God's Warning to the
If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For who ever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. (Mark 8:34-35)
When Sun Myung Moon came to America in 1972, he came as a prophet of God, called to preach a message of revival in the face of rejection and persecution. His message was controversial, and his intentions have been frequently misunderstood and misrepresented, yet nothing deterred him from speaking out. The public ridicule by the media and other groups has never hindered Rev. Moon, because he sincerely believes that he is doing the work of God and that God is assisting his work. When, in 1982, Rev. Moon voluntarily returned from Korea to face charges of tax evasion, he came knowing that he faced an embarrassing trial and possible imprisonment yet was determined to bear that burden if it was necessary for the fulfillment of God's work in America. In spite of the verdict and the refusal of the Supreme Court to hear his appeal, his prayer to God was always, "What way do You want to lead us now? What is Your next chapter for me? Let Your will be done."
As Rev. Moon departed for Danbury prison, he declared that his faith would never change, and that despite this new cross, he would continue to work for the fulfillment of God's will, for the unity of Christianity and the revival of God's spirit in America. Consistent with his pledge, in the winter of 1984-1985 he sent out 300,000 videotapes and literature sets to ministers all across America. Included in that material was a book, God's Warning to the World, which was a strong prophetic message to America and Christianity. That message from prison was a warning to America, given out of love, that it has not yet lived up to God's expectation. Rev. Moon believes that American Christians should set an example of goodness, righteousness, and sacrificial love for the world. He is concerned that a self-centered, materialistic America is liable to God's judgment, while salvation lies in living out the teachings and spirit of Jesus Christ.
This second book in the series continues and expands upon the message of God's Warning to the World. While the first book centers around the themes of God's expectation for America and the providential role of Christianity at this time in history, Book Two focuses upon the Christian life and the responsibilities of those who would call Jesus their master and take up his cross.
I have known Rev. Moon for over 27 years, and I can say without reservation that he regards Jesus Christ as his teacher and exemplar. As you may have heard or read, when Rev. Moon was sixteen years old, Jesus appeared to him and commissioned him to do God's work. From that time on, Jesus has been his constant companion, guiding him and assisting the work to its fruition. He himself has emphasized that the Unification Church is not established by Rev. Moon, but by God, using Rev. Moon as His instrument. Actually, without God's support it would have been impossible for the Unification Church to even survive, because it has undergone such serious persecution throughout its history. Even well-intentioned Christians, misunderstanding Rev. Moon's motivation and the circumstances of our church life, have opposed its work. In the face of tremendous obstacles, I believe that it is only because God and Jesus approve of the church and its work that we have survived and continue to develop.
How does Rev. Moon view God, Jesus, and Christianity? Unlike many people today, Rev. Moon does not see God as being merely a human concept or phenomenon. God is a living God who is actively a part of our human life, and the affairs of the world cannot be considered without taking into account the presence of the living God as a primary Actor. At the same time, humans are responsible for their actions. While they often do evil, God chooses, for the purpose of preserving human dignity, not to interfere. Through study of the Bible and through his own prayer, Rev. Moon realized that God was not only a real Person, but also that God's heart is filled with intense pain because human beings have often not understood God's situation and have acted in ways that have brought suffering to themselves and to others. In other words, God is truly our Parent who loves all human beings as His children. He suffers with our pain, rejoices with our deeds of goodness, and unceasingly guides our growth towards the full potential of the divine image. Once he realized that God's heart grieves over the miserable situation of this world, Rev. Moon has unceasingly prayed with tears. If you ever have a chance to listen to one of his prayers, though you may not understand the Korean words, you may perceive the depth of his communication with God even from the tone of his voice.
As for Jesus, Rev. Moon believes that he was a true man. Because the Christ was a real person, his life must be a model for our own lives of faith. God fully revealed Himself in the man Jesus Christ, but what this means is that Jesus, because of his sinlessness, was able to enter into a perfect relationship with God, and so was the first true man. Indeed, Jesus reveals the true human being that each of us may ultimately become. The true person walks with God, feels the heart of God, and works with God to solve the problems of the world. God should be as close as one's own mind.
Who is the true Christian? Today Christianity is divided into countless quarreling sects and denominations, each with its distinctive doctrines and rites, but how many Christians are fervently devoting themselves to the will of God? Rev. Moon believes that deeds, not mere words, are the measure of a person's faith. Jesus lived the model Christian life. He lived for others, even giving his life on the cross that others might have salvation. The true Christian is not known by the orthodoxy of his doctrines, but by his deeds of love and service for God and humankind. That is why Jesus said that anyone who would follow him must deny himself and take up his cross. It is in loving God and loving others that we find God and fellowship with Jesus Christ.
