MR writes: “Do you have any information about the “Unity” Church, or its founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore? It seems VERY New Age. I would like to provide some challenges to what they teach, and will appreciate any information you can provide.”
It’s about as New Age as you can get; in fact, Unity Church’s founders were pioneers in the New Thought movement of the late 19th century which is considered to be the origin of today’s New Age human potential movement.
Essentially, New Thought is a pantheistic belief system in that its practitioners believe in one God who is regarded as a Universal Mind or creative intelligence (not a being) which manifests itself equally within all of creation. There is no such thing as original sin, Satan or evil, which is why there is no need for Jesus Christ. Followers of this philosophy also believe that true human selfhood is divine, that sickness originates in the mind, and that “right thinking” has a healing effect – very similar to today’s purveyors of the Law of Attraction, A Course in Miracles, and a plethora of other self-help and/or motivational programs.
This explains why the website for a Unity Church in Phoenix states: “The ‘Christ’ is that part of God that is in every person. There is a spark of divinity within all people, just as there was in Jesus.” Salvation does not come about in Christ, but in the realization of “oneness” with the Universal Mind.
Regardless of how much Christian-sounding language is evident in their publications, this is not a Christian religion and its philosophies are incompatible with Christianity.
Perhaps the best way to refute these beliefs is by pointing out that the very human source of this “religion” and comparing it to the Source of Christianity.
Let’s start with the founder of Unity, Charles Fillmore (1854-1948), who dabbled in spiritualism, Eastern religions and the occult. As a child, he had an ice skating accident and broke his hip which left him with “longtime physical challenges” according to the church’s website. As an adult, he worked in mining and real estate.
His wife, Myrtle Page Fillmore, was raised in a strict Methodist household and contracted tuberculosis at a young age, a disease that would plague her for years. She eventually became a teacher and spent a year in Denison, Texas where she met her future husband.
The two were married on March 29, 1881 and moved to Pueblo, Colorado where Charles established a real estate business with the brother-in-law of the founder of the Church of Divine Science which was also part of the New Thought movement. The couple attended New Thought classes after which Myrtle recovered from her chronic tuberculosis and Charles began to heal from his childhood accident. The two became convinced that the use of prayer and other methods taught in the class was what cured them.
Charles eventually left his business to focus on publishing a new periodical entitled, “Modern Thought” and a year later organized a prayer group that would later become “Silent Unity.” In 1892, Charles and Myrtle published their Dedication and Covenant in which they vowed to dedicate themselves and all of their money and possessions to the “Spirit of Truth and through it, to the Society of Silent Unity.”
This offering isn’t exactly open-ended, however. They follow the vow with the statement: “It being understood and agreed that the said Spirit of Truth shall render unto us an equivalent for this dedication, in peace of mind, health of body, wisdom, understanding, love, life and an abundant supply of all things necessary to meet every want without our making any of these things the object of our existence.”
They signed it “In the presence of the Conscious Mind of Christ Jesus, this 7th day of December A.D. 1892. Charles Fillmore, Myrtle Fillmore”
Charles and Myrtle became the first ordained ministers of their new church in 1906 and began a form training for ministers in 1931, the year Myrtle died. Charles remarried two years later and died in 1948.
This history is hardly comparable to that of the Christian faith, which originated with a man who not only claimed to be the Incarnate Son of the Most High God, but proved it by the most spectacular signs and wonders ever seen on the earth. He could command the elements – make the wind stop, walk on water, multiply bread and fish. Not only did He raise the dead, He raised Himself after three days in the tomb.
As I write in the introduction to our Learn to Discern series, this is not only impressive. It’s unprecedented.
And even more incredible is that we have hundreds of eyewitnesses to all this, several of whom chose to put their testimony in writing. And just to be sure no one thought this was a one-shot deal, Jesus made sure His followers were able to replicate His miraculous legacy with countless inexplicable phenomena from healing the sick and mass conversions to being able to sing hymns of joy while being mauled by lions or burned alive.
And remember, all of these incidents had to pass muster at one of the toughest tribunals in the world – the Vatican. Anyone needing proof that the miraculous work of Jesus Christ continued 2,000 years after His death need only check the annals of the Congregation for Causes of Saints. This is where we find the records that detail the two miracles required before anyone is raised to sainthood. In the event those miracles involved physical healing, they would have been independently verified by medical doctors.
If more evidence is needed, consult the Vatican’s Yearbook of the Church. This is where we find a plethora of interesting statistics about the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ, such as the 400 people who have been raised from the dead during the last 2,000 years or the 100 saintly followers of Christ whose mortal remains were found to be incorrupt after sometimes hundreds of years in the tomb.
Who would want to stake the eternal life of their soul on a former real estate agent named Charles Fillmore when they could place it in the hands of this magnificent God-Man who gave up His own life so that we might live forever?
We can only shake our heads in wonder – and pray for those who are following the false prophets of our time.