What Do Unity Churches Believe?

Unity Church in Unity Village, Missouri
Unity Church in Unity Village, Missouri.

Americasroof/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Unity, formerly known as the Unity School of Christianity, has its roots in the New Thought movement, a blend of positive thinking, spiritism, eastern religions, and Christianity that was popular in the late 19th century. Although Unity and Christian Science have the same background in New Thought, Unity is separate from that organization.

Located in Unity Village, Missouri, Unity is the parent organization of the Association of Unity Churches International. The two groups hold the same beliefs.

Unity Church

  • Also Known As: Unity School of Christianity; Unity; Unity Church; Association of Unity Churches International.
  • Known For: Church denomination based on the New Thought movement, known for its magazines, Daily Word and Unity Magazine.
  • Founder: Charles and Myrtle Fillmore
  • Founding: 1889, in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Headquarters: Unity Village, Missouri
  • Membership: Unity claims a membership and mailing list of 1 million people worldwide.
  • Geography: Unity's publications reach audiences in the United States, England, Australia, and New Zealand, Africa, Central and South America, and Europe. Nearly 1,000 Unity churches and study groups exist in those areas.
  • Leadership: Rev. Ken Daigle, Board Chair; Jim Blake, CEO of Unity World Headquarters; Guy Swanson, President and COO of Unity.
  • Mission Statement: “To help and serve through prayer, publishing, and community.”

Unity Church Beliefs

Unity does not profess any of the Christian creeds. Its Diversity Statement says Unity is free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, age, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical disability or sexual orientation.

Atonement: Unity does not refer to Jesus Christ's atonement or sacrificial death on the cross for humanity's sin in its statement of beliefs.

Baptism: Baptism is a symbolic act, a mental and spiritual process in which the person aligns with the spirit of God.

Bible: Unity's founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, considered the Bible to be history and allegory. Their interpretation of Scripture was that it is "a metaphysical representation of humankind's evolutionary journey toward spiritual awakening." While Unity calls the Bible its "basic textbook," it also says it "honors the universal truths in all religions and respects each individual's right to choose a spiritual path."

Communion: "Spiritual communion takes place through prayer and meditation in the silence. The word of Truth is symbolized by the bread or body of Jesus Christ. The conscious realization of God-life is symbolized by the wine or blood of Jesus Christ."

God: "God is the one power, all good, everywhere present, all wisdom." Unity speaks of God as Life, Light, Love, Substance, Principle, Law and Universal Mind.

Heaven, Hell: In Unity, heaven and hell are states of mind, not places. "We make our heaven or hell here and now by our thoughts, words and deeds," Unity says.

Holy Spirit: The only mention of the Holy Spirit in Unity's statement of beliefs refers to spiritual baptism signifying the inflow of the Holy Spirit. Unity says the "spirit of God" lives within each person.

Jesus Christ: Jesus is a master teacher of universal truths and the Way-Shower in Unity teachings. "Unity teaches that the spirit of God lived in Jesus, just as it lives in every person." Jesus expressed his divine potential and showed others how to express their divinity, which Unity calls Christ. Unity does not refer to Jesus as God, Son of God, Savior, or Messiah.

Original Sin: Unity believes that humans are inherently good. It believes the Fall occurred not in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve's disobedience to God, but in consciousness, whenever a person resorts to negative thinking.

Salvation: "Salvation is now," according to Unity, not something that happens after death. Unity teaches that each individual produces salvation when they turn from negative thoughts to positive thoughts.

Sin: In Unity teaching, sin is a separation from God by harboring thoughts of fear, anxiety, worry, and doubt. It can be corrected by returning to thoughts of love, harmony, joy, and peace.

Trinity: Unity does not mention the Trinity in its statement of beliefs. It does not address God as God the Father and does not address Jesus as the Son of God.

Unity Church Practices

Sacraments: Not all Unity churches practice baptism and communion. When they do, they are symbolic acts and are not referred to as sacraments. Water baptism represents the cleansing of consciousness. Unity practices communion by "appropriating the spiritual energy" represented by bread and wine.

Worship Services: Unity church services usually feature music and a sermon or lesson. Unity churches have both male and female ministers. Larger Unity churches have ministries for children, married couples, seniors and singles, as well as outreach services.

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Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "What Do Unity Churches Believe?" Learn Religions, Sep. 2, 2022, learnreligions.com/unity-beliefs-and-practices-700122. Zavada, Jack. (2022, September 2). What Do Unity Churches Believe? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/unity-beliefs-and-practices-700122 Zavada, Jack. "What Do Unity Churches Believe?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/unity-beliefs-and-practices-700122 (accessed June 2, 2023).