American Unitarian Conference

Unitarian Christianity

Constitution of the American Unitarian Association - Article 2 - May 26, 1825:

"The objects of this association shall be to diffuse the knowledge and promote the interests of pure Christianity throughout our country."


28th. Annual Report of the AUA - 1853:

 

"We desire openly to declare our belief as a denomination, so far as it can be officially represented by the American Unitarian Association, that God, moved by his own love, did raise up Jesus to aid in our redemption from sin, did by him pour a fresh flood of purifying life through the withered veins of humanity and along the corrupted channels of the world, and is, by his religion, forever sweeping the nations with regenerating gales from heaven and visiting the hearts of men with celestial solicitations.  We receive the teachings of Christ, separated from all foreign admixtures and later accretions, as infallible truth from God."


The "Ames Covenant" - Charles Gordon Ames - 1880:

 

"In the freedom of truth, and in the spirit of Jesus Christ, we unite for the worship of God and the service of man"


The Unitarian Covenant

 

"We believe in:

The Fatherhood of God;
The Brotherhood of Man;
The Leadership of Jesus;
Salvation by Character;
The Progress of Mankind
onward and upward forever."

This was a common formulation of Unitarian faith from roughly 1870 until the late 1920s.


Featured Articles

An Explanation of Unitarian Christianity by David Miano

Is Mainline Christianity Waning? by Robert Dorris

Finding God at the Edge by Gary Elkins

The Reluctant Radicals by Robert Dorris


Unitarian Christian Websites

A Short Introduction to Unitarian Christianity - a concise guide.

Unitarian Ministries - a web-based ministry dedicated to sharing the Unitarian Christian tradition and spiritual philosophy of interfaith.

Unitarian-Universalist Christian Fellowship (UUCF) - an association of liberal Christians in the United States of Unitarian and Universalist traditions. Part of the larger non-Christian UUA.

Unitarian Christian Association - the UK version of the UUCF, designed to promote Unitarian Christianity in Great Britain. Part of the larger GAUFCC.

Unitarian Church in Hungary - an association of Christian congregations in Hungary. Unitarianism made its first appearance in Hungary in the 16th century, but not for long, and did not reappear on present-day Hungarian territory until 1867.

Unitarian Church in Transylvania - this website includes history, beliefs, and much more.  The Transylvanian Unitarians were the first to declare the name Unitarian in 1568.

The Unitarian Association in Norway - a Christian association akin to the Transylvanian Unitarian churches.

Unitarian Christians in Italy - the website of the Italian Unitarian Christians (in Italian).

Unitarians in India - the website of the Indian Council of Churches, a Unitarian Christian organization.

Unitarianism - the Wikipedia article.

Transylvanian Unitarian Web Radio - the radio is mainly in Hungarian, but there will be English programs twice a week. To listen, you need the Winamp music software, available at www.winamp.com.

Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson - the famous Transcendentalist freethinker and major literary figure, began his public career as a Unitarian minister. This website is dedicated to his years in the ministry.


Bookshelf


 

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What is Unitarian Christianity?

 

Briefly described, Unitarian Christianity is, like other forms of Christianity, a religion that asserts the divine character, divine spirit, and divine foundation of the teaching of Jesus Christ. It places particular emphasis on reason, conscience, and free will in religion and uses contemporary methods to understand myths and symbols of the past. It is a progressive religion, founded on and patterned after the elemental Christianity of Jesus and his disciples. Like that model, it seeks ever to form surer and nobler understandings of God and of the world by a conscientious search for truth. It lays great stress on the ethical responsibility of individuals, of the Church, and of the human race. Unitarian Christianity is distinguished from other Christian belief systems in four main respects:  

 

1) the belief that human nature in its present condition is neither inherently corrupt nor depraved, but exactly as God created it and intended it to be from the beginning, capable of both good and evil;

2) the conviction that no religion has a monopoly on holy spirit or theological truth;

3) the belief that the Bible, while inspired of God, is written by humans and therefore subject to human error;

4) the rejection of traditional doctrines that malign God’s character or veil the true nature and mission of Jesus, such as the doctrines of predestination, eternal damnation, the Trinity, and the vicarious sacrifice or satisfaction theory of the Atonement.

