Evangelical - Unification Dialogue
Rod Sawatsky: To begin our discussion of conversion and of redemption, I wonder if it might be helpful to let the Evangelicals speak first. Maybe Paul Eshleman, since he was one of the ones to raise the question, might start by summarizing the evangelical view of conversion, and other people can add to that, and then we can have some questions and answers on that basis. Agreed?
Paul Eshleman: We believe that all men are sinful, and thus separated from God, and that the purpose for which Jesus Christ came was to pay the penalty for man's sin. The Scripture that we would use in conjunction with these statements would be John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." In Romans it says, very specifically, that "The wages of sin is death," spiritual separation from God, and that Jesus Christ came to pay the penalty for sin. We believe that the response to Jesus Christ has to be basically an individual decision. There would probably be some disagreements among the Evangelicals on how much man is involved in that, whether it is totally of God and man doesn't even have the ability to respond, or whether he does have a free will to say yes or no. I think it would be mostly God seeking man out, and that man has ultimately the choice to say yes or no in that regard. That's a way of beginning.
Don Deffner: I would add that, if a person becomes a Christian, it is God at work in the person, not "my choosing God." Another way of putting it is that God gives us three gifts: first of all, He gives us life itself. "You are not your own" -- you didn't make yourself -- "it is He that hath made you, and not you, yourself." If I misuse this life, I play God. I need forgiveness. Then, the loving, incredibly loving God gives us Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ. He suffered and died for us on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. This incredible "God's kind of God," not my kind of God, not my confused conception of Him, this freeing, loving, giving God even gives me the freedom to throw away the first two gifts, to reject Him. If I am converted, it's God at work in me. Our life in this world is actually His life lived in us... (I John 4:17).
Paul Eshleman: I think of several Scriptures as corollaries: Romans 5:8: "But God shows His love for us even while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us." He could pay the price because He was supernatural; He rose from the dead. John 14:6: "Jesus said to him, ' I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me.'" John 1:12: "But to all who received him, (Jesus Christ) who believed his name, he gave power to become children of God." We would feel it's very important that a new family relationship -- and we mean this, I'm sure, in a different way than you do -- be established with God, the Heavenly Father, through spiritual rebirth, and that this birth comes through faith in Christ plus nothing, as has been quoted several times. Ephesians 2:8-9; "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of your own doing, it is the gift of God -- not because of your works, lest any man should boast." We would feel that, on the basis of an individual making that kind of decision, he would be spiritually reborn into the family of God. Thus he would have the inheritance of an eternal relationship with God, and would begin as a baby in the family, and, through the empowering of the Holy Spirit within him, would progressively be conformed to the image of Christ. He would one day be completed when he would receive his new body, after resurrection.
Mark Branson: I guess I'd like to develop it just a little bit historically. When Jesus was first baptized, His command, the fifteen-word sermon that He was famous for, is "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe in the gospel." Time had reached a climax. Everything is done that needs to be done to this point. He says it is fulfilled. The kingdom of God is at hand. His task was to introduce the kingdom of God. By being "at hand," He simply means that if you reach out and touch it, it is attainable, it's available, it is at hand. Then, He says that the way you touch it is by repenting and believing.
Repenting means turning around, and believing, to "live in accordance with." Then He commenced to show what it means to repent and believe by His life, by His preaching, by His works. The kingdom, the gospel, focuses on Jesus as He shows He is Lord. The effects of the fall on nature and the perversion of the world are encountered. All of the different areas of brokenness -- brokenness with nature, brokenness with emotion, brokenness with the spiritual world, brokenness with God (sin) -- Jesus set out, in His life, to reconcile.
Then He healed, He raised the dead, He forgave sins, He cast out demons. So we say that the fall, the curse, is reversed. What God intended in creation, He now restores in the redemption. The Lord of the universe is here, setting about creation again. At that point He is not saying who He is. He is simply living it out, as king. Halfway into the gospel, after Jesus had been with the disciples for a while, He asked the question, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter has the right title; he says, "You are the Messiah." Jesus says, "Don't tell anybody." The reason, we all know, that he shouldn't tell anybody is because that word, although it is the right name, is totally misunderstood by that culture. They are expecting a zealot option, the overthrowing of Rome. If they were to say Jesus was the Messiah, it would have been a lie to the hearers, because their hearing was wrong. Jesus says, "O.K. You've got the right title, you've got some correct understandings, but I also want you to hear what it means." He says, "The Son of Man must suffer and die and be raised again from the dead. You've got to understand God's way of providing forgiveness, reconciliation, the kingdom, the new life, the gospel." Of course, the disciples couldn't hear this. They did, off and on, but the rest of the book is a struggle to understand what it means to be the suffering servant.
They still didn't even hear about His resurrection. He preached that all the time, too! The cross is not just a sidetrack -- the cross is the kingdom come. His call is, "You must deny yourself, take up your cross." To them, this did not have deep spiritual significance. The cross simply meant that, as you repent, as you buy into the kingdom of God, then you're going to be in conflict with every other kingdom. You're going to be in conflict with every other authority, every other ruler, every other institution, every other principality, every other power. And that means automatically you might as well just plan on the crucifixion by the time you get halfway into the day, or whatever. So you've given up any thought of establishing your loyalty to any other force or any other power. You simply say, "I've got one Lord and one God." This means that, rather than demanding my rights and demanding to be equal to God, as I did in the fall, I say, "I give up my rights. I deny myself. I take up the cross and follow, or imitate, Jesus." And then I see salvation. If I understand being born again, if I understand Jesus' parable about new birth, that everything is provided by Him, I don't think there is any room for more than one Christ in Christianity. Even my behavior is that which has been given me by Jesus. The part of me that has to do with obedience, the part of me that has to do with the fact that I think obedience is a very necessary part of salvation, knows that even obedience is granted to me by my Lord through the Holy Spirit. Salvation, then, means following Jesus. Anything short of following Jesus is not salvation.
Irving Hexham: There are other theological ramifications and interpretations of the evangelical view. Salvation comes from God. God is the giver of salvation. But all would agree that salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We are blind in sin, until the Holy Spirit works in us and brings us a knowledge of the truth; without the Spirit one cannot perceive the gospel. We are responsible to God, but we are unable, without the working of His spirit, to respond. That is salvation, a gift of God, and God is the Lord of all. Everything depends on God.
Richard Quebedeaux: Nobody mentioned the church. That. I think, is a real weakness in evangelical theology. There has been a feeling that once you get saved, you really ought to be part of the church, but it's almost optional. My reeling is that that's ridiculous, because the whole idea of rebirth means that you're a baby again. Well, you've got to be nurtured, and who nurtures you? Well, the church, historically, has been the nurturing organization, and I think the whole issue of Christian growth is in the context of the community of people of God, and it's inextricably bound with salvation. That may be a more high-church kind of thing, and I have still to wrestle with that, but I think it's very important.
Pete Sommer: I think that's the full weight of the term "kingdom of God" as a corporate metaphor. I think Mark would add to that, but we were talking more about Christian growth.
Most of us have tended not to come to Christ en masse, but as individuals.
Mark Branson: Galatians 5 and 6 -- the sign of the Christian spirit is not something I am doing, but something the Holy Spirit is doing in me -- love, joy, patience, long-suffering, kindness -- the joy of being the channel of God's work.
Warren Lewis: Do you make a distinction between justification, salvation, and sanctification, or are they all one act?
Mark Bratison: There are certain distinctions, yes. Sanctification is a growing in grace, and even though I fall flat on my face, or rebel, God picks me up again. Justification would be the appropriation of Christ's propitiation by an individual. Baptism is an act of obedience that symbolizes justification.
Rod Sawatsky: What happens at baptism?
Mark Bratison: Baptism is linked with justification. The Holy Spirit moves in; water symbolizes cleansing.
Rod Sawatsky: You were baptized as an infant? Does somebody want to clarify the different views here of baptism?
Don Deffner: I don't see it as a cleavage among us. We understand the sacrament differently. Some see it as symbolic. Others, including myself, see it as a "means of grace," an application of grace to sin. Some would say (about the Lord's Supper) this is only bread and wine. "It is symbolic," when you speak of the body and blood. I believe it is truly bread and wine, and truly Christ's body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. But, that does not in any way detract from the basic statement (that we Evangelicals agree on), the work of the Holy Spirit, the salvation through Christ.
Paul Eshleman: I believe we would affirm that it's the Holy Spirit that draws man to Christ and that He is in the process of drawing all men to Christ. We are born spiritually through the Holy Spirit. It is at that point that we are justified, we are forgiven, we are made pure in God's sight, and, once and for all, we are made perfect. For, by that one offering, He has made perfect forever, past tense. He made those that are sanctified, those whom He is in the process of making wholly perfect, by that one offering. At the moment Christ died, He paid for sins past, present, and future. But the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, day by day and moment by moment, is now one of sanctification, that process of conforming us to the image of Christ, of making us pure and holy in His sight. That's why, in my life, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is so central -- because, now that I have eternally been made right in God's sight, I want my whole life to reflect His life, and the only way my life can reflect His life is if the Holy Spirit works, dwells and lives in me and lives that life of Christ in my life. That's why I am continually, as I receive Christ by faith, walking in Him by faith, that He might express His life through me.
We would believe that, at the moment of salvation, a person is indwelled by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But not all Christians are filled and controlled and directed by the spirit of God within them. So it's possible for a Christian to become carnal, as Paul explains in I Corinthians. He said, "I could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ...For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving as ordinary men?" There are Christians throughout the whole world that are carnal today. They are living their lives according to their own direction, instead of allowing Christ's direction.
Warren Lewis: Will they go to heaven?
Paul Eshleman: I believe they will go to heaven, but they've missed salvation in the fullest sense, because it's an escape-froma-fiery-hell kind of salvation instead of the totality that God intended, which was to save the whole life. He intended to do that by implanting Himself in the individual, so He might be lived out.
Warren Lewis: Will there be time in heaven to make up for all lost time? What about the people who reject it out of hand?
Paul Eshleman: I believe that is the unpardonable sin the Scriptures speak about, the rejection of the Holy Spirit.
Warren Lewis: And they'll burn in hell forever?
Paul Eshleman: I believe that. I don't judge any individual person, but, in principle, the Scripture says, "Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish." So this is the way that I personally deal with, let's say, the Hindus, or the person who says, "What about the guys in Africa who have never heard, you mean to tell me that God damned them to hell?" My answer is this: First, it says that everyone in the world knows there is a God in two ways: instinctively and through creation. However, nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that everyone will know the name of Christ. It also says in Deuteronomy 4:29: "But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him, if you search after Him with all your heart and all your soul." And yet I contrast that with, "Except a man repent, he'll perish." But, I come to the conclusion that here is the man in Africa, he has tried walking on coals, or whatever. He says, "God, I just don't know you. Whatever your way is, I accept it. I want you. I want to go your way." He has sought God with his whole heart, he's repented from his own way of life, and has chosen God's way. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way. I believe God imputes to him the righteousness of Christ because he has sought it.
Warren Lewis: Really, then, it's humility before God that really saves?
Paul Eshleman: Jesus is still the one who saves, but my humility is a condition of repentance. It's me saying, "God, whatever your way is, I want it." That's repentance. "God, I throw myself on You." I think, then, that if a man comes to explain Christ to him, he'll respond. He'll recognize that. I also think there will be people who will say, "God, I want your way; whatever it is, I'm available." And some other person may come along and say, "Well, why don't you come over to the Hindu temple?" and he may go along, because he really sincerely wants to know. If that happens, I think his doctrine is going to be messed up for the rest of his life, but I won't say all Hindus are going to hell, or all Muslims are going to hell, or all Moonies.
Warren Lewis: When you, as a Christian missionary, convey both the gospel and your culture, and provide a heathen man with a doctrinal alternative which he rejects because it seems culturally quite foreign to him, does that jeopardize his situation before God?
Paul Eshleman: I don't think so, because my qualification -- that he will automatically recognize it -- is simply opinion, and there is no scriptural foundation that, if he is in another culture and you come and preach Christ, he will recognize it. I don't necessarily think there is a basis for that in Scripture.
Warren Lewis: My point is: why not just leave them alone? If it is really humility that counts, why don't we save our missionary fund and let them be saved by pagan humility rather than Christian humility?
Paul Eshleman: Because it is the command of God. I'm in direct disobedience to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ if I don't take the gospel everywhere. He said to go into all the world, to go into every nation. The whole thing is that it's not on me, anyway.
My duty is just to share. I don't believe I have to worry about the rest.
Johnny Sonneborn: I've heard it said here that Jesus is Lord of every creature.
Paul Eshleman: I believe that, at the point in history when Christ comes again, every knee will bow.
Richard Quebedeaux: " In the last days, I will pour out my spirit on all flesh." Do you believe that?
Mark Branson: That's not automatically saying all will be saved. Paul and I will disagree there. I don't think humility before God is a key. I think the key is response to God's revelation, especially to God's word, and especially to God's living word, Jesus Christ.
Anthony Guerra: O.K. So that's a disagreement, because he just said you had to be humble before God.
Paul Eshleman: Not if you reject Christ. If I come to you, and I explain Christ to you, and you understand and reject, then the fact that you were humble doesn't make any difference.
Warren Lewis: So it's not humility after all; it's something else -- a confession, an act of faith.
Virgil Cruz: Perhaps the word in Hebrews could be extended a bit to be of some help here. I think we would say, first of all, that God is sovereign over the whole universe. Paul said that he wouldn't go about judging whether or not a person would end up in hell or not, he wouldn't want to judge.
I think Paul and I would agree on another point, however, that first point being true. Our responsibility is to proclaim no other name, but alongside that is the acceptance of the sovereignty of God. And then, finally getting back to Hebrews, the opening verse seems to say that, in many and diverse ways, God spoke through the prophets, and maybe we're shoehorning too much in there to think that God spoke a natural revelation in creation and so forth. However, the last revelation is the clearest -- Jesus Christ. Now, I think we feel an obligation to present that clearest revelation; however, we're not saying that another kind of revelation, perhaps less clear, is impossible, that another revelation could not be apprehended.
Paul Eshleman: And the reason we don't leave the others alone is that it's a direct command from God, and we're disobedient if we don't...
Pete Sommer: I have an answer that's not theological, but I think it invokes the heart of us as Evangelicals. In an anthropology class at Chico State during my college days, the professor was coming down hard on cultural imperialism -- why were missionaries going to China, and why didn't they leave them alone, because they were happy in their own religion. And a Chinese girl put up her hand and said, "What if they're not happy?" She had become a Christian that year.
Warren Lewis: That's why a lot of Christians are becoming Hindus; they're looking for happiness.
Pete Sommer: The point is, without passing on the eternal question, our prediction is that the world is not getting on all right without Jesus Christ.
Johnny Sonneborn: That's our position, that you just cannot reach the same closeness to God and love for humanity and internal joy and happiness if you're a Hindu or Jew instead of a Christian with Jesus, because your vista is narrower. You see the world for the first time when you meet Jesus. But also, then, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, you can become sanctified to a certain extent. But, still, there's more. There are depths of God's heart that we need to see, that we will only see at the parousia, however it may come out, and that will enable us to reach the fullness.
Mark Branson: This will be a key issue for me: salvation is in following Jesus. In my understanding of the claims of others, whether they are from a gifted one speaking prophecy in my own church group, or from an individual in the Moon family, I must be able to see that life as one that points toward the life, the lifestyle, the revelation of God that Jesus has given me.
Rod Sawatsky: Do you want to talk about that a little bit? About the charge being made here that Rev. Moon does not show the way Christ taught?
Don Deffner: I know this isn't an answer, because it is in response to an earlier question: "Why don't more Christians lead radiant lives?" For one reason, it's because we do have the power to resist. God didn't make us puppets, automatons. So this new life of which you are speaking is still a paradox. It's not an I've got-it-made kind of thing. With Paul, as a Christian, by the grace of God, I say, " I know whom I have believed. I am persuaded..." But I also am simul Justus et peccator, at once justified and a sinner. The old Donald Deffner, the old "man of sin," is still there and will be ticking away until they close the casket over me. The
new creation, the new man in Christ Jesus, is there too, and tension between the two will always exist. So, again, "not that I have attained." I don't "have it made," but, by God's grace I pray, " I know," as a Christian, yet I can lose that faith when I don't follow Christ. But again, as I follow Christ, I don't just "have a feeling." I know...
Jan Weido: I plead ignorance, but I hear you saying: "We have the power to resist God." Then, why don't we have the power to seek after God?
