The gospel is not only to be believed at the beginning, but must be lived every step of the way. Steve Lawson

Thursday, April 3, 2008

THE OPRAH CULT and THE UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY

Ken Fields over at The World From Our Window had a very enlightening video regarding Oprah Winfrey. What Oprah espouses regarding spirituality and God is deadly. SHE IS DEAD WRONG and if she does not turn to the ONE TRUE GOD, she will perish (John 14:6). The things that were said are reminiscent of a “cult” paper I wrote on Unity Village (The Unity School of Christianity) for a personal evangelism class at Moody.

I am very well acquainted with the Unity School of Christianity due to visiting its beautiful campus in Lee’s Summit, MO at least twice a month when I was attending Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, MO from 1983-1986. No, my friends and I were not mesmerized by its theology; however we did go to a meditation class once and almost passed out due to all the hyperventilating that we were supposed to do to get relaxed so that we could meditate correctly. We went to Unity Village, because we could walk around, study and relax on the manicured grounds away from the hustle and bustle of college life. When I started dating my wife, we took walks there; it is beautiful even though what they teach is blasphemy and heresy. I don’t know, we may not have been allowed to go there if the administration at Calvary knew. I am sure my parents would not have been too keen on the idea. If I had to do it again, I would not have gone.

Below I have included the Oprah video and the paper I wrote on The Unity School of Christianity.


INTRODUCTION
The Unity School of Christianity near Lees Summit, MO is a cult that has intrigued me since my days at Calvary Bible College in the early 1980’s. As a collegian I traveled the 20 or so miles to Unity to study, sit in a peaceful setting and take walks with my then girlfriend (now my wife). The 1400 acres are beautiful and serene. The buildings and architecture are also very beautiful.
HISTORY
Unity was founded in 1889 by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. In 1903 it was incorporated into a church named the Unity Society of Practical Christianity in Kansas City, Missouri. The roots of this organization were founded on Myrtle’s experiences and Charles’ studies. Myrtle struggled with mental and physical ailments. Charles had studied Hinduism, Buddhism, Rosicrucianism[1] and Theosophy[2]. The Fillmores began studying metaphysics. Myrtle took over 40 courses in metaphysics. The breakthrough for Myrtle came in 1886 when under noted Metaphysician E.B. Weeks she claimed the statement: “I am a child of God and therefore I do not inherit sickness.”[3] She believed that if she repeated this phrase she would be healed. After this experience she began her own “classes” in metaphysics and following the teachings of Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy. Through this conglomeration of experiences and studies Myrtle and Charles began Unity.
DISTINCTIVE FEATURES
There are many intriguing things about this cult. One of the most interesting things about it is its paradox of existence. Unity, while seemingly obscure, is very prevalent in its writings and media outlets. “They are influential, with a mail order to 6 million people, with well financed radio and TV promotions, and a "prayer line" ("Silent Unity"), with millions of prayer requests annually. They print millions of pieces of literature, like the periodical "Wee Wisdom", appealing to Sunday school children, and the devotional "Daily Word", using the name of Christianity and the Bible, to teach Hindu Doctrines... while people think they are reading good Christian literature!.”[4]
Unity as many cults has an “All in the Family” philosophy with the grandson as chairman of the board and the great-granddaughter as Unity’s principle ministry leader. This ministry’s periodicals and prayer ministry generate much of the approximately $30 million in revenues each year. “Unity's leader is now Connie Fillmore Bazzy, a great-granddaughter of the founders. She controls everything from publishing Unity's magazines to the 24-hour Silent Unity Prayer ministry that generates the majority of the organization's approximately $30 million in annual income. Charles R. Fillmore is the grandson of the founder and acts as Chairman of the Board for Unity.” [5]
Another interesting distinctive feature of this belief system is that they claim to have a potpourri of theology rather than following a set dogma. "Unity has no dogmatic statement of faith with which it asks its followers to agree. Rather, we invite people to accept what they find helpful in their efforts to lift their consciousness to a higher level."[6] In its simplest form Unity is a knockoff of Christian Science. Their theology and practices are quite similar. One of the key distinctives of Unity is its eclectic nature. “…We have borrowed the best from all religions, that is the reason we are called Unity. . . . Unity is not a sect, not a separation of people into an exclusive group of know-it-alls. Unity is the Truth that is taught in all religions, simplified. . .so that anyone can understand and apply it. Students of Unity do not find it necessary to sever their church affiliations.”[7]
The scary part about this cult is that they don’t necessarily congregate and keep to themselves; they encourage people to stay in the churches where they are and take the teachings of Unity to their places of worship. Unity’s distinction is that the follower of its teaching is encouraged to remain in his respective church home whether it be Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, or whatever…[8] This is the essence of what Jude is talking about. “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4 NASB)