Although Rev. Moon has never had any formal theological training, his ideas and teachings come from many years of intense study of the Bible and tearful prayers full of desperation to know and do God's will.
He is a serious man of faith and prayer. Perhaps the image most deeply engraved in my heart, from my own experiences, is the image of him kneeling in prayer, with tears streaming down his face. I have witnessed his spiritual life for many years, and I know him to be a righteous man who literally weeps for the suffering of God, the suffering of the world, and the speedy establishment of peace and the Kingdom of God on this earth.
Unification Church members have found in Rev. Moon an example of a saintly life; they see him as walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and dedicated to the same purpose. Some of you may have met one of the young or not-so-young people of the Unification Church; you might sense a difference in them from other people. They have a spirit of freshness and diligence; they have an attitude of service and tolerance; and their spiritual lives are devout and faithful. Their primary allegiance is not to the man Rev. Moon, but to God and God's will; that is what Rev. Moon has taught them. When they meet you, who are ministers of the Gospel, they view you as fellow workers in Christ. If one should visit your church he might be eager to share his message with you, but you can also teach him what you know and make him a better Christian.
Rev. Moon has been prolific in his output of ideas and inspiration while in prison at Danbury. Daily he continues to teach and share his wisdom. His vision is to comfort the grieving heart of God and end humanity's suffering by reviving the Christian spirit in America, so that America can fulfill her proper leadership role in the world. He recognizes three major obstacles to God's kingdom which need to be confronted and overcome: immorality, disunity of the churches, and the spread of communism.
The first obstacle is the prevalence of immorality, sexual promiscuity, and self-centered love. The ways of promiscuity and immorality lead to attitudes of non-commitment and disrespect for other people and things. Free sex, drug abuse, child abuse, rape, vandalism and murder are just some of the results of this attitude of disrespect and lack of commitment. The numbers of divorces and unstable marriages are increasing as each generation fails to understand the value of long-lasting commitments and self-sacrifice for the sake of others. Unless this problem is abated, our society will not produce the quality leaders and responsible public necessary for its continued prosperity.
The problem of disunity within Christianity and among other religions is also serious. Rev. Moon believes that of all people, religious people have the greatest responsibility to help God save America and the other countries of the world. But today, as throughout history, religions and denominations which have professed the same God and even sometimes the same teachings have found themselves persecuting and warring with each other. While some churches have attempted to develop an ecumenical movement, it has largely been a movement among the liberal mainline churches and has therefore failed to address the deepest splits in American Christianity. These are the divisions between liberals and Evangelicals or fundamentalists and between black and white churches. Intolerance, bigotry, and religious arrogance remain deep-seated attitudes in many people. We as Christians ought to realize that God is beyond denomination and doctrine, and that his purpose is to save the entire world, not merely a certain race, nation, or religious group. Jesus prayed that all Christians may become one, and we cannot properly represent God to nonbelievers if we fight among ourselves.
The third problem is the expansion and influence of atheistic communism. This problem can partially be solved by solving the first two problems which I have just mentioned. The denial of God and God's goodness in the world has partially come about because of the failure of the religious community to demonstrate that they have a superior ideal which can abolish prejudice and greed and lead to true, international peace with justice. We speak out against communism and critique its errors because it continues to mislead many idealistic people into a movement which, in the name of peace and justice, has brought untold suffering to humanity and to God. But then we must demonstrate that our alternative will offer better solutions to the injustices which atheistic communism has properly opposed.
Although in prison Rev. Moon could easily be complaining about his unjust sentence, these concerns for the future of America and Christianity have been at the center of his talks to those who visit him and his sermons to church leaders while on Christmas and Easter furloughs. Because Rev. Moon's precise words from prison are only preserved in rough notes, this volume is based upon representative selections from his sermons and speeches which express the same content as what he is now sharing behind prison walls. To share these concerns with a larger audience, Rev. Moon has asked me to publish this compilation of his speeches as a second message from prison.
A word now on how to approach this material. Rev. Moon is an exuberant speaker. His talks are spiced with rhetorical questions, and he has a great deal of give and take with his audience, sometimes sharing delightful humor, other times challenging them to profound seriousness and repentance. Therefore, proper comprehension of these words, removed from their source as they are by an interpreter, several editors, and an absence of the setting and its atmosphere, requires something special. Rev. Moon refers to that something often throughout his talks which are printed here. That something is a pure and open heart and a discerning mind, guided by sincere prayer.
I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Andrew Wilson, who edited this book, and to all those who assisted in the considerable task of its rapid production and distribution. 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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