Handbook of Today's Religions

The Unification Church/ "Moonies"

The founder and leader of the Unification Church is Sun Myung Moon who was born in Korea on January 6, 1920. His family converted to Christianity when he was ten and became members of the Presbyterian Church.

The Vision

At age 16 young Moon experienced a vision while in prayer on a Korean mountainside. Moon claims that Jesus Christ appeared to him in the vision admonishing him to carry out the task that Christ had failed to complete. Jesus supposedly told Moon that he was the only one who could do it. Finally, after much repeated asking by Jesus, Moon accepted the challenge.

Moon spent the next few years of his life preparing for the great spiritual battle ahead. The years between his "conversion" experience and his coming to America are shrouded in much controversy. For documentation on those intervening years we would recommend The Moon is Not the Son by James Bjornstad, Minneapolis: Dimension Books/Bethany House Press, 1976.

Moon Comes to America

After achieving success with his new religion in the Far East, especially South Korea, Moon came to America at the end of 1971 and his cult began to flourish. Today they claim some two million members worldwide.

The Claims of Sun Myung Moon

Sun Myung Moon has made it clear that he believes himself to be the Messiah for this age.

With the fullness of time, God has sent his messenger to resolve the fundamental questions of life and the universe. His name is Sun Myung Moon. For many decades, he wandered in a vast spiritual world in search of ultimate truth. On this path he endured suffering unimagined by anyone in human history ... He fought alone against myriads of satanic forces in both the spiritual and physical worlds, and finally triumphed over them all. In this way, he came in contact with many saints in paradise and with Jesus, and thus brought into Light all the heavenly secrets through his communion with God (Sun Myung Moon, Divine Principle, p. 16).

Moon has also said, "No heroes in the past, no saints or holy men in the past, like Jesus or Confucius, have excelled us" (Sun Myung Moon, "Our Shame;' translated by Won Pok Choi, from Master Speaks, March 11, 1973, p. 3).

Even though Moon's doctrines are opposed to Christianity, he claims that it was Jesus who revealed them to him. "You may again want to ask me, 'With what authority do you weigh these things?' I spoke with Jesus Christ in the spirit world. And I spoke also with John the Baptist. This is my authority. If you cannot at this time determine that my words are the truth, you will surely discover that they are in the course of time. These are hidden truths presented to you as a new revelation. You have heard me speak the Bible. If you believe the Bible, you must believe what I am saying" (Rev. Moon, Christianity in Crisis, p. 98).
And, like all cult leaders, Moon claims exclusive knowledge. "We are the only people who truly understand the heart of Jesus, and the hope of Jesus" (Rev. Moon, The Way of the World, p. 20).

Source of Authority

In the Unification Church the writings and teachings of Moon take precedence over the Bible, "It may be displeasing to religious believers, especially to Christians, to learn that a new expression of truth must appear. They believe that the Bible, which they now have, is perfect and absolute in itself" (Divine Principle, 2nd ed., 1973, p. 9).

Moon further stated, "...The New Testament Words of Jesus and the Holy Spirit will lose their light ... to 'lose their light' means that the period of their mission has elapsed with the coming of the new age" (Divine Principle, p. 118). The basic work containing the supposed revelation given to Moon is entitled the Divine Principle.

The Divine Principle

For the members of the Unification Church, the Divine Principle is the ultimate authoritative work, superseding even the Bible. The Divine Principle is known as the completed testament because it supposedly contains the present truth for this age which heretofore had never been revealed.
The assertions of Moon are at complete odds with the Bible. The Scriptures testify that the Word of God is eternal: "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8 NASB). Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Words shall not pass away " (Matthew 24:35). The idea that the words of Jesus will somehow lose their light is totally foreign to the teaching of the Bible.
Moreover, the Bible records the strongest condemnation for those who would add to what the Scriptures have revealed, "You shall not add to the Word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it. That you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you" (Deuteronomy 4:2 NASB). "I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book" (Revelation 22:18 NASB).

Furthermore, the Scriptures make it plain that the faith has been "once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). Any so-called revelation that contradicts that which was previously revealed is guilty of adding to the Word of God and should be discarded. The Divine Principle is in this category.

Unification Doctrine

Basic to Moon's world view is the concept of dualism. All of existence is dual: Father God and Mother God; Male and Female; Light and Dark; Yin and Yang; Spirit and Flesh. Each part of existence has its dual aspect. Moon's God (with dual male/female aspects) always acts in a dual manner with his dual creation.

The Fall of Man

According to the Divine Principle, until now no one has correctly understood the Genesis account of the fall of man. The Divine Principle teaches there were two falls, one physical and one spiritual. Moreover, both falls were sexual in nature. Eve supposedly had an illicit sexual relationship with Lucifer causing the spiritual fall. Afterward, her sexual relationship with spiritually immature Adam resulted in the physical fall.

The Divine Principle justifies this by saying, "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 committed sin through them" (Divine Principle, p. 72).
Since there was a dual aspect of the fall there also needs to be a dual aspect of redemption, necessitating both physical and spiritual salvation.

The Coming of Christ

When Jesus Christ came to earth, He was supposed to redeem mankind both physically and spiritually, but He failed in His mission: "Jesus failed in His Christly mission. His death on the cross was not an essential part of God's plan for redeeming sinful man" (Divine Principle, pp. 142, 143).
The ministry of Christ, however, was not a total failure for He did accomplish a "spiritual" salvation at the cross of Calvary, but He failed in achieving a "physical salvation" for mankind (Divine Principle, p. 151).

