Hermeneutics and Unification Theology - Edited by Darrol Bryant Durwood Foster

Hermeneutics: The Divine Principle and Scripture

Darrol Bryant: I have a request. The request is for a simple and short statement from the members of the Unification Church about what the Divine Principle is. I warned the asker of this question that I doubted that we could get a short and simple answer to the question. Nonetheless, I thought it important to make sure that everyone is fairly comfortable that they have some rough idea of what the Divine Principle is. In this way we can talk about these problems on the foundation of some understanding of what the substance of this theological position is.

Yoshihiko Masuda: Do you mean the Divine Principle book or...

Darrol Bryant: That's the question that I was asking you: What do you mean by the "Divine Principle?" Do you mean this book or something that is in this book or a cosmic principle, or what?

Dagfinn Aslid: If you ask what the "Divine Principle" is, you'll get at least six different answers. I understand the Divine Principle as revelation, but I have to tell you what revelation means. I would be tempted to draw a parallel here with Pannenberg's notion of revelation as history. The Divine Principle is not something out of a bottle or something completely broken off from the rest of history. I see it as very much in touch with history and tradition. When we in the Unification Church speak of revelation, we speak about progressive revelation and stages in revelation where new revelation is based on prior revelations, yet transforming them and expanding them. In this perspective, I'd call the Divine Principle a continuing attempt to articulate the most comprehensive tradition. As concerns history, we try to overcome the split between "Historie" (history as facts) and "Geschichte" (history as meaning) which has become a problem. Some people have been asking about the relationship between Rev. Moon and the Christian tradition. I think the attempt in the Divine Principle is explicitly not to isolate the Christian tradition, but to aim towards a universal history and articulate a Christian theology in that perspective. This is very explicit in our historiology: specifically Christian history is central to universal history. I think the Divine Principle needs to be understood as an historical perspective in that sense. I would stress the developing and open-ended character of the Divine Principle. It is giving us an ever-expanding and more comprehensive horizon. That is how I understand it.

Yoshihiko Masuda: I'd like to go back to the text. First of all, the Divine Principle is the interpretation in English of the original title of the book in Korean or Japanese. The original title of the book is not Divine Principle. The literal translation of the title in Japanese and Korean is Discourses on Principle.

Darrol Bryant: Principle in the singular or plural?

Yoshihiko Masuda: There are no articles to distinguish singular or plural in Korean and Japanese.

Durwood Foster: Mr. Kim feels it should be plural. We were just talking about the same thing during the break. But you're saying there's no difference.

Yoshihiko Masuda: It's not so clear in the original Korean language, because in Korean and Japanese, there's usually no difference in form between plural and singular. It's unspecified in the original Korean language. When I joined the Unification Church I studied an earlier edition of the Divine Principle. The literal translation of the title of that book was Elucidation of Principle or Explanation of Principle. The new edition is Discourses on Principle. That's the English translation of the Japanese title. We don't use the term "Divine Principle" in Japanese when we discuss Unification theology. We use "Unification Principle," not "Divine Principle."

Theologian X: Do you think it's a mistake to use the adjective "divine"?

Yoshihiko Masuda: My personal preference is the literal translation. Discourses on Principle.

Theologian X: But why do you prefer that? What is your motive for being particularly resistant to the word "divine"?

Yoshihiko Masuda: In English discussion there is always a confusion between the Divine Principle book and the Principle itself. In Japanese and Korean, there's no confusion between the textbook, Discourses on Principle, and the Unification Principle. So, personally, I prefer the title Discourses on Principle.

Patricia Zulkosky: Actually, as I understand it, the title Divine Principle was given to the book by a western missionary who had gone to Korea. They were discussing what it should be titled and this missionary who was studying our movement at that time, came up with the title, Divine Principle. So that became the English title. It didn't come from Rev. Moon.

