The Unification Church

By Rev. Paul Seiler


The Unification Church is today a cult that exists in many countries of the world. It was founded by Sun Myung Moon. He was born in a farming village in Korea on the 6th January 1920, the second child of eight children. His parents were Presbyterians. In his early life, he came under the influence of an odd Pentecostal group, who encouraged dreams and visions. At the age of sixteen Sun Myung Moon claimed to received a vision from God while on a mountain in Korea. In this vision Christ appeared to him and told him that he was destined to accomplish a great mission. He was to complete the restoration of mankind that was started by Jesus Himself nearly two thousand years ago.176 According to Moon's own story this caused him to devote much attention to the Bible and to spend long hours in prayer. He also claimed to have had many visions in subsequent years. In a later vision, Moon even claimed that Jesus appeared to him and bowed down to him, and hailed him as master. Moon claimed that he was able to move freely in the spirit realm. During the Second World War he studied electrical engineering at Waseda University, Tokyo. Subsequently, he became a very successful businessman.

In the year 1945 he established his first church in Korea - the Broad Sea Church.177 He did this with the help of Yee Hye Wen, a former medical student with an amazingly brilliant mind. Yee was a physical cripple, but made up for his deficiencies by his brilliance. In 1954 Moon founded the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, now known more usually as the Unification Church. Another very significant event in the development of his cults occurred in 1960, when he married Hak-Ja Han. This was his second marriage, his first wife had left him because of his aberrant beliefs. After his second marriage he called upon his followers to refer to he and his wife as Mother and Father, since He and she constituted a divine family. Moon's cult received a considerable following in Korea. Then, in 1972, he went to America himself, where he immediately set about making a large-scale impact on American society. He settled in a mansion on an Irvington, New York estate. Since that time his cult has undergone amazing growth. Today the Moonies claim to have in the order of three million members world-wide. There is a growing number of Moonies in Russia and in China.


The Unification Church's view of itself can be readily seen in its rather unique and distinctive view of history. The Divine Principle seeks to draw a parallel between significant events in Israel's history and significant events in the Church's history. The Divine Principle points out that the history of Christianity runs in exact parallel to the history of Israel. The key to this "divine principle" is the birth of Sun Myung Moon. His birth is thought to find its parallel in the birth of Jesus Christ. In their thinking the four hundred years that transpired from the Reformation to the birth of Sun Myung Moon, parallels the 400 years that transpired from the time of Malachi to the birth of Jesus Christ. So it can be seen that they consider the birth of Sun Myung Moon as being a significant event in the history of this world. Indeed, it would appear that the Unification Church regard the birth of Sun Myung Moon as the second coming of Christ. In their thinking the prophecies in the Bible which speak of Christ's second coming were fulfilled when Sun Myung Moon was born in Korea in 1920.178 Maurice Burrell says with regards to this:

"It is not surprising, therefore, that although Moon himself never specifically made the claim that he is the Lord of the Second Advent, I have yet to meet one of his followers who believes him to be anything less."179

From this it can be seen that the Unification Church regard Moon as the Messiah and their Church as the true Church on earth. Note the following statement made by Moon:

"God is now throwing Christianity away and establishing a new religion, and this new religion is Unification Church."180


The Unification Church claim to regard the Bible as God's word. However, in actual practice they reject the authority of the Scriptures in place of the authority of Sun Myung Moon. He claimed to have frequently entered into the spirit world and experience many visions.181 He claimed to have spoken with Jesus and John the Baptist in the spirit world.182 The Unification Church regard him as the herald of the Golden age for man, and regard his teaching as divinely inspired by God. For his followers he speaks for God. This does not mean that his followers neglect the Bible, on the contrary they frequently quote it to support their beliefs. But they do not take the Bible seriously. Note the following statement made by Moon:

"Until our mission with the Christian Church is over, we must quote the Bible and use it to explain the Divine Principle. After we receive the inheritance of the Christian Church, we shall be free to teach without the Bible."183

Such a statement makes it clear that the Unification Church envisage a day when they will no longer need the Bible. They will then be free to teach without the Bible. Whereas Jesus said that not even the smallest letter or stroke in the Bible would pass away until heaven and earth pass away. (Matt. 5:18)

The Divine Principle is the most important publication of the Unification Church.184 It is considered by the followers of Moon to be the authoritative interpretation of the Bible. Note the following quote:

