The Unification Church
Commonly referred to as the church of the ‘Moonies,’ the movement of the Unification Church was instituted in the year 1954 in South Korea. Founded by the late Sun Myung Moon who was most commonly referred to by his surname (Moon) (Barker, 2006), this church was formed as an association of the Holy Spirit to unify all Christians in the world. The Moon died on the third of September 2012. Just like other faiths, Moon is believed to have been inspired by a spiritual encounter with Jesus where he attained instructions to continue with the works of Jesus. Despite having a short religious history, the Unification Church has seen rapid expansion to end up with a membership base of over four million followers spread in a number of nations (Ro, 1992).
Just like several other Christian churches, the Unification Church uses the Bible as its theological base for beliefs, practices and morals. Nonetheless, their interpretations of the Bible bear modernized elucidations, some of which the original Christian and Jewish codes of behavior may lack. One of their public and controversial practices is the ‘Blessed Ceremony,’ which is a matrimonial rite festival always conducted in mass. In this rite, the late moon has conducted weddings for abnormally large numbers of people, including those who meet at the venue of the wedding and are willing to wed in the same gathering (Barker, 2006). To gain a truly unifying image, the church of the Moonies has partaken on interfaith activities like prayer and other functions. Despite the fact that Muslims and Christians differ in various lines of religious principles, the Moonies have gone ahead to hold interfaith activities with several Christian as well as Muslim organizations (Ro, 1992).
Apart from the Bible, the Moonies have a ‘textbook of the church’ which is given a theological name; ‘Divine Principle.’ The church has two major places that serve as its headquarter churches. The main one is based in Seoul while the second is in Liberia. It uses several means to evangelize and spread its principles. Such include education, engagement in politics, broadcast and media engagement as well as sponsorship of business and development activities. One example of such a case in education is the New Hope Academy in Liberia’s Peace Island. Other than this academy, they have a seminary in the United States of America and several other institutions (Barker, 2006).
Based on the Divine Principle, the Moonies have twelve believes upon which the foundation of their faith is laid. The first principle is on God, it recognized God with all supernatural qualities that cannot be owned by other beings. After establishing man in the second position, the need for happiness and joy is explained. This is followed by the third tenet which explains the rationale of God for creating man. Among man’s major duties is love, care of the environment, procreation and adoring God. The fourth and the fifth tenets go almost hand in hand. Sin is the fourth. The origins and effects of sin on man are explained. This is followed by redemption from sin, referred to as Christology in the Divine Principle (Barker, 2006).
The sixth is History. This deals with the path of God’s relationship with Man. It is closely linked to the seventh and eighth principles. These are Resurrection and Predestination. Together, they seek to explain man’s ultimate place in life after death. They are followed by concepts of Jesus and the Bible with explanations of their origin and purpose. Finally, the concepts of Total Restoration and Eschatology close the chapters, ending man’s life in triumph and complete accomplishment (Ro, 1992).
Barker, E. (2006). The making of a Moonie: Choice or brainwashing? Aldershot, Hants:
Ro, Y. (1992). The Advent of Sun Myung Moon: The Origins, Beliefs and Practices of the
Unification Church. The Journal of Asian Studies, 51(2), 401-402.