 

Other belief systems may hold to one or more of these views, but Unitarian Christianity is unique in upholding all of them. It is the rejection of the Trinity doctrine that gave rise to the name “Unitarian,” although disavowal of the Trinity teaching is hardly the emphasis of Unitarianism. Unitarians have great respect for all forms of Christianity, but are convinced that their Christianity best reflects Jesus’ own vision.

(Excerpted from An Explanation of Unitarian Christianity. For a full discussion, click here.)


A Unitarian Confession:

We believe in one God, the Creator and Preserver of all things,

And in Jesus Christ, the one Lord of the Church, 

whose teachings and life form the standard of our faith and practice,

And in the holy spirit, the influence of God within us;

We believe in the divine element in conscience,

In free will and the responsibility that comes with it,

In the inspiration and sanctity of Scripture,

In the forgiveness of sins,

In God's universal love for all humankind,

And in the future advancement of the whole human family to holiness and happiness.

 


Unitarian Christianity and You

Unitarian Christianity is alive and well in America. It may not exist as a separate denomination anymore, but it is a belief system adhered to, knowingly or unknowingly, by many, and there are several individual churches that have a Unitarian theology and liturgy. Unitarian Christians are to be found in almost every Christian denomination. The wonderful truths discovered by reverent and studious persons in times past (and whose writings you can obtain a taste of here) shine as brightly as ever and continue to shed light into people’s lives. The American Unitarian Conference wishes to honor that Unitarian legacy. The AUC is not a church, nor is it a denomination; it is an advocate of the Unitarian tradition and an association of individuals and congregations who carry Unitarian views. So Unitarian Christianity is a belief system it provides information about and promotes. Our mission is to educate the general public about the nature of theistic Unitarianism and its history, to nurture and promote Unitarian Christianity within and across Christian communities, and to provide support and fellowship for individual Unitarians, in whatever religious system in which they happen to find themselves. It is our desire, to help build a sense of community among the Unitarian Christians who are spread throughout different denominations around the country. Through the AUC, Unitarian Christians can let each other know that they are not alone. Whether you are a Unitarian with a lower case or upper case “u,” you will be at home here and find valuable information and resources that may serve to build your faith.

If, after perusing this site and other Unitarian Christian websites, you like what you see and believe the beliefs and principles espoused here reflect your own sentiments, here is what we suggest:

1. Join the American Unitarian Conference. Involvement in this national organization will put you in contact with other Unitarian Christians around the country. You will also be given a subscription to The American Unitarian, a great source of information and inspiration for our wonderful faith.

2. Periodically visit our website and make use of the excellent materials we have available here. Familiarize yourself with Unitarian history and teaching. Benefit by the words of Unitarian theologians of earlier days.

3. Subscribe to some other Unitarian Christian journals available from other sources. We recommend The Unitarian Christian Herald, which is obtainable through the Unitarian Christian Association (UK) and The Unitarian Universalist Christian, which is obtainable through the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship.

4. Come to the AUC annual meeting each year. This will give you further opportunity to worship with others of like faith and to learn from some leading religious thinkers of our time.

5. If you are not currently affiliated with a church, or are unhappy with the one you do attend, you might find a nearby congregation that reflects a Unitarian (or at least a Unitarian-tolerant) theology and begin attending services. As of right now, Unitarian Christian congregations are rare, but there may be one in your local area. See our Congregations page for details about AUC-affiliated congregations, which are either Unitarian Christian or welcoming of Unitarian Christians. If none of these are in your area, you might find a chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship with which you might associate. Another possibility is to attend a nearby church of the Disciples of Christ, a liberal Christian denomination that does not emphasize the Trinity in its services.

If you are interested in helping us here at the AUC:

1. Tell others about our website. Do you have any friends or associates that you think might be sympathetic? Let them know. You could also include a reference to our site in your email signature. 

2. Get in contact with us at info@americanunitarian.org. At this early point in the history of the American Unitarian Conference, we do not have a paid staff.  Accordingly, everything that gets done is done by volunteers. The more people give of their time, the more we can do. We need help distributing information about the AUC and setting up speaking engagements to make presentations about the AUC, scanning old Unitarian essays and sermons into electronic format, editorial assistants and writers for our journal, and help in developing liturgical materials and a hymnal for AUC groups and fellowships.

