so I tested God. I never did that before either. I said, "If you want me to stay here longer, then I want a sign." You know, I felt like Job. "I just want a sign," and I waited. I really was kind of indignant at God. It felt good in a way but anyway, I said, "In three minutes I'm leaving, if you don't show me a sign," so a minute passed and I said, "I'm warning you, I'm really going." Right after that I heard what sounded like footsteps in back of me and I looked around. I didn't see anyone there but it sounded like they were coming closer so I said, "O.K., God. I'm staying—I'm staying right where I am!" He must have said O.K. because they stopped. I don't know what the sound was but it was real for me. I stayed there two more hours.

I'm on a new journey now, on a new track, and I feel good about that. I feel that this conference is really important in my life. A lot of things are coming together that I've been struggling with a long time and this has really been a good experience so far. And I know there is going to be a lot more.

Warren Lewis: As I get ready to go through my list of spiritual arrogances, it is interesting that practically everyone in this room seems to be some kind of mystical Calvinist. These experiences, of the kind you must testify to to get voted into the Baptist Church, certainly tie us all together. Analogous to the world religions problem, the experiences are absolutely different and totally alike. This proves two things: it proves that religious experience is not the arbiter of true religion, and, I think, it proves that it is.

When I was three years old, my grandmother used to stand me up on her footstool and have me preach, pray, lead singing and administer the Eucharist to her (laughter) under the signs of Premium Saltines and tap water! By the time I was ten, I was drawn by the preaching of the gospel to the obedience of my Lord, Jesus Christ, in baptism and was therefore as a penitent sinner totally immersed in the cold waters of baptism in the Fierman Avenue Church of Christ in Corpus Christi, Texas, where I was born—twice, (laughter) I've drunk deeply at the saline wellsprings of Texas fundamentalism. I went to church because I wanted to, because God wanted me to, because we communed every Sunday and because I believed the angels were there. Whenever I found the sermon boring, as I occasionally did, I would take quick peeks at the clear glass windows—we don't have stained-glass windows in our church house, so God's light could get through to us—to see if I could see any angels' wings disappear around the corner. I was convinced that I saw them once or twice. I grew up totally surrounded by God—God was the atmosphere that I breathed; I've never seriously questioned God's existence, though I do not believe any arguments for God's existence.

There was a stage of natural religion; the spirits of the air found me and inspired me to establish my own pagan religion. It had to do with animal sacrifice and prepubescent sexuality on the banks of the creek on our ranch near Austin, Texas. Pity the poor garter snakes and turtles who went up in holocaust to those gods! One good thing came of it: the spirits of the air communicated to me how long I would live. They told me this by ordering me to walk from the center of the sorghum field, where I was standing, to one end of the row and then to the other end of the row, and to count the steps in both directions. It was one hundred five steps to the end in one direction and thirty-five steps to the end in the other direction. Then they told me: "You will live then to be either thirty-five or one hundred five." I'm now thirty-eight and feeling good about the revelation.

During the time I was studying at Abilene Christian College, I was a minister for the Churches of Christ. Our congregations are distinguished from the Disciples of Christ and Christian Church, in that we do not play instrumental music in our worship and consider that anybody who does is going to hell, (laughter) I was a missionary to Mexico where I preached to the Indians in the mountains, and from there I went to Harvard Divinity School. There, I regained my faith in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, after the stupidity of the biblical-infallibility notions which were communicated to me at Abilene, which made me disbelieve more than believe. While at Harvard, I wrote a book about the Lord's Supper which was published by a Church of Christ press. After the first edition sold out in one year and we were well into the second edition, 4,000 copies of it were burned as heretical in Austin, Texas. I'm singularly proud of that, (laughter)

My third born-again experience happened at my Harvard commencement: I was converted from a Texas Republican to a liberal Democrat by the commencement speech of Adlai Stevenson.

Also while at Harvard, I worked in the field-work program. As part of the trial and the test there, I became involved in a struggle against witchcraft, and subsequently stood trial for sodomy and rape of two Black children as a result of the attacks from the spirit world. There was insufficient evidence to decide guilt or innocence, one way or the other; only God, those children, and I know whether or not I was guilty or innocent. But it was a religious experience in that I had to process the possibility of life imprisonment, and I got a lot out of that.

