Exploring Unification Theology Edited by M. Darrol Bryant and Susan Hodges
Dr. Sawatsky: I'm concerned that we have not touched on one realm of thought: the geography and the politics of the Unification Church. I'm not sure it is that important, but it's been in a lot of headlines.
Dr. Richardson: Yes, this element is terribly important. Any discussion that we have that doesn't go into this remains very abstract. We've been so much into this doctrine of intimate sexuality and marriage that one almost wonders if the rest of the world is real. I would propose that we get to this aspect of Unification theology.
Dr. Bryant: Would someone be willing to give us an overview of either the geography or the millennial timetable? W e touched on that, to a certain extent, in the discussion of the notion of the Third Adam. But it's more than that, I take it. "The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth" -- I keep seeing it underlined in some of the material that I've read. Can someone describe that part?
Farley Jones: Part of our concept of history is that of the central person, a central figure, and not only a central figure, but a central family, and then a central nation. We conceive of Israel as the central nation at the time of Jesus, and from that nation God's Kingdom was to spread out to the world. In our time, we see Korea in that role, in a parallel position to Israel two thousand years ago. We see the resolution of the conflict between North and South Korea as critical to the resolution of the conflict on a larger level between Communism and Democracy. We see that Korea is a symbolic prototype of the larger conflict, the larger division in the world. And we see the resolution there as part of the larger resolution that God is working for in building a harmonious and unified world on earth, one family on earth. Others might like to add something.
Lynn Kim: Very important in our viewpoint is America's position. This goes back to the idea that if Jesus had established a family and if His nation had accepted Him, then the Christians would have converted Rome. We see America as in a similar position to Rome, and Korea in a similar position to Israel. In America or from America a world like the Kingdom of God will come. America was especially created and ordained by God as a Christian nation. The basic mentality, the basic cultural heritage of America is a Christian heritage uniting all the different Christian traditions. So America's divine purpose or mission is to become a model for the Kingdom of God on earth which represents all the peoples of the world and all the different religions of the world. We are, in a sense, a microcosm of our world. It would be here that we could set an example for a united world. We have a United States, and now we want to have a united world. So America is very important, and that's why Rev. Moon's working so hard here in America.
Dr. Bryant: But is this a Christian nation? Can you specify that any further? Is there something peculiar about the very political institutions of America and other structural features of America that in themselves have some religious significance? Or is yours a spiritualized notion of America as forerunner of a new world which draws all the peoples of the world together?
Lynn Kim: I think in terms of the original purpose for the family of America. If you look at the nations of the world, you don't see a nation that was conceived for the purpose of God as America purports to be. America is a nation that was conceived as a haven of religious liberty, and its motto is "In God W e Trust." When we talk about America's position in God's providence and the world today, we see that America is far from being a truly Christian nation. But we do see America as potentially a Christian nation. It's been said that we are indeed a melting pot of many different nations. So the idea of uniting this world and making one world that can communicate beyond cultural barriers, beyond the kind of barriers that exist in Europe and around the world, can be made actual in America. In this sense, America is a microcosm of what could happen in the world.
Dr. Bryant: But that's part of the problem, isn't it? Why take these images? For example, you mentioned the melting pot one. That's one that those of us who have lived in Canada for years have come to know is not particularly admirable or noble and certainly not a divine notion about how the Kingdom is to be understood. I think that Canadians have a much richer notion in that we talk about the Canadian mosaic. Canada incorporates different cultural traditions. The melting pot idea moves in another direction. The melting pot idea assumes that there is a single type of person that you become out of this interaction.
Linda Mitchell: I don't think that our idea takes away from the individuality of cultures at all. Our idea is one of being able to exist as one harmonious unit. As individuals in the Kingdom we will each manifest a different kind of personality because of our individuality. So can nations. We are concerned to be able to transcend the barriers that we see causing a lot of problems in our world today. We are trying to overcome national barriers, but at the same time we want to preserve the uniqueness that is part of the beauty of God.
Lloyd Eby: To make some sense out of what's been said, I think we need to make a distinction between a nation which occupies a providential role and a nation which is perfect. There would be no claim here, under any circumstances, that America or any of the democratic powers represent any kind of perfection. One can speak of fallen people and by extrapolation you can also speak of fallen societies and fallen nations. We would see all of the people and all of the nations in the world as fallen people and nations. Just as within the group of fallen people there are some who are Christian and some who are anti-Christian, we would also see that some of the nations are in a representative position which is, as compared to the other, demonic, and some representative of the position which is less demonic or tending more toward the ideal. And we could say that America, for example, occupies in the world today the role which the Roman Empire occupied at the time of the advent of Christ. If Jesus had not been crucified, if He had been able to succeed in whatever it was that He was trying to do, then, on the foundation of the Israelite nation, He could have gone on, He and His followers, to Rome. And then Rome could have been used as a vehicle to transmit His message, His saving work, to the rest of the world. Rome had the facilities, the roads, the commercial network, etc.
Rev Calitis: Isn't that exactly what happened with Constantine?
Lloyd Eby: Yes, but that is a subsidiary question. After Jesus was crucified, Christianity was able to use the Roman Empire to accomplish that end.
Dr. Richardson: I take it that you're contrary to most church historians: you like Constantine, and you like Charlemagne.
Lloyd Eby: We would say of them, too, that they were fallen people. Yet they had a certain providence to effect; to some extent they succeeded, and to some extent they failed. And in a sense it doesn't matter whether or not we like them.
