Proceedings of the Virgin Islands' Seminar on Unification Theology -- Darrol Bryant, General Editor - April 1, 1980

The Mission of Jesus -- William Bergman

This morning I would like to share with you some of the essential points of the Divine Principle explanation of the mission of the messiah. First of all, to understand the Unification viewpoint you have to recall the original purpose for which God created the world. God originally had in mind an ideal that was to be manifested through his first son and daughter, Adam and Eve, who were to grow to perfection in his love and then marry. They could have created an ideal love between them, the fruits of which would have been expressed in their children. Through the descendants of this first God-centered family, an ideal society, nation and world would have been created. From the beginning of human history then, the kingdom of God would have existed and mankind would have been united as a spiritual family in God. People would have related to each other as brothers and sisters. Then, having fulfilled the purpose of life on earth, men and women of spiritual perfection would have dwelt in the highest realm of the spiritual world after their deaths.

This original will of God, however, was not fulfilled. God gave mankind a portion of responsibility in order that man might manifest the unique value that comes from being able to choose for himself. Man's disbelief in God's word meant that our ancestors' original love was not fully perfected in God, and as a result, their descendants have not been able to fully manifest the perfect nature of God on earth. Rather, the world of man has been a mixture of good and evil; and as a result, a history of struggle has existed. We have been living in a "hell on earth" because we have not achieved spiritual perfection. Following such a life, our spirits are not able to dwell in the highest realm in the spiritual world. At the end of our physical lives we dwell in a lower realm. We can say then, that there is a hell on earth and in the spiritual world as well.

Therefore, from the point of view of the Divine Principle, salvation is restoration; these words are synonymous. Since God could not prevent the fall without interfering with man's portion of responsibility, he began to work after the fall through a providence by which he could restore mankind. The process of human history is a process through which God and man together can establish a foundation for the messiah to come. The messiah is the one through whom mankind's original sin can be liquidated. Through Christ the pattern of perfection on every level can be established so that mankind can be grafted back into the lineage of God and fulfill the original purpose of creation.

Jesus of Nazareth was born to this mission 2000 years ago. Therefore, the purpose of the coming of Jesus was to realize the original world of God's ideal, a world which we could call the kingdom of God on earth, the kingdom of heaven; therefore, Jesus' first words in his public ministry were, "...the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Mt 4:17)

According to the Divine Principle, a man who has been fully saved is identical to a man who has never fallen. Then, are Christians fully saved? St. Paul who had such a deep love for Jesus still felt he was separated from God. He felt that although his mind had been liberated, his body was under the dominion of Satan: "For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin... Who will deliver me from this body of death?... So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin." (Rom 7:22-25) Also I John 1:10 says, "If we say we have not sinned, we make him [God] a liar, and his word is not in us."

Even such a devout Christian as St. Paul recognized that he was still waiting to be fully saved. He says, "... but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." (Rom 8:23) Also, the Bible teaches us to pray incessantly, and we know that as Christians our children are still in need of salvation. What this indicates is that while there is salvation through Jesus, there must be some limit to the salvation through the cross. How can we understand that? Jesus came to complete the purpose for which God originally created the world, and was rejected. He was not followed as the messiah. That he was not recognized as the son of God indicates to us that there was a great tragedy 2000 years ago. God's will for Jesus was not fulfilled.

Now what is the evidence for this viewpoint? First of all we can consider the words of the disciples. For example, Stephen said, "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you... And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered..." (Acts 7:51-52) So clearly Stephen recognized that there was a betrayal, that there was a murder. If it was originally God's purpose for Jesus to die, why should the disciple be accusing?

God worked to raise up the descendants of Jacob and make them into a nation prepared to receive the messiah, to welcome the messiah as their savior, their hope. Israel was waiting in expectation: they were praying for the messiah to come. Then why would God work for 2000 years to prepare this people if their purpose was to reject the messiah? Also, Jesus was asked explicitly, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" and Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." (Jn 6:28) Very clearly Jesus was saying that the will of God was that the people believe in him. Now this makes sense to us in light of the fall; that is, the fall occurred through disbelief in and disobedience to God's word, so the restoration providence could only occur through belief in God as expressed through his son and his words.

There is other evidence against the notion that Jesus came to die. When Jesus was praying just before the soldiers came for him, he said, "My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Mt 26:39) One common interpretation of that scripture is that Jesus was praying from weakness, fear of the loss of his physical life. But isn't this an insult to him? Certainly people of far less stature than the son of God have been willing to sacrifice then-lives for a purpose they believed in. How much more would the son of God be willing to sacrifice his life even many times over if it were truly God's will? Jesus prayed that way not once but three times because he wanted to continue his ministry on earth, recognizing that if he did have to go the way of the cross, it would mean the prolongation of God's providence until the Second Advent. Jesus realized in the Garden that if he were to go the way of crucifixion, God himself would suffer greatly because his heart would have to endure many more hundreds of years of man's separation from him until Christ could come again. Because of his love for God and mankind, Jesus prayed. So it can be seen that the death of Jesus was not the original will of God but a part of a secondary providence to provide some salvation once the people of Israel had rejected Jesus.

Why then did Jesus actually end up dying if it wasn't God's fundamental will? According to the Divine Principle, God prepared not only the nation of Israel, but certain key individuals within it. Jesus' mother, Mary, was given the revelation that within her womb was the promised one. The three wise men, the shepherds in the field, and a number of other people were given to understand that in fact the coming of the messiah had been fulfilled, he was amongst them. In addition, there were many important miraculous phenomena that occurred in the family of Zechariah. Zechariah was one of the important priests of the society. His wife, Elizabeth, was older and yet conceived a son and it was revealed (Lk 1:17) that he would come in the spirit and power of Elijah. Many people focused on the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. When John grew to be a young man, he left their household and went out into the wilderness, eating locusts and wild honey, praying and fasting, trying to prepare himself for his most important providential mission, to be the forerunner of Christ. Ultimately John the Baptist began to preach throughout Israel, indicating to the people that they would have to change their hearts and repent in order to be purified internally so that they could recognize the messiah. He said. "I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming... he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit..." (Lk 3:16) According to the Bible, at one point Jesus came down to the river and John felt deeply moved as Jesus came towards him and said, "I need to be baptized by you..." But Jesus insisted that John baptize him, and said, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." (Mt 3:14-15) Then as Jesus came from beneath the water, John saw a vision of the spirit of God in the form of a dove coming to light on the shoulder of Jesus and heard a voice from heaven saying, "This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased." (Mt 3:17) At that point John the Baptist actually publically proclaimed Jesus as the son of God. He said, "... this is the son of God." (Jn 1:34)

Historically speaking, the significance of this event is critical. It means that the most important prophet of Israel, someone who was considered to be so great in the eyes of the Israelites that there was even a certain amount of discussion as to whether or not John himself might be the messiah, was proclaiming Jesus of Nazareth as the son of God.

Yet when we consider what happened after that, there is never a single instance in the New Testament where we have an example of John working directly with Jesus. Rather, there is a certain distance between John the Baptist and Jesus. At one point John was asked by his disciples, "... he who was with you beyond the Jordan... here he is, baptizing, and all are going to him." (Jn 3:26) Of course they were referring to Jesus, and John answered, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (Jn 3:30) One common way this has been understood is as an expression of John's humility, but why would John see himself diminishing while Jesus increased if he felt deeply connected to the life and mission of Jesus? Wouldn't John feel that his own ministry, as the one leading and preparing the way, would increase too?

Also, there seems to have been some question in John's mind as to whether or not Jesus really was the messiah. When John the Baptist was imprisoned because of accusations that he was making against the morality of King Herod's family, he sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus the question, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" (Mt 11:3) At that point Jesus wouldn't even answer directly; he told the disciples of John, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear... And blessed is he who takes no offense at me." (Mt 11:4-6) Then he turned to the people and said, "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Mt 11:11)

Then what are the reasons why John the Baptist could not completely believe in Jesus? First of all, John was raised on the Old Testament, and like many of the high priests and religious leaders of that day, he may have been inclined to believe literally in the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the coming of Christ. Daniel 7:13, for example, indicated that Christ would come on the clouds of heaven, and it was a very common understanding among religious leaders of that day that the messiah would descend supernaturally from the sky. Secondly, John was related to Jesus -- they were cousins -- but John expected the messiah to be someone whose sandals he would not be worthy to carry. Thirdly, without a close personal relationship to Jesus, John probably couldn't understand the things Jesus was saying and doing. Jesus spoke about being the fulfillment of the law, and he said, "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." (Lk 14:26) These kinds of words and the kind of ministry that Jesus was manifesting might have been difficult for John to comprehend. In addition, John had a certain prestige and perhaps feared that if Jesus in fact was not the messiah and he got prematurely involved with him, he might lose his own position. Perhaps he began to think that he ought to remain at a distance and that if Jesus really was the messiah, at some point he would be able to identify him.

