A RELIGION OF CHANGE
Unitarians call themselves by that name because they claim to see a basic unity underlying all diversities. Their pamphlets state that they hope "to forge reasonable beliefs for ourselves without turning religion into no more than an intellectual exercise; to respect all persons while feeling free to disagree openly with points of view expressed." In 1961 the Unitarians merged with the Universalist Church of America to form the Unitarian Universalist Association of North America. They are affiliated with the Unitarian General Assembly in London, and the International Association of Religious Freedom worldwide.
A RELIGION OF DENIAL
Early dates for the Unitarian movement vary from publication to publication, and a clear date for a beginning is difficult to establish. The movement, with roots as far back as the sixteenth century, but more defined by the nineteenth century, began with denial of basic Christian doctrine, a pattern which continues to this day. We really cannot refer to the teaching of the Unitarians as "doctrines" or "creeds", since they do not have any, and in fact believe all truth is relative. However, when reading their literature, it becomes apparent that they do have some very definite beliefs in the form of denials. They deny the Trinity, the Christian concept of God, the Deity of Jesus Christ, the Bible teaching on sin, the inerrancy of Scripture, and hellfire, to name the major ones. Yet, with all these denials of the fundamentals of Christianity, they still apply the term "Christian" to themselves, and profess belief in Jesus Christ. Traditional Christians are often assured that they may become Unitarians and still keep their Christian beliefs intact. We do not believe this to be the case.
THE MERGER AND RESULTING CHANGES
The Universalist Church believes in Universal salvation, that is, that all will attain to heavenly glory regardless of beliefs. The Unitarians did not necessarily believe in any kind of an afterlife. A compromise hammered out during the merger eliminated the name of Jesus from the association's statement of principles, according to Time Magazine of June 27th, 1983. This article also reported that a proposal was put forth that..."reference to God be replaced with a statement that the churches "reflect various forms of Theism, Christianity, Humanism, Feminism and other religious traditions"." The article concluded with these words "Over the past seven years the U.U.A. has experienced a decline of nearly 31% (to 136,500), the most severe membership loss ever suffered by any church body in North America."
A CONSTANT STATE OF FLUX
As can well be imagined, a religion that permits all kinds of teachings will have all kinds of differences, despite a real desire to be open-minded and consider the views of all. We are reminded of the phrase, "if you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything!" This appears to describe the current state of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
UNITARIAN VIEW OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
A recent report by Nicholas Read in the Vancouver Sun reported on a questionnaire distributed to Unitarians. It is interesting to note the replies given by the 400-member First Unitarian Church of Toronto. "Asked about the existence of God, 40% checked a definition that read, "Appropriately used as a name for some natural process within the universe, such as love or creative evolution." 29% said God was the root of all being; 26% found faith in God "an irrelevant concept"; and 3% found the concept of a supreme being one that is "harmful to a worthwhile religion"; only 2 % saw God as a well-documented supernatural being."
Truly, a Christian with a love and respect for the Eternal God of the Bible could not be comfortable in such an environment. When reviewing the history of Unitarianism it becomes apparent over the years that the Christian, Biblical concept of a loving, personal God was at first questioned and then denied by this group. They are now leaning heavily towards an Eastern concept of a "God force", or even an acceptance of plural gods. In the Vancouver Sun of Saturday, June 19th, 1982, an article appeared under the heading, "No God, Unitarian believes".
Ruth Patrick, national president of the Unitarian Church doesn't believe in God. Patrick, 59, helped found the Unitarian Church of Edmonton, served as its chaplain at one time and was recently elected president of the Canadian Unitarian Council. But although the mother of three said she does not believe in God, she is not an atheist. She said she believes in a "creative force" but not the traditional "patriarchal being called God"." This is but one example of how far the Unitarians have gone in their denial of the God of the Bible. The "creative force" of Eastern religions is a far cry from the personal, loving Creator-God of the Bible, who offers us a relationship with Himself through Christ Jesus. Why not look into this alternative in this time of confusion over the nature of God in the Unitarian churches?
UNITARIAN VIEW OF THE BIBLE
In 1960, a well-known Unitarian minister, Mr. J. Mendelssohn wrote in his book, "Why I Am A Unitarian", on page 34, "Churches, Bibles and creeds are the creations of men who once exercised their freedom to create." On page 125, he gives his Unitarian opinion of the Bible, namely that it "is replete with inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and errors". If a person relied on Unitarian literature concerning the Bible, he would have a very dim view of it, indeed. The Bible has proven itself to be correct historically, prophetically and doctrinally. It agrees with true science. While we place absolute trust in the Bible personally, we have not quoted from the Bible in this tract due to the fact that Unitarians have small regard for it, and so would not be willing to accept correction of their doctrine, based on the authority of Scripture. We do, however, make this appeal to Unitarians. Please try setting aside your ever-changing Unitarian literature, and try reading the Bible alone. Begin with the New Testament and look carefully at the claims of Jesus Christ. You will find a very different Jesus Christ that the one presented to you by your church!
WHAT THE UNITARIANS THINK OF CHRIST
Unitarian-Universalists deny the Jesus Christ of the Bible and historic Christianity. In "The Unitarian Way" by Phillip Hewett, we find this statement under the heading "Wider Horizons" on page 89, "If the term Christ is to be interpreted in such a way as to give Jesus a uniquely superhuman status, then discussion of this allegation ends before it begins." Here we see an unwillingness to even consider the Bible claims for Jesus by the Unitarians. In this same publication on page 90, Jesus is referred to as being "transfigured into the central figure of a mythology which has had an incalculable influence on human history." The idea is then presented that it was Jesus' followers who didn't want to believe He was dead, and so began to teach that He was alive forevermore. "Jesus was essentially a poet", this publication goes on to say. What a sad misrepresentation of the Lord of Glory! Still, it is not too late for honest-hearted Unitarian-Universalists to look directly into the Bible and find out who Jesus Christ really is, truly God and truly man.
The decline in the numbers of the Unitarian-Universalists points to the fact that many people are finding little satisfaction in this ever-changing religion. Endless compromise never made anyone happy, only tolerant. Even that has its limits, and perhaps you find yourself dissatisfied at this very moment. Perhaps this is your time to try something stable, unchanging, and satisfying. Many of us found real peace and fulfillment in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.