WHAT SCHOLARS SAY ABOUT HIS TEACHINGS: THE DIVINE PRINCIPLE
Dr. Warren Lewis, Religious scholar and author, USThose who have eyes to see beneath the Christian tractarian surface of Moon’s book, the Divine Principle, have already detected this indigenous unificationism at work. His doctrine of the “Four-Position Foundation” is in some respects a metaphysical expansion of the central Confucian ethical construct. His doctrine of the Lord of the Second Advent is perhaps an ingenious recycling of the Buddhist notion of transmigration of souls, eschatologically reinterpreted to become a transmigration of providential office or function. His doctrine of “indemnity” is probably a historicized, communalize version of the pan-oriental notion of Karma. Moon’s version of Christian Shinto is remarkably similar to our own American Civil Religion. His revisioning of “ancestor worship” is a highly-nuanced rendition of the communio sanctorum. His understanding of God incorporates the yin-yang of Taoism and moves from there to the assertion that God is both male and female, spirit and logos. Moon, I do not hesitate to say, is at least the Tertullian of the Orient. He is one who, to parody Harnack’s phrase, accomplished for the first time in a thoroughly consistent fashion (if we exclude Kanzo Uchimura) the “acute Orientalization of the Christian Gospel.”
Dr. Thomas Boslooper, Member of the Dutch Reformed Church in the United States, former Professor of Biblical Studies at the Unification Theological Seminary, USA
As I read the Divine Principle and come into contact with the Unification Church, the thought occurred to me over the period of a year that the formation and development of Unification Theology in the heart and mind of Reverend Sun Myung Moon signals the most radical, powerful and constructive force for the future of biblical studies since the Protestant Reformation.I say this because one of the principal charges against Reverend Moon and the Unification Theology is that it is not Christian, that it is not true to the word of God and that members of the Unification Church never read the Bible. The truth is that the Unification Movement is very authentically Christian, so much so that it frightens people who like to be Christian but know in their hearts that they really are not. The members of the Unification Church as I have observed so far, are as serious students of the Bible as I have ever encountered anywhere.
Dr. Shuki Ben-Ami, Dean, Emil Frank Institute, JerusalemMy life starts with the Bible and ends with the Bible. I think of the Bible. I dream of the Bible. There are no coincidences in life. When I was eight years old I came across a book of scriptures and it had other books in it than ours did. My father said not to read it, because it’s not our book. But I opened it up and read the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham. My name is Joshua. It has the same meaning as the name Jesus. My father is David. His father is Abraham. I said, ‘This is my book.’ I don’t have an Old Testament and a New Testament. I have a Bible. Now, because of Father Moon, I don’t have an Old Testament, a New Testament, and a Divine Principle. I have one holy book.
Dr. Richard Quebedeaux, Religious scholar and author, US
The "power" of the Principle derives from its relational character, its ability--when properly understood and practiced--to transform people, and to radically change their relationship to God, to others, and to their own "true selves." Everyone wants to be loved, to be taken care of, in concrete, tangible ways they can actually experience. They long for peace, for harmony; but the world, in its present, fallen state, does not exhibit these desired qualities. Rather, people are divided and estranged from one another almost everywhere. Centered only on themselves, they are resentful when they cannot get what they want; and they resent the success of other, "more powerful" people who have attained what they themselves covet, and won't share it with them. In Rev. Moon's thinking, resentment is the root cause of all human conflict. Resentment leads to the desire for revenge, and it results in division, warfare and exclusion, rather than reconciliation and peace. Those who attain power use it only for themselves and their own self-interests. For all practical purposes, then, everyone else can go to hell. Rev. Moon, however, has a different approach to power. In the Unification system, power is extremely important. This is why he wants to train all his followers to become leaders. But the source of Rev. Moon's type of power resides in self-sacrifice rather than self-aggrandizement. Here power to change people and their social relations is based on the love of God (God's "heart"), which is not "self-centered love," but, rather, the motivation to love others in ways they can fully experience in their day-to-day lives. Leaders are to earn power by being good. Goodness, then, is the practice of love for others, even one's enemies.