From Harvard, I went to Toronto to study Roman Catholic theology at the Pontifical Institute for three years and while there became a charismatic. I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit two days after Christmas, 1967. Subsequent to that experience, I received many charismas of the Holy Spirit. Following Toronto, I went to Tubingen, where I wrote my doctorate in Franciscan spirituality of the late thirteenth century and the Franciscan "spirituals'" understanding that St. Francis was the second coming of Christ, the Lord of the Second Advent. Before, during, and after those times, I was involved in establishing a ghetto project in a slum in East New York, where I got involved in race riots. During one of these riots, the Blessed Virgin appeared to me and protected me from certain death in a harrowing situation.

After returning from Tubingen, I was a minister on Long Island for two years and I found it a delightful activity except for the hardship it worked on my marriage. Those of you who are ministers know whereof I speak. Our marriage was not too secure even as we came back from Germany. It ended in divorce. But, because one is not allowed, if one is a minister, to have a divorce in the Churches of Christ, I was disfellowshipped by my congregation. During this time, I was teaching pastoral theology and church history at New York Theological Seminary. Around about this time, I had my (is it a fourth or fifth?) rebirth in a vision of the Lord Jesus in apocalyptic glory seated upon the atom. My eschatology changed. I was convinced that rather than He coming to meet us, we are going to meet Him.

Shortly afterwards, I got a new job through The New York Times. I answered an ad to become Church History Professor at Unification Theological Seminary. I took the job because, as I told the Rev. Moon when he asked me, "Why do you want to teach here?".. ."As a church historian,I specialize in the history of heretical sectarians, and you represent to me the outstanding example in our time of a sectarian heretic. I want to study you as closely as I can to see what makes you and your movement tick."

He loved that, and came forth with an uproarious guffaw, walked over and embraced me, and said, "Dr. Lewis, everyone else around here calls me 'Father,' but you may call me 'brother.'" And I thought to myself, we have a good initial understanding of one another. I started teaching here because it was the best job I could get at the time, was intellectually stimulating, and paid well. I continue to teach here because I consider Sun Myung Moon to be the outstanding religious mind of the century. To cast it in church historical terms, he is the Tertullian of the orient. He is the first person in the history of Christianity to wed successfully the Christian Gospel with the categories of the thought-world of the orient. No one has done that before. As I work here, with and for him and on his projects, I'm deeply involved in plans for a global congress of world religions.

When Herb Richardson* and I were discussing this conference this weekend, he said, "Now, let's see, Warren, you'll be there for the Unification side—no, let's see, you'd better be there for the Evangelical side—no, let's see, you'd better be there for the Unification side—which side do you want to be on?" In terms of what I hope for this weekend, I'm prepared to preach it both round and flat, depending on who's talking at the moment. I believe in the virgin birth of Jesus and bodily assumption of the Virgin Mary; I believe that Jesus is Lord, and so is Krishna; I believe that God inspired the whole Bible, including the contradictions. And I believe that Rev. Moon is the Lord of the Second Advent and that after he has accomplished his providential purpose Jesus will descend on the clouds with the archangelic shout and blast of the trumpet, walk over to Rev. Moon and say: "Sun Myung Moon, you've done a good job. I'll take over now." (laughter) I see my role this weekend as keeping both sides honest. Just as quick as you Evangelicals lay a subjectivist, bibliolatrous trip on these Moonies, I'm going to shoot you down in flames, if I can. And just as soon as any of you Moonies practice "heavenly deception" or anything like it on any of these unsuspecting Evangelicals, I'm going to air the family's dirty laundry, (laughter)

Nora Spurgin: My name is Nora Spurgin. I grew up in a *Herbert Richardson is a theological consultant to the Unification Church and is the author of Toward an American Theology and Nun, Witch and Playmate and other works.