THEOLOGY
Sources of authority—Unity does not believe that the Bible is authoritative, but rather just a testimonial of different men on what they believe about God. This is true about Hindhu and Buddhist writings as well. “It is not necessary that you despise the scriptures of the Jews, of the Hindus, or of any people, but you are to take them for what they are--the records of men as to what their experiences have been in communing with the omnipresent God.”[9]
God—Unity believes in a pantheistic view of God who is both male and female. God is not a person, but rather a force that resides in all things.
Jesus Christ—There is a separation between these 2 names. First of all they do not see Jesus as deity, instead he was just a man who embodied the teachings of God. Christ is the force of love and God who lives in all men.
Holy Spirit—Unity sees the Holy Spirit as an impersonal force that executes God’s plans. The work of the Holy Spirit is limited to our concept of what it is. The Holy Spirit in Divine Mind corresponds to our thought in our minds. God is Mind; God’s idea of His creation is His Son, and this Son (idea), executing the plans of God (the original Mind) corresponds to our thinking in its work of devising plans… …So we can ideate the unlimited Divine Mind, but when this Mind is brought into our world or consciousness it is limited to our conception of it.[10]
Salvation—They do not believe in the substitutionary atonement of Christ. Salvation comes through recognition that we are one with God and ultimately divine. Ultimate perfection and immortality is achieved through a long process of rebirths (reincarnation) which is a direct take off of Hinduism. Salvation comes through one’s self.
Sin, Hell and Sickness—Unity does not believe in any of this like the Christian Scientists, therefore there is no need for a Saving God or Salvation from sin.
STEPS TO EVANGELIZE A UNITY MEMBER
I think this would be harder than witnessing to someone who is a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness. They don’t necessarily adhere to any strict dogmatic doctrine, instead they take the power away from a divine, saving and loving God by giving all the power to man. I would give them the Gospel as it is shown in Romans or John. The big question would be to get them to understand that there is a God who is supreme and not only deserves, but demands our worship and praise to Him alone. Within ourselves we can do nothing. I would take them on a tour of creation and most likely go about it that way. Many of these Unity people who are in “Bible-believing” churches you just have to wonder whether their eyes have been blinded and that they have rejected the Truth.
SUMMARY/EVALUATION
This cult reminds me of a computer virus that comes in via the internet, takes over your computer and destroys without your knowledge. They have made their stuff so camouflaged that an innocent person who is not discerning can read a lot of their material and not understand exactly where the pitfalls are. This cult is dangerous in that it looks so innocent, evangelical and mainstream, but it is rooted in the worst heresies imaginable. A bit of the new age thought has been touched on in this paper. The biggest problem with this cult as in all cults is that man is elevated and God is lowered to where man and God are on equal plateaus. Isaiah 6 and Revelation 1 certainly show us, as believers in Christ, that this is not the case. This lowered view of God is the basis for doctrinal heresy and I could almost categorically say that this is true in all cults. I leave you with quotes from Charles Fillmore’s book Christian Healing:[11]
  • God is the name of my good” (p. 17)
  • God is the name of the everywhere Principle, in whom I live, move, and have my being” (p. 17)
  • I am the only begotten son, dwelling in the bosom of the Father” (p. 29)
  • I am the Christ of God” (p. 29)
  • I and my Father are one” (p. 29)
  • I am one with Almightiness” (p. 29)
  • God is good, and God is all, therefore I refuse to believe in the reality of evil in any of its forms” (p. 60)
  • My perfection is now established in Divine Mind” (p. 83)

[1] the theological doctrine that venerates the rose and the cross as symbols of Christ's Resurrection and redemption; claims various occult powers Rosicrucianism." WordNet® 3.0. Princeton University. 19 Apr. 2007. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Rosicrucianism>.