Don Deffner: Rationally, you're right. That's why I cannot totally explain the miracle of conversion. " I have the power to reject God. I have the power to turn to Him." Logically, I know that makes sense, but faith is illogical. " I walk by faith, not by sight..." It is because God is working in me that I'm saved.
Virgil Cruz: The natural man doesn't groove on the things of God because he doesn't want to be in tune with God. We want to be gods ourselves, as Don has said.
John Wiemann: It's often brought up, and I don't think we've defined it, that the limits of salvation are in Jesus. I don't pretend to know what they are, and I would like to know if there are any. If there are, what are they? If there aren't, well, what is salvation?
Mark Branson: Sketching eschatology, take a straight line. Dub the left, "creation," and you end up on the right with consummation. God created a perfect world and humanity, and that was the way He intended it to be. At that point, because of the way man fell -- by choosing to make himself out to be God -- at that point, then, we enter the evil age. And that evil age will not be turned around, will not be halted, will not be totally conquered, until Jesus comes back in a way that sets up the kingdom. That's the consummation. But the surprise of history is that, in the cross, the future was invaded by the present. The last chapter has been written. The fall, Satan, the curse, were completely done away at the cross. The penalty has been paid. We have met the king. He has told us what the kingdom is like, and He has told us to live as if the kingdom were here. That has thrown us into an age between the cross and the consummation, where we are living both in the present evil age and in the kingdom of God. We, as God's people, the church, agents of the kingdom, live according to the kingdom. At the same time, we are caught in the time when Satan has been unloosed. There is a time when Christ will come in glory, no longer as the suffering servant. He's among us now; in the future, He will no longer be the suffering servant, but instead will be the reigning king. What has been completely victorious already at the cross becomes realized in the future.
John Wiemann: I think the question that we Unificationists have is how that final realization comes about. Does it come about in the individual? In the perfection of an individual? Is this in the spiritual world? Is it here?
Mark Branson: We're talking about physical resurrection, resurrected bodies, a new heaven and a new earth. That's not just spiritualized. We're talking about Jesus reigning as king in His glory.
Johnny Sonneborn: Is that pre- or post-millennium? Do you have a millenium? Mark Branson: You'll probably get all three positions here. I don't know.
Johnny Sonneborn: But you also have a new physical world. Some people here wouldn't. I know that one person I was talking to here ultimately doesn't. He has a millenium in the physical world, but after that there's no more physical world. It's purely spiritual forever.
Mark Branson: O.K. I would say that the resurrected body is eternal.
Paul Eshleman: Like Christ's body.
Jan Weido: The difference is in our doctrines of creation, in the conception of the nature of man. You're saying we're totally depraved, that there's no part of us that has original goodness, that can respond to God. Whereas, we're saying that, even though man is a corrupt sinner, a slug in the pits of hell, that we still believe there's an original mind responding, looking for God, crying out for God. That's the freedom to go after God. But you're saying no, there's nothing. We're just totally corrupt, that it's only by God's grace that we are pulled out of the pits of hell.
Don Deffner: Basically, I'm saying I cannot, by my own reason or strength, believe in my Lord Jesus Christ, so I am dead and lost, without salvation through Jesus Christ. So, in that respect, yes, I am dead and, as "natural man," lost forever.
Rod Sawatsky: Let's see if everyone agrees with that.
Paul Eshleman: Let me say there would seem to be almost two conflicting Scriptures on the same point. David says, "My heart yearns after God; I seek after God." At the same time, it says, "No man seeketh after God." So you try to put these two together, and, simply, what you say is, "On my own power I cannot seek after God, because I don't naturally want to go after Him. But because the Holy Spirit is continually drawing me, He is engendering in me a heart's desire to move toward God that I don't naturally have. He is the one who is working, and He does it in a lot of different ways to draw me towards the cross."
Jan Weido: What part needs the drawing?
Paul Eshleman: My will, I believe.
Johnny Sonneborn: I believe Dr. Deffner's position is right, according to the Principle. We're given all good things. God is the subject to initiate it, and man is the responding object.
Don Deffner: But after conversion I still struggle with Tirza's "5%," which is man's 100%. For me, it is 100% God's work -- conversion, justification, and the process, which you're picking up again in sanctification.
Jan Weido: Then God is the "puppet master," not Rev. Moon. I mean, that's all that I hear and see. God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We should write a book on the "puppet master," you know. There's no freedom in what you say!
Don Deffner: I believe the origin of sin was man's misuse of his freedom. I can misuse my freedom, but that freedom is intrinsically a blessing, a gift, from a freeing, loving God who even frees me to reject Him. And that is not a capricious, fatalistic God. It is a freeing, loving God. He's not playing games with me.
Warren Lewis: Adam was free not to eat, so there's an ontological discontinuity between Adam and Eve and the rest of us. Is that right?
Don Deffner: I don't follow you completely.
Warren Lewis: They were free not only to sin, but also to do righteousness.
Don Deffner: I don't know if I equate Adam's situation with ours today completely.
Paul Eshleman: I don't think it is the same, because God is drawing him. I think the drawing part replaces what man has rejected, and thus, the choice is back again to man because of God initiating a drawing force to him.
Warren Lewis: So then there is no original sin that pervades the race...
Paul Eshleman: Absolutely there is original sin. Absolutely.
Evangelical X: That doesn't mean there's no choice.
Warren Lewis: Then where does that original sin come from? Does each one of us commit it again? Or have we inherited it from our first parents?
Paul Eshleman: We've inherited it.
Don Deffner: And we all commit the original sin all over again. It happens every day.
Warren Lewis: In that case, then, we are not in the exact same position that Adam and Eve were in before they sinned. There was a time when they had not sinned. But there is not a time when we have not sinned, because we inherit it from our mother's womb -- our original sinful condition. And that's why Hindus will go to hell without the gospel.
Evangelical X: That's right.
Dan Davies: Now, wait a minute. Before, they were not going to hell. And now, they are going to hell.
Irving Hexham: What you said was that the Hindus would go to hell without the gospel, implying the preaching of the gospel. They will go to hell without the sacrifice of Christ. But how are they forgiven through Christ's sacrifice? It may be through something which we do not know. I think, in times of the past, God forgave the sin of Abraham and others. Abraham never heard the gospel preached as such, but God was able to forgive him through the sacrifice of Christ.
Warren Lewis: I bet that, if you were to ask a rabbi, he would not receive that saying. Jonathan Wells: That's the catch. By faith, that person has to believe in Jesus first.
John Wiemann: Something more has to be said about the doctrine of the nature of man. In the Divine Principle, man can never be totally alienated from God, and the problem with man is that everything is in distortion, and everything is from the wrong point of view. It's from his own point of view. Therefore, he seeks love, which comes from God, although he does it in the wrong way, and I emphasize the word because, if you search for or seek God in the right way, if you go the right way, you can get to God. But we can't go our way, and we can't go any way, so we need Christ, the way to God. But what I'm trying to get at is that we all have the ability and we all do seek God in everything we do, everything we do. So I guess I am saying, 5%-95%, yet I don't like those terms. I'd like to know what exactly is the nature of man after the fall -- is he that far from God, really?
Mark Branson: I think we say yes...
John Weimann: But the thing is that his nature is all distorted.
It seems all jumbled up, but it's not totally alien -- it's alien to God's way, but there are still things about man that God can relate to.
Irving Hexham: His will is totally distorted -- his will is not seeking after God...
Johnny Sonneborn: There's very little that's related to God-just the heart, and that's the foundation on which God is working. Rev. Moon says, "These are not my words I'm giving you. These are God's words." He goes out of his way to remind us of this fact. It's God's initiative. And, in his book, Mr. Sudo said about Jesus, "God spoke through Him, His words were God's words, His love was God's love, His works were God's works through Him, so if you can see Jesus, you can see God."
Mark Branson: Does His death on the cross play a role in that?
Johnny Sonneborn: Yes, the Divine Principle speaks several times of the ransom of the blood of the cross.
Paul Eshleman: What I see in the Unification church is that Christ forgives your sins, but that you don't get rid of your original sin until some other kind of process occurs, until you receive the second blessing, until marriage occurs. And you can't get married in the church until you live a certain kind of lifestyle, and then somebody makes the decision and says, "Yes, you've attained." So, what comes across to me is that you've been forgiven your sins, but your sins have not been washed away until somebody makes a value decision on your life, and you get to receive the second blessing of marriage.
Johnny Sonneborn: Most of this is from what some Evangelicals here have said, that, although Christ has forgiven our sins, we still have original sin, that He made the sacrifice and in God's sight, it's quite sure that if we accept Jesus we're going to be saved.
Paul Eshleman: With this exception: I still retain original sin, but, if I were to die right now, I would stand in the presence of God, holy and blameless before Him. Now, it's my impression that, if you die right now, you don't stand holy and blameless before God, that, somehow, your original sin needs to be dealt with. Therefore, Christ couldn't quite do it all on the cross.
Richard Quebedeaux: I have to say that all the Evangelicals here are talking Calvinism. In my parents' Pentecostal church, he who sins is of the devil, and there is a cleansing of sin. But, if you sin again, you are unsaved, and you've got to get saved again.
And some people get saved every week. There's an uncertainty of salvation, unless you pursue "holiness" -- works -- to the end. I would say that Arminian evangelical theology is much closer to Unificationist theology than Calvinist theology is -- free will, choice, works, and the strong relationship of works to faith.
Paul Eshleman: Still, Richard, even the Arminian theologians would say that, if you live your life so to reflect what happened to you, then your salvation is assured; there is no other agent needed, such as Rev. Moon, and marriage.
Richard Quebedeaux: Yes, if you attain sanctification, i.e., perfection, you are saved. But there is very little assurance among good Arminians; that is, you'd say, "Are you saved?" "Well, I hope so." (laughter) And they say, "Yes, I am now." And then next week...
Irving Hexham: Richard, I think that's your particular Arminian theology.
Richard Quebedeaux: That's very true. But when we talk about Calvinism, we're not necessarily talking Calvin either. You know, we've often taught the Westminster Confesssion of Faith when we think we've taught "Calvin." In terms of who the Evangelicals are, the 40 or 50 million Evangelicals, a lot of these are Arminian -- including the Pentecostals.
Warren Lewis: It's unfair to say that they are mostly Calvinist, just because you Evangelicals disagree with the Pentecostals and Wesleyans. They, too, are Evangelicals.
Paul Eshleman: Richard, you've studied all brands of Evangelicals. What would you say the breakdown is?
Richard Quebedeaux: Of Pentecostals who are Arminian?
Paul Eshleman: No. What percentage of all Evangelicals are Calvinist? Arminian?
Richard Quebedeaux: That's really hard to say. Evangelical has been a word that has been applied by certain people to include only Calvinists to the exclusion of basic Arminians, Pentecostals, certain kinds of Reformed people, and Anabaptists.
Warren Lewis: There are supposed to be 15 million Pentecostals ...
Richard Quebedeaux: O.K., Pentecostals. Of that number, the Assemblies of God, which have at least 1,400,000, would be more toward the Calvinist side, but almost with embarrassment, because this is a peculiar mixture of Presbyterianism and Baptist theology, whereas most Pentecostals, the Holiness people, are Arminians. Then you have the whole non-Pentecostal Holiness groups, the Wesleyan Church, the Salvation Army, the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) and the Nazarenes.
Paul Eshleman: Could we say this, though -- that, in essence, both Arminians and Calvinists come to the Lord in the same way and that the processes of salvation and forgiveness of sins are alike?
Richard Quebedeaux: Salvation is the same, but there is the qualification of how long it lasts. Paul Eshleman: That's what I'm saying -- there's the qualification of how long it lasts after that.
Warren Lewis: The point being made is that it's a faulty thing to divide Moonie versus Evangelical and put the Moonies over here in favor of some sort of Pelagian free will, whereas all true Evangelicals stick up for the sovereignty of God. There are as many Evangelicals who agree with Moonies on this point as there are Evangelicals who disagree.
Mark Branson: Except what happens at the cross? Is everything provided at the cross? The Evangelicals would say yes.
Dan Davies: I'd like to present a point of view on conversion, or better, rebirth. According to the Divine Principle, when Jesus came, He was to be accepted by Israel, and, in that acceptance, He could have taken a bride. With that bride, then, through the sacrament of the blessing, He could have given rebirth to all men, and the whole world would have become the kingdom of God. But, because of His crucifixion, that wasn't possible, and God had to work through the sacraments to give rebirth. So, I think you will find that, in the Catholic church, to begin with, rebirth was given through the sacrament of bread and wine and also baptism. That was essentially true up until the time of Luther. The Holy Spirit has been working in history these last 2,000 years, preparing mankind to receive the True Parents. So the first stage of history was through the bread and wine and water baptism. I think we'll find them right here, but at least in this country. They believe that's the way you gain salvation. But, what happened during the Reformation, and later in the Wesleyan revival, was that we had a new kind of rebirth that came through the word, the Bible -- the primacy of the word of God, the Bible, plus (in the nineteenth-century Holiness movement) the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Those became the two sacraments, and it's my hunch that those things, those two sacraments, are a preparation for the True Parents. In other words, the word represented true Adam, the Holy Spirit represented true Eve. I'm trying to explain a progression of the Holy Spirit from the time of Jesus, whose crucifixion and resurrection brought about a rebirth, through to the True Parents, whose purpose is to give mankind full salvation on the earth.
Anthony Guerra: At the time of the mission of Jesus, we explain, there were two possibilities for salvation. Either way, salvation would come. But, a more complete salvation would have been possible had the people united with Jesus. Given the other alternative, that they rejected Jesus, He had to go the way of the cross, which we believe was God's will at that point, and by the cross Jesus brought salvation to the individual and forgiveness of sins -- justification. We believe that rebirth happens through the trinity of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are in the role of parents. Together they generate a love force which recreates the Christian so that he is able to communicate with God the Father. Just as you were born through love of your father and mother, so you have to be born again through the love of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and that's a different kind of love -- it's a love which gives you the forgiveness of sins, a new heart, a new relationship with God, and a new relationship with your brothers and sisters. The salvation by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is very real. Jesus didn't have to go the way of the cross -- in the Garden of Gethsemane He could've said, "No" -- but, because of His love for God and His desire to save humankind, He went the way of the cross. It's with great agony that we say Jesus wanted to give humankind a fuller salvation. But, nevertheless, He was willing to sacrifice His body on the cross to give the salvation which we call justification on the individual level -- the forgiveness of sins that is absolutely essential for our life.
After hearing this lecture on the mission of Jesus, many people receive the Holy Spirit and accept Jesus as their Savior. Many people have come up to me and said, "For the first time, I really accept Jesus, and I feel Jesus and I feel the Holy Spirit." Some were people who had been completely opposed to Jesus but, because this explanation made sense to them, opened their hearts and made the commitment to Jesus. Many of those people leave our workshops and they become Christians without joining the Unification church.
Paul Eshleman: Do you ask them to make a decision, an act of their will at that point?
Anthony Guerra: No.
Paul Eshleman: Well, why not?
Anthony Guerra: Because, as you've said, the major category for you is will, but the major category for us is heart. And we believe that once the person's heart is changed, and he turns his love and his feeling to God and to Jesus, that's it. That's the most important thing. That's what brings salvation.
Paul Eshleman: That's a little vague.
Anthony Guerra: Oh no, that's not vague. There are three categories that one can talk about in terms of the human spirit: emotion, reason, and will; I'm saying the central category is emotion or heart. Love as opposed to activity.
Warren Lewis: Charismatic Methodism strikes again!
Mark Branson: I don't think that Jesus got sidetracked in His mission. I think that is something which needs to be understood. Jesus lived and gave us a perfect revelation of what God is like, what His values were, what the kingdom of God is like, etc. God is not one to conquer evil with power. God is one to submit to it because He provides for us. He died so that we might be saved. His whole lifestyle, then, was one of poverty, was one of living in the world, with the poor, with the people who were needy. He said He came for those who are sick, not for those who are well. His entire lifestyle was one of humility -- one that did not include riches. That is a very specific area that I'd have to investigate. He says you cannot serve God and mammon, and I see Moon attempting that. You have to consider the type of people with whom He spent His time. Consider the entirety of what He is doing in the Sermon on the Mount, whether He's dealing with the teachings about blessings or the whole significance of the cross. This includes not only the cross of salvation but the cross as a way of life. That's salvation. I can be saved from my materialism, I can be saved from my sin, I can be saved from all the different ways the fall has had an impact on me. My question, then, is whether the lifestyle of Rev. Moon reflects the lifestyle of Jesus.