Mennonite community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in a very conservative Mennonite home. I quit school when I was a freshman in high school—this is what other friends and relatives did in the Mennonite community in which I lived—and helped my parents on the farm. There were nine children. I'm the oldest and only after I was twenty-one did I finish high school by studying on my own. I spent two years working in Mennonite Voluntary Service with migrant workers, and then went on to Eastern Mennonite College. I always felt that I was close to God and close to Christ, but there was never a specific experience, a specific point at which I felt that I had a conversion experience, although I suppose seventeen, when I made the decision to join the Church, was a very crucial point. While I was in college,

however, I had some friends who became charismatics. For about six months I studied the Bible and I felt that they had something I wanted. I didn't want to just seek after some gift from God. It had to be a meaningful experience for me. So I prayed, "God, if you want me to have this charismatic experience, I know you'll give it to me." The "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" opened up a whole new relationship with Christ, and a whole new experience of Christianity to me. I probably wouldn't be here if I hadn't had that experience, because it took me out of a very narrow way of thinking and opened up a whole new level of really feeling something, not just intellectualizing Christianity and the Bible and praying, but really feeling the spirit.

After I graduated from Eastern Mennonite College I went on to graduate school at New York University and there, for the first time, I was confronted with the so-called "outside world," the secular world. I approached it with a great deal of interest, excitement, and vigor, and I felt like Christ wanted us to be able to be tested by everything, including my atheistic psychology professors. I had to be able to deal with "worldly knowledge;" if I couldn't, then I'd better take another look at my Christianity. It had to somehow meet the test, and it did. I had always felt that with intellectual pursuit, Christianity should be able to grow and blossom and become even more exciting. I was doing my Master's thesis on the extent to which religion changed value systems, for I believed that it was possible for people's value systems to change with a powerful experience of Christ. However, there was also the possibility that one had a certain set of values that always remained with that person.

I was quite active in Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship and the night that someone from the Unification church witnessed to me, I was speaking on a panel at Columbia University. "Heart and Mind" was the name of the discussion. After the session was over,I was so aware of two girls who were in the audience, and they happened to both be Unification church members. They were not sitting together, but I had singled out these two girls to talk to them afterwards, to witness to them. But I felt some kind of kinship, some real feeling of spiritual attraction. I talked to them and it turned out that another person they were with, a third person, an older lady, walked up to me and she said, "I saw you last night." I looked at her—you never say that to anyone in New York City, you just never remember who you saw the night before, and I looked at her and I said, "How come you remember?" And she said, "Oh, you have the kind of face," or something like that. It turned out that she was going to witness to me the night before. It was just so incredible in New York City that this would happen.

I went to the center to hear the Divine Principle; actually. because I was doing research for my paper. Although I was always open to something that would give me a better spiritual life, at the same time I was very happy with what I had and was not seeking. When I went to the center, (there were just two girls in New York City), and listened to the lectures that they gave, immediately I began to think, "Wow, this is incredible!" and I started taking many notes. I didn't realize at that time that what they told me was based on the teachings of Sun Myung Moon; somehow for some reason,I just didn't hear that introduction. It didn't click. Of course, I didn't know anything of Sun Myung Moon at that point. Nobody knew him in America, except for a few people. There were probably about fifty members in the church at that time. So I heard the lectures and I took copious notes on them and thought, "These girls have really got it together. How in the world did they ever come up with such lectures? I could use this for teaching my Sunday School class. I could use this for all kinds of things."I was just fascinated with the basic principles. When I heard the part on original sin, the fall of man, I felt this was a real key, because I'd been studying and trying to find out where Christianity fits in with all the different psychological personality theories. Then, when I heard the lecture on the mission of Jesus I was so moved. There was no way that I could deny the feelings I had. I remembered that just a couple of weeks before I had written a little note on my dresser that said, "Isn't it something, how we all could possibly walk by Jesus on our way to worship in the church? Where is Jesus? In the church?

Or could I walk by Him on my way to church?" When I realized what the lectures were leading up to, I thought, "I'm going to have to make a decision at the end of this if I hear the whole thing! Do I want to make the decision? If I don't I'd better stop right now." But I couldn't do that. I had to hear the whole thing. I had to face the responsibility of making a decision.

I didn't really like the communal style of life. I'd come from a Mennonite background and I guess I was becoming more individualistic. I wasn't attracted by the lifestyle in the church, but the philosophy itself was so powerful that I couldn't stay away from it. So I struggled with it for about four months. Actually at one point I thought, "Who can I go to? If I go to my pastor, I know what he'll say. Who can I go to? I have to work this out between myself and God." I went to the library one time and I got eight commentaries on the Book of Revelation, and started reading them. Often, fora break, while writing my thesis, I'd read the Divine Principle and the commentaries on the Book of Revelation. At one point I just got so frustrated that I took the whole eight volumes and dumped them on the floor! Each was some person's interpretation. How could I find the answer? It boils down to this: "I have to make the decision myself." I prayed and prayed about it and said, "Come on, God! Where are You? You've been leading me—all along You've led me, and now, suddenly, where am I going?"

