A Course In Miracles: Is It Christian?
Compiled and Edited by Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Outline and Links to Topics:
Although it is not widely known "A COURSE IN MIRACLES" was received by demonic revelation. Here's why I say that. In October 1965, an atheist, Jewish, psychologist named Helen Schucman, an associate professor of medical psychology at Columbia University in New York, claimed she began receiving channeled messages from an unknown entity in an audible voice. At a later date the entity identified itself as Jesus Christ according to A Talk Given On A Course In Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick, May 9, 1981, page 10. As a matter of record, for the next ten years the voice is said to have dictated "in an inaudible voice" the three volume, 1,188 page, 500,000 word book known as A Course In Miracles according to an article that appeared in Psychology Today, September 1980, page 75.
Next on the scene was Dr. William Thetford who was an associate of Helen's. He was a clinical psychologist at Columbia University. While he was present with Ms. Schuchman on several occasions when she was receiving her revelations, he never, at any time heard the voice. Yet, he believed (according to The Holy Encounter, September/October 1990, page 5) that the revelation Schuchman was receiving was "the original teachings of Jesus "
The Doctor was mistaken on two accounts. First, as a person who holds a degree in psychology I learned that there is a BIG problem when you encounter a patient who is hearing audible voices. Secondly, as a Bible believing pastor who holds a masters degree in theology in theology I believe in the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. Therefore I measure all other teachings by the 66 books of the Bible. But Dr. William Thetford did not that view. Because he was raised in the Christian Science Church, he was accustomed to extra-biblical revelation. Therefore, he was pre-conditioned to being receptive to this sort of demonic activity. Thetfore worked hard to bring "A Course In Miracles" to publication. His efforts gained momentum in 1972 when he met Dr. Kenneth Wapnik of the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) of Glen Ellen, California. Schuchman and Thetford turned the copyrights for the Course over to (FIP) in 1975 and in September of that same year the first edition of A Course In Miracles came rolling off the press in a three volume set. There is some disagreement as to the publication date. The copy of the Course that is in my research library says "A Course In Miracles was first published in three volumes in June of 1976.
In February of 1981 Helen Schucman discovered that she was not talking to the Jesus Christ of the Bible but a false Christ. The reason I say that is because that is when she died and because she had not received the biblical Christ she went to Hades. The same is true for her crony William Thetford who died in 1988. They know now that their efforts should have been directed to the study and belief of Biblical revelation and a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ instead of the false Christ Schucman encountered by occult means.
Despite the death of these two cult leaders, A Course In Miracles has experienced phenomenal growth. According to the November/December 1990 issue of Holy Encounter there were a total of 1, 250 study groups meeting in 48 states. Then the Course got another boost when Marianne Williamson was featured in Time magazine. Her supporters call her "the Mother Teresa for the `90's." Williamson is one of the best known promoters of the Course (Time, 29 July 1991, p. 60). In 1992, Williamson published A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course In Miracles which "occupied the number one position on the Publishers Weekly non-fiction best-sellers list for eleven weeks!" (The Holy Encounter, July/Aug. 1992, page 2). The BIGGEST EXPOSURE for A Course In Miracles came when Williamson appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, which received more pro viewer mail than any other show for 1992, and with Barbara Walters on the ABC television news show 20/20 (The Holy Encounter, July/Aug. 1992, p. 2; July/Aug. 1993, page 9).
It is indeed tragic that there is an increasing number of Evangelical Christians who are studying this course and see nothing wrong with it. The truth is, there are major doctrinal problems with A Course In Miracles.
FALSE DOCTRINAL TEACHINGS OF A COURSE IN MIRACLES
Normally, when explaining the theology of a group, these two categories [Jesus and Man] would be discussed separately. However, in this particular organization, to differentiate between the two seems to be unjustified.
According to the Course, Jesus is merely "an elder brother entitled to respect for his greater experience." The Jesus of the Course explains, "There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. This leaves me in a state which is only potential in you. I bridge the distance as an elder brother to you on the one hand, and as a Son of God on the other" (A Course In Miracles, Vol. 1, p. 5).
Similar to many other New Age teachings, the Course makes a distinction between Jesus the man, who is like all other men, and the Christ idea, which all men possess and must eventually demonstrate. The Course explains this idea when it states, "There is no need for help to enter Heaven for you have never left. But there is need for help beyond yourself as you are circumscribed by false beliefs of your Identity, which God alone established in reality.
