Unity School of Christianity Author:
Russ Wise Date:6/11/2003 2:26:11 PM
Founder: Charles and Myrtle Fillmore
Founding Date: 1889; Unity was later incorporated as a church in 1903 by the Unity Society of Practical Christianity in Kansas City.
Publications: The Daily Word and Unity magazine.
Published Works:Lessons in Truth, Jesus Christ Heals, Myrtle Fillmore's Healing Letters and others.
The Unity School of Christianity began as a quest for physical healing by its co-founder, Mary Caroline Page, known as Myrtle, the wife of Charles Fillmore. Even before their marriage in March of 1881 Myrtle had already developed an eclectic theology. Charles had a background in Hinduism, Buddhism, Rosicrucianism, and Theosophy.
They became students of metaphysics and after taking some forty or more courses Myrtle developed what was to become known as Practical Christianity. Myrtle became a practitioner of "mental healing."
A spiritual breakthrough came for Myrtle in 1886 when she attended a meeting lead by Dr. E. B. Weeks, a noted metaphysician. Dr. Weeks' made a statement that would change Myrtle's understanding of herself and set her on a new course of spiritual development. Myrtle was in a state of mental and physical illness and had come to a point where she was not helped by either medicine or physician. Dr. Weeks statement that day brought her the healing she sought. She cherished each word of the phrase "I am a child of God and therefore I do not inherit sickness."
Myrtle believed that she had discovered a great "spiritual truth" regarding healing. By repeating this phrase as a positive affirmation she would be healed. She began to offer her services to others and soon developed a following of those seeking divine healing.
The Fillmores were students of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, a mental healer and metaphysician. Myrtle was also a follower of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, who was likewise influenced by Quimby. Unity was birthed by the Fillmores, but it was conceived in the womb of Eddy and fathered by Phineas Quimby.
According to Charles Fillmore the name Unity was adopted in 1895 and that Unity was devoted to the spiritualization of humanity and took the best from all religions. He said the following regarding the eclectic belief system of Unity: "We have studied many isms, many cults. People of every religion under the sun claim that we either belong to them or have borrowed the best part of our teaching from them. 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."
Unity Doctrine and Theology
God is not a personality but a spiritual energy - a "force" or principle of love. Charles Fillmore in his book,Jesus Christ Heals, says that "God is not loving. God is love . . . from which is drawn forth all feeling, sympathy, emotion, and all that goes to make up the joys of existence."
Fillmore goes on to say, ". . . God does not love anybody or anything. God is the love in everybody and everything. God exercises none of His attributes except through the inner consciousness of the universe and man." In other words, God is not a personal being but an energy or force that expresses itself as a pantheistic love that permeates all things.
H. Emilie Cady attempts to reconcile the seemingly incongruous possibility that God can be both personal and impersonal by her statement: "to the individual consciousness God takes on personality, but as the creative underlying cause of all things, He is principle, impersonal; as expressed in each individual, He becomes personal to that one - a personal, loving, all-forgiving Father-Mother."
It's obvious that Unity's understanding of who God is has fallen victim to its own syncretism. Unity, while attempting to identify itself as being biblical, has offered to much on the "altar of tolerance" and, thereby, has prostituted itself on the bed of other gods.
Donald Curtis, former minister at Unity Church of Dallas and author of several Unity books, has this to say about God: "every one of us has planted within him a God-seed, and the business of life is to see that this seed grows, unfolds, and expresses in our world." Curtis goes on to say, "as this seed unfolds through the development of the Christ consciousness, we fulfill our highest objective in this world."
The ultimate goal of the one who follows Unity teaching is to recognize one's "oneness" with the "Force", thereby realizing your true self, the God-Self. The god of Unity is an adaptation of Hindu belief regarding the divine. God is a part of His creation. God is in all things.
Jesus - The Christ
Unity also holds an unbiblical view of Jesus. Donald Curtis agrees with Unity theology in that he believes that Jesus the man is fundamentally different than Jesus the Christ. Curtis says, "Christ is the universal principle of love and wisdom. Christ is the only Son of God, but this only Son of God lives in each one of us."
Curtis makes a primary deviation from biblical understanding in that he holds the position that Jesus is man and that Christ is divine consciousness. He continues by saying, "let us prepare ourself so that the Christ may be born in our own consciousness!" In other words, our spirituality is based on the discovery that the Christ is inherently within each one of us regardless of our personal beliefs or affiliations.
Curtis continues: "When we say `Jesus the Christ,' we must realize that Jesus represents man and Christ represents God in man." Unity distorts Christ as the Messiah and renders Him as a "universal principle of love" that resides in all of humanity simply waiting to be discovered through self-consciousness.
Unity, along with other New Age belief systems, espouses a mental and spiritual `transformation' that will raise our consciousness. According to Curtis "there are levels of development through which we grow toward full Christ consciousness when we are truly transformed, fully reborn."
The pantheistic nature of Unity is expressed in Curtis' declaration that "we let ourselves be ruled by the Christ within. We let the Christ teaching unfold in and through us in this great new age. We know that this Christ principle indwells every individual, no matter what his religious beliefs may be . . . we give thanks for the realization of the mystical Christ, for the Christ consciousness alive in our life . . ."
According to Donald Curtis man's primary purpose is to recognize that he is divine. He states: "there is another teaching, however - a higher teaching. It is that man has always existed as part of God, and that this God-self, which is the living Essence of everything, individualizes itself in man."
Curtis goes on to say that "within each of us there is a great, wise, and beautiful Being. This is what we really are - the living Essence of everything. We are evolving constantly. We have self-consciousness; now we must develop God-consciousness, a sense of universal unity. And we must endeavor to manifest this God-consciousness in our world to solve our apparent differences through love and understanding."
