Are We a Denomination? / Are We Christian?
Hi Friends -
This video, released in February 2024 by the Board of Unity Worldwide Ministries, explicitly asks “Is Unity a denomination?” It is an important video, at least from a learning perspective. So I've segmented it into 21 clips and inserted each clip into a transcript. Scroll down to watch the entire video or further down to see each segment.
It is important for two reasons. First, it explains why we have two institutions in Unity and why we need more. Here is my take on The Rise of Institutional Pluralism in Unity, published in September 2015.
The second reason is that the context for this video is the 2023 controversy which had many people objecting to Christian identity in Unity. Let me explain how these two questions—"Are We a Denomination?/Are We Christian?"—are related in an unexpected and perverse way.
In its first 25 years Unity had no denominational structure whatsover, exactly as Charles Fillmore wished. But by 1916 unbridled, free-spirited teachers in the field were teaching so much non-Unity that the Fillmores felt compelled to address the problem. They developed a Statement of Faith in 1921, formed a “Unity Church Universal” in 1924, gathered ministers to summer training conferences in 1925 and began selectively ordaining ministers in 1931.
Ordinations were restored in 1931 so that Myrtle Fillmore could explicitly identify those who were true to the teachings. Charles was ambivalent, but went along with Myrtle. The formation of UWM in 1966 was initiated by Charles R Fillmore so that the Fillmore teachings of Unity school were insulated from the universalist teachings in the field ministries.
The unexpected insight is that it was Myrtle, not Charles, who was most disturbed by the eclectic array of non-Unity teaching. And it was Myrtle who put her foot down.
The perverse insight is that those who insist on using Unity as a platform to promote their own agenda are those most likely to object to denominational structures. Freedom isn't free. Freedom requires discipline.
Saturday, February 24, 2024