Dr. Sawatsky: There's no "Fall" of the church?
Lloyd Eby: Yes, one could speak that way. One could point to particular times or particular events in which something like a "Fall" occurred. We could point to America, for example, and say the introduction of slavery in America represented a "Fall" for America. Nevertheless, we would see America's role today as important. We say that there is something unique about America, its institutions, its structure, its history, its personality; and those unique things represent at least the possibility of something which now can be realized for the whole world. It doesn't mean that they have, in fact, done that, but it means that they represent it.
Dr. Bryant: Can you give an example of what those institutions would be? Is it republican government versus parliamentary government?
Lynn Kim: Not necessarily political institutions. But things like freedom of religion, freedom of the press.
Dr. Bryant: How is that a Christian idea? How is the idea of religious liberty as it originates in the United States a Christian idea?
Lynn Kim: I don't think it has to be Christian. The point is that it has to serve God's providence, and in this case, I think it does.
Dr. Richardson: I remember some time ago I spoke to a minister about this, and he said it sounds like a high school student's understanding of history. And I said that it's true, it is a high school student's understanding of history. But if you go back to the Old Testament and you look at the understanding of history of Israel it's precisely the same kind of thing. I suspect, for example, that when the people of Israel came out of Egypt, maybe Moses and two other people thought that this represented some kind of divine providence. People came out of Egypt for all kinds of reasons. But seen from the point of view of the providential import of that event, it does represent some major providential step. Similarly, the foundation of America, although it was founded for all kinds of reasons and people who came here came here for all kinds of reasons, nevertheless, from the point of view of providence, it represents this kind of step.
I suppose that more to the point in relation to America would be the vision in America of building the Kingdom of God on earth. Doesn't this come much closer to your thing? Religious freedom seems more peripheral. But another matter interests me: wouldn't you want to present your view of the importance of America more dialectically? That is, America is important because America represents Abel to the Soviet Union's Cain. In a more dialectical view of history, the importance of America in world history is that America emerges as a protagonist of one point of view at the same time that a protagonist of another point of view is emerging in the historical process. America is important because it has tremendous economic, political and military power that can serve as a counterweight to the tremendous economic, military and political power that one finds in the Soviet Union. So the important thing America represents is democracy, although that's a symbol rather than a reality. But I would think that, in a sense, the importance of America can't be abstracted merely from the realm of religious liberty and the idea of the Kingdom of God on earth, but has to be seen as a counterweight to Communism.
Farley Jones: I think that is essentially how we understand the significance of America; more, much more, than any of the other things we've talked about so far, we understand America as a counterweight to Communism.
Dr. Bryant: America as the counterweight to Communism? I don't know if I get that. Do you mean that in economic terms or what kind of terms?
Lynn Kim: I think one of the unfortunate things is that America has sought to counteract Communism either through economic or political means: dishing out military weapons and dishing out economic aid, but never investing itself as a Christian people really serving other nations. We've given things, but we've never given of our hearts. We've not borne witness to the Christian faith that's supposed to be our heritage. Sure, we have missionaries. But if we would fulfill the purpose of the blessings of America, which were not given just for Americans to enjoy, but which were to be used to raise up the rest of the world, then, in a sense, America would take on a parental role to the rest of the world. Not parental in the sense that "We're superior to you, you're our little kids," but "You have something, and we will help you develop so that we can raise up the level of the entire world community, and so establish this on a God-centered foundation." We're one of the few nations on earth that has the potential to do that. And if we should counterpose it to the aggressive spread of Communism, America could be the foundation, a landing pad, for the Messiah.
Dr. Clark: What do you do with the whole notion of Church/ State separation in America? Talking about America as a Christian nation is very peculiar.
Lynn Kim: There shouldn't be one church, e.g. the Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterians shouldn't take over the government. We're talking about the Christian spirit which is the spirit of belief in God and service to mankind.
Jonathan Wells: Let's go back and talk about Constantine. In our view, as I understand it, had Constantine been able to perfect the proper kind of marriage between political and religious institutions, or political and religious impulses, and had that promise been carried out, then one would have had a united Europe. One would have had a Europe which represented something approximating a godly Kingdom. And it is because that wasn't carried out that one had conflicts. Because of all those failures, then, it became necessary to separate the political and the religious institutions. But the reason it became necessary to separate them wasn't there from the beginning. It became necessary to separate them only when the failures intervened. And so the task today is to rejoin them in a way in which this genuine relation between religion and politics can be realized.
Lloyd Eby: You can talk about this in a religious way, and you can talk about it in a political way. But that's artificial. It's not as if we want to make the church identical with the state. But the purpose of the church as a structure, as a way of doing things, and the purpose of the state, as a way of doing things, are somehow involved in the salvation process. That is most fundamental to what's going on in the world. Maybe we can get around to the question of whether or not there is a Messiah on the national level. That's something else again. That's not America; that's not anything we have right now.
Dr. Bryant: It's not? It sounds like it is. A number of you heard me say this before. It sounds to me like you fall into that confusion that seems to have plagued American millennial movements from the beginning: the confusion of the millennium with this particular country. American institutions and policies are somehow raised above other nations and other institutions and other policies, and do not seem to be subject to the same kinds of deformities and ambiguities and tragedies that characterize other political institutions.
Lloyd Eby: There is the possibility that we can make that mistake, also. But we don't actually. You see, built into our acceptance of America in this role is at the same time an acceptance of America as a fallen nation. Similarly, built into our acceptance of Christianity as the major transmitter of God's providence is also the acceptance of Christianity as a fallen religion. None of these things represent the ideal. They represent only approximations of it.
