Evangelical - Unification Dialogue
Rod Sawatsky: Our agenda speaks to questions of authority, questions of revelation, questions of the relationship of the Divine Principle to Scripture, and so on. The issue of continuing revelation and possibly also the work of the Holy Spirit will probably come in here as well. So, let's begin and see where we go, and hopefully we'll not lose sight of discussion of the spirit world later this morning if our conversation moves that way. Do you have a question?
Anthony Guerra: Could we pray before we begin?
Rod Sawatsky: Would you like to pray?
Whitney Shiner: Dear Heavenly Father, we're so grateful for this time that we can spend together, and we look forward to the remaining part of the conference. We feel so much that Your spirit has been here, and we would wish it to be here in even deeper and more blessed ways so that we could really feel Your Holy Spirit, the spirit of Jesus, and spirit of all the saints and martyrs of history who have given their lives, Father. Father, we're grateful that you're working; we pray that we can always be obedient and humble to Your will. We pray this prayer in the most beloved name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Rod Sawatsky: O.K., where shall we begin?
Johnny Sonneborn: Well, we are dealing with this whole question of the authority of Scripture. I think maybe the easiest place to begin is the interpretation of Scripture. Then we can move from there to the more complicated question of new revelation and new authority and then to the Divine Principle and the interpretation of Scripture in works such as Mary Baker Eddy's Key to the Scriptures. I have observed that all Christian groups must interpret Scripture, whether in a creed or a confession, unless they use direct quotations of Scripture only, and even then it's really a compilation. It seems to me that if a particular interpretation of Scripture helps all unite as Christians...
Rod Sawatsky: I'm wondering if we can get going on this by simply asking somebody to talk about Divine Principle, the book, the basic document, and tell us how you perceive that work. Is it a theology text, is it in some way new Scripture, what is it? Would that be a fairly tangible place to begin? I'm not arguing with you, Johnny; I think you're right. I'm just trying to think of something that is not too abstract but fairly concrete, because our minds need to get moving this early in the morning, and maybe this is one way to do it, to take something fairly concrete -- a book -- and begin to talk and see where we go from there. Jan, you had a counterproposal?
Jan Weido: I just thought it would be good to begin with the Bible, since the common denominator between the Unificationists and the Evangelicals is the Bible. If the Evangelicals' view on the Bible could be explained, then we could speak about Divine Principle and the relationship between the two.
Don Deffner: I don't think our common denominator is the Bible. I wonder if I could comment on that briefly? I heard a lot about Divine Principle last night, and I've read a lot init. I think the question of its place, rather than of hearing more about it, is the question to me. For example, I feel that I heard last night and in individual conversations, that the ultimate criterion of truth for Unification persons is the Divine Principle. I find it as the ultimate authority; I find it superimposed upon Scripture and the Christian heritage and tradition. I find, for example in reference to Jude 1:6-7 in Divine Principle p. 71, and to the dead being raised on Good Friday, Divine Principle p. 183, a completely subjective point of view. I find it in contradiction to Scripture. Now I'm going to be very brief. And this again is "subjective," but I believe it's from Scripture nevertheless. The keystone in the Christian faith, (in Ephesians 2, 8, 9, and 10, and so on) is being "justified" -- this is my hermeneutical principle -- that is, "being made right" in God's eyes by grace, solely a gift of God through faith. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in me, not my choosing God. Faith in itself is not a good work; this is a gift of God, imputed righteousness through Christ's death and resurrection and the work of the Holy Spirit. But, granted, faith without works is dead. This does not eliminate a life of social justice, social action, that flows from the faith of men and women of the Holy Spirit. So that's my belief. Scripture is solely my guide, and I don't superimpose my point of view upon being justified by grace. I find from Unification persons that the Divine Principle is the hermeneutic which interprets Scripture, perverts it, and is superimposed upon the Christian tradition.
Rod Sawatsky: I'm a little concerned that we are going to just run with this without having somebody speak more systematically about the Divine Principle and its role. Are you going to do that?
Ulrich Tuente: I'll try.
Rod Sawatsky: O.K., so we're going to begin there.
Ulrich Tuente: In one place in the Divine Principle in the section about the Last Days, it speaks about false and progressive revelation. For instance, why is there a distinction between the Old Testament and the New Testament? The Old Testament was for the particular spiritual level of the Jewish people at that time to give particular spiritual guidance in order to advance a particular spiritual center. Then, when Jesus Himself came, Jesus said very clearly, "I did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill the law." So Jesus said, "I come to fulfill." He did not abandon that which had been said in the Old Testament, but said very clearly that He came in order to fulfill it. On this foundation of the Old Testament, the New Testament became, then, the most valued scriptural authority for the New Testament age. So we think that in this present time we are in a very similar situation. Jesus Christ has brought His gospel in His time. In this present time, man has advanced to a certain spiritual understanding which doesn't either abolish the Old Testament or the New Testament, but which brings both Old and New Testaments to their completion and to a further understanding. Just as, in this way, Jesus took His own word as the authority to advance mankind more, at this present time, we likewise take the Divine Principle as an authority, without abolishing at all the Old and New Testaments.
Anthony Guerra: I'd like to raise the historical point of how the Divine Principle came about. I think that this will throw light on the whole issue. The Divine Principle, as a textbook which is there before you, was not used or did not even exist when Rev. Moon began his ministry. As I understand it, while matriculating at college, he would have three Bibles open in his room all the time, different Japanese and Korean translations. He read the Scriptures scrupulously and prayed about them. After seven years of this, he began to teach people by explaining passages of the Old and New Testaments in a kind of systematic way. There was not a Divine Principle book; there were no lectures at that point. He was doing exegesis in a way similar to how Martin Luther did his exegesis. Later, a Divine Principle textbook was developed as a way of systematizing his interpretation of the Scriptures. And it was used as a textbook, as a guide for people who wanted to communicate those insights. For me, the central point is that it's an interpretation of the Scriptures much in the same way as Martin Luther's works or Calvin's Institutes are interpretations of the Scriptures. We differ with the biblical doctrine of inerrancy. We don't believe in propositional revelation. The people who wrote the Bible certainly were inspired and were conveying the message of God, but they were conveying it in human language and in a cultural situation, at a historical point in time, communicating to people likewise bound. Their purpose was to communicate with people who were bound in historical situations. That does not mean that the meaning is limited but certainly means that the expression of that meaning is limited.
Irving Hexham: Divine Principle, then, is not the book; the Divine Principle is a transcendent, cosmic thing.
Anthony Guerra: Well, basically it's God's principle; it's within God. It's a metaphysical truth, and it's not anything that's written in the book.
Irving Hexham: It's not.
Anthony Guerra: Yes, it's not.
Pete Sommer: Maybe I misunderstood. This written Divine Principle is the fruit of Rev. Moon's Bible study? Or was it mediated through additional editions and revelations?
Anthony Guerra: You see, that's what I'm saying. The process of revelation for us, in a sense, is his reading the Scriptures, praying about what the Scriptures mean and receiving insight. The whole process is one of interacting with the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit.
Pete Sommer: But you don't have confidence that the average man reading the book and reading the Scripture would come up with any or near the same conclusions that he has here?
Anthony Guerra: No, that's not it at all. Many people have come up with very similar conclusions. Someone mentioned Bultmann in terms of similarity on one point of interpretation. If you study various other interpretations, you will find similarities with the Divine Principle interpretation, so the Holy Spirit had been working in many ways. We believe that the Divine Principle is the fullest explanation of the Scriptures. All the books of the Old Testament, all the books of the New Testament are inspired by God. One thing that's very important to us is finding an interpretation of the Scriptures which makes sense of the entirety of the Scriptures and doesn't concentrate, say, on one book or only on some passages. We need an interpretation that reconciles contradictions rather than saying, "Well, we just don't want to deal with that passage," or, "We don't want to deal with the book of James." We want to deal with the whole Scripture, and we believe that this interpretation presents the most comprehensive, consistent explanation of Scripture.
Irving Hexham: Is that an inspired explanation?
Rod Sawatsky: Let Dan speak; Mr. Davies has been wanting to get in here.
Dan Davies: This is something we have talked about before among ourselves. We are by no means in agreement on these things at all. I believe that all the Divine Principle is not in the book. The Divine Principle book comes on the foundation of the Bible. However, not everything that's in the Divine Principle is in the Bible or can be supported by the Bible. But the Divine Principle has a way of bringing together the biblical truth that I hold dear with science and world religions. I love the Principle. It brings me joy in the same way the Bible does and even deeper, because I find a deeper truth there. I find an explanation of the Bible that makes sense. The purpose for history is explained. I often wondered about the value of the stories of the Old Testament. They were nice, but they didn't mean anything to me. But through the Divine Principle I can now understand the whole purpose of the Old Testament history, and I can also understand the purpose of New Testament history. It answered important questions for me, such as why God has waited so long to restore the world.
Virgil Cruz: Just a very quick question directed to Anthony. The textbook in which Rev. Moon gives some explanation of the Divine Principle -- is that to be compared to the writings of Martin Luther as you said, or is it to be compared in stature and significance to the writings of the Gospel of Mark? Which of those?
Anthony Guerra: It's certainly not to be compared to the Gospel of Mark in the sense that I think you would say that one cannot change the Gospel of Mark. You wouldn't say that you could rewrite the Gospel of Mark, but Rev. Moon can say that he is going to rewrite this book. So that means that this book, as it stands, is not equated with the absolute truth. We do not affirm the tenet of propositional revelation.
Paul Eshleman: Can he alter the Principle? Change a few parts of it?
Anthony Guerra: No, the Divine Principle again is a metaphysical reality; it's an attribute of God, you might say, and it cannot be expressed in any words. It can't be fully expressed.
Warren Lewis: Let me work on this a little bit. As a teacher here. I have the pleasant opportunity of giving final examinations. On my final exams I always give the students a chance to express themselves theologically on some issue that was critical for the period of church history that we had just studied. So one time I raised the question with them, what is Divine Principle? Is it the 28th book of the New Testament? Is it a third testament? And I gave them a spread of options from something that you ought to bind in black leather and print in India ink on this paper with gold edges all the way over, to a book of theology, and a lot of things in between. And I got a spread of opinions. There are people who think that that Black Book is inerrant and infallible, just the way Lindsell thinks the Bible is, and there are people who know that Rev. Moon didn't write it. It's a committee product and some would frankly admit that it's simply riddled with historical and scientific inaccuracy, but who would still argue that the principles which it contains, which you can reduce to a handful, are metaphysical statements about the nature of God and reality. So I don't think any one Unificationist can ever answer your question because there is a variety.
Virgil Cruz: One more question of clarification. I still haven't gotten a handle on what it is which commends the textbook and the Divine Principle itself to a Unificationist. For example, as far as canonical Scriptures are concerned, we say there are principles of canonicity. The books have some contact with the apostles.
We say that the books were used in the Christian Church. We say that the books show an internal consistency with one as compared with another. Now, is it correct for me to deduce that this is a two-pronged affair? The basis of authority for one is that the authority of Rev. Moon himself is given to the Divine Principle, which therefore commends it to his followers. Secondly, is there some more subjective proof somewhat similar to that which Calvin used when he said, "How do you know that sugar is sweet? Taste it." How do you know by reading this Scripture that it commends itself? Is there something like that?
Johnny Sonneborn: I think that we should look at what the book says about itself. And the book says it is an attempt by the followers of Rev. Moon to write down parts of the new truth, the new expression of truth to be precise, which he has been speaking about, as they understood it. What were Rev. Moon's credentials for bringing this new truth? He studied the Scriptures. He also had spiritual encounters with many great spiritual leaders from the past and had other revelations. He spoke to Buddha, with Mary and other persons. He also went through a period of suffering and struggling, overcoming billions of satans in the way; the text describes this, that he really wrestled with the questions, and sorrows, of God and mankind this way. Also, in connection with the other prong of your questions, the expression of truth is set forth as an hypothesis. In other words, it is suggested that the book begins to express the principles which will solve the fundamental questions of man and the universe. It sets forth an hypothesis which we're asking people to study, to look at, to see and to pray about -- and to accept -- as a theorem on the grounds that as a new truth it brings a fundamental solution to followers of religion and science.
Anthony Guerra: To answer your question, why do we consider this book authoritative? Why do we accept it? And, well I don't know about anyone else here, but I didn't even know Rev. Moon or anything about Rev. Moon when I heard and accepted. The reason I accepted was that I thought that it was very reasonable. It sounded true by my own rational judgment; this was the original basis on which I said it was true. Others accepted it because they thought it best explained the Scriptures. Some may have found other interpretations, maybe the Lutheran interpretation or the Papal interpretation or the Calvinist interpretation, to be inadequate or unsatisfying. Other people pray to Jesus or pray to God and were directed or were told this is true. These are various ways in which people here encountered the teaching.
We're not told, "Look, Rev. Moon received it and he was given a revelation by God, so believe it." They're not told that when they confront this. In these various ways an individual decides that he or she is going to commit himself/herself to this way of life.
Don Deffner: And each of these is very subjective.
Anthony Guerra: Sure.
Don Deffner: What I see then is a broad spectrum that Dr. Lewis was speaking of in terms of Unification students' view of the Divine Principle. I nevertheless have heard from students here a common assumption that the Bible is seen in the light of the Divine Principle.
Anthony Guerra: That's true.
Don Deffner: Whereas for me, I believe with my brethren here, it is Scripture in light of Scripture; the Bible interprets itself.
Irving Hexham: Can I ask for a clarification? It seems that what's going on is a misunderstanding between the Evangelicals and the Unification church people which could be put in one of two ways. I'll give them both. One would be that Unification is post-Guttenberg whereas Evangelicals are still Guttenberg. (laughter) We look to Scripture; they're working on something which is beyond a written document. It is cool communication; we are hot communicators. The other way of putting it would be David Riesman's model. We, the Evangelicals, are working with an inner-directedness in terms of an inner-directed Puritan society, a Puritan mind; they, members of the Unification church, are working with something which is closer to the tradition of the other-directed personality. And the other-directed personality, is, in McLuhan's terms, a post-Guttenberg thing. This discussion of Scripture isn't important because you have a different type of communication going on. Now I wonder if that is of any help or if someone would like to comment on it.
Mark Branson: Maybe we could focus on that by asking what happens to Divine Principle as a written text after Rev. Moon dies.
Whitney Shiner: I have a comment from several questions back. There are two aspects of the Divine Principle: one is a metaphysical system which is most of the "Principle of Creation," and the other is the rest of it as an interpretation of the Bible and of history based on that system. And, if you take the system and you look at the Bible, then that is a natural interpretation of the Bible. At some point Rev. Moon said that he gave us too much; he should have just given us the "Principle of Creation" and let us find the rest. Everybody takes to the Bible some metaphysical system from which he interprets it. Things like the spirit world or the ontology don't come from the Bible; they come from Rev. Moon's own understanding of the spirit world. Our own understanding of the relationship between God and man is something that one can test out in his own spiritual life. One can assume they're true and act as if they're true and see what results one gets. With the spirit world, many people have experiences with it directly. I consider it to be scientific truth that that has nothing to do with revelation or interpretation. Once you test that, then you take it to the Bible.
Warren Lewis: But it's still up for grabs as far as he's concerned on a lot of points. And this is where it's really different from what we people from traditional Christian backgrounds have experienced. This is a wide-open theological situation which is why I find it interesting as a historian of Christian thought and a practicing Christian theologian. If you can ever get off the confessional agony of deciding whether they're right or we're right, you can just appreciate it as a theological novelty. It's wide open, and what's happening here is that oriental categories -- Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism -- all those things are being wedded to the Christian Gospel.
Athanasius wedded Christianity to Greek thought. When I ask you whether you believe that Jesus Christ is of the same substance as the Father, you confess that He is and you confess Greek philosophy. You don't confess the Gospel, yet it's in the creed of Nicea. Now, what we're getting here is a step in the acute orientalization of the Gospel. The Greeks did it, the Latins did it, Thomas did it with Aristotle, Luther did it, Calvin did it, the Americans have done it, and now the Koreans are taking their turn. So, what's interesting about it from a theological perspective is that it's wide open and these people don't think that they already know what every verse of the Bible means, the way you and I do. Don, I respect you, but there are many interpretations of what that passage means about the dead saints being raised on Good Friday. You know you can't just sort of pull that one on us. But you're right when you say that these folk are reading the Bible through the perspective of Divine Principle. Just as Rev. Moon, who has an oriental mind and heart, is looking at the Christian Gospel through the spectacles of his oriental perspective and coming up therefore with a completely new system of Christian thought.
Virgil Cruz: Just one quickie here. I don't understand your impression that the field is wide open to creative theologizing. Johnny and I talked about that, and there are certain givens, aren't there? There are certain immutable principles, it would seem. It would be very helpful for me if someone would lay on me a few of them.
Warren Lewis: What the Divine Principles really are?
Virgil Cruz: Yes. Because I just cannot believe that tomorrow you could be going off with it in another firm direction and reverse yourself in any way. I just can't believe that. I think you're spelling out the implications of certain givens, and I don't yet know all the givens.
Irving Hexham: Before we turn to this question, could we have a response to the question I asked about hot and cold communication? I would like to know if I was on the right track.
