By William Ellery Channing
"Unitarianism is the belief in the single personality of God, in contrast to the doctrine of the Trinity (three persons in one God). It is the philosophy upon which the modern Unitarian movement was based, and, according to its proponents, is the original form of Christianity. Unitarian Christians believe in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as found in the New Testament and other early Christian writings, and hold him up as an exemplar. Adhering to strict monotheism, they maintain that Jesus was a great man and a prophet of God, perhaps even a supernatural being, but not God himself. Unitarians believe in the moral authority, but not necessarily the divinity, of Jesus. They do not pray to Jesus, but to God directly. Their theology is thus distinguishable from the theology of Catholic, Orthodox, mainline Protestant, and other Christian denominations, who hold the Trinity doctrine as a core belief.
Some Evangelicals hold a "unitarian" theology in that they see God as a single person, and are thus antitrinitarian, but because they perceive Jesus to be God himself do not fall into the general theology discussed here, which sees Jesus as subordinate to God and a finite being. Instead see: Sabellianism, Oneness theology, Oneness Pentecostalism, Monarchianism, Binitarianism.
While there are both religiously liberal and religiously conservative unitarians, the name "Unitarian" is most commonly associated with the liberal branch of this theology.
Conservative (Biblical or Evangelical) unitarians strictly adhere to the principle of sola scriptura and their belief that the Bible is both inspired and inerrant and uphold "fundamentals" of belief. This version of unitarianism is more commonly called Nontrinitarianism, rather than Unitarianism.
Unitarians sum up their faith as "the religion of Jesus, not a religion about Jesus." Historically, they have encouraged non-dogmatic views of God, Jesus, the world and purpose of life as revealed through reason, scholarship, science, philosophy, scripture and other prophets and religions. They believe that reason and belief are complementary and that religion and science can co-exist and guide them in their understanding of nature and God. They also do not enforce belief in creeds or dogmatic formulas. Although there is flexibility in the nuances of belief or basic truths for the individual Unitarian Christian, general principles of faith have been recognized as a way to bind the group in some commonality. Adherents generally accept religious pluralism and find value in all teachings, but remain committed to their core belief in Christ's teachings. Liberal Unitarians value a secular society in which government stays out of religious affairs.
Unitarians are not to be confused with members of the Unity Church."
- AppsPublisher, November 2012
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