Anthony Guerra: I have some reason first to clarify some of your motivation in asking this. Do you believe that poverty and sickness are part of God's original plan?
Mark Branson: No, but I believe that evil...
Anthony Guerra: And, therefore, you would say that the kingdom of God is one in which those elements are eliminated?
Is that correct?
Mark Branson: No.
Anthony Guerra: You would say that, in the kingdom of God, sickness and poverty, etc., would still be present?
Irving Hexham: No, wait. Let him exegete what it means in Scripture by the kingdom of God.
Rod Sawatsky: Irving, you have something to say about that.
Irving Hexham: The kingdom of God in Scripture is the reign of God in the lives of many -- not a physical kingdom; it is God's rule which comes with Christ. Jesus said, "Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand." And then He said, "The kingdom of God is in the midst of you." Jesus brought the kingdom of God in His person, and it is His rule on earth which has continued ever since.
Virgil Cruz: And the important thing is, as Irving is saying, that the emphasis is upon the fact that God's sovereignty, which has always been real, cannot be consummated and become totally explicit. The other item is that we are now fully in communion with God. The other things, such as the amount of material possessions we have, the degree of opulence, do not interest us so much.
Anthony Guerra: Well, of course it doesn't concern you, because you're not in the Third World and you're not oppressed and you're not poor.
Virgil Cruz: I don't think that's it. We say that oppression is a satanic thing that will, by definition, be removed when the sovereignty of God is consummated. But, when we hear your discussion of materialism, it's reminiscent of what my Muslim friend would describe to me.
Anthony Guerra: Well, first of all, the question was asked specifically with reference to Rev. Moon's lifestyle. In his early life, when he began his mission, he lived in extreme poverty. He was imprisoned in a communist prison camp in North Korea, in a camp where the average prisoner's life span was six months. They did heavy labor, eight hours a day, loading nitrate fertilizer into bags, filling them up to exactly eighty pounds, weighing them on a scale, and then loading them onto a truck. Without an adequate diet or gloves, the nitrate eats into the skin. Prisoners were dying of hunger. People would even fall dead while they were eating, and the others would be so hungry that they would take the rice out of the dead people's mouths and eat it. And, in that situation, Rev. Moon decided to give half his portion of food away to other prisoners -- and then, he considered the other half as given to him by God. He was praised while he was in that prison camp as the best worker. Each of the teams had a certain quota, and, if they didn't fulfill the quota, there was certain punishment. The people always wanted to join his team because he worked so hard that they could all get the work done. Members of our church, then in North Korea, would bring food to him and they would bring clothes to him, but when they returned, they would always find that he was still wearing the same shoes. He was still wearing the same clothes, because he had always given the new clothes away to his fellow prisoners.
After the war, before coming to America, he lived in a one-room or two-room apartment house above the Korean church center -- even though the members there many times offered to buy him a house. When Rev. Moon came to America in 1971, he lived in the very strict centers along with us. While he was in Korea in 1972, we purchased Belvedere, in his absence, and when he came back, we asked him to live in that house in Tarrytown, New York. The church leaders in America explained to him that America has a culture where, even if you have a great message of God, and especially if you feel your mission is not just to poor people but to all people (leaders of government as well as the man in Harlem), you need to live in a dignified fashion. He debated the issue, but we prevailed upon him to do it.
Paul Eshleman: That may have been a tactical error.
Anthony Guerra: Well, I don't think it is. The point I want to make is that none of the properties are in his own name. He doesn't have anything in his own name. And the house that everyone talks about Rev. Moon living in -- I've been there several times because, as I explained before, I was a state director -- holds many of our conferences. It's a public house. Rev. Moon has guests from Korea, Japan, from all around the world visiting there. His lifestyle is a very public one. Rev. Moon had begun many businesses in Korea before coming to America and was running a movement which had become fairly wealthy, yet he was living in a very impoverished situation in Korea. He never used the wealth for himself -- only for the mission. And I believe that now, in the same way, he's using all that he has, just for the purpose of serving God. And I see that as the major category -- What is your purpose? The creation is good -- why are you using it? With what heart? And this is where I affirm fully that he is leading a God-centered, sacrificial life.
Pete Sommer: I don't want to lose the good will of anybody by saying what I do, but we're coming back to some things that I wanted to raise yesterday afternoon. I'm going to read -- well, it's something that has been all too common to the evangelical world as well -- the words of Ken Sudo on page 72 of the training manual. And you'll pardon us, I hope, if we giggle when we read this kind of stuff, because we've heard this cant from so many people, and it's hard not to believe that it does not have the blessing of Rev. Moon. The part that really made me laugh was -- and pardon me if I'm offending anybody's piety here --
Do you like to make green bills happy? When the green bills are in the hands of fallen man, can they be happy? Why don't you make them happy? So many green bills are crying. Have you ever heard them crying? Not yet? You must hear. They are all destined to go to Father. This is our responsibility, eventually, unless everything goes through Father, it cannot be happy. This is a heartistic understanding of the offering of things. When Jesus came, he could not fulfill the second blessing, so He wasn't fully qualified to have dominion over the creation and restore things| -- which would be a fundamental disagreement -- 1... Christians think that the Messiah must be poor and miserable -- he did not come for this. The Messiah must be the richest.
I could go on, but you'll pardon us if we think that is really funny.
Jonathan Wells: We laughed when we heard it, too. (laughter)
Pete Sommer: Richard could give us a list of evangelical people who are saying roughly the same thing.
Tirza Shilgi: Anyway, I just wanted to read a section from Richard's book, The Worldly Evangelicals. "Today, however, it is not uncommon for pastors of large evangelical and charismatic congregations with multi-million-dollar facilities to earn as much as doctors and lawyers, dress in the height of fashion, live in very expensive homes, if not mansions, and drive the finest cars. A few of them even have their own airplanes."1
Irving Hexham: O.K., but we would attack them for that...
Lloyd Howell: There are some people here who are really getting into materialism; they're seeing the material things; they have to go beyond to see if there is a spiritual something behind this. Now, as I know Rev. Moon, he's not a fat cat. I don't think he's sipping cocktails. He only sleeps four or five hours a night.
We could go on with testimonies. We're not here to lay a big, heavy testimony about Rev. Moon on you. But somebody's asking to know something about his personal life. We're trying to say a few things. We know this man goes way over the standard of anybody in the movement, and before that we are humbled.
Irving Hexham: I'd like to hear some testimonies.
Anthony Guerra: Could someone tell about the net-making last year?
Dan Davies: I could tell a little bit. I'm thirty years old. Pretty young, and strong for my age. I lasted with him one day at the pace he goes. He came up here last year for about two months, every day. I don't know how long other people lasted, but I couldn't keep up with him.
He would never begrudge talking to us if he was tired. Sometimes he hadn't slept for two or three days, and he would still talk to us. I can give an instance of this. A few years ago at Belvedere he had just returned from traveling to Korea and Japan. He hadn't slept for a couple of days, yet he talked to us for about four hours in the early morning, did many things during the day, and ended up singing and taking part in the entertainment that night.
Pete Sommer: Oh, we have these evangelical workaholics too.
Dan Davies: That's not what I'm pointing out here. It's not his work that's important. It's that he's doing it for others that's important. I've noticed that what he does is for others, and not for himself. I actually feel that he is trying to do as much for others as he possibly can. He is not holding anything back. He's giving away his time and his money -- even income from his own inventions. He's teaching that you gain spiritual riches by giving.
Johnny Sonneborn: I think it's very obvious that the man is a genius, whatever you may think of his purpose, or whatever you think of his connections, and so forth. And he's the kind of genius who was there in Japan and in Korea at a time when he could've become an industrial tycoon, and could've moved only in high, intellectual Christian circles, surrounded by good people. He wouldn't have had to deal with Marxist scientists, he never would've had to work as a short-order cook, as a dock worker, he never would've lived in a cave, if he hadn't been concerned about people. And the equivalent is the case with Jesus. Jesus was accused, also, of sitting down at the table with tax collectors -- those were the really wealthy people -- yet He had fishermen as His disciples. Rev. Moon has us instead of high Christian people. He doesn't have Billy Graham for his disciple, and he doesn't have the Sojourners. He has some ex-drug addicts and he has self-centered people like me. Here he comes and spends time with us.
He would probably have much greater joy amongst philosophers and great artists. But I think he is very much dedicating himself completely for all the people, in whatever circumstances he may find them, the way Jesus did. He used to go to our factory every day and work with the people; he wasn't just the director of the factory.
Don Deffner: Can I ask my question about Rev. Moon, and that's in terms of what we've been saying, about his sinful-sinless or perfectable nature. How does he vary from you? Not just in terms of degree, but could he fall away from being a Christian, lose his faith, and the relationship of that with his being the Lord of the Second Advent?
Tirza Shilgi: Well, I was going to say something about Rev. Moon in Japan. When we were in Japan, in Tokyo, we were taken to a little house near Waseda University, where Rev. Moon had stayed for four years, while he was studying there. They told us some stories about the time he was there. They were very good and special people. They were persecuted for having a Korean in their home, because at that time the Japanese hated Koreans. Anyway, they said that he used to get a check from Korea every month to cover his lodging and that, even though lodging included three meals a day, every day he used to leave the house so early that he would not have breakfast. Rather, he would come for lunch, and then, right after lunch, leave the house and stay away until late at night. This lasted the whole four years, and they never really understood why he was not there in the afternoon or evening, since he was going to school. Then, a year and a half later, they found out that he had spent all this time working down on the docks of Kawasaki in the most difficult jobs, carrying loads and removing cargo from ships. And, later on, they found out from the teachings of the Divine Principle that during this time he was searching for the motivation of the fall -- what the nature of man's desire for happiness was. He associated with the hard laborers, with the beggars, and with the harlots to be able to understand where their hearts were, and why they were living the way they lived. Did they seek happiness? If they did, what did they do about it? So, for four years of his life, even though he did have money to come home every evening and spend time doing his homework, or whatever, and eat with the family, he never did. They found out that part of the money he had had, he had given to other students. Again, for years all his afternoons were spent on the docks, and he was always trying to understand the hearts of these people.
Rod Sawatsky: Jonathan, are you prepared to speak now to the question that Don raised?
Jonathan Wells: To the extent that it can be answered, which I think is a very limited one. You asked the extent of his sinlessness and also whether he can fall away, and I will just make a stab at an answer. A few years back, I was sent as a solitary missionary to, of all places, Stamford, Connecticut, and was supposed to start from scratch there and build up a church, very much like Rev. Moon has done on several different occasions. Within three weeks I was dramatically confronted with my own sinfulness and the difficulty of accomplishing what God wanted me to do there. That convinced me that Rev. Moon, if not being absolutely sinless, was pretty close, closer than anyone I had run into before. Now, as to whether he can fall away at some point, I think that remains to be seen. I know that when people have asked him or brought the subject up, his response is something like this. "Everybody else in the Unification church can leave, but not I, because I know God's heart, and I know it would break God's heart if I stopped giving everything I have to bring the kingdom of heaven on earth." That's the kind of response he gives.
Irving Hexham: There's a book, No Man Knows My History, by Fawn Brodie. She did a biography of Joseph Smith as a Mormon, and checked up on all the documents, and came to the conclusion that Joseph Smith was not what he claimed, and
wrote her book. Now, suppose someone came along and had done research on Moon, and all these stories you're telling about him; suppose they came saying, " I have an affidavit here from people who knew him as a student. He didn't do these things you claim; he didn't get checks from Korea -- we've checked the banks. He had to work." All these things, how would you react?
Dan Davies: I'm doing a study with Warren Lewis on Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shakers. I have carefully considered many sworn affidavits against the character of Mother Ann Lee and I have concluded them to be false. It is easy to find the falsehoods; the statements do not complement each other and many contradict each other. There is no consistent picture and the charges vary tremendously. She was accused of everything from starting wild orgies to murdering babies. But if she had been all that evil, her work, the fruits of her work, would have been evil. The Shakers have a reputation throughout time for being honest, hardworking, chaste. By their fruits ye shall know them.
Irving Hexham: I think you're not looking too closely at the idea of a sworn affidavit. The Mormons...
Dan Davies: Yes, they also have sworn affidavits.
Irving Hexham: It's not just affidavits. There is a lot of documentary evidence. Dan Davies: Like what? Irving Hexham: That's not the question. Dan Davies: I think it's a question. Irving Hexham: The original document of The Pearl of Great Price was discovered recently after Mormon scholars thought it had been destroyed in a fire. When it was translated, it didn't say what Joseph Smith claimed it said, and that's causing a major crisis in the Mormon church.
Beatriz Gonzales: I think the problem is that you are asking the wrong people the question, because most of us have been "in the family" four or five years, maybe more, and we've had the opportunity to be very close to Rev. Moon and his wife and their nine children. Rev. Moon spends a lot of time coming out here with us. We've also seen how he works. Most of us have been on tours across the country with him. Everything that we see him do and say is consistent. So it is, as Lloyd was saying, that our lives have been totally humbled before this man and this woman who live such sacrificial lives. It doesn't matter to me what anyone would tell me about his past life- I believe what he has said and what I have seen. I believe in this man.
Jan Weido: Just a little more about sinlessness. You referred to the 120-day training manual. The logic is Mr. Sudo's logic. He says only a sinless man could discover the cause of original sin. Is that what you are looking at?
Paul Eshleman: Yes, and it also says, "Father is sinless, mother is sinless, the children are sinless..."
Jan Weido: I think that, in some way or another, we Moonies would say we believe Rev. Moon is sinless; but we would also say...
Paul Eshleman: How did he choose the wrong wife, then? He's had a couple of wives, different children...
Jan Weido: Let me finish my point; maybe then we can get into that. In the messianic age, God prepares certain indemnity conditions, and a certain foundation is prepared. It's not just that one man is born sinless. God doesn't want to lay all His money on one person. There are maybe 120 sinless people who go through the course. The one who makes it through is the messiah. Not that Rev. Moon is the incarnation or whatever, but that he has to work it out. Anywhere along the line he could have blown it. In the prison camp, he was the next in line to be shot. If this story is true, he could have had a bullet in his head; if, for some reason, he had laid bad conditions, that could have happened, but he made it through all of this. Maybe there is some other guy walking around out in a mud hut in Africa somewhere, a guy who, if Rev. Moon blows it, will come up and take the mantle of the messiah and push the providence through. It's not going to stop. If Rev. Moon doesn't do it, then someone else will. There's a multiplicity of sinless people.
Mark Branson: By sinless, you mean he doesn't have original sin? He's never deviated from the will of God? What do you mean?
Jan Weido: He's born without original sin.
Mark Branson: And therefore he has never made a mistake, he's never...
Several voices: No, no. That's not true.
Anthony Guerra: One could be born sinless and still sin. In other words, in our view, Adam and Eve were born without sin, but they failed later on. Mark Branson: He was born without original sin and he has never done anything against the will of God? Is that true? That's what I would say about Jesus, that He was born without original sin and never did anything against God's will.
Jonathan Wells: I'd like to respond to that and to an earlier question. I would say that Rev. Moon is sinless. Whether he's done anything against the will of God I think is an unanswered question, because in the Unification doctrine there's a growth period that everyone has to go through, during which time one is not under God's direct dominion.
I don't believe he has sinned, but -- and that leads into this question over here -- what if somebody were to discover some really serious problem? I think Unification church members have to say, if they are honest, that, if something like that were to come up and be validated, then it would seriously jeopardize Rev. Moon's credibility and perhaps even the credibility of the Divine Principle and our entire movement. Certainly it would destroy a lot of faith.
Irving Hexham: I'd like to get to the point directly: under what conditions would you leave the Unification church?
Jonathan Wells: That I won't even try to answer, because that varies from individual to individual, and people are leaving all the time for various reasons. But I have watched Rev. Moon because I'm a skeptical person by nature, and I haven't seen evidence of any wrongdoing. Professor Frederick Sontag, who, despite what some people may say about him, is really a pretty objective observer, has gone to Korea, and has talked to the people who originated some of these rumors that you hear about Rev. Moon's sex life, prison and corruption, and all this. He talked to those people, and he concluded that those rumors are unsubstantiated.
Warren Lewis: I asked Fred why he avoided the sex issue in his book, the one question that the prurient minds of all of us would like to see raised. He said he looked into every document that anybody has brought up anywhere -- it never existed beyond the newspapers in Korea. There is no evidence against Rev. Moon.
