Family, Church, Community, Kingdom
Nine - Federation And Church
Major difficulties arise in having two organizations: "Are people joining the Family Federation or the church?" "We are using church facilities for Family Federation activities...." "are we sectarian (a church) or non-sectarian (a federation)?" Having two national organizations staffed by the same people and using the same facilities is redundant. From the viewpoint of administration, it is a bad dream, if not a nightmare. I received this letter yesterday:
"There is one area I am somewhat hazy about and that is the FFWPU/HSA relationship. I probably missed some transitional steps while here in Seattle. I was close to but not in the center of the providence. You sign as FFWPU president, the letterhead includes the FFWPU and the HSA symbol. Has HSA turned into FFWPU? Spiritually? Legally? Is HSA the mind and FFWPU the body? Please advise."
It is frightening that this question comes to me not just from a new Vice Regional Director but also from the World Mission Department! "We urgently need an official statement about the development of the providence which gave rise to the termination of the Unification Church and the founding of the Family Federation for World Peace.... [We need to] resolve the legal issue in some countries about whether or not the FFWPU is a religion, a church, a secular organization, etc. etc.
I believe that the family system model provides the basis to resolve these problems, at least in the American context. Let's begin with a fundamental question: Do we want a "church"? Most of us did not become part of this family in order to join a church or organized religion. Why make ourselves into what we were trying to escape from in the first place? So my answer is, no, we ultimately do not want a church in the traditional sense. What DO we want? Most of us joined something best identified as "a family." Perhaps some of us saw it as a social movement. I doubt that many considered themselves to be joining a traditional church.
What we want is a Family Federation or what we call a Family Church. This is something new. Father has been calling for a restructuring of the American church. He hasn't told us how directly. Maybe we have work to do on our side to bring about a restructuring that he can bless. The Family Federation is the environment for restructuring.
The Root of the Family Federation
We begin by accepting that the ideal of True Parents is God-centered but is not religion in the traditional sense. Religion in the traditional sense is rebinding us with God. The True Parents' truth, the Completed Testament, springs out of the original relationship with God. The Completed Testament is the fulfillment of all faith traditions.
Therefore, religion, traditionally defined, is not the primary category. The kingdom of God is the primary category. To underline this, we are officially no longer a church traditionally defined.
God's original ideal was not for a church but was for Adam's family to multiply and fill the earth. The original plan, in this sense, was a Family Federation. Because of the fall, God sent the Messiah to re-create the original family and begin the Family Federation. But Jesus without a family couldn't create the Family Federation.
The resurrected Jesus and Holy Spirit created the church. The church, while a beautiful family, is a spiritual family, distinct from the biological family. In some ways, the church is at odds with the biological family. For 2,000 years, spiritual salvation came to the individual through the church, not through the family.
In the last days, Jesus has sent our True Parents to recreate the original family. When the churches failed to receive this teaching and its teacher, our True Father established the Unification Church as their representative. As such, the Unification Church is a vehicle of spiritual salvation to the individual. The creation of the Family Federation means that True Parents have now established the foundation for God's true love finally to come through the family. This is nothing short of a total revolution. The implications, when the world catches up to what God is doing in our True Parents, are mind-boggling.
Policies of the FFWPU
The following was sent out by Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak, World President of the Family Federation for Unification and World Peace, dated April 10, 1997.
Due to the advance of the providence and the Will of Heaven, the era has changed from one of faith and setting up conditions of indemnity to a new era of attendance in which a true family lifestyle is itself our life of faith. This is the reason for such a change.
All fallen human beings should pass through the course of faith, however. Accordingly, irrespective of the change in the name of the organization, it will still be necessary for everyone to undergo the process of establishing conditions, including religious rituals, indemnity and sacrifice.
For some time to come, the Family Federation for Unification and World Peace should guide the two aspects of life: namely our life of faith, and our true family life.