I had felt that I was at a point where God was going to lead me to some great mission because I was graduating from school and was ready to go out in the world and become a missionary or something, and I was just saying, "God, the world is the limit and You are the Master. Where shall I go?" That was my prayer. And I never thought that He was leading me into the Unification church. At first I looked at it as just something to listen to in connection with my thesis. Suddenly it occurred to me, "God, do You mean that You've been leading me here? Was there a more personal reason that I needed to hear this?" And I kept praying about it until finally I realized that I knew it was true, but was resisting making a decision. When I said, "God, wherever You need me, even if it's a place I don't want to go, even if it is the Unification church, I'll go." I felt such a flood of joy and knew that I had made the right decision. My head had been saying, "Come on, now. You've got to be careful what you espouse." But in my heart I knew that it was the truth and I couldn't get away from it; therefore I would be hounded the rest of my life if I didn't conscientiously respond to this. This was my sincere feeling, that I couldn't live with myself if I didn't make this kind of response.

At that point I committed myself to this church as I knew it then—that was eleven years ago—and it's been an incredible experience, a walk of faith in the church. I believe that this is the way God is working at this time in history, and that my Christian life in the past was definitely a preparation for this; the charismatic experience was definitely a preparation for this, and now I'm here. I consider myself a charismatic, post-Mennonite Unificationist. I'm married and have three children. We live just down the hill and my husband is now doing graduate work at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Whitney Shiner: My name is Whitney Shiner. I'm from Indiana. I came from a very irreligious family. My father sent me to Sunday School when I was in second grade so that I could understand what was going on in this society. Because American culture is based on Christianity, he thought I should have at least some understanding of the church. So they sent me to Sunday School. But actually, in church I suppose I would have become a Christian, but even when I was little, I was very intellectual, and after a few years I gave it up on intellectual grounds. I think one thing that decided me against Christianity when I was in the fourth grade was that they taught that Christians would go to heaven and other people were going to hell. I looked at the world and I realized that that meant that people in America were going to heaven and everybody else in Africa or non-Christian places was going to hell without having heard about Jesus. If that were true I thought that God was totally immoral and I knew from my own experience of the love of God that that couldn't be true. I think that ever since then I have never taken established Christianity seriously. I was very socially conscious even when very young because of some feeling of the spiritual kinship of all people. For this reason I couldn't believe in the idea of a personal God because I just couldn't understand how a personal God could love each person and still allow so much suffering. The explanations I heard of this weren't very good. But then I was left with the experience of God and no explanation. So I was always very interested in religion, because I was always seeking an explanation.

When I was in junior high school I went to confirmation classes with one of my friends although I thought at this point that I was an atheist. I was the only one who was interested in the class; everybody else was throwing spitballs at the girls. Everybody else joined the church and I didn't, (laughter) When I was in high school I developed my own mystical pantheistic theology—and I was even more interested in politics at that point. Religion and politics were always separated in my life—I was a Marxist in high school, but then I went to college and I met the Marxists, and that cured me of my Marxism. I just couldn't deal with where they were spiritually. I kept going back and forth between trying to understand God and trying to accomplish something politically and socially, getting more and more disillusioned each time I switched from one to the other. I just couldn't find anybody I could follow—I couldn't make any sense out of any religions or theologies. I decided very early that there weren't any good guys to follow.

I was going to the University of Chicago where I became interested in eastern religions—not enough that I ever got involved in them in a serious way. At one point I thought I would become a Vedanta monk. I was very interested in Vedanta because it seemed more like the experience of God that I had had. But at that time I was engaged to be married in a month,... so I decided not to become a monk. My religion was very mystical and unconcerned with this world, but the rest of my interest was in various social concerns, so it seemed that I had to choose one or the other.

