God's Warning to the
For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, 'The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me.' For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. [Romans 15:34]
The trial and imprisonment of Reverend Sun Myung Moon has been a shock to many people in many different ways. The United States federal prosecutors were shocked when he returned from immunity in Korea to deal with the charges. Unification Church members were shocked at the treatment accorded Reverend Moon at the trial level, and at the verdict rendered by the jury. Opponents of religious freedom were shocked at the unprecedented variety of churches and lay organizations which supported Reverend Moon's cause as his case went to the Supreme Court. Those amici supporters were in turn shocked by the Court's refusal even to consider the threats the case poses toward religious freedom in this country.
But the greatest shock of all has been the surge of cooperation between the Unification Church and other Christian churches across America since the time of Reverend Moon's imprisonment. Within the community of clergy, interactions with the Unification movement in the arenas of social action, ecumenism, pastoral reflection and religious freedom have brought surprising new stimulation. Ecumenical activities include the National Council for Church and Social Action, the Interdenominational Conferences for Clergy, the Common Suffering Fellowship, and countless local meetings and cooperative ventures. Members of all denominations are praising God for this outpouring of spirit and fellowship. The interracial and interdenominational nature of these activities has generated a refreshing, Christ-centered spirit of love and good will, as well as a sense of new direction for the churches in America.
In this context, many ministers are desirous for some "prison message" from Reverend Moon. Historically many Christian giants, from St. Paul to John Bunyan to Dietrich Bonhoffer and Martin Luther King, have written moving and important works while suffering imprisonment by hostile authorities. As always, Reverend Moon is very prolific in his output of ideas and inspiration while in prison at Danbury. Daily he continues to teach and share his wisdom. In particular he relates to us about the heart of God, and God's concern for this present age. He is thinking also very much about humankind's future; in this vein he is sharing about the need for religious dialogue and harmony for the sake of global peace; about ideal love, and the education of youth for the creation of true, God-centered families; about the spiritual world, and the relationship of the spiritual with the physical realms of life. When with other clergy, Rev. Moon stresses revelation he has received concerning sin and salvation, the life of Christ, and the second coming. As this book is prepared for Christian clergy, we have also emphasized this aspect of Rev. Moon's teachings.
Reverend Moon's mode of production is not the written word-he is a verbal communicator. Even most of the documents pertaining to his teachings were written down by disciples, either from his sermons or direct dictation. His contemporary thoughts, therefore, are recorded in notes gathered by those who can visit him. To make this content available to a larger audience, in particular to the clergy, Reverend Moon consented to some selections from his speeches and sermons being published. The content he is now sharing behind prison walls has a deep continuity with these speeches and sermons. The present volume, then, is a useful compilation of what he is sharing now with visiting ministers and disciples, and constitutes his "message from prison."
Reverend Moon's message is based upon unchanging truth. It is a strong prophetic message directed at America and Christianity. Thus it is a warning from God. Since God is a God of love, the warning is heartfelt, given out of love.
The substructure of this volume consists of three speeches basic to Reverend Moon's message to American Christians, supplemented with excerpts from others of his sermons. Through this process the three speeches "God's Hope for Man," "God's Hope for America," and "The Future of Christianity," were expanded into six messages. The seventh speech here included is his talk to several hundred Unification members at the moment of his departure to Danbury.
A word on how to approach this material. Reverend Moon is speaking as a prophet of God. The prophet's role is to warn, to chastise, to guide, to interpret the Word of God to his contemporary society. The prophet has his primary authority from God, who is speaking through him, and often the message runs counter to social or religious norms safeguarded by religious institutions and theological schools. Reverend Moon is not a trained theologian, motivated by the desire to develop contemporary theological issues. Nor is he motivated by the desire to please this society. He is motivated solely by the desire to proclaim God's truth.
Reverend Moon is an exuberant speaker. He speaks with members for hours on end every day and in every conceivable setting: from formal religious services, to church administrative meetings, to birthday celebrations, to fishing boats or around a campfire. No matter what the setting, his speaking has a great flowing power, ranging over the broadest scope of human and divine reality. Sometimes he will speak for hours and just scratch the surface of his topic, and he will continue with that topic another day. His talks are always characterized by a great deal of give and take with his audience, sometimes sharing delightful humor, other times a profound seriousness and repentance, always a great vision and ideal.
Therefore, proper comprehension of these words, removed from their source as they are by interpreter, translator, one editor, two editors, and probably a lot of atmosphere, requires something special. Reverend Moon refers to that something often throughout the talks printed here. That something is a pure and open heart and a discerning mind, both guided and protected by sincere prayer.
I have been attending Reverend Moon as a disciple for twenty seven years. I am able to visit Reverend Moon in prison at Danbury two or three times a week, listening to him for several hours on each such occasion. I am gratified that this content is now being made available to a wider audience, and yet I am sorry because what you read here is such a small glimpse of Reverend Moon's thought. We look forward to the day when broader areas of his teaching may be published.
I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Tyler Hendricks, who did the editing for this book. May God grant you the inspiration in reading and reflecting upon this book that He has granted us in its preparation.
New York City
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