Other Unificationist Publications

Guidelines for Members of The Unification Church in Relations with the Jewish People

Peter Ross and Andrew Wilson
March 15, 1989

God is the source of all love, goodness and peace. The purpose of religion is to lead humanity to live in a world of love, goodness and peace. Therefore it is God's will that religions cooperate with one another to foster these ends. Yet the tragic history of conflict between religions and religiously motivated bigotry has often frustrated God's purpose for religion as an instrument of peace, and has made much religion a testimony against, rather than for, God's reality. In the past there have been serious misunderstandings between Judaism and the Unification Church. In order to clarify these difficulties and guide Unification Church members in their relations with Jews, the Unification Church suggests the following guidelines:

1. The Unification Church Condemns Anti-Semitism

Among those who have suffered most heavily from religious bigotry is undoubtedly the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism has been sadly recounted and repeated in the pages of history, time and time again. Now, in a welcome development, Christians and others are recognizing the sin of anti-Semitism and religious bigotry and are working to educate people to this dark side of their history.

As a Christian movement, the Unification Church accepts that the history of Christian anti-Semitism is also its legacy. Like all Christians, we are responsible to face this history and work to eliminate its causes. Reverend Moon has stated: "The Unification Movement categorically condemns anti-Semitism, the most hideous, abject and cruel form of hatred."[1] We urge all Unificationists to become familiar with the history of anti-Semitism and its causes.

Sadly, the Christian Church over the past 2,000 years has been a major instigator of anti-Semitism. Church leaders encouraged laws restricting the rights and liberties of Jews. At the time of the Crusades, and again with the Inquisition, hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed or forced to become refugees in the name of Christ. Retellings of Jesus' passion so influenced the ignorant peasantry that Jews would dread Easter week more than any other time of year and hide themselves in their homes. Some Christians believed it an act of charity to take Jewish children away from their parents, baptize them and raise them in a monastery.

All this, and much more, is indelibly engraved in the collective memory of the Jewish people. Is it any wonder that Jews have deep- rooted sensitivities concerning Christians and their teachings? As a church seeking to lead and revitalize Christianity, we should fight anti-Semitism, especially where it infects our own Christian inheritance. Certain of the roots of the Nazi Holocaust can be traced to centuries of anti-Semitic prejudice fostered by the Church. This paved the way for the failure of the Christians of Europe to exercise moral vigilance against this particular evil. Reverend Moon has stated:

We regard the murder of six million Jews in Europe to be the result of . . . lack of moral responsibility on the part of Germany's political and religious leaders, and statesmen from among other nations, in the period between the two World Wars. Ignoring the basic teachings of the Scriptures, they acted too late to block Hitler's ascent to power, they postponed the action for his downfall, and they did nothing to rescue the victims who were the captives of his satanic plans and designs. Only a unified front of all Christian and Jewish forces, inspired by the principles of the divine commandments and guided by the concept of human brotherhood, would have been able to prevent the Holocaust.[2]

The World Wars are described in Unification teaching as struggles at the consummation of Christian history which were made necessary by repeated human failures.[3] Just as we teach that the spread of Communism has been abetted by the failure of Christianity to provide properly for the poor according to Jesus' teachings, so we should understand that the Nazi Holocaust was substantially abetted by the failure of Christianity to properly regard and respect the Jews. Instead of practicing Jesus' teachings of love and respect for the dignity of all people, Christians typically stigmatized the Jews as Christ-killers, reprobates and shysters. Centuries of Christian anti- Semitism sowed the seeds of contempt for Jews which bore fruit in the Holocaust. However, such an education is not adequate, by itself, to eliminate all prejudice. We regard the most important defense against anti-Semitism to be a purified religious life that is firmly separated from evil and in a good give-and-take relationship with the living God. As Reverend Moon has said,

As far as I know, God is not sectarian. He is not obsessed with minor details of doctrine. We should quickly liberate ourselves from blind attachment to doctrines and rituals, and instead focus on living communication with God. I think we urgently need to purify the religious atmosphere into one in which believers can have living faith and every soul can communicate with God. In God's parental Heart and His great love, there is no discrimination based on color or nationality. There are no barriers between countries or cultural traditions, between East and West, North and South. God is trying to embrace the whole of humankind as His children.[4]

All feelings of hatred, jealousy and prejudice which feed anti-Semitic violence come from people whose religion is corrupt, and who are in reality serving Satan through their private lusts and desires (James 4:1). As Christians, we rely on the gift of salvation through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But we cannot rest contented with that, and must continue to struggle throughout our lives to separate from the bondage of sin and seek to attain the high standard of love which Jesus set for us.[5] Only through a life of prayer and unselfish giving to others, giving ourselves wholly to God, do we receive the dominion of God's sanctifying love. If we live in the realm of God's love, feeling close to the heart of Jesus, we can readily follow his example and love the stranger or even the enemy who persecutes us (Matt 5:44). In such a faith there is no room for anti- Semitism or prejudice of any kind.

2. The Teachings of the Principle and Anti-Semitism

As Christians, and as a church that regards itself as a lineal descendant of biblical Judaism, Unification teaching must speak about the Jews as an historical people graced by God's providence and who participated in the events surrounding the life and death of the Messiah Jesus. Hence we do not meet Jews simply as members of another religion; they are our brothers with whom we share, at least in part, a common history. It is essential, therefore, for the sake of a healthy relationship, that we clarify the Unification Church's view of the Jews and Judaism.

In order to encourage people to live a God-centered life that fosters love for all peoples of the world, the Unification Movement teaches a doctrine called "the Principle."[6] The purpose of this Principle is to guide people to establish God's ideal, which is "for human beings to love God as their Parent and to live in brotherhood as one extended family . . . that will create a one-family world society."[7] There is no room whatsoever in the Principle for the teachings of anti- Semitism.

There have been several textbooks explaining the Principle, written by some of Reverend Moon's disciples. These include "Wol-li Hae-sul" (Explanation of The Principle) by Hyo Won Eu (Korea, 1957); "Wol-li Kang-ron" (Discourse on The Principle) by Hyo Won Eu (Korea, 1966); "Divine Principle and its Application" by Young Oon Kim (Washington, 1969); "Divine Principle" (Washington, 1973), an English translation of "Wol-li Kang-ron"; and "The Divine Principle Study Guide" by Young Whi Kim (Tarrytown, NY, 1973, 1975).[8] The current official teaching manual of Unification doctrine is "Outline of the Principle" by Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak (New York, 1980). We recognize that none of these texts are adequate to fully convey the Principle; they represent the considerable yet imperfect understanding of the Principle by these disciples of Reverend Moon, conveyed with all the limitations of culture and language.[9]

The Principle has definite teachings about the Jewish people as they participated in God's providence throughout the Bible. All the textbooks on the Principle rely upon the New Testament accounts of Jesus Christ and his crucifixion. Given that the New Testament itself contains anti-Jewish language and sayings, and that the early disciples of Rev. Moon who wrote the textbooks on the Principle were Koreans who had no contact with Jews or awareness of the problem of anti-Semitism in Christian teaching, it is not surprising that some Unification texts contain language that has been alleged to be anti- Semitic. However, the Principle itself is a teaching of love and respect for all humankind, whose purpose is to bring an end to all hate, bigotry and evil. Hence there is no room in its teachings for anti-Semitism in any form. Further, it is necessary, indeed essential, to teach the Principle without making any statements which might foster anti-Semitism. In particular, we note that in the current official textbook of Church doctrine, Outline of the Principle, efforts have been made to avoid language that could be seen as objectionable to Jews and others.

3. Present-Day Judaism is not Identical with the Judaism of the Bible

As a first step towards eliminating any lingering prejudice within the Unification Church, members are well advised to encounter Judaism as a living faith. There is a spiritual wealth in Jewish culture and tradition, from the prophets of Israel to the sages of the Talmud and the great rabbis and philosophers of every age. Reverend Moon has affirmed "the natural right of the Jewish people to physical survival and preservation of its specific religious traditions, the marks of its distinctive historical entity."[10] These traditions have been formed to a large extent during the past two thousand years since New Testament times. Judaism has evolved, and modern Judaism has changed to a considerable degree from the religion of biblical Israel.

We should not, therefore, regard statements about Jews in the New Testament to be accurate depictions of modern Jews. New Testament portrayals of Judaism as a religion of legalism, for example, do not fit with most observant Jews' belief that the Law is the means which God has given them to live a life which is sanctified in His grace. Neither do they describe the great majority of liberal, non-observant Jews for whom many of the specific commandments of the Law are irrelevant. Furthermore, we should recognize that many New Testament statements are caricatures and polemics born of a time of intense conflict between the young Christian sect and Jewish leadership, which itself was struggling to survive after the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. Hypocrisy is not an exclusive preserve of the Pharisees; the Principle regards it as a failing common to religious people generally.[11]

We should understand that Jews reject all messianic claims about Jesus for what they believe to be valid reasons in accordance with their faith. For instance, Jews do not accept the common Christian belief that Jesus, or any human being, can be God. Jews understand as the mission of the Messiah to realize the earthly fulfillment the biblical promises to establish a world of lasting peace, where God would dwell in the hearts of all people (Isa 2:2-4, 11:1-9; Jer 31:33-34), but Jesus did not complete these promises; the world remains unredeemed. Hence the Jew rejects the claims that Jesus is divine and that Jesus is the Messiah. (Interestingly, Unificationists, while affirming Jesus' messianic role, agree with certain aspects of the Jewish view about the Messiah's mission.)

Furthermore, Unificationists should not believe that all Jews are still anxiously waiting for the Messiah to come, as it may appear from the Bible. Many Jews today are resigned to living without a Messiah, giving their attention to the work of God in the world rather than to what so far has been a vain future hope. Unificationists can better appreciate the richness of Jewish faith by encounter and dialogue with today's Jews. This is one reason why Reverend Moon encouraged the Unification Theological Seminary to appoint a learned rabbi to its faculty -- to give students a first-hand exposure to Judaism. Dialogue begins from an attitude that respects every religion as having its own unique understanding of God and of human life in relationship to God. The one God speaks to the world through every religious tradition. As stated in Outline of the Principle,

All people are to be God's children, and God Himself has created and guided all of the major religions toward the restoration of the people of their particular region, time period, and circumstances.[12]

Hence we should respect and understand Judaism, as any living religion, on its own terms.

4. The Crucifixion and the Jews

In recent years, the mainline Christian churches have had to re- examine and reject the traditional teaching that the Jews crucified Jesus. This charge of "deicide" became a cause for much anti-Semitism throughout history. Such traditions have also influenced some older Unification texts:

This is an error in presenting the Principle. According to the New Testament, it was the Romans who actually crucified Jesus, not the Jews. Crucifixion was not considered a proper manner of execution according to Jewish law.[14] Crucifixion was, however, the standard Roman penalty for political subversives and revolutionaries, and Pilate often crucified Jews whom he considered dangerous to Roman rule. Jesus was not condemned to death as a religious heretic, but rather as a political subversive who threatened Roman authority, as the title "King of the Jews" placed over his cross indicated.

The current official textbook, "Outline of the Principle", has been corrected on this point. This text never says that the Jews crucified Jesus. Rather, it states that Jesus was rejected by many of his people and that certain Jewish leaders plotted against him. Had a sufficient number of influential Jews believed and followed Jesus, Jesus would not have had to go the way of the cross. Jesus needed a foundation of faithful followers from amongst the leaders of the chosen people in order to become the Messianic king, but he did not find such faith, and hence was vulnerable to attack.[15] Reverend Moon teaches that Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities united to crucify Jesus. The power of church and state cooperated to condemn him:

Reverend Moon also describes the faithlessness of Jesus' disciples, notably Judas Iscariot and Peter, as contributing to the tragedy of the crucifixion.[17] Thus we should understand that in the events that led to Jesus's death, one of Jesus's own disciples -- in other words a Christian[18] -- betrayed him, another disciple denied him three times, certain Jewish leaders secretly tried and condemned him, and the Roman authorities crucified him. The only proper theological conclusion which can be drawn is that representatives of all humanity: Christians, Jews and Gentiles together, participated in the murder of Jesus.

5. The Fact That Jesus of Nazareth Was Not Accepted as Messiah Was Not Due to the People's Lack Of Faith In God.

The Principle considers the fact that Jesus was not accepted to be mainly due to people's lack of understanding as to who he was. Since many Jews were longing for the Messiah, they would certainly have received Jesus had they believed him to be the promised one. When Principle texts refer to the "faithlessness" of the Jews, "faithlessness" translates the Korean "mitom", "not to trust someone." Hence, we should distinguish faith in God from faith in Jesus. Those who refused to follow Jesus were "faithless" only in respect to Jesus, not in respect to God (though of course it was God's will that they believe in Jesus, according to the Principle). Thus Outline of the Principle states:

Why indeed did so many Israelites of Jesus' day not believe Jesus to be the Messiah sent by God? Why did many not know who he was? In answering this question, the Principle places the primary responsibility for the acceptance or non-acceptance of Jesus on the shoulders of a few leaders, and most especially on John the Baptist. John was "the main factor that prevented the people of Israel from coming to Jesus".[20] This was so for two reasons.

First, many Jews were expecting the return of Elijah to guide them to the Messiah, and according to the gospel of Matthew (17:10) they were perplexed that Jesus would proclaim himself the Messiah without Elijah having appeared. Jesus declared that John the Baptist was Elijah (Matt 17:10-13, Matt 11:14), but John himself denied it (John 1:21), creating confusion in the minds of the people.[21] Jesus was an obscure young man raised in a humble carpenter's home and was not known to be experienced in spiritual disciplines . . . [while] John was the son of a prominent family, and . . . led an exemplary life as a man of faith. . . . Under these circumstances, the people of Israel tended to believe more in John the Baptist, who asserted he was not Elijah, than in Jesus, who told them that John the Baptist was Elijah. The people decided that Jesus' view of John as Elijah was untrustworthy, thinking that Jesus said this only to make believable his claims about himself.[22]

Second, the Principle teaches that after God gave John the Baptist a revelation at the Jordan River that Jesus was the messianic person, John was supposed to follow Jesus and lead all Israel to him. John was a man prepared in every way to lead the people to the messianic person of Jesus:

Despite the fact that John did testify that Jesus was the Messiah when they met at the Jordan River, the Principle insists that John never followed Jesus, never became a disciple of Jesus, and never taught his many disciples to recognize Jesus as sent by God and so to follow him. Finally, John doubted who Jesus was (Matt 11:3).[24] Yet many Jewish people of that day respected John the Baptist as one who could guide them. Without John's active support, the message that Jesus was the promised Messiah was barely heard, and if heard, then rarely believed, by the leaders of the people. Therefore, the Principle regards the failure of John the Baptist to be the primary reason why there was not a sufficient foundation for Jesus among the people and leaders of Israel. As a result, Jesus was left unprotected except for a motley band of disciples, and hence he was liable to suffer crucifixion. [John's] personal ignorance and disbelief led not only to his individual loss, but also to the disbelief of most of the people and ultimately to Jesus' crucifixion.[25]

We should regard the Israelites who were uninformed about Jesus or who failed to receive him as victims of poor leadership. It is a serious error, therefore, to accuse the Jewish people as a whole of having willfully disbelieved and rejected their Messiah.

6. The Suffering of the Jews is not a Punishment from God.

Beyond the specific event of the crucifixion looms a second difficult issue for Christians and Unificationists: the claim that the Jews are deserving of divine punishment for having rejected Jesus as their Messiah. This false and pernicious teaching has in the past led to Christian complicity in and justification for persecuting Jews. Statements in older Unification texts such as the following are particularly misleading and inaccurate because they can easily be misinterpreted to support such a view:


Such statements are nowhere to be found in the current text, Outline of the Principle. The claim that the suffering of the Jews is divine punishment is not a teaching that is intrinsic to the Principle. Let us look at this question in more detail. From a superficial viewpoint, it might seem that the theme of Jewish guilt comes more to the fore in Unification teaching than in other Christian theologies, for we believe that the mission of Jesus was frustrated -- not fulfilled as many Christians believe -- by his early death on the cross. The mission which God had called Jesus to fulfill was to erect the earthly kingdom of God on the base of support of the people of Israel. The Jewish people of Jesus' day, we believe, were meant to cooperate with Jesus to build the kingdom. Hence Unification theology considers the people's lack of cooperation with Jesus to have been a serious mistake, with impact on subsequent world history.[29]

The Principle then teaches that the result of that mistake has been suffering for all humankind, of which Jewish suffering is only one portion. According to the Principle, the kingdom of God on earth which was to be established by Jesus would have been an ideal world, where all people would have lived in harmony as brothers and sisters in the bosom of God's love, fulfilling the biblical prophecies of God's peaceable kingdom. Thus, had Jesus been received, there would have been an end not only to the suffering of the Jews under Rome, but also to the suffering of all people. But because the work of Jesus was cut short, the world's sinful history, replete with warfare, oppression and suffering, has continued unchecked.

The suffering of the Jewish people since the time of Jesus should be viewed not as a special punishment, but rather as only one tragic, though major, facet of the world's continued suffering after the failure to establish the kingdom of God at the time of Jesus. Thus, the Principle regards the continued suffering of the Jews and of all humanity since the crucifixion of Jesus to be a tragedy, not a punishment. Such suffering was never God's will. "Outline of the Principle" describes Jesus' anguish in the Garden of Gesthemane as anguish over the fate of Jew and Christian alike:

Jesus and God the Father have both anguished over the tragic suffering of the Jewish people, just as they have anguished over the Christian martyrs. Hence there is no place in the Principle for a doctrine that Jewish suffering has been divine punishment. We should look upon Jewish suffering in the same noble light that we regard Christian martyrdom. Jews, as well as Christians, have been bearing the cross, following the way of sacrifice that was pioneered by Christ himself. Jewish suffering, like Christian suffering, can be borne as indemnity that restores Jew and Christian alike to God and heals the sins of the world.[31] Jews may, through suffering, fulfil the role of God's suffering servant (Isa 53), bringing light and healing to the nations. Reverend Moon specifically likens Jewish suffering to the cross of Christ. In a sermon, he tells of meeting a Jewish shopkeeper in New York City who asked him why his people have suffered throughout history. He gives this reply to the congregation:

This is far from one common orthodox Christian position, represented by the theologian Karl Barth, who wrote that the positions of Israel and the church were bifurcated, the former for suffering and the latter for glory.[33] Jews and Christians are brothers and should walk the path of indemnity together, as fellow witnesses to God. There is no better illustration of this than their similar fates at the hands of totalitarian regimes, Nazi and Communist, where Jews and, to a lesser degree, professing Christians suffered merciless persecution.

Next we should address the question, which arises in the minds of Unificationists, as to whether the Jews of today are responsible to restore the mistake of Jewish leaders of Jesus' day who failed to follow him and protect his ministry.

The Unification doctrine of restoration through indemnity requires that every historical failure in God's providence must be indemnified at a later time, in order to clear up all past conditions of sin that act as barriers to the dawning of God's kingdom. However, the Principle also teaches that when one central person or people fails its responsibility, God chooses another person or people to carry out the Will, both to indemnify the first failure and push on to the final, universal goal. On the analogy of a relay race, one can say that when one runner stumbles, the baton is passed to the next runner in the course of providential history, who runs in order to gain the prize which the whole team will share.

Specifically, the Principle teaches that God chose Christianity to bear responsibility for the sin of rejecting Jesus and delivering him to be crucified. According to the Unification teaching on "Providential Time Identity", Christianity of the past 2000 years has followed a course parallel to the course of the Jewish people from the time of Abraham to the time of Jesus in the position of a "second Israel."[34] When discussing the collective sin of humanity resulting from the crucifixion, Outline of the Principle says as follows:

Though a relatively small group of people were directly responsible for the crucifixion, Christianity, in particular, and mankind as a whole, have had to bear responsibility for that sin and as a result have suffered greatly.[35]

Today, we must recognize that God holds all people, and especially we Unificationists, responsible to bear the burden of humanity's past sin of failing to receive Jesus during his lifetime. There is, according to the Principle, a sense in which the identity of each individual is bound up with the collectivities of which he or she is a part and extends vertically to include his or her ancestors and descendants. We should therefore regard the sin of rejecting and murdering Christ as though each one of us today also participated in that sin. In particular, Unificationists, as modern day followers of Christ, may be liable to the same faithlessness and cowardice as John the Baptist when he disbelieved in Jesus and Peter when he denied his lord three times. Each Unificationist, therefore, should feel personally responsible, believing that his or her own actions will determine whether or not God's representative will be crucified once again.

If we can see God's will as our own responsibility, and that will includes bearing the burden of humanity's past sins, then we should personally repent for the sins of the past and never make the error of transferring our own sense of guilt onto another, particularly onto the Jewish people. Of course Jewish people, in solidarity with all humankind and especially as God's chosen people, remain responsible for their own restoration, and specifically to receive the Messiah. The opportunity for this restoration arises anew at the time of the Second Coming, when the Messiah comes to fulfill the purpose of all religions.[36]

7. The Continuing Role of the Jews as God's Chosen People

It should be clear from the above discussion that the Principle sees a continuing role for the Jews as a people of God. This is in accord with the view of Paul in Romans: "God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew . . . for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable." (Rom 11:2, 29). The Jews continue to live in God's grace.

The Principle affirms that God guides all the world's religions, including Judaism:

But Judaism is more than just one of the great world religions. It is a religion chosen for a central role in the providence of God. Reverend Moon has declared that Judaism is the elder brother to Christianity and the Unification Church. In his 1976 Washington Monument address he stated:

Significantly, Reverend Moon relates Judaism both to the Old Testament and to the State of Israel, thereby implying that there is a continuity between the Judaism of the Bible and the Judaism of today. Israel's election as God's chosen people is a status which continues from biblical times to the present and on to the end of history. Now, however, other religions have joined the ranks of chosen religions. Just as in any family the eldest child does not lose the parents' love when the younger children are born, so Judaism, as the eldest in the family of God's central religions, did not cease to be God's chosen people when its younger sibling religions came into being. As the eldest religion of God's central dispensation, Judaism deserves our respect and love. Their covenant with God endures alongside whatever faith God has given to us.

Reverend Moon's statement also connects the Jewish people's election with a divine purpose, namely to contribute to God's ideal of a unified world family of nations and religions. The Jewish people, along with their Christian and Unificationist brothers and sisters, were chosen for the sake of all humanity, as it is written, "in you [Abraham] all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen 12:3). Unification theology emphasizes the traditional Jewish and Christian notion that election is not for privilege but for service. The chosen people do not enjoy an easy life, rather they are put through more hardship and bear more suffering for the sake of realizing God's will in the world. Originally, when only Israel was the chosen people, their responsibility in God's providence was to offer themselves as God's servants. But in the present situation where God has elected several brother religions, each responsible to do God's will, these religions must also join together in friendship and cooperation as befits the children of the same divine Parent.[39]

There is, however, a second, specialized meaning of election in the Principle: election to be the religion or nation to first receive the Messiah and participate in his work of restoration. In this eschatological sense of election, Israel, according to the Principle, has in fact lost its position as God's chosen people. The Messiah, being a particular individual, must begin his work from one particular nation, religion and culture. There cannot be two or three 'landing sites' for the Messiah; God must inevitably have him appear in one place. That place, according to Unification teachings, will be among Christians. Since one of the Principle's chief concerns is to prepare people to receive the Messiah at the Second Coming, considerable space is devoted to this eschatological meaning of election in Unification texts. The distinction here is only a temporal one. Unification theology has a universal conception of the role of the returning Messiah. The coming of the Lord to Christianity is only a first stage in a mission to bring God's blessings to the entire world, including the Jews. As stated in Outline of the Principle:

The entire world is the object of God's love and concern, and therefore the Messiah, beginning from a particular nation and religion, will gain the cooperation of peoples of all nations and religions in a movement for world salvation. In fulfilling the purposes of all religions, the Messiah will not violate their integrity. The unique character of each religious tradition will continue, thereby adding variety and depth to the whole, as all humankind joins in one great family of God.

Unificationists have run into difficulties in the past when they have confused these two distinct senses of election. When examining the question, "Where will Christ come again?", most expositions of the Principle draw upon the parable of the wicked tenants in Matthew 21 and Paul's discussion in Romans 9-11 in supporting the assertion that Israel has lost its position as God's central chosen nation and that Christianity inherited the role as the second Israel. The text Divine Principle, in its exegesis of Matthew 21, calls the vineyard, which God takes away from the tenants (the Jews) "God's heritage".[41] This could be adduced, incorrectly, as implying that the Jews lost their position as God's chosen people in general, as if to deny God's blessing to all of Judaism's traditions, history and culture. Recent expositions of the Principle are more careful. "Outline of the Principle", in its exegesis of Matthew 21, states that the vineyard means "the work of God to accomplish the Ideal for the Creation."[42] This clarifies that what has been passed on from the Jews of the Bible to Christianity is specifically and only the special providential role to receive the Messiah, the Lord of the Second Advent. After all, the issue under discussion is the birthplace of the coming Lord. Matthew 21 is used to explain the transfer of this mission, and not the loss of God's favor in general.

8. The State of Israel

Unificationists, like many other Christians, affirm the right of Jews to live as a free people in the land of Israel. We believe that God has given the land of Israel to the Jews as a blessing, as a sign of love for His people after the suffering which they endured through the Holocaust. Reverend Moon has stated:

However, we do not share the view of some evangelical Christians that the restoration of the State of Israel is vital for eschatology.[44] Rather, Jewish sovereignty in Israel is a contemporary decree from the living God, who today is working in world events to fulfill His providence. The restoration of the State of Israel in our time is a sign of God's grace to the Jews and of the continuing validity of His covenant with them. It also carries with it the condition that Israel fulfill its God-given responsibility. This includes, not least, the responsibility to establish peaceful and fair relations with its neighbors.

Furthermore, we Unificationists can easily empathize with the present situation of Israel because in many respects it parallels the situation of South Korea. Both countries are small outposts of democracy surrounded by hostile neighbors: just as the North Koreans have been menacing the South, so the PLO and Arab states have harrassed and invaded Israel many times in her brief existence. It is only 20 miles from Jerusalem to the border with Jordan, and only 23 miles from Seoul to the DMZ. With these military threats so pressing, both countries have had to maintain high levels of defense preparedness.

Although the United Nations was instrumental in the birth and preservation of both South Korea and Israel, these two nations have since been isolated in international bodies and are targets of Communist political and diplomatic activity. Both find the United States to be their principal ally in spite of occasionally acerbic relations. With such parallels, it is natural for us to support Israel just as we support our religious homeland of Korea. We can fully understand Israel's difficult political and military situation and support efforts towards a peace in the Middle East that will assure her secure existence.

9. On Evangelizing Jews

The Unification Church affirms its fidelity to the word of God to "teach all nations" (Matt 28:19-20) and to spread the message of the Principle to all people. All people, for their part, have it within their original minds to seek the truth of God and to deepen their relationship with Him. Both the practice of witnessing to the truth and the human search for ever higher and more satisfying truth are essential to the inalienable human right to religious freedom. It is a tenet of the Principle that the acceptance of faith must be a free act.[45] The Unification Church has always rejected coercion in matters of faith, and will neither induce faith by artificial or deceptive means nor condone the use of force by others to cause apostasy through so-called "deprogramming". Unificationists should also become aware of the intense antipathy to evangelism that exists in the Jewish community. The Jewish community is small and, with memories of the Holocaust still fresh, is legitimately concerned for for the survival of the Jews as a people. The Jewish people have long been the special prey of Christian evangelists, whose zeal to missionize the Jews is based upon an interpretation of the biblical statement that all Israel must come to Christ (Rom 11:26).

However, we Unificationists have no special interest in converting Jews; in fact the Principle teaches that today our first obligation is to teach Christians to prepare to receive the Lord at the Second Coming. "Outline of the Principle" states that all people, and especially Christians, have the responsibility to attend the Lord. It compares non-Christians who convert to the Unification faith to the people from the street whom Jesus called to the marriage feast when the invited guests refused to come (Matt 22:8-10).[46] They are not the people whom God originally called, but come as a consequence of the lack of faith of many of the leaders of Christianity.

Therefore, Unificationists should make no special effort to evangelize Jews. Our first obligation is to teach other Christians, and this in fact has been the continuing emphasis in our church. We should respect the Jewish people's special heritage and unique faith, according to the guidelines for dialogue discussed above. However, we will not deny anyone the opportunity to learn the Principle, Jew or non-Jew, and we will bring the message to whomsoever we meet that seems prepared to receive it. Jews who are likely to join the Unification Church are almost exclusively from among the "unchurched". For the Unification Church to discourage them from joining would be to deny the principle of freedom of religion and to limit the working of the Spirit of God. Similarly, respect for the freedom of conscience of its members requires that the Unification Church not deny free access to rabbis, religious teachers and family members for its adherents who are converts from Judaism.

The truth of the Principle exerts its force upon the individual human conscience, creating a powerful inner experience of conversion. When the person has been living a secular lifestyle, this conversion can manifest itself in dramatic changes of behavior: a sudden enthusiasm for religious ideas, selfless devotion to a cause, and renunciation of worldly wealth and ambition. These can be perceived as profoundly threatening to family and friends. Unfortunately, the controversy has often been compounded when newly-converted Unificationists are insensitive to their parents' legitimate concerns. Reverend Moon has always expressed the profound importance of loving our parents and families. He teaches that the bond between children and their parents is eternal, and that there should be, in principle, no contradiction between loving one's parents and serving God's will:

Therefore, all Unificationists should be sensitive to the difficulties that joining the Church may create for their families. We should seek to create lines of communication and trust, with the goal of restoring loving family relationships. Unificationists should also be aware that similar misunderstandings occur in the case of people from secular Jewish homes who convert to the most observant sects of Orthodox and Hassidic Judaism. There is a similar quality of intense religious commitment in every faith. Where there are difficulties of communication between Church members and their families, we may find that there are Jewish leaders who can help to mediate in a spirit of toleration and respect for individual choice.

10. Conclusion

The Unification Movement is working and sacrificing to fulfill the purpose of the one God, which is God's ideal of world peace and brotherhood. God has been developing His providence for thousands of years before the advent of this movement, laying foundations through the histories of Judaism and Christianity. We must be grateful to the spiritual foundations laid by the prophets, saints and sages of Judaism and Christianity, upon which we stand. As Reverend Moon has stated:

Even though our doctrines differ, the God of all religions is One, and His ultimate will, that is, to establish an ideal world of peace and happiness, is one. We can trust that the God who guides us to do His will is also guiding sincere Jews, and people of all religions and people of conscience, to do likewise. Therefore, we will defend the freedom of Jews and all people everywhere to practice their beliefs. We will support the integrity and security of the State of Israel. We wish to see Judaism prosper and grow, and ever continue to light the world by its teaching and example. For our part we need to better understand our Jewish brothers and sisters, and seek to establish friendship and good relations in accord with the will of God.


1. Sun Myung Moon, "Statement on Jews and Israel", New York, December, 1976.

2. "Statement on Jews and Israel."

3. [Chung Hwan Kwak], Outline of the Principle, Level 4 (New York: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity [HSA-UWC], 1980), 284-286.