Dr. Bryant: That seems to be a technical point, since it seems clear that America is less fallen than other nations.
Lloyd Eby: Yes, but that doesn't confer rights, it only confers obligations. In other words, when we talk about chosen people, or a chosen nation, or a chosen individual, it's not to elevate that entity to a privileged level, but to point out that God expects that entity to serve the rest of the world. That's what America should be doing with her wealth.
Dr. Sawatsky: I hear about four or five different things. But the immediate analogy is not between Israel as a chosen nation and America as a chosen nation, as, for example, in Robert Bellah's "civil religion," but the immediate analogy is between Israel as a chosen nation and Korea as a chosen nation. And I'm very big on Korea, because I'm very against America as a chosen nation. (laughter)
Rev. Calitis: So it has to be put off in the Far East somewhere.
Dr. Sawatsky: A small, impotent chosen nation.
Dr. Richardson: That's right, I think that's a point. You know, that's even in the Divine Principle: that a chosen nation needs to be a small, impotent nation. So when one is talking about America, then, as a chosen nation, the first thing you've already broken is the new Israel myth, the Bellah thing. Okay, then, what's essential when one talks about America? The word "chosen" is probably wrong. Probably you mean to speak of America's task or responsibility. The difference between Bellah, it seems to me, and Rev. Moon is that at least while you glorify America, and I think over glorify it, you're talking about America in an international context. You say many things about America, but you move from the nation to the world. You have a vision of an international community that America must serve. Now, I'm not sure that I find this completely satisfactory. But I do think that the internationalism of the theology has to be stated along with the nationalism as an equally weighty part.
However, having gotten over Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening into a kind of Catholic view of reality, it's hard for me to come back and ask: do particular nations have responsibilities in international development that are special? I guess they do. I guess I would say that America does have special responsibilities. I can talk about the nation as having, as a nation, moral responsibility. And now the question is: does it make any sense for me to go on from there and say that God has larger historical purposes such that if America has moral responsibilities in the international order, perhaps one should concede that these may be related in some sense to God's purposes? I'm inclined to go that way, though I feel very uneasy about it because I tend to agree with the Catholic tendency to drop off that type of philosophy of history from my Christianity. How does this strike you, Lokesh and Klaus? You are not Americans.
Lokesh Mazumdar: Well, I actually believed that America was a very special nation before I came here. When I did come here I found America was special, far beyond my expectations. So even before I joined the Unification Church and adopted many of its views, I was convinced that if any substantial movement came, it would come from this country. And there are many reasons for this. I don't see America as ideal. Neither do I see the ideal life in India, nor in Russia or anywhere else. But I do think that if an idea or an ideology were able to come and take root, it would do so far more easily here, within this structure. So as a jumping off point to the Kingdom of Heaven, I think that America is a very qualified nation, far more qualified than any other nation I can think of. And, of course, it makes a great deal of sense to me that America will be a kind of servant nation to the world. This is very obvious in many ways. I say this partly because of economics, partly because of the people. The nature of the people in America is, I believe, a nature that leans toward wanting to help other people. There's a lot of bungling and there are a lot of crazy things, but there's also that very outstanding nature. I don't mean to downgrade any other nationality, but I do think that America is the most international country that I've ever seen. It is very open.
Dr. Richardson: This is just incredible, they've all been brainwashed, (much laughter)
Linda Mitchell: I think I can state a different viewpoint. When I met the Unification Church, the nation I hated the most in the entire cosmos was America. I left America and was living in Italy, and I became an anti-American. My friends and I were like Hemingway expatriates. We wouldn't speak English, not even if our lives depended on it. Looking back on that time, I think that I realized then that what America purported to be -- a Christian nation, a nation that was giving and serving and all this kind of stuff -- wasn't true. I saw the reality of our country, and it made me sick to my stomach. And I thought, "Well, I can't change it, so I'm just going to leave and go someplace else where they don't say one thing and do something different." When the Unification Church talked about America and America's role, I thought, "Oh, yuk." I just couldn't relate to that at all. So it's taken me a long time and a lot of serious prayer to come around to realizing the potential that America has: that God can use her and requires things of America that aren't actually a part of the American nation now. I think anybody who has lived outside of America has to have that same kind of feeling. But I can see the potential that America has partly because it's a nation without a culture, in a sense. When you go to Italy or Japan you find such an established culture. Trying to do anything new is like pounding against rock. But in America you can just blow and things change. So America has a potential since people are more open-minded, more ready to try something new that's better than what already is.
Dr. Richardson: That's reasonable, I think. But that's really saying that the potential for America is not in its greatness, but in its unformedness. Think about the deprogramming thing. How ironic it is that the American Civil Liberties Union, who are so ardently committed to an essentially secular state, are defending theocratic groups like the Unification Church and Hare Krishnas. There's something about the contradictory tensions or forces in America that makes it possible, it seems to me, for new ideas, for a new religious movement, to take root here.
Dr. Sawatsky: Isn't there a difference between potentiality and chosenness? Potentiality I'm ready to grant, but chosenness is more problematic.
Lloyd Eby: I don't know that there's as much difference as we usually think. I think that when you say chosen, you also say potentiality. I say this since "chosenness" is dependent on the response, on what you do with your freedom. And the idea of chosen is "chosen to fulfill." Now, that doesn't mean that America will succeed. It means that America has the potential and the opportunity to succeed.
