(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Some years ago my wife and I had a friend, Dan, who, though raised in a Christian family, was pursuing a deepening interest in a cult called Unity Church of Practical Christianity. From the website AllAboutCults.org, I found this description of Unity, and it is a good synopsis of the cult’s teaching:
Unity is a church that derives its system of beliefs from the Unity School of Christianity founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. It is rooted in the concepts of metaphys- ical or "divine" healing. Unity is considered a cult be- cause of their beliefs and teachings that deviate signi- ficantly from the biblical truth about God, Jesus, Bible, sin and salvation. Heavily influenced by many other reli- gions, Unity attempts to incorporate the best parts of all religions, cults, and beliefs. Additionally, it has many similarities with other cults arising in the mid-19th cen- tury such as Christian Science, although the teachings differ at various points. The core Unity beliefs that make it a cult include: • God is a principle, not a personal God, and the "force" of love in all people and things. • Jesus the man represents the path toward a higher con- sciousness. • Jesus the Christ is the universal love and wisdom with- in all of us-the perfection of consciousness-independent of religious beliefs. • The Bible is not the inerrant Word of God nor the final authority. • The fall of man is spiritual amnesia from his evolution toward the divine correctable by changing thought patterns from negative to positive thoughts, which is the process of salvation. • There is no literal heaven or hell, but the heaven or hell created by a person's thoughts, words, and actions. • Reincarnation is the means by which believers are regener- ated for eternity. It is clear from their core beliefs that Unity abandons many fundamental Christian tenets, thereby it is considered a cult [opposed] to the truth of Christianity.
After researching the doctrines of Unity Church of Practical Christianity, I challenged Dan concerning the direction he was heading. What I was focused on in this challenge was…
- …the Unity teaching that orthodox Christianity was wrong by emphasizing the need to be cleansed of sin by the blood of Jesus Christ!
- …the related Unity teaching that salvation through a crucified Christ was not needed! We must focus instead on the God within all of us!
But Dan rebuked what I was saying: “I don’t believe that! You don’t need the blood of Jesus to go to heaven! If that’s what being a Christian is all about, then I am not a Christian!”
Another Christian friend who had known this man from childhood was standing nearby listening to the conversation. Not being able to stay quiet any longer, he blurted out, “Dan, you accepted Christ as your Savior when you were a teenager!”
Dan shot back, “If that is what it takes to be your kind of Christian, then I unaccept Him!”
Oh, what a dangerous statement! For it says in Hebrews 6:4 through 6:
...for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away...it is impossible...to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again to them- selves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
Now Dan, who made this dangerous confession, was someone my wife and I deeply cared about. And it broke my heart when I recalled this Scripture in Hebrews 6, considering what he had just said! I did not challenge him again concerning his confession, but I began to pray for him earnestly! My prayer went something like this:
I know Dan is in dangerous territory by rejecting Christ when he had accepted Him some years before. I know what Hebrews 6 says. Please, Lord, is there any way you can restore Dan to faith in Your Son? Is there an escape to this “impossible” situation?
I remembered the story of Ruth the Moabitess, recorded in the four-chapter book of the Old Testament bearing her name as the title. It tells of this Moabite woman who migrated to Israel, and was accepted into the Israelite nation.
- However in Deuteronomy 23:3 and 4, God had told Moses:
“An Amonite or Moabite shall not enter the the congregation of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his des- cendants shall enter the congregation of the LORD forever, because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopo- tamia, to curse you.”
- But Ruth the Moabittess was welcomed into Israel, she being the first generation of Moabite extraction! Not only that, but she is listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, being King David’s great-grandmother! (see Matthew 1:5, 6).
- Did God make an exception to His own stated law? No! For in Ruth 2:12 we hear her future husband Boaz make this statement: “The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” Ruth trusted God, and put her faith in this One who is the Savior of all mankind!
It is much the same for us! We are told in Ezekiel 18:4 and 20, “The soul who sins shall die.” This is more than physical death. For it says…
- …in Revelation 21:8 – “…the…unbelievers [who reject Jesus Christ – see John 3:36]…shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
- …in Revelation 14:11 – “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night….”
But God makes the exception, the way of escape for those who put their faith in the Son of God, and all He has accomplished by His suffering, death, and resurrection:
- Paying for their sins! (see Galatians 3:13; I Peter I:18, 19).
- Conquering death and the fear of death! (see I Corinthians 15:51-57; Hebrews 2:15).
- Giving us His own righteousness! (see Isaiah 61:10; II Corinthians 5:21).
- Making us acceptable before the Father! (see Ephesians 1:6).
So we who had “…no hope, and [were] without God in the world…now in Christ Jesus…[we] who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ.” And that is accomplished only by putting our faith in Jesus!
Back to Dan: I don’t know exactly when the miracle happened. But, not only did Dan and his wife Liz come back to God through faith in Jesus Christ, they are now in ministry, faithfully serving the Lord Jesus! And He is even blessing their ministry with miracles!
- But I also have received a miracle! I prayed that somehow God would forgive Dan for his dangerous confession of rejecting Christ, and restore him and Liz to genuine faith in Himself!
- It is written in Ephesians 3:20 that the Lord, “…able to do exceedingly abun-dantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…by Christ Jesus….” I figure that is where their dedicated ministry comes in! They are not just Christians, they are active and outstanding Christians serving their Lord with all their might!
God is so good!