By Young Oon Kim
(This article originally appeared in The Cornerstone, Vol. 1, No. 8, February 1977)
Some years ago, I urged Reverend Moon to start a seminary for the training of our future leaders. At first there was no way to see that dream realized but we never gave up hope. So you can imagine how happy we were with the purchase of Barrytown (1974) and the actual establishment of Unification Theological Seminary (1975). But there is more to a seminary than buildings, textbooks, the hiring of professors and selection of students. As necessary as all these are, even more important is the purpose we have and the spirit we seek to create.
In my opinion, there is no need for another theological seminary like those the traditional churches now have. What value would there be in duplicating Harvard, Union, Chicago or Princeton? We must provide something different, something extra, a superior education for a new way of life.
To help you to understand what our seminary’s function should be, could be and must be, let me briefly remind you of what education has been in the past.
Because of the numerous barbarian invasions and the fall of the Roman Empire, the church was forced to become a school teacher. In the Dark Ages there was nothing but the church available to keep the light of learning from being extinguished. Therefore in the monasteries or attached to the cathedrals, schools were set up to preserve the wisdom of the past and transmit it to the younger generation. These schools were often only modest creations but they provided the foundation for what was to follow.
As Christians, men of the Middle Ages believed that one should “love thy God…with all thy mind” like Jesus taught. Religion involves what you think as much as how you pray. So the schools were connected with the church, financed by the church and usually staffed by clergymen. In addition to such external characteristics of medieval schooling, education even in the humanities was built upon a spiritual foundation and was designed to realize a spiritual quality of life. Until our own time the motto of Harvard University was “For Christ and His Church.”