In any case, John kept a certain distance. Yet he had a lot of authority with the people, and there was a specific issue involving John that related to the people's capacity to recognize Jesus as the messiah. This was the issue of the second coming of Elijah. The prophet Malachi had said that before the great and terrible day of the Lord, God would send Elijah again. As a result of people interpreting these prophecies literally, they were in a certain sense waiting for the return of Elijah even more than for the coming of Christ. Of course, Elijah was a prophet who had lived about nine hundred years before Jesus at the time of the divided kingdoms, and at that time his mission had been to bring the people back from worshipping the gods of Baal and Asherah. Elijah, according to the Old Testament, had been carried to heaven in a flaming chariot and many people were expecting Elijah to come back supernaturally on a chariot. Then the messiah would descend soon after as per Daniel 7:13. Meanwhile here was Jesus trying to gather followers -- sending his disciples out to proclaim the good news of the beginning of the kingdom of God. And wherever the disciples of Jesus went, people would ask, where is the prophet Elijah? Jesus' disciples were not well versed in the scripture and really didn't understand how to deal with that question. They asked Jesus, "'Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?' He replied. 'Elijah does come, and he is to restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased...' Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist." (Mt 17:10) Also Jesus said, "... and if you are willing to accept it, he [John the Baptist] is Elijah who is to come." (Mt 11:14) So Jesus was saying that the return of Elijah was being fulfilled by the coming of John the Baptist.

This, of course, was fine for the disciples of Jesus because they believed in Jesus. They believed what he said; but when that explanation was given to the religious authorities of the day they must have scoffed because they had earlier asked John the Baptist, "Are you Elijah?" and he had said that he was not. "...when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?' He confessed... T am not the Christ.' And they asked him, 'What then? Are you Elijah?' He said, 'I am not.' Are you the prophet?' And he answered 'No.'"(Jn 1:19-21)

So John the Baptist had said that he was not Elijah while Jesus of Nazareth was saying that he was. Who should the people believe? From the point of view of the people of that day, they had to make a choice between the son of a famous priest, a person who was considered so spiritual and so authoritative that they thought he might be the messiah, and an uneducated carpenter's son speaking words that seemed very different from the Old Testament and claiming that he was in fact the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Jesus was also saying that he was in the image of God and that if they looked at him they were essentially looking at God. He claimed that he was one with God. One can understand how difficult it would be for people to put their faith in Jesus.

As a result, when John was beheaded and Jesus was left to work virtually on his own, he had to work with people who were not particularly prepared. Perhaps it seemed as though he was going through his ministry to gain something for himself rather than really fulfill their expectations of what the messiah was going to do. As a result, Jesus was finally confronted with a very powerful movement against him. We read in the New Testament that there were certain instances where people actually picked up stones to throw at him (Jn 8:59 and 10:31), and at other points there was danger that they might kill him. This meant that a condition was being made, that the chosen people were actually turning away from God's providence and were coming closer and closer to standing on the side of Satan who was, of course, completely opposed to the providence. Finally the point came when Satan could argue before God that the chosen people of Israel had rejected the son of God and were in fact siding with him, and that he should be able to claim them. If this had happened, the providence of God would have been completely defeated at that point. However, our understanding is that Jesus changed the nature of his ministry and, rather than continue to try to win support of the people in order to establish the kingdom of God on earth, determined to offer himself in place of the people who could otherwise be controlled by Satan because of their faithlessness.

Jesus should have come to the world in the position of the second Adam. Paul recognized this when he spoke of Jesus as Adam (I Cor 15:45). Paul also understood "...there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." (I Tim 2:5) Jesus came as a man of perfection; his mind and body were so perfectly united in God that he was the incarnation of God, God's true son. Then, his desire for mankind when he was on earth was that people should believe in him -- believe his words and actually put into practice what he was saying. If a man living when Jesus was alive, had united with him, that man would have become one with a mediator who was perfectly united with God. By uniting with Jesus this man could have been shown the solution to the problem of original sin and could have been given the capacity to attain perfection, the original purpose of creation. We believe this is why Jesus taught that we should be perfect as our heavenly father is perfect (Mt 5:48). He made it clear that would happen through understanding Jesus as the way, the truth and the life.

Through Jesus, our lives on earth could have been fully restored. In the Divine Principle this is called full salvation; it is salvation of the body as well as the spirit. We believe this was the original purpose for which Jesus came into the world. On his foundation there could have been a restoration of perfect families and eventually the building of an ideal society and an ideal world, the kingdom of God on earth. Of course, this did not happen. Because of the inability of the people of Israel to recognize him, and the failure of John the Baptist, this original providence could not be fulfilled. The people were led astray by their leaders to whom Jesus referred as blind guides because they were closing the gates to the kingdom of heaven not only for themselves but for others as well. Although Jesus early in his public ministry was saying that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, near the end of his ministry he was speaking about paradise and the second coming, revealing that his original expectation of building an ideal kingdom of God on earth would not be fulfilled.

The last point to consider is that often people have pointed to passages in the Old Testament as evidence that Jesus came to die; for example, Isaiah 53, where it is very clear that the Lord will come and suffer. In Psalms it is even indicated that there will be a crucifixion. Many people have taken this kind of scripture as evidence that the Lord came to die. But when we consider the totality of the Old Testament, it does not point primarily to a suffering Lord but to a Lord who is recognized, to a Lord who is welcomed, to a Lord who is raised up. For example, Isaiah 9:6-7, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called 'Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.' Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end..." Also, in the New Testament, Luke 1:32-33, "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."

Our understanding is that both of these prophecies refer to the Lord at the time of his first coming because, as Jesus indicated in Matthew, "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John..." (Mt 11:13) The reason why there are two different lines of prophecy in the Old Testament is that God was prophesying two different alternatives that could occur, depending on whether or not man believed in Jesus as the son of God.

This view is consistent with our understanding of the fall of man. Of course God never willed the fall to occur, but Adam and Eve did have the possibility of falling because they were given free will. While God said, do not eat the fruit, in fact they did, based on their own portion of responsibility. In the same way, God has provided for mankind's salvation by sending the messiah. It is God's portion of responsibility to send the messiah, but whether or not the messiah is accepted or rejected, believed or disbelieved, depends on man's own free will and his own portion of responsibility. If Jesus had been accepted, he would have been recognized. Israel would have been honored as the first nation to recognize the son of God, and the kingdom of heaven could have been accomplished on earth at that time. Because in fact this did not happen, the prophecy of a suffering Lord was fulfilled instead, which necessitates the second advent of Christ. This is our understanding of the mission of Jesus.


Participant: Could you explain to us the Unification view of the birth of Jesus with respect to the notion of sinlessness:

William Bergman: Our understanding is that Christ must come in the position of Adam in order to fulfill what was lost when the first Adam fell. Therefore, we believe that Jesus, like Adam, was conceived and born without sin. Like Adam, Jesus needed to perfect himself by going through a growth period. He was sinless as an infant, and his sinlessness could continue as he matured and developed until he was the sinless and perfected son of God. So we believe that Jesus was of the lineage of God, born without sin.

Participant: What real effects of spiritual salvation are there? Are there any?

William Bergman: Spiritual salvation, according to the Divine Principle, means a whole new level of the spiritual world has been opened through Jesus' condition of merit. In other words, prior to Jesus' time, mankind had the ability to reach in the spirit world just to the top of the formation stage; but through the resurrection victory, Jesus opened paradise. Now Jesus himself was perfected, but he like his disciples and like those who for the last two thousand years have united with him is in paradise. For everyone other than Jesus, this is a sinless but unperfected state similar to that of Adam and Eve before the fall. In other words, once we have left this physical life, then, if we are united with Jesus in spirit we would pass to a sinless, unperfected state where Satan has no influence. In other words, paradise is a Satan-free sphere of the spiritual world. The fall occurred, according to the Divine Principle, at the top of the growth stage, and Satan thus has dominion from that level of the spiritual world down. Jesus' resurrection victory opened up a higher realm which is free of Satan's influence and accusation. Unfortunately, while we are on earth, even though our spirit may have resurrected to that higher level, our bodies still go the way that they did before Jesus came. This is the reason why human history does not look any different after the coming of Jesus than it was before. We still have war, we still have problems with racism, the problems of a world separated from God.

Participant: I would like you to make a comment about whether in your understanding Jesus succeeded or failed in his mission.

William Bergman: We believe that Jesus succeeded in providing spiritual salvation for mankind, which is all he could provide when the people of Israel failed him. The failure was not Jesus' failure.

Participant: Do you believe in sins of omission as well as commission?

William Bergman: Yes I do.

Participant: Then isn't it really true that the reason Christ did not accomplish physical redemption is that he didn't marry? And isn't that an omission: a misunderstanding on Jesus' part. Or am I misunderstanding?

William Bergman: The reason we don't consider Jesus' not marrying a sin is that there were conditions that had to be fulfilled by the people before he could marry. We haven't had time to develop that aspect today.

Participant: That is clearer. I guess my next question would be whether God was incompetent in sending Jesus when the foundations of faith and substance weren't adequate to support his ministry.?

William Bergman: God certainly was competent. The problem has to do with man's portion of responsibility. Even though God prepares everything and tries his best to halt evil, he can't fulfill man's mission. Ultimately, it comes down to the individual responsibility of individual people. Even God cannot interfere without violating the principle of free will.

Participant: Back to the birth. I take it that you do not believe in a virgin birth. Did Jesus have a biological father and was it Joseph?

William Bergman: We believe that Jesus was in the position of the second Adam, and therefore had to be conceived here just like any other person. Therefore, Jesus had to have had a biological father.

Participant: OK, John the Baptist did not rather than could not understand what Jesus was doing. Is that correct?

William Bergman: He could have, but he didn't.

Participant: Is the fallen condition of John the Baptist a possible reason for his failure? What does that mean for the fallen condition of humanity vis-a-vis understanding God's viewpoint?

William Bergman: Actually, that in a way is a deeper explanation. The problem is always man not being able to see God's viewpoint because he is separated from God through his sin and fallen nature. So, John did not believe because he was not able to see things from God's viewpoint. Now that doesn't mean that he couldn't have, but there is a condition that makes it difficult for us to see from God's viewpoint. There was every possibility that John could have accepted Jesus if only he had been more humble to God. In other words, if he had been more prayerful and more patient, he could have really understood.