Tirza Shilgi: I think that, even if Rev. Moon is sinless, and he has chosen the right wife, there is still the possibility that his wife will not fulfill her mission, and therefore will just walk away. And it's impossible for him to force his will on her just as much as it is impossible for God to force His own love on us. So it is possible that Jesus, who was sinless, could fulfill His mission from beginning to end, but the people would not fulfill their mission, which is to recognize Him and believe in Him, and therefore the office would not be fulfilled, and the kingdom would not come -- God's will would not be realized. So there's always what God establishes, but then there's always an element that needs to respond -- the restoration needs to take place in the people, which means that they have to change. They have to respond. It's not magic that falls on them; so, even if Jesus Himself is totally perfect and sinless, and everything else, the process of restoration still depends upon people's response and change.
Rod Sawatsky: We have moved rather a long way from our initial topic of conversation. We are going to break now for dinner and I would suggest that this evening we turn our attention to the issue of deprogramming.
Pete Sommer: I think that deprogramming is something that most of us would say is very wrong. It's tragic. I'm not sure I want to spend a lot of time on it. I think we're in agreement.
Virgil Cruz: I have not had the privilege of talking about deprogramming with Unification church members. I've been impressed by members of our team who have said deprogramming is indeed something that they would totally object to. I wish I could be converted to that view. And I think it would be very easy to do that. I think there is someone here who could give us a testimony that would make me a missionary to carry that word out to people I know. As an Evangelical, I think that I should feel close to that person. So, if it wouldn't take too much time, I would like some personal exposure to this topic.
Rod Sawatsky: Mark Wilenchik is going to share his story with us.
Mark Wilenchik: All good stories have to begin somewhere, so let's start with my graduation in 1975 from the University of Connecticut. I graduated with a degree in economics and was a confirmed communist, having studied Marxism during my last three years at college. I was accepted into the New School for Social Research graduate school in New York City to study Marxist economics in a Masters program with a Ph.D. option. I was very serious. Upon completion of my undergraduate work, I traveled across the country with two other fellows and met the Unification church in Berkeley, California, sometime in August of 1975. The other thing of importance is that I am Jewish. So you have a Jewish Red. (laughter)
I traveled, as I said, and met the church and became involved. How I joined the church is a funny story, in that it reveals how I didn't want to go to the introductory dinner, I didn't want to go to the weekend workshop, and I didn't want to stay for the first week; but I had a friend who wanted to stay and, being somewhat loyal, I decided to stay, too. But then, as I began to spend my summer at the ranch in Oakland, I began to experience many things, I guess you would call it "true communism." I don't like to use that word. I'll put it in quotes.
In the California family I began to find people who were working for an ideal, people who were sacrificing for the good of mankind, people who were trying to share true values with each other. The California family provided a sharp contrast to other friends of mine who I'd thought were going to change the world. I saw, before I left the University of Connecticut, two of my professors, brilliant men, one from Cambridge, and one from Yale, Ph.D.s who were both involved with each other's lives, and wives! Their families ended up smashed apart. These people were not living lives that could be examples to others.
I remember one special day in California I would like to share. We heard a lecture on the mission of Jesus as it is taught in Divine Principle. In the middle of the lecture, I just started crying, and I realized that, in Jesus Christ, there was really something to be found. I was raised Jewish, and I always wondered why Christians believed what they did. I never could understand why, if people had so much love and faith, there was so much wrong in the world. I remember crying in that lecture to the point that I had to be led out. When I prayed afterwards, I saw myself at the crucifixion. And I also saw my father there. He and I were involved and I remember repenting for myself, and I repented for my father, and I repented for all Jewish people, and then I asked God to forgive me for being a communist, and then I became a Christian.
This morning I went into the chapel to figure out what I was going to say tonight. In the past, I've given this testimony but I've never had to explain about becoming a Christian, because that's not the point you start off with when you're in the family. Everybody wants to know the good details. Everybody wants to know: "How did you escape? How did you get away? Who did you fool? Who'd you trick? How did you do it?" But Heavenly Father really told me that you all should hear about my conversion as the first thing that happened to me: how a "Jewish Red" became a Christian.
The most important thing that I want to share tonight is that, when I was deprogrammed, when they locked me in the room, when they locked the windows, when they guarded the house, when they did all these things, they were trying to deprogram me from Christianity. That's my message tonight. My parents were there. I told them. I said right to their face: "Do you realize what you're doing to me?" And I had respect for them; I didn't have anger. They didn't understand. All the negative people were in a closed room less than one-fifth the size of this room, where all I heard was profanity, swearing, everything, you name it. Finally it got to a point where that was making me stronger, because I became disgusted by what they were saying. How could they be godly? How could their message be the truthful message? Could it be? It couldn't.
That Sunday morning when I was kidnapped by my parents, I was the one who had arranged to see them after I came to New York. I had been working with the church for three months at the time. I arranged our meeting with good faith! "Come see me, meet my friends." There was 100% trust on my part.
A funny thing happened that Sunday at morning service. A sister came over to me and said that a fellow named Peter T had left the church. I said, "I don't even know him.
What do you mean?" She shrugged her shoulders and walked away. That very afternoon, I was introduced to Peter T as the assistant deprogrammer. That God had told me ahead of time that Peter T was going to be there showed me clearly that He was with me. That foreshadowing kept my faith alive the whole day. Between that incident and that of being barraged with abuse helped to keep me strong the first day.
I mentioned at the beginning of my talk that I traveled out to California with three other people. One of these friends, Michael, was also kidnapped at the same time. He had joined for awhile and was kidnapped at the same time I was by Joe Alexander, Jr. (Joe Alexander is one of the leading deprogrammers.) They had Michael in New Haven, Connecticut, and they had me in Long Island. Michael was deprogrammed.
Each day was basically the same. I was forced to sit on a couch, three people sitting right in front of me just nailing me. They couldn't think of enough things to say; it was really terrible. One funny thing happened that I'll share with you. All my clothes that I was wearing were bought during my summer by the church. I was in New York -- I had come from California, so I was wearing new winter clothes. The deprogrammers made me take off all my clothes and gave me new ones. This was to disassociate me from anything that had to do with the church. My socks, which the church had bought, I had to give away, my shoes I had to give away, everything. But then, a half hour later, who comes back in but Peter T wearing all my clothes! (laughter)
That night passed by and I didn't sleep. I remember I prayed all night. In fact, I was lying on a couch similar to this one, and someone was sleeping beside me. The windows were all nailed shut. I tried to figure out what to do, what to do! It was in the middle of one of their barrages that my strategy became, "I'm not going to answer them." But after a few hours I realized I couldn't do that because they had the hammers, they had the nails, they had the windows locked. So, eventually, I had enough and got up and just started screaming. But what I started screaming was rational, about the situation in the world. I started talking about communism, I guess because I had been a communist before. I spoke just to let it out -- like a safety valve. And then the most amazing thing happened. Ironically, they started believing me. They started listening. Why? Because, if you think about it, if you're lecturing to your class for six hours straight, and then all of a sudden somebody else says something, pow, (laughter) it doesn't matter what they say! And also, because I don't think they knew what they were saying either. So they began to think that I was being deprogrammed, but all I was doing was telling them about the world. They didn't know what was going on, so bit by bit I began to realize that anything I said they were going to believe. But, it took a while to realize that. So that's how the first day passed. I realized that I was a captive, and I had to get away, but somehow there was little hope that anything I could do could free me.
The second day went a lot like the first, the same kind of barrage. Joe Alexander came that day, and he started talking to me about the Bible. That was very interesting, because I don't think I had read the New Testament prior to joining the Oakland family -- perhaps not even once! So, all he kept doing was telling me these intricate Bible verses that he'd claim were contradictory to the Divine Principle. This strategy was totally ineffective because I didn't know what he was talking about anyway. And then my parents came in and they thought it was a little weird, since they are Jewish, to come in and hear these guys talking about the New Testament. They didn't dig that so much, either. (laughter)
That evening they started to move me to a new location. It's really dangerous to keep someone at the same place, because they never know if the police are going to come, so they moved me to the T house. What happened there was very amazing. The T s are very wealthy people -- their house had huge rugs, chandeliers, gold silverware, the whole bit. I went to their house, and, as we say sometimes in the church, God leaves you. God left. From the moment I walked into that house, the only thing that I could think of was, "This is the way Rev. Moon lives." We're out fundraising, we're out doing all this hard work, and this is the way Rev. Moon lives. You're crazy, kid. When you were a communist, you wouldn't even have walked into this house. These are the "pigs." These are the capitalists. These are the people that are causing all the problems. What are you doing here? And it came heavy, and it came really hard. And I have to admit I didn't know what to think. I really didn't. So I persuaded them to let me go to the bathroom alone. I got into the bathroom, I closed the door, and I locked it. And I started praying. I got down on my knees, and prayed so hard that my nose started to bleed. But no answer, no answer at all.
After a while they were worried about me, so they started knocking on the door. They made me open it, and they saw all the blood, so they didn't know what to think. Then they started really going after me because they could sense that something was happening. And, for the rest of the night, from maybe 12 o'clock at night to six in the morning, they were constantly at me, worse than the first day, worse than the second afternoon. And I was irrational because I didn't know what I believed anymore. When I reflect on that night I realize the reason for my confusion was that the two ideas or beliefs can't exist at the same place (in the same mind) at the same time -- we've got only one brain -- and that was what was happening to me. The way I finally started pulling out of it was that I made what we call a condition: I would scream at the top of my lungs with all of my heart and with all my soul. I said this to God before I did it. That night everything the deprogrammers said was directed against Rev. Moon. There was nothing else except Rev. Moon, Rev. Moon, Rev. Moon. The idea of trying to separate me from some kind of relationship with him was their strategy at the time. So, I thought, I'll just have to look the tiger in the mouth; and I just screamed with all my heart at the top of my lungs: "I claim this room for Rev. Moon." (laughter)
And, now that I look back on it, I can't think of anything that they would have hated more, but still I really don't know why I did it. And, also, I'd said to God before I did it that I would do it three times. By the third time, I was soaking wet with perspiration; this was six hours, remember, I'm not kidding. And I did it twice, and I had to do it a third time. And, because I didn't have enough faith, I did it a fourth time, (laughter) I'd told God I was going to do it three times but I did it four, just in case He didn't hear the first one! And then I just gave up. I said, O.K., forget it. Heavenly Father, I've done as much as I can. I can't do any more. It had been six hours! I couldn't do any more -- I hadn't slept. So then that feeling that I had when I first walked into the house went away. The feeling that God was right there came to me. And, when they started asking questions, God just seemed to give all the answers. This was the beginning of their thinking I was deprogrammed. But, of course, that was just the beginning of my coming around to my faith again.
The next day, I began trying to talk them into letting me sow my own oats, and I started talking about how I hadn't seen any girls for three months and how it would be good to go out for a ride with a girl that was there. They started believing it. They didn't allow me to leave, but they did let me go into the back yard of the T s' house -- if you remember, it was a very big house. When I was in the back yard talking with the girl, I started telling her about immorality; I started talking to her and talking to her. And I took off, running through the back yards. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon, and it was almost dusk. I ran about five hundred yards, saw a pile of leaves, and jumped in. They started running after me, but couldn't find me. Twenty minutes later they came walking through the leaves and stepped on me! (laughter) What do I do now? I'm supposed to be deprogrammed. Why would I run away? It's going to start all over again. What am I going to do now? Heavenly Father? He said, "Play dead. Play unconscious. Don't deal with them." So, when they tried to wake me up I wouldn't react. They slapped me in the face, but I wouldn't react. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew ( I don't know why, maybe I read it somewhere) that if I could get to a hospital I could tell the doctor, tell him I've been kidnapped. I'm over twenty-one. They've got to let me go. So that became my hope. To make a long story short, they took me into the house and couldn't revive me, so they drove me to a nearby hospital. There, I talked to the doctor about my situation. The doctor was amazed by what I told him, and left the room to speak to the people who'd brought me. The doctor then came back in and talked to me again. He couldn't believe it. We've got to realize the doctor's situation. This was the hospital emergency room. He didn't understand anything. After talking to him three times, I convinced him. He came back in and said, "O.K., no problem, you can go. You can call up the church, no problem." When the "deprogrammers" found out, along with my parents, they came back in and had terrible feelings toward me, but they couldn't do anything. Five minutes later they came storming back into the room, ten of them, picked me up in my underwear, dragged me out of the hospital, and threw me in a car!
It's ironic. Looking back now, I kept seeming to get away, to escape, but I never could accomplish it. Eventually I was to realize that God didn't want me to get away by running. I had "escaped" two times but I wasn't able to get free. So, through the process of the next three weeks of being with them, twenty-one days in all, I totally convinced them that I was normal. I went to a psychiatrist and the whole bit, because they couldn't figure me out. One day I was running away; one day I was deprogrammed. Never did they fully realize that I was just faking it. After twenty-one days, I had to sign a legal paper at a lawyer's office saying that, if I ever go back to the church, it's not of my own free will. I researched that action myself and found out it doesn't mean anything, because it's signed under duress; if you sign anything under duress, it means it is not legally binding. After three weeks I "arranged" to go back to visit the University of Connecticut to see my friends, and, instead of going east on Route 84 to Hartford, I went west to Tarrytown, New York, with my mom's car. That's how I finally got away. And, to add one really short postscript, as I was driving the car, I was really excited and happy and crying, and all of a sudden this sense came over me -- a feeling, "What if they don't take you back?" What if they don't take me back into the Unification church? I can't be punished anymore. Where can I go -- I'm not a communist anymore.. .my friends aren't living Christian lives. It was like saying, "What if God doesn't take me back?" But, they took me back, and the past three years have been deeply rewarding.
Paul Eshleman: Have you seen your folks?
Mark Wilenchik: Yes.
Paul Eshleman: How is it with them?
Mark Wilenchik: Mrs. Spurgin's helped me with this. The first year, I was always faithful to my parents. When I was on the different fundraising teams, I called them quite a bit. As I look back on that, it might not have been the best idea. I called them every other week, which is more than I was calling them when I was in college. I was faithful to them, because I wanted more than anything else to show them that I was doing what I believed in and that I understood what I was doing. So, I figured that, if I could do something "religiously," rationally, with them in mind, then they could begin to come around. Before I left for England in June, 1978,1 visited with them, here at the Seminary. I also saw them about three weeks ago. I surprised them and went home, and it was a very good visit. Just a little note -- my sister is a Hassidic Jew. She became a Hassidic and then married a Hassidic. So how do you put the pieces together? Prior to her conversion, she was not religious either.
Paul Eshleman: Aren't you afraid to go home, afraid that they might imprison you again?
Mark Wilenchik: Yes, actually, I was. That's why I dropped in on them about midnight. But now I'm beginning to trust them again, because they're displaying that they can be trusted. But I think I'll always have an eye open...
Paul Eshleman: Why did the other guy quit? Can you give some reasons about it?
Mark Wilenchik: Mike's nature was happy-go-lucky. He was the "spiritual" one of the original trio. I was the serious one, and the other guy was the "try-anything-once" type of guy. Michael's the one that wanted to go to the first dinner; he's the one who wanted to go for the weekend workshop and the one who wanted most to stay the week at Booneville. So I think Michael's problem was that he never got serious. He never committed himself; he never gave himself to God. He just gave himself to himself. He re-met an old girlfriend during his kidnapping, and that romantic situation helped to pull him out. One time during the three weeks I was held, I went out to dinner with Michael, after he'd been deprogrammed, with Sandy, the guy who helped pull him out, and with Debby, his girlfriend. And the whole evening I had to fake being deprogrammed. It's an incredible thing to speak 100% what you don't believe. Try it for a while.
Paul Eshleman: What are the experiences of the thousands who have been through the deprogramming process? What do they reject? If they have accepted Christ through their experience, do they reject Christ, or do they reject the church? What do most of them end up rejecting? Does anybody know?
Mark Wilenchik: I have one view. I think they reject the straight and narrow path, religious life; they feel that it's not necessary to walk the certain path that we talk about here.
Paul Eshleman: Was there any thought in your mind as you came back that, if the church rejected you, you still had Christ, or is it the Unification view that they're inextricable?
Mark Wilenchik: Personally, after being a Christian for three months, what I felt was that my religious relationship had always been more of one with God. Being raised in the Jewish tradition, it is just God without Jesus. That's just me. It's something I've got to work out in my life of faith. Yet today, in the chapel, I had the deepest experience of my life with Jesus, and it was clearly from God. I didn't know what I was going to say today. I have never given my testimony in this way before, trying to explain my conversion. When I got up from my chair in the chapel, I said to Heavenly Father something to the effect that "My life is for You." Those were my last words, and the spirit of that saying was so intense that all I could do was to sit down again and start praying. This is the kind of experience I had this morning with Christ.