"We must realise that Biblical words are a means of expressing the truth and are not the truth itself...... the New Testament was given as a textbook for the teaching of truth to the people of 2,000 years ago, people whose spiritual and intellectual standards were very low, compared to that of today."185

It is evident from this, that the Unification Church does not regard the words of the Bible as being God-breathed and as expressing truth. In their understanding the meaning of the Bible is obscure, because it is written in symbols and parables. These need to be deciphered correctly. For example, in Sun Myung Moon's view, the Bible's account of the fall is clearly not to be taken literally. Can we really believe such an absurd story about eating the forbidden fruit? Surely not! says Sun Myung Moon. The story that we read in Genesis three is really to be understood figuratively. The fruit and the trees are merely symbols for something else. The 'tree of life' wasn't an actual tree at all, it merely signified the state of perfect manhood.186 What then really happened at the fall? Well according to Sun Myung Moon, Eve had sex with Satan, and her first child, Cain, was the result this sexual union. After sharing her fruit with the serpent, i.e. having sexual intercourse with Satan, Eve then had sexual intercourse with Adam. Note the following quote from the Divine Principle:

"If they had committed sin by eating an actual fruit of a 'tree of the knowledge of good and evil', they would have concealed their hands and mouths instead. It is the nature of man to conceal an area of transgression. They covered their sexual parts, clearly indicating that they were ashamed of the sexual areas of their bodies because they had sinned through them." 187

It is evident from the above quote that the Unification Church does not understand the Bible as the authoritative word of God at all, rather it twists the meaning of the Bible to suit its own heretical ideas.


The Unification Church rejects the trinitarian nature of God.

The Unification Church depart from orthodox Christian belief about God. Sun Myung Moon rejected the trinitarian nature of God. He believed that God was the perfect Father and that the Holy Spirit is a female spirit. In his thinking, if there is a true Father, there must be a true Mother. The Holy Spirit, is the divine Mother, whose task it is to produce "children of goodness."


Jesus was only a man.

The Unification Church believes that Jesus was only a man, with only one crucial difference from other men - He was sinless.188 In their understanding Jesus was no more than Adam could have been - or anyone else who could manage to fulfil creation's purpose. Moonies will generally claim to believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. However, this is where we have to be careful, because one of the characteristics of the Cults is to change the meaning of biblical terms. This is most certainly true with their claim to believe in the deity of Christ. Note the following statement in Divine Principle:

"Jesus, being one body with God, may be called a second God (image of God), but he can by no means be God Himself."189

It is apparent from the above statement that Jesus may be called a second God, but He is by no means to be identified with God Himself. So then is Jesus God or isn't He? In order to understand the teaching of the Unification Church we need to be more specific with our questions. We need to ask them whether Jesus Christ is the Creator, as John teaches in his Gospel (John 1:3,10). The Divine Principle answers this question: "The Bible...... does not signify that he, Jesus, was the Creator Himself."190

In conflict with the Bible, the Unification Church denies that Jesus Christ, the Son of God is the Creator. So it is clear that they do not really believe that Jesus is divine.
The Unification Church denies the virgin birth.

They deny Jesus Christ's virgin birth and assert that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Zechariah the priest. This meant that Jesus combined in himself the priestly line through his father Zechariah and the kingly line of David through his mother.191 This is nothing short of blasphemy. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, if he had been born of the normal union of two human beings then He would have been born in original sin and would not have been sinless. His virgin birth is absolutely necessary to His divinity.


According to the teachings of the Unification Church, Jesus' crucifixion was never part of God's original plan. When Jesus said, 'It is finished,' he meant that He had completed His God given task. But not according to Sun Myung Moon, who believed that Jesus failed to complete His work on earth. He believed that when Jesus died, God gave His body to Satan as a ransom for the souls of men, and Satan invaded Jesus' body. Because of this, men's souls can be set free from sin, but not their bodies.192


176 Maurice C Burrell The Challenge of the Cults op cit p.53

177 ibid p.54

178 ibid p.64

179 ibid p.65

180 John Allan The Rising of the Moon Intervarsity Press, Leicester England, 1980, p.33

181 ibid p.56

182 ibid p.56

183 ibid p.58

184 ibid p.56

185 John Allan op cit p.21

186 ibid p.10

187 ibid p.11

188 ibid p.13

189 ibid p.28

190 ibid p.29

191 ibid p.14

192 ibid p.15