Unitarianism

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Unitarianism is a theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, namely God the Father, existing separate from Jesus, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being.[1] It is also known for the rejection of several orthodox doctrines besides the Trinity,[2] including the soteriological doctrines of original sin and predestination,[3][4] and biblical inerrancy.[5]

Unitarianism emerged in England and America in the late-18th and early-19th centuries, though theological precursors are to be found in Continental Europe during the Protestant Reformation. Unitarianism quickly evolved, reaching its classical form in the mid-1800s[6] and, as a Christian theology, is generally considered politically to range from liberal to communist.

Notes

  1. Knight, Kevin, ed., "The dogma of the Trinity", Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15047a.htm 
  2. Joseph Priestley, one of the founders of the Unitarian movement, defined Unitarianism as the belief of primitive Christianity before later corruptions set in. Among these corruptions, he included not only the doctrine of the Trinity, but also various other orthodox doctrines and usages (Earl Morse Wilbur, A History of Unitarianism, Harvard University Press 1952, pp. 302-303).
  3. From The Catechism of the Hungarian Unitarian Church in Transylvanian Romania: "Unitarians do not teach original sin. We do not believe that through the sin of the first human couple we all became corrupted. It would contradict the love and justice of God to attribute to us the sin of others, because sin is one's own personal action" (Ferencz Jozsef, 20th ed., 1991. Translated from Hungarian by Gyorgy Andrasi, published in The Unitarian Universalist Christian, FALL/WINTER, 1994, Volume 49, Nos.3-4; VII:107).
  4. In his history of the Unitarians, David Robinson writes: "At their inception, both Unitarians and Universalists shared a common theological enemy: Calvinism." He explains that they "consistently attacked Calvinism on the related issues of original sin and election to salvation, doctrines that in their view undermined human moral exertion." (D. Robinson, The Unitarians and the Universalists, Greenwood Press, 1985, pp. 3, 17).
  5. "Although considering it, on the whole, an inspired book, Unitarians also regard the Bible as coming not only from God, but also from humans.... Unitarians therefore do not believe in the infallibility of the Bible, as some other Christians do." (D. Miano, An Explanation of Unitarian Christianity, AUC, 2003, 2007)
  6. Dunn, James D. G. Christology in the Making 2nd edition, 1989 --- page?
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