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Overview of Christian Scriptures

How we got from Jesus to Christianity

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1. How Judaism and the Roman empire shaped Jesus' life
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2. The beginnings of the Jesus Movement
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3. Judaism and Christianity go separate ways
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4. Christianity overruns the Empire

From Jesus to Christianity cover

Hi Friends —

Here are links to a series of four videos from a four-part Frontline® public television series originally broadcasted in 1998 and entitled From Jesus to Christ. An additional resource that I highly recommend is L. Michael White's From Jesus to Christianity, published by Harper Collins. Dr. White was the primary consultant for the Frontline series and the content of the book dovetails nicely with the content of the broadcast videos.

You might ask, Why are these videos being placed on TruthUnity, and why should I watch them?

To begin, at the time this page is being posted, we have four weeks before Palm Sunday and the start of Easter week. If you are willing to carve out four hours of your time before Palm Sunday to watch these broadcasts then you will “get the big picture” regarding the story of Jesus and how we got to our understanding of Christianity. If nothing else, you will learn that the story of Jesus and the rise of Christianity is an unorthodox story. In other words, this resource is a solid foundation for our metaphysical Christian spiritual journey.

But also, I have begun to place on these pages resources and links to relevant material from classes offered by Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute and the Unity Urban Ministerial School. These links are not complete, but they are a good start in providing a foundation for those who will take SCS 105, Overview: Christian Scriptures from Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute and for those who will take FU1047, Christian Scriptures from the Unity Urban Ministerial School. By watching the video, reading Michael White's book and following the links you should have a good foundation for taking these classes.

Finally, I've also begun to place links and references to the study of sectarianism and religious innovation, which is what I studied at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. White is the Director of The Institute For the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins at UTexas. In 2011 I was fortunate to take his undergraduate course based on this material. It led me to an understanding of how Unity, as a sect of Christianity, gave rise to the innovation of metaphysical Christianity, just as the Jesus movement, as a sect of Judaism, also gave rise to an the innovation of the Christ of Judaism. Again, it is a work in progress, but this material is useful for those of us who claim and defend Unity's unorthodox place in Christian history. Charles Fillmore may not be the reincarnation of the St. Paul, but his life work certainly dovetails the life work of the Apostle.

I've watched these broadcasts 3-4 times myself and my copy of Michael White's book is nearly falling apart from referring to it whenever I wish to dive deep into a particular book of the New Testament. I can't recommend these resources enough as one way to keep a true lent, to obtain an introduction to the literary and historical foundations of the New Testament and to frame our understanding of Unity as an authentic and distinct expression of historic Christianity.

Mark Hicks
February 25, 2018


Click here for the syllabus for SCS 105 Overview Christian Scriptures from Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute. The course learning objectives are:

  1. Describe and explain the four major divisions of the Christian Scriptures: Gospel, Letter, History, Apocalyptic literature
  2. Explain the criteria process of canonization as it applies to the Christian Scriptures
  3. For each of the four canonical Gospels, describe the view of Jesus the writer presents
  4. Examine the emergence of the Christian church as an organization separate from Judaism
  5. Describe the essential elements of the Apostle Paul’s theology
  6. Describe the significance of the Book of Revelation

Click the next link to watch the first broadcast and to review the related content.