Stillson Judah: I would like to make an observation concerning a trend I observe in the movement. It seems to me that this is an example of a very perceptible trend towards diminishing the divine or absolute claim that is being made for the book. Earlier on, the text of the Divine Principle seemed to have an aura about it of a new revelation comparable to the Old and New Testament. But recently, and today particularly, it seems to me the tenor of the comments is to say: "Don't make the mistake of thinking we're absolutizing this book. It's not divine, it's a discourse on Principle. Or it's an open-ended search to unify the human vision of truth, or something like that." So there's a kind of debunking or iconoclastic trend that would disabuse us of thinking that there is any kind of idolatry associated with this book. I see that as compatible with the efforts that I understand to be under way now to revise it or to redact it in some way. I don't see that trend as in any way demeaning. I welcome this. I can see that it corresponds to inner felt needs in the movement, but I just wonder if I'm right in this perception. Would anyone like to contradict what I'm saying?

Anthony Guerra: I don't want to contradict it at all. I think, however, that that same kind of debunking is also part of our approach to the Old and New Testaments. That is, that we don't really propositionalize revelation. The Old Testament and the New Testament are looked on as textbooks of truth, rather than the truth itself.

Yoshihiko Masuda: I want to add some points concerning my understanding or interpretation of Divine Principle. In Japanese, there is no equivalent word to "Divine Principle." In Japanese we say Unification Principle, or just Principle. In my understanding of the Principle, with a capital letter, it is truth, invisible, but absolute, unchangeable, eternal. The Divine Principle book is an attempt to express that invisible, absolute, eternal Principle. The Divine Principle book is not absolute, but an expression of truth, an expression of the Principle. So I can see the eventuality of some revision, adding or changing the Divine Principle book itself. The Divine Principle book is a new interpretation of the Bible. The Bible is also an expression of the Principle, the eternal, absolute principle.

Darrol Bryant: Could you comment on the term "revelation"? Do you know anything about the Korean word that is translated into English as "revelation"?

Yoshihiko Masuda: Yes, I know the equivalent word. I think it has the same common sense meaning as in English.

Darrol Bryant: What would you understand the common sense meaning of "revelation" to be?

Yoshihiko Masuda: I don't see a difference between the English and Korean word.

Darrol Bryant: OK, and what do you understand by the English word "revelation"?

Yoshihiko Masuda: Something given by God.

Durwood Foster: Is "revelation" a word in Korean or Japanese that only came into vogue through contact with Christianity? Or was the same word in the vocabulary before?

Yoshihiko Masuda: It came from Christian theology.

Herbert Richardson: "Given by God," of course, is the technical definition for grace, not revelation. Everything is grace: interpretation can be a grace, revelation can be a grace, a meal that you eat is a grace. So, if that's the case, you can't place very much on somebody saying, "Well, I've got a new revelation." It just means, "I've been given a new grace in my life."

Dagfinn Aslid: I'd just like to make a distinction between a supernaturalist conception of revelation, and a more rational understanding of revelation. I mentioned earlier that I draw a parallel between Pannenberg's notion of revelation which tends to be a view of God as revealed in history and creation and our view. I think that our notion of revelation tends towards that rationalistic side, rather than supernatural.

Theologian X: I haven't read everything, but in Young Oon Kim's interpretation of the Divine Principle* she's clearly a supernaturalist. Do you find yourself in tune with her interpretation?

Dagfinn Aslid: Why is she a supernaturalist?

Theologian X: Her world view includes a variety of spirits that persist beyond death, who press themselves into the lives of other people who are living physically. That is clearly one symptom of a supernaturalist world view, and I would see that as quite different from the concept of reality as historical that you find in Pannenberg.

Dagfinn Aslid: I'd like to make two comments. First of all, Unification wants to embrace the different paths or styles or modes of knowledge. It is almost like the Jungian cross of cognition: the way of the intellect, the emotions, the will, and the intuition. We too affirm these different modes of knowing. Secondly, this diversity can be seen in the diversity of its spiritualities. Our movement is more charismatic in England where I was working last summer. The whole English family is very different from the German family. That is partly a function of the style of leadership. I find the English family to be much more -- if we might use the word -- supernatural, or I would say, spiritual in its orientation. Whereas the German family is much more centered on rationality and clarity in order to move ahead with a lot of energy and efficiency. In that sense, our movement isn't very monolithic. Now if we were to speak epistemologically of our view of what we call the spirit world and spirits, I think we tend to include that as rational. We tend to speak about spirits -- if I may use the word -- scientifically, but I'm not saying that in a constrictive sense.

