Succession: An Open Letter to My Dear Unificationist Friends

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by Warren Lewis, Professor of Church History (1975-81), UTS   

(This is an excerpt from the full article published in the Journal of Unification Studies, Vol. 14, 2013, pp. 51-70)

True Father, Live Forever in the Spirit World!

Warren LewisThe writing of these lines began on the day following the passing into the spirit world of a splendid human being whom I counted as a friend: Sun Myung Moon. It was a sad day (“Jesus wept.”) for all who loved and appreciated the man, but a day of victorious celebration for all who understand that his mission to, and importance for, the world can now transcend his individual mortal life (“Where, O Death, is thy victory? Where, O Grave, thy sting?”)

This message is an “open letter” to all my dear Unificationists, former students of “Church History Survey” at the Unification Theological Seminary, Barrytown, New York, from 1975 to 1981, and beyond them to a sub-set of special Unificationists whom I knew then, barely, as young children. The time has now come, my friends, for you to take up your responsibilities as Church leaders in ways that you have not previously known or imagined.

Up to this moment, we, your non-Unificationist teachers, offered you our intense efforts and our truest knowledge, hoping to help you become “the best Unificationists” you could be. Whatever of value came to you through following the True Parents, through the Divine Principle, through your spiritual experiences, through our Seminary education, through your further higher education, and through your existential commitment to “the House of Jacob for ten thousand years,” you must now gather up all your strength to respond with passion and joy to the best challenge I ever heard Rev. Moon issue to his followers: “What better world can you imagine?”

In these few paragraphs, my intention was to accomplish three purposes:

  1. Juxtaposition of aspects of the history of the early Christian Church with aspects of the Unification Church as it moves from its first generation to its second.
  2. Reflection on the difference between “the Original Sin” and original sin.
  3. A look ahead to desirable Unificationist possibilities in the post-Sun Myung Moon era.

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