Unitarian Universalism - Part 9
Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon
Talking With Members
Even though most Unitarian Universalists
[UU] seem to have an irrational and unjustified bias
against Christianity, some might be open to a balanced
presentation of Christian truth claims and a reasoned
apologetic for faith. For any UU who truly values the
ideals of tolerance, openness to all religious
convictions, a search for truth and individual freedom,
it could hardly be otherwise. Unfortunately, UU ideals
are often held in biased fashion. But the very claim to
honor such ideals can be pressed to advantage. No UU
could easily stomach being properly charged with
intolerance, closed-mindedness and bigotry. So how can
any UU logically reject a frank evidential discussion of
things like religious truth claims, absolute moral
values, biblical reliability or the uniqueness and
resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Discussion with a Unitarian Universalist
might begin with the question of the historical
reliability and authority of the Bible. As far as sound
biblical scholarship is concerned, the integrity and
trustworthiness of the biblical text is established.1
If the text is uncorrupted, and if what its authors
wrote is true, then the Christian view of Christ is the
only possible one because no facts anywhere suggest
otherwise. Indeed, the truth of Christianity is shown
historically by the resurrection of Christ, which proved
His claims. UU members may reject Jesusí words, but they
cannot logically maintain that He never spoke them or
deny His unique deity and universal authority. In all
history, who ever made His claims, did His miracles,
spoke His teachings? Who else in history ever returned
from the dead, let alone was seen alive after death by
over 500 people at one time (1 Cor. 15:6)? It was this
same Jesus who stated that the spiritually blessed were
"those who hear the word of God and obey it" (Luke
11:28), and that "Man does not live on bread alone, but
every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt.
UUs, however, do not acknowledge the
revelation of the biblical God: instead, they "depend on
lifeís unmerited favors," which is their idea of grace.2
Yet, who gave us these favors? Their view of God is that
"this personified God has been declared inadequate by
the Unitarian Universalist churches."3 One
can but marvel at the power of a declaration. This
rejection of God stands even though UU leaders admit
"our constant dependence on forces beyond ourselves."4]
If UUs are really open and tolerant, why such a bias
against the God of Scripture? Can they reason this out?
As we have seen, the truth is that Unitarian
Universalist philosophy is illogical and
self-contradictory. It is the Christian philosophy that
is established as reasonable. So how can UUs, who pride
themselves on rationality and openness, refrain from
seriously considering the Person of Jesus?
Biblical teaching is clear that those who
reject Godís love and mercy in Christ cannot expect to
inherit eternal life. Instead, they will separate
themselves from God forever. Biblical authority is
logically undeniable, and the claims of Christ on
everyoneís life is unassailable. Can UUs reasonably deny
For God so
loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the
world to condemn the world, but to save the world
through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned,
but whoever does not believe stands condemned already
because he has not believed in the name of Godís one
and only Son. (John 3:16-18)
As for the
person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do
not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world,
but to save it. There is a judge for the one who
rejects me and does not accept my words; that very
word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.
This is how
God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only
Son into the world that we might live through him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved
us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our
sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
manís testimony, but Godís testimony is greater
because it is the testimony of God, which he has given
about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God
has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not
believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he
has not believed the testimony God has given about his
Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us
eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has
the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God
does not have life. (1 John 5:9-12)
If the Gospels do not contain the Word of
Christ, then we have none. UUs who desire to openly
consider the words of Jesus may be surprised that their
own religion offers some support. In the Constitution of
the American Unitarian Association (1825), point 2
states, "The objects of this Association shall be to
diffuse the knowledge and promote the interests of pure
Christianity throughout the Country."5
Channing declared, "Jesus is the only master of
Christians, and whatever he taught, either during his
personal ministry, or by his inspired apostles, we
regard as of divine authority, and profess to make the
rule of our lives."6 For Parke, "the Word of
Jesus was real Christianity."7] Today, UU
leaders make the following claims:
It is the
religion of Jesus and other notable exemplars of a
history, not theological attitudes toward them that
will save men and women.8
"Jesus teachings, rather than a conception of his
nature, central to their worship."9
a church as an expression of their faith in religious
ideals which Jesus proclaimed and may describe
themselves as followers of him."10
the teachings of Jesus rather than the theological
ideas about Jesus," and "they appreciate the Biblical
text"; "be ye doers of the word, and not hearers
The CLF Directed Reading Course states
that they "love the person and message of Jesus of
Nazareth," and they say, "Christianity should be a
religion which seeks to put into practice the ethical
principles taught by Jesus, and the Hebrew Prophets, and
this we try to do."12
For Jesus, the two greatest ethical
commandments were to love God with all oneís heart,
mind, soul and body (which demands love for His word)
and to love oneís neighbor as oneself (which requires
one to express Jesusí own concern for peopleís
salvation). One must ask, "How do the foregoing claims
of Ďaccepting Jesusí teachings square with UU beliefs?
And is this hypocrisy?"
UUs may criticize Christians for
"dogmatism," and for producing "their" version of truth;
however, UU people are just as dogmatic in their view of
the "truth," so how can we determine who is right if not
on the basis of logic, reason and the historical
evidence? If they are really "open to all presentations
of the truth," UU followers cannot escape their own
personal commitment to consider Christian truth.
With Pilate, they may ask themselves, "What is Truth?"
Hopefully, they will seriously consider the words of
Jesus, investigate their credibility and act
accordingly. "For this reason I was born, and for this I
came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone
on the side of truth listens to me" (John 18:37).
For a more detailed discussion and
suggestions for sharing the true gospel, see our book
Fast Facts on Defending Your
1 See our
Knowing the Truth About the Reliability of the
Mendelsohn, Why I am a Unitarian Universalist
(Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1966), p. 107.
3 R. A.
Storer (ed.), "Unitarian Universalist Views of God,"
Why I Am a Unitarian Universalist, p. 108.
5 R. E.
Meyers, "Can I Be a Unitarian Universalist and Still
Be a Christian?" UUA pamphlet, p. 7.
Parke, The Epic of Unitarianism Original Writings
from the History of Liberal Religion (Boston, MA:
Beacon Press, 1969), p. 89.
Wright, Three Prophets of Religious Liberalism:
Channing, Emerson, Parke (Boston, MA: Beacon
Press, 1978), p. 117.
Booth, "Introducing Unitarian Universalism," UUA
pamphlet, p. 13.
9 Ibid., p.
Perry, in Brandock Lovely (ed.), "Unitarian
Universalist Views of Jesus," UU Pamphlet, p. 9.
Argow, "Unitarian Universalism: Some Questions
Answered," UUA pamphlet, pp. 10-11.
N. Marshall, Challenge of a Liberal Faith
(Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1978), pp. 239, 242.
Copyright 2006, Ankerberg Theological Research Institute