Reverend Kwak elsewhere explained that True Parents set up FFWPU as the internal, Abel, root and nerves and the church as the external, Cain, branches and flesh. If this is the case, then any church can serve as Cain to the FFWPU. Any church can be a "family federation church." The family federation itself needs no buildings or church-like institutional trap-pings. The FFWPU meets in Tribal Messiahs' homes twice a month for Hoon Dok Hae. They are supposed to grow to reach 160 to 185 families. I discussed above the methods that other churches use for such growth. The functions of the Blessed Family Department and youth education are to be absorbed into the small group system of the FFWPU.
On April 22, 1997, at East Garden True Father spoke about the development of the FFWPU. He said that the religious essence of our organization continues (ceremonies, rituals, etc.) and only the name changes. He asked explicitly if we had taken down the Unification Church signs yet.
To "take down the Unification Church sign" is not just a physical event. It means that we have moved to a new stage. Religion, which the Unification Church represented, was for individual salvation. Now is the age of the family. This means that religion prepared people to create true marriages and families, which recover the blessing God meant to give His children prior to the fall of man. This preparation is now completed, and so religion has fulfilled its purpose. The task now at hand is the actual blessing of marriages and families world-wide. Constructing the life of blessed families and communities beyond race, nation and religion takes place in the environment of the FFWPU.
Where -- and Why -- Do We "Do Church"
Then why do we need to have a "church"? Reverend Kwak explains that even in the age of settlement, "All fallen human beings should pass through the course of faith. Accordingly, irrespective of the change in the name of the organization, it will still be necessary for everyone to undergo the process of establishing conditions, including religious rituals, indemnity and sacrifice." In other words, the Kingdom is being established but needs a gateway, and the gateway is the church. Prior to the establishment of the Family Federation, the only thing humankind had was a gateway. Christians including us Unificationists, flocked at the gateway and enjoyed the prospect of entering the Kingdom in the future. Now the gate is opened, but until everyone comes in, the gateway is still necessary.
Then what is the practical relationship between the church and the Family Federation? This has to be worked out on a local basis, ultimately. But I can put forth an overall outline. As far as I can grasp it, the Family Federation is the family system outlined in the previous chapter. As such, the Family Federation can do many things. It can organize to build sewers and roads, to create schools and hospitals. Another thing the Family Federation can do is to organize itself as a local community church. It does so in order to accomplish the four purposes: corporate WORSHIP of God, EDUCATION in God's word, ministry in SMALL GROUPS, and PERSONAL MINISTRY. Through this, all Tribal Messiahs can develop their blessing communities of families.
Thus, the FFWPU carries out some functions of a traditional church. This work impacts several arenas.
Youth and Continuing Education in the Completed Testament
Creating the Culture of Heart
The relationship between the Unification Church and the FFWPU is comparable to that between a bachelor and a husband, or an undergraduate and a graduate. The body is the same, but the status and responsibilities are new.
Socially, however, and from the viewpoint of the government, "religion" remains the appropriate category for the FFWPU, because the world does not distinguish the restored God-centered community from the restorative God-centered community. Hence changing to FFWPU should not necessitate us losing legal status as a religion.
Steps to resolve the relationship of HSA and FFWPU
I state at the outset that this is my personal view. I realize that the matter is complex and there are issues not addressed in this recommendation. I offer it as worthy of consideration.
All this having been said, the fact is that in many ways we talk like a church, walk like a church and refer to ourselves as a church. We use the title Reverend. We have ministries, pastors, services, sermons, elders, chapels, prayer meetings and holy songbooks. We have a theology full of biblical references. We speak of God, Satan, angels, rebirth, resurrection, the Holy Spirit, blessings, providence, good and evil and the fall. We love Jesus, we fellowship with other churches as colleagues and we collect tithes. Our Founder continually refers to what he created as a church. Therefore, we need a Family Church within the FFWPU, and for the time being it will occupy a good deal of our energy. It will remain an essential structure until the restoration that True Parents have accomplished vertically is manifested in horizontal reality. Thus, for all practical purposes, we use the terms family federation and family church interchangeably. But in my understanding, the family church is temporary, and the family federation eternal.
Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents