American Unitarian Conference

Promoting the American Unitarian Tradition


Back to the Unitarian Christianity Page The following is a list of famous sermons and other documents by Unitarian and Universalist ministers and other historical figures that have impacted Unitarianism. They serve to illuminate the theology, history, and rich tradition of the Unitarian faith. Click on the underlined title to go to the full sermon.  Many of these sermons were cornerstones in the "Unitarian Controversy" that grew out of the Congregational churches in New England in the early part of the 19th Century.   The message of freedom of religion and freedom of thought embodied in these sermons is as important today as it was nearly 200 years ago. 


"What is it to be a Christian?" (1824) - by Henry Ware.

Ware considers common definitions of "Christian" and provides the most reasonable one. 

"On Original Sin" (1844) (excerpt) - by George Burnap.

"On Justification by Faith Alone" (1848) (excerpt) - by George Burnap.

"The Bible and Explaining It Away" (1855) - by George Burnap.
This article is a discourse by Unitarian clergyman George Burnap (1802-1859), presented at the First Independent Church of Baltimore. The sermon is one of seven compiled into the book Popular Objections to Unitarian Christianity Considered and Answered.

"On the Terms 'God' and 'Lord'" (1854) (excerpt) - by Mary Dana.

"On the Attacks Against Liberal Christianity" (1847) (excerpt) - by Orville Dewey.

"The Unitarian Belief" (1873) - by Rev. Orville Dewey, D.D.
Orville Dewey, D.D. (1794-1882), was an American Unitarian minister born at Sheffield, Massachusetts. Dewey graduated at Williams College in 1814 and studied theology at Andover from 1814 to 1819, afterwards becoming Dr. W.E. Channing's assistant. In 1823 he was made pastor of the Unitarian Church at New Bedford, Massachusetts, and in 1835 of the Second Unitarian Church in New York city. From 1858 to 1862 he was pastor of the South Church in Boston.

"On The Atonement" (1873) (excerpt) - by Orville Dewey.

"The Unity of God - The Trinity" (1873) - by Frederick A. Farley.

"The Unitarian Aim" - by Rev. Charles A. Allen.

"The Religion of the Spirit" - by Ulysses G. B. Pierce, D.D.
This link is to five sermons preached to the "Unitarian Club" by Dr. Pierce in All Souls Church in Washington D.C. on Sunday evenings in January and February in 1910. They were recorded stenographically, and, with necessary corrections are printed as spoken.

"A Reasonable Easter" - by Ulysses G. B. Pierce, D.D.

"The Religious Convictions of an American Citizen" - by William Howard Taft, LL.D.
An address delivered as president of the General Conference of Unitarian and other Liberal Christian Churches.  W. H. Taft, a Unitarian,  was the President of the United States from 1909 to 1913, Chief Justice of the United States from 1921 to 1930, and first civil governor of the Phillipines from 1901 to 1904.  This article is offered here for its historical significance. 

"Seeing Jesus" (1926) - by Rev. Frederic H. Kent. 

2004 American Unitarian Conference