Lynn Kim: If America weren't able to fulfill the mission that America has of being God's springboard, that mission could easily transfer, and may still yet transfer, to a different nation that will in fact fulfill the mission.
Lloyd Eby: This chosen nation idea is often misunderstood. Some think that if you're chosen, you have the liberty to do things that other people don't get a chance to do. Actually, what it means is that you get beat on. (laughter) Look at Israel. What does "chosen" mean to Israel? It means a pain in the neck.
Dr. Sawatsky: Israel finally identifies its political destiny with the coming of the Kingdom and that is their fundamental mistake. And you're still making the structural mistake that Israel made: the mistake that the Kingdom is specially present in one nation and absent or less present in others.
Dr. Richardson: But you see, that's so contrary to the whole Unification movement. You look around and see already an international and mixed group. It is not an American Legion group in Kansas. It's not ethnic Americanism.
Dr. Bryant: That's a nice clarification. But when I look at the "New World"* publication and when I read the papers here, that's not the impression that I get. I get a very different impression from them.
Jonathan Wells: What impression do you get?
Dr. Bryant: I get the impression that America is a chosen nation, singled out in the divine economy for a great role, and that its whole history is, in a sense, moving toward the accomplishment of this final role. And in terms of the newspaper** you know exactly who the black hats are and who the white hats are. The newspaper is not talking about a spiritual thing, or a potentiality; they're talking about decisions, very concrete decisions about who's going to have this particular office, or who's going to be appointed to this department in the national government in Washington, D.C.
Lloyd Eby: I think it's fair for you to be picking that up. However, what I'd like to suggest is that the ideological positions of the Church are not clear. What comes through in the newspaper is some members' interpretations of what America's role is to be, which is not necessarily rooted in Rev. Moon's thinking or theology. I'm often uncomfortable with the newspaper's opinions, and others are too.
Farley Jones: I think you're right, and I think also that once one sees the Unification Church as a dynamic and developing group, and not a static one, then that problem gets solved over time.
Dr. Bryant: I want to make one other historical analogy. It's interesting to me to think about the Unification Church in relation to the theocratic tradition of early America. That tradition founders, you know, on the problem of offspring. The Half-Way Covenant is the device in New England to get the children in, to make them saints. Now you have a solution for that problem that's unbelievable. You're going to give birth to these saints.
Dr. Richardson: Somehow we tend to focus on America and keep treating the Unification Church as an American millennial movement. Well, that's okay, because we're here in America. But the movement didn't even originate here. Do the leaders in Germany, for example, talk about what Germany can do for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth?
Klaus Lindner: Yes, I think they do.
Tom Selover: Here in America, there's a polemic to get America to do something. But that doesn't mean that the Church identifies the whole dispensation with America.
Dr. Richardson: That's interesting. What is the Church doing in Canada? This would be an interesting question for us to ask. My impression is that they do other things besides sell ginseng tea. (laughter) In Canada they're getting into the Quebec question, the question of the unity of Canada, which is interesting. They're organizing major conferences on this, and trying to promote the unity of Canada. They're not so much promoting the unity of Canada as a political union, but promoting the meeting of people from Quebec and the other provinces to discuss the question of the meaning of Canada.
But I think another thing that ought to be clear is that everybody in the Unification movement is anti-Communist. It's very important to get that out. When the faculty from the Seminary talked with Rev. Moon, he stated that the three things most on his mind were: first, the restoration of the family; second, the unification of Christianity and all religions; and third, the struggle against Communism. However, the struggle is not moralistic; it's dialectical. Farley Jones has made the point that the notion of the struggle against Communism is dialectical. That is, you don't just oppose Communism because you support capitalism. Unification opposes capitalistic individualism as much as it opposes Communism. So the effort is to oppose Communism in a dialectical way; that is, to incorporate its critique of capitalism while also overcoming its materialism, its anti-God bias. But it certainly is the case that in this dialectical sense, the struggle against Communism is part of the Unification theology and is non-negotiable.
Klaus Lindner: I think that this is how I saw the importance of America. Just before I joined the Church, I had been drafted into the army in Germany. I went to Reserve Officers Training and it convinced me completely that there was no way that Europe would resist Communism. Then I went to the university and the young Communists were the only ones who offered something that the young people could really identify with. And the only people who did something about capitalism were the young Communists. The churches were quiet. Already, at that time, I, personally, believed that the only thing that could keep Europe from being taken over quickly was its relationship to America. I felt that relationship was very important before I joined the Church. The whole Western world is very united, but America is most essential. When I came to America, I was actually quite disappointed that most Americans don't realize, or don't want to deal with, the fact that America is so important for so many countries. That's the political aspect of the whole "chosen" idea. America is the only country that has the heart to keep the freedom which the Western world has achieved.
Dr. Bryant: It seems to me that we must distinguish between two things here. One is a kind of strategic argument, an argument about America's place in the balance of power. On that level, we could have a discussion about America's role in relation to the Communists, and that doesn't bother me so much. The second thing is a theological argument concerning the status of worldly movements in the divine economy. What bothers me is that here I get the impression from some people that Communism is demonized. I don't know if you would use this term, but it seems to me that you understand Communism as the anti-Christ. And yet, when I talk to some of the people here, they seem to recognize the thing that was mentioned in talking about Germany: that is, that it is the young Communists who seem to embody a spirit of urgency in dealing with social and political problems. You seem to respect and admire that. Can you incorporate something into your thinking so that you could make this differentiation more sharply? Could you, for example, think about the Marxist tradition as a heretical Christian tradition, rather than as a satanic force?