Charles Barfoot: I guess a good evangelical question would be, if you left this organization, whether the centrality of Christ would still be there. I guess maybe that's what I would hope for you.
Mark Wilenchik: I don't think the Unification church would say anything else either. I don't think we'd say, if anyone left the church, that they could not find Christ.
Evangelical Y: I think that people pass through Campus Crusade, to use that as an example; that's perhaps a way station, it hits them at a right time. Certain churches have hit me at the right time, and I've gone on, but I don't see my commitment to Christ as any less strong.
Mark Wilenchik: If someone left Campus Crusade for Christ and joined the Unification church, Paul would probably say, "I hope someday they come back."
Paul Eshleman: The issue would not be whether they left the movement or not, but what their commitment to Christ is and what they are doing about it. If somebody left, and just wasted away his life, that would be too bad, but thousands come and go, and the question is, "How's your life with the Lord? Are you following Him and doing what He wants you to do?"
Patricia Zulkosky: I think unfortunately a lot of people who go through the deprogramming experience lose faith completely. Some have been forced to defecate on the Bible as proof that they are giving up all regard for such holy traditions. In a similar way, there are a number of people in our generation who were very involved in the anti-war movement or civil rights movement. They put their whole heart and soul into the cause, but the movements fell apart, and their idealism was crushed. They became so disillusioned with trying to make a positive impact on the world that they just threw their hands up in despair and said, "What the heck. I'm just going to go off and lead my own selfish life and let the world suffer and do whatever it wants. I'm not going to do anything about it." Deprogrammed members may be involved in deprogramming activities for a while, because they have to prove that they are deprogrammed, but, once they get out of that circuit, they just become completely apathetic. Not only apathetic to the Unification church, but apathetic to Christ, apathetic to social involvement and commitment. With social movements, the purpose of life is taken away because the social movement loses its power, but, in the case of deprogramming, it's a forcible, actual brainwashing situation where your values are taken away but nothing is put back in their place.
Rod Sawatsky: I'd like to cut it off now.
Paul Eshleman: Is salvation a category for the Unification church?
Several voices: Yes, spiritual salvation and physical salvation...
Paul Eshleman: I would like to hear a definition of spiritual salvation and hear how a Moonie knows he has spiritual salvation.
Johnny Sonneborn: I knew before I came to the Unification church. I can define spiritual salvation in terms of being born into a living hope, I think that is the best expression. We know that God loves us and will always love us; therefore, we have hope in being free of accusation, being free of those who say, "Don't hope, God doesn't love you; He can't help you, you'll be eternally dead." We can repel these accusations and turn against Satan spiritually. Though we can't tell Satan entirely that we are free of sin, we can say we have faith, and so he can't separate us from the love of Christ Jesus.
Richard Quebedeaux: Would you agree with the four spiritual laws?
Johnny Sonneborn: I forget what the fourth is, but I remember that I originally had some problem with it...
Paul Eshleman: 1) God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. 2) Man is sinful and separated from God, so he can't experience it. 3) Jesus Christ was God's only provision for man's sin through His death on the cross. 4) We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Evangelical X: Wait a minute. Explain your agreement with the third one. The word only there...
Johnny Sonneborn: This is a statement of present reality -- Jesus. Having been resurrected, Jesus became the means of salvation that has been affirmed -- that's exactly what God did.
Jonathan Wells: I know a professor who says the essence of Christianity is the affirmation that Jesus is unsurpassable. I affirmed that with him, and he challenged me, since he knows something about Unification theology. We finally narrowed it down to finality; in other words, as I explained earlier, the salvation brought by Jesus was complete -- there was nothing lacking in it. However, according to Unification doctrine, that salvation was rejected by Jesus' contemporaries in a way that makes it necessary for it to be brought again at the second advent, which supersedes the first advent in this sense.
Paul Eshleman: Can we go back, then, to the question of the individual? How do you, at this point, have assurance of your spiritual salvation? I don't want necessarily to single you out, but how does the Unification theology have assurance of your personal salvation? What is necessary?
Dan Davies: Christian rebirth comes first by guidance from the Holy Spirit and second by acceptance of Jesus as Christ, as Lord. I was guided by the Holy Spirit to a knowledge and acceptance of Jesus Christ. As to how I have assurance of spiritual salvation, I think you're talking about the rebirth experience. I can only speak for myself: I was a Christian when I joined the Unification movement, and, when I had a rebirth experience, my whole heart changed. I turned from my sinful life. Not that I was sinless, but my attitude changed, my heart changed, the love I felt changed. In talking with members, I've found that there are different ways in which people experience change of heart. Some people are gradual; I can't speak for everybody, but I know members who have had gradual change. I think you know you're experiencing spiritual salvation by a change of heart, toward your own self and toward other people.
Anthony Guerra: Let me say that I think this is a real problem in Christian theology. Some people believe that in order to be saved you have to confess the Holy Spirit and Jesus, and there are other people who believe that confession is not necessary -- in fact you might not be sure about your status, but that grace is administered through the sacraments, which are efficacious, independent of your attitude.
Evangelical X: I think Evangelicals would agree with that. I mean Luther would agree with what was just said, certainly evangelical Lutherans...
Paul Eshleman: I missed the last phrase...
Anthony Guerra: What I said was that one's personal view of assurance is irrelevant to the fact of salvation for some segments of Christianity, those which find efficacy through the sacraments, for instance.
Evangelical X: Yes, Luther was very much doubtful of feelings as the gauge of one's certainty...
Paul Eshleman: But what about the sacramental part of it?
Warren Lewis: If you want to talk about sacraments, you could talk about faith and not define it as a feeling...
Paul Eshleman: That was the essence of Luther's break -- he said that salvation was by faith and not simply by the sacraments...
Richard Quebedeaux: Also, in Holiness and in some forms of pentecostal Christianity, which I call evangelical, there is no assurance of salvation, but there is a hope in my parents' Pentecostal Church of God. Most of the people literally say, "Well, I hope I'm going to make it. If I persevere." But there is no assurance, and this is very much akin to Catholicism, which is one reason why Catholicism and Pentecostalism have seemed to join together.
Charles Barfoot: Having grown up in the Assemblies of God, having six ministers of the Assemblies of God in the family (laughter) not I, no! (laughter)... I remember the testimonials, especially the standard phrase at the end, "And I want to go all the way with Him." It was that kind of thing; we really doubted if we were going to make it. But the other thing that I told Richard before is that there were a lot of problems, especially with the more far-out people -- there were all sorts of stereotypes. We were just talking about A. A. Allen, for instance. He left many a piano player a gift after the revivals, but I think one of the reasons that one could keep functioning was speaking in tongues. It almost became an ethic: "You were saved because you could speak in tongues." That was your assurance. I do think there is an assurance... and I wanted to raise that in terms of the Holy Spirit. I almost wanted to take both sides today, sitting in the middle, maybe...what role does the Holy Spirit play? -- and I really don't want to jump the gun on that, but you mentioned it -- is it just a rational kind of thing, or do you feel glad, do you feel guided; I mean, are you moved?
Dan Davies: You can say the official name for the Unification church is the Holy Spirit Association.. .for me it is a real experience.
Evangelical X: But how does that experience function? I mean, I've looked at the Divine Principle, and I feel bored -- I don't think I can get moved to read that kind of thing, but...
Dan Davies: Many people read the Bible and are bored, too...
Evangelical X: Yes, that's true of any spiritual discipline...
Charles Barfoot: If one converts -- I'm more interested in conversion, or joining -- is one motivated by the Spirit -- is there..?
Dan Davies: Yes, I would say it's like this. I can speak personally, and then I think other people can talk. I was in search of the truth. And I feel that my search was controlled by the Holy Spirit, and, in my search for truth, I was led to Jesus Christ because I considered all possibilities, so the Holy Spirit moves me and other people to God and to Jesus Christ.
Charles Barfoot: You said you were led by the Holy Spirit. I guess, Dan, you were talking about two women who were involved with Aimee Semple McPherson -- sort of "old Moonies." Do you think that the motivation of being led by the Spirit can attract you to charismatic heights? Perhaps your allegiance, then, to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, somehow gets moved over to Rev. Moon? I think that, in "classical pentecostalism," Aimee Semple McPherson was undoubtedly a goddess to her followers; I mean, I'm sure that, when the roll is called up yonder, they'll want to see her up there -- they'll want to see her just as much as, say, Jesus.
Dan Davies: Well, I think I see what you're saying... Frankly, in my life, I intuit the will of God, and I do that basically through prayer -- I test things that way, and...
Evangelical Y: You said intuition. Would you say there is spiritual discernment?
Dan Davies: I don't know exactly how to say it in theological terms. I follow the will of the Holy Spirit as I sense it through intuition; and, in the course of following it, I was led to the Unification church. I had heard no negative things about the Unification church. I just looked at what was taught. I hadn't been brought up in any doctrine, so I didn't have to plow through all that.
Johnny Sonneborn: Herman ten Bokkel Huinink was an Evangelical who had a very close personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, and one of our sisters witnessed to him. He saw from the very beginning that our doctrine was not evangelical, and, at that point, he waited to hear her out so he could save her. Finally, she taught the whole thing; he was very patient and listened very carefully, as he really wanted to understand her. When she was finished, he prayed to the Holy Spirit about how he could save this girl, and the Holy Spirit said, "Herman, they're right, you must join them." So he did, and he was led by the voice of the Holy Spirit -- that's an extreme case. There are those led to us by the Holy Spirit; there are others who come through the teachings; the truth; others through the way of life, the commitment.
We believe that people come led by the spirit and truth. I don't think you can make a case that all of us are spiritual people who are naturally attracted to a charismatic figure. Some people undoubtedly know him as a truth-teller.
Frank Kaufmann: I'd like to respond to Paul about our salvific relationship to Jesus Christ. People who join the Unification church don't necessarily have a conversion experience at that time. But, the way of life prescribed by the Unification church will lead all members to become aware of their sinfulness and also to know, with absolute conviction, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the salvation of our sins. This is an unshakable faith. Now, there are members within the Unification church who may not have come to that realization yet, but the way of life and the teachings of the Unification church will lead each and every member to the absolute understanding of his own sinfulness and the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins.
Tom Carter: In our daily life, we have many experiences that we describe as experiences with God. From the way you described the movement of the Holy Spirit, I think it would be the same thing, only instead of saying "Holy Spirit," we say God. I think that in reading through the Divine Principle one notices a lack of definition of exactly who or what the Holy Spirit is, but, from the way you seem to describe what the Holy Spirit is, the way you view it in your life, and the way you respond to it, that's what I would call God moving in my life. I think it is the same.
Nora Spurgin: I just want to say that both the Holy Spirit and Jesus (the spirit of Jesus) are very present in our lives. And so, because we believe in the Divine Principle and in Rev. Moon as coming with a further understanding, this does not negate the spirit of Jesus and the Holy Spirit working in our lives. We believe very much that both are very present and very much leading us into the future kingdom.
Also, I just wanted to respond a little bit to something that we feel about the Holy Spirit. Because Jesus is the model for masculinity -- for perfect masculinity -- and because He brings to us an example of God's heart as a masculine parent, we need that feminine kind of parentage too which we see as a different kind of energy. So, we believe that the energy that comes through the Holy Spirit is a different kind of energy -- it's nurturing, leading to truth, a kind of motherly spirit.
Warren Lewis: I came across the following question while putting my book on the Holy Spirit together.2 It shows how the Rev. Moon puts his feminist doctrine of the Spirit together with current social notions: "The phenomenon of women being able to rise and entrench themselves in power is very recent, showing that the time has come when God will elevate one woman to be the physical Holy Spirit. This is the time for the birth of the true Eve. God is looking for the ideal woman who has the qualifications and potential to become a true wife and a true mother, eventually the true queen, or empress, of the universe. Every woman is a candidate for this position, which is why women in general have been given a chance to rise."3
Dan Davies: I would like to speak more of repentance as it relates to conversion. It seems to me that repentance plays the same role in conversion that it does in an experience of Jesus and of God at any time. I think it is necessary for a person to become painfully aware of his sin; I think that is the pre-condition for the Holy Spirit to come to work in the heart, and that doesn't just apply to conversion. I think that applies to any time we want to offer ourselves up to God; it's necessary to acknowledge our sin and be sorry for it. Then, on that pre-condition, the Holy Spirit can work in our hearts and lives.
Anthony Guerra: I just wanted to register my problem with evangelical, or maybe it's Campus Crusade, theology concerning this point of repentance. It seems to me you're looking for a very particular formula for people to confess, which marks them as saved. It strikes me that there are different ways of being saved and of living a Christian life. If there is an underlying assumption that all people must come to God in a certain way, I would be opposed to that. The Unification theology of the spiritual life cannot be classified as dogmatic. I would say that we find many ways in which one could have an experience with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and that the subjective manifestation of that experience may vary from person to person, and that it may have something to do with the person's background. For instance, if one comes from a Buddhist background, then the way one will experience salvation may be different from that of the person who comes from a Christian family with six ministers in his lineage.
We talk about an economic trinity, where God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit communicate love to one another and then express that love to the believer who stands in the fourth position as the child, receiving the spiritual love that gives him a new vision and the possibility to live a life closer to God.
Don Deffner: There are many ways in which the Spirit works -- providing varieties of gifts, spiritual gifts. Would you grant, however, that one's salvation is 100% the work of God? That even repentance is not my cooperating with God, but God at work in me. It's not 95% God and then 5% me; but I am saved solely by grace through faith, "not because of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:9)
Johnny Sonneborn: Our faith is the condition by which we receive God's grace.
Franz Feige: I had different repentance experiences, similar to the experiences that the New Testament Christians had in the primitive church. At times, I felt God's Spirit entering me and showing me the purity of His love and, based on this, I could see the difference between His love, or the Holy Spirit's love, and the love in this fallen world. Feeling the greatness of His love, I would have a deep experience of repentance, with many tears. At other times repentance would come in a way that I first really felt at the rock bottom of hell, in my sin; then I would begin to repent, feeling more and more God's Spirit entering me. These are different types of experiences. But, I found out that repentance does not come at random. When I do a lot of works, when I show God through many tests of my perseverance and my faith, then that type of experience comes more often. So I realized that the number of repentance experiences depends very much on me, though I cannot predict when they will happen. When one happens, I realize that it is actually God's gift. Yet, I have more repentance experiences when I lead a better way of life. So, it acts on my works to a certain degree, but, finally, it is God's gift for me.
Also, I want to say that I don't think the traditional Christian notion of salvation and our concept of salvation are the same.
Rod Sawatsky: I'm glad you introduced that right at this point, because we need to push it harder. Right now it looks as if the two are pretty similar, but I wonder if that's so.
Jonathan Wells: The concept of salvation in traditional Christianity is like a switch in a railroad yard: after death, or at the Last Judgment, you go one way or the other, either to heaven or to hell, based on God's weighing of your good or bad deeds, or predestination, or any criteria you want to name. There's a discontinuity between heaven and hell that is not present in Unification theology. In Unification theology, the spiritual world, just like the physical world, is more of a continuum, and it's a matter of distance from God. So, the highest realm of the spiritual world is that realm which has the closest relationship to God; the lowest realm would contain those spirits which are furthest from God. Now, when a person dies and leaves his physical body, his spirit continues in the same state as it was at his death; that's a very important consideration. It means that during my life the spiritual state which I attain becomes the spiritual state in which I continue after my death. So salvation -- actually we tend not to use this word in Unification theology; we talk more about restoration -- becomes the work of the Holy Spirit through my physical body here on earth. It's more like sanctification. From the standpoint of Unification theology it doesn't make much sense to ask somebody how he knows for sure he is saved. When you have asked that, you may have noticed a bit of a silence.
Richard Quebedeaux: That strikes me as a rather traditional understanding that I could resonate with. Would other Evangelicals call that salvation?
Frank Kaufmann: Without Christ working in your life, you're incapable of living or attaining a spiritual level beyond a certain point. In other words, no matter how many good works you do, your sinfulness will prevent you from ever going beyond a certain spiritual level. It is from our sinful nature that we need the salvation Christ has provided for us if we truly repent and recognize Him as our Savior. But that is not the final consideration of Unification, which is what Jonathan described; sanctification, or restoration, is closer to the primary consideration for Unification.
