Prosperity and the Twelve Powers
Lesson 5 — Why the Power of Command Works and What It Means for Social Justice
Sunday lesson given at Unity Center of Christianity in Baltimore, November 3, 2019.
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Hi Friends -
Metaphysical religion has always claimed that we have the “power of command”—that we shape our world with words and that which we decree “is established unto us.” For us in the Fillmore tradition, we refer to this capacity we have to shape our world as the “power faculty.”
Most Fillmorians are comfortable with the idea that our use of words affects our experience of life. That is to say, the words we speak change our consciousness and attitudes so that we are more peaceful, open and receptive to life conditions. Our language is a part of our thinking, and the 3rd Unity principle holds that thinking shapes our experience.
But many Fillmorians go further. Many declare that our words affect not only our consciousness (how we experience life) but that our words also affect the actual conditions of our life. It is one thing to believe that how we talk affects our attitude. But it is something else to believe that how we talk affects outer conditions—who lives and who dies, who is rich and who is poor.
That is a hard teaching. I wrote about this a few years back entitled Why does God, allow evil and suffering? The point of that post was that, yes, God does allow evil and suffering, but God also provides humanity with a capacity to transform all evil and suffering into a greater good.
Further, I stated that it is only metaphysical religion which teaches that we have this capacity for transforming evil into a greater good by use of the power of command. Mainline Christianity has been generally ambivalent about the “problem of evil.” Evangelical Christianity has generally endorsed suffering as an act of God for retribution or discipline.
Only metaphysical Christians have regarded evil as something we are called to “overcome.” We in metaphysical Christianity hold that poverty, suffering and death are “not normative” and we have been given teachings by Jesus on prosperity and spiritual healing to address them. Further, for having these teachings, the mainline and Evangelicals have all too often condemned the Fillmore teachings as being not Christian.
So, have we lost the power to heal? Have we lost the power to overcome poverty? Have we lost these powers taught by Jesus and his followers? Are we in a “cessationist” era (the doctrine that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the apostolic age)?
Catherine Ponder certainly doesn’t think so. Chapter Six of The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity, The Prosperity Law of Command, is filled with stories of peace, health, happiness and plenty being brought forth by our use of words—the power of command.
Before I go on, let me review what this series of talks is about. This talk is the fifth in a series of talks based on Catherine Ponder’s Dynamic Laws of Prosperity. The talks are based on a belief I’ve had for several years—that chapters two through seven of her book reflect a particular coupling and ordering of metaphysical truths from the twelve powers as taught by Charles and Cora Fillmore.
Here is how the chapters line up with the powers:
- The basic law of prosperity: Strength and Order
- The vacuum law of prosperity: Renunciation and Life
- The creative law of prosperity: Understanding and Will
- The imaging law of prosperity: Faith and Imagination
- The prosperity law of command: Power and Zeal
- The prosperity law of increase: Love and Wisdom
When I have had difficulty with prosperity, I look not only to difficulty with one or more of the six laws of prosperity in Catherine Ponder’s book. But I also look at failing to draw upon one or more of the twelve powers. And what I find is a strong similarity between the laws of prosperity and the powers of man.
In other words Catherine Ponder may have unconsciously perceived a hidden ordering of the twelve powers as they relate to the metaphysics of prosperity. If my hunch is right, that would explain why her book has been so effective in helping so many people for so many years. And, even more important, we then have not only another prosperity program in the Fillmore movement, we also have a new insight into the twelve powers.
Power, the faculty located at the root of the tongue, is, like all twelve faculties, in proximity to another faculty, Zeal. Power and Zeal are associated in a special way and the association provides a way to understand why our use of words has an effect on the our conditions of poverty, sickness and death.
This week’s lesson looks at the Prosperity Law of Command and how it is related to the powers of Power and Zeal. Let me make the case for the effectiveness of our power of command to overcome poverty, sickness and death.
What is Zeal? Zeal is enthusiasm, a quality of being “Spirit filled” or “God filled.” It is a quality that gives us an impulse—a drivenness to achieve, a purpose, a drive.