Dr. Herbert Richardson, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Toronto, Canada
The Unification Church is an authentic Christian group, although it is somewhat novel in its combination of elements. It is Calvinist, Catholic, and Wesleyan. It is a unification all three traditions. Moreover, although its strong emphasis on the family comes from its oriental background, such a family emphasis is also found in Horace Bushnell. I myself fail to see why we should be so antagonistic to this group or so eager to condemn them as heretical. The Unification Church is both more orthodox and more creative in dealing with scriptures and the Christian tradition than many other contemporary churches. We should rejoice in its fervor and be glad to learn from its theology. (author’s emphasis)
Joseph H. Fichter, S.J., Sociologist of Religion, Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana, US
It is a commonplace observation that the family is the moral basis of society, and that religion constitutes the moral bond of family solidarity. Slogans abound in praise of family life. The family that prays together stays together. The moral level of a community reflects the moral level of its families. The Unification ideology emphasizes the centrality of the family in maintaining a religious culture and in transmitting a spiritual tradition. We may well conclude here with the remark by Harvey Cox: “Here is a movement which manages to combine religious universality, Pentecostal immediacy, a warmly supportive family and a program for allegedly building the kingdom of God on earth. Such a potent admixture cannot be dismissed lightly.”
Prof. Dr. Paul Schwarzenau, Professor (emeritus) of Protestant Theology and
Comparative Religions, University of Dortmund, Germany
I have always been interested in certain ideas in the Divine Principle, which the Christian churches cannot afford to ignore. Irrespective of, or indeed because of my standpoint as a Protestant theologian, I am of the opinion that Christianity has reached a point at which it must further develop through a relationship with the great world religions and the great non-European cultural spheres. Christianity must find the courage to free itself from the limitations of the western cultural sphere.
According to the teaching of the distinguished psychologist C. G. Jung, Jesus appeared proclaiming the Kingdom of God, which should naturally dawn on earth, but his life ended on the cross and, instead of the Kingdom, arose the church and the separation between the church and the world. In the history of Christianity, there have been very few attempts to overcome this split. The Divine Principle, however, researches this in detail. According to the Principle, in the perfected universe, God is fully perfected and fulfilled only through perfected human beings. This is a theory of the Divine which at last accords with the dignity of man. Further, it is a theory appropriate for modern man, who is bound to partnership and democracy.
In each of us, as well as in the churches, there is a bit of "Second Coming," a subconscious striving for a more perfected philosophy of man, embracing both the spiritual and the physical realms. There is therefore a renewed emphasis on apocalyptic matters in today's churches. There is a search for the realisation not only of things spiritual, but also of the ideal, "as in heaven, so also on earth." In striving for such a reality, we could enter into brotherly dialogue with the Unification movement, by mutually stimulating each other and strengthening our powers of expectation.
Msgr. Antonio Jose Plaza, Archbishop of La Plata, La Plata, Argentina
I understand that in a speech before the United States Congress, the fundamental point which the Reverend Moon emphasized was that without the help of God, there is no nation or society which can accomplish its goals. This is completely in accord with the eternal message of Catholicism.
M. Darrol Bryant, Religious scholar and author, US
The eschatological vision of the Divine Principle with its universality, its affirmation of a significant future, its inclusiveness in relation to science and other religions, its affirmation of the family and its determination to create a restore world should not be dismissed or lightly set aside. Rather, it should at least challenge Christian communities to rethink their eschatological commitments….
… regardless as to what is said in a negative way about the Christology of the Unification Church, Jesus Christ by them is regarded on a higher level, closer to their hearts, is much more in their minds and spirit than many Christians that I have known throughout my life who … affirm the traditional formulations on the person and work of Jesus Christ.
… In June, 1976, Reverend Moon, in speaking to the faculty of the seminary of which I am a member, said people often ask the question, “What is Reverend Moon doing or what is Reverend Moon trying to get people to do?” and Reverend Moon’s answer is that he is trying to get people to live the life of Jesus Christ.
Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios, Former President, World Council of Churches... when we work with you for the unity of humanity we stand on our own convictions and traditions, while sharing with you your great vision of God at the center of all and an all-embracing love for all humanity... We pledge, rooted in our own religious traditions, to work with you for the fulfillment of the will of God.
Irving Hexham, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of Calgary, Canada
Clearly, the Rev. Moon is a great religious visionary who ranks among the greatest religious figures of history. Clearly, he is a very gifted, far sighted, individual who has a keen sense of history and God’s providence.
Dr. Hycel Taylor, Senior Pastor, Second Baptist Church, Illinois, USRev. Sun Myung Moon: In the first instance, he is deserving of tribute because of his willingness to subject not only his theology to the scrutiny and criticism of other renowned religious scholars arid critics, but to subject his life to the inevitable castigation and controversy that attends such openness. He stands within the sacred tradition of Christ, Krishna, Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, Gandhi, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. It is a hallowed tradition that is marked by great suffering and sacrifice.
In the second instance, he is deserving of tribute because he has produced an ideal paradigm to set a standard for the attaining of the original ideal state of the creation of humanity, namely, the state of spiritual oneness with God, oneness with the individual self, and oneness with others. In a world fraught with social fragmentation that has del to the destruction of the family, a model of familial wholeness is itself healing to the despairing human heart….