Unitarianism is the modern revival of the ancient heresy of Arianism, which denied the full deity of Jesus Christ, claiming that He was a created Being and not the eternal Son of God. Unitarianism is a rejection of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, defined by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the English Language as “the union of three persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) in one Godhead, so that all the three are one God as to substance, but three persons as to individuality.”
From its modern inception, Unitarianism also cast doubt upon the Bible’s infallible inspiration.
Unitarianism began to show itself faintly in the 16th and 17 centuries.
Michael Servetus (1511-1563), who was an anabaptist, allegedly held some type of Arian views in Switzerland and was put to death by John Calvin’s government in 1553.
There were Unitarian congregations in Poland, Hungary, and Transylvania in the 16th century. In Poland they became known as the “Polish Brethren” or the Minor Church. Faustus Socinus (1539-1604) was a prominent leader among the Unitarians there and during his days they drew up a statement of faith called the Racovian Catechism. Socinus believed “that there was only God the Father, a single divine being. The Holy Ghost was not a person but a divine force, not God and not coequal to the Father. Jesus Christ was an exceptional man without sin, but not divine. Salvation required a holy life after the example of the man, Jesus Christ” (http://www.exlibris.org/nonconform/engdis/socinians.html). Because of Socinus’ leadership in the movement, the name “Socinianism” came to be associated with this heresy.
Unitarianism showed itself faintly in England in the 17th century after the Civil War. John Biddle (1615-1662) is considered the founder, but the doctrine did not spread until later.
In the late 18th century and into the 19th Unitarianism began to increase in England because of the “rationalistic atmosphere” and the spiritual weakness of the churches.
Book publisher Joseph Johnson (1758-1809) helped establish the foundation for Unitarianism and theological rationalism in England and America.
He published the works of Joseph Priestly, William Wordsworth, William Beckford, Richard Price, Theophilus Lindsey, William Godwin, Thomas Paine, John Horne Tooke, Samuel T. Coleridge, and other Unitarians and “free thinkers.”
In May 1788, Johnson began publication of the Analytical Review, edited by Unitarian Thomas Christie. “The review stood in the forefront of libertarianism. It espoused political and social ideologies sympathetic to the French Revolution, opposed the slave trade, encouraged parliamentary reform, supported religious toleration for Catholics and Unitarians, and acquainted readers with Continental literature, especially from Germany, which, until the end of the eighteenth century, was relatively unknown in England” (Gerald Tyson, “Joseph Johnson, an Eighteenth-Century Bookseller,” Studies in Bibliography, edited by Fredson Bowers, Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1975, Vol. 28). The Analytical Review ceased publication in 1799, but it had exercised considerable influence among British intellectuals. Walter Graham in English Literary Periodicals calls it “unquestionably one of the most important periodical sources for the student of the late eighteenth century.”
Johnson’s shop and apartment at No. 72 St. Paul’s Churchyard “were a center for the exchange of news and ideas during the American and French revolutions, since his circle of writers was, with but few exceptions, sympathetic to various kinds of social and political reform” (Tyson, “Joseph Johnson, an Eighteenth-Century Bookseller”). Around the corner from the bookshop was The London Coffee House, where the likes of Benjamin Franklin of America congregated.
Johnson “negotiated the rental of an unused auction hall in Essex Street for the first Unitarian Chapel, appearing in person before the Westminster justices and petitioning them for a license to permit Dissenting worship” (Tyson).
Johnson’s last act of support for the Unitarians occurred the year before his death when he turned over to them the copyright that he held for William Newcome’s translation of the Bible so it could be used as the basis for a Unitarian version (Thomas Belsham, Memoirs of the Late Rev. Theophilus Lindsey, 1812, p. 101). Newcome’s translation was desired because it was based on Griesbach’s Greek New Testament.
In 1756, a Unitarian named Newcome Cappe was appointed minister of the Presbyterian St. Saviourgate Chapel in York. The appointment was made by the trustees in opposition to at least part of the congregation. The chapel eventually became completely Unitarian. Charles Wellbeloved, principal of Manchester College (Oxford University), was minister of the chapel from 1801 to 1858. He had been Cappe’s assistant beginning in 1792. Another minister of this chapel, George Vance Smith, was on the English Revised Version translation committee. In 1859-62, Smith, Wellbeloved, and John Scott Piper published The Holy Scriptures of the Old Covenant in a revised translation (London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans and Roberts).
