New Age and the Unity Society (Session 48)
Purpose: The purpose of this session is to help you become acquainted with how the New Age philosophy of pantheism translates itself into religious circles.
1. The disciple will understand the differences pantheism brings when compared with theistic beliefs.
2. The disciple will understand how pantheism translates into cultish practices.
3. The disciple will understand the inner workings of religious bodies of this particular world view.
God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
1. Mutual accountability and prayer.
2. Discuss materials related to the session
3. Review questions.
4. Discuss new terms.
5. Mutual sharing of Scripture memory.
We have looked at cultish teachings that concern theistic world views (Jehovah’s Witnesses), and polytheistic world-views (Mormons). Now we will consider a body of people who meet and follow a Pantheistic world-view. This is the Unity Society. They are not a church.
A review at this time would be appropriate. Theism is belief that there is _________ God. Polytheists believe in ________ __________. Pantheism is the idea that God is everything and everything is God. As a result, every person is god and has the god-principle in himself.
The Unity organization was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fillmore in 1889. Myrtle Fillmore became a convert of “Christian Science” and Charles Fillmore had interests in spiritism and the occult. The idea of the “Unity” organization came from a “marriage” of these two ways of thinking. It has increased somewhat phenomenally and is still managed by members of the Fillmore family who have survived the years.
The Unity society prefers not to be called a denomination, but that’s what they have grown into. They much prefer to be seen as an educational society and have published great quantities of materials. The Fillmores worked to produce an organization that eclectically drew the major themes of all religions and merged them into one group of teachings. They ordain leaders who have passed the prescribed sets of information that are furnished by their headquarters.
The Teachings of Unity
Unity is philosophically monistic. This is saying that “all that is emanates from a single source — God.” In reality, however, much of their teaching is pantheistic. Although they believe that sin and sickness are real, they promote healing through spiritual means. They use many biblical terms and much of their vocabulary is consistent with Christianity. Most of their teachings, however, are from the occult so they do not find acceptance as a Christian denomination among Christians.
I. Concerning God
God is not a being separate from self. God is really the emanation of the soul of a self conscious person — a principle. There is no difference between God and Creation. They are one and the same. From your knowledge in Scripture, how would you describe this error?
II. Concerning Jesus
Jesus is Principle revealed in creative plan. Jesus was the name of a certain man while Christ was the manifestation of Jesus. There is no basic difference between Jesus and any other man who was born into this world.
While Jesus was potentially perfect and expressed that perfection, we are potentially perfect and have not expressed it.
From your studies, what have you learned about Jesus that would refute this teaching?
See also Galatians 4:4 and John 1:1-3.
III. Concerning the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is that desire in every man that prompts him toward holiness and oneness with the divine mind. He is not a person at all.
From your knowledge of Scripture, what is there that refutes this doctrine?
See also John 14:26 and 16:13.
IV. Concerning Humanity
There is no qualitative difference between God and man. As relating to Jesus, there is a “Christ” spirit in every man. This is the logical teaching that emanates from Unity’s statement about God.
From your knowledge of the Scripture, how would you refute this teaching? See Genesis 1:26-28.
V. Concerning Sin
Unity insists that sin, sickness and poverty are real, but in reality, these concepts are denied and are handled through denial.
What have you learned from your studies that makes sin very, very real?
Romans 3:23; James 2:10.
VI. Concerning Salvation
Unity teaches reincarnation, that through the continued state of reincarnation one will reach the state of becoming a Christ. This is teaching from the Hindu religion and is part of the Far Eastern influence. Salvation is reached when the person experiences a true spiritual body.
What have you learned that would refute this teaching?
VII. Concerning Prayer
If one is a follower of these ideas, he will pray to the universe.
What have you learned from your studies that refutes this?
It is difficult to know just how many people ascribe to these teachings. It is estimated that at least 6,000,000 people have been touched by unity teachings and perhaps 1,000,000 ascribe to their teachings.
This is a brief summary of the teaching of the Unity Society. Do not confuse this group with Unitarians, who are Deists. Their beliefs are quite different.
Questions for Review and Discussion
1. What are your feelings about the idea that we have lived in successive generations with other lives?
2. What are the major points of difference between the Unity Society and evangelical Christianity?
3. What are the major arguments against reincarnation?
4. What would be the effect on the morals of a man if he always got another chance?
If reincarnation were a fact, how would that affect our future hope?
Related Topics: Discipleship