Anthony Guerra: If I understood you right, I think I agree that we don't consider any written word or expression to be the equivalent of absolute truth. The written word is an expression of truth, and the written word does not have the same kind of ultimate authority in itself. I wasn't sure about the second point regarding cool and hot media.
Irving Hexham: It's a feeling about where the communication comes from. The Divine Principle seems to float around and land on people, and people in the community share it. You share in it and it's not something that you point to. I don't know whether you can discuss it as we are doing, because I don't think you operate in that way. You're operating with a different model of communication.
Rod Sawatsky: Well, let's test it out. I think we can talk about the canon. I think we can have somebody spell out what Divine Principle is. Who is going to do it? I think Jonathan could probably do a good job with it.
Jonathan Wells: Yes, I'd like to suggest a few basic principles and also, by way of tying it in with these other comments, set it in an historical situation. First of all, God is unchanging, absolute and eternal and is the Creator of the world. God created man, Adam and Eve, to be His children. Because of the position of man in creation, man is given free will. So, unlike the rest of the creation, man is capable of turning against God. As a guide to fulfilling their responsibility, God gave Adam and Eve the commandment in the Garden of Eden, which they violated. Because of the violation of the commandment then, rather than abandoning His fallen children, God has worked His providence of restoration ever since and tried to bring mankind back to Him, to be His true children. The history of Israel was a preparation for the coming of Jesus, who came as the second Adam and who, in His own life, fulfilled what Adam failed to fulfill. But, in order to save the rest of mankind, it was necessary for mankind to reverse the fall by following Jesus. We know that mankind failed to do this. Even Jesus' closest disciples ultimately deserted Him at the critical time. So, before Jesus was crucified, He Himself said that a new truth would come, and the whole prediction of the second coming implies that there is more. So, since Jesus died, the history of Christianity actually has been a preparation for the second coming. These times that we're living in now are the last days that Jesus spoke about. And, therefore, this is the time of the second coming.
We have a wide-open theological situation. Christian dogma went through some very serious dislocations when the parousia failed 2,000 years ago. Jesus said He'd come again before the disciples went throughout Israel, but He didn't. So Christian dogma became frozen to various hybridizations with Greek philosophy and other doctrines, and we're looking back on this kind of frozen situation. But, at the time of the second coming, new truth comes. And, we must avoid the same mistake that was made two thousand years ago, which was to adhere too literally to an accepted notion of what the Scripture meant. Because of their literal adherence to their own ideas of the Scripture, people rejected Jesus. So, one basic distinction I feel here, between Evangelicals and Unification people, is that Unification people feel that the historical context now justifies a re-evaluation of our ideas of Scripture.
Rod Sawatsky: Now, just a minute before we move on. What you have said is that the Divine Principle is immutable. Even Rev. Moon couldn't change what you have said, and everybody would have to agree with what Jonathan said. Right?
Jonathan Wells: Well, up to the point where I discussed the present situation. Even that, it's a basic outline.
Jan Weido: I agree with him, but I would use different expressions. I think we speak to more than just the Judeo-Christian tradition. Take the law of indemnity, for example; it works for Hindus, and for Muslims. Call it karma, or whatever, but it works. The whole thing about dual essentialities works for a Taoist, just as it works for me. For the thing about misuse of love, you don't have to talk about the serpent seducing Eve, just about the misuse of love and the destruction of the four-position foundation without talking about Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel. Those are universal principles.
Rod Sawatsky: We've got to get clarity on this one before we move on. On the one hand we have basically a Judeo-Christian interpretation, insisting that the Judeo-Christian tradition is necessary for the Divine Principle, and you are saying no, you don't need that.
Jan Weido: A final thing I would say is that the principle of restoration also talks about God's having to work from one point -- the family, the tribe, the nation. There's a principle of chosen religion which makes the Judeo-Christian religion, as a tradition, important; but it also means that all other traditions have some role to play in the restoration of the world. The whole world is evolving and is converging in some way. We have not spelled it out yet; but the traditions are all important.
Irving Hexham: A question directed to Jonathan: is the outline you've given history or myth? You were talking about Adam and all this sort of thing -- is it history or myth?
Jonathan Wells: History.
Nora Spurgin: One of the earlier versions of the Divine Principle in English was entitled: The Divine Principle and Its Application.1 Actually, this Divine Principle is basically contained in the first chapter. If you read that first chapter, it describes the basic Divine Principle -- The Principle of Creation -- including the principles of growth, the principles of the four-position foundation, etc. Then, the rest of it is history, applying those basic principles to the history of man. Beginning with man's deviation, the fall, you then find how things were restored by using the basic principles in the first section. So, actually Rev. Moon has said that, if we only have the very first chapter, we can figure out all the rest, even though it would take quite a lot to figure out the second part. That was a real key to his being able to give mankind a key to life. I feel that's the real key, that he gave mankind something additional -- an understanding of evil and the way to overcome it -- but basically the Divine Principle is contained in the first chapter.
Johnny Sonneborn: As I understand it, the question we're trying to answer is: what is it that most Unification church members believe? Everything Nora says is absolutely true, but it's a question of what is the Divine Principle, or Principle of Creation. Everything that Jonathan said, every member of the Unification church believes. We all believe the additional things that Jan said. We also all believe that God develops His providence leading up to the time of Jesus through events such as are accounted for by the stories of Noah and all the others. Now some people in the church might believe that the stories didn't happen exactly the way they are told, but may be representations of stories; these steps of development had to be gone through on the family level, tribal level, up to today. God did work centering through Israel. These are historical facts, not a myth. There was first a man and a woman, wherever it was, whatever the circumstances were. It's not a myth; this must have happened. We will all agree on that. We will all agree on there being a John the Baptist, and these things happening, there being disciples of Jesus, as reported in the Divine Principle textbook. We would all agree on what happened with Jesus and certain key figures in Christendom. We would all agree that God is working in other religions, but we don't have any agreement as to how or where. We might disagree as to how God is working in Hinduism, but He must work by the same principle -- that we would agree with.
Rod Sawatsky: We have explored this quite thoroughly. I would like to turn the tables for awhile. I'd like for some people now, from the Evangelical side, to talk about the authority of Scriptures as they understand it.
Mark Branson: Could anyone answer, or at least give me an idea on my question about canonicity, especially in reference to Rev. Moon's death?
Jonathan Wells: I'm not sure anybody knows how to answer.
Anthony Guerra: One of the things we believe about the Principle is that what is contained in that book is really a guide to one's life, and, most importantly, it's a guide for perfection. Once the purpose of creation is accomplished, each one of us is going to be in perfect relationship with God. So, as we express truth, it'll be the Divine Principle, it'll be an expression of God's truth.
What the book is trying to do is create a way of life, a tradition of the kingdom of God which we believe to be the consummation of the ideal of God in humanity. So that, in a sense, all the truths up to this time -- the Bible, and interpretations of it -- are given for what purpose, for the salvation of mankind. Right? Once the salvation of mankind is accomplished, truth, or expressions of truth, will have a totally different meaning. In other words, the function or purpose of Scriptures then changes; in a sense, it doesn't have the central soteriological purpose which it now has.
Johnny Sonneborn: Since man's spiritual and intellectual standards still have a way to go, there are going to have to be higher expressions of truth; in other words, the Divine Principle book in the present form cannot be the last word. If Rev. Moon were to die tomorrow, that still would not change the fact that this book would have to be rewritten. It has errors in it, and the book itself is only a part of what Rev. Moon himself is teaching. It is bound to have to be supplemented by his own testimony in this way. It might be the first word of the last truth prior to the ultimate kingdom of heaven.
Patrica Zulkosky: I think there's a difference between principles and doctrine. Principles are things that can't be changed, no matter what. They come from God. They are the principles working behind the creation of the world and the continued maintenance of the world, etc., as opposed to doctrine, which is man's viewpoint of how things are developing or the applications of truth to this or that. Doctrine can change, but principles cannot. This understanding may be valuable when we enter into the evangelical discussion.
Irving Hexham: I wonder if it is possible that, if Rev. Moon were to die tomorrow, his "spirit man" would enter or be in communication with his son or someone else and therefore provide ongoing continuity.
Jan Weido: One thing I think will happen is that when Rev. Moon goes into the spirit world, Mrs. Moon, barring any unforeseen accident, will probably live for another forty years, and she will continue the tradition. After that, a family inheritance process, like a monarchy, will allow the next son to follow in Father's footsteps. Even if the next son spaced out and became an American hippy -- he can space out -- I think it would still continue within the family. There's a heavenly hierarchy, Mr. Kim likes to say. I also think Rev. Moon is putting the responsibility on us, too, especially the graduate students. We are supposed to tighten this up, to work it out, to get it together.
Rod Sawatsky: What Jan just said is highly significant. For most of us from traditional groups, everything is finished more or less, and we know what it is. The Unification people here are in the process of forming a new theology; there's a creative possibility here which many of us are not a part of in the same way. This is not only very interesting, it also changes the dynamic, too, as we communicate with each other. One is more defensive, and one is more open.
Warren Lewis: I just have to tell one of my favorite stories here. On one occasion, Rev. Moon -- the clairvoyant shaman who visits the spirit world and talks with people there -- told us professors: "If you want to become rich and famous, ask me questions for which nobody knows the answers; I'll get the answers for you from the spirit world; you can write a book and make a lot of money." (laughter) One evening when we were seated at high table in Camelot, I raised the issue with Rev. Moon that I would like to write a book on the Resurrection. The doctrine of ongoing resurrection in Divine Principle is one of the most theologically creative notions, although, from my evangelical perspective, short-shrift unfortunately is paid to the physical resurrection of the body of Jesus. So I decided to debate the point with the Reverend. I said, "In terms of your own teaching, because you're a spiritual materialist, there's a built-in reverence for matter. Therefore, somewhere along the line, you have come to terms with the physical resurrection of the body of Jesus. It's only consistent with your point of view on the venerability of matter." I was very gratified when he replied, "You've got a point there; at least you've read the Divine Principle carefully." That made me feel good; so I said, "Now I'm going to collect on your promise. Everybody wants to know what really happened on Easter Sunday morning. So please tell me, so that I can write a book and become rich and famous. Ask Jesus, or whomever, what really happened on Easter morning." He grinned a little bit and said, "Well, I'm not at liberty to tell everything I know, and some things have not yet been revealed." We went back and forth a couple of times more, and finally I pressed him and said, "But you promised to give me the inside info so I could become rich and famous. If you won't tell me, how can I write this book?"
He said, "Go ahead and use your own theological imagination.
What do you think I do?" (laughter)
Johnny Sonneborn: This is related to the point that was just made, and to a point that Dr. Quebedeaux made at some time; that what is critical is the messianic age and not just a messianic person. In the Divine Principle, whereas God took responsibility for making Satan surrender in the Old Testament age, whereas Jesus and the Holy Spirit have been fulfilling their responsibilities in the New Testament age, the responsibility in the Completed Testament age, the new age, falls upon all of the saints. Therefore, we have to be developing, working at using our imaginations.
Anthony Guerra: Incidentally, the point you're making, it's basically Acts 2:17 -- that "in the last days it shall be that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams." So as a young man you should do some prophesying.
Beatriz Gonzales: I would like to say something to what Johnny has said, relating to the earlier mention that when Rev. Moon dies his spirit will be working through someone in our movement. It's true that Rev. Moon will give direction to us. But what's important, and this is the reason why I follow Rev. Moon, is that I recognize that the power behind Rev. Moon is the power of God. Rev. Moon has made himself such a perfect tool for God to work through that the living God can speak to us, can give direction to us, through this man. But Rev. Moon is always saying, "I want you to become Rev. Moons so that when I die, there will be thousands of Rev. Moons." And this is possible. We come to realize this. And this is also why I follow him, because he can bring me to such a relationship with God. God can be a living God in me so that I can serve as a direct tool for God. Maybe not me, maybe I have too much fallen nature, but, as our lineages are purified, maybe several generations from now God will work very directly through man, much more directly than He can work through us.
Pete Sommer: That you're on your way to becoming...
Warren Lewis: Heavenly, potentially divine, divinizable. Because they are the expression of the Logos and the Holy Spirit, if they had gone on to the perfection intended for Adam and Eve, according to the Divine Principle, then they would have formed a trinity with the Father.
Pete Sommer: Have you ever decided whether your view of creation is really a transcendental model or is it an emanationist
Jonathan Wells: Oh, we've been around that one many times!
Pete Sommer: Which is it?...I was interested in Henry Vander Goot's excellent pursuit of this issue in Exploring Unification Theology.2
Warren Lewis: I think that, after all of the words have been defined and all the points have been pressed, they are finally emanationists. There is no "wholly other" understanding of God as the one, between whom and us there is a great gulf fixed. There is, rather, an infinite number of steps and stages. These people are Platonists, believers in the great chain of being.
Pete Sommer: And that's where an Evangelical would differ on the work of the mediator.
Warren Lewis: Or you can understand the mediator as the missing link.
Mark Branson: Already you're dealing with a pantheistic model; everything is already there.
Warren Lewis: And that's why, ultimately, on the pattern of their originism, which is neo-platonism in and of itself, everything will ultimately return to God. It is entirely a theology of creation -- it starts and ends with creation.
Joseph Hopkins: Warren, you said Adam and Eve are potentially divine; you didn't say were, is that correct?
Warren Lewis: Because they fell, the first pair lost their possibility...
Joseph Hopkins: Yes, I understand that, but are they still potentially divine through restoration?
Warren Lewis: The third Adam and the second Eve are eschatological figures.
Joseph Hopkins: All right, then. How is this different from the Mormon and Armstrong doctrine that God is a family, and that all mankind are potentially gods?
Warren Lewis: I understand the Mormon teaching a lot less than I understand the Unificationists, but I think there are real points of similarity.
Jonathan Wells: At the same time, though, I think the Mormons say that God is evolving, whereas the Unification position is that God is absolute, eternal, and unchanging...
Anthony Guerra: The Mormons also teach that the fall was intended.
Johnny Sonneborn: In Unification Thought3 which is more philosophical, God is the original being, and all other beings are created beings, but the first elements were projected from God. I don't think that's emanationist. In this way, God is the being who stands beyond all. Mr. Sudo always speaks of Him as being transcendent and infinite, and Unification Thought speaks about the infinite being in the finite...God is infinite. Otherwise, we end up with a model of the universe as all complete, and then what keeps it going? There has to be something which has to be constantly initiating -- an original being, an original force, original love, constantly coming into the creation -- otherwise it couldn't expand. And there must always be God to harvest, to get joy at the other end. So, as I understand the teaching, especially from Korean writers, and also from Mr. Sudo, there's definitely a concept of a transcendent God who is immanent in the typical Christian sense that He came into the world. The gulf that came between God and man came with the fall, wherein that which was created became unwhole. But God remained, and man lost the commandments, and then a mediator had to come in place of Adam to bring man back to the holy person.
Pete Sommer: I still think that sounds like Brahma breathing out and breathing in.
Tirza Shilgi: I just wanted to make a brief comment about what I find in Divine Principle. There seems to be the consistent principle of the book -- the way it works. But this often makes it hard for people outside to categorize or classify it as one thing or another. Many times the Divine Principle is not this or that, but many times it is somewhere in between or both. It really works that way quite often. Let me illustrate in relation to the creation question. It is not emanationist and it's not transcendental; it's somewhere in between. That's why it's so hard, even for ourselves, to classify it as this or that, because it is not only this or that, but it's somewhere in between. It's the same thing with faith and works -- it's not only faith and it's not only works, it's somewhere in between. It's the combination of both which should bring about God's will. It may be helpful to look at things in this way rather than to classify them as this or that; a lot of times Divine Principle will be somewhere in between.
Irving Hexham: I want to ask about this developing theology and the way in which things work out. You've said that Rev. Moon visits the spirit world and talks with the spirits. To what extent in the development of your theology do you have experiences with people or beings from the spirit world which help develop your individual theology? Now, yesterday, some people talked about experiences of Christ or Moon, but I'm sure these things are much more common than have so far been mentioned, and I'd like to hear something on that.
John Wiemann: I'd like to say something that answers your question a little bit. As a regular guy growing up, I didn't understand very much about the Bible, and I didn't understand anything about salvation. I was about as spiritual as a turnip and I'm still not very spiritual. I haven't had any spiritual experiences; that is not the way I receive understanding. Sometimes I have inspirational prayer about something which may be true or may not be true. I received a lot of understanding about the Bible -- at least I was given the opportunity to think more deeply about it -- when I joined the Unification church. I started to understand things which I'd always wondered about -- what's Cain-Abel, what's the Jacob story where he deceives his brother with the help of his mother. These all made perfectly good sense to me. Now I find that the Unification church needs to understand more about the Christian understanding of salvation, because it seems to me that this is the foundation upon which Rev. Moon, upon which the Lord of the Second Advent, comes. Rev. Moon himself says, "You cannot understand me one iota unless you have a relationship with Jesus, unless you really can experience through going through the history of all that's taken place. If you can't do that, you just can't understand anything."
Irving Hexham: That's a rationalist explanation. When I asked my question, I noticed that a lot of people nodded and responded and I would like to hear from some of them.
Johnny Sonneborn: There are many people in our movement who have very direct experiences with the spiritual world. In my case, before I joined the movement, I was always taught to have dialogue with authors of books. I always wondered why. Now I believe that it's dangerous for me to see the spirits that are guiding me. I am very aware of being guided but fear that I'll end up forming an unhealthy relationship with the spirits, so I carefully don't keep spiritually open. But I'm aware of being guided.