Durwood Foster: I'd like to comment on that very briefly. I appreciate this effort to explicate the mode in which revelation is understood to have occurred in the Divine Principle and through Rev. Moon. But it seems to me, in point of fact, that what you're saying is very problematic. It seems to me that there is something quite specifically supernatural in Rev. Moon's reception of his new vision or insight or code for interpreting the Bible. It is one that would stand in blatant contrast with the normal meaning of the word "rational" which would be something accessible to the human intellect in general. Earlier, in a private conversation, Mr. Kim was emphasizing -- and this has seemed to me to generally be the case in Unification self-understanding -- that what happened in the case of Rev. Moon was something exceedingly particular and discontinuous with general, rational cognition. It's not something that could be recapitulated or publicly demonstrated. Rather it goes back to the event that occurred when he was 16 years old, and continues from that point to the actual writing of the Divine Principle. There is something very, very different from what Pannenberg proposes going on. What Rev. Moon comes up with is not something that is subject to a general, rational demonstration, at least it has not been ordinarily understood as such.

Dagfinn Aslid: However, it's in the style of theologizing that I would say it's similar to Pannenberg. When, for example, Pannenberg speaks about revelation as an historical event without finality he is very close to our view. He then affirms the historical critical method and the rational approach to history. In a similar way, we would affirm an occurrence of spiritual communication as something that is completely explained in our ontology. In the case of Rev. Moon, the revelation which he had was painstakingly worked out for years and then explicated and made rational in a way that is plain for all to see.

Herbert Richardson: I have a comment on what you're saying and also a general question on the Principle. Is it or isn't it a new revelation? The argument, it seems to me, runs a little like this. In a sense the question is not whether there is a teaching which is a new revelation to go alongside the Bible. In a sense the question is really this: has God continued to work in history in a salvific way since the time of the apostles? Or is it the case that, as practically all Protestants believe in their denial of tradition, that God has not done anything salvific in history since the time of the apostles? Ever since the time of the apostles, we live by faith in Jesus Christ, awaiting His return. History is totally the sphere of mankind. There is nothing that has occurred in history that comes from God, in God's pursuing His purpose. We just live by faith in this blind, dark world. That's the Protestant position. The Protestant interpretation of the history of the Christian church is that it is the history of the deformation of the true Christian Gospel by human beings until the true Gospel was recovered by a couple of people, Luther and Calvin. I personally think that tradition is totally nonsensical. The Catholics are absolutely right. Why are they right? The Catholics understand that God has continued to work salvifically in history since the time of the apostles. And our knowledge of that ushers in the claim that there are two sources of revelation: Scripture and tradition. The question, however, is not whether there are two sources of revelation, Scripture and tradition. But the question that every Protestant has to face is, "Are you really willing to live with the consequence of your claim that Scripture alone is the sole revelation? The consequence is that you deny that God has continued to work salvifically in history ever since the time of Jesus Christ, except for saving souls for the other world." Now, I think that Protestantism is, quite frankly, blind to the grace and purposes of God.

