Comparison of Course Teachings

The Relationship Between the Circle’s Teachings and the Teachings Of Ken Wapnick

by Robert Perry & Greg Mackie

We at the Circle, particularly those of us who write for the Circle (Robert Perry, Allen Watson, and Greg Mackie), have for years been regularly asked by students to clarify the relationship between our teachings and those of Ken Wapnick. These students know that both Ken Wapnick and the Circle of Atonement seek to accurately represent the Course, yet they are also aware that we see the Course differently. This presents a confusing situation for students, many of whom regard both the Circle and Ken Wapnick as authoritative sources of teaching.

We have finally decided to address this issue, briefly in this newsletter and more fully in an upcoming book. What follows in this article will be a list of similarities and a list of differences between our teaching and Wapnick’s. This list will not be exhaustive, but we have tried to make it as accurate as possible. It is difficult to summarize someone’s views as briefly as we have here. To be as faithful as possible in representing Wapnick, we have frequently quoted his own words. Further, in areas where he teaches different (and seemingly incompatible) things, we have tried to capture his main emphasis. Introducing the list of similarities and the list of differences will be a brief account of where, in our view, those similarities or differences come from.

One more point: the purpose of this article is not to present reasoning and evidence in support of our views (which is why there are no Course references attached to our views below). In our book, One Course, Two Visions we explain and support our views more fully, but this article merely aims to present our views and Wapnick’s views as objectively and neutrally as possible.

5 thoughts on “Comparison of Course Teachings

  1. I’m glad you’re trying to address the issue of differences, although I think KW will probably wish to rephrase his side of the interpretation. I hope he will do so here.

    I became a serious student of his version of ACIM in 1992, but not so much lately. I was alarmed to read that he had edited the original at all. Whoever worked to re-introduce the proto-version has my gratitude. I have only seen a bit of it from your files, but it may re-invigorate my studies (at least of the first 5 chapters).

    I believe the Course sounds like metaphor or unattainable goodness because it is given from an eternal ‘place’ (not in time as we know it) – a place which represents our true destiny but not yet our present attainment. That would be the same near-eternal place from which came forth the great friend and Majesty who was in the Incarnation, as Jesus, and to this place he returned afterward (leaving a Spirit advocate with all mankind). This fact that the author was the Incarnation and now teaches from a place that was before as well as after the Incarnation, in my view, gives the lesson an eternal flavor which to us is almost ‘beyond’ our comprehension. We are in the duality of mortal reality, yet potentially we are immortal. Here in time and space the Course may feel like metaphor, and we cannot make anything human of it without our ‘native’ duality creeping in, but it is not metaphor in the highest, eternal sense.

    Anyway, all of this effort you have made can only raise up some new forms in the mind, which can only help (since it is folly to be so stuck to either text that we cannot speak our mind about them). I just hope that if your backgrounds were all ‘evangelical’ that you have thoroughly cleansed your minds from more than just false doctrine, but false attitudes of inerrancy toward the precious gift of revelation.


  2. The Course means what it says.
    The idea of making comparisons between what is not real and what is still not real makes absolutely no sense.

    “A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed.” Jesus ACIM

    What’s wrong with simply saying what it says?


  3. “I am the holy Son of God Himself.”

    Here is your declaration of release from bondage of the world. And here as well is all the world released. You do not see what you have done by giving to the world the role of jailer to the Son of God. What could it be but vicious and afraid, fearful of shadows, punitive and wild, lacking all reason, blind, insane and sad?

    What have you done that this should be your world? What have you done that this is what you see? Deny your own identity and this is what remains. You look on chaos and proclaim it as yourself. There is no sight that fails to witness this to you. There is no sound that does not speak of frailty within you and without; no breath you draw that does not seem to bring you nearer death; no hope you hold but will dissolve in tears.

    Deny your own identity and you will not escape the madness which induced this weird, unnatural and ghostly thought which mocks creation and which laughs at God. Deny your own identity and you assail the universe alone, without a friend, a tiny particle of dust against the legions of your enemies. Deny your own identity and look on evil, sin and death. And watch despair snatch from your fingers every scrap of hope, leaving you nothing but the wish to die.

    Yet what is it except a game you play in which identity can be denied? You are as God created you. All else but this one thing is folly to believe. In this one thought is everything set free. In this one truth are all illusions gone. In this one fact is sinlessness proclaimed to be forever part of everything; the central core of its existence and its guarantee of immortality.” acim Lesson 191


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