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Cults and World Religions

Unity School of Christianity



 

"God slumbers in the rocks. God stirs in the flowers. God awakens in Man."

"The second birth is that in which we &put on Christ.& It is a process of mental adjustment and body transmutation that takes place right here on earth."
Charles Fillmore

Scripture may be a satisfactory authority for those who are not themselves in direct communion with the Lord. 78

If Christian Science looks strong under the microscope, Unity is an odder mix with more strength, for Unity grows out a disagreement with the teachings of Christian Science. Where Christian Science carried the Gnostic view of matter to the extreme of denying the reality of matter, Unity sees matter as real. So real in fact that one of their main teachings is the concept of reincarnation. Unity becomes a mix of Gnosticism and Hinduism, creating a unique blend of religion, especially for the turn of the clock from the 1800s to the 1900s. This is syncretism at its finest. Unfortunately, Unity is a cult with great appeal. Its membership is over two one-half million people! 79

Out of the American movement has also sprung an off-shot group in Canada that has become successful in its on right. The Association of Unity Churches – Canada operates to “supplement” the actions of Unity School of Christianity.

The School works out of “centers,” not out of traditional churches.

History

Founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Unity’s birth comes in Kansas City about 1889. Charles was a spiritist, with an interest in Hinduism. Myrtle was raised a Methodist. Both became involved in Christian Science, but became disenchanted with the teachings that denied the reality of matter. Among other doctrines, the mix of wanting to accept the reality of matter and the teachings of Hinduism combined to form a belief in reincarnation. Charles Fillmore is recorded as stating that he was the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul!

The story is that in 1886, the Fillmore’s went to a lecture by one E.B. Weeks. Weeks made the statement that he was “a child of God and therefore I do not inherit sickness.” Myrtle took the statement to heart, reciting it over and over again. She was eventually healed and attributed the healing to this statement and her “faith.” While Charles first refused this belief, his investigations into religions (mostly Hinduism and Buddhism) and into the science of the mind, he took up his wife’s meditation approach. His withered leg was healed and the new religious system was off and running.

The couple did have difficulty finding a name for their new religion. At first it was called Modern Thought (1889), then Christian Science Thought (1890). Pressure from Mary Baker Eddy caused the Fillmores to change the name again, this time to Thought (1891). The name Unity was adopted in 1895.

The mix of philosophical and religious principles which have gone into Unity make it a mind science cult. An example of the extreme approach of the teaching of Unity will be found in this Unity statement:

God is loving . . . . God does not love anybody. . . . God is the love in everybody and everything. . . . God is love. . . .God exercises none of his attributes except through the inner consciousness of the universe and man. 80

Beliefs of Unity

Unity School of Christianity

While denying that Jesus is God in flesh, Unity does find Him to be the ethical Messiah of the world since “He remained in a high state of spiritual consciousness.”

Unity has several publications, including Wee Wisdom, for Children; Good Business, for business people; Weekly Unity, their devotional magazine; and the Daily Word, a daily devotional prepared along the same format as the well known and widely used conservative, orthodox devotional, Our Daily Bread. They are big on distributing much of this material for free to churches and prisons. They make extensive use of mail orders. Fillmore wrote at least two books, Mysteries of Genesis and Christian Healing. Following are quotes from Christian Healing

The other major teaching of Unity is that of prosperity. Not only is the group in to healing of the physical, but also into the healing of the financial. In this we see the roots of the faith healing movement which got it major boost from the Pentecostal movement which developed just a few years later. Fillmore was a believer that no one should be poor. In his book Prosperity, Fillmore perverts the wonderful 23rd Psalm to set forth this philosophy: 

The Lord is my banker, my credit is good.

He maketh me to lie down in the consciousness of omnipresent abundance;

He giveth me the key to His strongbox.

He restoreth my faith in His riches;

He guideth me in the paths of prosperity for His name’s sake.

Yea though I walk in the very shadow of debt,

I shall fear no evil, for Thou art with me:

Thy silver and Thy gold, they secure me.

Thou preparest a way for me in the presence of the collector;

Thou fillest my wallet with plenty; my measure runneth over.

Surely goodness and plenty will follow me all the days of my life;

And I shall do business in the name of the Lord forever. 81

So, Unity becomes a religion of happy thoughts and kind ideas, of tolerance and love. Unity makes God equal love, but Unity also makes love equal God. The first part of the formula is true, but the second part need not be.

The modern Unity is driven by its publishing arm and by Silent Unity. This group of believers is available twenty-four hours a day to respond in prayer, to counsel, to listen. Every request received by Unity is personally responded to with personal answers. This is a powerful recruitment tool. If only our churches could provide such a response.

Interpretation Issues

Many of the cults are required to misrepresent the orthodox Christian beliefs in order to demonstrate the superiority of their own teachings. Unity is no exception. As shown above, Unity does not believe the Bible to be the absolute Word of God. Experience is more important. Unity does use Scripture when it suits their purpose, so their use is very selective. As an example, Unity claims that Christianity views God as a man because God made man in His image. If man is in the image of God, God must look like man! What Unity denies is the actual revelation of Who and What God is and what God has revealed to man about Himself, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and salvation.

Witnessing to a Unity Member

We have not considered the issue of witnessing to members of each and every cult, for while they are all different, many are the same. In the case of Unity, the ultimate goal will be to stress the personal nature of God. He is not an “It.” This combined with the depravity of man and the reality of sin are the theological goals. This needs to be accomplished in a spirit of love and kindness. The need for redemption must be stressed to show the purpose of the Cross. If you can come to a true biblical definition of terms, the Unity member will be unable to address the sin issue without the Cross. This is the wedge which may fell the tree of Unity.

Footnotes:
78. Walter W. Martin, Kingdom of the Cults, Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1965, 1977, 1985, 284, quoting Unity, October 1896, vol. 7, 400.
79. Walter W. Martin, Rise of the Cults, Santa Ana, California: Vision House Publishers, 1955, 1977, 86.
80. Martin, Rise of the Cults , 87, quoting Jesus Christ Heals, Unity School of Christianity, 1944, 31 and 32.
81. McDowell, Handbook of Today’s Religion, 135.

 

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