Lloyd Eby: That's interesting. I think that I agree with you. Dr. Bryant: About what? (laughter)
Lloyd Eby: I would be willing to accept that Marxism is a heretical Christian sect. Yet I think one also has to recognize that there's a difference between a distinction made for philosophical or evaluative purposes and the reality of the larger political situation. For example, it's very easy for us here in America to make distinctions like this. If you're, say, in South Korea or in Cambodia, where the reality is much more present, then that kind of distinction doesn't particularly help.
Dr. Sawatsky: Let me pick up this particular point. Darrol and I have a colleague who is from South Korea. He's a Presbyterian theologian. He has spoken out strongly against the present regime in South Korea. Now, he is not alone in this, as we all know. There are many like him. And the problem then arises. It's difficult for some of us who have just come through the Vietnam situation to be able to see righteousness in Park, just as we couldn't see it in Kee. And then to see Korea as the new Israel! Wow! That's impossible!
Lynn Kim: We're not saying Korea is God's example to the world.
Lloyd Eby: The fact is that South Korea is far from what any of us would like. But it has become that way, I think at least partially, through defending itself against North Korea. Even Time magazine last year compared South and North Korea and ended up comparing Park with Thomas Jefferson. Time magazine did this and Time doesn't like President Park at all. I think the fact re mains that your friend is persona non grata. I don't condone that in the least; I don't agree with that approach. I think he should be allowed to say whatever he wants to. But the fact remains that if he were in North Korea, he wouldn't be persona non grata, he'd be dead.
Lynn Kim: Many Christians who were left in Korea in the 1950's were a remnant of those left after tremendous persecution by the Japanese, and also by North Korea. The Christians suffered tremendous persecution and executions under both regimes. To say you were Christian during the Japanese occupation was a very touchy business. In the park, close to where I lived in Korea, there were brass murals depicting a situation in which all the Christian leaders had been called to a meeting and then the doors were sealed and the church burned, and if anyone tried to jump out the window they were shot. So you had to choose to be a Christian in Korea. It wasn't an easy thing as it is here in New York.
Linda Mitchell: Let's think again about the word "chosen." I think that over and over in the Bible it says that God praised this nation not because they were a nation, but because of the faithful. It wasn't the nation as a whole. Sometimes God was able to forgive the nation on the merit of just a very, very few. So I think that God's grace is abundant everywhere you look. None of us deserve anything, least of all America or Korea. But I think that on the merit of a few people who sincerely want to see God's will fulfilled, God can make use of those in that nation or in that family to bring life forth.
Dr. Sawatsky: How important is it that you have any nation identified this way or seen as this instrument? How important is that in the whole theology?
Linda Mitchell: I think it's important because you have to start somewhere.
Dr. Bryant: But the Kingdom of God -- what does that have to do with one nation over against another, or one race over against another, or one class over against another? Isn't the Kingdom spiritual and universal? Can it be identified with these relative historical matters?
Dr. Richardson: Let's think about it this way for a minute. This is what Reformed theology would say. The issue is not whether God chooses one nation and not others. It's at a more abstract level. The question is: does God choose to work with national structures? I think that Unification doctrine is not that God chose America. God chooses every nation for some specific task. So God chooses in the present age, at least, to work with national structures. The national structure of Canada, the national structure of the United States, the national structure of Germany, etc. That's the point that needs to be made when somebody says, "God has a will for America." Americans think that God has a will for America and not for other nations. God choosing to work with America is like God choosing to work with every nation and to work with national structures, and then with international structures, just as He works with family and church structures. That's what gives Unification theology its political thrust. Instead of God relating Himself only to the souls of people, or just through the sacraments or through preaching, God is going to relate Himself to people through the whole range of institutional structures. Now, that's the key idea and, in a sense, that's one point that's so radical for individualistic Protestants as well as for sacramentalist Catholicism. It is not radical for the Reform tradition. The other point I'd like to argue is really this: interestingly, the criticism of the Unification Church in the United States is not that they're anti-Communist, but that they're anti-capitalist. That is, our children go off, give up their careers, don't become lawyers, work for nothing, and become part of these great big communes. So one has to ask: what is the Christian understanding of what is going on in the world?
Dr. Sawatsky: The criticism is that Rev. Moon is a capitalist. The criticism is that Unification is a church that seems to be wanting to bring the Kingdom of God in the economic realm. And that's offensive to many.
Dr. Richardson: Well, on that point, I think we understand many reasons why the Unification Church is in a sense not a Church, if by Church is meant the structure of church as it grew up in the church-state world. The Unification Church is a movement which is attempting to make God's will for the restoration of creation manifest in every sphere of life. And so, if you want to say it this way, it's like Communism as a movement. That is, it's a total ideology. In what sense is the Unification Church, or the Unification movement anti-Communist? It's anti-Communist in the sense that it's trying to attack the same problems that Communists are trying to attack by providing an alternative social philosophy: one which is critical of capitalism, private profit, individualism, and a number of other things.
Dr. Sawatsky: But there's a question here. What is the vision of the new economy?