Durwood Foster: I have a lot of sympathy with the thrust of your comment. Yet I feel it is a caricature of the Protestant position, or at least an extremely truncated statement of it. Even the classical Protestant position which most approximates what you're saying does, I think, rest on the premise that in great figures like Luther and Calvin, in the reformers, and in my own special tradition, John Wesley, God continues to be active, through the principle of interpretation by the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, conjoined with the canonical authority of the Bible. There is positively the notion that God continues to be salvifically active, not only in the saving of souls, but in the shaping of historical destiny, the reform of the church, the correction of the perversion of Christian truth that occurred in the Catholic Church and so on. In addition to this stream we're talking about, there is the whole enthusiast tradition, the people who rely on the new outpouring of the Spirit in a way that emphasizes, even more than Catholicism does, that God continues to break into history revealingly. Then, too, there's the whole liberal development in Protestantism, which is in some ways the reverse of classical Protestantism because it identifies the progressive evolution of history as God's continuing salvific operation. Your statement, as I know you would acknowledge, is not really adequate to Protestantism as a whole. I just say that by way of a footnote, because with your positive position, I'm very much in sympathy.

Herbert Richardson: But it's intended as a kind of polemical gambit. And it's good in a sense, as a move against those in the Protestant world who would want to argue a "sola scriptura" position. While I don't think that the book is a revelation, I think that there is a revelational work of God in history since the time of the apostles up to the present. But why can't the Unification Church have this tradition and still be Christian? Or to put it in another way, if the Moonies can't, is the whole of Rome wrong also? And, of course, the very worst example in the Protestant world, I think -- and I say this with deep love -- is Luther. I'm sure that there is no human being in Western history whose name is quoted as an authority more than Luther. I mean, Luther, Luther, Luther, by the people who claim that the only authority is "sola scriptura." (laughter.)

Theologian X: I think I'm in sympathy with the direction in which you are going, but I think I would have formulated it slightly differently. I don't see the problem created by "sola scriptura" over against God's continuing salvific work. The problem that "sola scriptura" raises is one of authority in revelation, which I think is a quite different issue from the one you raised. One can acknowledge that God continues to work day in and day out, but "sola scriptura" has to do with the authority of revelation. I don't think it speaks to whether or not God's saving work has stopped or whether it continues.

Herbert Richardson: You don't think so? I think it does, in fact. And I think that it has functioned that way in Protestant history. The Protestants have used "sola scriptura" against the Catholic doctrine of "scriptura et traditio."

Theologian X: Yes, I understand that, but I just don't see how soteriology is at stake there.

Durwood Foster: I think that the relationship is that the authority helps you to judge what actions in history are really God's actions. Maybe you can say that the Protestants have chosen "sola scriptura" because there's a lot of confusion and if you have only one Scripture, that cleans things up.

Herbert Richardson: I think the basic point is that the Unification Church is trying to discern the continuing and developing work of God in history in relation to the project of God's purpose, namely, salvation. Therefore, it is not just concerned about more revelation, but is concerned about more salvation! It's concern is to give to the life of the Church a holy history which doesn't, like Cullmann's, come to an end at the time of Jesus. Rather, Unification comes right up to the present, and offers, not a theology in the old sense, but a philosophy or theology of history. I think the question is now, how do we judge that question?

Jonathan Wells: You will admit there will be competing theologies of history?

Herbert Richardson: Sure.

Darrol Bryant: That goes back to Jonathan's question but now it's shifted over to the area of evaluation. That's an important shift since it suggests that the problem is not that some followers of Rev. Moon have written the Divine Principle, but that the problem is whether or not these things that are written down in this text are true. What are the norms by which one would proceed towards that evaluation?

Theologian X: I think that may relate to the authority issue.

Darrol Bryant: It does relate to the authority issue, but it's a question that's a general question that relates to the evaluation of any proposal as to what we within the Christian tradition should believe.

Theologian X: I would say that there are some dramatically new things in the Divine Principle. I don't claim to be an expert on it, but there is in my judgment a distinctively different interpretation of the fall, and in that sense, then, of the human problem. Therefore, there is also a distinctively different proposal as to how the human problem is to be rectified. It is one that is in continuity with, and builds upon, the other preceding traditions, to be sure, but it's also distinctively different. And then on the basis of all of that, there is the suggestion or the anticipation that the fulfillment of this needed rectification is about to occur. Indeed, there is a strong hint that it is already taking place if we could only see, or at least that we may hopefully expect that confirmation may soon occur since the bringer of this rectification is among us. All of those things, I would say, if true, or whether true or not, are distinctively different from the older tradition. If they are true, it is a new revelation, I would say.

