Is Unity Christian, Does It Matter?

Charles Fillmore - Unity School is not a sect or church
"Unity School is not a church or sect, but a place where the students of Jesus are assisted [unreadable] spiritual understanding of the words of Jesus, the parables of Jesus, and the rites of the church. We baptize not with water, but with Spirit..." — Charles Fillmore, undated, handwritten document fragment, Unity Archives

Hi Friends —

What is Unity? Here is a handwritten document fragment found in the Charles Fillmore papers at Unity Archives. I have no idea when Charles Fillmore wrote it, nor why, but for me it is the most concise mission/vision statement he ever wrote about the life-long project to which he and Myrtle devoted their lives. Slightly modified, it reads:

Not a church or sect,
   but a place
where the students of Jesus
gain a spiritual understanding
   of the words of Jesus,
   the parables of Jesus
   and the rites of the church.
We baptize not with water
   but with Spirit...

What is Christianity? The standard dictionary definition of Christianity is: “the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices.”

Is Unity Christian? Does Charles Fillmore’s statement about “the words of Jesus, the parables of Jesus and the rites of the church” have anything to do with the dictionary definition of Christianity as “the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth”? If it does, then this document fragment, handwritten by Charles Fillmore, is the smoking gun in asserting that Unity is Christian.

So why does it matter? It matters because as Charles Fillmore asserts, we are not a church or sect and we do not baptize not with water, but with Spirit.

That we are not a church or sect bids us to regard fellow Christians not as institutions but rather as “students of Jesus” who desire deeper “spiritual understanding.” We see them as people, not objects, and so Christianity is, for us, a fellowship. It is a fellowship that includes Mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics, Evangelicals and the diverse array of “students of Jesus who seek a spiritual understanding of the words of Jesus, the parables of Jesus and the rites of the church.”

That we baptize not with water but with Spirit bids us to bless others with more subtle means, primarily prayer, love and forgiveness, all of which are works of consciousness and all of which are in unlimited supply, reach and power.

It is because these unique teachings of the Fillmores can enrich the spiritual understanding of fellow Christians and that they may baptize them not with water but with Spirit that we can say that metaphysical Christianity is an authentic and distinct expression of the historic Christian faith.

Mark Hicks
April 7, 2019