Participant: How can we explain why in Hebrews it says that without the shedding of blood, there cannot be the forgiving of sin?

William Bergman: We believe that the whole foundation of the disciples' understanding of Jesus in relation to salvation was set after the crucifixion had occurred. Based on that historical reality, there was no way for people to achieve salvation except through believing in Jesus dying for man. If they accepted that, they would at least be able to be saved or restored spiritually. We believe, therefore, that that portion of scripture relates to the reality of Christ once the crucifixion was already a historical fact. But if, for example, people could have believed in the one who was sent as he asked them to do, if John the Baptist had been able to completely fulfill his mission, then we believe that there could have been a condition for mankind's whole salvation which wouldn't have required Jesus' sacrifice or the shedding of blood. Then following Jesus would have been a living offering for the sake of mankind. The meaning of sacrifice is to give oneself. That Jesus would have done through his own earthly ministry if it hadn't been prematurely terminated. His whole life would have been a living offering for the sake of mankind; he would have asked people to follow him in that way of life. Following that example would have been a condition for mankind's restoration.

Kurt Johnson: Dr. Bergman, you might also mention that when God is striving through a central figure to achieve something, God's requirement will become higher and higher in relation to man's failure. For instance, when the Jews were in the desert trying to get to Canaan and they were not obeying Moses, God increased their period in the wilderness in order that they might succeed in fulfilling their responsibility. In Jesus' case all these wonderful opportunities were originally open, but he got narrowed down to fewer and fewer alternatives until finally his sacrifice had to be more ultimate than it would have been at the beginning.

Darrol Bryant: We are shifting our focus somewhat and discussing material in the Divine Principle that we could place under the heading of christology. This morning Dr. Bergman spoke only about the mission of Jesus, but the material leads us into this larger complex of issues. Since we have all read the Divine Principle in anticipation of our coming here, I asked the respondents to pay some attention to the relevant sections within the Divine Principle as they prepared their comments on this topic. I have asked four people to offer some comments on this topic: Professors Boslooper, McGowan, Sontag and Deffner.

Prepared Theological Responses

Thomas Boslooper

Good morning. Since other autobiographical notes have not been out of order, I hope that my autobiographical note may be in order: My great-grandfather, grandfather, and father were all members of the same Dutch Calvinist Reformed church, the same local congregation. I myself was baptized into that congregation. When I was seven, my family, for various reasons, became members of an independent fundamentalist church whose pastor believed that probably the only true church in the world was that church.

When I left that church to return to the Reformed Church, the members of that congregation said, "Tom has lost his faith." After I was an ordained minister of the Reformed Church in America and went on to Union Theological Seminary to get my Ph.D. from Union and Columbia in New Testament, there were many people in the Reformed Church who said, "Rev. Boslooper has lost his faith." Many years later, when as a Protestant clergyman I began to teach in Roman Catholic schools (which I continued to do for eight years), there were people who said, "Dr. Boslooper has lost his faith." When I accepted the position of teaching at the Unification Theological Seminary, everyone said (Laughter), "Boslooper has lost his faith."

I have news for all of them. I have not lost my faith. I am a fundamentalist; I am an evangelical Christian; I am orthodox and conservative. At the same time I am a liberal biblical critic. If you can't put these things together, I am sorry. I can. I have suffered through many of the things that Richard suffered through hearing both sides of the great Christian tradition and wondering, "Is it possible to bring the creative contributions of both together?" I have felt that this was not only desirable but necessary.

I came to this conference to be a critic of Unification theology. I find myself in a very difficult position because I am reluctant to criticize those whom I love. In the past four years I have come to love the members of the Unification Church: at least two hundred students. I've read hundreds of papers, corrected hundreds of exams, and have had hundreds of hours of conversations. On this question of the mission of Jesus, I have observed how the life and spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ has been imparted into their hearts and into their minds and into their lives. With this introduction, on to the critique.

First of all, the Unification movement is making creative contributions to Christian thought. One is its presentation of the possibility for resolving the conflict between liberal and conservative Christian views on the mission of Jesus. You ask most conservatives, and I am one, "What is the mission of Jesus?" and they will quote Mark 10:45, "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (KJV) And of course here we have the suffering servant theme. I have found that if you ask liberal biblical scholars, "What is the mission of Jesus?" they will quote to you Mark 1:14 and 15, "...Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.'" (KJV) For them Jesus came to announce the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. This is considered to be not only a proclamation that Jesus made at the beginning of his ministry but also a summary of the intent of the entire mission of Jesus.

The Christian church has difficulty today with these two views: did Jesus come to suffer and die, or did he come to establish the kingdom in his time? Unification theology makes a contribution here. It offers the insight that Jesus' actual mission becomes conditional on the basis of the response of the people. These two views must be held together. Unification theology makes an authentic attempt to put these two views together. Here is a possible resolution of the historical conflict between two different ways of interpreting the mission of Jesus. For Unificationists, the "servant" expectations of Isaiah 40-66 were fulfilled in Jesus' day rather than the messianic expectations of Isaiah 1-39 because of the failure of the people to respond to Jesus' proclamation of God's will.

Another creative contribution is the attempt to clarify the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist. One of the major problems in New Testament criticism, especially in criticism of the gospels, is the relationship of Jesus and John the Baptist. Most scholars who have studied the problem can be no more than tentative in trying to suggest what the real relationship between Jesus and John was. In view of the enormous complexity of the problem of the relationship of Jesus and John the Baptist, the Divine Principle provides a reasonable and intelligent explanation of that historical relationship. One of the major problems that I have followed in my biblical critical studies is this one of the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus. The Divine Principle offers as sensible an explanation as I have ever come across.

In the second place, there are persisting problems with Unification theology. The concept of Jesus being rejected by the people is one of them, since it is closely related to the question of who is responsible for the death of Jesus. The Unification Church has learned the hard way what happens at this point. The charge of anti-Semitism is quickly raised when the responsibility for Jesus' rejection and death is laid at the feet of the Jewish people. Although this is the understanding of the fourth gospel, modern interpreters, like the Unificationists who pick up on it, meet with considerable resistance in contemporary Jewish circles. There should be more delineation of this problem in the Divine Principle, especially in terms of other views which exist in the synoptic gospels.

Another persisting problem comes in the answer to the question "Why did Jesus die?" I find the Divine Principle unsatisfactory at this point. It quotes from Paul and elsewhere: "because of the blindness and stubbornness of the people." The Divine Principle adds as a reason the failure of the mission of John the Baptist. However, there is at least another dimension that must be added here. An authentic explanation of this problem must be made in terms of what I call "divided Judaism." Judaism was sectarian in Jesus' day. There were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots, the Essenes -- all different kinds of groups with different kinds of messianic ideals and visions. Thus in Judaism there were diverse, competing visions of salvation. It was mentioned this morning that some of the people looked at the messiah as a son-of-man figure from Daniel. The problem was more complicated than that. There were people who believed that the coming one would not be the messiah but would be the son of man. There were two different expectations. Some Jews did not believe in a messiah at all. They believed in the son of man. Some put the two together. The situation was terribly complex. Jesus himself in presenting his message as well as those who recorded the gospel message had a great deal of difficulty in relating the identity and the mission of Jesus to a divided Judaism with its diverse visions of a deliverer. The Divine Principle should deal with this.

An additional persisting problem is the understanding of Jesus himself as the Messiah or Christ. Whereas Christians think of Jesus primarily as Messiah, the gospel tradition makes it clear that Jesus designated himself primarily as the son of man, but in the re-interpreted sense of the true human being rather than in the apocalyptic sense of the heavenly being. The Divine Principle view of the messiah is more akin to the Jewish view of the messiah as one who fulfills a God-appointed mission or function or office rather than what has come to be the traditional Christian view of messiah as a one and only specific individual. Thus the Unification movement has trouble with the Jews, who insist that the messiah must be a Jew, and with Christians who insist that the second coming of Christ implies solely the reappearance of Jesus of Nazareth. The problem is more complex than the Divine Principle or explanations of the Divine Principle make it out to be.

I would like to conclude with what I call "intriguing questions." 1. If the original "gospel" was the proclamation of the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth, should this be the primary and dominant theme for the contemporary church? 2. If salvation is considered primarily as restoration, rather than as deliverance from enemies or as deliverance from sin and death, what then is to be restored? 3. If restoration includes the establishment of the original plan for creation, what was God's original plan for creation? We hear time and time again from Unification people that this is the establishment of the true family. Adam and Eve are interpreted to be husband and wife with reference made to Genesis chapter 1. Now I believe that Genesis 1 has nothing to do with husband and wife. Genesis 1 has to do with male and female. In Genesis 1 we are talking on a broad social level of the relationship of male and female in many dimensions, none necessarily including the dimension of the family.

In terms of asking questions in Unification theology's own language, answers may be anticipated that point to the necessity of a fundamental adjustment in the Unificationists' vision. I must say, however, that I like the Unificationists' insistence that each of us if we are male must be "a new Adam" and each of us, if we are female, must be "a new Eve."

It may be interesting to note that according to the Bible, the mission of Elijah upon his return, which was to be the mission of John the Baptist, was the restoration of the family. These texts are to be found at the end of Malachi and in Luke: "And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers..." (Mai 4:6) The family dimension seems to be associated more with the Elijah role or the John the Baptist role than with the role of the messiah.