[2] a system of belief based on mystical insight into the nature of God and the soul "theosophy." WordNet® 3.0. Princeton University. 19 Apr. 2007. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/theosophy>.

[3] Wise, Russ Probe Ministries UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/unity.html

[4] Domingues, J., M.D. Christianity Encyclopedia UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY http://biblia.com/christianity2/3b-universal-u.htm#"UNITY%20SCHOOL%20OF%20CHRISTIANITY"

[5] Biblical Discernment Ministries UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/unitysch.htm

[6] Sand Turner, Elizabeth WHAT UNITY TEACHES http://www.unitychurch.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=189&itemid=73

[7] Wise, Russ Probe Ministries UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/unity.html

[8] Wise, Russ Probe Ministries UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/unity.html
[9] Fillmore, Charles The Twelve Powers of Man 1930 pg. 115 Kessinger Publishing Co. 2004 http://websyte.com/unity/tpm.htm

[10] Fillmore, Charles ATOM-SMASHING POWER OF MIND pg. 99 http://websyte.com/unity/atm.htm
[11]Fillmore, Charles CHRISTIAN HEALING http://websyte.com/unity/crh.htm

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are an idiot. The bible contradicts itself consistently. Also, Christianity is usually define as the followers of the Christ teachings. Unity foundation is fundamentally based on the Christ teachings. As for the inclusion of the best of truths from other religions & faiths, most of these religions were established and revered long before Jesus Christ was even born. IDIOT!!!!!!!!

Tim Bergen said...

If the Bible is not truth and contradicts itself, what is truth? Unity is based on opinions of an individual just like Islam and many other CULTS.

womankine said...

The author purports to be an expert on Unity but has a poor understanding of its tenets or metaphysics in general.(The Bible is rife with metaphysics.)

Stating that Unity takes away from the power of God is false. Rather, it gives God ALL power and holds to the tenets of omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence.

Tim Bergen said...

My question would be who is your God? Is He one of your making or is He the creator of the universe and the Savior of the world? That is who my God is. My God is transcendent. We are merely his creatures who are created to do His bidding in this world, that is if we become His children through salvation that He freely bestows to those who come to His saving knowledge and grace.
You and I are most likely are speaking about 2 different people.

chaplain mark said...

Oprah is just another person who has been dazzled by an old trick of Satan's. There is nothing new under the sun,(Ecclesiastes 1:9-14 NIV) Satan's tricks never change he just changes the wrapping.
When we begin to believe somethng other then God's written word we become confused, (Proverbs 14:12There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.) Satan is no fool he knows what sounds good to man.After all he has had eternity to learn, Oprah, Wayne Bent(strong city) the mormons, the hare Kristnas all have a revelation. Its is one the will lead them direstly to hell.

Josie the Rev. said...

It is written in Mathew 11:15, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Unfortunately, fear keeps people from listening. I have not read such a biased or misconstrued accumalation of ridiculous ideas concerning what we teach and believe in. I am a Unity Minister and can state emphatically that we do revere God and teach the teaching's of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "God is Spirit"; therefore we do not say we are a religion, per se, but a spiritual way of life. Yes, we ascribe to being able to accomplish whatsoever you desire but only WITH GOD'S HELP AND DIRECTION.
I am proud to belong to a cult-look it up in the dictionary; it means, worship,reverential honor, religious devotion. I love, revere, and honor my God and way-shower, Jesus Christ.

Aubrey said...

