Is the Unification Church / the Moonies a Cult?

The Unification Church is a religious group that was founded in 1954 by Rev. Sun Myung Moon (1920–2012). Another name that the group is known by is the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.
It was started in Seoul, Korea and it is believed to have a worldwide membership of more than one million followers. Currently the group is led by Moon’s wife, Hak Ja Moon.
This organization has attracted members from more than 100 countries, from America to Asian countries such as Korea and Japan, to African countries such as Zimbabwe.
Members who join The Unification Church are also sometimes known by the nickname the “Moonies”.

The Unification Church has been categorized as a religious cult by many Christians and ex-members primarily because their theological beliefs and practices veer off from Biblical orthodox Christian beliefs even though they claim to believe in the God of the Bible.
The Unification Church is also known for practicing cultic mind control and brainwashing techniques upon their members in order to intimately control and manipulate the lives of their members. In addition they have been known to use deceptive recruitment techniques in order to get people to join them.

Some of the beliefs and practices of the Unification Church are as follows:

  • They do not believe that the Bible is God’s infallible word. They do not believe that the Bible is God’s final authority. Sun Myung Moon instead wrote a book called The Divine Principle which is promoted by the Unification Church as having more weight and authority than the Bible.
  • The Moonies are also famous for organizing mass wedding ceremonies for couples or their members. A single mass wedding can consist of more than 30000 couples or participants.
    Moon teaches that “God-centered families are the building blocks of a world of peace, stability, and love,” and that only those who are married through their group will be saved, or qualified, for the kingdom.
  • The Moonies also believe that the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was because of sexual sin where they believe that Eve had sexual relations with Satan / Lucifer.
  • They do not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. Instead they believe that Jesus was just a man and not God.
  • Only Unification Church members are considered the “True Family” and Moon and his wife are the world’s “True Parents”. Members celebrate as “birthdays” the day they joined the Unification Church.
  • The theology of the Unification Church is believed to be a mix of Christianity, Shamanism and Confucianism.
  • The Unification Church does not believe that salvation is totally by grace through faith in Jesus but instead they teach that members should earn their salvation by their devotion to the religious activities of the group and also by marrying and producing sinless children (Divine Principle, p. 148).

There have also been many allegations by Moonie ex-members who have testified of being subjected to brainwashing and mind control techniques by leadership. There have also been allegations of authoritative teachings in order to subdue followers and prevent followers from exercising their free will and critical thinking.
It is believed that the Unification Church organizes arranged marriages and many couples who participate in their mass weddings have had no previous mutual or genuine relationship prior to their wedding.
The above beliefs and practices are just a few issues which reflect that even though the Unification Church may claim to be Christian, there is consistent and verifiable evidence that this group does not follow nor believe in orthodox Christianity.

What Does The Bible Say About the Beliefs of The Unification Church?

  • The Bible is clear that we should be careful to avoid false teachers and we are warned about false prophets who preach a different gospel and a different Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6-9)
  • The word of God is clear that the Scriptures were inspired by God and that the Bible is our final authority for what Christians should believe and how Christians should live (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
    Therefore there is no other book that is written about mankind or spiritual matters that should be elevated or obeyed above God’s word.
  • When any group claiming to be Christian denies the deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ then such a group is not a true church. It is a cult or a false church. The deity and the finished work of Jesus Christ are essential to the beliefs of the Christian faith and the Bible tells us that Jesus was not only a man – but He was also God (John 1:1-3,14).
  • The sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden had nothing to do with sex or adultery. Instead Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the tree of knowledge (Genesis 3:1-24).
  • The Church is the body of Christ. All true Christian believers around the world are members of the universal Church or body of Christ. Therefore we must be careful of any single group or “church” that promotes itself as being the “only true church” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
  • Our salvation is not through our own effort or personal works. Instead, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus Christ alone is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Christ (John 14:6). 

The Bible clearly teaches us that false teachers and false prophets are on the rise (Matthew 24:11).
Therefore we must be careful to avoid the growing cultic deception that is attempting to distort and destroy orthodox Christianity.
Due to the rise of cult leaders and false doctrines, the Bible warns us to not believe every spirit but instead we should test every spirit to see whether it is of God (1 John 4:1-2).
It is important for every Christian believer to be vigilant and to be like the Bereans who studied the scriptures and fact-checked whatever they were taught (Acts 17:10-11).
We are not to esteem any person or religious leader above Jesus Christ. We must realize that we are all equal before God’s eyes and Jesus Christ alone is supreme above any man or founder of any ministry or religious group.
God’s word and God’s teachings must be valued above the teachings of man. We must therefore beware of being deceived by the doctrines of demons and the philosophies of men.

If you have been reading this article and believe that you are part of a cult and have thoughts of leaving it, please also read our article How To Leave and Recover From A Cult

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