Finally: for many years I have sung the hymn "Love Divine All Loves Excelling." It concludes with the phrase "lost in wonder, love, and praise." These words describe how members of the Unification Church have made me feel during the four years I have spent with them.

Donald Deffner

My assignment was to respond to the issue of christology and the mission of Jesus in the Divine Principle and in terms of this morning's lecture. What I have to say on the first item -- the response to the Divine Principle -- I prepared essentially before our discussions began this week; but I trust the paper will also respond to the speaker's comments.

This is my basic approach -- as Rod Sawatsky aptly suggested we might dialogue in our small group the other night: "This is what I think I am reading in the Divine Principle and hearing from you. Is this correct? If the Divine Principle has changed, please inform me." Also I note that the "Theological Affirmations" booklet1 states it is based on the Divine Principle which is the theology of the Rev. Moon.

In addition, and in response, I am seeking to share my faith with you. This is one Christian's understanding of Christianity in response to the Divine Principle and Unification theology.

In discussing the mission of Jesus, one must first start with the norm or criterion for the truth about him. For me that norm is the holy scripture... in all its efficacy... its divine inspiration by the Holy Spirit ("Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" -- II Pet 1:21 KJV)... the scripture in all its homogeneity... and finding its fulcrum in Jesus Christ... the only way of salvation.

For me, and I go back to the earliest days of my training in systematics, it is always "the Bible in the light of the Bible." Scripture interprets itself. You don't add to or subtract from it.

And here is where I have my first problem with the Divine Principle. The Divine Principle (p. 9) says a new revelation is necessary, that the Bible "is not the truth itself, but a textbook teaching the truth," and that the Bible must not be regarded as "absolute in every detail." Now without holding at all to a crassly literalistic view of scripture, and recognizing (as Luther said) that "it is a cradle for Christ" and not an end in itself, nevertheless, for me scripture is the only norm for truth, especially the truth about Jesus Christ, the savior of the world and not just the Jewish people. When Christ said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now," (Jn 16:12 KJV) he was speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit to inspire the writers of the New Testament and not of a present-day revelation to Rev. Moon. I do not argue this point...I simply share my faith with you. I believe no new revelation is needed.

Point number two: The Divine Principle says that "Jesus may well be called God... but he can by no means be God himself."

This I disagree with. True, Jesus is not the Father, but it does not follow that because he is not the Father, he does not possess the full deity of God. Rather, Paul said to the Colossians: "For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority." (Col 2:9-10) I believe here the Divine Principle has clearly misinterpreted the biblical data.

Point number three: Concerning Jesus as creator, the Divine Principle (p. 211) states that on the basis of John 1:14, John 1:3, and John 1:10, "naturally Jesus may well be called the Creator." But after a line of reasoning dealing with the perfectionism of man and his "portion of responsibility," the paragraph only concludes that "Jesus was a man who had perfected the purpose of creation, and does not signify that he was the creator himself." But I see this as a limiting of the divinity of Jesus. This is in error, making of Jesus no more than a perfected man. When the Divine Principle (p. 209) says he only possesses deity but is not God himself, and that while he was on earth he was no different from any other person "except for the fact that he was without original sin" (p. 212). I believe this limits Christ's deity. It does not do justice to the full implications of the John 1:1-3 passages nor to Colossians 1:15-17: "Christ is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." So I submit that Jesus Christ is infinitely far more than a perfected man.

Point number four: I do not believe Christ Jesus suffered an "undue death" (p. 217), that in effect God's will was tragically thwarted by the crucifixion of Jesus. Or that (p. 151) he "resolved to take the cross as the condition of indemnity to pay for the accomplishment of even the spiritual salvation of man" when he discovered he could not accomplish both spiritual and physical salvation. Rather Jesus did fulfill God's plan of total redemption. John the Baptist opened the eyes of the Jews to the coming of the Messiah. Jesus himself said of him: "For John came to you in the way of righteousness..." (Mt 21:32). He did his work well and Jesus did not condemn him.

And of himself, Christ Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18, "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished." In other words, all prophecy is to be accomplished. And it was. Hebrews 7:27 reads: "He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all" (once for all!) "when he offered up himself." So his was not an "undue death," a task unfulfilled. Es is vollbracht. It is completed, not limited. "It is finished," he said on Calvary.

Hebrews 9:11-12 reads: "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption."

Point number five: I believe Christ is the last Adam. The Divine Principle refers to Christ as the second Adam. But Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit." (I Cor 15:45). Then in verse 57 the denouement of the whole section clearly wraps up the last Adam as being Jesus Christ himself: "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." No one else.

So there is no need for a "Lord of the Second Advent," who again must "be born on earth in the flesh" in order to accomplish man's physical salvation. The once for all act of redemption through Jesus Christ's death on Calvary, his resurrection and ascension, has finished the work of salvation.

And that leads to my next statement of faith: that Christ rose from the dead, and lives and reigns to all eternity. He is not just a spirit man with his disciples or a "being transcendent of time and space" (p. 360). For the nature of his appearance to Thomas and his later walking with the disciples puts it differently. Luke 24:38-40 reads: "And he said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.' '

Ultimately, the benefit of Jesus' mission is the most significant point. As Hebrews 9:26-28 states: "...he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him."

And this salvation is one hundred percent his working in me. To be sure,"... faith apart from works is barren." (Jas 2:20). To be sure there is the response of faith. But even that faith is not a "good work." (As Luther said, even our "good works" are but glittering vices.) I get no credit, no five percent, no "portion of responsibility" which would synergistically contribute one iota toward my fulfilling my salvation. As scripture says: "For it is by God's grace that you have been saved." It doesn't say ninety-five percent! Says scripture: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God -- not because of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph 2:8-9).

So as Luther stressed, we are saved by faith alone, by grace alone, by scripture alone. It is Christ in me which saves, not my "cooperating" with Christ or "helping him along."

This is "God's kind of God," not our devising of a new. extra-biblical conception of him or the way of salvation. God's kind of God: revealed only and fully and finally in the mission of Jesus the Christ.

This is God's kind of God, the God who gave us the three gifts: first, life itself. Man is not a "co-creator" with God. "It is he that hath made us and not we ourselves." We misuse the gift of life, we play God and need God's forgiveness. Secondly, he gives it to us in himself, in his son, Jesus Christ, dying on the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world. But, miracle of miracles, God gives us a third gift, the freedom, the power, to reject and throw away the previous two gifts!

What a God! What a giver! What a forgiver!

For me, this God is revealed/ii//y and only in the full nature of the Godhead as revealed in scripture: The Father, the Son -- Jesus Christ -- and the Holy Spirit.

At the seminary in Barrytown, the students told this to our evangelical-dialogue group: "Rev. Moon says, 'Believe in Jesus Christ! But then also believe in me.' " Is this the ultimate cutting edge of our differences? Can it be Jesus Christ and Rev. Moon? Or must it ultimately be Jesus Christ or Rev. Moon?

I hear Unification theology saying Jesus' mission was limited because the people rejected him. But that is the beauty of God's plan of redemption: he completed it in the face of rejection.

He completed it in the face of rejection!

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins." (I Jn 4:10 KJV)

So Christ said of himself: "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." (Jn 14:6)

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (Jn 15:5 KJV)

"... if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom 10:9 KJV)

"And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." (Jn 5:11-12 KJV)

And this Christ cannot be added to by another gospel or another Lord, or one loses the true God. As Paul wrote: "There is... one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all..." (Eph 4:6)

And I believe that in this God-man Jesus Christ and in him alone there is forgiveness, salvation, and resurrection before our heavenly Father. Jesus Christ alone is the "Son of man [who] has authority on earth to forgive sins." (Mt 9:6)

And so I submit the key issue of faith in the God who is revealed only in Jesus Christ -- the last Adam.

This is one person's understanding of Christianity in the light of my understanding of scripture and the history of the church. This I share with you -- as I look forward to your sharing your faith with me.

Thomas McGowan

One of the problems that theologians sometimes create when trying to talk about Jesus and his mission is that they destroy the spirit of Jesus and confuse their audience rather than clarifying their topic. It might be better therefore for us today to declare a moratorium on such discussions and to concentrate on the personal nurturing encounter with Jesus Christ rather than on the possibility of intellectually understanding Jesus' person or his work. Being a theologian, however, I'm afraid I can't resist the temptation to try to say something about the Divine Principle's interpretation of Jesus and his role in man's salvation.

In fact, something that Dr. Bergman said this morning reminded me of this danger of over-intellectualizing our faith. It recalled to me an incident early in my theological career. Perhaps you remember the time some ten or fifteen years ago when theologians were immersed in the debate about Jesus' knowledge. Did Jesus know that he was the messiah? Did he know he was God? Some colleagues and I were being entertained by a simple Irish Catholic mother of one of my friends, and we were arguing back and forth for several hours about this question of the self-knowledge of Jesus. After heated discussion this devout lady abruptly ended our rather meaningless harangue by simply saying: "Well, of course he knew that he was God; if he didn't his mother would have told him." (Laughter) Maybe that is, after all. the best answer to such sterile theologizing.

Who is Jesus in the Divine Principle? There are certain code words referring to Jesus that appear in the Divine Principle, and they are New Testament words like "savior," "new Adam," "messiah," and "son of God." Unificationist theologians have the obligation to work out an adequate hermeneutics to deal with their new use of these christological titles.