"Helpers are given you in many forms. There names are legion, but we will not go beyond the names the course itself employs. The name of Jesus is the name of one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God. So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but at one with God. The man was an illusion, for he seemed to be a separate being, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold his self from Self, as all illusions do.
"Jesus remains a Savior because he saw the false without accepting it as true. And Christ needed his form that He might appear to men and save them from their own illusion. Jesus became what all of you must be".
Thus, according to the Course, Jesus the man was used by the Christ to demonstrate the illusion of the world. In actuality, man is still in heaven. It is simply the illusion of sin and death that have caused false senses of reality. However, when man gains his Christ consciousness as Jesus did, then according to the Course, man will also discover the illusion of sin.
Nature of Illusion and Reality: One of the stated purposes of the Course is to "teach the Course's reinterpretations of traditional Christian principles such as sin, suffering, forgiveness, Atonement, and the meaning of the Crucifixion" (Foundation for A Course In Miracles, "Forgiveness," p. 4).
As the Course explains, Man has not left Heaven. Man is still in the presence of God, but has created this illusionary World from "...false perceptions. It is born of error, and it has not left its source". Because Man believes he is separated from God, through his own ego and mistaken beliefs, Man has created the reality in which he now finds himself.
"The effect of the ego's belief in separation, which is its cause; the thought of separation given form; the world, being the expression of the belief in time and space, was not created by God.... The World of separation reinforces the ego's belief in sin and guilt, perpetuating the seeming existence of this world" (Glossary-Index For A Course In Miracles, p. 168).
Given the presupposition that Man is the creator of his own illusionary world is of no help to the average person. For, as is explained by one of the Course's introductory booklets, "Once an individual has been caught in the world of perception he is caught in a dream. He cannot escape without help, because everything his senses show him merely witnesses to the reality of the dream" (A Course In Miracles: What Is It?, p. 7).
Thus, if the world is an illusion or dream-state, then by necessity, everything that the physical body does in this make-believe world must also be an illusion. This would necessarily include the false concepts of sin and death. As Volume 2 of the Course demands, "...sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin will never happen, for it has no cause" (p. 179). A similar claim is made on death's behalf. "Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem" (Vol. 3, p. 63).
Thus the world, sin, death and everything is an illusion created by the ego of man, who unfortunately believes in the mistaken idea that he is not currently in heaven and is separated from God. If this is so, how is man to awaken from his "dream-state"?
Kenneth Wapnick, of the Foundation for Inner Peace, explains, "If we now attempt to follow the Holy Spirit's thinking, and we want to prove that the world is not real and that the sin of separation never happened, all that is needed is to prove that sin has no effect.
"If we could prove that the cause had no effect then the cause can no longer exist. If something is not a cause it is not real, because everything that is real must be a cause and thus have an effect. If we remove the effect we are also eliminating the cause.
"Now, if the greatest effect of sin in this world is death, demonstrating that death is an illusion simultaneously demonstrates that there is no sin. This also says that the separation never occurred. We therefore need someone to show us that there is no death. By undoing death that person will also undo sin and will simultaneously show us that there is no separation; the separation never occurred and the only reality, the only true Cause, is God. That person was Jesus. And his mission was to show that there is no death.
"The gospels speak of Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The way that he took away the sins of the world was to show that they had no effect. Through his overcoming of death he took away all sins. However, this is not the way that the churches have understood it, or that it has been taught. So one important reason that the Course has come at this time, in this way, is to correct this error. What Jesus did was to live in this world - the world of suffering, sin, and death - show that it had no effect on him" (A Talk Given On A Course In Miracles, p. 65).
Though the Course explains Man's ego created the world, the Bible disagrees: Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16.
Though the Course teaches Man is still in heaven with God, Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for Man. Hence man is obviously not already in heaven: John 14:1-3.
While the Course denies the reality of death, the Bible teaches that every person will die: Hebrews 9:27.
The Course claims Jesus' body was an illusion. The Bible, however, stresses the physical reality of Jesus' human body: John 1:14, 1 John 4:1-3.
Sin is an illusion according to the Course, but the Bible warns of sin's reality and consequences: Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:7-10.
According to the Course, Jesus is not the only Savior. The Bible presents Jesus as the unique and only Savior of the world: John 14:6, Acts 4:10-12, Acts 16:29-31.
In conclusion, A Course In Miracles is the product of demonic revelation. Those who believe the Course is Christian should read 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. There is nothing Christian about A Course In Miracles!
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
This report was compiled and edited David L. Brown, Th.M. using the
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