Members of this religious movement are commonly called ‘Moonies’ after the founder, the Rev. Sung Myung Moon. This has emerged as one of the larger cults to be established in the twentieth century. It is said to have over two million members world-wide and to have a business empire worth billions of dollars. It owns The Washington Times which is one of the newspapers that has been used for White House daily news summaries. This movement has had a particularly strong impact upon society because of a number of factors.
The whole movement has been described as ‘a mind boggling mixture of Pentecostal Christianity, Eastern mysticism, anti-communism, pop psychology and metaphysics’.
The history of the Unification Church centres on the Rev. Sung Myung Moon, a Korean, born 6th January 1920. He belonged to a family that converted to Presbyterian Christianity in 1931. In his mid teens Moon claimed to experience a vision of Jesus Christ who commissioned him to build up God’s kingdom on earth. God is said to have given him new insights into the teaching of the Bible and to have enabled him to reinterpret the Scriptures.
He has apparently been married four times and may not have legally ended the second marriage. He has supposedly dabbled in the occult, been arrested and tortured by the communist North Korean regime, and been linked with the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. He is said to be linked to a Japanese organised crime syndicate and been imprisoned for sex offences.
He founded his church in 1954 in Seoul in South Korea and eventually set up headquarters in the United States in 1971. In 1957 he published Divine Principle a book of over 500 pages which is said to be the fulfilment of John 16. 13, where reference is made to that which is to come. Moonies effectively use Divine Principle as their guiding light considering it much more important than the Bible. They view history as divided into three ages. The Old Testament Age which used the Old Testament; the New Testament Age that used the New Testament and the Completed New Testament Age that uses Divine Principle.
Moon declared that Jesus, the second Adam, failed in His mission and so a third Adam was needed, known as the Messiah, the Lord of the Second Advent. Though he didn’t claim publicly to be that Messiah, it was always implied from his writing and teaching that it was so. In 1992 he finally declared publicly that he was the Messiah. ‘Amidst the splendour of the magnificent Little Angels Performing Arts Centre in Seoul, Rev. Sun Myung Moon announced in his speech on August 24, 1992, to a distinguished audience of current and former heads of state, scholars, professors and religious leaders, that he and Mrs Moon were the Lord of the Second Coming, the True Parents, the Messiah’. Unification Newsletter. Vol. 8, No. 1, Jan. 1993, p.2.
There are many front organisations behind which the Unification Church operates, some of which are seemingly innocuous, but can draw the unwary into this religious movement. Members are willing to lie and deceive to make sales or gain donations and view telling lies as acceptable because they are taking money from people under Satan’s control to be used in God’s work. Members often have a daily quota of income to meet. They have been known to infiltrate churches and Christian Unions to encourage the disaffected and those with problems to defect and join the Unification Church.
Foundational to the Rev. Moon’s teaching is the concept of dualism, which is similar to the Chinese ‘yin and yang’ belief of Taoism. This belief views the whole of existence as duality. So human life is male and female. There are positive and negative, protons and electrons and so on. By working this principle backwards they view God in terms of both Mother and Father. We will briefly explore some of their teaching and clearly it will be seen to be at variance with Scripture.
i. The Fall of Man into Sin The account in Genesis is very clear and reveals disobedience to the direct command of God, through the temptation brought by Satan to eat fruit from the forbidden tree. However, Divine Principle claims to be the first ‘correct’ interpretation of this event. Rev. Moon insists that there were two falls. The first was physical and the second was spiritual and both, he apparently claims, were sexual in nature. Physically, Eve’s fall was her sexual relationship with Adam and that occurred after her spiritual fall, which was the result of sexual relations with Lucifer. As well as an expression of breathtaking arrogance this also reveals a fixation with sexual activity on the part of Rev. Moon, who has had charges of sexual perversion laid against him and has apparently been married four times.
ii. Salvation In Moon’s teaching there has to be a dual aspect to man’s salvation, both physical and spiritual. He claims that Christ on the cross accomplished spiritual salvation, while he, Moon, the ‘third Adam’, will accomplish physical salvation by setting up the perfect family. So he views the work of Christ as only partly successful and states, ‘The cross cannot completely liquidate our original sin’, Divine Principle, p.142.
iii. Jesus Christ Rev. Moon denies the deity of Jesus Christ, insisting that He is not God and states, ‘He can by no means be God Himself’. He even goes as far as to say that followers of the Unification Church can supersede Jesus. In his own words he states, ‘You can compare yourself with Jesus Christ, and feel you can be greater than Jesus Himself’. He generally views Jesus as a failure, as for example when he states, ‘Abraham was the father of faith, Moses was the man of faith, Jesus was the son of man, trying to carry out his mission at the cost of his own life. But they are in a way failures’. Again we witness the arrogance of Rev. Moon and the lack of understanding he has of New Testament truth.
The teaching of Divine Principle is at odds with the Bible in all its central points. It therefore cannot be considered in any way as the completion of God’s revelation. Rev. Moon has no messianic credentials and must be considered a false prophet. The Lord Jesus warned us of such people when He said, ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits’, Matt. 7. 20.
3. GOSPEL PRESENTATION
We need to show deep care and love to those who are caught up in this intensive and life-dominating religion. It will be difficult to gain a hearing with members of the Unification Church because right from the outset they will be deeply suspicious and even concerned about possible persecution. This is because Rev. Moon warns his followers that, ‘Christians of today will be the first to persecute the Messiah at the time of the Second Advent’, Divine Principle, p.533.
A great deal of gentle patience will have to be exercised as these people are disturbed souls who have been brainwashed and kept so busy that they hardly have time to think and certainly have no energy to question what they do and what they believe. We need to formulate questions that get them thinking and even doubting the veracity or some of the teaching and practices of Rev. Moon. Questions must be formulated in a genuine desire to seek information and not with a sense of aggression or interrogation.
Try to encourage them to read with you the various passages of the Bible, especially those that deal with God’s love and Christ’s work on the cross. Remember that they do not accept the Bible as the final revelation from God, but they do use it to find facts to support their theology.
Do bathe your witness in prayer and seek the Lord’s wisdom and love to lead these precious and sincere souls to saving faith in Jesus Christ.