Darrol Bryant: Would you clarify that term you used, "new revelation." You mean it's a new disclosure of God, is that how you would use it?

Theologian X: Yes, I would mean it that way. It claims to be a distinctive, new disclosure of the truth of God for human life. A decisive, new disclosure would, for me, merit the term "revelation." Of course, like any other word, it's subject to interpretation.

Jonathan Wells: I thought that our view of the fall was part of the whole tradition. If you read St. Augustine and the City of God, he says that human sexuality became disordered through the fall and through the disorder of human sexuality, sin is transmitted from generation to generation. I think that that story is repeated so many times, it is so well understood, that in the popular mind people who aren't even Christian will tell you that's what Christians believe. The popular view is that Christians believe that sex is bad because Adam and Eve sinned, and they were ashamed, and so forth. The Unification view, our story of how the fall took place, far from being something new is, at least in the popular mind, very familiar. It's the theologians who don't believe it anymore! Why? Well, it's because they've developed another idea that in relation to the orthodox tradition is heterodox. We've heard so many times that sex is "just natural," that theologians may actually think that the Unification proposal is novel. But it seems to me that it's close to old orthodoxy.

Theologian X: I think that it's wholesome that you are pinpointing this issue, because it does suggest that we might inquire very specifically into the understanding of the fall in the Divine Principle and in subsequent Unification interpretation. I've already said that I don't claim to be an expert on it, but I've had the impression that you hold the view that some sort of sexual pollution or contamination took place in which the satanic principle got in on the act and polluted or contaminated what would otherwise have been the pure and good fulfillment of God's purpose. And, Jesus would have rectified that had He had time to get around to it but didn't, and now it needs to be made up. This, of course is not the whole story, but that seems to be a specific motif that is divergent from the main line of the classical Christian tradition. But, as I say, that's something that we need to pinpoint and to go into specifically. I wouldn't want the whole weight of what I was saying about novelty a moment ago to rest on this one point. I just mentioned that as one of three main things that I gave as illustrations, and the latter two are perhaps more decisive, really, than that first one.

Jonathan Wells: I'd like to talk about the fall if we have time.

Darrol Bryant: We don't have time now, but I would suggest that that be the topic that we begin with after lunch.

Jonathan Wells: I just wanted to continue my preface and point out that when I do talk about it, I think I can illustrate this question of validation. That is, we're taking a theological proposal like the Divine Principle and correlating it with Scripture and the Christian tradition, and finding out if it's faithful to the essential meaning of Scripture and tradition, and at the same time perhaps novel. That's what I'll try to do when I get around to doing it.

Stillson Judah: I'm trying to sort all of this out in my own mind, and one of the things that bothers me is this: if the Divine Principle can be said to be a new disclosure of truth from God in any sense of the word, then it seems to me at that point that you have a new revelation. The point I'm very interested in is the question of how this differs, we might say, from Islam. There we have a view which says, "Yes, we recognize the Old Testament as one of the books, we recognize the position of Jesus, the New Testament is one of the books. But resting on this tradition, we have a new disclosure of truth, through Mohammed, which is now called the Koran." I'm continually bothered by this because I hear something here that seems to me is very close to the analogy between the Old Testament, Judaism and Christianity versus the Koran or a new revelation in Islam. Now, how is this different?

Dagfinn Aslid: Very briefly: I see the Divine Principle as something that makes a greater effort at correlation and continuity with Scripture. The Koran tends, systematically speaking, to stand more distinct from the Old and New Testament. I think the effort at synthesis is more explicit and central in the Principle.

