Monday, August 28, 2006

From Russia With God (and a Great Deal)

While eating lunch at Caruso's today with my friend Jacob, a Russian missionary from the Unification Church approached us. He was selling some trinkets to raise money for his work, and he sat with us to talk. I had heard of the Unification Church, so I didn't want to miss this opportunity to share the Gospel. But frankly, he surprised me by agreeing that salvation is to be had through Jesus Christ, through Him alone, and that without it, God will condemn us for our sins.

Apparently, I was unfamiliar with the particulars of the Unification Church. I had thought it was one of these "churches" that preaches a gospel of "God is love" and decent people can be "saved" through the cultic figurehead (in this case, Rev. Sun Myung Moon of Korea, its founder). I was mistaken.

Instead, the Unification Church preaches that Jesus was a man only, and not God, who did give himself as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, but only because the world was unwilling to follow Him in establishing God's political kingdom here on earth. Apart from the bizarre heretical notion that somehow saving our souls from eternal damnation was Christ's "plan B", Rev. Moon claims that Christ Himself appeared to Moon in a vision, annointing him to continue that work to establish God's kingdom here on earth, and that all the Christian churches should unify under this political mandate. With Moon himself as the new "messiah" and leader, of course.

Naturally, they deny the authority of the Bible, apart from their own "interpretations" of course. And they redefine Biblical terms to suit their own purposes. In any case, I wasn't aware of all of this during the conversation, so when he concurred explicitly on the absolute necessity of Christ, I felt that I had nowhere else to go. We kindly declined to buy anything, and he moved on.

But having thought about it more, I've decided that, in the future, when talking with non-orthodox "Christians" (be they Mormons, JWs, Unificationists, or others), who don't declare the differences in their theology from Biblical Christianity, I'll simply invite them to church. I encourage you to do likewise. Give them a big smile and a hearty handshake and say, "well it sounds like I've found a brother in Christ. Why don't you come with me to church on Sunday?"

Would people trying to make the case that they really are Christians like myself refuse the invitation? ("What's that? My church is not true to God? Really? Why wouldn't you want to attend my church?") I expect that would more quickly move us to the doctrinal issues at hand.

Or, even better, they'll accept the invitation.


Post a Comment

<< Home