High Street Chapel in Shrewsbury was one of the many British churches infected with unitarianism by the 18th century. This is the church where Charles Darwin (1809-1882) received his early religious training. The chapel was first built in 1691 by Francis Tallents and John Bryan, dissenters from the Church of England, but it took a turn to unitarianism with the appointment of Job Orton (1717-83), who was the minister at High Street from 1741-65 (“The Down Grade - Part 2,” The Sword and the Trowel, April 1887, p. 14). Though “many of his sentiments were sound and good,” he “was not considered fully orthodox.” That Orton did not hold to the full Godhead of Jesus Christ is evident by his comment on the name “The mighty God” in Isaiah 9:6. He said, “The meaning of this I cannot tell.” Orton’s successors at High Street went further in their unbelief, denying the infallible inspiration of Scripture and the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith. By Charles Darwin’s day the High Street Chapel was a full-blown Unitarian congregation and George A. Case was the pastor (from 1797 to his death in 1831). Today the church is called Shrewsbury Unitarian Church, High Street, and a plaque inside the building says: “To the memory of Charles Robert Darwin, author of ‘The Origin of the Species,’ born in Shrewsbury, February 12, 1809, in early life a member of and a constant worshipper in this church.” Charles Darwin’s mother, Susannah, was a Unitarian, and Charles was educated for a short period at a school operated by the Unitarian minister George Case. Charles Darwin’s wife, Emma Wedgwood, was also a Unitarian. A biographer of Darwin speaks of “the vein of skepticism in the Darwin family” (John Wehler, Charles Darwin: Growing up in Shrewsbury 1809-25). Thus, Darwinism was a product of end-time theological apostasy.
Essex Chapel in London is called “the first self-styled Unitarian congregation” in England. It was founded in 1773 by Theophilus Lindsey, who had left the Church of England.
Some of the names of influential Unitarians in England in those days were Joseph Priestley, Thomas Belsham, and James Martineau. Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen, influenced many in the path of unbelief.
By 1831, only six years after its founding, the British & Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) was already infected with Unitarianism. In that year a group of men within the BFBS attempted to have the Society adopt a Trinitarian policy “to ensure that Unitarians denying the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ could not be admitted to membership or hold office in the Society” (TBS Quarterly Record, No. 475, April-June 1981, p. 3). After a “prolonged and heated debate in Exeter Hall in the Strand, London, at the Annual Meeting, the motion was rejected by a large majority.” As a result, the Trinitarian Bible Society was formed on Dec. 7, 1831, by men who were concerned about doctrinal purity. This shows the dramatic progress that Unitarianism had made in gaining acceptance in Britain in the early part of the 19th century.
Large numbers of the English Presbyterian and General Baptist (non-Calvinistic) churches were infected with Unitarian heresy.
Unitarian John Relly Beard (1800-1876) “led the way to modern dictionaries of the Bible” with his People’s Dictionary of the Bible in 1847. “Beard was also a crusading Unitarian propagandist who preached widely and wrote extensively. A compiler, a populariser, and a translator, he put into simple terms religious and doctrinal developments in England, France, and Germany. Between 1826 and 1876 he wrote or translated thirty-eight works on religion and theology. ... In 1861 he was the joint founder of the Unitarian Herald, of which he was also sometimes joint editor. ... In 1854, in association with William Gaskell, Beard established the Unitarian Home Missionary Board for the training of young ministers who would organize new Unitarian churches in Britain” (Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography, http://www.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/johnrellybeard.html). Beard was influential in the push for secular public education in Britain.
As the 19th century progressed, many of the Unitarians in England adopted other heresies, denying the infallible inspiration of Scripture, denying the fallen nature of man, becoming more skeptical and more closely aligned with theological modernism and philosophy.
“... in the 1830s James Martineau and some younger Unitarians led a revolt against biblical Unitarianism and its dogmas. ... They found religious authority in reason and conscience, rather than in a biased interpretation of Scripture. Henceforth the Unitarians were rather sharply divided into an older, ‘biblical’, and newer, ‘spiritual’, wing. The new group was well on the way to eclipsing the ‘biblical’ wing by 1850” (Lion’s History of Christianity, p. 505).
