UNDERSTANDING THE CULTS
In this twelve-part series we are taking a brief look at some of the major cults,
past and present, that have found adherents in the United States. Your pastor can
help you if you’d like a more in-depth study of a particular group.
The Unity School of Christianity—more commonly called Unity Church, or just Unity—is a sister cult to Christian Science (Lutheran Spokesman, February 2019). Each cult had its own founder, but both were influenced by the writings of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby.
Myrtle Fillmore, a founder of Unity, converted to Christian Science in 1887. Charles, Myrtle’s husband, also converted to Christian Science but was really more intrigued by the occult and Hinduism. This couple took, as Charles said, “the best from all religions” and concocted a belief system that became Unity.
Many Unity adherents retain membership in other churches because Unity suggests that it can peacefully coexist with other religions, including Christianity, and even enhance them. Meanwhile Unity’s teachings clearly contradict Scripture. The idea that darkness can co-exist with light is a deception of the highest order by the Prince of Darkness. “What fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:13 ESV) The scriptural answer is, none!
Unity has fueled its growth through direct mail campaigns, correspondence courses, and attractive publications—including its magazine, Daily Word. It also operates a worldwide prayer ministry called “Silent Unity.” After first contact with Silent Unity, one receives a personalized prayer followed by a letter of support. Vast numbers of people make use of Silent Unity. Sadly, all of those prayers are to a false god and are left unheard and unanswered. “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (Psalm 34:15-16.)
Similar to other cults, Unity makes use of biblical language (sheep’s clothing) to portray its non-Christian (wolf) theology (see Matthew 7:15). It uses the Bible as a lure, but considers it neither inspired by God nor infallible.
In Unity, the biblical Trinity is an allegory and does not exist. In fact, Unity’s god is not even a personal being, but rather an infinite mind that can be expressed in matter. “Christ” is the divine spark in all humans, and Jesus is just the man who best expressed this “Christ Consciousness.” Thus, Jesus was neither the promised Christ nor the Son of God, but only a master teacher.
Unity adherents believe that every person is inherently good. This opposes God’s teaching about inherited sin (Psalm 51:5). Without the truth concerning sin, it follows that salvation isn’t really needed. For Unity, salvation is reduced to “living the Christ pattern,” and heaven and hell are just states of mind.
Unity sets itself apart from other cults by its belief in reincarnation. Unity’s reincarnation teaching is more palatable to western thinking than the Buddhist or Hindu reincarnation teachings are because it eliminates the possibility of returning as a lesser life form. “Eventually all souls reincarnate on the earth as babes and in due time take up their problems where they left off at death.”
The teaching of reincarnation is easily refuted by clear Scripture (see Hebrews 9:27 and 1 Corinthians 15). Nevertheless, it is one of the most effective doctrines for the cult’s outreach purposes because reincarnation is attractive as a much “happier” alternative to hell.
It is truly astounding that Unity’s belief system could ever be described as “Christian,” and yet it is often characterized that way. Unity is void of truth concerning sin and grace, the Triune God, the Son of God Who is the Redeemer of the world, and so much more. There is no lamp nor light for the sinner’s way (Psalm 119:105) to be found in Unity, only a manmade spiritual stew and sin’s deep darkness.
How desperately the Gospel is needed! How blessed we are to proclaim it!
Wayne Eichstadt is pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Spokane Valley, Washington.