The Unity School of Christianity was founded by Charles and
Myrtle Fillmore. Charles Sherlock Fillmore was born near St.
Cloud, Minnesota in 1854. He married Mary Caroline Page (or
"Myrtle") in 1881.
The early years of their
marriage recorded many financial ups and downs until they finally
established a modest real estate office in Kansas City, Missouri.
Myrtle's family had a history of tuberculosis and she herself was
eventually stricken ill with the dreaded disease. She also
contracted malaria and was given, by her doctor, only six months
In 1886, the Fillmores
went to a lecture which was to change their lives dramatically.
The speaker, E. B. Weeks, said to the crowd that night, "I
am a child of God and therefore I do not inherit sickness."
Myrtle believed the statement and continued to recite it over and
over again. Eventually she was healed.
At first, Charles refused to accept his wife's new technique but
he was willing to investigate it, along with other religions.
After an extensive study of the science of mind and Eastern
religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism, he decided to try his
wife's meditation technique. After continued meditation, his
withered leg was healed, and he joined Myrtle in founding a new
religious system, later called the Unity School of Christianity.
Borrowing heavily from
Christian Science and New Thought, (a 19th century metaphysical
healing movement developed from the system of mental healer
Phineas Quimby), the Fillmores added their own interpretations,
including the Eastern concept of reincarnation, and presented
their teachings first to the people of Missouri and then to the
world. Under pressure from Christian Science founder, Mary Baker
Eddy, the Fillmores stopped using terms common to Christian
They did enjoy a long relationship with the New Thought movement,
but eventually chose independent status as a religious movement
not affiliated with any other religion. The movement went through
several names; Modern Thought (1889), Christian Science Thought
(1890), and Thought (1891), and eventually took the name Unity in
Myrtle Fillmore died in
1931 whereupon Charles married Cora Dedrick, his private
secretary. Charles Fillmore died in 1948. The leadership of Unity
was taken over by the Fillmores' two sons, Lowell and Rickert,
and subsequently experienced a rapid growth. Today, Unity has
some two million adherents worldwide, with its headquarters at
Unity Village, in Lee's Summit, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas
The Beliefs of Unity
Unity claims that beliefs and belief systems are not important.
What matters is that the Unity system works, even if the
practitioner doesn't believe everything Charles and Myrtle
Fillmore taught. However, in actual practice Unity is a strict
religious system with clear-cut beliefs to which all long-term
members eventually subscribe.
It was 30 years before
Charles Fillmore drew up a statement of faith which was qualified
with the following: "We are hereby giving warning that we
shall not be bound to this tentative statement of what Unity
believes. We may change our mind tomorrow on some of the points,
and if we do, we shall feel free to make a new statement"
(James Dillet Freeman, What Is Unity?, Lee's Summit, Missouri,
n.d., p. 5).
Contrary to Fillmore's
statement is the Bible's continued assertion that what a person
believes is important. "He who believes in the Son has
eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see
life; but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36 NASB.
See also Hebrews 11:6. [For further documentation on why right
belief is vital to the Christian faith, see our work, Answers to
Tough Questions, pp. 149-1511].
The basic world view of Unity is that of gnosticism. Gnosticism
is a theological term referring to a system of belief that
qualitatively separates the spirit from the material. It also
believes knowledge is secret and only obtainable by a select few.
Gnostics generally believe that what is spiritual is good and
what is material is bad. Christian Science, another gnostic cult,
goes so far as to say that the material world doesn't even exist!
According to gnosticism,
God is impersonal and one's eventual goal is to reach oneness
with this impersonal God. Gnostics view Jesus Christ as a human
being who possessed, in some great way, the expression or
presence of God. To them, Jesus refers to the man and Christ
refers to the divine influence. Rather than agreeing with the
Bible by declaring that Jesus is the Christ (1 John 5:1),
gnostics, including Unity, separate Jesus from the Christ.
Unity is not as interested in theology as it is in prosperity and
happiness. A survey of the literature of Unity will clearly show
that the stress is on material and worldly happiness, not
"We believe that the Word of God is the thought of God
expressed in creative ideas and that these ideas are the primal
attributes of all enduring entities in the universe, visible and
invisible. The Logos of the first chapter of the Gospel of John
is the God idea of Christ that produced Jesus, the perfect man.
We believe the Scriptures are the testimonials of men who have in
a measure apprehended the divine Logos but that their writings
should not be taken as final" (Unity's Statement of Faith,
The Scriptures testify to the fact that it is God who is their
ultimate author, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of
God" (2 Timothy 3:16), "
. When you received from
us the Word of God's message, you accepted it not as the word of
men, but for what it really is, the Word of God". (1
Thessalonians 2:13 NASB).
The doctrine of God in Unity is similar to that of Christian
Science and other gnostic cults. Rather than believing in the
Bible's infinite and personal creator, Unity adheres to the
belief that God is impersonal.
This can be readily seen
by a statement from Myrtle Fillmore. "Though personal to
each one of us, God is it, neither male nor female, but
principle" (Myrtle Fillmore, How to Let God Help You, 1956,
p. 25). The Metaphysical Dictionary, a work of Charles Fillmore
states, "The Father is Principle, the Son is that Principle
revealed in creative plan, the Holy Spirit is the executive power
of both Father and Son carrying out the creative plan'
'(Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, p. 629). One Unity publication
states, "God is all and all is God" (Unity, August,
1974, p. 40).
Fillmore also said,
"God is not loving ... God does not love anybody or
anything. God is the love in everybody and everything. God is
love ... God exercises none of His attributes except through the
inner consciousness of the universe and man" (Jesus Christ
Heals, Unity School of Christianity, 1944, pp. 31,32).
The Fillmores and other Unity writers confuse the attributes of
God with God Himself. God is more than attributes such as love.