John the Baptist

Moon believes the major reason for Jesus' crucifixion was John the Baptist's failure. John was supposed to clear the way for Jesus to come to the people of his day but failed because he lost faith. This caused the people to abandon Jesus and eventually resulted in His death. The crucifixion was not something God desired because the work of Christ was unfinished. It is here where Sun Myung Moon picks up where Jesus left off. Moon is supposedly the "third Adam;' the one who is called to redeem mankind physically.

Jesus Christ

Moon has a non-biblical view of the person of Jesus Christ by denying the unique deity of Jesus Christ.
"Jesus is the man of this value. However great his value may be, he cannot assume any value greater than that of a man. . ." (Rev. Moon, Divine Principle, p. 255).
"It is plain that Jesus is not God Himself" (Rev. Moon, Divine Principle, p. 258). "But after his crucifixion, Christianity made Jesus into God. This is why a gap between God and man has never been bridged. Jesus is a man in whom God is incarnate, but he is not God Himself" (Rev. Moon, Christianity in Crisis, pp. 12, 13). Moon tells his followers that they can not only equal Jesus, they can also excel Him. "You can compare yourself with Jesus Christ, and feel you can be greater than Jesus Himself" (Sun Myung Moon, "The Way" translated by Won Pok Choi, from the Master Speaks, June 30, 1974, p. 4). Jesus, according to Moon, was a failure: 'Abraham was the father of faith, Moses was a man of faith, Jesus was the Son of man, trying to carry out his mission at the cost of his life. But they are, in a way, failures" (Sun Myung Moon, "Victory or Defeat," translated by Won Pok Choi, from Master Speaks, March 31, 1973, p. 1).

Speaking of the work of Christ, the writer to the Hebrews said, "For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14). The Scriptures testify that the work of Christ on the cross is complete, sufficient to secure the salvation of the individual. Jesus accomplished all that was necessary for the full salvation of mankind. He was not a failure.

The Death of Christ

The Bible plainly states that Jesus Christ came to this earth for the specific purpose of dying for the sins of the world, "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). Rev. Moon, however, teaches to the contrary: "We, therefore, must realize that Jesus did not come to die on the cross" (Rev. Moon, Divine Principle, p. 178). The Scriptures teach "that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself" (II Corinthians 5:19). But Moon declares, "... the physical body of Jesus was invaded by Satan through the cross" (Rev. Moon, Divine Principle, p. 438).
Moon also thinks that the death of Christ was a victory for Satan: "Satan thus attained what he had intended through the 4,000-year course of history, by crucifying Jesus, with the exercise of his maximum power" (Rev. Moon, Divine Principle, p. 435). He also teaches Christ's death was without effect: "It is equally true that the cross has been unable to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth by removing our original sin" (Rev. Moon, Divine Principle, p. 178).

Moon, the Messiah?

As previously noted, Moon believes himself to be the person to finish the task left uncompleted by Jesus. The failure of Jesus leaves the way open for Moon. The Divine Principle states that the Messiah, the Lord of the Second Advent, must be born physically on earth to accomplish man's physical salvation. While neither the Divine Principle nor Moon publicly declare that he is the Messiah, the inference is strongly given that Moon is indeed the Lord of the Second Advent.

To his followers there appears to be no question about it; Moon is the Messiah. He is reportedly worshipped by his followers and given the designation "Father. " Moon has stated, "God is now throwing Christianity away and is now establishing a new religion, and this new religion is the Unification Church" (Time Magazine, September 30, 1974). The Bible portrays two comings of the Messiah. The first coming was fulfilled when Jesus of Nazareth was born to the virgin Mary. "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold, Magi, from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?"' (Matthew 2:1, 2 NASB). The Bible speaks over and over again of the second coming of Christ which will be a visible, bodily, return from Heaven!'. Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11 NASB). "Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him. .." (Revelation 1:7 NASB).

There is no biblical teaching that the Messiah will be born physically a second time to accomplish any physical salvation. Jesus accomplished both physical and spiritual salvation at His first coming by His work on the cross. He is the only Savior. There is no need for another Messiah. 'And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12 NASB). Another Messiah is both unbiblical and unnecessary.


Although the Unification Church makes astounding claims for itself, the facts speak otherwise. The teaching of the Divine Principle is at odds with the Bible at all of its central points and therefore cannot be a completion of God's revelation. Moon has no messianic credentials and must be considered as a false prophet, of which Jesus warned us: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15, 16 NASB).

Unification Church Terms

Unification Church - Eastern cult founded by Korean Sun Myung Moon. Claims to have the complete truth of God which has just now been revealed to this present age through Moon. Considers its leader, Rev. Moon the Messiah who is completing the salvation work unfinished by Jesus Christ
Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) -Front organization for the Unification Church, used to recruit members and funds from college areas.
Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity-The complete name of the Unification Church.
Lord of the Second Advent -Title of the second Messiah, said to be Sun Myung Moon, who comes to complete the unfinished salvation work of Jesus Christ.
Master Speaks-Tapes and transcriptions of Moon's messages to his followers.
Moon, Sun Myung -Founder of the Unification Church. Born in Korea in 1920. Moon claims to have had a vision of Christ in 1936 in which he was told that he must finish the work which Christ began. His followers believe him to be the Messiah, the Lord of the Second Advent. Moonies -Nickname (which they do not appreciate) for followers of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church.
New Hope Singers International -Singing publicity front organization for the Unification Church.
The Divine Principle -According to the Unification Church, the Divine Principle book is the completed testament, superseding the Bible, containing the present spiritual truth for this age which heretofore had not been revealed. Its author is the cult's founder and leader, Sun Myung Moon.

True Father and True Mother-Titles of Moon and his wife, ascribed to them by their followers in the Unification Church.

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Handbook of Today's Religions