I find the Unification use of "savior," for example, to be quite eclectic. On page 60 the Divine Principle speaks of Jesus as savior "by striving to have them unite with him." Now this is well within the patristic tradition of divinization through union with Christ. But on page 113 the Divine Principle talks about Jesus as savior by his effort "to restore the ideal world in the form intended at the creation." It seems to me that we have a different theme here: one of the restoration of a lost state of innocence. I don't find the two themes fully reconciled anywhere in the Divine Principle. While this may appear to be in itself a trivial point, I raise it only to illustrate a pattern of such eclectic usages. Understandably, Unification thought has borrowed from many sources, but I suggest that what is needed now is very serious work in systematizing its theology.

Another code word that appears is "new Adam." Here the theme of restoration is paramount. Perhaps "new Adam" is the most important christological title for Unification theology, since it implies that Jesus was called to accomplish what Adam had failed to do. What is this unfinished work? The startling answer given by the Divine Principle is that Adam failed by original sin to become the true parent he was called to be, and that Jesus was commissioned to fulfill this lack by marrying and having children to start anew the true family of God.

A third code word is "messiah." On page 139 of the Divine Principle it says that Jesus is messiah, but only as he was expected by the Israelites -- that is, a king. Yet on page 134 the Divine Principle speaks of his mission as being in line with that of Noah, Abraham and Moses. It adds, however, that there is a difference, since Jesus' messiahship is worldwide. But the Divine Principle does not offer an adequate exegesis of the title "messiah" in the context of these biblical analogues.

The fourth key term is "son of God." On page 209 the Divine Principle says that it does not deny the faith of Christians that Jesus is God, but it seems to me that the Divine Principle goes on to rationalize this belief beyond recognition by claiming that means only "being one body with God." Indeed, on page 211 the Divine Principle does come out and say that Jesus is by no means God himself. So it seems, in summary, that these christological titles -- "savior," "new Adam," "messiah," and "son of God" -- clearly have meanings in the Divine Principle different from those given in traditional Christian theology. There is nothing wrong, of course, with theological novelty of this kind, since it makes even mainline Christians examine more closely their historically conditioned understandings of the New Testament. One ongoing task for Unification theologians, however, is to make clear what hermeneutical tool is being used to integrate these four christological titles.

What about the mission of Jesus? Again, I find Unification thought quite eclectic in its soteriology. There are two key concepts in the Unification doctrine of salvation -- the one, indemnity, and the other, restoration. The Divine Principle never seems able to correlate the two to my satisfaction. Indemnity refers by definition to some kind of paying back or making compensation for an injury. But to whom is indemnity paid? And what is paid? Restoration, on the other hand, involves the fulfillment of creation, the completion of an original model. Again, these are two separate themes that I don't find adequately reconciled anywhere in the Divine Principle.

Likewise, the mission of Jesus seems to be twofold: one, to restore fallen man's position in heaven, the spiritual salvation we spoke of this morning, and the other, salvation on earth, or the physical salvation marked by the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus was only half successful in achieving these dual goals. He failed ultimately by not being able to marry and have children. Unification theology rejects the belief that Jesus came to die for man's sins, and holds instead that he offered his life in a last-gasp gesture, as it were, to gain at least a spiritual salvation in the face of total defeat. It is left to the lord of the second coming, a new messiah of these latter days, to finish the work of physical salvation. Now I would like to offer a critique of these points.

The first observation that could be made comes from traditional Christian orthodoxy, and in a sense it was made by the previous speaker. The Commission of Faith and Order of the National Council of Churches has published a document which pretty well summarizes this criticism of Unification theology. It states, first, that the hypostatic union is denied; second, that the trinity is explained away: third, that the work of Jesus is given only spiritual consequences; fourth, that Jesus is a savior who failed; and fifth, that the resurrection is seen not as the overcoming of physical death but rather as the resolving of tensions and the conquering of such ideologies as communism. This is not precisely my critique and I offer it only by way of information.

The second point that I want to make concerns one of the things that I like about Unification christology, and this is its criticism of the way traditional Christianity has supernaturalized Jesus. The tendency to remove Jesus from history has been a perennial problem in Christian thought, and I think that Unification theology is on the right track by trying to keep Jesus well within history. The predilection among traditional Christians to supernaturalize Jesus usually leads to sterile rationalization and sectarianism. I have always liked what Emerson said in his Harvard Divinity School address when, in the midst of the nineteenth century divisive discussion about the nature of Jesus, he observed that the problem is not whether there are two or three divine persons, but the problem is how we express the divinity that is present to all of us. I find that this idea of relationship to Christ can be developed very well in Unification theology because it does not place Jesus beyond history and beyond humanity.

Thirdly, again in agreement with Unification theology, I think that a naive interpretation of the resurrection has to be rejected. The resurrection is certainly not identifiable with resuscitation. But equally to be questioned is the definition of resurrection that Unification theology gives as merely a process of reconciling science and religion, man and woman, nation and nation, etc. To be honest, this seems rather innocuous as an explanation of the foundational belief of Christianity. Surely something astounding happened on Easter Sunday! Somehow, Jesus, the resurrected Jesus, was recognizable and yet somehow he was new. I do not find in the Divine Principle an adequate confrontation with the theological complexities of this great faith event.

My fourth point is that I also agree with Unification thought that Jesus did not come to die; but I think Divine Principle does exaggerate a bit when it says on page 152 that "from the time of Jesus through the present, all Christians have thought that Jesus came to the world to die." I appreciate the excitement that comes with an apparently new insight into the gospel, but reformers must avoid claiming every good idea as uniquely their own. To cite just one historical predecessor in this instance, Walter Rauschenbusch, the founder of the Social Gospel movement, preached early in the twentieth century that Jesus' whole purpose was to preach the kingdom of God. But even more fundamentally, while orthodox Christianity has always linked the death and resurrection as one paschal mystery, the Divine Principle somehow separates the two. Traditional Christianity has never kept the Good Friday event divorced from the Easter event the way that Unification theology does. Also, I expect that the new theology of death that is developing in the United States from the psychological insights of someone like Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, or in Europe with theologians like Karl Rahner and Ladislaus Boros, will help to interpret the meaning of Jesus' death as a model for our own death. The previous speaker made a reference to Jesus' last words on the cross: "It is finished," quoted on page 152 of the Divine Principle. Unification thought understands the phrase "It is finished" to mean that Jesus has finished establishing the basis for the providence of spiritual salvation through the cross, but it seems to me that a better theology of death would offer a richer interpretation. I think the phrase indicates a sense of full accomplishment and completion much in the same way as an artist would say "It is finished" when the last word has been written, or the last brush stroke taken. "It is finished" does not mean for Jesus that a phase of salvific work is over, but rather that all is accomplished.

A fifth point that I would like to make here is that in Unification thought the kind of salvation which is offered is too materialistic, and by that I mean too biological. True, the material aspects of salvation have been too often forgotten in traditional Christianity. Salvation certainly does involve the whole person, but restoration through marriage and children seems just too biological. What of the unmarried? What of the infertile? What about those concerned with overpopulation? What about the homosexual? Horace Bushnell, a nineteenth century American theologian, also spoke of salvation through the growth of "a dominant Christian stock," but frankly there seems to be something rather arrogant in a belief that dominant Christian people will expand biologically and take over the world.

A sixth point is again on the question of salvation. It may be naive for Unification theology to think that complex social evils will be solved through a kind of organic growth of the good society. Paradoxically, although the Unification idea of salvation sounds quite materialistic, as I have just claimed, I do not find in it a clear and precise social theology. Since I came to this conference I have heard several church members talking about the social action of the Unification Church, but I have deliberately kept this criticism in my paper because although I have heard the claim, I have not witnessed the reality. The church spends a lot of time and effort on fundraising. What if these same energies were used more directly to alleviate suffering in the world? But, more to the point, my criticism is not that the church does not foster social justice (I have little evidence on which to judge this one way or the other), but rather that the Divine Principle does not have a theology of social justice beyond the implications of its goal to build the kingdom of God. Perhaps this is only another example of unfinished work for the church theologians.

My seventh observation concerns salvation through marriage. Isn't monogamous marriage too confining a social structure on which to base the salvation of the world? For instance, would anthropological studies support the claim that God from the beginning instituted and blessed monogamous marriage? I doubt it. But aside from that, in the Old Testament it is Israel that is the bride of Yahweh, and in the New Testament it is the church that is the bride of Christ. In my own Catholic tradition, this bride-church is a community, not a family precisely, but a community of saints and sinners. I emphasize the presence of sinners in this community. Monogamous marriage is too confining a model for the kingdom of God. Personal liberation movements have freed many people from what they have come to regard as the tyranny of marriage. The image of church as a community of people can embrace the celibate as well as the married. It encompasses all people and allows all to relate to Christ as bride relates to husband. Unification theology seems too confining on this point since it has difficulty fitting into its rigid theological scheme the person who does not marry. The very central place of the "Blessing" or marriage in the Unification Church makes it problematic to deal with those who do not marry either by desire or necessity.

My final point also concerns the concept of salvation. Since Unification thought presupposes some kind of ideal creation which was originally intended by God, the work of Jesus becomes that of restoration to the original ideal. But suppose creation has always been defective? Then salvation would be the work of improving that creation, living in it and learning from it. Or perhaps salvation would be the evolutionary spiral towards perfection, in somewhat the way it is described in the thought of Teilhard de Chardin or in the theology of the Mormons. If this alternative interpretation of creation were accepted, then the work of Jesus would not be restoration but the showing forth of God's presence in his creation. Salvation would be the revelation of God and not the restoring of something that has been lost. I make this point not to argue the superiority of one theology over another but to direct theologians within the Unification movement to the variety of soteriologies within Christianity and to encourage them again to work diligently and honestly in the effort to fully systematize their theology without isolating it from the wealth of the past.