Don Deffner: I'd like to get some reflection on how Rev. Moon knows that, when he talks to spirits, they're not lying to him? That they are not demonic spirits? Satan tempts me, and the prince of liars is trying to trap me all the time. What is the criterion? I see some trouble with both of us there. What is the place of the demonic, satanic, and the evil spirits which could well be behind all this?
Warren Lewis: Are God and Satan the only spirits in the spirit world that we have give-and-take with?
Several voices: No.
Warren Lewis: A lot of us Evangelicals are aware of the presence of evil spiritual powers, but, because we are not very good Catholics, we don't know about the "communio sanctorum," the angels and the spirits of the just ones made perfect.
Don Deffner: No, Satan and his evil hosts.. .I'd just like to hear that. Rod Sawatsky: O.K., Jan.
Jan Weido: Well, I can't speak for Rev. Moon, but I can speak for myself. I know the difference when I'm sleeping at night, and I'm awakened, and there's a wild-looking spirit trying to choke me, or I can't get out of bed because I have to exorcise that spirit in the name of Christ. The difference between that and the difference between a very high spirit that comes and brings comfort is clear in the night. Sometimes it's an experience of a dream that will help me understand something about God or something about Divine Principle. It's intuitive; you can tell the difference. You just don't want to be around those lower spirits, because they're very heavy, they're very ugly, and they're very terrible.
Whitney Shiner: I'd like to speak about the authority of the spirit world. We really don't consider anything that we've received from the spirit world as authoritative in any way -- that's made very clear. Rev. Moon says that even high spirits in the spirit world generally do what they're doing without understanding probably as much as we do, and that certainly anything we receive from the spirit world should be taken with circumspection. But I'd also like to say this on distinguishing spirits in the spirit world: one's spiritual body reflects one's spiritual state, so you can spiritually see what kind of spirit you're dealing with. For example, high spirits give off a very bright light, and low spirits are very dark.
Helen Subrenat: I know from my evangelical background that many Evangelicals consider any give-and-take with the spirit world as satanic. So I'd like to know what the evangelical side of it is. On the other side, I'd like to say that since I joined the church, there has been an emphasis of not having give-and-take with the spirit world. The Spirit that we want to deepen and increase our relationship with is God, through His mediator, Jesus Christ. So, if we do have a spiritual experience or if we do tend to be more intuitive or more spiritual, we are taught to test the spirits, to challenge them to testify to Jesus Christ, to the truth of God. We don't accept as true just any experience we have.
Virgil Cruz: A couple of things. You wanted us to have just an explicit concentrated discussion of the spirit world. I must say I need something like that. I need a profile of the spirit world. I am very confused as to who those inhabitants are. I had the feeling, I think now incorrectly, that Jesus would be considered as an inhabitant of the spirit world and the Holy Spirit would also be involved in that dimension, and, if those two are tax-paying inhabitants, (laughter) how can one say that we should not take anything as authoritative which comes from the spirit world?
Rod Sawatsky: It seems to me that we're going in that direction. I had hoped we were going to get some Evangelical comments on authority first. We seem to be losing that end, and I'm a little worried about that. I think it's running too much in a one-way stream here, and it's not being dialogical. But I think we'd better do what Virgil is asking for now, because if we want to go into this discussion, we'd better have some data on the spirit world. I hope we can get back to having some elaboration in the other direction as well. So let's do this, very quickly and then...
Warren Lewis: Just by way of footnoting a response to what you've said: you're right, but we are still really talking about
authority, aren't we? (Yes.) Because you're convinced that Rev. Moon has talked to God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and Satan himself, and has, in good shamanistic fashion, wrestled with the spirits and has triumphed in the spirit world, then you don't really have too many problems with biblical authority.
Rod Sawatsky: Good point. Would somebody outline the spirit world for us?
Johnny Sonneborn: This is from the Divine Principle Study Guide by Young Whi Kim. He summarizes that good spiritual beings include God (He's not in the spiritual world but is a spiritual being beyond it), good angels, good spirit men, good souls -- and the evil spirits include Satan and the spirit people of evil people, or evil spirits. That's who is in the spiritual world. To the other question very succinctly; according to the Divine Principle or the Study Guide you test the spirits as follows: it's not just a light or dark question; at the beginning they look alike. Unless you have the Divine Principle and have a good spiritual master, you can't be secure in judging spirits. Of course, a good spiritual master is helpful because he's got a higher spiritual standard than you do, and the Divine Principle is the standard of truth by which you judge whether or not the spirit is on God's side or Satan's side.
Irving Hexham: A simple point of clarification. What do you mean by a spiritual master?
Johnny Sonneborn: It means somebody who can give you guidance, who has a higher spiritual level than you, who has a wider and less conditional perspective. Rev. Moon would be a great, very high spiritual master.
Irving Hexham: But there could be other spiritual masters?
Johnny Sonneborn: Yes, anybody who is spiritual might be a good spiritual master.
Beatriz Gonzales: I'd like to share something about my experience in living with medicine people because I think that this was my foundation for being able to accept the Divine Principle and getting into this idea of a spiritual master. I was raised with medicine people, and, because of my native Indian background, my way of life was shaped by trying to be in harmony with the universe. Being in harmony with the universe meant being in harmony with things in the physical world, being in harmony with people and with the creation as well as with things in the spiritual world. So to me I often have difficulty understanding how they are separated in people's minds. When we're talking about what the Divine Principle is, it is just an understanding of very basic universal principles that operate in our daily lives, whether we are aware of them or not. And, we may violate them or we may go in accordance with them and that determines what state we are in, how much we are able to grow, and what conflicts we go through. These principles operate for us as human beings as well as for all creation. The Indians, for example, in order to know how to relate to each other, spend hours and hours watching the insects and animals and seeing how they interrelate with each other, and then the Indians imitate these patterns and interrelationships because they recognize that the animals are living in accordance with the harmony of the universe. They recognize that they, as men, are not living in accordance with this harmony, and that is why they have conflicts. The Indians will sit and watch ants for hours and hours and see how the ant works, and then they shape their community life after the community life of the ant, and it works out great. So, this is an understanding of very basic universal principles and how they operate, and I think this is the Divine Principle.
Another thing is the idea of the Divine Master. The medicine people have a tradition that has been passed on through history that God works through one central person, someone to connect the people to God, and this person is in the position of a prophet or a prophetess, or in the position of a spiritual leader, in the position of a healer, of a counselor and advisor, everything. This person represents God to the community. He or she is like a messiah to the community. I grew up with a woman who was in this position, and she lived right next to my house. This woman had a spiritual master, and the spiritual master was a man who died in 1943 in Texas, and his name was Don Juanito Jaramillo. This man was a very short man in stature and he had a long white beard. He is recognized in the Southwest, in South Texas especially, as a saint, even if he is not recognized in the church as a Christian. The priests wouldn't even let him go into the church, because, according to the Scriptures, as Pat was saying, according to doctrine, this man was not going to confession, was not making his communion. This man was dealing with spirits, and therefore this man, according to the Scriptures and according to the teachings of Jesus, was evil. But God was working very directly through him and he had a very deep relationship with Jesus. He was opening the way for the people to live in harmony, and they were growing in their relationship with God. He was healing and performing miracles, just as Jesus was performing miracles, and just as Oral Roberts does in America today.
The point is that this man, before he died, passed on his medicine powers to a certain number of people, depending on the foundation of his accomplishment and theirs. One of these people was the woman that I knew. And, of course, one of the qualifications for a medicine person is that this person must lead a totally selfless life, that he or she believe in God and believe in a life centered on God, that is, in harmony with creation and in harmony with people. After this medicine man has died, he works from the spiritual world to guide the people that he has passed his medicine powers to. When they examine a sick person, they go to God. directly to God in prayer, and then the medicine man -- Don Juanito for example -- comes to give them guidance. This is the concept of a spiritual master. When I heard the Divine Principle. I could understand Rev. Moon's position as a spiritual master through whom I could be able to connect with God and learn how to serve both God and mankind. This impressed me very much about the Unification church.
Rod Sawatsky: Let me ask Virgil, have we covered the area of spirit world sufficiently by way of how it works or how it's populated?
Virgil Cruz: I think I have a bit of a handle on it now. There are other personal things that I would pursue with Jan, without asking for an answer. I am extremely thankful to God that I haven't been visited by these spirits who would choke one. I sometimes have a bit of an inferiority complex there; I wonder if I'm not worth choking, (laughter)
Rod Sawatsky: If anyone else has anything to add by way of clarification of the spiritual world, let's hear you now. O.K.?
Ulrich Tuente: One basic principle which is explained in the principle of creation is the principle of give-and-take. I think one very essential aspect of give-and-take is that, in order to have give-and-take, you need to have at least something in common. For instance, if I were to speak in German, I think few people would understand me, and so, at least we need a common language in order to talk to each other. And I think the same thing is true concerning the spirit world. What Jan said, for example -- that all religions have some truth, that these medicine men about whom Beatriz was speaking have some truth -- is true, but actually that which reveals most of God's heart and through which God can most clearly communicate and work in the human community is what has been revealed in the Old and New Testaments through the prophets and through Jesus Christ. God has had His greatest basis there to work with men and in relationship with them, and this then is a foundation through which God could work with Christianity as the central religion. All the other religions contain good things but could not communicate much of God's nature and heart to man. So there was not this basis to work for God. This principle of give-and-take is also in the spirit world. There must be a common foundation, so that something can be communicated from the spirit world to the physical world.
Rod Sawatsky: Let's have two more comments on this whole thing.
Nora Spurgin: Here we're putting a lot of emphasis on the spiritual world. It's not important in light of the total Principle, although it permeates throughout because it's a fact of life. There is life after death; we believe that one's spirit goes on living. In that sense it's important. What is more important is what God is doing on earth (Amen) and that we must understand -- it's not what is going on up there (Amen), but it's what's happening here that is important. The spiritual world, we feel, is very active here because they know what is going on and are helping bring in the dispensation. They're just like people and may be as confused as people on earth. Many are learning the Divine Principle through us. Therefore, we do test the spirits by the Divine Principle.
Pete Sommer: You've tested it yourself? Correct me if I'm misunderstanding. You are inhabited by a good spirit woman? When we got into your eschatology last night, it seemed that the spiritual world was critical. Is that right?
Nora Spurgin: I'm not that sensitive, maybe intuitive, but not that open; so I've never seen a spirit. However, I have had the experience many, many times of speaking in tongues. I'm sure that that's a spirit speaking through me. I do believe that there are spiritual guides and that I probably receive spiritual help, but I don't know their names; I don't know if they're ancestors of mine.
Patricia Zulkosky: We see that our spiritual growing is a function not only of God's grace but also of man's effort; so, to the extent we cooperate in our spiritual growing and grow our spirits, then, when we die, our spirits will go to the identical level in the spiritual world. It's not heaven or hell -- if you're 99 and above you go here, and 99 and under you go there. You go to exactly the same level you grew your spirit to while you were here on earth. The essential thing about the relationship between the spirit world and the physical world is that the spirits in the spirit world are still aiming at oneness with God, and they must still cooperate with man on earth. In the sense that they inspire me to serve my brothers and sisters, and I follow that inspiration, then I get a blessing for doing that, and they also get a blessing for inspiring me. (They move up?) Yes, in a sense, so that they can resurrect. This is what we call the continuing resurrection of spirit men, so that eventually every spirit would come back to God, but the process may take a long, long, time. A spirit can inspire me, but I can say, "I don't want to," so that they're stuck, they can't do anything without my cooperation, without my conscious decision.
Pete Sommer: Some similarity to purgatory?
Patricia Zulkosky: Yes.
Joseph Hopkins: What about all the biblical warnings and prohibitions against necromancy and communicating with the dead? What about that?
Patricia Zulkosky: Exactly. In our church, too, we don't encourage it. Time and time again, we've been told: don't try to have give-and-take with the spirit world; it's dangerous; you don't know what you're getting into. If your will is weak and the will of the spirit is especially strong, you might end up possessed and in some mental hospital.
Mark Branson: But, you just said you wanted their guidance.
Patricia Zulkosky: No. I'm saying that you might get the inspiration to serve someone, or you might get the inspiration to kick me and run out of the room. Now, it's up to you to say, "Now. that's ridiculous!"
Mark Branson: So you are encouraged to have that kind of communication?
Patricia Zulkosky: No. You have inspirations coming to you all the time. Western man thinks, "This is just me. I have all these great inspirations floating around." We would say the spirit world is inspiring us, but we're in the driver's seat...
Mark Branson: But you are doing that.
Patricia Zulkosky: However many back-seat drivers there are, you have the steering wheel, and you decide whether you are going to go straight or whether you are going to turn, or whatever you may do.
Mark Branson: So you are encouraged to have communication with the spirit world?
Patricia Zulkosky: No.
Dan Davies: That's not what she said.
Patricia Zulkosky: I am saying you decide the course of your life and even though people are telling you, do this or do that, you decide.
Dan Davies: It happens whether you want it to happen or not; just by sitting here it happens. So you have to decide what you are going to accept or not.
Mark Branson: So why the admonition not to have influence from the spirit world?
Lloyd Howell: I was going to say that it's a matter of how you live your life. Now, if you live a holy life, you separate from evil and wrongdoing and come into the position to receive grace, guidance, and the Holy Spirit, and have good spirits work with you. The kind of person you are is often what you attract to you. If you're a low spirit selling drugs, you'll attract evil spirits to you. You'll get into all those things according to how you live your life, but, if you start living a holy life, then you receive guidance and inspiration from a higher level. It is most desirable to receive guidance and inspiration through those closest to God, which would be the sinless man, the Messiah; and we do receive other inspirations.
I've been out witnessing and I have prayed, "God, lead me to the person who is looking for You. Don't lead me to some girl -- I don't want to be lustful. That's not the kind of spiritual guidance I'm seeking." Then I've said, "Lead me to the person that's looking for You on the street right now, right this hour; help me to say the words to him so that he'll feel Your Presence with me." I've walked down the street, and at times someone says to me, "Who are we going to witness to now? There are so many people on the street." And I've felt inspiration: "Go to the corner." And then I've been told (this happened to me once), "There's somebody who is going to come off the bus." There's a crowd of people; I said, "Who in this crowd am I supposed to witness to?" I didn't know; I had to make myself the clay in the potter's hand. Then I thought, "That person," and I went over to that person and talked to him. These things happen commonly in our church.
Another example occurred when I met a person who lived a few miles down the road from me but who decided to take a walk back home instead of taking a bus back. He didn't know why he was walking; he just did it. I had an inspiration not to go into my home that day; instead, I turned around and came to where he was and met him. The person had prayed that morning to hear something from God. That's how you come to realize there is a spirit world.
Rod Sawatsky: I think we also need to understand that we're also dealing with certain kinds of definitions of psychology. Given western psychology, we might say that this is your id, superego, or whatever; whereas, you have a sense that these are all spirits...
Mark Branson: Evangelical Christianity has a mix of those spirits... Anthony Guerra: I think we need to hear from the other side. (Amen)
Tirza Shilgi: It's true about our inspirations from the spirit world, but I think that we have to make it very clear that our ideal is not to be led and guided and driven by the spirit world. We hope to establish connections with God and Christ, to live our lives according to Divine Principle. We are aware that there are influences from the spirit world, and we want to choose and select those according to the Divine Principle, so that the primary guidance of our lives should be the Divine Principle. However, when spiritual influence comes, we don't say it doesn't exist; we say it does, but we should be selective according to the Principle and according to God's providence. God and Christ are primary over the spirit world, and our own choice -- not the spirit world-will eventually raise us up.
Rod Sawatsky: Can we hear now from the Evangelicals concerning their understanding of the spirit world?
Roy Carlisle: I'll state the case by asking a very basic question. I'm not so sure that the case hasn't been stated in some form or another, but the real point is that we've heard the Unification people saying that they test the spirits by the Divine Principle. That's not the evangelical position. None of us will deny that there are spirits, angels, demons, whatever, but the real question is how you know what's what. The biblical issue is the passage in I John, where it says you test the spirits by seeing whether they confess that Jesus Christ came in the body, not whether they allow the Divine Principle to be the guiding light. Here we really disconnect. We don't disconnect on our understanding of the population of the spirit world.
Rod Sawatsky: Before you answer that, and I'm sure you can, I would like for one of the Evangelicals to give a more systematic statement of your position. I think that's the only fair thing to do for the sake of the Unification people here. Somebody should systematically speak to the notion of the authority of the Scriptures, and, if you will, the first canon.
Warren Lewis: Are we not going to let the Evangelicals speak about the spirit world? It's in Scripture, but is it in your experience?
Richard Quebedeaux: I just have two statements. One is that there is the spiritual gift of the discernment of spirits, which obviously not every Christian has, but some do. Secondly, you Unification people remember that we all tend to be rather Calvinistic Evangelicals. If we were classical Wesleyan, Holiness Pentecostal people, you would get an awful lot of different feeling about the answers; so don't think that what we say is definitive for the whole evangelical movement, because there is absent from this group a whole bunch of people who would have a very different kind of answer, including the issue of Scripture. Remember, Pentecostals believe in the gift of prophecy and really, I think, believe in continuing revelation, although they would always step aside and say they shouldn't contradict Scripture, but quite often they do.
Virgil Cruz: Let me make just a few comments which circle around both the authority of Scripture and how we use Scripture, and I hope that will get some discussion from members of our team.
The initial statement that I'd like to make as a Reformed individual is this: the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. Now that's our fundamental principle, and you might have to draw conclusions from that later.
After having made that statement, I think we have to decide what we do with the Scripture, after having posited its authority. It's been fascinating for me to notice that the historical critical method -- and all that it entails -- has now been widely accepted in the evangelical wing of the church. This is the method which has been used for the interpretation of Scripture at Fuller Seminary, at Gordon-Conwell and at Wheaton College. It's used, I think, throughout the evangelical wing -- with the exception of certain Bible colleges. That means, therefore, that when we come to the study of the synoptic gospels, we believe that we should approach that material through the insights given to us by source criticism, and we would accept the modified two-source theory. We will accept the insight from form criticism that Scripture circulated first in an oral medium. We would also accept the main conclusions of redaction criticism to the extent that there was an editor who, by virtue of following his own agenda, would have had a special way of arranging the available materials, and his arrangement, his editing, might well differ from that of another author.
Now, after having said that, I think we in the evangelical world would be on guard against certain excesses which are claimed by proponents of the historical critical method. For example, there are certain form critics who would say that if the materials in the Scriptures, in the synoptic gospels, do not clearly fall in one of those patterns, that material is inauthentic, and they wouldn't accept it. We would say that every bit of Scripture was finely polished in order to evolve into one of those clearly defined units.
Another thing that I believe has to do with our interpretation of Scripture: after having given it all authority, we would say that we operate by the christological key. Christ is the central figure of the New Testament. In addition to that, we believe that we can also understand the Old Testament through the christological material that is given us in the newer Testament. That is not to say that the Old Testament cannot stand on its own legs or does not have a bona fide contribution to our theology. At an earlier point, some of us in the evangelical wing of the church looked upon the Old Testament as filled with stories that were used as sermon illustrations; there were morals to be found: for example, Isaac portrayed the proper filial attitude toward his father, Abraham, by virtue of being obedient. We didn't see the theology there. Now, I think we're open to that. We can say that the christological key is significant for the interpretation of the Old Testament because we think that the Old Testament aids us to believe in fulfillment -- that there will be more coming.
Another point, and this will be the last one that I'll make, is the following: as we work with Scripture, I think we're quite concerned to steer clear of allegorical interpretation of Scripture. There has been that struggle going on in the churches throughout history, perhaps particularly symbolized in the struggle between the Alexandrian way of interpreting Scripture -- the allegorical way -- and the Antioch way -- the more literal way. I believe that we would feel close to Martin Luther, who said to accept, whenever possible, the literal interpretation, the plain meaning of Scripture. That would not preclude interpreting certain passages symbolically when the Scriptures themselves push for that kind of interpretation. Let me stop there.
Rod Sawatsky: What about the question of continuing revelation?
Virgil Cruz: As far as I am concerned, I indeed believe that the canon is closed, on the basis of those tests of canonicity to which I referred earlier. We believe, however, that God continually reveals new insight to us. In my circles, we term that illumination of Scripture. This is vital, this is extremely significant, this is terribly important. Just one illustration which I think would be attractive to Unificationists: I believe that in our day two new illuminations have come to me, one of which is the necessity for being concerned with ecumenism. That's an illumination for my day, for me. I think it was in Scripture, but we weren't open to seeing that, to hearing that. Another insight, which has come to me, and I share here this illumination with many other persons, is the necessity -- not the option, but the necessity -- of every child of God to be concerned for responsible social action. That was in Scripture, it was in the Prophets, it was in the words of Jesus.
Warren Lewis: Was it inside where we couldn't see it?
Virgil Cruz: Pardon? (laughter) I think it can be found in Scripture, but that's a long debate. I don't think we would settle that here, Warren. I would say it could be found there, yes.
Warren Lewis: We Southerners didn't think it could be!
Virgil Cruz: Absolutely not. Some Northerners who went south to preach to the children and the slaves didn't see it there either. Permit me one illustration. You've heard some discussion of Black theology; now, there are those who are trying to compile White theology, and that's a pejorative term. One attempt has been made by Gaylord Wilmore (he's an historian as well as a theologian). One of the things he has done is to look at historical documents of the period, in particular catechisms which were
used among the slaves, and there is real perversity there. One question-and-answer thing, patterned on the Westminster confession or catechism, would be this: Why did God make man? The answer slaves were to learn was this: To make crops. But the one that really makes me first cry and then fight is this: What does it mean when it says in Scripture, "Thou shalt not commit adultery?" The answer which the slaves were supposed to learn was this: The commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," means that thou shalt not fail to obey thy earthly master in every command that is given. That's perversion, really...
Warren Lewis: That's adultery!
Virgil Cruz: To get back to the main point. I don't think that this has been any new revelation, the fact that we should be concerned about social issues.
Warren Lewis: What about political revolution? What about dethroning the king? If we believe in propositional revelation, then don't you think we ought to obey "the powers that be" and not topple George III? After all, St. Paul does say...
Virgil Cruz: No, he doesn't. In Romans he doesn't say obey the powers in an unqualified sense. He says obey the powers as they work in that province given to them by God in which to work.
Warren Lewis: Which is precisely the political realm...
Virgil Cruz: Yes, but when they are tyrannical they move into the realm of trespassing on the will of God. When they become for us, or want to become for us, the highest allegiance, then we have the right to disobey them. I think we would all agree.
Warren Lewis: It makes sense in America, but I don't think it made sense in Canada.
Paul Eshleman: Revelation 13 -- 1 think it does.
Warren Lewis: Patmos is not in Rome.
Paul Eshleman: Revelation says, "I warn every one who hears the words of prophecy of this book; if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book." Therefore, we feel very strongly about things added that are in direct violation to the Scriptures -- and to add a few new insights such as are contained in the Divine Principle would be, in a sense, trying to add to the words already completed in the book.
Here's an approach I found helpful. The Bible is important to me because of Jesus Christ. I have an encounter with Jesus Christ, then I discover the Word of Christ. He, as my Lord, is my authority. His endorsement of the Old Testament stands for me; therefore, I take the Old Testament seriously and I read it through His eyes, insofar as I am able. But, I would want to say it stands on its own and contributes positively to my theology. The exegesis, for instance, of Genesis 22, of Abraham and Isaac, is the story of the atonement. The New Testament is important because I can relate it in some way to the Apostles or closely to the person of Jesus Christ. When that event is over, Jesus Christ is my decisive word from God; then I need no more words. And there is that mood through the entire New Testament. Now that God has spoken, it does not mean that God does not continue to speak, but that the spirit of God speaks through what we understand as the Word of God which we can understand fairly directly through the perspective of the person of Jesus Christ. Wouldn't that be the major test of canonicity? So, very simply, the Bible stands in relation to our view of Jesus Christ.
Pete Sommer: If we devalue our view of Jesus, then we would change -- we would revise our view of Scripture. I can still engage in all sorts of textual criticism, but I am committed to being engaged in this study because Jesus Christ Himself engaged me in His Word.
Warren Lewis: What does Jesus have to say about whether or not women ought to pray and prophesy in church, and whether or not they ought to have their heads covered, and whether or not you will ordain them?
Pete Sommer: Well, His servant, Paul, instructed when and how they were to perform the preaching function in the church.
Warren Lewis: Do your women cover their heads when they pray and prophesy?
Pete Sommer: Since they're not the first-century Corinthians they don't, but they do observe the principles of modesty appropriate to their culture.
Warren Lewis: So, you have a hermeneutical principle that if something in Scripture doesn't happen to fit our culture, then we are not bound by it. Is that right?
Pete Sommer: Not externally, but internally they are bound by it.
Warren Lewis: There's no rule that just because it's in the Bible we have to abide by it, according to you. We'll adopt the modesty appropriate in the twentieth century and think that we have thereby fulfilled the requirements of Scripture.
Pete Sommer: We would repudiate any leveling of the Scripture to say that everything is as important as everything else.
Warren Lewis: But, how do you decide which cultural things are important and which cultural things are not? What's your canon within the canon?
Mark Branson: It comes about as a matter of how congruent the issues in the Scriptures themselves are. You look at Paul's life and his words, and you see there is some variety. There is a sense of Paul struggling with these tensions: his traditions, his pastoral tasks, his words. When we see variation on an issue, we can often at least see a direction. That direction, when affirmed by Jesus' words or actions, provides a hermeneutical key
Warren Lewis: The male domination that runs throughout the New Testament, which is consistent there, but which is inconsistent with our culture, you simply excuse?
Mark Branson: I'd say that in the New Testament you're dealing with a cultural male domination that is on different planes. Then there's the illumination of the life of Jesus, as well as the behavior of the church, saying, "This is something that is not in accord with creation." So the kingdom, salvation, begins to effect changes toward equality.
Warren Lewis: Paul precisely argues that accord with creation requires male domination: God is on top, then Christ, then the male, and then the female.
Mark Branson: You'd have to get into specific passages.
Warren Lewis: That's exactly what we need to do, because that's what you're doing to the Moonies, though they're no good at proof-texting back at you. By the way, I just quoted you a specific text -- I Corinthians 11:3.
Virgil Cruz: This question, which has troubled the church for centuries, is not going to be settled in fifteen minutes. But I think, in agreement with what has just been said, that many of us would think that at certain points in the Pauline corpus, Paul is giving theological statements -- not propositional theology necessarily -- but he's "doing theology." And we would say, on the man-woman thing, that when he says there's neither Jew nor Greek and so forth, that's theology. At other points, I think many of us would hold to the idea that Paul is attempting to apply theological principles in his own situation. And Paul tells us of his struggle at certain dramatic points. He says, I don't have a word from God, but I'll do what I jolly well want to: and, at other points, even when he doesn't say that, I think he's working at applying those principles. I think everybody here can understand our being ready to grasp that way of looking at Paul, because you're saying you're doing that with your theology.
Warren Lewis: That's a very sensitive and responsible statement, Virgil, but that kind of statement doesn't accord with the kind of fundamentalist generalizing we started out with a moment ago, where the drift was: "By God, we believe the word of God, and we'll use it against you if you happen to disagree with us on this point, but if we find ourselves in trouble on some other point, then, well, the church has had this problem for thousands of years!"
Mark Branson: Continuity is there that is not being realized. I think there is a continuity in seeking congruence and direction.
Warren Lewis: Now we see continuity. Help me see why some things that were culturally conditioned are not the word of God, but other things that were culturally conditioned are the word of God. We Church of Christ people, for example, would insist on adult believers' baptism, which none of you people believe in, and yet I can prove it to you from every book in the Bible. What are you going to do about that? (laughter)
Mark Branson: That's true, but none of us would believe in baptismal regeneration.
Rod Sawatsky: But it's not true that everyone does not believe in believers' baptism. Warren Lewis: Well, the Presbyterians, then!
Mark Branson: Not true about Presbyterians either. I'm a Presbyterian and I believe in adult baptism.
Warren Lewis: Maybe there's hope, after all! (laughter) Let me retract the emotion of my statement and just urge the point. How do you deal with that? Is your theological system open-ended, too, like the Unificationist system?
Irving Hexham: You've got to raise questions about interpretations of Scripture, which holds them together, and I'd like to ask them about the role they ascribe to the Lutheran confessions. As I understand it, all Lutherans adhere to certain statements stated in confession, and I know that, if they seriously disagree, then they wouldn't be Lutherans, though they might be Christians. Luther probably has some ideas of a group of statements that you probably have to reinterpret as Christian, and these are not only quotations from the Bible, but also readings and abstractions from it. Another group will have its own statements and these tend to supplement the Scriptures in the same way.
Don Deffner: I do not interpret the Scriptures in the light of Lutheran confessions. I believe the confessions are a clear explication of the Scripture, and I feel a loyalty to them because they are a clear exposition of Scripture, but I do not superimpose them on the Scripture.
Mark Branson: In fact, you have to live by Luther's statement that, "If you can show me in the Scriptures where I've erred, I will repent."
Johnny Sonneborn: How did you decide that these confessions are a clear interpretation of Scriptures, as opposed to someone else's? Is this each person's decision?
Paul Eshleman: I would say that you, Warren, have tried to put everything in the Scriptures on the same level, and I think the Scriptures are very clear internally in matters that have to do with eternal salvation and less specifically clear on matters of Christian etiquette. We're not wrestling with whether it's right to eat meat offered to idols -- we're not wrestling with that today, but that is an application of how the Christian should act in the light of that culture. I think there is no dispute among the Evangelicals here on the forgiveness of sin and the role of Christ, and that's why you can even go to almost every confession of every denomination and see that those confessionals overlap and lay one on top of the other with the essence of what it means to come to know God through Jesus Christ.
You go from one denomination to the next and say that here is the out-working of the Christian faith in everyday life, and you'll find much disparity and opinion in that particular area.
Warren Lewis: Three million members of the Church of Christ teach that your sins have not been forgiven until you have immersed in the waters of baptism, and we, too, are Bible-believing Evangelicals. Now, somewhere along the line we've got a hermeneutical problem, and it doesn't have to do with peripheral questions.
Paul Eshleman: Then I would say we have a very central
disagreement. Mark Branson:... and that's why a lot of us would say therefore the Church of Christ is cultic! (laughter)
Richard Quebedeaux: That's why the Church of Christ has never been really accepted by Evangelicals...
Pete Sommer: Nor have they accepted us. Warren Lewis: How can we? If you won't be baptized, as scripture teaches, how can we accept you as Christians? (laughter)
Rod Sawatsky: We could play out the same thing in reference to Mennonite non-resistance.
Don Deffner: I think this point is crucial. There are sedes doctrinae, seats of doctrine, the foundation or cardinal principles, or you might say, primary in contrast to secondary doctrines. But, in the primary category, there's the forgiveness of sins. Luke 24:47: this is the message: ".. .repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations..."
Paul Eshleman: Could we spend some time on the forgiveness of sins? I feel as though we continually move to the restoration side of things, and I don't know if everybody here in the Unification church considers his sins forgiven continually day by day. It seems to be less important whether one's sins are forgiven than whether we get people into the restoration process, and I would like to explore that at some point with the whole group.
Rod Sawatsky: In the next time session, we'll discuss the question of conversion, the gospel, and forgiveness. But first, I think some of the Unification people ought to respond to the questions that have been raised by way of testing the validity of this ongoing revelation in reference to biblical materials. It has been said, a number of times, that you are different because you don't test the spirits against the Bible.
Lloyd Howell: I just want to speak to one point Paul brought up. There's a lot I want to say, but I'll just mention one point in Revelation he's quoting, about adding to and subtracting from. I think it says specifically this book of prophecy, so maybe we can assume that he's just talking about Revelation. But even if he were talking about the whole New Testament, I know it also says in Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32: Do not add onto or subtract from these commandments. Yet that's what Jesus did. He came to illuminate the point that the Old Testament should be a testimony to Him, the life of suffering, and blood, sweat and tears -- that it was to establish the foundation for Him to come. He was not adding or subtracting. In my understanding, the New Testament records the history of blood, sweat and tears for God's work from Christ to St. Paul. Laboring, sweating, getting whipped, having sleepless nights are a testimony, I think, to the life of who will be the Lord of the Second Advent. I think that if you do live at the foot of the cross, feeling sin, knowing that we are sinners, receiving forgiveness from day to day -- if you live in that place, and you don't wander away, and just go glory, glory hallelujah, but you're aware, all the time, that you're a sinner, a forgiven sinner -- and you've lived in recognition of the sweat, the blood, and the tears that Christ shed going up to that cross, then you will, I think, recognize the Lord when He comes. I'm speaking of the Lord of the Second Advent, who, according at least to the Principle, doesn't go to the cross -- he is to make this family and multiply.
But it doesn't mean that such a person would not suffer; it doesn't mean that such a person would not shed his tears, his blood, his sweat, and that he wouldn't be in this tradition of the Bible. I think there are principles there that carry over and do witness and testify as to how God works.
Dan Davies: I'd like to speak to the question Paul brought up about continuing revelation and also to what Lloyd was just speaking to. When John received the Book of Revelation in 90-95 A.D. or so, he wrote it down. He received those words, said by the angel Gabriel, that no words should be added to this book. When, I'm wondering, did the council put together the entire Bible? I'm asking the question: was the Bible already canonized at the time that Gabriel said those words to John?
Paul Eshleman: Not at all. Dan Davies: So John could only be referring to the revelation that he received. He was considering that the book.
Mark Branson: I think there would be some of us who would agree with that, that the passage does refer to Revelation, although I think I would also say that the spirit of it applies to the whole New Testament.
Virgil Cruz: And there are other passages in Paul which could serve the same purpose: "If anyone speaks another gospel..." for example.
John Wiemann: But I don't think we speak another gospel. Rev. Moon says that you cannot understand the Divine Principle unless you understand and experience Jesus Christ. He says it time and time again. When he came here in 1971 he had to bring the whole American movement to an understanding of Christ.
Mark Branson: He said, basically, Christ didn't accomplish anything.
John Wiemann: That's out of context.
Don Deffner: When he said Christ didn't come to die, page 134 of Sontag's book4...
Whitney Shiner: I want to respond to something Pete said. He said that one of his tests for interpreting Scripture is whether it in any way devalues Jesus; and I want to make it clear that, when I deal with Evangelicals, I often have to control my anger because, from my point of view, your doctrine devalues both the value of Jesus and of God the Father. I think you don't understand our position. I want to make it clear that that feeling works on both sides.
Pete Sommer: Help me with that. Could you give me an example?
Whitney Shiner: Well, I think it's a way of understanding. For one example, by making what Jesus is doing predetermined, it devalues His sacrifice and His love and His accomplishment.
Anthony Guerra: The idea that He came to die makes Him sound like a robot.
Mark Branson: We think Jesus, in the passage that Joe read yesterday, had choice, He was obedient. The obedience is there; even if ahead of time He knew from the Father that there was a task to be done, this does not at all belittle the reality of his obedience.
Virgil Cruz: But even before the foundation of the world, according to the Book of Revelation, Chapter 3, God the Father knew the Son would be obedient. It was not forced upon Him -- He chose that ministry, that mission.
Ulrich Tuente: If Jesus really were predestined to die, why did He make all this effort to find disciples from the people around Him? He asked people to believe in Him, and He was constantly met with disbelief. If He was predestined, from before, to be crucified, to be sent to the cross, why then did He ask them to believe in Him?
Don Deffner: He said, "I'm going to be crucified and I'm going to be raised..."
Ulrich Tuente: Then he wouldn't have to make this effort of preaching and doing many things.
Whitney Shiner: I think we interpret His life as much more important. You're saying, primarily, that His death and resurrection are important, but we view His whole life as important!
Pete Sommer: Our christology emphasizes not only the role of Jesus of Nazareth in redemption, but also in creation. In John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1, and I noticed in all the explication of creation last night, there's no view of christology in the creation.
Whitney Shiner: We believe that the creation is only completed through a perfect man, through Jesus; Jesus completed creation. God created with an image of perfect man, His Son, as His starting point and then, all things were created through Him and for Him.
Pete Sommer: We see Him also as agent in creation.
Johnny Sonneborn: This is a terminological problem. In Unification Thought, the doctrine of the Logos in creation is clearly elaborated.
Pete Sommer: But you say that God created Christ. Right?
Johnny Sonneborn: No, the Word is an aspect of God, an attribute of God.
Pete Sommer: That's where your emanationist thing works.
Johnny Sonneborn: The Word is God's Word. Now the only difference, which is a terminological difference, is with the term Jesus. We say this is a name of a human being; this is not the name of the pre-existent Logos. The Logos was pre-existent. It became flesh as Jesus. So the Logos, the Son of God, in that sense the ideal man -- the whole thing was created according to a Logos, but it became flesh in Jesus...
Warren Lewis: Unification teaches that God's Logos, or plan, was most fully expressed in Jesus. There is no idea of a preexistent "person" of the Logos or eternally begotten Son of God. Unification christology is very far from Chalcedon, with a functionally Nestorian emphasis on the human Jesus, and predicated on a Unitarianism of the Father. Adam could have been the incarnate Logos as easily as Jesus, if he had only lived up to the Father's expectation.
Johnny Sonneborn: What's your justification for calling the Word that existed before creation Jesus?
Pete Sommer: I read in Hebrews that, when he's talking about the Son, he is talking about Christ active in creation. All things were created through Him and for Him. Paul could not mean anybody else other than the Jesus of Nazareth. For Paul, there's no distinction between the Christ of Faith and the Jesus of history.
Rod Sawatsky: Let's allow Nora a last word, and then we'll decide where we'll go from here.
Nora Spurgin: I just wanted to make some comments about the historical process within the Unification church which might be helpful in terms of defining historical continuity as opposed to the separation of Unification church and Christianity. Rev. Moon has said that he never intended to establish the Unification church. He never intended to establish a new church; he came as a reformer to Christianity, or as a person to bring enlightenment or illumination to Christianity itself. So, just as Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament, and His people did not accept Him, the teachings of Jesus became a New Testament, a new church. Because Christianity did not accept Rev. Moon, (this is our conviction, very honestly) his teachings went to others around the world, and many people who are not Christians have joined the Unification church. Therefore, we strive very hard to fill the gap; we teach the New Testament to the people who are not Christians when they join Unification church. Recently I visited some of our missionaries who are teaching the Divine Principle to Moslems. They felt that they could make a new principle of the Koran rather than the Bible. Immediately, I had to inform them that that's not what we're doing at all. In Japan, some people felt that the Divine Principle could be modified to fit Buddhist teachings, but Rev. Moon said, "Absolutely not," because no one can fully understand salvation if we do not include the clear lineage through Jesus Christ. So I want to make that clear, that we really see it as a continuous line; there is no break, no new church.
Jonathan Wells: All morning I've been thinking of Virgil's question of yesterday that was never answered, namely, how do we decide whether Sun Myung Moon is the messiah? Miracles, healing, raising from the dead, I believe, were the points you raised, and this morning we've been talking about authority and how we know what to believe. Do we believe spiritual advice? Well, lots of people get spiritual advice, and some of it is wrong. Do we believe miracles? Lots of people perform miracles, and they're not necessarily the messiah. Do we believe gurus? A guru is not the messiah. Buddha was not the messiah. Do we believe a literal interpretation of Scripture? This mistake was made 2,000 years ago. Israel rejected Jesus because Jesus didn't fit their conception of Scripture, to which nothing was supposed to be added, as Lloyd pointed out. That was a terrible disaster. We can't just rely on reason. But what is revelation? I mean, I can say I just received a revelation that I'm the messiah. Would you follow me? (laughter) I wouldn't follow someone who said that.
There are thousands of people who have said that, and they're obviously not the messiah. When I listened to Virgil's description of certain aspects of the evangelical view of Scripture, I found myself agreeing with everything you said; specifically and most importantly, I think that the key point is Christ, and, in the New Testament, Jesus is Christ. We view the New Testament and the Old Testament through a christological perspective. That was the key point that I got from Virgil's explanation.
In the Unification church, I have to say, we see things the same way, with this distinction: As I said before, we believe that these are the last days -- these are the days when Christ comes again, and I don't think all Evangelicals agree on how Christ is coming again; in fact, I know they don't. The Unification church believes that it is possible, even likely, that Christ comes as a man, just as Jesus did 2,000 years ago. Now, I'm not saying any man -- he must be very special, obviously -- maybe it's Jesus Himself, again; maybe it's someone with a different name. It's something to be discussed. And the key point is still, "How do we tell who Christ is?" and then through that person we can gain our perspective on all these other things. And, having said that, I'd like to make the comment that I think the key point is sonship -- before Jesus, nobody talked about being the Son of God in a believable way. Jesus was the Son of God. Nobody in the Unification church will deny that. To a man and woman, everybody believes that Jesus was the Son of God and is the Son of God, unlike Buddha or any others.
Virgil Cruz: I do have to say that we're not in agreement. You are not remembering what we've said on previous points about Jesus Christ. You're using Christ in quite another sense when you're saying you use a christological interpretation as the key, and we say Jesus Christ, linking those two inseparably. Therefore, we would have no room for another one who comes, other than Jesus.
Jonathan Wells: I realize that, and that's the starting point of our disagreement. I mean, that's really the basic thing. The point is: is it possible that God could have another son? Is God limited to one son? And if God has another son, then what will teach us that this is the Son of God?
Paul Eshleman: So your whole case rests on the credibility of the person of Sun Myung Moon? Without him there is nothing in my Scriptures that can tell me to look further?
Jonathan Wells: Well, when I read the Scriptures before, I knew that Christ was coming again, and I felt that Christ would come as a man before I ever heard of the Unification church.
Virgil Cruz: Jesus Christ, or Christ?
Jonathan Wells: I didn't know. I tried to have an open mind about it. Many missed Jesus because of their rigid conception of how He was supposed to come.
Virgil Cruz: Another point: the reason why we think the Second Advent will only issue in triumph is that, in the first coming of Christ, it was in a state of humility, whereas, subsequent to that, Christ comes in a state of exaltation. He will not be in the state of humility. He will be revealed for that which He is -- King of Kings, and Lord of Glory.
Jonathan Wells: I agree with that.
Johnny Sonneborn: According to the evangelical position, He will come immediately, in a flash, from East to West. Everyone will immediately know Him and He will have a new name; they'll quickly know what it is. Whereas, in the Unificationist understanding, this is not the way God has ever worked, and it is not likely, from our viewpoint, that God will make it that easy for anybody at that time. He's always giving man a chance to respond to that which is even more difficult and to widen our own love, our faith, in this way.
Richard Quebedeaux: There is an evangelical position that really believes in two second comings -- the dispensationalists believe in a secret rapture and then a coming visible to everyone.
Irving Hexham: But they do believe in the Day of the Lord.
Pete Sommer: They do believe in the Day of the Lord. I think our eschatology as Evangelicals is far more together than many realize. Anthony Guerra: The belief in the Unification church is that Jesus passed the mission on or commissioned Rev. Moon to seek after the insights of the Principle, and that he's doing it with the grace of God and commission of Jesus; he's accomplishing something with the approval of God and Jesus. Jesus could have accomplished possibly both what you see as happening at the parousia as well as that which He did accomplish 2,000 years ago. Everything could have been accomplished at that time, and the kingdom of heaven would have been established. Because we believe that Jesus and God are united in purpose to restore the whole cosmos to its original plan, so we believe that God and Jesus approve of what the Lord of the Second Advent will do, and if that's the case, I don't see that as displacing Jesus. It may displace your concept of Jesus!
Pete Sommer: That's Rev. Moon's word, though.
Anthony Guerra: No. It's based on a relationship with Jesus. You could ask Jesus! Asking the question presupposes that you have an open mind. If you already have an answer to that question, then you haven't asked the question. One of the key points about Scripture, as we see it, is that Jesus is admonishing us to take a humble attitude, and He's asking, "When I come back, will there be faith on earth?"
Irving Hexham: What do you say to the Mormons who say, "You must ask if Joseph Smith is the Prophet"? They say exactly the same thing -- you pray with an open mind to God, because you've got the three figures that appeared to Joseph, and said, "Here is my beloved son; hear him." Exactly the same as you've just said.
Anthony Guerra: O.K., the point is that, when I read the Mormon scriptures and, for instance, their view of God as being material, I couldn't go on.
Warren Lewis: That's because you're not prayerfully asking the question! (laughter) Irving Hexham: There's more unity between you and the Evangelicals than I thought, (laughter)
Lloyd Howell: The way I see it, God intended for all people to become sons and daughters, in the fullest perfection, in complete love. As far as we're concerned, Jesus achieved that relationship of oneness and a complete image of God, and nothing could destroy or shake Him in any way. It is the will of God that all men become that, so it is the will of Jesus that all men become that, and it is the will of the Lord of the Second Advent, too. It is the same will, so we are all serving God. Of course, Jesus wants the will of God to be done. He certainly doesn't want something else done. So, we see two similar people, or two perfected Adams. We don't see one pushing the other out of the way. It's not, "I'm top dog and you're not -- push Jesus down."
Virgil Cruz: One little bit of evangelical concern: when I pushed the question of the significance of Rev. Moon earlier today, I think if you had said to me that Rev. Moon is a spiritual leader, an extraordinary spiritual leader on the level of Martin Luther, on the level of John Calvin, I would say, I'll check this out. If you had even said -- and I would have had more problems with it, but I would have accepted it -- Rev. Moon is a central figure in the way that the prophets of the Old Testament are central figures, I would have more difficulty, but I would have said, well, you know, I'll look at it. But when you say he is the Lord of the Second Advent, and when you say he's the second Adam or third Adam then I can't go any farther.
Lloyd Howell: It's not something you say. If such a person exists, then you have to find him in another way; he's not going to have a label on his forehead: "Second Coming."
Warren Lewis: I have a second point. In terms of the dynamics of the conversation, we speak of the dialogical nature of what we're doing here. But in proceeding always and ever on that model of conversation, we're perpetuating the Protestant debacle: "Here I am, here I stand; I will not agree with you, God damn you, God help me!" We don't think towards one another. As a good Anabaptist, I want to see us work towards one another. I want to see us personally indwell one another. I want to see us get past this stage of ego-critical consciousness where everybody is sticking up for his side and see if anybody can learn from the other side, if anybody can love as they communicate.
Rod Sawatsky: What is interesting in this is that we're working with two models of truth: one in which truth is complete and now must be defended, and the other in which truth is unfolding, it is in process. I think the very nature of the two positions makes dialogue virtually impossible, because we're not dealing with equal partners. We're dealing with unequal partners because of certain assumptions.
Paul Eshleman: There's a level of personal life that we each have in our own individual relationships with God, and I would hope our individual desires are to know God in a closer way. This comes not just through theological interpretations of passages of Scripture or the Divine Principle, but in some of those areas of our personal prayer life and in devotion. Perhaps we could share ways in which we have gotten to know God in a more personal way as an encouragement to one another.
Jonathan Wells: That would be good for tonight?
Editorial note: The following conversation occurred in the second conference.
Rod Sawatsky: I'd like to have one or two of the Unification people here talk about their own experiences with the spirit world and also their relationship to Rev. Moon. And I want some Evangelicals to talk about their relationship to the spirit world and Jesus. Who wants to start us off?
Nora Spurgin: Maybe I'll say something. I'm not a particularly spiritually open or spiritually sensitive person. I don't see spirits or anything like this, but I do have an intuitive sense of being inspired. Prior to hearing the Divine Principle, I was a Charismatic and 1 had experiences of speaking in tongues and similar kinds of experiences. At the time, it was a very emotional experience for me. I couldn't deny what was happening and the fact that it brought me to an even closer experience with God. I felt a lot of spiritual aliveness which I had not felt before. Fortunately I was very carefully receptive in these experiences, so that I didn't have bad experiences, and they were all very good.
After I heard the Divine Principle for the first time, it gave me an intellectual understanding of what was happening. And I realized that it wasn't necessarily God or the Holy Spirit who was talking through me, but it actually could be any spirit in the spiritual world. By opening up myself, I was allowing my own body to be used, and, if I had the right motivation, the right thought, the right kind of connection with God, it could be a very high experience, it could be a good experience, but it could also be a bad experience. So that was my one validation of actually relating with the spiritual world in a tangible kind of way, and after I heard the Divine Principle, it gave me a lot of clarity about life after death and what heaven is like. So, to me, it's a fact of life.
It's nota big thing which rules my whole life, and I think many times when we start talking about the spirit world, people begin feeling that we're really caught up in spiritual things. We have certain basic rules. One is that what is bound on earth is bound in heaven and what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven. So earth is where things are happening. The second is that heaven may be helping to influence it, but the result is going to be here. Therefore, hat's happening here is important, and we must be in control of our own lives. Aside from deliberately giving our own will to God, we don't just allow ourselves to be led all over the place. So. for me, understanding the Divine Principle gave me a much clearer understanding of how to guide my own spiritual life by testing it with the truth. So I think the truth is a guideline to test the spirit.
Sharon Gallagher: I think that, at one point, when asked would you have another physical body, you said no, the spirits don't need that, because they could communicate through people who did have bodies. And I wondered to what extent you feel the need to mediate in some way for disembodied spirits.
Patricia Zulkosky: We would say that we have a physical body and a physical brain and a spiritual body and a spiritual mind. Our physical body and our physical brain are more on the instinctual level: intuition and rationality and imagination are attributes of the spirit mind. And our spirit body has the same processes that our physical body has. So, in spiritual literature, you often hear of terms like clairvoyance and clairaudience, of spiritual experiences going right along with physical experiences.
So, our view of how spirits can grow in the spiritual world is that they cooperate with people on earth. So many ideas go through our heads, and we think, "I'm the master of all of these ideas, or I thought them all up myself." Sometimes they're great ideas and sometimes they're like, "Kick the lady and run down the street." (laughter) And some you want to overcome and some you don't.
So we're saying, because we have a spirit and a spirit mind and spirit body, that there's spiritual communication that we're not concretely aware of because man fell. Without the fall, we'd be able to relate to the spirit world equally, maybe like tuning in a different channel on the television set, so it would be very clear what's going on. In this case, then, however many influences or suggestions the spirit world gives, you're the one who decides what you're going to act on and what you're not going to act on.
We note that many major medical discoveries or scientific inventions seem to occur simultaneously around the world. We can say that one possible explanation of that might be that the spirit would inspired a hundred thousand people with a cure for cancer, and, out of those hundred thousand people, maybe one thousand people say, "Oh, yeah, that's a good idea. Maybe I should do something with it." And, out of those, maybe one hundred people start to do some kind of elementary research, but then perhaps five or ten become very serious, and then they're the ones that make the breakthrough. So it's as though lots of people got the inspiration but just a few people followed through, and it's up to us to decide what kind of inspiration we want to follow.
The same analogy might be used in robbing a bank. Understanding these things, we can take dominion over our life in a much stronger way than people who don't realize that the spirit world influences us.