3. Start having local meetings. You could do this by organizing them through meetup.com, or if you are interested in forming a congregation in your area and will serve as a contact for others who are interested, let us know and we will add your name to the list of Congregation Exploratory Committees.

Christian Texts

The New English Translation of the Bible - the complete text with helpful footnotes.

The Apostle's Bible - an English translation of the Greek Septuagint, the first ever translation of the Bible.

Bible Gateway on Gospelcom.net - a website that allows searches by word or verse of a variety of Bible translations.

Early Christian Writings - the most complete collection of documents from the first two centuries with translations and commentary.

Resource Pages for Biblical Studies - focusing on the early Christian writings and their social world. 

Christian Classics Ethereal Library - Classic Christian writings in electronic format.


  Classical American Unitarian Christian Sermons and Writings

This section is one of the highlights of our site. We are making available many great works that have gone out of circulation, and we continue to add to it as time goes on. Check back often.


Unitarian Christian Discussion Groups

aucchat - a discussion group dedicated to those that want to learn more about the American Unitarian Conference and receive announcements about the association. Feel free to join in and ask questions of interest about the AUC.

aucre - this group serves to connect people who have an interest in sharing the American Unitarian tradition with children. This forum welcomes information about helpful internet links, books, activities, etc.

unitarianchristians - a group that aims to foster friendship and solidarity amongst the international Unitarian Christian community. 

petrosani - this Diaspora congregation connects extended members and friends of Petrosani Unitarian Christian Church in Romania.

freechristian - a group of inclusive Christians from many denominations, promoting free discussion.

 

Unitarian Christian Journals

Yesterday and Today

Sites of Interest

The Bible and Interpretation - dedicated to delivering the latest news, features, editorials, commentary, archaeological interpretation and excavations relevant to the study of the Bible for the public and biblical scholars.

The Web of American Transcendentalism - a source of information on the Transcendentalist movement, inside and outside of Unitarianism.

Hartford Institute for Religion Research - provides quality, social scientific religion research information that is helpful for religious leaders and the general public.

Common Sense Christianity - the purpose of this website is to provide a way to hold Jesus central in our faith-lives, without calling him God, or relying on outdated and unintelligible doctrines. 

Liberalis - a site devoted to liberal Christianity.

Philocrites - commentary on liberal religion and politics.

ChristianHumanism.org - resources for a humanistic Christianity.

Cyber Hymnal - this site has over 4,800 Christian hymns and Gospel songs from many denominations.

The Trinity 

Discussions from Other Christian Websites

Should You Believe in the Trinity? - from the website of Jehovah's Witnesses.

The Doctrine of Christ - from the website of the Associated Bible Students of Central Ohio.

The Trinity Doctrine - a full discussion from heaven.net.nz.

Trinity on Trial - an even fuller discussion by K. N. Stovra.

On the Logical Problem of the Trinity - by Richard Cartwright.

Logical Fallacies Employed in Trinitarian Theology - from the website of the Biblical Unitarians.

The Great Debate - a comparison of differing theologies concerning Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Binitarianism and Trinitarianism - from the website of the Christian Churches of God.

Original Sin 

Discussions from Other Websites

Original Sin: An Overview - by Lewis Loflin.

The Myth of Original Sin - online booklet by A.T. Overstreet.

Are We Condemned by the Sin of Adam and Eve? - from www.godandscience.org.

The Truth About Original Sin - by Dr. Abdallah H. Al-Kahtany (A Muslim critique).

 

Universalist Websites

UniversalistChurch.net

Scott Wells' Universalist Christian website.

 

Universalist Christians Association

set up by individuals from a variety of denominations to support Universalist Christians within existing denominations.

 

The Universalist Herald - The oldest continuously-published liberal periodical in America.

Wider Universalist Fellowship - a place for Christian Universalists and for those who wish to learn more about Christian Universalism.

New Massachusetts Universalist Convention - an organization of individual Unitarian Universalists devoted to "fanning the flame of Universalism."

Destined For Salvation - spreading the good news of God's unconditional love and unlimited salvation.

Tentmaker - articles and resources on universalism.

© 2006 American Unitarian Conference