Richard Quebedeaux: This brings up a theory that a friend of mine has and I think it's correct. Unification is a new religious movement out of which has come this text called the Divine Principle. But how is this movement to be interpreted? It can be interpreted, on the one hand, as a new religion with a new revelation. It can also be interpreted, on the other hand, as a renewal movement within Christianity with a new interpretation of Scripture. Now, the question is how is it going to develop? What's going to happen to Unification? If, on the one hand, it is isolated from the other Christian traditions, it will invariably lead to the elevation of the Divine Principle, especially after Rev. Moon dies, to the point where it becomes like the Book of Mormon, almost canonical. The other possible direction, and I think I've already seen some evidence for this development, is that in conversation with other Christians, Unification will come to appreciate the centrality of Scripture and Christ more than it seems to do now.

Consequently, you will want to talk about the Divine Principle more as an interpretation of Scripture, a work which for Unificationists is like Calvin's Institutes is to orthodox Calvinists. I think one of the critical things affecting the route Unification will take is the intellectual dialogue that's going on at every level. I think that if the Divine Principle ever becomes canonical, and in fact co-equal with Scripture, that would be the end of ecumenical discussion. We have a parallel in the development of the Church of the New Jerusalem, the Swedenborgians, a small intellectual sect that has two strands. One strand uses Swedenborg's writings as an interpretation of Scripture, but not co-equal to Scripture and not revelatory in the sense that Scripture is. This is the main line Swedenborgians who are now members of the National Council of Churches. Even though their theology is very, very different from main-line Christendom, it has not elevated the writings of Swedenborg to equality with Scripture. Whereas there is the split-off group of equal size which makes the writings of Swedenborg co-equal to Scripture as a new revelation, and they are totally sectarian.

I know some people at Barrytown who would like Unificationism to be like Mormonism, really. And then there's a very strong and emerging conflict with those who are very much more akin to the main-line historic Christian traditions, who state that, "If Divine Principle ever becomes canonical, I'm going to leave the movement."

Virginia Hearn: Recognizing the truth of Jonathan's claim that in the popular mind there is a sexual connotation to the fall, I am not convinced that this is in Augustine. I've never been aware that this was in Augustine.

Jonathan Wells: I will send you a couple of texts --

Virginia Hearn: And of course I will immediately say that Augustine isn't necessarily authoritative.

Jonathan Wells: The question is whether or not it's in the tradition. Actually I think that the tradition of understanding the fall as sexual comes into Christianity from Judaism. It would be marvelous to have a good biblical scholar here. But in all honesty is it really the case that nobody had ever heard, until they heard from Rev. Moon, that sin entered the world by Satan or a serpent seducing Eve and having a sexual relation?

Durwood Foster: That's not exactly to the point. I mean, everything that Jesus said was anticipated in the inter-testamental or Old Testament literature. It does not in any way refute the revelatory character of a revelation that the motifs or thematic elements in it have been in existence prior to it.

Darrrol Bryant: I agree totally on that point, Durwood, and that's why I'm still unclear about what exactly the question is about this being a new revelation. I have trouble understanding what that question is for precisely that reason. As I read the Divine Principle, I say, "Yes, it's put together in a kind of novel way, there are some new things here," but are these different in kind from what we see in any other text? To say in an absolute way that there's something new here doesn't make any sense to me. I don't think it makes any sense to speak about the Scripture in that way either.

Theologian X: Maybe revelation is a word you can't use.

Darrol Bryant: No, I do use it in the first sense that you mentioned, that in the Scripture God is disclosed. I believe that. I accept that. But the corollary is not that God is not disclosed anywhere else.

Herbert Richardson: The technical problem is the definiens, the distinguishing mark of revelation. Is that definiens that it be new? It seems to me that what Durwood is saying is that the definiens of revelation is not that it be new, but that it be from God. Just to give you an example, Calvin argued that the teaching of the New Testament was exactly like the teaching of the Old Testament. The difference was not newness, but just order, a dispensation appropriate to the time and age. What makes it revelation? That it's from God, that it's binding, is Calvin's view.

