A Course in Miracles Denies All
What do talk show host Oprah Winfrey, "Hour of Power's" Robert Schuller and Robert Young of "Father Knows Best" fame all have in common?
All are either promoters or students of the New Age books, A Course In Miracles! (The Holy Encounter, Sept., 1989; July/Aug., 1990 and Spiritual Counterfeits Project Newsletter Vol. 7 #2).
Although the Course uses Christian terminology and has been called by William Thetford, one of its founders, "the original teachings of Jesus," it is in reality nothing more than cloaked New Age philosophy lurking in the shadows waiting to spring on the unaware (The Holy Encounter, Sept./Oct. 1990, p. 5).
So subtle in its deception, in fact, this program is being taught in Christian churches around the country.
Thetford explains, "I do know there are some ministers, George McLaird of the Presbyterian Church is Sausalito, California, is one of them, who teaches the Course on a regular basis in their churches," (Ibid, p. 6).
To have the Course taught in a New Age seminar is unfortunate. But to believe that it should be presented in a Christian church on a regular basis is perhaps the epitome of New Age fraud and deception!
In 1965, Helen Schucman, an assistant professor of medical psychology at Columbia University in New York, began receiving channelled messages from a speaker who would identify himself as Jesus Christ.
For the next ten years, the voice is said to have dictated "in an inaudible voice," (Psychology Today, Sept. 1980, p. 75).
The messages began with the words, "Please take notes," which would result in three volumes of over 500,000 words (Ibid).
Purpose of The Course
In a statement from the Foundation For A Course In Miracles, an organization in Roscoe, New York, whose sole purpose is the promotion of the Course, comes this insightful information.
"This vision entails the belief that Jesus gave the Course at this particular time in this particular form for several reasons.
...the necessity of healing the mind of its belief attack is salvation; this is accomplished through forgiveness, the undoing of our belief in the reality of separation and guilt."
Another primary reason for the Course is the "Correcting of the errors of Christianity.... To foster spiritual development through the study and practice of A Course In Miracles, a set of three books channeled by Jesus. ...to teach the Course's reinterpretation of traditional Christian principles such as sin, suffering, forgiveness, Atonement, and the meaning of the Crucifixion...," (pp. 3-4).
This idea of correcting the errors of Christianity and reinterpreting orthodox Christian principles is the basis of this system's philosophical approach.
Person Of Jesus And Nature Of Man
Normally when explaining the theology of a group, the categories of The Person of Jesus is separated from that of the Nature of Man.
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...."
Jesus 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," (Vol. 1, p. 5).
Further information about the inseparability of Jesus and Man is found in volume 3 of the Course:
"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.... Their 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....
"Jesus remains a Savior because he saw the false without accepting it as true. ...Jesus became what all of you must be. ...Is he the Christ? O yes, along with you. ...Is he God's only Helper? No, indeed. For Christ takes many forms with different names...," (pp. 83-84).
If Jesus was a man, though illusionary, and Man has equal potential to acquire that which Jesus now possesses, how is this to be accomplished?
Mentioned previously, the Course believes it must correct the errors of Christianity.
What is perhaps the primary mistake of Christianity, according to the Course, is Man's inability to distinguish between that which is real and that which is illusion.
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," (Vol. 2, p. 403).
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.
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 actions 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, if 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 therefore is separated from God, how is Man to awaken from his "dream-state?"
Atonement Of Jesus
Kenneth Wapnick, of the Foundation For A Course In Miracles, explains, "If we now attempt to follow the Holy Spirit's thinking, and we want to prove that this 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 demon¬strated 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).
Hence, according to the Course, when Jesus was resurrected He overcame death. Thus proving the unreality of death and the illusion of sin. For if death is the result of sin and death is an illusion than sin is categorically denied as an illusion, too.
The final outcome of the Atoning act is explained by the Jesus of the ?Courseo in this fashion.
"My part in the Atonement is the cancelling out of all errors that you could not otherwise correct," (Vol. 1, p. 6).
While all of this may sound very reasonable on the surface, it has one minor fatal flaw. It is not true!
Aside from being filled with logical errors and practical problems, its major error is, it is biblically unsound.
The Course with its many logical errors and unbiblical foundation has over the past ten years been growing in momentum and in its subtlety.
It is a series of books and an organization whose existence every Christian should not only be aware of, but also have a biblical answer for, in order to refute its heretical teachings.