4. Sun Myung Moon, "Dialogue and Alliance," McAfee, New Jersey, November 15, 1987, in Assembly of the World's Religions 1985: Spiritual Unity and the Future of the Earth (New York: Paragon House, 1986), 98.

5. Outline, 83

6. Members of the Unification Church often refer to the teaching of the Church as the "Divine Principle", creating confusion with a text of the same name. But the more correct name for the teaching is simply "The Principle."

7. Outline, xxiv.

8. For a full list of doctrinal texts, see Michael L. Mickler, The Unification Church in America, A Bibliography and Resarch Guide (New York: Garland, 1987), 63-65.

9. Outline, xviii; Divine Principle, 2nd ed. (Washington, DC: HSA- UWC, 1973), 16.

10. "Statement on the Jews and Israel".

11. Outline, 314.

12. Outline, 309.

13. Divine Principle, 143.

14. Stoning, according to the Mosaic law, was the punishment for blasphemy (Acts 7:58; see Lev 24:16, Deut 13:10). Thus the Bible records that Stephen, when he was martyred, was stoned to death. If Jesus had been punished by the Jewish authorities, his mode of execution would also have been stoning.

15. Outline, 79, 81, 246.

16. Sun Myung Moon, "The Blessing," (Tarrytown, New York, February 20, 1977), 11.

17. Divine Principle, 368. Outline (p. 251) states that Jesus' disciples "had only weakly believed in him" during his lifetime.

18. Strictly speaking, Jesus' disciples were not called "Christians" until that term was coined by the Gentiles as a negative label, much like the word "Moonie" today. See Acts 11:26.

19. Outline, 298.

20. Outline, 87.

21. Outline, 84-86.

22. Outline, 86-87.

23. Outline, 87.

24. Outline, 87-88.

25. Outline, 89. The phrase "most of the people" here refers only to the Jews in Israel and Jerusalem, not to the vast majority of Jews who lived throughout the Roman Empire in Jesus' time. For more on John the Baptist, see Sun Myung Moon, "The New Future of Christianity," (New York, September 18, 1974) in God's Will and the World, 239-270.

26. Divine Principle, 146.

27. Divine Principle, 200.

28. Divine Principle, 359. The context of this passage is an explanation of the ransom theory; the text goes on to say that Jesus gave his body as a sacrifice on the cross to save the people who had turned against him.

29. Outline, 79. The point here made by Unification theology is doctrinal, not moral. It analyzes the direction of world history but does not mean to impute collective guilt on any one people, especially the Jews. See below.

30. Outline, 80.

31. For more on the doctrine of indemnity, see Sun Myung Moon, "Total Indemnity", in God's Will and the World (New York: HSA-UWC, 1985), 589-621. See also Chung Hwan Kwak, "Tang Gam, the Real Meaning of 'Indemnity'", Today's World 5/6 (June, 1984), 13-15; and Andrew Wilson, "The Unification Doctrine of Indemnity" in Deane William Ferm, ed., Restoring the Kingdom (New York: Paragon House, 1984), 3-15.

32. Sun Myung Moon, "Day of the Victory of Heaven," tr. Bo Hi Pak (Tarrytown, New York, October 4, 1979), 6.

33. Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, II, 2 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1957), 206-9.

34. Outline, 255-270

35. Outline, 70-71.

36. Outline, 310.

37. Outline, 122-123, 309-310.

38. Sun Myung Moon, "America and God's Will", text of the speech delivered at Washington Monument (New York: HSA-UWC, 1977).

39. The unity of Judaism and Christianity will require the working out of deep historical resentments through an attitude of unselfish love. Unification teaching describes this process of unification according to the paradigm of Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau. See Andrew Wilson, "A Unification Position on the Jewish People", Journal of Ecumenical Studies 20/2 (Spring, 1983), 202-205.

40. Outline, 309-10. In another context, Outline (pp. 122-123 and illustration) explains how believers of all faiths, including specifically modern Jews, will be gathered to cooperate with the Lord of the Second Advent when he appears.

41. Divine Principle, 517. Another statement which should be interpreted in the same way is found on p. 147.

42. Outline, 306.

43. "Statement on the Jews and Israel."

44. Outline, 208; Divine Principle, 517-520.

45. Outline, 36-38.

46. Outline, 315.

47. Sun Myung Moon, "Searching after True Parents," tr. Bo Hi Pak (Tarrytown, New York, December 7, 1980). See also Sun Myung Moon, "Original World and Present World," tr. Bo Hi Pak (Tarrytown, New York, May 29, 1983).

48. "Statement on Jews and Israel."  

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