Frank Kaufmann: Pat explained the dynamics. I'd like to add perhaps the motivation behind the activities of the people in the spiritual world. According to the Divine Principle, we need our physical bodies in order to love. The designs of our heart are manifested by the way we live and the way we treat others; we can cause our spiritual man or being to grow ever higher and brighter in love as we continue to exhibit sacrificial love. Once you die physically you no longer have a physical body with which to love people, yet the motivation of spirits in the spiritual world is to continue to grow in love, though they're not capable of physically doing anything for someone, carrying somebody's luggage or bringing somebody a bunch of flowers. So, through working on the earth, by influencing circumstances and earthly people, they are seeking to grow their own spirits. This is the tremendous benefit of having our physical life. If you are inspired to find a cure for cancer while you have your physical body, you are in complete control of the situation and can work for the sake of mankind with all your heart and soul. But a spirit with the same deep desire can inspire someone, and then all he can do is hope. This, perhaps, might clarify what Pat was describing. It's much more difficult for spirits to bring an act of love to fruition because the spirit is dependent on the free will of the earthly person with whom he is trying to work.
Richard Quebedeaux: Are you saying that when you lose your body and become a spirit you're incomplete? This is one reason I think that the Christian doctrine of the bodily resurrection isn't incomplete. I wonder, how in the world can you think of an eternal spirit state where you are less capable of loving or doing things than you were in your physical body that you have had for forty, fifty, seventy years?
Frank Kaufmann: The level of our incompleteness is that we are not fully grown in God's love. If you're fully grown in God's love, you don't need to act toward developing maturity. Our purpose is to mature in God's love.
Nora Spurgin: Actually, the problem is the fall of man. If man had never fallen, then he would have, in his physical life, grown to completeness with God, and, therefore, at the point of death he would be moving into a new life. It's almost as though you're born prematurely without quite having all your respiratory system developed or something like that, so you end up a little bit handicapped. But you work with that handicap until you get yourself out of it.
Richard Quebedeaux: Also, eventually in the spirit world you continue to grow?
Nora Spurgin: Yes.
Richard Quebedeaux: And then, do you ever arrive ultimately at some -- I don't want to say Nirvana -- blessed state?
Nora Spurgin: We say that growth continues forever. It's never a plateau that one can never go beyond, because God is always a little further beyond, but at the same time you reach the point of perfect oneness with God. Some people may disagree with that, I'm not sure.
Jonathan Wells: Well, the model was Jesus. He was one with God, and that's the ideal, but His oneness with God didn't mean that He didn't change during His life or say different things in different situations.
Anthony Guerra: There is a certain point where you no longer want to or are capable of sinning, and that is what we call perfection. However, that does not mean that you will not deepen your way of life and experiences of love. These will continue to grow eternally, but, when we talk about a period of growth, we mean that one passes through that threshold after which one is no longer able to sin.
Franz Feige: In the spirit world, you can't multiply physiological bodies. You can't have children anymore. To fulfill the three blessings is to become perfect on the individual level and to become perfect on a family level -- meaning to become a true mother or a true father -- and then to become perfect on the level of completely uniting with the creation and nature. To have that experience on earth serves as a foundation to grow even higher in the spirit world.
Jack Harford: One thing we talk about in regard to this period of growth is being in indirect dominion and direct dominion. In the period of growth, we say there are three stages: formation, growth, and perfection. When you're going through these growth stages you're in a period of indirect dominion, indirect relationship with God, but, when you reach perfection, then you have direct relationship with God. So, when you have that direct relationship with God and make that oneness, like Christ's relationship to Him, then at that point your heart grows deeper.
Jonathan Wells: I'm going to tell a story, and it may sound strange, because many stories about spiritual experiences sound strange. And I want you to know that I'm generally skeptical about spiritual experiences. But on this one occasion, I was the Unification church director in Vermont in 1976, and one of our goals in 1976 was to turn the bicentennial into something centered on God. I found out that January 21st was Ethan Allan's birthday. He was a revolutionary war hero from Vermont, and I decided that Vermont was going to have the first God-Bless-America parade in 1976. So we arranged a parade with the National Guard and some local groups.
To prepare for it I decided to pray on a hillside where there was a monument to Ethan Allan. And my prayer was for guidance and the success of the venture, and, also, I was aware that I was making contact with the spiritual world. In other words, I believe that Ethan Allan exists in the spiritual world. So I prayed and, when the prayer ended, I had an impression of somebody in front of me, and it was a figure with a large cape and a big high-collar revolutionary war costume, three-cornered hat, and I could make out the major facial features. He looked somewhat like Napoleon, only this guy was big, and the face was rather dark, and sad. The vision lasted just an instant, and I put it out of my mind because I figured it was just my imagination.
Then I went back to town and got a book out of the library, the biography of Ethan Allan. When I turned to the first page, there was a picture of him. I had never seen a picture of Ethan Allan before, but he was the guy I had seen up on the hilltop. When I saw that picture, chills just went up and down my spine because I realized that I had had a spiritual experience up there. I found out that he was an atheist, and that explained why he looked so sad, because, in the spiritual world, an atheist has little relationship with God, the source of joy. Well, we had our parade. We had arranged to have all the traffic stop on the main street in Burlington, Vermont, for this parade, and just as we got everybody assembled at the north end of the street, the police said, "The guy that you arranged the parade with is out of town, and we have no authority to stop the traffic on the street. You're going to have to go down the sidewalk." A parade threading its way past the shoppers on the sidewalk! So I said, "That's ridiculous! We've got to use the street." There were some radio calls back and forth to the station, and, somehow, somebody, somewhere said, "Oh, go ahead and let them use the street." They stopped the traffic and we had our parade. A few nights later I was again praying and had another very fleeting vision of Ethan Allan, and this time he was smiling. Now, according to Unification theology, if he was instrumental in bringing about the success of that parade, and thereby contributing to God's providence, he was raising himself closer to God in the spiritual world. Now you can make what you want of the story. I'm telling you the way it was.
Anthony Guerra: As I understand our spirituality, we emphasize prayer very much, and that is directed towards God. Heavenly Father. We don't emphasize spiritual experiences, although they may happen as a by-product of one's coming closer to the Father. Before I joined the Unification church I was agnostic, and that meant I refused to kneel to someone I thought might exist or might not exist. At points I would have liked to pray, but felt it would somehow violate my integrity if I did so. When I heard the Divine Principle, coming from that pagan perspective, I was given the confidence that it was possible, even likely, that God existed, that He loved me, and that I should pray to Him and find out if. in fact. I could begin some communication.
After I heard the Divine Principle, I began praying on my own -- I lived for several months apart from the church while going to school. There was no doubt from my experiences in prayer that there was a living God who loved me and who loved everyone else. I felt tremendous gratitude. I went for a period of three or four months in which I felt tremendous gratitude towards the living God, who is not to be identified with the spirit world. He is the Creator of the spirit world, the physical world, of all beings physical and spiritual. I felt such tremendous gratitude because, in my own life, I was a person who had denied His existence, who had even talked other people out of religion, and yet He loved me. It was this kind of validating spiritual experience with God that allowed me to take the Divine Principle very seriously.
Also, as I began to study the words of Rev. Moon, I realized that Rev. Moon is always talking about Jesus Christ. He's always relating his mission to the work of Jesus and yet, in my own life, in my own understanding of Divine Principle, I rarely did that. In our church, seven years ago when I first joined, the members did not. But, somehow Rev. Moon was always relating his work and his mission to Jesus Christ. And so I thought that maybe I would have to deal with the question of where Jesus fit into this spirituality.
I had had this experience: Rev. Moon had written a rather lengthy statement, called "Forgive, Love and Unite," that was published in newspapers during the Watergate crisis. The essence of it was that the legal system should take care of the wrongs that Nixon may have committed, but that our hearts be ones of forgiveness, with love towards everyone, and, as Jesus said, including our enemies. At the time I was going through a difficult time spiritually; God was distant from me. I felt I was letting God down. This was in 1974;I was in New Orleans at the time, and I had to take the statement that Rev. Moon had written to the Picayune Times in New Orleans. I happened to read it before I took it up there. And I realized that those words of forgiveness in the statement were meant not only for Richard Nixon but also for me. They were meant for all of us. I felt the forgiveness of Jesus Christ very directly and the concurrence of Rev. Moon in that forgiveness. I felt no separation between the two, no contradictions. As a result, two years later I was baptized -- I was immersed fully -- and that was a genuine religious experience.
Later, during the Washington Monument campaign, I was talking to Christians and inviting them to come to hear Rev. Moon speak. Several of the people I was speaking to, who had close relationships with Jesus, felt confirmed when they prayed to Jesus, to go and hear Rev. Moon speak. So, in my own life, in my own spirituality, I have found that there is one living God, the Father, who is the Creator of us all, and that the Son, Jesus Christ, is united with the Father's will. They are the same in will, in purpose, and in love.
My spiritual experience has testified to that. So when a Christian comes and says, "How can I know if this is heretical or not?" I always ask him to pray to Jesus -- and many who have taken this advice have received confirmation that they should join.
Beatriz Gonzales: We're always asked by the Evangelicals what kind of spiritual experiences we've had with Rev. Moon, and I'd like to share one which I had last year, which I feel has resolved something for me. Actually it's not only something for me, but I think it's something for the Mexican-American people, or my ancestors, Indians, American Indians, and Spanish. So, as a result, a lot of resentment that is carried by the Mexican-American people can be dealt with.
I know that in 1975 and 1976 Rev. Moon made many conditions when he was fishing off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean and he made certain ceremonies or conditions that tried to take away the resentment the Indian people have toward the white people because of the way the white people treated them. I was very moved to realize how serious he was and how much he really felt responsibility to take away that resentment, because of the suffering of the Indian people.
But anyway, I, at that point, realized something very strong. I'd been in the movement about three years, and I realized that I had something inside me that I could not overcome. It was a certain kind of resentment, but I had buried it and didn't want to face it, even though I was working so much in this movement. I used to be very involved in the civil rights movement, the Chicano movement, and I'd completely left those to work in this movement.
But, last summer, after being in this church now for over four years, I had an experience where I was completely immobilized -- I was so sick that I couldn't work anymore. I had worked very, very hard in this movement. All of a sudden, I was completely immobilized and I couldn't work because of my physical condition, and no one could figure out what was wrong. The doctors couldn't figure out anything, nobody could figure it out, and I couldn't do anything.
Then, one night, I had a dream, and in that dream I was talking with Rev. Moon. He had walked up to me, and there was no one else in a huge building. It was like one of the buildings we have and use for publications. He walked up to me and asked me a question and I started to answer him and, in answering him, my tongue got twisted. I couldn't talk, and he asked me the question again, and I knew what I wanted to say and I tried to say it but I couldn't move my tongue. It just got twisted. So I just said, "Father, why can't I say what I want to say to you," and, in a very firm way, he pointed to me and said, "You must repent." And I was really struck, because I felt so judged and I didn't know why. So I started to cry. No, I didn't actually cry, I was shocked instead. And then he walked away from me and into another room, and, in the process, somehow the lights went out and I got very scared. So I started to walk towards where I had seen him go into the room. I was afraid, and I bumped into him. As I bumped into him, I started to cry, and I said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." He put his arm around me and said, "That's O.K., don't worry." And I said, "I know that I'm wrong. Why am I wrong? I'm really sorry," and I was really crying.
I woke up that morning, and the dream was so real to me that I cried the whole day. And I cried and I cried and I prayed and I asked Heavenly Father, "What's wrong with me? Why must I repent? What have I done wrong?" And I knew something was wrong, because all of a sudden I was sick for a couple of months. And I cried and cried all day long. I couldn't work. I was just crying and I kept going to the prayer room and praying to find out why I must repent.
So that next night I had another dream, and in the dream again Rev. Moon came. And it was interesting. I was sitting in the Manhattan Center waiting for a performance to start -- the Manhattan Center is a theater we own -- and all of a sudden I realized that Rev. Moon's guard was sitting beside me, and I thought, "Oh, no. Here's the guard. Father must be somewhere around here and I don't want him to see me," because of the dream I had had the night before. I thought, "I don't want him to see me." And he was seated right in front of me. And he turned around, and, in a very fatherly way, he said, "Why do you work so hard? It is forme?" And so I realized, "He's questioning, he's questioning my work, why I work, my attitude, my heart." And I knew I was working hard. So I was really stuck.
So, of course, I woke up. I cried all day. I couldn't work. I kept going to the prayer room, and I searched, and he has always said, "If I come to you in dreams, it's because God uses my physical body to speak to you." In my prayers that day I was asking God, "Why do you question my work? Why do you question what I'm doing? I've worked very hard, with a sincere heart." And so, of course, this went on. The next night I was afraid to go to sleep, because it was the third night, and I knew that I was going to get an answer, but I was really afraid at the same time.
So, the third night I had another dream, and in this dream Rev. Moon was calling all the members of our movement for a blessing. I saw him call all these people who are in the church, this movement, yet they were younger than me in physical and spiritual age and had less accomplishments than me, and yet they were all being called to be matched, to be blessed. I was not called. And so I watched everybody being called and everybody being matched and I watched the whole blessing, all the sisters dressed in white dresses, and everything, and here I was, not included.
So I was crying, and I told God, "Heavenly Father, why not me? I am old enough physically and spiritually. I have worked hard, why not me?" And just then one of the blessed mothers, who was blessed at the same time Mrs. Spurgin was blessed, told me, "But look at the attitude of this other sister." The other sister that she pointed out was younger than me spiritually and physically and had never worked so much, but I was struck, because this sister was also a Mexican-American sister, but her heart was very good. She didn't have the resentment, she hadn't gone through what I had gone through actually, her family was very much more Spanish and more light-skinned, she was more middle class, but site had a very, very pure heart, and so, I realized, I was struck by that.
I woke up. I spent about half of the day in the prayer room, really trying to understand. I knew that God questioned my attitude. It did not mean anything to God that I had worked so hard in this movement, it didn't mean anything to God that I would keep working in this movement. God was questioning my heart, the attitude with which I was working. God could not accept my work because my heart was not right. And why was my heart not right? It had something to do with my attitude. So I spent several days praying and trying to understand. I went on a condition on the 22nd of June, 1977, and I told God, "I want to understand what is wrong with my heart, and I want to change my heart." It was such a struggle because I told God, "I cannot change my heart. You must change my heart. And You must show me what I am doing wrong."
During this time I was always reading Rev. Moon's speeches, and I kept praying that I would find some way that God would talk to me. I found a speech by Rev. Moon called "Human Relationships" where he talked about how the greatest thing about Jesus, and the reason that even God was humble before Jesus, was that Jesus could not only forgive the people when He was crucified, but that He took complete responsibility for their sins, for their failure, for crucifying Him. This struck me very much and stuck to me throughout this time.
Eventually I came to the seminary and, on October 22nd, 1977, when I was praying in the chapel, God answered me. Here I'd been struggling for all these months, for four months, struggling with the same question why it was that God could not accept my work. It was exactly four months after I had started my condition, and four is a very significant number for us. But, that night, in that prayer, God spoke to me very directly and told me, "I cannot accept your work because you have so much resentment against the white people. You have so much resentment against your brothers and sisters, against the white people, and, until you can overcome that resentment, I cannot receive your work." And I was struck, and immediately I remembered the white people that had put me through hell while I was a farm worker and was going to segregated schools. In the fields the bosses had spit at us and had mistreated my parents. I just cried and cried.
But I felt it was not just me that was crying; I felt that the Mexican people, Indian people, they were crying through me, and I cried and cried and cried. And, as I was crying, God told me again, I felt very clearly, "The reason that you can be here in the Unification church, the reason that you are here to serve Me now, is that your heart has been deepened by the struggles that you have gone through under these people." In other words, because I had had to suffer so much under the oppression of white people, I could deepen my heart so that I could come into this movement.
So I realized then that the people who were responsible for deepening my heart, so that I could come to know the suffering heart of God and so that I could come to be in this movement, were the white people. And I made it a point to remember clearly in my heart, in my mind, the people that I felt the most resentment towards, the white people when I was growing up. I remembered each one, and I tried to remember all the children that they had. (I used to babysit sometimes for some of their children.) I remembered many of their children, everyone of them. Then I prayed for their children and I told God, "On the foundation of the work that I am doing right now, You must bless their children, because of what their parents put me through I am in this movement, and therefore these children must be blessed on the foundation of my merit in this movement." And, at that point, I completely changed.
I was totally liberated, and I could sincerely feel gratitude towards the people that I had had so much resentment for in my heart, for so long. And so, my life was completely changed, and completely liberated, and I felt I liberated some of my ancestors who had felt some resentment. But I also liberated the heart of God because even though we may suffer as people, God suffers the most, as our parent, at seeing how cruel we are to each other, how we cannot forgive each other. One of the greatest struggles of God, on the world-wide scale, is the resentment of people and of nations. It was a deep experience for me.
Rod Sawatsky: Do the Evangelical people want to speak about their own realization of the spirit world and the Holy Spirit?
Roy Carlisle: I have a sense that there's a lot that Evangelicals and Charismatics are just beginning to understand about the spirit world and about how the Holy Spirit does work. I have my own spiritual experience. It's been very dramatic, but I hesitate to generalize from that experience. I see things from your experiences that I resonate with and some other things that I feel have some very serious biblical problems. Four years ago I was in seminary and I was going through a rather serious career decision in my life. I was making a contract with God that, unless I could see the power of the Holy Spirit, I was going to leave the faith. It was a very serious decision and one that I felt totally obligated to make and to keep. So I began my own personal search, and in the process of that search I came into contact with the only kind of people that you can come into contact with in southern California (laughter)...
