A Washington, D. C., clergyman stepped up to one of the nation’s most influential Unitarian pulpits last month and publicly renounced Christianity.
Said the Rev. Ralph W. Stutzman, acting minister of All Souls Church:
“I had to rethink my position.… My personal beliefs now exclude the possibility of my being a Christian.”
Thus with disarming candor he gave added saliency to the continuing theist-humanist division in the house of Unitarianism.
Only last May, at the urging of the American Unitarian Association, the denominational magazine changed its name from The Christian Register to The Unitarian Register, pointing out that this meant no change in editorial policy. That considerable reaction followed, particularly in New England, is attributed by Mr. Stutzman to the extreme social consciousness of that area, “where the loss of the Christian veneer seemed to be a loss of social stature.”
The Unitarian Drift
To note the drift in Unitarian thought, one need only turn from Pastor Stutzman’s doubt of the Fatherhood of God, because of its being couched “in such anthropomorphic terminology,” to that eminent American representative of Unitarianism, William Ellery Channing. For him the Christian revelation could not be reduced beyond two articles of faith: the Fatherhood of God and the immortality of the soul. There was revelation. And there was a view of Christ long forgotten among modern Unitarians. The immortality of the soul was evidenced by the physical resurrection of Jesus, the greatest of his miracles. Take away the miracles and you take away Channing’s Christ. Along with his spotless character and matchless teaching, Jesus was considered to be supernatural in his acts, if not in his person.
But here Channing wavered. Christ was ...1
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