Lokesh Mazumdar: I'd like to point out something. So far our discussion seems to be restricted to the socio-economic and political level, as if that's all there is to it. Rev. Moon never operates on that level without always including the vast and unexplored spiritual level. The Communists are very efficient in doing a lot of things. As far as a country like India is concerned, where there is extensive poverty, the Communists can perhaps improve the economic situation. But because of their lack of a doctrine of the spirit world and the afterlife, anything that they would have to offer would be horribly limited. When you reach the economic ceiling, where do you go from there? The thing that constantly comes out of all the masters that I've ever heard, and from the Divine Principle, is that the Kingdom of Heaven has to be everlasting. No matter how high a civilization is, if it has holes that would allow it to crumble and fall, you cannot found the Kingdom. That disqualifies every single nation that exists and all ideologies and all economic systems and all political systems and everything else.
Dr. Bryant: I'm very happy to hear you say that.
Dr. Sawatsky: There's one thing I want to pick up here, and that is the comparison that was made between Unification and Communism. The notion that Unification is a movement, and not a Church, is very important. It seems to me that a characteristic of American religion, especially since separation of church and state, has been a move to two polarities: one individual and one national. The church, as the primary vehicle of the Kingdom, has disappeared in favor of the nation as the agent. Now, I think we're catching the same thing here. It is not the Church which brings in the new order, but rather a nation or group of nations which brings in the new order. That is a particular Americanization of theology which is very interesting: that the Kingdom is coming through nation-states, that nation-states are important entities in themselves, that national borders which are due to the accidents of history, are, however, not accidents of history, but are of ultimate import because they are the part of the economy of the ultimate will of God.
Lokesh Mazumdar: Situationally speaking, I think that's true. But when we go back to the creation, then we can see that there was no nation. Adam and Eve weren't created in one single nation. We can't really overlook that in our journeying toward the Kingdom of Heaven. One has to remember that in the end, there will be one family of man under God. Now, whether we live as a people confined to the earth, or live as a people confined to three continents of the earth, or whether we live as a people in twenty solar systems, doesn't really matter. What matters is that all people will be a family, and that that family would have as its center the presence of God.
Dr. Richardson: I want to explain this. Rod, I think you're right on this point: that the nation has, within Unification theology, a permanent significance. But this is not to say that it has ultimate significance. Now, as I hear it said over and over again, the important things are God-centered individuals, God-centered families, God-centered nations, God-centered world. There's a hierarchy in the way they are related to one another: first, the centering of your life in God as an individual, then creating God-centered families, uniting your families in a nation, then in the international order. Also I think that what must be said is that the international community, which is an international community of nations, is international, not non-national. The international community is a higher value than the nation. But you have to be committed to your nation. You come into the international community as an American or as a Canadian. It seems to me that it's only those people who don't firmly believe in the international community and international citizenship who would say that Unification is fundamentally a nationalistic group. It seems to me that the whole structure of the movement is to say that the nation is important as the precondition for membership in the international community. The reason why I think that that message is not heard in America is because Americans don't really believe in an international community. We don't learn foreign languages, so what it means to be part of an international community is not a reality for Americans.
Dr. Bryant: The question still remains. It is a problem of the relationship of the American nation to other nations. Why, for example, isn't the destiny of the international world dependent upon Chile, Cuba and the Soviet Union instead of the United States, Britain and the Northern European Alliance?
Lokesh Mazumdar: Theoretically, it could very well be, but I don't see that as the case right now.
Dr. Bryant: Do you mean it's accidental? It seems that America has a special destiny which is grounded in divine providence.
Jonathan Wells: You don't seem to believe that God works in this way: choosing one individual or two. Yet, if we are to believe the Bible, that's exactly how God does work and always has worked, starting with Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau. There's really no good reason why God should choose Jacob before he was even born, and yet He did. And it wasn't because Esau was evil. The Divine Principle teaches that what God began in individuals, in Adam's family, in Cain and Abel, and later, in Jacob and Esau, has, as the world's population expanded and providence grew, gradually grown into nations. Nations are the new units that God deals with.
Dr. Bryant: Let me interject here. The Cain/Abel antithesis, it seems to me, is one that runs through the heart of every man and every community. The antithesis is not one community over against another, one class over against another, one nation over against another.
Lynn Kim: That's the whole point.
Dr. Bryant: No, it's not the point! How can you agree? You see the Cain/Abel typology as a way to distinguish individuals and groups and nations from one another. I mean you are saying something about the dependence of the entire historical order upon the destiny of America. Now, however much you want to qualify it, you can't get away from it.
Dr. Richardson: Look, I don't understand what you're saying. Let's look at it this way: in the heart of every individual there is the struggle between the flesh and spirit. Every individual lives in sin. There's no question about that. Now, in Scripture, it's quite clear that even though people are born in sin and live in sin, it's yet the case that God does choose and use individuals and nations. The category of chosenness relates to the providence of God. In Scripture, Cyrus is used in the providence of God.
Dr. Bryant: I'm not sure that that helps.
Dr. Sawatsky: Besides, that's in the Old Testament, where this difference still is represented as the difference between one nation as opposed to another. But that's no longer the case. In the New Testament it's put on a different level, a universal level.
Dr. Richardson: What is the difference now?
Dr. Sawatsky: The difference is not between Israel and non-Israel. The difference is now between the forces of unrighteousness and the forces of righteousness. That difference doesn't break down along national lines.
Lloyd Eby: There's a sense in which Unification is beyond the New Testament or, if you want to say it in a different way, there's a sense in which Unificationism goes back, takes up the Old Testament, and continues where it should have been taken up.