Unity teaches evolution - both physical and mental or spiritual. It teaches that mankind evolves toward Godhood and that this collective God-consciousness will be man's solution to all his problems. This teaching elevates mankind to divinity, a position that is far from Biblical understanding.
In his bookThe Way of the Christ, Curtis says that, "man is human, but he is first of all divine." He continues by saying that "as we recognize and identify with the Christ within, we become one with the universal Self - God."
This is nothing more than Hindu philosophy dressed in western garb: everything is a part of God and God encompasses all that is, whether it be animate or inanimate. This idea, pantheism, is widely held in the East and is being imported to the United States via every means available to man.
H. Emilie Cady in her book,Lessons in Truth, says that "man origionally lived consciously in the spiritual part of himself. He fell by descending in his consciousness to the external or more material part of himself." In other words, the fall of man was from the spiritual realm to the physical and this fall has caused him to suffer spiritual amnesia. Therefore man's dilemma is to reclaim his place in the spiritual realm through right thinking.
Unity teaches that as man discovers his innate divinity he continues to raise his consciousness until he becomes fully God-realized. Once man has achieved this state of understanding he recognizes that he is in perfect oneness with God and is not in need of redemption but that he is indeed the divine.
The unbiblical position regarding salvation held by Unity is clearly seen in the Unity publication,The Way to Salvation. This pamphlet states that "Jesus Christ was not meant to be slain as a substitute for man; that is, to atone vicariously for him. Each person must achieve at-one-ment with God, by letting the Christ Spirit within him resurrect his soul into Christ perfection."
Curtis says that "more than ever, we need to become quiet and focus upon the inner. We need to be still and to know that the presence within is God." When one becomes fully aware of this divine presence salvation is realized because the individual no longer has a sense of lostness.
Unity teaches that the individual lives a number of lifetimes within one existence. Dr. Donald Curtis of the Unity Church of Dallas writes that "it isn't so important that we make it in this particular lifetime, as it is to realize that we do make it, because there is only one lifetime and it goes on forever."
Article 22 of the Unity Statement of Faith states "we believe that the dissolution of spirit, soul and body, caused by death, is annulled by rebirth of the same spirit and soul in another body here on earth. We believe the repeated incarnations of man to be a merciful provision of our loving Father to the end that all may have opportunity to attain immortality through regeneration, as did Jesus."
Charles Fillmore rejected the standard understanding of reincarnation as described by the Hindu or the Buddhist. He could not accept their respective teachings regarding the Law of Karma or the Transmigration of the soul. For him reincarnation was a much more simple way for God to offer man a second chance at perfection.
This teaching of reincarnation is perhaps the most destructive of all the false teachings of Unity. The belief in reincarnation undercuts the primary tenets of the gospel. One would have to deny the deity of our Lord, his physical resurrection and his Second Coming to accept the error of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore.
Reincarnation presupposes that God is impersonal and is therefore unknowable. Likewise reincarnation denigrates the Atonement of Christ and the fact that Jesus physically resurrected from the dead.
The Bible does not offer any evidence to support these assumptions. On the contrary, the Bible clearly teaches that God is a personal Being and that He is knowable. Isaiah 43:25 and Jeremiah 31:20 tells us that God remembers, Exodus 3:12 and Matthew says that God speaks, Genesis 1:1 and 6:5 along with Exodus 2:24 says that God sees, hears and creates. Elsewhere the Bible tells us that God is a personal Spirit (John and Hebrews 1:3). Since God is a personal Being He has a will (Matthew 6:10, Hebrews 10:7-9 and I John 2:17). Because God has an expressed will He will also judge His creation (Ezekiel and 34:20 also II Corinthians ).
Unity attempts to denigrate the atonement of Christ in order to build a better case for reincarnation; however the Atonement delivers man from the cycle of rebirth. Reincarnation does not offer one either peace or hope. Whereas the Atonement offers one peace because he does not have to rely on his own righteousness and it offers one hope because of what Jesus did on the cross. Jesus has dealt with our sin on the cross and our response is to simply accept his work on our behalf.
Likewise, Unity cannot accept a physical resurrection for our Lord. A physical resurrection would have caused skepticism among the believers since Jesus had not reincarnated but rose in bodily form and certainly would have been recognized by His followers. See Luke 24:16 and 31.
According to Charles Fillmore, Unity is the blending of various religions and belief systems into one unified system of thought. The Fillmore's introduced belief's into their system that had been commonplace in Eastern religions and occult practices.
The Fillmore's introduced a pantheistic view of God to their followers and saw God as being both male and female. God is seen as an energy or force that resides in all things both animate and inanimate. Likewise God is seen as being impersonal and a part of His creation.
Jesus is a principle of "love" that brings oneness to all things. This Christ principle is present within each one of us and ultimately unifies us in a salvation experience.
Unity teaches that man's primary problem is that he has spiritual amnesia and needs to reconnect with his destiny. He needs to regain the realization that he is evolving toward divinity.
Salvation comes by recognizing one's divine nature. Unity does not recognize the Atonement of Christ but rather seeks what Eastern mystics refer to as at-one-ment or realizing oneness with the divine on a spiritual level.
Since Unity does not recognize the work of Christ on the cross, the Atonement, but rather accepts evolution as a positive ingredient in man's spirituality it is only logical to embrace reincarnation as a valid system for spiritual enlightenment.
As you can see Unity is not based on biblical teaching. To the contrary, it is heavily influenced by Eastern thought and belief. Unity is a classic New Age cult. It is not Christian in any aspect of its doctrine.