Jonathan Wells: Well, I've had experience in that! (laughter)
Roy Carlisle: I guess the only word that I really think describes it is "bizarre." That's the only word. So I started to go to all kinds of different meetings and see different kinds of spiritual things happening. What they did was drive me back to the Bible. A passage in I John 4:1-3 was very critical for me at that time, "Beloved, do not believe in every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God." It goes on and talks about more. I was going to alleged Christian meetings of all different kinds, and I saw things happen and experienced things that made me realize that there is a large spirit world. This was something that I, as an Evangelical, had never really dealt with. At that time, I began to see that, to work yourself through the maze, you've got to have some test, and the Scripture gives us this test.
So I began to apply it very concretely. I would be in a meeting, home meetings where people would be. I don't want to make it sound too bizarre, but there would be certain kinds of prophecies and tongues and, after those things had happened, I would go up to them and say, "Do you confess, as a person and as a spirit person, that Jesus Christ came in the flesh?" And I got lots of answers, and not all of them affirmative. And many of them said, "I'm charismatic and I'm a Christian." And I would say, "But do you confess that Jesus came..." And they would say, "Welllll..." I found such multiplicity in the answers that I was really confused, and I finally just had to resort to a search on my own, listening to other people and getting the guidance that I could get. In that process, I got involved in probably one of the most dangerous and scary areas of the spirit world, and that was exorcism. That experience liberated me in terms of understanding the spirit world and in understanding my own spirituality. We definitely have to have a conference about the Unification understanding of the spirit world and the evangelical-charismatic understanding of the spirit world, because there are some serious differences.
But my confession now is that my life was radically changed by my moving into that dimension. Tongues and interpretation and all those things are a part of my experience, but I don't emphasize those. The central thing was that God revealed to me that there is power and that the Holy Spirit is a spirit of power and a spirit of freedom and a spirit that only exalts Jesus Christ. My career changed, I got married -- everything good that could happen happened right at that time, and I felt confirmed in a lot of other ways. So personally I've had some bizarre experiences and I've had some very good experiences and, quite frankly, I'm working it out. I think it is significant that today, if I understand the biblical view of history, there is such an outpouring of spiritual life and beings, good and evil, that we dare not misunderstand and we dare not ignore it. We, as Evangelicals, have tended to ignore it, and Unificationists obviously have not ignored it. There are some things we can learn there, but I think there are some things that we have to wrestle with, too.
Jonathan Wells: Would it be getting into too much if we were to talk a little bit specifically about people's experiences with Rev. Moon and/or Jesus?
Rod Sawatsky: No. I'd be very happy to have some people speak to that. Also some stories about Rev. Moon. We know Jesus primarily from stories, too, don't we? We know stories of His life, and those are very important for Christian people. What about stories of Rev. Moon's life and relationships with him?
Jonathan Wells: I can start. This isn't my personal story, but this story of Rev. Moon's life plays a very large role in our acquaintance with him. And that's the story of his life in prison, which we have partly from his own comments and partly from descriptions by people who were in prison with him or connected with him at the time. He was actually in prison more than once, but the time I'm speaking of was his time in a communist labor camp in North Korea. He was put in prison for subverting the social order, namely, preaching about God in communist North Korea, preaching Divine Principle. He was sentenced to five years at the Hung Nam labor camp (I hope I get all these details straight, but the spirit will be accurate anyway), and the average life span of the prisoners there was about six months, because they were grossly overworked and grossly underfed. So, in effect, it was a sentence of death to be sent to that camp. Rev. Moon decided that he wasn't going to worry about his own survival, and he prayed to comfort God's heart at this time. That was the primary emphasis of his prayer; he prayed, "Heavenly Father, don't worry about me. I know You're aware of my situation, but You've got enough troubles because You've got the weight of the whole world on You, so don't worry about me." And he was praying for the rest of the world in effect.
When he saw that his food ration was inadequate, he decided that he would begin by cutting it in half. Actually, a fist-sized ball of rice constituted a meal, and, though others were starving with that, he decided he could survive on half of it. And so, at each meal, for the first three months, I believe, he cut his portion in half and gave that to various other prisoners. The situation was so desperate that people were dying. In the middle of meals they would die of exhaustion and starvation, and other prisoners would run over and take the rice out of the dead men's mouths. It was that desperate. And yet Rev. Moon was giving away half his food. So, after the three months, when he started eating the whole portion he could tell himself, "Well, now I'm getting twice as much as I really need."
And he took the attitude that, because people were suffering from over-work, he would do the toughest job. The job they were doing was loading fertilizer, and, on the work crew, he always took the toughest job, and so the prisoners always wanted to be on his crew. In fact, he won an award from the communists for being the best laborer in the camp. And the prisoners, as I understand it, never saw him sleep, because, when the other prisoners collapsed exhausted on their beds at night, he would be kneeling in prayer. And, when they woke up in the morning, he would be kneeling in prayer because he would get up before them. And his message to us that I hear over and over is, "If you want to be a leader, you have to eat less and sleep less and work harder than anybody else." And just as an aside, my personal experience with him verifies his own faithfulness to that principle.
While he was in prison, his friends would bring him things-clothing and extra food -- and he always shared them with the other prisoners. Even though he couldn't teach anything in the camp, because if he said a word about God or the Bible or Divine Principle he would be executed, yet people were drawn to him, and he actually gathered a following in the camp. Finally, the time came when the allies were counter-attacking and the camp was being shelled or bombed, and the prisoners that were following him clung to him because they knew somehow that he wasn't going to be destroyed. And, in fact, he wasn't, so, after two years and ten months, he was freed from the camp by the allies. That's two years and four months longer than most people survived.
Anthony Guerra: I have a personal story which is shared by many of us concerning Rev. Moon's quite frequent visits to the seminary. In the two years that I was here, we got to know him very personally. I recall that, the year before last, he came quite a few times and spoke to us, and one time when he was speaking to us he said, "You know, really, I'd like to be doing things with you.
I'd like to go hunting with you, fishing... I know you are in classes all the time, but it would be nice to do something together, wouldn't it?"
So the following week, it was a Friday, he came up here, and some of us went outside to greet him. The first thing he did was to take large balls of nets and start laying them out right in front of the building, 3,000 yards of them. He began unrolling them with a few people helping him, and then he began running ropes along the top of one of the nets and also down along the bottom, and then he began fastening corks to the top rope. He was making the fishing nets that we used throughout the spring. As it was growing darker outside, he moved all these fishing nets, ropes, corks, and weights into the large hall downstairs. He was making the nets, a few people were helping him, and a lot of us were just standing around because we didn't know precisely what to do. We stayed up through the night, and Rev. Moon began teaching us how to make certain things. He taught us individually how to tie knots onto the corks and how to tie the weights onto the bottom of the net. Many of us went to sleep. We weren't sure if we were supposed to be there, but Rev. Moon stayed up the entire night making those nets. He arrived here at five o'clock, stayed up through the night until eight o'clock the next morning, and then he went to sleep for a few hours.
At eleven in the morning he came back and invited all of us to come out again, once more teaching us how to make the nets. We were astonished at his determination. But he wanted to finish the job quickly because, that Sunday, he wanted to go out fishing with us. He spent two days virtually without sleep making those nets so that he could go fishing with us, and, at the same time, he wanted to teach us how to make nets and how to fish, so that we would be able to survive under any circumstances and also gain some practical knowledge. Several times that spring Rev. Moon went fishing with us.
Many people who I talk to about Rev. Moon imagine him to be very distant from us, but our relationship to him is quite the opposite. We feel very close to him, and we feel him to be not only our spiritual leader, but also a very close friend who has sacrificed much of his personal time to share with us and talk with us and teach us how to make fishing nets. This is the Rev. Moon that we know. And I've been to dinner with him on several occasions when he was staying in Massachusetts. I was the director for a time in Massachusetts, and, as you mentioned, he was tuna fishing for a period of some forty days. He would go out early at three o'clock in the morning, before any other fishermen would go out, and come back at about eight o'clock at night, which is about three or four hours later than other fishermen. Incidentally, this is on the yacht that everyone talks about, that you've heard about in the newspapers. He uses it as a fishing vessel and not as a pleasure cruiser. He often brings out people, leaders of the movement, and teaches them how to fish for tuna with him.
I've also been to his mansion in Tarrytown because that mansion is used every month for state directors' conferences. He has seventy to one hundred people there at those conferences that last sometimes two or three days every month. We never slept there -- the house is too small and all the bedrooms were usually occupied with guests who would come from Korea and other countries to consult on church matters. So knowing Rev. Moon and his life style and the purposefulness with which he carries out his mission as he sees it, I've always received inspiration that I'm following someone who lives his own ideals, someone who sincerely believes them. Apart from the question of whether what he believes is right, Rev. Moon believes in what he's doing with all his heart, all his mind, and all his strength, and he puts himself on the line to do it again and again.
Dan Davies: My first encounter with Rev. Moon was very important. I had just come back from Israel. I had met the movement in New York and had gone to a three-day workshop. I was profoundly affected by what I heard. Then, a few days later, I met Rev. Moon. One thing that had been a problem for me was that I'd never found anybody that I could share the depths of the joy in my heart with. There was a joy that I could only share with God. When I met Rev. Moon for the first time, at Belvedere, down the river about seventy miles from the Unification Seminary, he was sitting on the grass with fifty or sixty other people. I was feeling a depth of joy at that time that I couldn't really share with anyone. I mean that in a slight way I could, but to a deeper degree I couldn't. I caught his eye, and he caught mine. He smiled, not just smiled, but lit up with a kind of joy that hit me full force. My first experience with him was an experience of joy; that's the main reason, besides the truth that I find here, that I'm able to stay; that is, I find in him a source of joy.
When the seminary went to England this summer it was a traumatic experience in a way. You're on an airplane and you go over there, and you don't know what you're going to find. You don't know what you're going to meet. Rev. Moon was waiting to meet us, but our plane was late. At midnight we all came into his room. He said, "What happened? Why are you late? I was waiting for you to come." It seemed that he was sorrowful. He had missed us so much that it hurt him when we didn't arrive.
After that I came to realize that, in a way, he is a weak man, because of his love for us. He really misses us, as a parent misses his children. He spoke with us that night for about four hours, late into the night, until four o'clock in the morning. I doubt very much if he had any sleep before. I know, from being with him, that he will often speak through the night, then get a couple of hours of sleep, and then go all day.
Besides finding the truth here, I also find a sense of love and joy that comes from him. But it's not just a joyful experience that I'm looking for from him. I don't really find just a joyful experience from him, because he really does care about me. He takes the responsibility to train me. He wants me to become so strong that there is no evil that can conquer me. So he'll put me in difficult situations that I have to work my way out of.
Rev. Moon wanted to send us right out into the streets of England to find a family to live with and establish a home church. Most of us didn't have any money. It was cold. We didn't know it would be cold when we came, so we didn't have any warm clothes. He wanted to send us out because he knew that would be the best training for us to go out without money, without warm clothes, but he didn't want people to misunderstand him. They would say, "Oh, Rev. Moon is an evil man; he sends these people out into the streets, without any money." So instead of doing that, which he would rather have done and I really rather he would've done, he gave us money to go out with to find a family to live with and carry out a witnessing program. I imagine many of the people here could share experiences that have been very important to them, like the first fishing experience we had with him.
Rev. Moon doesn't know everything right off the bat; it takes him a while to figure things out, but he learns. This was the first time we were fishing with a big net. We did a voluntary thing. He asked people if they wanted to go fishing in the cold water. "Are you sure you want to do this -- go out into the cold water?" and we said, "Oh, yeah, we really want to do it." So we all went traipsing down there, and everybody was all excited. It was just great. We took the net across the lagoon. But we had to walk across, everybody one at a time, or two at a time would step into the water. Dagfinn and I were two of the first guys in (laughter) so we took the net across the water, and it took a long time to lay it out. As it ended up, we were in the water a total of three hours. No one died, but it was close. It was an experience that none of us will ever forget. I don't think we caught any fish (laughter) but we caught lots of fish after that, and we did work out a better system after that. We didn't use people to hold the net later, we used poles (Jonathan:.. .and the water got warmer) and our technique got better.
Rod Sawatsky: Do you want to let somebody from the Evangelical side talk first -- did you want to add something?
Patricia Zulkosky: I just wanted to say that not everyone's experience with Rev. Moon is so joyful. I often become angry or negative, at least for a couple of hours. I've thought a lot about it -- what in the world are you doing in a movement when almost every time you see the leader you get a little negative?
I remember very clearly one time I had been out pioneering, and I had a very difficult time. I didn't really feel I was making a good contribution to society because I was too caught up in my own fear and my own self. I couldn't really serve, and I really was trying to repent and trying to change, and I knew I wasn't really doing what God wanted. I was going to do a seven-day fast, as some effort towards having a repentance experience, and then I went to hear Rev. Moon speak that weekend. He knew that we were stuck by our own fear and weren't connected enough to God, so he was trying to push us more and exaggerating about what we should be willing to do in order to serve God. I didn't pick up on the spirit of sacrifice but reacted to the literal statements. And I remember walking off the estate and shaking my head violently, no, and walking with my friend, and I said, "No, no, no, I am not. I refuse. I am not going to eat out of garbage cans, I'm not going to sleep on the park bench, I'm not going to do my seven-day fast, either, so there." (laughter) I had this kind of feeling, and it took me a while to come back around to the place where I did do my seven-day fast. God did give me the gift of repentance that I wanted so much, and that was literally my rebirth. And I thought a lot about why I often react so strongly to Rev. Moon, and it may even surprise you to hear someone speak so candidly. I think a lot of it is that he wants us to confront our fallen nature, and he is always holding up the highest standard. So many times when I hear him speak, it comes down to: will I continue going the way I am going or do I change to a higher standard of love, a higher standard of serving, a deeper relationship with God? Will I put myself on the limb, or will I play it safe the way I always play it safe? Somehow he says something or does something that really helps me understand where I fall short of how Jesus would do it, of how God would have me do it. And then I have to work out, in my heart, in my prayer, and in my studying, a willingness to offer myself to God anew, and a willingness to put myself on what appears to be a limb that won't hold me, even though it is a great struggle for me to get to the point of making that offering. The greatness of God and His love for me and His love for people comes through again and again in a sense.
Jonathan Wells: We call that challenging our limitations.
Charles Barfoot: I just was thinking about stories about Rev. Moon and it flashed. Roy was talking about setting up a Pentecostal/ Charismatic Conference and Richard has been thinking about that -- I would like to see more leaders here -- Richard or whoever will do it -- seriously consider inviting Dr. Cho. He has the world's largest Pentecostal church in Korea -- he knew Rev. Moon -- I think that would be an interesting dialogue. Dr. Cho comes to the States, he holds services in my father's church, which is always packed -- the church seats about two thousand, and is jammed. I think that would be a very interesting kind of dialogue, especially if your movement is strong in Korea as well.
The other thing that I just wanted to reflect on is that I was struck today in the chapel. There was that last song or hymn, and it flashed in my mind that in my father's church, one time, we had a Latin-American Bible School there. They came to the church and sang, and they tried to do these things in English, and it wasn't full of life, and then they did Spanish, and were vibrant. I sensed some vibrancy in that last song or hymn or whatever. Then I walked downstairs and I saw somebody who had a real spark of life, so I guess I would say to you: I've seen some sparks, but I've also seen the weight of the world. Don't be afraid to have that vibrancy.
Joseph Hopkins: I don't want to be a wet blanket, but I've been studying religious movements in America over a number of years and, as I said before, I see the Unification church as one movement among many which have common characteristics. You have a charismatic leader with the self-image of being God's latter-day prophet, who imparts a new revelation, who attracts followers and constitutes the "one true church" for these latter days, whose teachings deviate from traditional doctrines held for two thousand years by the mainstream of Christianity.
So I can't help being skeptical. I hear the same sort of anecdotes related here about Rev. Moon which I have read about in the annals of Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, and other charismatic personalities who are held in awe by their faithful disciples. In view of what Roy said, in quoting I John, we have all these warnings in the New Testament about false prophets who would arise in the latter days and deceive many people.
Frankly. I can't help but regard Moon in this way -- as not unique but just one of a number of latter-day prophets. Maybe very sincere, but self-deceived into believing that he has a messianic role to fulfill. A man with a strong personality and vivid imagination, with spiritual sensitivity and dedication, who comes up with these far-out doctrines about re-interpreting the fall, about his being Lord of the Second Advent, and so on. When Jesus said to Peter. "Get thee behind me, Satan," He didn't mean that Peter was malicious or evil in his motivation. He merely meant that Peter was trying to dissuade Him from the cross, from fulfilling His destiny as our Redeemer. I can't help but wonder if Rev. Moon, who comes across to you folks who know him as a very sincere, gentle, humble man who has a burning concern for uniting the world in love and peace and brotherhood, is being unconsciously used by Satan. Through his high intelligence and spiritual openness, he may have exposed himself to the manipulation of Satan in believing these things about himself, in believing the so-called revelations that are recorded in the Divine Principle.
Dan Davies: I'd like to point out that everything that Joseph just said can be applied to Jesus, too. Why do you believe in Jesus? He was called all those things.