Frederick Sontag

All the issues of theology we have been discussing come to focus in christology. I was anxious to say something about this because traditionally in Christian history this is the key doctrine. I will refer forward to the issue of resurrection too, because I think it is impossible to separate the notion of the mission of Jesus from the question of the resurrection. I am not myself a biblical literalist. I do not think the New Testament is self-interpretive. Therefore, I rather enjoy the notion of the "completed testament," since I believe everyone uses some principle of interpretation for the scripture. Therefore, I would rather have it set out clearly where I can deal with it than to leave it in a vague claim that somehow scripture supports a certain view. If God intended a clear, dogmatic, and thoroughly precise interpretation while giving us the biblical documents we have, I think he was a poor author and did not do a good job. There are extraordinarily vague passages in scripture and they have been used to support many things during their history. I believe that scripture was intentionally given to us in this way, or God would have spoken more clearly if he wanted precision.

I think Unification doctrine is closer to orthodoxy than might at first appear. One studies the history of heresies and one understands that heresies are very close to traditional doctrine but then vary at certain precise points. This is precisely what I think the Divine Principle does. I don't rule doctrines out simply because they might be called "heresies," and I am interested that Rev. Moon does not either. Heresies have had an important part to play in the history of Christianity.

My position is that yours is a viable christology, but I need to explain that statement a little more. However, I would say that if you don't like Unification christology, stand outside any church in America that I know about and conduct a poll as they come out on who they think Jesus is. I think you will get a rather unsatisfactory set of answers. Or, if you don't like that, then I suggest that you hand out a questionnaire at the next meeting of the American Academy of Religion, and I think you will rend your garments and run off in disgust at the variety of answers you receive.

Is Unification Christian "Christian"? My definition is that all are Christians who respond to the question "Whom do you say that I am?" I do not believe that Jesus defined himself. I think he placed the question back on the disciples and other people. Unification doctrine gives a precise answer on who Jesus is, and therefore, in my interpretation, it falls within the Christian spectrum. Jesus gave no self-definition, and I believe there is none normative to Christianity that we must all accept. In fact, the tragedy in the history of Christianity is the argument over doctrine, and the lack of generosity we show to those who do not share our theological convictions. I work and write in theology, but I should like to say that I do not believe in establishing a theological norm, and I really do not believe that Jesus did so. He was rather a poor theologian. Rather, I believe his statement, "They shall know that you are my disciples because you love one another." That is, I think the test of what is Christian lies in action not in doctrine. To say this does not deny that we need to spend time in trying to define "Christianity" theologically, because I believe this to be an important task.

I believe that the Divine Principle takes us back to the pre-Christian era, and I happen to think that this is necessary and valuable. Within Christian circles, we tend to take it for granted that the post-Christian perspective is automatic. We need to come back to the pre-Christian era and to the expectation of the messiah; we need to ask again. "Who is the messiah?" and encounter the varieties of strange notions present at the time that Jesus came. I think it is clear that many at that time did expect a literal messiah who would inaugurate a physical kingdom. And I think we are back to that expectation which did inaugurate Christianity. I have puzzled, as others have, over the question of why there are a large number of Jews within the Unification movement. One prominent member said that he felt he was living out his Jewish tradition. I believe that this is quite possible to do within the movement because of the way I see the mission of Jesus and the notion of the messiah.

Next I want to set down some issues and then give a few responses to them in serial order. There are issues here, and the value of the Unification Church is that they have raised some of these issues we need to face.

One primary one is, what were God's intentions? Unification doctrine has a rather clear notion here, and the issue is, if we do not like their answer, then we must specify what we think God's intentions were. If you don't like these notions, you have to develop a doctrine of what you think God's intentions were. It is not my purpose to do that now, but merely to raise the issue.

The single central issue I find here is the question of God's power. This I find to be the paramount question in all the christologies going today. I think that this is the question for Unification thought too. Namely, can God interfere with the processes of history and with human cycles? Does he have the power to interrupt? And the third question is, how does God operate? We are in considerable confusion about these questions in many Christian circles today. Does God operate, as Unification doctrine suggests, through a central figure in an age? Does he operate through a process that involves him in history? That he does so is a quite prominent doctrine today. The Unificationists are not the only ones to suggest this. These three questions are the central issues: What were God's intentions? What is God's power and how is it limited? How does God operate?

Did Jesus intend to build a kingdom on earth? I myself do not think that is correct, but we need to go back and ask ourselves what was Jesus' intention then? We need to face that question and to ask why there is so little change since Jesus' coming. I think Unification doctrine is particularly strong here, since most Christians whom I know act as if the world were already changed. But as I look around, I do not find the world changed and I do not find any mass of people changed. I find a few people changed. I find a few, but not a great number. In this sense, I much prefer Unification christology because we do need to explain why, if Jesus has come, if the crucifixion was intended and the resurrection has happened, we look out and see so little that has changed physically. Too many act as if it were all done. As a Baptist I sang a little hymn which was called "Jesus paid it all." Well, if he paid it all, the returns have been rather slow in coming. I think this fact can be accounted for, but I also think we are too quick to celebrate a final victory when there is so little that does seem to be changed. The Unification Church may be going through its crucifixion period now. If that is the case, the history of Christianity certainly doesn't seem to evidence that the new age has already been ushered in.

It was a tragedy that Jesus was rejected, but I would say that this is why I tie Christianity to the resurrection. The resurrection is the symbol of God's power to overcome human failure, and this is where we get some confusions. I believe that the mission did fail; this is quite clear. Read the words of the disciples around the cross and Peter's denial of his master. The coming of Jesus ended in tragedy, and in that sense I believe that it did fail. But did God know that man would fail? Did he foreknow the crucifixion? I do not believe in foreordination and predestination and precise knowledge, but, on the other hand, I believe that God knew that the conditions for the kingdom were not present yet. Precisely what men tend to do to a human figure who comes announcing the kingdom is to crucify him.

This is an issue, and this is what we must face. What did God know about what men would do? Did a key failure doom the whole effort? In talking with a Unificationist member I once said that, symbolically speaking, John the Baptist failed his mission. She said to me, "What do you mean 'symbolically speaking?' "I got the point; John the Baptist's failure was literal. This is an interesting interpretation, but I would respond to it by saying what I said about the story of Adam and Eve. I think using it as a central doctrine is putting too much emphasis on a single story. I do not mind if Unification doctrine does, but this is my own question. Did the failure of Jesus' mission swing on this key issue? This kind of sensitivity is prominent in the church, and I think it is crucial to face that issue. Are there certain key characters, lead characters, who are decisive, and is this the way in which God chooses to operate?

Does God work through power figures or through the lowly? This is also one of the crucial questions of the day. One of the things that puzzles people about the operation of the movement is the way in which it intrudes into the power scene: buying banks, operating factories, wanting a certain kind of prominence. But this is not simply power grabbing, or prestige seeking. It all fits the Divine Principle very well. The Divine Principle says that the kind of disciples Jesus would have preferred were not of the kind he had to settle for, that is, ignorant fishermen. And I take that as a key passage in the Divine Principle and one we should pay great attention to. It explains the presence of professors at church-organized conferences. Except for this belief, the church would be out recruiting fishermen. This is a key, because I feel myself that God is capable of working through the lowly. This is the amazing thing. But the issue is, how does God operate -- through the lowly, or through power figures? Another question concerns whether God is a politician who manipulates and calculates. This is the picture I get from the Divine Principle, and I confess it is not a notion of God that I find acceptable. But I think it is plausible. It may very well be that God does operate that way. I do not know, but it is an issue we must face.

Now along with this we must ask, did Jesus change his program in midstream? That question is exceedingly crucial. What appeals to me is the notion that Jesus did not act out a script that was handed to him as he departed from heaven which he then followed in a literal way. I believe in contingency in God's action. My friends in process theology tremble when I point out the similarities between the Divine Principle and their own conceptions of God and contingency; but I happen to like that feature. The Divine Principle has done us a great service. We have lived with a predestining and foreordaining God, and that restricted God and his movements. I think the notions of contingency in God's plan are important.

What are the works which men must do to be saved or to enter the kingdom? I am not one who believes that simply believing is enough. I have a barber who every time I get a haircut asks me if I believe in Jesus. What he means by this is that if I will say yes, then I am saved. Of course, I simply do not think that that is what Jesus meant when he said "Believe in me," and I think that I could demonstrate that. But still, what are the works that men must do for their lives and world to be changed? I believe that there are certain works which we must do. There is a parable in the New Testament in which Jesus says that the person who does this work, not the one who says yes, yes Lord is the one who shall be saved. A simple notion that there are no works to be accomplished but that simple belief is enough seems to me appalling.

The question is, are the works which must be accomplished the program that is set out in the Divine Principle? It is quite possible. It isn't my particular program, but the issue of what work must be done is the important one. However, I think we have a new legalism here in the Divine Principle. That is my objection. God is bound to certain specific procedures. Can he act unexpectedly? I believe that he can. For instance, why didn't God do a better job of public relations? It is silly of God to send Jesus in a way that he could not be recognized. The crucifixion is the symbol of human failure, but the resurrection is a symbol of God's power to overcome human failure. Did the disciples and the people of his time understand Jesus' mission? No, I don't think they did. The gospels are quite clear about this. Peter is devastated at the cross. Peter is the first of the popes, but he is also the man who denied Christ three times. This indicates that he does not understand Jesus. Peter is mystified most of the way through. It is only afterwards that he understands.

