James Duncan at Pajama Pages has another article today with more information on the historic links between Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church and Liberty University. Specifically, he focuses on Ron Godwin, LU’s Provost who has a long history with the Unification Church. The beginning:
Liberty University’s current provost, Ron Godwin, was appointed by Rev. Sun Myung Moon to take his teachings and use them to revive and resurrect American Christianity. Moon knew Godwin intimately, and repeatedly praised him publicly for his usefulness in taking the Moonie message to the American Christian church.
I don’t know where Godwin is today with all of this. I can’t find any material where he disavowed his relationship with Moon but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. In addition to Duncan’s post, you can many references to Godwin’s affiliation with Moon at TParents.org. According to this write up of a Moon sermon delivered in 1992, Godwin was one of the “heavenly musketeers” who would represent Moon in America. Sometimes Moon spoke about himself as “Father”:
Father sees the presence of Dr. Ron Godwin, Dr. Bob Grant and Dr. Don Sills as very precious. Father looks at these precious three collaborators, supporters and members of this great movement almost like Jesus’ three disciples. The three of them are really accomplished giants in our world. By uniting with Reverend Moon’s ideology they will become even greater. Each of the three has very special characteristics. They are very different characters, as much as Jesus’ three major disciples were different from each other.
[Speaking to these three men.] Father said you are lucky. If you fulfill your mission, fine. If you don’t fulfill your mission, that is fine too. The reason is you are responsible for the first generation. The second generation is already mine, I claimed them already. But I don’t want to see the first generation become like Moses’ flocks who perished in the wilderness. It is very difficult to wipe out the concepts initially implanted in the first generation. Even Bob Grant, a great preacher and Don Sills, a great preacher and Ron Godwin, a great Christian leader, have been reading the Bible which says the Lord is coming on the clouds. That is the concept they have. Billy Graham has been preaching the Lord is coming on the clouds. For you the important thing is not the Washington Times or AFC or the Coalition for Religious Freedom. Wherever you go, that is your house, your podium. Your podium is not only your church. Wherever you are standing or wherever you meet people that is your podium.
Those three champions, just bring them and work them day and night. If they can’t keep up with the schedule and they run away that is alright, I will bring somebody else. But I think those three strong men won’t run away. Father invited Ron Godwin to join in this great crusade not because he is such a great business man. He is, but more importantly Father is concerned about Jerry Falwell, who represents the great Southern Baptist Christian community. He is not fulfilling his responsibility, so Father would like to see if Ron Godwin can fulfill it. Unless he knows me now, Jerry Falwell is in the position of a foreign person. Jerry Falwell cannot become president himself, he should come together with Father and make the spiritual and moral foundation for a God-chosen man to be President of the United States. We have to have a righteous God-centered president in this country, not just anybody.
The Washington Times is a side activity, the prominent mission is a spiritual mission. That is basically what Father is saying. This is very important: the Washington Times is secondary. As far as Father is concerned your primary mission is a spiritual mission and the revival of Christianity is crucial.
The AFC alone cannot save the country. Christianity must be rejuvenated. All Christian ministers must be re-educated. They must become new Christians. Unity with Reverend Moon is of vital importance. Without it, no matter how much they do, God will not be on their side. You should be a champion for the teaching of the Divine Principle. You should be able to teach them and testify to them much better than anyone else because you have that background.
I abandoned Korea and came to the United States because of the importance of working on the world level. This is a key important statement: an alliance between Christianity and the Unification Church is absolutely vital. It is a life or death matter for this country’s future. It is not easy because of public opinion and the media, but this is God’s will and it can be done. These three most Abel-like champions will spearhead this work. I think you are here, not because of your own will, but because this is God’s will. You have been divinely ordained, hand-picked by God to be here and represent each a different segment of Christianity. For that reason you have a crucial role to make that alliance between Christianity and the Unification Church. Do you follow?I know those words are harsh and difficult to hear. But I am registering this as a testimony to God and the world. I’m not embarrassing you at all–again, I am doing it with a parental heart. Nobody else in the entire world would say anything like this to you. But Reverend Moon, with absolutely no personal ambition in it, is saying this to you because he is living with a parental heart.
Christianity in the United States has done the most evil against me; you know that. But I have no grudge or vengeful feelings. I have only sympathy. I only want to bring life to this country, that is my sole desire. However, my departure for Asia is immanent. Therefore I want to have some champions in the United States to take responsibility and move this country. You three can do the job.
You will be like the three disciples of Jesus. Each one of you will put your self in Jesus’ position and multiply three disciples of your own. Then your number will grow to a team of twelve. With twelve people of your character and determination, at this level, you will be invincible. Your catch phrase will be the that American Christianity needs resurrection more than revival. Let us resurrect American Christianity. It is crucial to the survival of this nation and the world.
New York is a rotten place, you know that. 42nd Street is a living hell. Father would like to have 8th Avenue up to 42nd Street cleaned up. Only by resurrection of the Christian spirit can this be accomplished. You follow, right?
[At this point, Dr. Grant, Dr. Sills and Dr. Godwin stood up and grasped their hands together, holding them high. Father waded through several rows of members to himself grasp the clasped hands of the three, making four.]
Reverend Moon is going to go up and have a little meeting with Mrs. Moon. Father will come down shortly but Father would like us to proceed with the testimonies of these three men.
[Dr. Ron Godwin gave his testimony talking about the USA activities and his part in it. Afterwards Dr. Pak gave a testimony about Dr. Godwin and his first meeting with Father at Danbury. Father returned, and Ron Godwin made a presentation to Father on behalf of the Washington Times family. It was a large drawing of an Atlantic salmon.
Dr. Pak then introduced Dr. Robert Grant as a man with a deep spiritual connection to Father. Dr. Grant then spoke about his work for God and the direction of the USA activities. Finally, Dr. Pak introduced Dr. Don Sills, who has completed a forty day workshop under Reverend Ahn. Don Sills spoke about his growing relationships with the Korean elders and how he came to work with our church. He ended by offering himself completely to Father’s service.]
Father spoke again:
Time has passed very quickly, but Father is very satisfied and fulfilled in his heart because Father has been assured that the three heavenly musketeers will do the job. Father looks at them almost as heavenly locomotives pulling the train of America in the right direction. They are locomotives, but not electric ones, they are choo-choo trains. Father likes that sound. Don Sills said wake up America. What is a better way to wake someone up than by making a locomotive noise?
I feel very confident that even though I may not be here all the time, if you trust these three musketeers and unite with them and join with them and work together toward the goal, I am sure you will fulfill a great victory here in America.
I have read many of Moon’s “sermons” and I can’t really make much sense of them. Some of this is probably because they are translations from Korean (seems odd that the Messiah didn’t speak English well). In any case, the point is that Moon wanted some kind of revival of Christianity in his image and he called on the “heavenly musketeers” to lead the way.
These ties are just a few of many between Moon and religious right figures. You can see an all-star team of them in this video. This event marked the transition of Moon’s movement from a church to what he called “The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.” As remarkable as it seems, key religious right figures such as Gary Bauer, Maureen Reagan, Jack Kemp, Beverly LaHaye, and George Bush I were there to give Moon a huge platform.