Joseph Hopkins: But Jesus fulfilled prophecy. The Old and New Testaments stand together, from Genesis 3:15 until the fulfillment of the last of the messianic prophecies in Jesus. The biblical scheme of redemption is complete, and we are warned against adding to this faith "once and for all delivered" -- in Jude 3, for example.
Anthony Guerra: There are a lot of rabbis who would disagree with you about how it hangs together.
Nora Spurgin: I was going to say the same thing that Anthony said, it's only in hindsight that they hang together, and two thousand years from now hindsight may...
Joseph Hopkins: But there's the resurrection...
Nora Spurgin: Yes, there's the resurrection...
Joseph Hopkins: But what do you define as the point of resurrection?
Frank Kaufmann: Well, one or two minor points -- first, to say that we reinterpret the fall is to assume that traditional Christianity has a unified interpretation of the fall. Of course, it hasn't! Next, a test -- I'm not so familiar with all the tests, but from those presented this morning, for false prophets, or for testing the spirits, one is to see whether or not it confesses that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, which the Divine Principle indisputably does. Finally, it is not Unification doctrine that Rev. Moon calls himself the messiah, but we do have a theology which interprets the nature of the second coming of the Christ, which is not contradictory to Scripture. Although it might be new to what traditional Christianity has decided upon, we found this weekend, in fact, that Christians do not agree on the doctrine of the second coming at all.
Anthony Guerra: But I have a much bigger problem with what you said, Joe, even if I were nota Unificationist. It's the way you write off the Mormons and Christian Scientists and people like Mary Baker Eddy. You fail to appreciate the way in which the Holy Spirit may in fact be manifesting itself in human history after the Scripture was canonized. In the Old Testament, you have the Scriptures recording God at work in human history, and then you have the New Testament, which reports perhaps a hundred years of the history of how the Holy Spirit was working. But, as to how the Holy Spirit is going to work after that time, i.e. during the last 1900 years, it's there where you seem to have made all the conclusions, whereas I would be forced to say that one has to be open to how that's done.
Thomas Bower: Could I raise a procedural question? I am just expressing my personal view. It seems to me that we're getting back into dialogue, and we can read this. I'm going to feel awfully cheated if in an hour we can't have had a bit more exposure to testimonials. We can just go back and forth here all day.
Jonathan Wells: I feel a lack of testimonials from the evangelical side...
Evangelical Y: It's not directly testimonial. It's why I am somewhat reticent to enter into that. Not that I am reticent to give testimony to Jesus Christ -- it comes from another perspective.
My officemate at the University of Hawaii taught Philosophy of Science, and he'd done a study of why people take particular perspectives in the philosophy of science. In the process of dialoguing with him for long periods of time, I found a very useful way for understanding Christian faith -- to be talking about the importance of paradigms, and also paradigm shifts. This particular dissertation happened to be on how individual scientists shift from one paradigm to another. And it finally concluded that, fundamentally, it came down to a conversion experience, and that is usually what happens before a scientific revolution takes place. You have to wait a generation for one whole generation of scientists just to die. Very few of them make this paradigm shift -- it has to wait for the younger generation coming up. It was somewhat amusing, because our Campus Crusade people will not be able to appreciate this comment, but a Campus Crusader gave him the book by Joshua Dell -- the man's very interesting, but all that Josh took as evidence, he would not interpret as evidence, because it's your paradigm which determines the evidence pro or con. That's why the futility of the interaction here on how to interpret the Old Testament, because, what you would take as evidence of Jesus' understanding of the Old Testament, I don't read as evidence at all, and the stories about Rev. Moon leading you to see Him as having some importance, I don't view as evidence at all. It has significance on a personal level in the sense that, as a human being, you're experiencing Him (and values have importance), but, in terms of entering into understanding of the concepts, we're passing each other. The thing that struck me in terms of dialogue this weekend is in some ways the futility of dialogue, because what is really fundamental is a paradigm, the way you look at evidence, and, since we're not totally prepared to shift paradigms, it becomes an illuminating experience to understand another person's point of view. But you can never really hit head on because the paradigm is different.
Anthony Guerra: First of all, let me clarify, there is a Jewish interpretation in Scriptures, which is quite different from...
Evangelical Y: But there's a paradigm yet...
Anthony Guerra: I was addressing myself to a certain attitude. I think we have to be careful not to violate the spirit of the New Testament and merely abide by the letter.
Evangelical Y: Now what seems to be the spirit of the New Testament in your understanding is a new paradigm. I find an element of real rigor and intolerance in the New Testament -- Jesus said, "I am the way." He didn't equivocate on that. "If anybody comes after me and says, T am the way,' then he preaches another gospel, let him be damned." Now that is also part of the New Testament, and to say that it isn't there is to say...
Jonathan Wells: The New Testament also includes passages such as: "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth...;" and "He who conquers,... I will write on Him.. .my own new name;" and "She brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron..." It seems to me that the fundamental issue here is whether a paradigm shift is possible in religion?
Evangelical Y: Once in a while, but not very often... more often it is a radical shift.. .it's a conversion experience. There is very little likelihood that I would become a member of the Unification church over a period of time. It is psychologically possible to have a paradigm shift, but, in that case, it is likely to take place in a rather short period of time...
Jonathan Wells: It is quite possible, and, conceding a point here, I would like to say with Joe that all of us are, I think, enjoined by the Scriptures to be skeptical, and I am. And I'm glad you are. But there is a difference between being skeptical and saying a priori they're all no good. I think that's the key issue here, isn't it? Are we open to a paradigm shift either way, from Unification back to the New Testament, or from New Testament to Unification, or Mormon? I mean, are we dedicated to the proposition that it's possible, even if unlikely?
Rod Sawatsky: I find it a little amazing that Joe would say, "I don't know if we should be listening to each other's testimonies." I find that very strange from an evangelical perspective, because surely the whole process of witness is the process of telling what I have found to be true, and it requires the other person to make some paradigm shift. Correct? But, what else can you do? That's all we can do. And, what is meaningful and true for us is something that we need to tell others.
Evangelical Y: The thing that frustrates me, if I understand what I'm hearing from the Unification position, is that no matter what I say about Jesus Christ, it will be understood differently from what I intend it (Dan: Why?) because you believe in the Lord of the Second Advent. This gives a radically different perspective on the Lord who came first, because, to me, one of the essential elements of Christian faith is the finality of Jesus Christ, whereas you do not believe in the finality of Jesus Christ.
Anthony Guerra: It sounds as though you're afraid that we won't be able to receive what you have to offer...
Evangelical Y: It's not that you won't receive it -- it will mean something very different. The translation problem is almost insurmountable here. The only way we start to understand each other's paradigms, even to be able to consider them as possibly viable for ourselves, is to hear them from a systematic theological perspective. You see, I can read your books, but I can't get nuances of the experiences without sitting in the room with you. And that's where then we can begin to compare.
Rod Sawatsky: I think it would be good if maybe another person from the evangelical group spoke a little bit about his own experience.
Thomas Bower: Let me do so, because mine is terribly undramatic. (laughter) It's a very short statement. I don't know how to say it. I haven't rehearsed this. I find my classical evangelical perspective to be adequate for my life. Period. And I presume there is no possibility of a paradigm shift for me unless a cataclysmic event occurs in my life, or in the life of the world, which is also my life, which would cause me to re-evaluate the adequacy of my own paradigm. Now, my paradigm, evangelical paradigm, speaks to me. It has always spoken to my experience. Why didn't it speak to you in your experience? Is it because of an inherent limitation of that paradigm, to continue using that word, or is it a caricature of it, to which you are exposed in your upbringing, or what? In other words, why hasn't the evangelical paradigm worked for you? I want to make one other comment, purely a sociological, psychological common sense comment. I think that one of the things I've appreciated is being in an environment which isn't blue with profanity. It's been very, very refreshing to be among young people who know something about hosting, and it has not been canned, I don't think, or intricately rehearsed. It seems to me to be a natural outflow of who you are and where you are. On the other hand I want to say -- and I don't want to discuss this, because it would take some thought -- that I miss, and for what reason I don't know, I miss sensuality in the environment. Maybe that's part of the brick and mortar of this particular piece of real estate, I don't know. There seems to be a dimension in my life that I haven't found here. I'm calling it sensuality, maybe it's color, a certain kind of spark in females' eyes -- I don't know, I'm not sure -- but something I miss, and maybe it's a reflection of the society here... (laughter)
Charles Barfoot: That's what I call vibrancy. I feel the same way. I saw evidence of that this morning, and it is refreshing... (talking at once; laughter)
Franz Feige: In the 2,000-year history of Christianity, I can see a certain shift taking place concerning the center of spiritual growth. In Catholicism, spiritual growth or spirituality was centered on symbols and images. In the Greek Orthodox Church an example would be the icons. With Luther, we see a shift taking place, where the center becomes the word. The people were able to read. The Bible became very important. It became a guide for their spiritual growth in their relationship with God, Jesus, and one another. Then, even in Protestantism, we observe another shift. Jesus Himself becomes the center, meaning your personal relationship with Jesus. Therefore, we are going beyond the word in the Bible -- the word becomes a limitation. Wesley is an example -- his relationships with Jesus, God and Holy Spirit. I want to ask you whether you are open enough to go beyond the Bible through your relationship with Jesus Christ. Can you let God speak to your heart, in your relationship with this world, and with the Bible? Can you be open to a new revelation, new insights -- something that goes beyond the Bible? I believe that many people in the Unification church see the Scripture, whether Divine Principle or the Bible, as an expression of truth, but not the truth itself. The truth itself is Jesus Christ or the true man. Our relationship with Jesus is the real standard of truth; it determines our relationships in life.
Mark Branson: 1 just warn to deal with this testimonially, rather than theologically. I came out of a very literal church, which had very little to say about the person of Jesus but a lot to do with ethics. It made sense and attracted me. It was during my high school that someone for the first time talked to me about Jesus as a person rather than as the head of the church, so that was something of a breakthrough for me. I started understanding and praying and building a relationship, and I had some spiritual experiences in prayer, but this has not been the major part of my life. I eventually came to the point of studying His word, and, as you can tell, it was concentrated in the Gospels, although I'm not at all limited to it. I don't have any higher respect for the Gospels than for the writings of Paul. But, what has happened is that I've seen more and more as I've gotten into the word -- I've seen the vibrancy of it, I've seen the power of it, I've seen the consistency of it, and it doesn't mean I like it all -- there are really some things that Jesus does and says that I don't like, and I've had to wrestle with them, and yet there are some things that ring so true as to be authentic and consistent.
Again I come down to this, as Charlie mentioned earlier: the resurrection is a very powerful attestation to the validity of what Christ has done. The authority and power of the Bible as it witnesses to Jesus Christ is what's made the difference in my own life. I've simply found that His word is trustworthy -- when I hear this word and obey it, I am met by Him -- and that anything which contradicts or goes beyond and changes that consistency witnesses to my spirit that it is false. If the Scriptures were not pointing to Jesus, I would have different questions, but I am simply finding that, as I get into the word, then my relationship with Him is fed and my own life becomes more the life that I think God has intended me to have.
Richard Quebedeaux: Could I ask a question of some Unificationists? Last time we didn't agree on anything, and yet most of us came back, and all of the people who didn't come back wanted to if they could. That's the first time in my life that I've ever seen that happen. Barrytown is nice, but it is not Hawaii, and a lot of people here are very, very busy, and made a sacrifice to come. Again, this time, we've been very direct with very little common agreement resulting. We Evangelicals keep saying over and over, and I think Donald Deffner preached it5 in a way, that we're very determined about what we're saying. You're talking about paradigms. Someone said that I don't think you understand the nature of dialogue and taking the risk of conversion, and what that means in a dialogue; that's why nobody wants to dialogue, because they're afraid that they're going to be "converted" and have to change their minds.
Have we done anything specifically for you Unificationists to draw you in our direction? I think I have been drawn in your direction, though I don't think I know how to explain it because I have not been drawn in your direction doctrinally. What can you say to us about this?
Dan Davies: Maybe I can talk to you directly about that, because, after the first conference, I had already decided to go to Toronto, to the Institute of Christian Thought. But, after the conference, I decided to accept Perkins in Dallas. I had had no hope of having any kind of relationship with Evangelicals, but, because of our last conference, I gained the hope that we could. Not just a relationship for relationship's sake, but actually I can see that the Evangelicals are the hope for America. Frankly, it's the only place where Bible morality still exists in America, outside the Unification church and some other groups. I feel the Evangelicals have a great deal to offer, in living out the Christian way of life. This is what you have to offer to us.
Jack Harford: Most of my experience with Evangelicals has been when I was fundraising (laughter) -- they didn't give a dime -- (liberals are much better). We refer to them as parking lot Christians, and they're the kind you always meet in the parking lot. Although my brother is an evangelical Christian, and my parents are turning more evangelical, I had become resentful towards all Christianity, towards Christ, towards God -- completely turned away. It's only been through Unification church that I've been able to start to repair that relationship. I just want to say that I really feel that a new relationship to Christ is developing in my life because of this weekend, in seeing how much you love Jesus. It's really helped me to grow in my relationship to Jesus and to realize that there is a love relationship to Jesus that Christians have that makes Christianity different from everything else; so I just want to thank you.
Don Deffner: I'd like to respond to that, too, in spite of the negative thing that I said about being frustrated... In a sense what I say is very much what Mark says. Jesus, to me, is the revelation of the Father, and in Jesus I see the one point in time and space where, in an ultimate way, the barrier between God and man has been crossed. When I see Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the Christ, I come to an appreciation of the austere God of the Old Testament, of both God's love and God's wrath -- it would be easy to miss the love in the Old Testament -- it has been historical -- and many people have missed that fact. When I see Jesus of Nazareth, I see the austerity of God of the Old Testament, and I also see the love of God. Austerity is easier to see in the Old Testament, but the point is the same: He communicates to me who God is, and that then becomes the pattern of what human life should be. Life should be a reflection of Jesus of Nazareth, and, as many others have said, I have a sense that this is a pattern of life that makes sense to me; my relationship to Jesus Christ flows out of that.
Also, by its very nature, then, a unique relationship results, because I see in Jesus Christ the place where God has spoken and said, "This is where I am, follow M e in this way." I find the satisfaction in prayer and in being told that I can communicate with the Father and in the sense of having been reconciled to the Father through the work of Jesus Christ. That's all I want to say.
Franz Feige: We haven't said too much yet about the heart of God, and what the real heart of the Unification church is. I don't think that sensuality is the real heart of the Unification church. What you see in the Unification church is many, many young people eighteen, twenty-five and thirty years of age. I think throughout the Unification church we feel responsible -- that's why we are in the Unification church -- not only for our own life, but for the life of our families and for this world and even for God.
It is very difficult at times to bear the burden of this world and to feel the heavy heart of God, to feel the struggle, this infinite struggle of all the people of this world, that starve, that lose their faith in God, in a world that moves more towards Satan than towards God. One can't help but feel sometimes so deep and heavy that you don't always see vibrancy in our eyes. But, when you look deeper, you can really see that we sometimes cry for one another because we feel responsible and that we sometimes cry with God for this world and for Christianity. Whenever I read the Bible, I feel the spirit of Jesus coming to me and crying, crying and crying, and I can't help but cry along. This is the heart of Jesus: this is the heart of God. Jesus told me many times that He is terribly sad about the state of Christianity being split into so many parts. He would like to see Christianity united into a vital force in order to solve all the problems. So, what I feel through this dialogue, too, is that responsibility to solve the problems within Christianity and then, hopefully with Christianity, the problems of this world. It's a rather heavy feeling, I honestly admit, but there's also a spark of hope; otherwise this heavy weight and burden would kill me.
I also get out of this dialogue an incredible hope, because there is a willingness to cooperate, as much on our side, as on the side of you, the Evangelicals.
Joseph Hopkins: I suppose I have come across as being rather narrow and intolerant, and I hope you don't feel rejected, because certainly on a personal level -- I've been here three times now -- I want to reaffirm my increasing admiration, respect, and love for my friends in the Unification church. I am very grateful for your hospitality, once again, and feel this has been a very stimulating and rewarding conference. So thank you very much.
Rod Sawatsky: I don't think the conversation need stop, but four of us have to run off right now, and I must say, simply, as the one who has been moderating it, that I am very pleased at the forthrightness of this discussion -- we have not been trying to hide behind any trees, but have been forthright and said what we thought, and that's been good, that's been necessary.
Obviously the differences are very, very deep -- obviously the deepest difference is the relationship of Jesus to Rev. Moon. I think the process of conversation at least leads us to understanding, if not to agreement. I think we need to say, with Joseph, again, thank you very much to Unification people for their excellent hospitality; it has been very fine. That is also one of the marks of the spirit which is difficult for us to forget, just like love, and we appreciate that.
1 Young Oon Kim, Divine Principle and its Application, various editions, Washington, D.C: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1960-1972
2 M. Darrol Bryant and Susan Hodges, eds., Exploring Unification Theology. New York, N.Y.: Distributed by the Rose of Sharon Press, 1978.
3 Unification Thought, New York, N.Y.: Unification Thought Institute, 1973. Unification Thought is the philosophical expression of the Divine Principle.
4 Frederick Sontag, Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church, Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1977.
5 See Sermon, p. 365ff.