Lokesh Mazumdar: May I interject here and remind you that we should not get stuck on the international and worldwide level. There's a cosmic level beyond that. I think it's wholesome to remember that.
Dr. Bryant: Lokesh keeps reminding us of these spirits and the spiritual world. Is that something you really want us to talk about?
Lokesh Mazumdar: The cosmic level is more important. We only have sixty years upon the earth.
Dr. Bryant: Thus far everyone is saying that the great point of our discussion is really these sixty years. Now you're saying that doesn't mean as much to you as the stuff that comes after. (laughter)
Lokesh Mazumdar: That's the major difference between Communism and Unificationism. That's the most important difference. The Communists would focus their sight on sixty years and seek to solve all the problems that they encounter in that span of sixty years. We won't do the same thing. We won't use guns and bullets to solve every problem in sixty years because we have the conviction that there's ample time. There's plenty of opportunity beyond this life to solve those problems. We believe that in our life of faith and in this journey toward establishing or building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and going to where we would like to be, there's a connection between the spirit world and the physical world. In other words, a person may be helped along the way by his ancestors or by some other spirits, like Jesus or Abraham. There's a very conscious effort on the part of the Unification Church to make the proper conditions so that this happens.
Dr. Klaaren: But even for the spirit world, from my talk with Janine, it's clear that the physical world is absolutely essential. So you do have a lot to do in these sixty years.
Tom Selover: That's why we're talking about this. There would be no reason for us to be here if that wasn't so.
Jonathan Wells: We talked about the creation and the Fall, and now we're actually talking about the restoration. And it started with Cain and Abel. Adam and Eve fell, they weren't at all repentant, God was left with this mess, and somehow He had to try to start the restoration. So He had Cain and Abel to choose from, or I should say to use, and how was He going to do that? Well, Divine Principle teaches that He chose Abel for various reasons. I won't try to explain it because it's a little complicated, but it was not necessarily because Abel was better. But when He chose Abel, Cain was angry and jealous. God arranged it so that both Cain and Abel had to overcome their fallen nature in order to solve their own dispute. Abel had to overcome his arrogance. His arrogance stemmed from the fact that God preferred him. So his fallen nature expressed itself as arrogance, just as my fallen nature expresses itself as arrogance in the same situation. And Cain's fallen nature expressed itself as envy, as jealousy. And the fact was that neither of the two of them was able to overcome. As the Divine Principle teaches, Abel stayed arrogant, and Cain stayed jealous and killed him. And so the restoration failed. This strategy of God has been multiplied through human history on the individual level, family level and the national level. This is what we are getting at when we talk about politics: the strategy of restoration.
If you stand back from the situation, regardless of how anti-American you may be (and several of us in the Church are anti-American, or were), the fact is, I think, that God has chosen America, even if we don't like it. I think it's easy to see the Soviet Union, for example, in a Cain position. Now, Abel can become arrogant and blow it again, which is, it seems to me, what America is doing.
Dr. Bryant: Jonathan, do you feel that God has also chosen Chile? Jonathan Wells: Yes.
Dr. Bryant: Do you feel you have an obligation to learn what that means in the same detail that you feel you need to understand what it means to say that God has chosen America?
Jonathan Wells: By Chile, you're saying every other country?
Dr. Bryant: No I meant what I said.
Jonathan Wells: Just Chile?
Dr. Bryant: Yes.
Jonathan Wells: Well, my own personal responsibility is to know what my position is in God's providence, and if I'm in a Cain-Abel situation. Then I have to know who my Abel or who my Cain is, and understand how I can restore the situation. And if I happen to be an American, and if Soviet Russia is Cain on a national level then that's the situation I have to understand. Now, if I'm a Cuban, a Chilean Marxist, or a Chilean Christian or Fascist, or whatever else, then I have to understand my position in Chile or in Peru or whatever. But what I'm talking about now is my position as it really is. I think it has international implications clearly. I don't think that can be denied.
Dr. Richardson: Let's ask about some other cases. What, for example, would they say about Germany? Is Germany, as a nation, placed within the providence of God? We have two Germans here, so we can ask them. We can put it to anybody from another nation. What do Christa or Klaus say about Germany?
Klaus Lindner: Germany is, in Europe, in a very similar situation to, for example, Korea. Germany is divided into East and West. The Unification Church in Germany is working very hard to have the people in Germany develop a consciousness of all of Europe. Western Europe has to find some unity. And also, the Unification Church is working against Communism. Germany, France and England have very important roles in the unity of Europe.
Rev. Calitis: Do you two want unity among those nations? What do you two want? Klaus Lindner: Ideologically? Unity in relation to Communism.
Christa Dabeck: To bring the German people to the consciousness of the danger of Communism. There's much wishy-washy opinion over there. People are not sure whether it is better to live in a democratic country or in a Communist country. They're not clear what Communism really means. Unification is working very hard to give people a clear understanding about this.
God is working today to bring His Kingdom on earth. That is what we teach. God is trying to work in a special way at this time in history to bring His Kingdom. He is being opposed right now in His work of salvation, in His work of bringing a God-centered Kingdom on earth, by a basically atheistic system which says it is bringing a secular kingdom on earth. If Communism takes over the world, it'll be very difficult to establish a God-centered Kingdom on earth. So one of our first steps is to keep the whole world from becoming Communist, because we'll then have a very difficult time in our evangelical work. So that's the first step. That's why we are anti-Communist, that's why nations can't help but get involved. God's problem in the beginning was one man and one woman who fell. Then they multiplied and there was a fallen family. Then there was a fallen tribe, and then there was a fallen nation. Now we've got these big nations that are trying to take over the world. So, somehow, they have to be stopped.