After I graduated I studied architecture for two years and was trying to make my peace with society. I was pretty disillusioned at this point. I finally decided I just couldn't live that way, and I dropped out of architecture school. I also left my wife. I was still searching but I had absolutely no theological construct. I was feeling more and more that this search for God was the most important thing because I had realized that social problems are really spiritual problems. I can remember one day my girlfriend told me that I was looking for God in the wrong place, that the greatest reality of God was in relationships between people. Then I experienced a blinding flash of light. I took this as a sign that I should be more serious about my search for God. At that point I decided to leave home, hoping that I would find some people with some answers. I headed out to California because I had several friends from college in California who were interested in spiritual things. So I went out to California and that's where I met the Unification church, in Berkeley. I was quite fascinated by the girl whom I met, by her spirit, because I saw in her a sincere kind of love, a depth, and spiritual solidity that I'd seen in very few people, probably in fewer than half a dozen people in my life. I didn't want to join anything organized, but I was fascinated by all the people in the church in spite of what they were doing. In a way witnessers seemed very strange animals—they have an almost stylized sort of friendliness, especially younger members. But I thought in spite of that I could see that they knew something very deep and important.

I left Berkeley, but I decided that I had to come back and figure out what it was that they knew. And finally I decided to join. There were two things that made me join. One was that I felt the presence of God in a way that I had very seldom felt it since the middle of my college career when I lost the feeling of the love of God because my heart was becoming hardened. And the other thing that made me join was the idea that God was suffering. This changed my whole understanding of what is possible because, for the first time I could conceive of a personal God. There were an awful lot of intellectual struggles because the Divine Principle was so far away from my own way of thinking. But I figured I had at least to some extent to be able to see the world in that perspective before I could reject it. I tried to be able to see God in a personal way through prayer. After a few weeks God became personal to me. I can remember that after a lecture on the fall of man, I finally realized what it meant in a real personal way, my sin towards God. I remember crying and crying all afternoon.

Maybe I should mention something about my relationship to Jesus, because I think at certain points in the church it's helped me through some problems in my spiritual growth when I prayed to Jesus instead of to God. I think because I feel His spirit is more supportive or more personal, or something like that.

Don Deffner: I grew up in Wichita, Kansas. At the age of thirteen I left for prep school, and spent nine years of my life in dormitories. So this is like coming "home" again to be in the buildings here. I studied in St. Louis, was at Concordia Seminary, and then interned at Kalamazoo, Michigan, where I had a broadening, relaxed, slow kind of "conversion" as I really grew in knowing Christ more personally than just reading the Bible for classes in prep school. I went to the University of California as campus pastor in 1947, where I stayed for twelve years. I left in 1959, just in time. I was in St. Louis for ten years as a professor at Concordia Seminary, and left there in '69, again just in time,

because several years later came the ousting of the Seminex group which I had been with (Dr. John Tietjen and company).

Now I have been at Berkeley for nine years and I don't know what's going to happen next.

But really, my becoming a Christian, I believe, was by God's grace through Jesus Christ in my baptism when I was three weeks old. I would like to extol the grace and mercy of God and I think we'd do well to talk about God's grace here, as one of the cardinal doctrines to discuss. It was God working in me and not my choosing God. I believe my salvation is God's workmanship. It is God working in me. Our life lived in this world is actually His life lived in us. Ephesians 2:8 and 9 is a crucial passage here too. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing, it is a gift of God—not because of works, lest any man should boast." And what we need is a whole rediscovery of the righteousness of God, which is God's imputed gift to us—not what we do. So I think the concept of "my responsibility" or "what /do"—as I hear the phrases used in Unification theology-is something I'd like to see discussed a lot more. I find a lot of disillusionment and disenchantment in the backgrounds shared here. I think much of the problem often is between our failing to distinguish between the church, as an organization, and our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. I think we need to look at Christ Himself again as the only way of salvation, the only way to the Father for anyone... the Holy Spirit being the one who does that work in us. It's not believing in Christ plus something else. For me as a Lutheran Christian, the means of grace is all important. I don't believe that God comes in with a great big zap. I believe He works through Scripture, through the study of it, through baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Let me tell you the story of a boy on a bicycle in the slums. One day he was hit by a car. He came from a very impoverished home where even a glass of milk was often shared with a brother and sister. After the accident he was taken to a hospital and bathed and put between clean sheets and the nurse brought a great big tall glass of milk for him. And he, looking at the glass of milk, remembering the times he had to share it, said, "How deep shall I drink?" and the nurse said, "Drink all of it. It's yours."

