Every week in my rural New Hampshire town I drive by an old church. It is white, has some nice character, and it looks just like any other (Protestant) church building. It even has an exterior sign with text like “Ham and Bean Supper- this Saturday morning”, or “Sunday Worship at 9:30am- All are Welcome”. Sounds good.
I admit that I have never been inside that building, or at any U.U. service, but after some brief research it is clear that the U.U. congregation may be a lot of (decent) things, but it is not a Christian Church. Maybe it was at some point, but it is not today.
The following information was taken in entirety from the official U.U. Church website: (http://www.uua.org/beliefs/history/index.shtml)
There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
All of the above are not in and of themselves a “bad” thing. But are they Christian, at the core? In none of their seven tenets do they mention Christ, or the Bible.
This Church, which is in every State and corner of the nation, does not believe that the Holy Bible is the Word of God. They specifically state that much of the Bible is “mythical or exagerrated”. They believe it should be read just like any other historical or philisophical work. It is nothing special. Persons of any Faith, or no Faith, are welcome and can become full-fledged members of this church. Pagan, atheist, Buddhist- no problem. Any views are welcome and interwoven into their congregation and teachings. One of the local U.U. churches has a weekly Buddhist mediation gathering.
For further information on the history of this Church, please note the following- also garnered directly from the official site:
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition that was formed from the consolidation of two different religions: Unitarianism and Universalism. Both began in Europe hundreds of years ago. In America, the Universalist Church of America was founded in 1793, and the American Unitarian Association in 1825. After consolidating in 1961, these faiths became the new religion of Unitarian Universalism through the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
Both religions have long histories and have contributed important theological concepts that remain central to Unitarian Universalism. Originally, all Unitarians were Christians who didn’t believe in the Holy Trinity of God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), but in the unity, or single aspect, of God. Later, Unitarian beliefs stressed the importance of rational thinking, a direct relationship with God, and the humanity of Jesus. Universalism emerged as a Christian denomination with a central belief in universal salvation; that is, that all people will eventually be reconciled with God.
Since the merger of the two denominations in 1961, Unitarian Universalism has nurtured its Unitarian and Universalist heritages to provide a strong voice for social justice and liberal religion.
I don’t doubt that U.U. is a (liberal) religion, but is it a branch of Christianity? The first part of the Church is that of Unitarian, which is much like those followers of Arius in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Arius did not believe in the 3 Godheads, acting as the Trinity. This has always been one of the key doctrines of Christianity. Is it possible for a person to be Christian and be “Unitarian”- maybe. That is a tough theological question we do not have time to answer here.
But, is a “Universalist” a Christian? In this aspect, I think not. Universalists do NOT believe that Jesus is the only means to salvation and to Heaven. They clearly practice and preach otherwise. That said, as a whole the U.U. Church cannot be deemed Christian. Does this mean that there are no people who attend a U.U. congregation who are saved and will get to Heaven? I would venture to guess that in fact there are some (a minority) of Church members who are actually saved and maybe have stumbled upon a local U.U. church for one reason or another.
In the end, Christians must be aware of organizations which look like they are doing good for their community, and may look like their church, but are not part of Christianity. It is my opinion that the Unitarian-Universalist Church is one such group.
(Author’s Note: This article is not meant to offend those who are in or have attended the U.U. Church; it is merely a quick fact-check to be used for the general knowledge and interest of our various readers at TT’s. Please conduct your own research and opinion regarding the U.U. Church.)