Dr. Sawatsky: The reason why this is such an important matter to you, I take it, is that you see that God's providence cannot override human freedom. Is that right? That's why it's such a problem. You see that Jesus' mission finally failed because there wasn't the human response that there should have been. Then conceivably, if Communism were to be successful, God would be vanquished.
Jonathan Wells: God Himself is not vanquished, but His people are going to have a heck of a time for a long time if Communism is successful. Communism is not created by God, so it will collapse eventually. But let's keep it from taking over the whole world and having to collapse internally and having God start all over again.
Dr. Richardson: I'd like to make a general comment about this whole discussion. One thing I have noticed is that when we speak about these political things, the Jewish people have very little problem understanding. It does cause a problem for Christians, in particular for Protestant Christians in America, because the Protestant Christian conception of the godly Kingdom is wholly spiritualized.
Lloyd Eby: That's one reason. I think there's another reason, too. That is, Protestant Christianity in general does not have a conception of the Kingdom of God as a renewal or restoration of the physical world, which includes all the institutions that one sees in the world. Now, it's interesting that we started out talking about the restoration of man to God and the spiritual restoration. Protestant Christianity has no problem with spiritual restoration. When we go on to talk about the family, to the restoration of the Second Blessing, to some extent Christianity can follow that, to some extent it can't. Christianity is partly comfortable with that and partly uncomfortable. And when we go on to talk about what we would call the Third Blessing, that is, the restoration of the physical world into the Kingdom of Heaven, that's always the time when problems come out. We start getting into problems about politics, economics, those things. That's where the most difficulty comes for Christians in accepting Unificationism. I think the reason for that difficulty is that Christianity has never had a foundation for appreciating what we would call the Third Blessing. It has no general foundation because Jesus was crucified and therefore salvation in Christianity becomes a spiritual thing, a matter of two Kingdoms. Hence Christianity can't really talk very well about such things as education, politics and economics. It has never been able to solve any of those problems.
Dr. Vander Goot: You're just simply wrong.
Dr. Richardson: I'd like to make a suggestion here. This morning we played "Christian theologians reply to Unification doctrine," and we talked about the doctrine of Creation, Christology, on and on. Now why don't we just tell the Unification people what the right Christian social theory is? Let's tell them where they're wrong in their view of the Kingdom of God on earth. Now I'm going to begin by telling you. (laughter)
Dr. Bryant: My problem is I don't really think that what you're saying is right, Lloyd. The problem is, as I understand Augustine, that the role of nations in the divine economy is something we don't know. That would be my position, too. I don't know. I'll be very straight about that. I don't know what the role of the nations is in the divine economy. I do believe that there is some role, but I don't know what it is. You see, what's operating here is simply the Protestant principle of criticism. I do know historically about different kinds of dangers, certain kinds of difficulty, certain kinds of problems. But no, I don't know what the "right Christian social theory" is. I'm willing to leave it at a fairly theoretical level because I don't have anything beyond that to say.
Dr. Richardson: Wouldn't you say that if you go to, for example, the National Council of Churches and ask them you'll get two answers; there are only two answers in the Christian Church. There are the people who are spiritualizers: two-kingdom people who are Augustinians. Their answer is: "We don't know." Right? And you get the modified view of the Catholics, who say, "Well, we don't know, but any state that will let us celebrate Mass and have Church schools is okay." Right? You get different kinds of spiritualizers, and the other group you get are the Christian Marxists. Now, what I find interesting is that most of us who belong to the East Coast Liberal establishment can live comfortably with the Christian Marxists. All the big names are Christian Marxists: Moltmann, Metz, Alves. We listen to the people who are Christian Marxists, right? Yet for the Unification people it's really Christian Marxism, whereas for people like Moltmann, it's Marxism with a little bit of God around the outside. Really, there's no attempt to work Christian material into the Marxist theory. But we have a lot of appreciation for Marxism, and I think that we could even say that it's almost an orthodox way for a Christian theologian today to build a social philosophy: namely, to take Marxism on. If you go to the World Council of Churches, you'll find that they tend fundamentally to be Christian Marxists.
It seems to me that insofar as there would be any critique of what Unification says, it tends to be a critique that comes out of the spiritualizing of the pre-Marxist period: namely, we don't know the function of providence, God is hidden, there are two kingdoms, and we know how dangerous millennialism is. That seems to be a reasonable position. But can we criticize Unification's political enthusiasm unless we have something else to offer?
Dr. Bryant: I am not criticizing their political enthusiasm; I'm criticizing their theological formulations. I agree that we need a Christian social theory and I'm glad that the Unification Church is working on one, but that doesn't mean that we can't engage in critical conversation about their position.
Lynn Kim: I think that in our discussions we, as Unification Church members, had to be vague this afternoon in speaking of the national level because our movement is not on a national level. Our American movement is still primarily on an individual level, cracking into the family level, and just touching a societal level. We have a Church and we have believers, but we're nowhere near approaching any kind of national instrument. So how can we talk about how God is going to work on the national level? We aren't there yet. But if we can awaken the conscience of America to begin to serve the world, this would be the beginning.
* The reference is to a bicentennial publication, "Toward Our Third Century," a New World magazine published at the Unification Theological Seminary, Barrytown, New York, July 4, 1976.
** The reference is to the daily newspaper published in New York City, The News World.