My point is, we should "drink" from our Lord Himself—and drink deeply —and not from any other sources. We should know Him as "the Christ cradled in the Scriptures" (as Luther put it).

There were some questions particularly that I'd like to see addressed here if we can get at them some time. First, a clear definition of words that both groups use, like "gospel; Christian; liberal; conservative." Secondly, I'd like to discuss what is absolutely normative to being a member of the Unification church. I found in reading through an earlier dialogue's transcript a wide diversity of opinions. What would you say is the sine qua non to be a member of the church? Thirdly, I would like to hear you air what your hermeneutical principle is. How do you determine what is figurative and what is literal in Scripture? For example, I would question the exegesis of Dr. Moon on the Jude passage in Divine Principle* (p. 71) where he speaks of the original sin being sexual rather than the eating of the fruit; or page 183, that the dead were resurrected on the day that Christ died and these were actually Old Testament spirits. The Greek New Testament says nothing more than that "the dead people were raised" and Moon adds a great deal to that. Again, I would like to ask if you see the Divine Principle as authoritative, as Scripture, or as secondary to Scripture. Again, in terms of the Seminary here, what are the criteria for being admitted as a seminary student? And what are the criteria for being graduated as a seminary student? Again, to come back to my original question about our salvation being 100% the work of God in men, does man (woman) in effect get some credit for salvation, or is it sola gratia, totally by God's grace? Then, another question, and I know Ulrich will speak to this—did Christ "fail," or not? Or was He a "success" and so on? And then another question: Is your theology essentially universalistic? There's also the question of how your polarity relates to your theology. These are some of the questions.

Beatriz Gonzales: My name is Beatriz Gonzales and I'm from Texas. I was raised in a Roman Catholic family but we were also shamanistic. From time to time our parents took us to *AU references are to the Divine Principle, 2nd edition, New York, N.Y.: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. 1973.

church. Sometimes they would take us during the Mass, but most of the time it was just to go and light candles and pray. I really learned from the church about my relationship with God and how to live. I think that I'm going to talk a bit about this relationship with Jesus. This was very crucial in my life and in coming into the Unification church.

When I was five years old my parents used to take me to this shrine. On the altar up on the side there was a life-size statue of Jesus on the cross and it was carved of wood. It looked very real, especially because it was life-size and because it came down low enough for me to be able to see it really clearly when we went up to the altar to light the candles. I was struck. I remember asking my mother, "Who is that?" And she told me it was Jesus and God, and I said, "Who did that to Him?" And my mother said, "He died on the cross." And I said, "But why is He up there? Who put Him up there?" And my mother said, "He died for our sins. He came to die for us." I couldn't reconcile it in my heart, and it wasn't until later that I realized why I couldn't reconcile what my mother had said. I had seen my sister die just about a year before and I knew what it meant to die. My sister and I were playing outside and my sister went in the house and died. I knew that to die meant that you just died. And I knew that Jesus was put up with nails on wood, and I knew that somebody had put the nails there, so for me He had been killed. We lived on a farm and my uncles used to hunt rabbits. They would bring the rabbits, pin them up and strip the skin off and then they would hang the skin up against the wall, with some nails. And to me that was killing. When I saw Jesus up on the cross like that, there was a difference between dying and being killed. To me Jesus was killed. So I told my mother I couldn't accept that Jesus had died. I asked her if my sister died or if she had been killed, and my mother said she died;I asked her if the rabbits died or if they were killed, and she said, they were killed. So to me this was something that I could not accept. I saw Jesus up there and I saw that He was killed, and so when we went to the church to light candles and pray I couldn't take my eyes off Him because I felt He was so sad and that He was bleeding; the blood looked very real. So after everyone started to walk out, I would walk up where He was. There was a little stool for people to pray and I would step on the stool and I would kiss His feet and I would walk out. My family would all walk out but I always stayed behind to kiss His feet.

The reason that I did it was because I wanted to recognize Him. I wanted Him to know that I knew that He was suffering and I knew that He was there. I was embarrassed for my family to see me, but I did this all the time. As I grew up I had a continuous conversation with Jesus. I remember that when the kids in school were asking questions about whether the earth was round or flat, I was really concerned about whether Jesus had been killed, the cause of His killing, and why everyone justified His killing without question.