Tirza Shilgi: I think there is an essential difference between what we in the Unification church define as the goal of salvation and the understanding of the goal of salvation in evangelical Christianity, in that we see the goal of salvation as being perfected man, whereas Evangelicals would define their goal of salvation as forgiveness of sin. So the whole notion of salvation ties up with the original purpose of creation, which is to be perfect, and forgiveness is the means by which you attain that perfection.
Jonathan Wells: It may sound as though there is a contradiction between what I said and what Frank said. But there isn't. He's talking about the starting point, the moment of repentance. I'm stressing a later stage. And it's from that point on that Unification theology gets interesting.
Joseph Hopkins: Jonathan, did I hear you saying that we cross over into eternity on the same spiritual level as our attainment here on earth? You didn't say eternity, but that's what I assume you meant.
Jonathan Wells: Spiritual world. Our spirits are with us now, yours and mine, but they are eternal.
Joseph Hopkins: Do you not have a doctrine of glorification, as in Pauline theology, that instantly upon death the process of sanctification is completed and we are glorified?
Warren Lewis: Well, yes, they do, but it doesn't come out like that. The glorification process is a continuing, gradual process in the spirit world...
Tirza Shilgi: Ideally, though, it should happen here on earth. Ideally, it should be accomplished by the time you depart from this world. But, because of the fall, right now we can't, so unfortunately, we have to continue our process of salvation in the spirit world.
Evangelical X: In evangelical theology, except in the Holiness churches, the attainment of spiritual succession is so far from human possibility that we believe it simply can't be accomplished until death, and then it happens instantly.
Dan Davies: As long as you mention the Holiness movements, there is a different belief there, especially in Wesley. His concept was that, upon rebirth you were justified, and you were on the road to sanctification, and that your full sanctification or glorification could only come about through good works.
Rod Sawatsky: I would really like us to push on in the direction of restoration and Unification marriage. I think we have kept circling on this too long.
Johnny Sonneborn: Just to put plainly what was said here, salvation through Jesus or what we call spiritual salvation, is not enough. One goes to Paradise, but he is not completely happy since lots of other people are in hell. Therefore, one has only really reached the intermediate level -- one has repented, one is now ready to die for God, but one doesn't have fulfillment, one can't marry for God, have children for God in this world, and see the world as one family. Therefore, we believe in physical salvation -- salvation is quite often called physical rebirth -- in which we are not only adopted children of God, but we become true children of God. That opens another door. Frank said one can only reach a certain level without Jesus. Then, having been spiritually saved by Jesus, your physical sinfulness -- the law in our members which is at war with the law of God -- prevents one from reaching a certain completion, fulfillment and satisfaction. God and Jesus are not completely happy and fulfilled, in our teachings, therefore how could Christian saints be? This cannot happen until there stands on earth the perfect couple, and salvation spreads.
Evangelical X: May I ask a question of clarification? Are you a spiritual being in Paradise, and then are you a glorified physical being at the second coming?
Johnny Sonneborn: We don't believe that one gets another physical body; one's spiritual mind and spiritual body are eternal, and one relates through these on earth with those who have both soul and body.
Rod Sawatsky: Would somebody tell us what restoration is first, then tell us what the Blessing is?
Nora Spurgin: We haven't really talked very deeply about original sin. I think that, for Evangelicals, there is an assumption that there is original sin, so we don't have to argue about that point. We basically believe that mankind, our lineage, is sinful, and therefore Satan has a claim over us -- he can claim us as his children -- we're the sons of Satan, although we are also the sons of God. So, there is a certain double claim on us. and we can't free ourselves from that double claim -- that has to come through the mission of Christ, the messianic mission. That's what Jesus came to do, and, spiritually, He could do that, but, physically, we still pass on original sin to our children.
The value of the Blessing is that when a true parent or a set of true parents on earth are in this position, then we can be adopted into their family by receiving the Blessing from them. In the blessing of marriage, we are conditionally offered to God as if we were pure, as if we were without sin, even though we aren't, on their merit. It's a process of salvation, and, in so doing, then, we can start our own families, which are part of the new lineage and no longer pass on original sin. Now that doesn't mean that our children never sin, it doesn't mean that we can never sin, but it does mean that we're not passing that on, and that our children are more in the position of Adam and Eve: they don't inherit original sin, they don't inherit the claim of Satan over man, or the guilt that comes with that -- the sort of universal guilt that has nothing to do with what they have done, just what they've inherited. So, to us, the Blessing is the most precious and the most valuable thing in our church. To accept Jesus is the beginning. Then to accept the Blessing is a whole new level of physical salvation on earth; the beginning of a whole new lineage -- it's the beginning of the kingdom of heaven on earth. It's our hope. Our desire is to reflect God's nature as a totality, as husband and wife, who are free from Satan's claim as his sons and daughters -- we are to be the reflection of God's nature, and we hope we can live out that kind of life. It doesn't mean we are perfect -- it means that we are on our way to perfection, without Satan's claim over us.
Evangelical X: Nora, does it mean, then, that the hope is that you breed as many children as you possibly can, children who will then populate the earth with sinless nature? Is that the ultimate goal?
Nora Spurgin: We believe that the more children we have the better it would be for the whole world. That's our attitude.
Joseph Hopkins: This is a revelation to me that justification under the Divine Principle is accomplished this way. In effect, that's what you're saying, aren't you?
Jonathan Wells: Earlier, when I was leading up to Jesus, and skipped over the fall of man, I really left out the essential foundation for understanding this whole concept. At first glance, it's really strange to think about salvation in terms of a marriage and children; but in Unification theology, the fall of man becomes the key to understanding restoration and salvation. In Augustinian theology, we've got a serious problem because Adam and Eve are perfect, and it's very difficult to explain how two perfect people can commit sin. In the Unification doctrine of the fall, Adam and Eve start out as children, growing toward perfection. They were destined to be husband and wife, but God told them to refrain temporarily from marriage. Our interpretation of the commandment is that the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is a symbol for the love of an immature Eve.
Now, Lucifer was envious of Adam, who actually stood in a position of being loved by God more than Lucifer, as God's son -- I hope I'm not going too fast. What happened was that Lucifer and Eve became involved in a relationship which, little by little in the nature of intimate relationships, led to a situation in which the love between them was stronger than God's commandment, resulting in an adulterous relationship between Lucifer and Eve.
Eve, then, realizing Adam was to be her true mate, and desiring to return to God, entered into a premature sexual relationship with him. This is where we get the notion of Satan's lineage that Jesus talks about in the New Testament. Now, if that's the way the fall occurred, then the solution of sin has to be the reversal of that process. That's why the Blessing is preceded by a long period of celibacy in the Unification church, to purify this sexual contamination from the Garden of Eden.
Franz Feige: Salvation is a process of restoration. Hence, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Christianity or with our movement. It can work in everyone's life; even an atheist can participate in the process of restoration, even though he doesn't know it, through paying indemnity. What is indemnity? If something has lost its original status or position, for example a stone has fallen down, then that can be restored by bringing the stone back to its original position. Paying indemnity means paying back, reversing. The energy that I put into getting the stone back into position is called indemnity. Through that indemnity I am able to restore. Such restoration works in anybody's life. By obeying the law that Moses gave, you are restored to a higher level, you come closer to the original position. Then comes Christianity. Here I can go further by believing in Jesus Christ as my Savior. Through that love of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I can attain to a higher degree of restoration. This is restoration within Christianity, and can happen to us, too, in the Unification church. Now, restoration in the Unification church is not just entering into a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but involves being engrafted into the second advent family. This engrafting is both spiritual and physical.
It can happen that I am restored spiritually by being engrafted into Jesus' lineage a long time before I am engrafted into the second advent's lineage. In this sense, there are two different aspects of restoration -- they can take place at two different times -- and we should not confuse them. The restoration I receive through the second advent will bring me to a higher state than that of the first advent since now I can reach complete perfection, I can become completely one with God.
Rod Sawatsky: Is it at the point of marriage that this incorporation into the lineage of the second advent occurs?
Nora Spurgin: First of all, the Blessing is on the basis of our dedication, our belief. You wouldn't want to be Blessed if you didn't believe in the Divine Principle, in Rev. Moon, in the Unification church. Secondly, it is on the basis of your having, through certain steps, proved yourself, on the basis of having met certain qualifications: having led a celibate life for a period of time, having taken a seven-day fast, which is a symbol of having purified yourself of the world, and having three spiritual children, which means you've taken a parental position in raising up new babes in Christ, raising them to a position also of being able to be Blessed. So those are the basic qualifications, but they are not absolute. It's giving whatever you have -- if you've given 100%, if you've wholly given yourself and offered yourself, then you should qualify for the Blessing, no matter what your past life of sin was. After you've been exposed to the Divine Principle, once you've been exposed to this truth, then, if you've lived that to the best of your knowledge, and you offer yourself ultimately, you will receive this.
Rod Sawatsky: In order to hurry the process a little, Warren has been writing on this question. Do you want to say anything in further elaboration?
Warren Lewis: A blessed Unificationist is not twice born, but thrice born, and believes that if one is not born again, one won't ultimately be saved.
Evangelical Y: It almost sounds like the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Warren Lewis: It certainly does. It is the equivalent of new birth in pentecostalism, or the second work of grace, or the "second blessing." This is perfectionism. When Rev. Moon left the Presbyterians he went towards his present Unificationist position by way of some Methodist charismatic types and picked up some Wesleyan Holiness along the way. The perfectionist element in Unificationist thought is very strong.
How does it work for them? It is not within the Blessing that one overcomes all sin. The original sin was fornication; one must therefore go through an indemnity process of three years of celibacy -- though the time span varies -- before receiving the
Blessing. The Lord of the Second Advent is, for them, the second coming of Christ; they now belong, not just spiritually (which is what we get in Christianity) but also physically to the messiah.
Jan Weido, whom a lot of you know, once tried to talk to my father about this. Dad was a Texas Church of Christ elder, and, when he came on with all of his Texas evangelical fundamentalism, Jan listened respectfully. Dad can get you up to about the day of Pentecost, but, after that, it doesn't matter for him any more. Jan said, "Well, Brother Lewis, that's the point at which we get interested. Justification is what Jesus gets you; the Blessing is what the Lord of the Second Advent gets you. Justification, salvation of your soul, spiritual salvation are what we get in Christianity. But that's just not enough. It has not been enough for 2000 years. That's why American divorce is more successful than American marriage; that's why sexism and racism and all the other corruptions of human society are still around. Rev. Moon speaks of the failure of Christianity. Spiritual salvation is what produces the kind of mullygrubbing around, where Evangelicals get together and say pious things to one another, while the Marxists make away with the world. We Unificationists are trying to say that Jesus is O.K. as far as He goes, but He doesn't go far enough." That's what Jan Weido said to my dad.
Translating this into Christian theology, I think we can talk about sanctification of the individual life in terms of the blessed couple, and sanctification of the social order in terms of establishing a theocratic socialism for the whole world. Also, unification of the world's religions is a part of the program. But these are parts of the physical salvation which the Lord of the Second Advent has wrought. Unificationism takes Christianity with it, but goes infinitely beyond what Christianity has accomplished. With Jesus, you get forgiveness of your sins; with Luther, you're still simulpeccator; but, with the Lord of the Second Advent, the fomas peccati is rooted out. That root of sin which causes us to keep on sinning is removed through the indemnity process, so that once one has been blessed, one can achieve perfection, can give birth to sinless children, can grow up to the Edenic perfection of Adam and Eve originally intended by God.
Dan Davies: I'd like to make it clear that we do not view the fall as sexual. The cause of the fall was a selfish attitude, expressed sexually.
Whitney Shiner: It's not sex itself.
Warren Lewis: I don't think it's transmitted sexually. It's transmitted socially. Guilt, the fear of death, is a kind of existential claim Satan makes on all the descendants of Adam and Eve because of their sins. It's not an essential corruption of human nature: the "original mind" is still there, and it can be appealed to through free will. One can merit before God on the basis of getting out one's original mind, polishing it up, and using it.
Anthony Guerra: I was thinking that they should describe justification. The way I would put it is that, in the Christian tradition, the individual is justified -- that is, he receives approval from God as an individual. Then, there is the process of sanctification. in which he becomes transformed into a perfected individual, realizing the ideal person.
Warren Lewis: Only the Wesleyans believe in that degree of perfection!
Anthony Guerra: But ultimately, there will be a moment of sanctification or glorification, even if it takes till the eschaton. In Unification theology the terms of the Blessing being talked about go back to the problem of the fall. The family itself comes under the disapproval of God because Adam and Eve turned away from the commandment and centered themselves around Satan. Because of this, no family can be approved by God. Now the Blessing is not a sanctification of the family, rather it is justification on the family level. Social justification in our theology occurs at the time of the Blessing, but there is the subsequent period in which one must work towards the perfection of the family. So, it seems to me that what the Divine Principle is speaking about in terms of the Lord of the Second Advent is a kind of social justification, which makes possible individual sanctification, because ultimately individuals themselves find their realization in the family unit. Therefore, instead of talking about sanctification, I would talk about the social and family level of justification.
Rod Sawatsky: So you want two justifications -- individual and social?
Anthony Guerra: Right.
Jonathan Wells: But another point needs to be clarified. We are not Pelagian. Pelagius denied the doctrine of original sin, which we uphold. Because of original sin, it is impossible for people to become perfect by themselves; but, we are like Pelagius in affirming the power of free will. Even sinful people have enough original goodness to turn towards the good. As Johnny explained, that becomes the condition for God's grace.
Johnny Sonneborn: And also we must remember that it is only God who inspires our faith and calls us; we can never argue on that, but still it is our faith.
Don Deffner: To me Ephesians 2:8-9 would speak to this, "Not of works, lest any person boast."
Johnny Sonneborn: I think works can help put you in a position -- works may sanctify your spiritual salvation from God, or something like that. I don't think we're going to come out with your terminology, that God does everything and man has no part of it. However, I think we're not very far apart. But I haven't found the test to prove that I'm as close as I say I am, so I'll hold it in abeyance.
Let me summarize our point. Due to "original" sin, Adam and Eve could not become true parents and therefore everybody else was born without true parents. So the remedy is to be reborn into the family of the True Parents and be able to start on the way to becoming true parents ourselves. Parents blessed by God, parents as the image of God is the key thing. And you can see that it follows from what is being said now that it is not just a question of us or Rev. Moon or anybody else -- we're talking about the children. We were not born as Rev. Moon's children -- we become engrafted into the family; therefore, many have to become engrafted, not just the children we have. Everyone here will be invited to become true parents through becoming true children.
Evangelical Y: Once these people get their original sinful nature removed, what are the practical implications? How do they behave? Do they sin at all? Do they know they sin? What do they do? How do they know that something has happened other than by doing the things you said? Do the people behave differently? Are these children different from other children?
Nora Spurgin: They're different from other children in that they don't have that inherited sin.
Evangelical Y: But how do you know that? Is this simply a faith statement you make? Is the behavior exactly the same? Do the parents, and the children of Blessed couples all behave exactly the same as people who haven't been Blessed?
Warren Lewis: They don't commit fornication -- that's how they know; that is the difference.
Evangelical Y: Is that the only way you know? What about other sins? What about greed or covetousness? Can you do all of those things as long as you don't commit sexual sin?
Rod Sawatsky: We haven't dealt with what happens to the perfected children.
Evangelical Y: Or the perfected parents -- what do they do? The Wesleyans admit that they sin, and they get forgiveness again; so that's what is different here from the Wesleyan beliefs.
Nora Spurgin: We don't believe that these children and ourselves can't ever sin again. What it means is that we're in the position of not having the constant accusation of Satan that we're defiled, that we did this wrong, that we did that wrong -- that kind of accusation. We're now God's children, but it doesn't mean we can never sin or fall away from that position.
Warren Lewis: But, of course, Christians believe that Jesus accomplished that for us. I always believed I received this through being immersed in the blood of Jesus according to the Church-of-Christ baptism. Now, Satan can no longer accuse me: I am home free.
