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Christian Research Institute, P.O. Box 500-TC, San Juan Capistrano,
“Should the Church Apologize to Unity?” (an article from the
Viewpoint column of the Christian Research Journal, Winter/Spring
1987, page 31) by Elissa Lindsey McClain.
The Editor-in-Chief of the Christian Research Journal is Elliot
I was immensely relieved when Christians began to recognize
organizations and individuals associated with the Aquarian or “New
Age” religions. I myself was once actively involved in the “mind
sciences,” part of a network seeking to replace the “antiquated”
religion of the Piscean Age, fundamental Christianity.
The actual beliefs of New Agers were shocking to most of my
Christian friends. They took comfort, though, in the thought that
only Maharishi/Bhagwan types and their followers were prey to such
deception. The church was considered immune.
But then cult researchers and even ex-New Agers started
protesting that mystic-mixing was growing in the church. This alarm
was not well received. When I first voiced my concern that the old
occult techniques were increasingly being recycled into packages
with Christian labels, I saw a familiar reaction from my friends.
Formerly, as a New Ager, if I talked about reincarnation or
meditation, Bible-believers backed away from me. After I came out
of the occult and professed Jesus Christ as the only Way, New Agers
did the backing up. Now when I complained that the current
spirituality of some in the Christian church was like a flashback
from my past in the metaphysical Unity cult, I found myself accused
of being some nefarious “doom and gloomer.”
The irony of being identified as such is almost laughable to
me. I was once a pantheistic Pollyanna who prided myself in
“denying the negative, affirming the positive.” I knew firsthand
that the principles could work. As an adolescent who grew up in the
Unity churches I was taught to avoid anything that smacked of fear
and negativity. Prosperity, health, and happiness were all divine
rights that merely needed to be affirmed repeatedly and visualized
until the subconscious mind accepted them as reality.
It would seem that today’s brand of “popular Christianity” is
catching up to Unity’s consciousness level! As _Time_ (17 Feb.
1986) has reported.
The prosperity preachers build on the Pentecostal faith
in here-and-now miracles, citing bits of scripture to
proclaim that God has already guaranteed not only
spiritual comfort but material prosperity and physical
healing. Believers who pronounce their wishes in true
faith have already received them, the preachers maintain,
even though it make take time for the miracles to be
realized. The shorthand version: name it and claim it.
If I might be excused for using a pet cliche of New Agers, what a
deja vu! As a student of Unity, I was taught to approach God
boldly, thanking Him in advance for meeting all my desires, even if
the actual results were slow in being manifested. We
condescendingly tolerated anyone who actually thought they had to
beg or plead God for anything at all. We merely had to deny the
negative condition and receive what God had provided. Unity used
these principles long before neo-pentecostal “faith” teachers
claimed them as the latest revelation knowledge.
In 1969 at the age of 21 I had an experience which contradicted
my belief that it was never right to beg or plead God for anything.
I had fully embraced the free-love philosophies of my generation.
Indeed, I was grateful that my peers were catching up with Unity’s
stand that “there is no such thing as sin.” But one night I
foolishly went to a deserted place with a man whose last name I did
not even know. I quickly realized I had made a serious mistake. I
had no awareness of sin to bother me about involvements of my own
choice, but this time it was clear that I was about to be forced
into a situation I did not want.
We struggled, I fought. I tried to picture this man as a loving
child of God and mentally denied that this was actually happening.
Inwardly I affirmed “divine order” and pictured myself as calm and
in control. Nothing worked. Fear for my own life gripped me just as
tightly as my attacker’s fists upon my torn blouse.
“Go ahead and scream,” he snarled inches from my face. “No one
will hear you out here.”
I had run out of methods and formulas. Silently I prayed the
shortest, most desperate prayer of my life. I pleaded, “Dear God,
please help me!”
Though the man could not hear my inaudible prayer, immediately
he released his hold and slammed me against the wall. He cursed me
disgustedly and growled, “Go on; get out of here.”
Before he could change his mind I hurriedly got in my car and
sped away, sobbing with gratitude that God mercifully allowed me to
It would be another eight years before I would actually know
what it meant to “fear God” enough to ask for His forgiveness of my
sins through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Today when I hear evangelists say that it is not necessary to
beg or plead God for anything, that all we need to do is thank Him
in advance for prosperity or healing or power, or that fear is
immature and anything negative is to be avoided, I am the one who
backs away now.
I wonder — should the church apologize to Unity for
identifying it as one of the largest and most successful cults of
our century? It hardly seems fair to brand it a cult if our own
churches are copying it.
*Elissa Lindsay McClain* is the author of _Rest From The Quest_
(Huntington House, 1985), an account of her conversion from New Age
spirituality to Christianity. She and her husband, Red, reside in
Boynton Beach, Florida.
End of document, CRJ0012A.TXT (original CRI file name),
“Should the Church Apologize to Unity?”
release A, February 7, 1994
R. Poll, CRI
(A special note of thanks to Bob and Pat Hunter for their help
in the preparation of this ASCII file for BBS circulation.)
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