I was raised with the medicine people. The life that they lived was totally selfless. There was one medicine woman in my community who had a really pure heart. She sacrificed everything for others; she was always healing people, and she had a beautiful clean room with an altar, statues, and a baby Jesus. One thing that humbled me about her was that when it didn't rain, she would go out in the corn fields and walk through them praying. She would fall on her knees and cry and pray that rain would come. I remember one day it rained. It came pouring down. It hadn't rained for a long time and I ran out to look at the field because I wanted so much for it to rain too. I saw her running out to the field. It was1 pouring and there was lightning and thunder. Once in the field she just bowed to God; she was just totally humble before God. She bowed before God over and over again. I was very moved. I saw someone praying and asking for something from God and God responding and man humbling himself before God. And I saw the power of prayer and the power of the love of God for us. And to me this woman was like Jesus. I studied Jesus when I was going to make my first communion and learned that He had healed people, He was very common, very simple, and He never had anything. This medicine woman was like Jesus. She just gave her life totally for others. She was very simple.

In church, I asked the nuns at catechism why Jesus was up on the cross, and they told me the same thing that my mother did. I knew that they didn't know everything, and besides, they didn't have that spirit about them that the medicine woman had. So anyway, I grew up with these experiences. As I grew older I promised Jesus, pledged to Him that someday I would help Him. I would give my life to do the same things He tried to accomplish. I knew He was trying to do something good but He had been killed.

I left home when I was about eighteen and I went to work in Houston where I later started college. Actually, I completely gave myself to people. I worked in a halfway house for girls out of a penitentiary, and I worked in a veterans' hospital. I did every kind of volunteer work that I could do. I just completely gave of myself, except to have a job to send money home to my family. Later on, I became involved in the civil rights movement and became a community organizer in west side Chicago with the Industrial Areas Foundation. I wanted to change the world as Jesus had done. I wanted to do something for Him. At that point I became very bitter and somewhat distant from God. I didn't have much of a religious experience. I worked in the civil rights movement about seven years and I came to the realization that as much as I was trying to do to change politics, standards, rules and regulations that were discriminatory, I was only changing external things, but not the hearts of people. This is where the root of the problem was. At that point I was looking into communism and considering going to Cuba. But I realized that there were some things about communism that were just not right, and that I didn't agree with. It denied the existence of God and yet I had a commitment to God and I had a relationship with God. So I didn't go to Cuba.

I was at the University of Texas where I was very involved politically on the campus. I was the president of the Mexican-American organization. I was trying to find a direction in my life and I began to talk to Jesus again. I began to talk to God and to try to find direction again in my life, and I read many books. At this time I met people from Campus Crusade. During a period of maybe five or six years I studied the Four Spiritual Laws about four times. I really loved the Campus Crusade people very much. They were good, very sincere people, but one thing that I couldn't relate to was that they also told me the same thing—that Jesus had come to die for my sins—and I didn't accept that. By now I knew why Jesus had been killed, because I had tried to do many things also, and I had seen that always the people who put their lives on the line for what they believed were the people who were the most misunderstood and persecuted. I saw this in Martin Luther King and in Gandhi. People who were really living the life of Christ—not so much preaching but really living it day to day—these were the people who were "crucified." So I understood clearly that Jesus had been killed, and I knew in my heart that that was not meant to be. I couldn't reconcile in my heart that God sent His son to be killed. I just couldn't. I could see how sincere and wonderful the people from Campus Crusade and other Christian groups were, and I loved to be with them, but I couldn't agree with their theology or doctrine. One day I met the Unification church. I came by myself to the center because I found a leaflet about it on the campus. I heard the whole Principle. Here were the first Christians that preached that Jesus had not come to die on the cross. So I stayed. That's why I'm here. I've been in the Unification church for five years.

Rod Sawatsky: O.K. We've made it all the way around. This has been very interesting to hear this fantastic variety of experiences.2


1 Young Oon Kim, Unification Theology and Christian Thought. New York, N.Y.: Golden Gate, 1975.

2 Participants who joined the conference in the second session did not give personal introductions.  

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