Tirza Shilgi: I think it's good to mention here, when we talk about the Blessing, that it doesn't just mean marriage. The three blessings that God gave Adam and Eve must be considered. Be fruitful, multiply and have dominion. Being fruitful means to be perfect as an individual, to be God-centered in your love and in your life. Based on that, you will be qualified for the second blessing, which is sharing your life with your spouse, having children, and attaining a parental heart. You will then be qualified for the third blessing, which will be having dominion over creation, but having it with a parental heart of love, which means not abusing the creation, but treating it with love. I think it is important here because we see ourselves qualified for the blessing only after attaining the first blessing. And, when we say blessing, this is not something passively received, but something you work on, from both ends. You have to work on it, and then you receive it. Individual perfection is living your life as an individual centered on God, putting God ahead of your selfish desires. To remove this original sin within yourself, you have to put God ahead of your own desires, and that, we see, as encompassing three years of celibacy, or three years of working for other countries or for other people, whatever our responsibility is at that moment. Based on that, we will qualify for the second blessing.
We actually think that it will take a few generations to practically cleanse ourselves of sin, so that means that we do have greed, and we do have jealousy, and we do have many other things, and we have to work on ourselves, but it's really like the idea of sanctification, where we have to work to cleanse ourselves for God. So it's not a question of either faith or works; we hold both.
Anthony Guerra: I really feel a lack of the dynamics which we enjoyed this morning, when you Evangelicals and then we Unificationists talked about Christ. This afternoon, since we've gotten onto salvation, the Unificationists have been doing all the talking. I feel as though we're preaching at this point, and that's probably the way you feel. From my point of view, the dialogue is missing something.
Rod Sawatsky: I think what's happened is that we're being introduced to something so novel that it has to filter through before we can really converse on the other end.
Patricia Zulkosky: I don't think at any point we are ever qualified for the Blessing. I think the Blessing is an act of grace from God, and that I can never pretend to earn it. The whole doctrine of salvation through grace is, in some sense, very important in my life, because I can never earn the Blessing -- God's grace.
And the other thing is the Blessing -- although it takes away original sin, it doesn't take away my fallen nature, which means that I've already grown up and been influenced by society and developed all of these bad vices and things that don't go away like that because of the Blessing.
Evangelical Y: Let me ask a point, then. What about your children's fallen nature?
Patricia Zulkosky: If, for instance, I work on my fallen nature, and it declines, then my way of raising my children is such that there is that much less fallen nature; but, we're still living in a sinful society, and we're still exposed to it in varying degrees, so sinless children without fallen nature are still two to three generations away.
Charles Barfoot: Is there an unpardonable sin? Would that be adultery?
Patricia Zulkosky: After the Blessing...
Johnny Sonneborn: Everything is pardonable... God will save everybody.
Warren Lewis: I just can't let that one go by. In the Principle, nobody goes to a devil's fiery hell, according to Unificationists; but, if after the Blessing you commit adultery, for seventy generations following you, your descendants will accuse you before God, and you will remain forever further away from God than you otherwise would have been. Not in a devil's hell, not burning eternally forever with the worms and the maggots, like the Christians believe, but still you lose your status before God. In terms of the way theological dynamics work, since the Blessing is the highest good, then obviously it would be an "unpardonable sin" to violate it.
Sharon Gallagher: For clarification, when you were listing the sins of the modern world, you mentioned divorce, racism, and feminism or sexism (laughter) -- I have to ask because it was said twice...
Warren Lewis: For the record... feminism is not a mortal sin. (laughter)
Sharon Gallagher: A couple of people have said that being reborn in the second advent is a higher stage, and I wanted to ask someone on a personal level -- one, what is your daily relationship to Jesus Christ, and two, what is your daily relationship to Sun Myung Moon?
Franz Feige: I think there are different positions in the Unification church: some hold a more distinct personal relationship with Jesus because they were very strong Christians, and some hold a distinct personal relationship with Rev. Moon. My whole relationship to Rev. Moon is not with Rev. Moon as a person, but with him as a Messiah. Jesus and Rev. Moon come together -- they are two persons -- but they both hold the same position, so I don't distinguish between those two -- they're one and the same. When I pray very deeply, then I feel God as my Father and I also experience Rev. Moon very easily. I experience the same thing with Jesus. He comes in the spirit, and they're both united with God, and they're one and the same to me.
Tom Carter: My perspective is that you can't understand Rev. Moon without understanding Jesus. For the first several years of my life in the Unification church, in order to understand Rev. Moon, I spent many hours praying, studying the New Testament, praying in Jesus' name, trying to understand Jesus.
I'd like to answer now, on a practical level, in terms of what the Divine Principle says. Moses didn't get to go into the land of Canaan, even though he was chosen by God. But, before he died in the wilderness, he chose his most faithful servant, Joshua, to take his people into the land of Canaan and Joshua accomplished that. So, in that sense, the relationship between Rev. Moon and Jesus is the same as the relationship between Joshua and Moses. In other words, Rev. Moon is Jesus' most faithful servant, commissioned by Jesus to bring the people out of the spiritual wilderness into the land of universal Canaan. So, it's impossible to understand Rev. Moon outside a relationship with Jesus -- it can't be done.
Dan Davies: During my search for truth in life, I came into a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, about six months before I joined the Unification movement. The change was so real, my commitment so great...
Evangelical Y: How did that happen?
Dan Davies: It was through a search. It happened when I was in Israel. I didn't even believe that Jesus Christ was a reality until I took part in a movie, Jesus Christ, Superstar. While I was in that movie, three days after the crucifixion scene, Jesus appeared to me and told me He was the Son of God. About three or four months after that, I had a rebirth experience in Jesus through the Holy Spirit. I dedicated myself to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and tried to live by the Bible at that time. That dedication has always remained a force in my life. Frankly, I won't do anything unless it is the will of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I'm here because of them, and I continue to be here because of them. If I'm ever told, or moved by them not to be here, I won't be here. But I'm still here.
Evangelical Y: Could there be a potential conflict between their roles?
Dan Davies: I don't know -- to this point...
Evangelical Y: Have you sinned since that time?
Dan Davies: What do you mean?
Evangelical Y: Have you committed any sin since the time you joined the church? And who has forgiven those sins you've committed since you joined -- Rev. Moon or Jesus?
Dan Davies: When I repent I feel forgiveness.
Evangelical X: Who do you ask for forgiveness?
Dan Davies: I ask God for forgiveness; I feel forgiveness from God.
Patricia Zulkosky: I guess in my case it might be a little bit different, because my daily relationship is with God, and, for me, God means God the Father, and, for me, Jesus and Rev. Moon are mediators for me to know God the Father. Because of that I study the Bible, because of that I read Divine Principle to find inspiration how to know God, but my daily prayer is conversation with God. When I'm asking for direction when I'm looking for guidance, I go to God the way I do my Father. So I don't get all tangled up in Rev. Moon and Jesus. For me, they're both mediators that are bringing me the love of God, helping me to lead the life that I think God would have me lead if He had a physical body, and if He were here in this room. I think many Unificationists relate more to God as the focal point than they do to Rev. Moon and Jesus.
We pray in the name of True Parents, which for me means the spiritual parents of Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well as Rev. Moon and Mrs. Moon. My daily life centers on a personal communication with God.
Mark Branson: Just to ask a pragmatic question: some of you go to churches in the area. Would there be one kind of church more of you would feel at home at?
Jack Harford: There are certain churches where we're received well and certain churches where we're rejected or where we are paid no attention at all. There are certain churches where they refuse to even talk to us...
Evangelical Y: Is there one church that you feel closer to the truth in, or more spiritually attuned?
Jack Harford: I'd like to relate a couple of experiences that I've had. Last summer, when I was in England, I went to a Catholic church, and, for a while, I was praying there a half hour to an hour every day. I had many deep experiences with Jesus and shed great tears, feeling His heart, because we were like pioneers on a mission, trying to feel the way Jesus felt by trying to build up our own neighborhood into a family of God and trying to find our own disciples. It was very difficult, and so, in that church I could feel Jesus very much, and I felt comfortable in that church. Also, now, I go to a Reformed Church in Kingston, and, when I go, I feel at home there, too...
Evangelical Y: One other thing I want to ask: What happens if somebody doesn't want to get Blessed?
Warren Lewis: Then they don't.
Evangelical Y: So they're missing the fullness of the Spirit, as we would say. We always had one or two in our churches...
Nora Spurgin: But they don't understand that until they get Blessed...
Evangelical Y: But I'm comparing it to the pentecostal belief, and we had people that wanted it, but never quite got it.
Rod Sawatsky: Can we shift gears now and move on to the question of heresy and orthodoxy? Would two of you do that task for us from the evangelical side?
Mark Branson: Well, you have heard of the four spiritual laws. I'd like to take a start with the question of Jesus' words. To those around Him within the Jewish community, His words were very basically, "Follow me, believe in me." Jesus gave the people around Him something to respond to in His life and in His words. As people would respond, He gave them more to respond to. His disciples had the opportunity to slip, and many of them did; many of them also returned later on. Jesus' words in the first part of the Gospel of Mark are, "The time is fulfilled; and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel." This is the very crucial beginning point. Something has happened that has not happened before. The way has been paved. God is here. The kingdom of God is at hand, it is within reach; all its ramifications, not just spiritual, are present. Repent means you must turn around, for you're going in the wrong direction. You're going in that direction because you're living as part of the kingdom of this world, the kingdom of Satan. Now you can turn around and believe -- you can live in accordance with the gospel, the Good News that Jesus Christ is here. This simply means Jesus Christ is Lord. It's not just a "sir" or a term of respect. It's a term of authority. As Jesus goes through Mark, He is God. He calls me then to follow Him. As I take that step, it is the Spirit who releases me. The Spirit is the one that works in me to take away my blindness. As I hear the words, the work of grace comes to me, and, as I respond in simple obedience, then that word becomes more powerful. I receive more words, and I keep responding -- that's the way the kingdom is built, the way I enter into a relationship with God. It has other ramifications we can get into later concerning eternal life. For now, primarily, I wanted to see salvation as entering into the kingdom through hearing and responding to the words of Jesus.
Paul Eshleman: Several questions came up at the end which we didn't answer last time. For instance, when does forgiveness occur? I think of the passage in Hebrews 10 where it says, "For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." We would say that, at the moment a person entrusts, he repents. Jesus says, "But unless you repent you will all likewise perish." So the man who says, " I repent in the way I am going now, I will follow Christ and go His way," (and that may or may not involve tears, but it involves change in mind and attitude, which should lead to change in action), that repentance then will lead him to say, " I do accept Christ and His blood atonement on the cross as the payment for my sins, problems, and my original sinful nature." At that point, when, by an act of his will, he has been energized by the Holy Spirit, when he responds, and, by faith, trusts that payment for his salvation, at that point we would say he has eternal life -- his eternal life begins. Some would say,} then, that he has to maintain it or he will fall away, but the majority would say that eternal life begins here for him, so he is justified at that moment -- then, for the remainder of his physical life, he is in the process of sanctification. That sanctification does not take place through the struggle and strain of the Christian himself trying to clean up his life and get rid of sin here and there. The sanctification comes about primarily through the indwelling and controlling of the Holy Spirit -- at the moment he accepts Christ as his payment, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell him. The process of sanctification, the life of the Christian, then, is one that is involved in allowing the Spirit of Christ -- the Holy Spirit and Christ who are now within him -- to have full and unhindered access and control in his life, so that in his life he is submitting moment by moment, and day by day, to the Holy Spirit's control of his life, to reflect the fruit of the spirit, a life of joy, peace, patience, and so forth.
He then looks forward to the second bodily return of Christ to this earth, which, in Matthew 24, is signaled by the trumpets blaring and Christ returning in the air, and he waits for that return, at which time his perfection and sanctification will be completed. Those who are alive will be caught up to meet Christ, those who are dead will be raised, and we, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, will have a new body which is like unto his own body at that particular time. That would be my addition.
Warren Lewis: I'm as moved to talk about your notion of salvation as I was moved to talk about the Blessing a while ago. Unificationist friends, I speak from a completely different evangelical point of view, and one more faithful to the Bible than anything that has been said, (laughter)
The question is how a person is saved. On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter, in very clear terms, told you exactly what you had to do to be saved. He said, "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." In every chapter of the Book of Acts, in all gospel records of the great commission, baptism is directly, intimately, bound up with the forgiveness of sin and salvation. What this Calvinist kwatsch (laughter) Paul [Eshleman] has just dished up is not historically accurate in either the Bible or the church. If you do not have your sins washed away in baptism, you are still in your sins. Apparently you have the idea that you will go to heaven carrying your sins with you! In the words of Ananias to Saul, "And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on this name." These two gentlemen didn't mention the resurrection, didn't mention baptism, and yet they are going to tell you about salvation, (laughter)
Paul Eshleman: You very clearly place greater emphasis on baptism than I do. Both of us would agree that there needs to be an identification with Christ, and Warren thinks the water baptism is a part of that.
Warren Lewis: So did Ananias, (laughter)
Paul Eshleman: I don't think any Evangelicals would dispute the fact that baptism should be an occurrence in and around the point of salvation. There would be disputes over whether it was necessary for the actual salvation or whether it was a testimony to the commitment of faith.
Warren Lewis: But what's interesting is the rhetoric -- when they ask you what you must do to be saved, you don't give Peter's answer, you give "four spiritual laws." You don't give the answer of Pentecost, the answer of Paul or the answer of the college of the apostles.
Evangelical Y: How about John 3:16 -- will that do?
Warren Lewis: For a start, "...that whoever believes in him..." (that's what John 3:16 says) "and is baptized" (that's what Matthew 28 says) "and is baptized, will be saved..." (that's what Mark 16 says).
This is no idle theology. Mark told us all about the gospel of Mark, but, in a very real sense, the gospels belong to the time
before the cross, before the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus -- only after the resurrection of Jesus, the bodily, physical resurrection of Jesus which bespeaks our own bodily, physical resurrection in the day of His coming, can we begin to talk about salvation, forgiveness of sins, and so forth. The thief on the cross was saved the way anybody else was saved during the life of Jesus -- He could save you on the spot because He was God; but, after the resurrection, and after the Apostles' doctrine becomes the way to come to God, then baptism is essential for salvation.
Rod Sawatsky: Would some Evangelicals like to speak to that question of Warren's reading of the Bible?
Warren Lewis: I agree with Catholicism, with the Orthodox, though I disagree with them about which specific individuals to baptize -- they do it to babies, but Scripture says it ought to be done to believers. The teaching of the church for 2,000 years is clear; it's only you Johnny-come-lately Calvinists who have changed it. Speak up. Brother Luther, (laughter)
Don Deffner: I'll just quote Augustine, " It is not the lack of baptism, but the contempt of it, that damns."
Warren Lewis: Good, good.
Richard Quebedeaux: Pragmatically, that's been an evangelical problem. How do we regard the sacraments? It's not only baptism, but the Lord's Supper as well; they often seem totally unnecessary.
Warren Lewis: The Lord's Supper is the other side of my record. Shall I play it?
Richard Quebedeaux: And not only the lack of necessity of the sacraments or the ordinances, in fact, but also the lack of necessity of the institutional church -- that's our real weakness. Campus Crusade's "four spiritual laws" are an example of that problem. Somehow that's enough, and, while it may in fact be that God's grace is enough (and I stand more over there than with you) it is a real lack in our Christian life. And though I would not stand with you on the absolute necessity of baptism, I think it is something that Evangelicals need to think about more.
Mark Branson: That hits one of my fears. If I might go back to the gospels, though, to the parable of the sower: some seeds fall on stony ground, and they spring up fast, and then wither away. The problem of those that are not faced with the issue of following Jesus when they're offered forgiveness is illustration here. I think Jesus very clearly teaches He doesn't just want people to come to Him for forgiveness -- He teaches that He wants people to come to Him to follow Him. The problem of not teaching baptism, of not teaching obedience, is that you are really not teaching salvation.
Richard Quebedeaux: You've hit another thing, now, not only the sacraments and the church, but obedience...
Mark Branson: Well, that's where I think baptism is optional.
Richard Quebedeaux: I, too, have somehow made that optional. If you will ask an Evangelical after witnessing, etc., he or she would not say that; but in the pragmatic working out of the theology, that's been the problem...
Evangelical X: The struggle, though is in between, and it goes back to baptism. We're very afraid that you're going to have works without faith. We don't want to do that because we want to maintain vigorous faith, whereas a person who takes a leap of faith and just commits his life to Christ (and that really is salvation) is now in Christ. And we talk about obedience -- do we do this, and not do that, be baptized, or not baptized?
Warren Lewis: We just don't want to add up our fasting and our keeping of the law, our merit. But, because God commands baptism for obedience to God's grace -- that's where the essential nature of baptism comes in -- if, in knowing the Scripture, you have not been baptized, you are not obeying God, you're not faithful.