Did Jesus' mission fail? Whether he "failed" or not depends on what we think his mission was. Those who have seen the musical Jesus Christ Superstar know that Judas wanders about the stage lamenting Jesus' failure to seize the hour. Judas thought Jesus had it almost made. What the authors are saying is that Judas felt that Jesus was failing to seize the opportune moment to do what he could. The resurrection of the body is the crucial symbol to interpret, but I believe that it is only a symbol. It is the symbol that man cannot frustrate God's will even by his own failure, and Jesus' mission is to show that this cannot happen. How did God accomplish his purpose? I think he did it by his power after failure, and not through the power instruments available. Men are too weak to be trusted with the power to free themselves. Do I believe in a trinitarian doctrine in the sense that Jesus is an incarnation of a pre-existing person? No, but I believe that he needs to possess the full power of God.

We face the issue of grace versus indemnity conditions or works. As I have said, I believe that Jesus' mission was to announce amnesty available to all, and I would ask in return whether the Divine Principle offers us a new Mosaic Law. Paul, and those who continued to follow Jesus, discovered that they were released from the law and the fulfillment of its conditions. I believe that Jesus did free us from strict fulfillment of the law. Jesus' mission was to announce God's future intentions and his forgiveness of our failure. Considering future intentions, calling attention to the second coming is important, for it is a teaching some Christians have tended to forget. John the Baptist and others did fail, but the mission did not. God will save us in spite of ourselves. That is his intention, although he will not do it quite yet. Must men go through various stages of growth first -- that is the issue. What must we do? I do not believe that we need to attract leaders and power figures to support the movement; but I do believe, as Jesus said, that we need to minister to those around us, just as he did himself.


Darrol Bryant: I think a tremendous number of issues were raised in those several responses. I want to first give Dr. Bergman, Lloyd, Anthony, Don Deffner, Tom McGowan, Dr. Fred Sontag and Jonathan a chance to make some comments in response. I told them that between the seven of them they could have about eighteen minutes.

William Bergman: I appreciated very much the comments of the commentators. There is only time to highlight some of the things that were mentioned. Dr. Boslooper talked about the responsibility of the Jewish people and the problem of anti-Semitism, and I think that is important. We have had to clarify as we've shared the Divine Principle that the point is not to bear resentment towards providential figures or nations, but rather to understand the reality of history as God saw it so that we don't make the same mistakes again. We have to feel collectively responsible for the original sin and for the sin that has been transferred from generation to generation and feel ourselves to be part of one universal family of God. We must not point a finger of accusation at one another or at the Jewish people or at John the Baptist. Rather we must understand what we as a collective humanity need to indemnify or need to restore our failures.

One comment about Dr. Deffner's comments concerning our understanding of Jesus Christ as a man of perfection or as a man of original creation. We are not devaluing Jesus when we say that he is a man equivalent to a man who had never fallen and had fulfilled the original purpose of creation. Rather such a statement is meant to clarify the great and potential value of every human being: once man has been completely perfected in God, he has the possibility of himself manifesting the value of the Creator. Jesus was the example of how valuable every human being can be; he was the embodiment of that nature in God which in us is still waiting to be perfectly realized.

In Unification christology, Christ is the center of salvation. But the meaning of Jesus, one aspect of the value of Jesus' life to us, is what Jesus taught when he was on earth. Before his death on the cross, he taught us that we should live a certain way of life because we are the sons and daughters of God. He taught us the heart of God as a father. If we really understand that, God couldn't have begun with a fall and the need for a savior; rather, God's heart at the beginning of creation was centered around a principle of creation whereby he wanted to see perfected sons and daughters. The need for a savior was a consequence of a fall God never wanted. But as it is revealed in the gospel of John, God so loved the world that he sent his only son. From the Unification point of view, it is because God loved the world that we have to ask the question why Christ didn't come sooner. And of course the answer is that man hadn't made the foundation for him.

The concept of the trinity is not a concept I had time to develop during the lecture. Our understanding is that because of having been born into the fallen lineage of Adam and Eve, we as the descendants of Adam and Eve need to be born again. Rebirth means we need new parents. But since this is to be a sinless new birth, we need sinless new parents. So Jesus stood in the position of the spiritual father of mankind after the death and resurrection. But for there to be a sinless new birth, someone is needed in the position of sinless spiritual mother. That is why we believe the Holy Spirit was manifested at the time of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit together with Jesus are new sinless, spiritual parents through whom mankind can be reborn. In the Unification view, then, we see rebirth through the trinity as spiritual rebirth through new, sinless, spiritual parents. The meaning of a full rebirth and the liquidation of original sin requires the third Adam to be manifest on the earth and to marry on earth. Jesus wanted to do that, according to our viewpoint. But the foundation hadn't been adequately prepared for him to be able to marry -- not through his failure, but through the failure of the people around him.

Now to Dr. McGowan's comments concerning the centrality of marriage and what this means for homosexuality and people who can't procreate. Again, the issue of marriage, according to the Unification viewpoint, is the issue of love, God-centered love. We believe that it is fundamentally God's will that we be able to multiply. Of course there are specific situations that make that impossible. Yet the essential issue of salvation is redirecting one's heart so that one's heart is centered on God and the expression of love can be the perfect love that God feels for us and that we can feel for our wife, for our husband for our children. Salvation depends upon a quality of heart rather than the actual capacity to bear a child. We need in some way to inherit a parental heart.

According to our understanding, homosexuality would be unprincipled according to God's original plan for man and woman to unite together in order that his full image could be manifested on earth. Therefore, we would say that homosexuality is another external expression of man's spiritual confusion resulting from separation from God. It is not just an alternative lifestyle. Actually it represents a consequence of man's separation from the original purpose of creation. The solution to homosexuality would be through a process of spiritual education and through an actual experience with God through Christ.

In conclusion, in response to Dr. Sontag's comments, we believe that Jesus in fact did intend to accomplish the kingdom of heaven on earth. God's will is absolute, unchanging and eternal. It is expressed through Genesis 1:28. God wanted an ideal on earth, and when Jesus came to do the will of God, that meant that his original intention was to pursue the heavenly kingdom on earth. He tried right to the very end to consummate that goal. That is why he prayed as he did in the Garden. Spiritually, the work required his physical death. Spiritual salvation was accomplished, but that in fact was a sorrowful situation for Jesus as well as for God.

Lloyd Eby: I am going to address my remarks primarily to the response of Professor Deffner because somehow his comments are the ones I find most critical. Professor Boslooper's remarks, insofar as I understand them, I agree with. I also agree with the point that Professor McGowan made -- that theology usually destroys the spirit of Jesus. I think that is very correct. I think that the history of the christological controversy is not a good reflection on the church's behavior.

As I see it. Professor Deffner raised seven issues: first of all, the norm or the criterion for the mission of Jesus; second, the question of the divinity of Jesus; third, the question of whether or not Jesus is a creative being, or whether he is merely a perfected man, that is, whether Christ's divinity or deity is limited by the Divine Principle: fourth, the question of whether Jesus' mission was thwarted by the crucifixion; fifth, the question of whether Christ is the last Adam: sixth, the question of Christ's resurrection; and seventh, the question of the benefit of Jesus' mission. Let me say at the outset that in the Divine Principle there is a distinction made, an implicit distinction at least, between the messianic office and the messianic person. That is. the person who satisfies all the requirements can appear and hold the office without the office thereby being consummated. And the non-consummation of the office does not necessarily reflect unfavorably on the qualities of the person who holds that office. This is an obvious point, yet I think it needs to be made clear because in much of Christian history, the distinction between the office and the person hasn't been made. Now the question of the norm for the mission of Jesus. Professor Deffner says that for him and generally for the tradition that he represents the norm is scripture. The problem here is the question of whose reading of scripture one is taking. It seems to me that the Lutheran tradition and other evangelical traditions have presumed that there is some reading of scripture which is non-controversial. I reject that view. That is, I think that there is no such thing as an unclouded reading of scripture. Everybody reads scripture through a particular set of lenses and that particular set of lenses casts scripture in a particular light. So to say that scripture "plainly" teaches something seems to me not to solve any problems.

Second question: is Jesus God? It seems to me that the Divine Principle is not in any way denying the divinity of Jesus Christ. In fact I see it as asserting all of those things that Paul and the other New Testament writers want to assert about Jesus Christ. I do not see that it is denying that Jesus possesses the full deity of God. What it is doing is distinguishing between God the Father and God the Son, and saying that one has to see that ideal man as the personification of deity. Therefore, whatever qualities one can ascribe to God the Father can also be ascribed to that ideal man. Since Jesus does fulfill those qualities, then it is true that he is fully divine. Fully human, fully divine, just as the Creed states.

Now, the question of whether or not God created everything through Jesus. I think the answer is yes, provided that you understand it this way: in the Divine Principle view of the purpose of creation, creation is made by God with the ideal of the perfected man as the model or paradigm for that creation. Therefore, creation does take place through the ideal man, or in other words, through that paradigm which is that ideal. Therefore, one can say, as John said, through him God made all things (Jn 1:3). I think that is exactly correct. Through and by reference to this ideal man, at the time of creation, God created. Therefore, it is perfectly true to say of Jesus that through him God created everything.