Maybe you don't understand free will and letting god do the judging? I think it is sad that you enjoyed the unity campus all those years and they never once told you that you were wrong for not being more involved and taking advantage of their campus, you were not wrong for enjoying it, they never tried to witness to you, that isn't part of unity, they respected you and your choices. I respect you and your choices. I think you should respect others by not presenting such rich bias and judgement when ultimately you may not present such judgements, that is god's job. As for the which god are you worshipping nonsense, there is only one god, the distinction is mans error. I believe that no matter who you are there is only one god. You may have your own beliefs about his will, but so does anyone else in your church. Ultimately god will sort it out for us. Lastly unity is monotheistic and appreciates god in his many forms, if Jesus is god and god is god then I think the rest should fall into place for you.

Love and light,
Aubrey

Martin223 said...

I agree with Aubrey. Your comments on this page, Sir, makes it sound like YOU are the one in a cult. It has appeared to me that Calvary is a cult ever since I experienced the street preachings of Calvary ministers in Beaufort SC, which made national news. They forced themselves consistently and loudly upon passersby, even though their approach was unwelcome in that small town with many fine churches. Unity people would never do that, just as they never challenged you when you visited their campus, nor tried to force their beliefs on you. I suspect the situation would have been far different for a Unity follower visiting the Calgary campus, if it exists.

I was raised Presbyterian, but find that my short time of attending a Unity church shows me that their beliefs are very close to what I have actually believed all along.

Anonymous said...

The bible was written by man, edited by man, re-edited by various sects, some gospels removed entirely, the roles of men, women, and priests changed to suit the political/social interests of the various sects. see link http://www.allbibles.com/bibleversions.asp for a listing of the various versions.

As a child, I couldn't understand why God, who has created all, who has infinite power and love for 'all his children' would designate one child for heaven and the other for hell, because of the religion they were raised in.

As a child I understood this to mean that my jewish friends, by their circumstance of family, would be designated for hell, in fact billions of souls would be designated for hell because of the 'faith' they were indoctrinated into.

If we haven't learned much, let us at least come to terms with the fact that holding any position steadfast is a mistake. Life is continually changing, our perceptions and understandings change as we grow -- there was a time when the Catholic Church would not allow the use of the the number '0', declared the earth flat, well '0' is very useful and the world is in fact round - for now :)

Spirituality isn't a football game, in which we hope we are on the winning team, and go to the Superbowl.

We are here as an expression of God, the whole of this planet is the written word of God and includes all.

There are cults that seek to abuse the inherent nature of our desire to believe and hope, usually for money and power. The clearest way to determine this is to see if they profess to be the only way and that other ways are 'wrong'. This is the mark of an organized system -political, social or religious- created by man for the purpose of self gain.

Anonymous said...

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, NO Man comes to the Father (GOD) except through me." Not even Oprah!!!

Judy said...

Our enemy Satan, is a clever deceiver. Of course he would like people to add to and pick apart the Word of God. The key to it is, "who do you say Jesus is"? Is He God incarnate, crucified, risen from the dead, creator, savior? Or some impersonal spirit? Is He Lord of all, King, the Alpha and Omega? Or some kind of consciousness made in our image? Is He the Way, the Truth and the Life? Or a way like many other ways that seem right to a person who wants to put God in a box of their choosing? He is Lord of all. Pray for discernment from the true Spirit of God....

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the day when we can read what another human being believes, respect it, feel comfortable with our differences without name calling? Dialogue is key, here, my friends. I love Unity Churches. I love the Coptic Christian churches of Ethiopia and the beautiful evening chants of Islam. I love the small vibrant evangelical churches of rural Kenya. I love Passion City Church of Atlanta. Go figure...

Anonymous said...

Thank GOD for Unity as I now can respect ALL RELIGIONS and PERSONS despite their different perspective knowing that I had beliefs that were not correct too. It does not mean you accept everything but see PEOPLE as half full rather than half empty and see their inherent potential as being ALL children of GOD.

Anonymous said...

So much of what runs counter to Unity in this thread is FUNDAMENTALIST "Christianity". I suppose as a Catholic I too am a member of a "cult"!! My God endowed me with a BRAIN, unlike some of the low-brow "Christians" here...