Well, then, with Unification, maybe the interesting question is not whether or not the doctrine that they teach is new, but on what grounds -- this is very Catholic -- is it authoritative? Is it authoritative because it's taught by Rev. Moon? Or is it authoritative because it is taught by Scripture? Or is it authoritative because Rev. Moon, on the basis of the authority of Scripture, presents a true interpretation of Scripture to us? I think, by the way, Catholics often say this: "OK, you're right, but you may be wrong if the reason that you're right is the wrong reason." So we want to know, "Do you believe this by faith and trust in the teaching of the magisterial office of the Church, or do you believe this by your own reason?" Some things Catholics are obliged to believe on the basis of the teaching of the magisterium, and other things they're obliged to believe on the basis of the capacity of reason. Now we're clearly into the problem of revelation as the mode of authorization of the knowledge that you have, not the content, whether it's new or not. That's clearly a whole different way to pose it, and much closer, I think, to where the question lies.

Durwood Foster: I think so too, and what you're saying is illuminating and, I think, sound. But I would say in addition that there are some aspects of newness in the facticity or givenness of a revelation. I was simply suggesting that they do not stand or fall with the novelty of the thematic elements or motifs that come together in the new revelation. I do think that there is in a new revelation a novel coalescence or synthesis of the elements. But that is compatible with, and I would want to subjoin it to what you were saying about the mode of authority. I think that's involved and that's what gives the new coalescence or synthesis its thrust or decisiveness. It is that part of the whole dynamic that has sometimes been called the work of the Holy Spirit. That can't be left out in the total diagnosis of what is involved in what we called revelation -- though there's also this other aspect of novelty that cannot be ignored either.

Anthony Guerra: In many ways that's how I view what Rev. Moon did. He had all of the elements of the Divine Principle given in Scripture: the creation, the story of the fall. Christ, salvation, eschatology, the Second Coming. Through his reading of the Scripture -- much like the reformers under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit -- he coalesced these things into a new synthesis, which is written in this book we call the Divine Principle.

I think the difference between the Koran and the Divine Principle has to do with the way in which the person of Christ, not the Scripture, but the way in which the person of Christ, the reality of Christ, is dealt with. That is, in the Koran, the messianic office, the singular nature of the person of Jesus as the Messiah is denied, whereas in the Divine Principle it's upheld. For the Divine Principle Jesus is the Messiah, unlike other prophets. That statement is explicitly made. It seems to me that's the point where we stand in differentiation from Islam, or other religions: this point places us within the Christian tradition.

Theologian X: How about the Old Testament and the New Testament? We have an Old Testament which represents an older revelation, we have a New Testament which represents a new revelation which is based, of course, on the Old Testament. But now, can we not say that the revelation in the Divine Principle rests also on the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, and it is also a new revelation in the same way that the New Testament is a new revelation in relation to the Old Testament?

Anthony Guerra: But you see, the question we're raising concerns the meaning of revelation. If we take the definition that we've talked about, as a kind of coalescence of given elements, then I would say that for some Christians the Old Testament is...

Theologian X: I think Stillson Judah's question stands as asked. It doesn't depend on the definition of revelation, it depends upon the authority status it holds within the tradition: how canonical is it? I think that without even defining revelation, the question is still a fair one.

Anthony Guerra: I think it is, but I think that Richard Quebedeaux has partly suggested the context for the appropriation of that question, and that is, that it very much depends on what happens between now and Rev. Moon's death and how other traditions respond to this movement.

Herbert Richardson: That's why a theological conference like this is not just concerned with understanding the Unification movement but is also working to try to push the movement in one direction or the other. People like myself are eager to work to hold the Unification movement within the Christian tradition and to strengthen that attachment. Other people, by attacking the Church, are trying to push it outside in a sectarian way. It seems to me that theologians play, especially in respect to this movement, a very important formative role in determining the future of the Unification Church in relation to Christian tradition. It's a real challenge to us, because it seems to me that the Unification movement raises the question of the Western character of Christianity. Here we encounter an indigenous form of orientalized Christianity. What are we going to do with it? And even more it raises the problem of the Christian tradition in relation to the world religions. All these questions are at stake here.


* Young Oon Kim, Divine Principle and its Application, various editions. Washington D.C.: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. 1960-1972. 

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