Now to the question of whether or not Jesus' mission was thwarted by the crucifixion. It seems to me that there is no way that one can say otherwise than that it was. If you say that Jesus did fulfill God's plan of total redemption, then you must face the question that Professor Sontag raised of why it is that the world is still in a mess. Furthermore, you must face the question of why it is that no matter how devout a Christian husband and wife are, they can't give birth to children who do not need a savior. Or, to put it differently, if the mission of the messiah is to solve whatever problem it is that is introduced by the fall, then that mission needs to be accomplished and when it is solved there is then no further need for a savior. But clearly in Christian history it has been asserted that the need for the salvific work of Jesus remains. When Jesus said "It is finished" on Calvary, does that mean that everything is finished, or does it mean that the part that he is going to be able to accomplish is finished? It seems to be the latter. It seems to me that this statement doesn't necessarily mean that everything that should have been finished is finished. You may want to read it that way, but there is no need to read it that way.

The question of whether or not Christ is the last Adam. Several things can be said here, but I think that the distinction between the messianic office and the messianic person does something towards answering this question. That is, if the messianic office is not filled with the second Adam -- and notice in the Divine Principle that the second Adam's office is essentially parallel to the office of the first Adam -- then this mission must be fulfilled by someone. Now it is true that in traditional Christian christology, it is asserted that Jesus of Nazareth must be the one to come again. It seems to me that that christology and the whole process of salvation cannot be understood except in light of a principle of creation. Now Professor Deffner comes from a Lutheran tradition in which natural theology, if not rejected, is certainly attenuated. In the Catholic tradition one gets a much clearer natural theology. And I think that in the Catholic tradition this question would be much easier to answer than it is in a Lutheran one. But anyway, more can be said about that.

Christ rose from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. Yes, of course, the Divine Principle does not deny this. It does not deny his appearance to Thomas, it does not deny that he appeared in a bodily form, but what it does deny is that his bodily form was physical in the same way that my body here is physical. Whatever characteristics the resurrected body of Christ possessed, they were characteristics at least partly different from those of an ordinary human body because there are in the scriptures events described -- appearing and disappearing through walls, for example -- which are clearly not things that physical bodies can do.

Darrol Bryant: Now I am sure there are many things that have been mentioned by the Unificationists to which several of these people would like to respond, but we are first going to expand the boundaries of this conversation. Dr. Quebedeaux.

Richard Quebedeaux: First of all I want to say that I really appreciate Dr. Bergman's speech because you remind me of a "Jew for Jesus" somehow. However, I want to raise a functional question that comes out of Dr. Deffner's response and Dr. Sontag's response. Theologically, I tend towards Dr. Deffner because I have experienced the grace of God in a way that I know that it is the only way. I am actually not a Lutheran but a Calvinist, but I have always been impressed by perfectionist Arminians. In Lutheran theology, and I might say also in Protestant liberalism which I think that Dr. Sontag would represent, there is a concern about faith and works. Nobody is trying to throw out works since both the liberals and the Lutherans say that faith without works is dead. But in the history of the church and in the history of Christianity in America, neither the liberal nor the conservative side of Protestantism has provided any real plan for living to actually make the ethical commands of Jesus and the prophets functional in one's life. Liberals say we ought to get into social action. We try, we make some progress, and we burn out. There is something lacking, I think, in the theology of works and of grace. What I see in Unification is a plan to make concrete in one's life and in society those ethical commands of scripture. I would like to ask both Dr. Sontag and Dr. Deffner if they have any plan comparable to Unification for the accomplishment of God's will in the physical world -- in society and in human relationships. I hope this doesn't sound too simplistic, but it is a question that I have to raise not just to Protestant liberalism and conservatism but to the whole Christian tradition throughout its two thousand year history.

Mary Carman Rose: I was scared when our Lutheran friend, whom I enjoyed very much by the way, quoted out of context Rev. Moon saying "believe in Jesus and believe in me." I am only an unofficial Moonie, but I believe in Rev. Moon. I think he is a genius; I think he is a leader. I have now attended several theological conferences and I have attended three of the science conferences. It takes a genius and a leader to create these meetings and I am disturbed when he is quoted out of context.

I want to bring together three things that have been going on here. There has been some conflict, particularly in the discussion groups, between substance thinking and process thinking. We need them both. And it is true that our friends the Unification thinkers have given us back this old process approach. They have also a "day of all things" which is substance thinking. We do need them both.

I want to get Augustine in here too since we didn't do Augustine justice. In relation to the felix culpa or the aesthetic view of evil, what Augustine is saying is that a great thing happened through the divine artistry because of the fall. It would have been great had there been no fall, but God in his greatness was able to save things. Concerning the aesthetic view of evil, Augustine isn't saying that evil per seisa thing of beauty; he is saying that despite evil God brings beauty out of the terrible things we do. Mary Magdalene becomes a saint.

Don Deffner: In response to Richard: I am simply trying to discuss the basic theology. The Lutheran church has been particularly slow and quietistic and politically uninvolved, at least where I grew up. But I think that in the last few decades some of us have been getting involved. I am happy to see that the response of faith must be there. I do, however, have difficulty with the phrase "portion of responsibility." The response of faith must be there -- "obedience," in the language of the New Testament. Faith must be lived out. Regardless of what Luther said about James being a straw epistle, faith without works is dead.

To Mary: I didn't mean to quote Rev. Moon out of context. I have been to the Barrytown Seminary twice and have had many conversations with Unificationists, and I must say that I love the Moonies, too, for I see here a love that I don't often see in church groups. But I did want to get at the issue of what their belief means, especially on the question of the relationship of Rev. Moon to Christ. I think that is a crucial issue.

Frederick Sontag: I suppose I have a plan, but I hadn't thought that I was going to work it out. As far as the movement is concerned, I thought I had made it clear that I believe they do have a plan and that I don't wish to rule out its possible success on theological grounds. I, too, believe in the test of action. In my book on the Unification Church, I said I had found people of self-giving love in the movement and also outside the movement. I do believe that it is necessary to have a plan. I believe that we do the best thing we can to bring the future kingdom into the present age. I think that Jesus is reasonably clear about that: we heal the sick, we feed the poor, and we preach the gospel. Where that is done, Jesus is present and the kingdom comes. But I still feel that no one representing the movement has spoken to the question of God's power, to put it very simply: Is he bound to the program of the Divine Principle or could he violate it?

Anthony Guerra: I am going to take up some of the new questions, particularly the one Dr. Sontag raised about God's power and about how God operates. How does God work? There is an emphasis in the Divine Principle about God working through a central figure, and that is absolutely essential. At the same time, one must realize that the Divine Principle also said that the central figure can only be a central figure if in fact he has those who are in an objective position to him. God's power is not realized through the central figure unless that kind of objective response is there. Let me give you an example. This is what we are saying about Jesus. He was empowered by God to accomplish the full restoration, but that power could not be realized unless he had the response of his followers. This goes back to one of the fundamental principles.

Moreover, the central figure must be object to God as subject. It is in this way that there is a heavy emphasis upon fulfilling both the mandate to love God and also the mandate to love human beings, all human beings. That God works through central figures means that, if possible, we should reach those people who influence many people's lives. Individual actions are important, but the only systematic way we are going to change the world and bring God's love, power and beauty to full realization is if we affect those who influence many people's lives. However, if this doesn't work, I have no doubt that Rev. Moon will try different ways. Rev. Moon is now working to build a home church system. The members of the Unification Church, rather than just living in large centers, are now going into neighborhoods and working with people on a one-to-one level. Working on this level too, there is an element of universalism that is being carried out programmatically.

Did God foreknow the crucifixion? God foreknew the possibility that the people would reject Jesus and that the crucifixion would then be necessary. This is why the Divine Principle says that there are dual prophecies in the Old Testament. God foreknew that the response of the people could be either that of accepting Jesus and then fulfilling the ideal at that time, or not. If the people did not accept, then that would lead to the crucifixion. Again, I would have to say that the reality was not known. That is the same distinction that Occam made between knowing possibilities and knowing actualities; it is a traditional distinction that should be brought up again.

The last point that I want to make concerns what Richard and Dr. Deffner were saying concerning the statement that God so loved the world that he gave his only son. That is right. However, love is essentially a relationship. Therefore, God's love must be received once it is given. The responsibility of receiving that love is precisely what we are talking about as the portion of responsibility. Within the Unification Church I have been reminded of the spiritual principle that is not only in the Divine Principle, but something that we try to live by and remind ourselves of. That is, that God works his good works in and through us. This is something that is essential to the practice of our movement. Finally, what we are talking about is not just theology but a way of living.

Kurt Johnson: I haven't retailored things that I have thought of as we went along so I may repeat some things. First to Dr. Boslooper. You seemed to think that maybe our preoccupation was more with salvation as restoration than with the liquidation of sin. I think that in our thinking it is the liquidation of sin that makes restoration possible.

Secondly, to Dr. Deffner. What he presented is a traditional view of Jesus' mission which heartistically all of us can embrace. Before the Divine Principle, that was definitely all of Christianity that was available to us. But I have a problem with that view now that I've learned the Divine Principle. I consider Unification theology liberation theology because it has the characteristic of giving man back his responsibility. If you look at liberation in any context, it has to do with people taking responsibility. I think that what you invite us to embrace we tend to agree with, but in a sense it is too easy. It doesn't answer questions about the world. People are suffering, and in many ways America is open to the accusation of being a racist, greed-oriented society. It has a silent ally, if you will pardon me, in your type of thinking. People are suffering as a corporate result of ignorance about what is wrong with the world.

Thirdly, one characteristic of Dr. McGowan's point of view is an ability to understand the sense in which the Divine Principle is a spherical theology, a three dimensional theology. It is very difficult to understand the principle linearly. The thing is huge. So without understanding this, critical things are missed.


1 Unification Theological Affirmations, Barrytown. N.Y.: Unification Theological Seminary, 1976. 

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