Question: "What is the Unification Church?"
Answer: The Unification Church is a cult founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon (1920–2012), who started it in Seoul, Korea, in 1954. The official name of the Unification Church is the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (founded as the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity); it is currently led by Hak Ja Han, Moon’s widow.
Unificationism immediately became controversial, as Moon believed that the Bible could not be understood without the aid of his book Divine Teaching, which he claimed was divinely inspired. Moon amassed quite a fortune for himself as the leader of the Unification Church—by the time he died in 2012, he was worth millions. Moon led his followers, sometimes referred to as “Moonies,” to do many bizarre things. The Unification Church spent $48 million to produce an anti-communist movie. The movie flopped. Perhaps the movement is most notorious for the mass wedding of 3,000 couples in 1992.
The Unification Church is a false church. First, let us compare what the Bible says about false teachers to the life of Sun Myung Moon. According to 1 Timothy 6:3, teaching that is from God leads to holy and righteous living. Moon was accused of sexual impurity on numerous occasions. Moon was also convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to prison. The apostle Jude warns the church about men who would turn grace into a license for ungodly behavior (Jude 1:4).
Second, the Unification Church is characterized by false, unbiblical theology. According to Moon’s teaching, man is visible God, and God is the invisible form of man (see Hebrews 2:6–8 for a clear refutation of this). In fact, Moon crowned himself the “King of Peace” in 2004 and claimed to be the Messiah and Savior of the world; he also claimed his wife was the Holy Spirit. The purported goal of Unificationism is world peace through the creation of “true families.” Rev. Moon and his wife presented themselves as the “True Parents” and the first to have children who were sinless. Unificationism teaches that dead people can return to earth for a second chance to atone for some of their sin.
Unification theology denies the Trinitarian understanding of the Godhead (see Titus 2:13). Furthermore, Unificationism denies that Jesus was raised physically from the dead (see 1 Corinthians 15) and denies His divine nature (see Hebrews 1:1–3). Deliverance from sin, according to the Unification Church, is based on human effort and making restitution, directly contradicting Ephesians 2:8–9: “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” In this religion of works and the denial of the deity of Christ, the Unification Church joins the myriad of cults and false religions that have these same two things in common.
Aside from the deceptive tactics and mind-control practices of the Unification Church, the movement is dangerous because the theology directly contradicts Scripture. Followers of Sun Myung Moon’s teachings trust a false messiah and are deceived into false understandings about God, about Jesus, and about life after death. How unfortunate that people are attempting to work their way to heaven, when Jesus Christ has paid the complete penalty for their sin on the cross. How tragic that Moonies follow a self-serving (and dead) leader rather than the self-sacrificial (and risen) Christ.