Two weeks ago this series looked at “desire.” Desire is not enthusiasm. To borrow an analogy from William James, desire is like the waves on the surface of an ocean, but enthusiasm is the tide of the ocean itself. It is true that Enthusiasm is a desire, but it is an innate desire. Everyday desire, like waves on the ocean surface, is a response to an external stimulus, it is something I see. The innate desire of Enthusiasm is something I AM. It is “Christ in me, my hope of glory.”
The key to understanding Zeal is that it has “innate intelligence,” it has purpose. We sense this intrinsic purpose when we observe the teaming life of nature. The French theologian and paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin declared it the Omega Point, to which Universe is unfolding. It is the quality that theologians point to when they speak of “intelligent design,” that mutations in species and evolution is not random but rather it is guided by an intelligent power.
What is Power? As said above, Power is the power of Command, our capacity to use words in such a way that we not only experience life differently but that our conditions of life are affected as well.
There is a well known passage in the book of Job that is quoted by Catherine Ponder and is often quoted when talking about the faculty of command. It is “Thou shalt decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee.” The Hebrew word for “decree” really means “to decide” and it is translated so in the NRSV translation. The word decide has its root in the ability to cut down or cut off, like the related words homicide and suicide.
Charles Fillmore taught that the power center in the throat controls all the vibratory energies of the organism. As such, it can raise or lower life energy of any sentient thing that has innate intelligence by shifting its vibratory energy. When we “decree” or “decide” we shift the vibratory energy of any sentient thing that has innate intelligence. That brings us to the main point of this post.
How does Power heal? How does Power bring prosperity? Sentient things are alive because they have life energy, a vibratory energy that is controlled by Power. Power, through its capacity to decree, can cut off life energy and therefore it has the ability to kill. It also can raise vibratory energy and so has the capacity to permit the full function of innate intelligence, leading to healing and prosperity.
So a spiritual healer does not shove things around through the power of Command. Rather the spiritual healer quickens the innate intelligence of the recipient by raising vibratory energy and so enables the organism to achieve its Omega Point of perfect peace, health, happiness and prosperity.
Without an awareness of the innate intelligence of the recipient, the spiritual healer has no understanding of the spiritual healing process. He or she may be successful, but only by chance.
What does this mean for social justice? This past June 11th, I and seven other people from various Christian denominations sat in the office of Elijah Cummings, our Congressman from the 7th district of Maryland. Rep. Cummings passed on week before last and it’s fair to say that nearly everyone in Baltimore was tremendously saddened.
The eight of us are members of Bread for the World, a Christian citizen’s group who lobby our nation’s “decision” makers (there is that word again) on behalf of those who are hungry. We went to “decree a thing” and to advocate for increased funding for food programs that reduce hunger and poverty. We didn’t get to see Rep. Cummings, but we had nearly an hour with his assistant. This past Wednesday we received word that, in a very divided Congress, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved what we asked for, the bipartisan Global Nutrition Resolution (H.Res.189).
Here’s my point. Many people in the Fillmore movement want our movement to be more active in social justice. Social justice is typically about criticizing policy or about giving money. But social justice, from a metaphysical perspective, isn’t about either of those things. It’s about recognizing the innate intelligence of poor people (dignity) and recognizing the innate intelligence of decision makers (good will). And, with that awareness, it is about decreeing Truth to raise the consciousness of both.
We will sometimes need to be critical of policy and we will sometimes need to raise money. But we should always use Catherine Ponder’s Law of Command to raise the innate intelligence of all people and all decision makers.
The Fillmores were not active in social justice, as we know. But they were far advanced in recognizing the dignity and good will of all people. Further, their message of prosperity and health just may be what we need at this particular time. It just may be that metaphysical Christianity has a unique understanding of social justice—that it rests as much on raising dignity and good will as much as it does on criticizing policy and raising money.
We all know that our words can bless and they can kill. This understanding should nudge us to become more involved in political discourse. I hope you will click through to the Bread for the World site and become a member. I hope you will write a letter to your representative and senators in support of increased nutrition programs. And I hope that those of us who follow the teachings of the Fillmores will recognize our power of healing and prosperity by use of the Prosperity Law of Command.
Sunday, November 3, 2019