He is personal (Exodus 3:14). He is not to be equated with the
impersonal "everything" for He has a separate existence
apart from creation (Isaiah 44: 1-28; Romans 1:18-25). Unity
would deny Him His rightful position as creator, sustainer, and
Lord of the universe.
"The Bible says that God so loved the world that He gave His
only begotten Son, but the Bible does not here refer to Jesus of
Nazareth, the outer man; it refers to the Christ, the spiritual
identity of Jesus, whom he acknowledged in all his ways, and
brought forth into his outer self, until even the flesh of his
body was lifted up, purified, spiritualized, and redeemed, thus
he became Jesus Christ, the word made flesh.
"And we are to
follow into this perfect state and become like Him, for in each
of us is the Christ, the only begotten Son. We can, through Jesus
Christ, our Redeemer and example, bring forth the Christ within
us, the true self of all is perfect, as Jesus Christ commanded
his followers to be" (Unity, Vol. 57, no. 5, 464, and Vol.
72, no. 2, p. 8).
The Bible states however, "Who is the liar, but the one who
denies that Jesus is the Christ. . ." (I John 2:22). Jesus
was called the Christ from the time of his birth (Luke 2:11, 26).
The only way one can be born of God is to believe that Jesus is
the Christ (1 John 5:1).
Unity teaches that
within all of us there is an "inner Christ," equated
with perfection, a divine awareness (Elizabeth Sand Turner, What
Unity Teaches, Lee's Summit, Missouri, n.d., p. 9). All of us are
capable of attaining that "inner Christ," that divine
awareness and perfection.
The New Testament
maintains that Jesus is different from us by the fact that He is
God by His very nature: "In the beginning was the Word, and
the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).
Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God (John 1:14). No one else
can be the Son of God as Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John
5:18-23). He alone is the "image of the invisible God"
(Colossians 1:15), the "radiance of His glory and the exact
representation of His nature" (Hebrews 1:3).
In Unity, salvation is unnecessary: "There is no sin,
sickness or death" (Unity, Vol. 47, No. 5, p. 403). There is
no need for the death of Christ on the cross to take away sin.
Unity said of the atonement of Christ, "The atonement is the
union of man with God the Father, in Christ. Stating it in terms
of mind, we should say that the Atonement is the At-one-ment or
agreement of reconciliation of man's mind with Divine Mind
through the superconsciousness of Christ's mind" (What
Practical Christianity Stands For, p. 5).
Here again we have Unity
in direct contradiction to the Bible that acknowledges sin as a
reality, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of
God" (Romans 3:23). Furthermore, "The wages of sin is
death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
our Lord" (Romans 6:23). If a person does not come to Christ
for salvation he will be lost in his sin, "For unless you
believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins" (John 8:24
Unity's statement of faith shows that they believe salvation
involves reincarnation. "We believe that the dissolution of
spirit, soul, and body caused by death, is annulled by rebirth of
the same spirit and soul in another body here on earth. We
believe the repeated incarnations of man to be a merciful
provision of our loving Father to the end that all may have
opportunity to attain immortality through regeneration, as did
Jesus. This corruptible must put on incorruption" (Unity's
Statement of Faith, Article 22).
that only through many lifetimes can one rid himself of the debt
for all of his sins. However, the Bible teaches that through
Jesus Christ we can be rid of all of our sins at one time (1 John
1:8-10). His purpose for dying on the cross was as a sacrifice
for our sins (Acts 3:18, 19).
Jesus Christ is the only
Savior we ever need because "He abides forever, holds His
priesthood permanently. Hence, also, He is able to save forever
those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to
make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:24, 25). We have the
promise of God Himself that our salvation has been guaranteed
through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross (I
Another major tenet of Unity is that no one need be poor. Charles
Fillmore, in his book Prosperity (p. 69), perverted the 23rd
Psalm in expressing this belief.
"The Lord is my banker, my credit is good. He maketh me to
lie down in the consciousness of omnipresent abundance; He giveth
me the key to His strongbox. He restoreth my faith in His riches;
He guideth me in the paths of prosperity for His name's sake. Yea
though I walk in the very shadow of debt, I shall fear no evil,
for Thou art with me: Thy silver and Thy Gold, they secure me.
Thou preparest a way for me in the presence of the collector;
Thou fillest my wallet with plenty; my measure runneth over.
Surely goodness and plenty will follow me all the days of my
life; And I shall do business in the name of the Lord
The message of the Bible concerns our spiritual prosperity, not
our material prosperity. As Christians, our desires are to be
transformed spiritually by faith in Jesus Christ and the working
of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The greed and self-centeredness
exhibited by Fillmore's poem is in direct contradiction to the
humility and God-centeredness the Bible teaches. If one's central
desire is to serve the Lord and to express His love to others,
one's material needs diminish and material prosperity doesn't
The Apostle Paul put it like this:
Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in
whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble
means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and
every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and
going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can
do all things through Him who Strengthens me ... And my God shall
supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ
Jesus (Philippians 4:11-13,19 NAS).
The Unity School of Christianity has no right to use the name
Christian to describe its organization, for it is decidedly not
Christian. Unfortunately, many Christians read the publications
of Unity without realizing it is a non-Christian cult denying the
basic beliefs of Christianity. in the first publication that
proceeded from the Fillmores, the non-Christian basis was
revealed when they said, "We see the good in all religions
and we want everyone to feel free to find the Truth for himself
wherever he may be led to find it" (Modern Thought, 1889, p.
42). In contrast to this, Jesus of Nazareth said, "I am the
Way, and the Ruth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but
through me" (John 14:6 NASB). It is clear that Unity and
Christianity are opposed to each other on the basic issues with
no possible way of reconciling Unity as being part of