Friday, March 11, 2011

Evangelicals and Moonies Together?

Another backlog item:

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. II Corinthians 6:14-17

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. II John 9-11

The issue of fellowship between evangelicals and the Unification Church (popularly known by the derogatory term "Moonies") isn't just a matter of Rev. Jerry Falwell accepting money from Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon. In fact, such a movement goes back more than 30 years. Look for the following book in a university library or at Advanced Book Exchange. Below is the entry as it formerly appeared in the catalogue of the University of Alberta library:

Evangelical-Unification dialogue
Title: Evangelical-Unification dialogue / edited by Richard Quebedeaux, Rodney Sawatsky.
Edition: 1st ed.
Publication info: Barrytown, N.Y. : Unification Theological Seminary ; New York : distributed by the Rose of Sharon Press, c1979.
Physical descrip: 374 p. ; 23 cm.
Series: Conference series (Unification Theological Seminary) ; no. 3.
Corporate subject: Unification Church.--Doctrinal and controversial works--Congresses.
Subject term: Evangelicalism--Congresses.
General Note: Transcription of a dialogue held in June and October, 1978 at Unification Theological Seminary, Barrytown, N.Y.
Series: (Conference series - Unification Theological Seminary ; no. 3)
Added author: Quebedeaux, Richard.
Added author: Sawatsky, Rodney.
ISBN: 093289402X

The discussion topics were: Testimonies; "Heavenly Deception;" Jesus Christ and Rev. Sun Myung Moon; Authority, Word and Spirit; Salvation (Conversion and Faith; Deprogramming; Salvation and Restoration); Heresy and Cooperation.

The participating evangelicals (at least a few of whom could probably be accurately termed "liberals," especially by 1978 standards), most of whom were of a Calvinist persuasion, were:

Charles Barfoot, author, Berkeley, California
Thomas Bower, Director of Development, University of Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa
Mark Branson, Secretary, Theological Students’ Fellowship, Los Angeles, California
Roy Carlisle, Chairman of the Board, New College, Berkeley, California
Virgil Cruz, Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa
Donald Deffner, Professor of Christian Education and Homiletics, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, California
Paul Eshleman, Assistant to the President, Campus Crusade for Christ, San Bernardino, California
Irving Hexham, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia
Joseph Hopkins, Professor, Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pennsylvania
Patrick Means, Campus Crusade for Christ, Monterey, California
Richard Quebedeaux, author, Berkeley, California, convenor of dialogue
Rod Sawatsky, Director of Academic Affairs, Conrad Grebel College, University of Waterloo, Waterloo Ontario, moderator of dialogue
John Scanzoni, Professor of Sociology, North Carolina State University, Greensboro, North Carolina
Letha Scanzoni, author, Greensboro, North Carolina
Pete Sommer, San Francisco Bay Area Director, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, Redwood City, California
Evangelical X
Evangelical Y


I suspect that Evangelicals X and Y were professors at Christian colleges who didn’t want their schools to know what they were up to.

I must admit that I just skimmed through the book (theological dialogue among academics isn’t my idea of exciting reading).

Joseph Hopkins’ prayer at the conclusion of the conference includes:
"Thank You for the bonds of love which have developed among us and between us...We confess our sins of intolerance and bigotry, our lack of compassion and understanding for one another...So bless us all and help us to devote ourselves to loving and serving You and one another, as we seek to grow in the likeness of Christ, and to achieve our common goal of building a better world. This we pray in His name." (pp. 363-364; emphasis added).

And from Rod Sawatsky:
"Our God, we are not sure how to pray together. We’re not sure how to pray together because our understandings of Your revelation to us differ. They differ rather widely and the chasms are fairly deep. Yet we know that You are a God of love, and that we share that love and are called to share that love...Thank You for bringing us together, dismiss us with Thy blessings...We pray these things together in the name of our common Father, our God, Yahweh, Amen." (p. 364)

The second conference included a Sunday morning worship service at the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, New York on October 29, 1978. The sermon, by Don Deffner, called on the listeners to "faith in and forgiveness from the God who is only revealed in Jesus Christ." (p. 371)

Richard Quebedeaux:
"Others: Catholics, liberal Protestants, and maybe I should say Moonies, too, may have as much to teach the Evangelicals as we them...Let me tell you what you Unification people have taught me and how you have affected me. Eight months ago, I wanted to pretend that you didn’t exist...I really wanted to treat you as non-persons; not that I hated you, but I just wished you weren’t there. Then I met one of you--which is always the key--who was a very persuasive person and very "non-Moonie" in my stereotype. He was auditing a class I was teaching in the G.T.U. and he new I had a new book in press, so he said, "Why don’t you go back to Barrytown and lecture on your new book?" I said, "That’s interesting," and he said, "O.K., I’ll arrange it"...So I came here expecting to be terribly bored...and wasn’t bored at all--not one minute...I left here feeling very, very bad about what I consider the media’s unjust treatment of you...I found something here that I’ve never found anywhere, and I’ve had a lot of experience with Christian groups and other religious groups. There was a phrase, I think, in Sontag’s book* that said he thought that you were the nicest people he’d ever met...it’s true. More importantly, I have never seen a place where agape is worked out so well. That is quite an admission since I’ve had a lot of experience and I’m very critical and very skeptical. What I mean by agape is the kind of genuine hospitality and concern that really comes across here...And even though you may be heretics--let God make that decision--I really am glad you’re around, and I think that the world’s going to be a better place because of your presence here." (pp. 355-357)
* Frederick Sontag, Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church, Nashville, Tenn. : Abingdon Press, 1977

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