Paul Eshleman: I think it harkens back to some of these other questions you want answered, one of them being at what point forgiveness occurs. In the Unification church, Frank mentioned, people might be in for a number of weeks or months, or whatever, during which time they would learn about Jesus and learn that He had forgiven their sins. Gradually, as they looked at all Unification teachings, one of their teachings would be simply that Jesus forgave all of their sins, and they would accept Christ too. I think that Evangelicals would say that, at the point when an individual exercises his faith and, in Warren's case, is baptized, at that moment he is forgiven for all sins, past, present, and future. Satan's bind on him has been broken, and now the sins that occur in his life are the sins that keep him from communion with God. So, there is a need for a continual repentance and confession, day by day and moment by moment, so that communion with God can be kept open.
Warren Lewis: What if you change your mind? What happens if you don't believe in Jesus, and repudiate your baptism, and return like pigs to wallowing in the mud?
Paul Eshleman: I leave that to the Lord.
Evangelical X: Well, it depends on whether you're a Calvinist or an Arminian. (laughter)
Don Deffner: Just in terms of phrases you used earlier, it is not really our struggle, but I like the way that Paul paraphrases I John 4:17, "So that our life lived in this world is actually His life lived in the world. Christ in us now, a new creation."
Warren Lewis: It doesn't have anything to do with being an Arminian. When the Israelites passed through the Red Sea, they were baptized, and they were forgiven all the Egyptian connections; and then they wildernessed for forty years, and later crossed the Jordan into Canaan. But, how many of them fell from grace during those forty years and didn't enter Canaan-land?
Paul Eshleman: I think the question Dan raised was how the blood of Jesus affects your life in the kingdom. You don't get into the kingdom outside of the blood of Jesus; without accepting His shed blood, you don't enter the kingdom.
Dan Davies: What I am wondering is what your relationship to Jesus will be when you're in the kingdom. You now have a way of reaching God through the blood of Jesus. But, when you're in the kingdom, will you still need the blood of Jesus for salvation? What happens to the blood?
Paul Eshleman: It washes away the sins. My purpose, once I'm in the kingdom, is to be conformed into the image of Christ.
Dan Davies: But that would take on a secondary importance, then, wouldn't it? Wouldn't you then be under salvation?
Paul Eshleman: Once we start talking about being conformed in the image of Christ, then we are into what you talk about in terms of restoration. We're talking about becoming all that God originally created us to be -- that we might be energized by His spirit and we might demonstrate the qualities of His life. If our purpose, to get back to the Westminster Catechism, is to glorify God, so that if people looked at us they might see who God really is, and how great He is, then what keeps me from glorifying God is my ego-centered self-nature. What I need now is God's nature to come and live in me. I need to give Him total, unlimited access to live and walk around in my body. I still have the problem of my sinful nature. I don't deal with my sinful nature by trying to be physically married to another family. I deal with my sinful nature by means of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who I allow, then, to reflect His nature in me.
Johnny Sonneborn: How do you allow it? It seems that one moment you're having difficulty, and the next you are allowing the Spirit to indwell?
Paul Eshleman: When I realize that my life is not reflecting God's life, it usually means that I am going my way rather than His way, and that simply calls for a confession of that attitude, to say, " I now affirm again that I want You to direct my life, God." In repentance, it calls for growing up in that faith, and many things are involved, but it's not a grinding out of my own energy. It's totally centered on Him who works in me, to help me want to do what He wants me to do.
Johnny Sonneborn: Isn't confessing and repenting the same thing as cleaning up your life? Repentance is cleaning up, and then you give the Holy Spirit more room to act.
Evangelical Y: No, not really, if I could speak to that -- it's known in good evangelical terminology as besetting sin. What do you do with some sinful habit pattern in your life that continually keeps cropping up? In my own experience, it's a matter of confession and turning from that mentally...
Don Deffner: Once we commit ourselves to the meaning of baptism and the holy communion, that inner commitment is what saves us, and the sacraments are the means by which we express outwardly that inward experience. And so, I'd like to explain my experience by putting on the board the formula for salvation: S = F -* W. Not F & W (faith plus works), but F with an arrow pointing to works. So, I like what Warren said: that baptism is the first step of obedience after faith, so it's not the baptism that saves...
Warren Lewis: That's not what Warren said.
Don Deffner: Isn't that what you said? Baptism is faith's work, faith's first work, or something like that?
Warren Lewis: Baptism is not a "work." Baptism is a part of faith. Just because it's a physical action, doesn't make it a "work." "Works" were the doing of the Law of Moses.
Evangelical X: I think it's a matter of semantics...
Warren Lewis: No, because you have posed the question to which the Quakers return the proper answer, "Well, if baptism accomplishes no more than what you say, then why bother? Go ahead and have the internal stuff and forget all this external show. It doesn't really accomplish anything."
Evangelical Y: No way. Faith without works is dead but a saving faith is a faith that works. You can't isolate the two...
Warren Lewis: Then what does it accomplish?
Evangelical X: I draw a circle around the faith with an arrow pointing to works... Warren Lewis: But I'm not talking about "good works."
Evangelical X: ...and that is, it's all packaged. You can't separate the two. The faith and the works go together.
Warren Lewis: I perfectly agree, but I'm not talking about "works." I'm talking about baptism, which is faith -- bodily, active faith.
Evangelical X: Yes, but the danger of suggesting that you're saved by going through a ritual... It's not mature.
Warren Lewis: It isn't a ritual.
Evangelical Y: But for some people it may very well be.
Warren Lewis: For some people faith is a ritual.
Evangelical X: Not in other people's minds.
Warren Lewis: And not in the sense that I'm defining baptism...
Evangelical Y: Well, you're talking about the inner reality, aren't you?
Warren Lewis: No. I'm talking about your physical body which is going to be resurrected someday; just as surely as your heart needs the invisible blood of Jesus, your physical, visible body needs the washing of the waters.
Evangelical X: What do you do about the soldier dying on the battlefield who has no opportunity to be baptized?
Warren Lewis: He is in the same situation that the unwashed Hindus are, and we can go through that if you like.
Evangelical Y: You mean he's not better off than they are? Even if he confesses Christ as his Savior?
Warren Lewis: He's no worse off than they are. We don't change the biblical doctrine of baptism to cope with a special case. The New Testament teaches what it teaches about baptism, namely that it washes sins away -- Acts 22:16. What are you going to do with that?
Evangelical X: It isn't the water, it's the blood that cleanses.
Richard Quebedeaux: Is that a doctrine throughout the whole Campbellite tradition, or just Churches of Christ? Is it also the Disciples?
Warren Lewis: The Disciples have given it up playing footsie with the Presbyterians.
John Scanzoni: I've just a few observations. I was discussing with a few Unification people at lunch today how, when the Evangelicals talk here, we constantly bicker with each other, and disagree violently, whereas when they present things, why it's very much a systematic and orderly whole.
Paul Eshleman: Well, we didn't invite Warren to be on our side! (laughter)
Warren Lewis: That's just the grace of God! (laughter)
John Scanzoni: The other observation was -- I'm not sure if it's appropriate here -- that we're talking about salvation on such a personal level. And I notice that before, when the Unification people were talking about salvation, they moved from the personal level to the group or societal level, and one of the problems we have is that we don't know how to do that. I mean, there are various ways, the Anabaptist way, the Calvinist way, but neither has worked very well. We don't have as neat a way as they do of going from personal salvation to group salvation. We just don't have that.
Dan Davies: I'd like to go back to the question that Paul brought up, namely, will the blood of Jesus and the sacraments still be necessary for salvation in the kingdom? In other words, how do you see life in the kingdom?
Paul Eshleman: You're talking about after the King comes back?
Dan Davies: Right. Will it be necessary to preach the salvation through the blood of Jesus when He returns?
Paul Eshleman: When Christ comes back again, it will be a different situation. There will be a separating of those who have expressed faith in Christ from those who have not expressed faith in Christ, and those who have expressed faith in Christ will be taken to heaven, and those who have not will be entirely separated in hell. We would say that only those people who have accepted Christ will be in the kingdom, when it is established here on earth, or in a new kingdom in heaven.
Jonathan Wells: Were you just espousing the doctrine of eternal damnation, then? Some people eternally will be in hell?
Paul Eshleman: Yes.
Jonathan Wells: And do you also say that God has foreknowledge of which people are going there?
Paul Eshleman: Yes.
Jonathan Wells: So God creates certain people knowing very well that they're going to be eternally damned?
Sharon Gallagher: But it's not His will. He doesn't will that any of us should perish.
Jonathan Wells: O.K. So people are saved because God's grace saves them. Is that correct?
Paul Eshleman: Because they respond to His offer of grace.
Jonathan Wells: Well, maybe I'm pushing the Calvinist position too far. Do believers respond because of God's grace?
Paul Eshleman: Nobody can come to God unless the Spirit draws him. He can't come on his own.
Jonathan Wells: So God is now in the position of creating two classes of people. One class He knows He will give His grace to, and thereby save. The other class He already knows He will not give His grace to, and, whether He wills it or not, He knows that they are going to hell forever.
Paul Eshleman: What you've done is equate creation with foreknowledge.
Jonathan Wells: As I understand it, you're maintaining both of those, right?
Paul Eshleman: You've said that God has created some men as a class of people who will go to hell. I'm saying that God creates mankind and His foreknowledge says that He knows who will reject and accept; that doesn't mean that He's created us to reject.
Jonathan Wells: No, but He has foreknowledge before He creates them. Is that correct?
Sharon Gallagher: You're speaking on a human time continuum, though, and I don't think that time exists that way in the mind of God. I think it's a mystery, but I wouldn't say that God is creating and damning at the same time. I think He's creating and you're choosing.
Jonathan Wells: Yes. I know that doctrine and, you see, what the doctrine is saying is that people are saved only by the grace of God, and that, when He creates those people, or even before He creates them, He knows which ones He's going to give His grace to, and thereby save. And He knows before He creates someone what that person will do, namely reject Him, and therefore go to eternal damnation. But the person only rejects Him because God withholds His grace, because he's only saved by the grace of God.
Evangelical X: No. The person rejects because he misused his free will, his.. .no, scratch that, (laughter) "The origin of sin is the wrong choice of a free moral agent," was the phrase I wanted, so that my misuse of my freedom to reject God is the origin of my lostness. God had the intuitive feeling, the foreknowledge of those who would not have faith but God didn't damn me. God would have all men saved and come to the knowledge of truth.
Jonathan Wells: O.K. If God knows in advance that a certain individual will in his free will reject God, why did God create that person?
Paul Eshleman: That I'll leave in the mystery of God. I'm not God. I cannot know the mind of God, but I can declare a loving God who wants all persons to be saved.
Jonathan Wells: But who creates someone knowing very well the person will spend eternity in hell.
Evangelical X: Free will is a bonafide choice to accept or reject.
Jonathan Wells: Not to accept, because we accept only by the grace of God. We don't have the free will to turn to God.
Joseph Hopkins: What you're describing is fatalism.
Jonathan Wells: Some people would argue that, but what I'm arguing is the Augustinian viewpoint maintained by Calvin. namely that we come to God only by the grace of God and that, if we turn away from God by misusing free will or by rejecting the grace, God knows before He creates us what we're going to do and yet creates us anyway to spend eternity in hell.
Warren Lewis: And just to lend a little bit of support, because Jonathan is accurate in his historical theology at this point; what about the babies who inherit original sin who will burn forever in that same devil's hell?
Sharon Gallagher: What I'm hearing is that God picks and chooses who He gives His grace to. But He gives common grace to everybody. You see this in Romans I, which is the basis for which God can judge everybody and set down certain things. We're made in the image of God, and we can see God in creation. It's a common grace, so nobody is without excuse. So I'd say the point is not as though God would say, "Well, I'll give you some grace;" we all have some kind of grace and we accept or reject it. An infant does not reject God's grace and so is not accountable.
Jonathan Wells: O.K. Well, there are two different doctrines. One says the grace is irresistible. The other says it's not. You're saying it's not irresistible. But I'm saying that, according to Augustine and Calvin, God knows before He creates someone that that person will reject the grace and therefore spend eternity in hell. O.K., now what I'm saying is that God knows beforehand if someone is going to accept that grace and go to heaven. Right? Is that true? God knows beforehand what we're going to do with the grace that he offers. Now it's no restriction, presumably, on our free will for God to know that I'm going to accept His grace and go to heaven, according to that doctrine, right?
Rod Sawatsky: It's irresistible?
Johnny Sonneborn: It's not irresistible at given time, but it becomes so irresistible that finally the last person who is left by himself -- he's been with Satan, a hold-out -- says, "Now I see."
Rod Sawatsky: So that Unification church is ultimately universalistic.
Johnny Sonneborn: Oh, yes, for sure.
Jonathan Wells: Wait. A person can stay in hell as long as he wants. Nobody is automatically saved. Somebody could conceivably choose to stay in hell for a very long time. God can't force him out or even, maybe, attract him out. But that's not the point I want to address. You mentioned foreknowledge. If you have an omnipotent, omniscient God (one who foreknows) and, at the same time, a benevolent God, then you have a contradiction if you have eternal damnation. It's like saying that God can make a square circle. You're no longer making sense. If God knows before He creates me that I will reject His grace and go to eternal damnation, then it does no good to say that we are talking about two different time concepts, because you've already called the consequences of my temporal sin eternal. O.K., so you've already transcended the time boundary, whatever it is. Foreknowledge is a problematic concept. What Unification theology would say on this point is that God gives man free will, and thereby voluntarily limits His own foreknowledge. I mean. He doesn't know what you are going to do with your free will, in an absolute sense.
Evangelical X: Where does it say that in the Bible?
Jonathan Wells: But that's the clear implication of it. Well, I'll explain. God didn't know that Adam and Eve would fall.
Johnny Sonneborn: He saw they were going to fall but He didn't intervene.
Jonathan Wells: Here we go. Here's a disagreement. He knew they could fall, Johnny; He didn't know when He created them that they would fall. If, from the beginning, He knew they would fall, that would be absolute foreknowledge. Now, it also says that, when Jesus came, God wanted people to accept Him. We come right back to the problem of the mission of Jesus. God knew there was a possibility that Jesus would be rejected, but God did not foresee 100% that Jesus would be crucified. Now, all these issues tie together and hang on this question of absolute foreknowledge. Given the fact of evil, it is contradictory to maintain absolute foreknowledge, free will and benevolence at the same time.
Richard Quebedeaux: And, in that context, you can have a suffering God, who suffers when a person chooses hell, and a God who dialogues.
Jonathan Wells: Right, in a real sense.
Dan Davies: One thing I would like to draw out of this argument when we're talking about justice: actually, there can't be justice without mercy, without love. Mercy is an aspect of justice; any good judge knows that. I think, in this respect, we have something to learn from the Buddhists. Because, in their concept of the Bodhisattva, the person who comes to the highest experience of God goes back to the world until every last person returns to God. I think this shows God's heart. God will not be happy until every person returns to Him.
Richard Quebedeaux: Could you explain heart? That's been mentioned a million times. How does that fit into your theology? What does it mean?
Johnny Sonneborn: God's heart is His impulse to give love, unceasingly. That is God's heart in relation to creation. God's heart in relation to the fall is His suffering heart. Then, there is God's heart in relation to restoration. This is the heart of compassion that desires our growth in faith and the learning and doing of his will.
Richard Quebedeaux: And the word "heartistic" which you have invented, what does that mean?
Patricia Zulkosky: I think it means pertaining to matters of the heart. So, if you say someone is a very heartistic person, we use that to mean that he is a person who radiates God's love and somehow emanates goodness and a good feeling.
Richard Quebedeaux: Can you identify people who have that quality?
Patricia Zulkosky: Yes. I think they are people who have grown and have developed a parental heart.
Nora Spurgin: We don't necessarily always put a value judgment on it. Sometimes we use it -- heartistic -- just as a description.
Tirza Shilgi: How about simply the German Herz. Isn't that the same thing, Franz?
Franz Feige: Yes, but I think heart is deeper. It does not just pertain to emotional feelings. It also pertains to intellect and will, having the right understanding, and right purpose. Herz is not enough.
Rod Sawatsky: Let's call it a night!
1 Richard Quebedeaux, The Worldly Evangelicals, New York, N.Y: Harper & Row, 1978.
2 Rev. Sun Myung Moon in an informal talk given on the 23rd Anniversary of the Unification Church. May 1. 1977.
3 Warren Lewis, ed., Witnesses to the Holy Spirit: an anthology. Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson Press, 1978.