A prominent Unitarian in England was Samuel Taylor Coleridge, author of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Kahn. A close friend of the American poet William Wordsworth, Coleridge was a Unitarian from his childhood. In his student years at Cambridge he gravitated toward Joseph Priestley’s circle of friends, and he imbibed German rationalism while studying in Germany in 1798. In 1825, Coleridge wrote, “... a high German Transcendentalist I must be content to remain” (Coleridge, Letters, Vol. II, pp. 735-6). “It was Coleridge who was responsible, more than any other single individual, for the diffusion of German neology through Cambridge University and thence through the Anglican Church. His books Biographia Literaria, Aids to Reflection, and Confessions of an Enquiring Spirit had a profound effect on Julius Hare, J.F.D. Maurice, and John Sterling. Coleridge and Maurice may be said to be the founders of that section of the church known as the Broad Church or Latitudinarian party, which by 1853 had gained the allegiance of 3500 Anglican priests. According to D. C. Somervell, in English Thought in the Nineteenth Century (1929), ‘The whole of the Broad Church school of the next generation, in all its varieties, is derivable from Coleridge’” (James Sightler, Tabernacle Essays on Bible Translation, 1992, p. 12).
Coleridge exalted human reason rather than Scripture as the foundation of Christian belief.
Coleridge rejected the divine inspiration of Scripture, saying, for example, that David’s psalms were inspired in the same sense as Coleridge’s own poems and rejected the doctrine that God gave David the words as “a superhuman ventriloquist” (E.S. Shaffer, Kubla Khan and the Fall of Jerusalem, p. 77).
He spoke of “a Holy Spirit” rather than “the Holy Spirit” (H.N. Fairchild, Religious Trends in English Poetry, p. 319).
He spoke of the virgin birth as “an excrescence of faith” which should be discarded (J.H. Rigg, Modern Anglican Theology, p. 309).
He rejected the biblical doctrine of eternal suffering.
He conjectured that Christ might “be the World as revealed to human knowledge--a kind of common sensorium, the idea of the whole that modifies all our thoughts” (quoted by Fairchild, Religious Trends in English Poetry, p. 325).
In America, Unitarianism arose in the late 18th century and spread in the early 19th.
Harvard College graduates Jonathan Mayhew and Charles Chauncy were among America’s first Unitarian pastors. Mayhew became pastor of West Church in Boston in 1747. Chauncy pastored First Church (King’s Chapel) in Boston from 1727-1787. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s brother, Charles Chauncy Emerson, was named for Charles Chauncy.
The first official Unitarian church in America was King’s Chapel in Boston, which was America’s first Anglican congregation. The transition from Trinitarian to Unitarian theology was made under the pastorate of Charles Chauncy. In 1785, under the leadership of James Freeman, the church formally voted to adopt Unitarianism.
William Bentley, pastor of East Church in Salem, Massachusetts, accepted Unitarianism through the influence of William Hazlitt, an associate of Joseph Priestley. Hazlitt came to America in 1784 and “remained in New England for several years distributing literature, preaching, and disputing with numerous orthodox ministers” (The Diary of William Bentley, cited by James Sightler, Tabernacle Essays on Bible Translation, p. 10). Bentley, an assistant to the pastor, persuaded the congregation to dismiss the pastor and install himself in his place. He then led the church into Unitarianism. Several of Bentley’s members “were captains of sailing ships and brought back theological works from Europe along with their cargoes” (Sightler, p. 10).
Joseph Priestley moved to America in 1794 and wielded a significant influence on American churches, particularly in the Northeast. He had been forced to leave England after his house and meeting hall were burned down because of his rabid support for the murderous French Revolution, but by 1874 Birmingham erected a statue in his honor. Two of the founders of evolution were affiliated with Priestley. Erasmus Darwin counted him as a friend, and Thomas Huxley dedicated his statue.
By 1800, one-third of the Congregational churches in Boston had become Unitarian. By 1810 “nearly every prominent Congregational pulpit in eastern Massachusetts was held by a preacher of Unitarian doctrine” (http://www.bibliomania.com/2/3/270/1820/21935/1/frameset.html).
In 1805, Unitarians took control of Harvard College with the appointment of Henry Ware to the Chair of Divinity. The aforementioned James Freeman and William Bentley, who were graduates of Harvard, “played an important role in the movement of Harvard toward Unitarianism” (Sightler, p. 10). The divinity school was established at Harvard in 1816 and “became the centre of Unitarian thought.” Harvard botanist Asa Gray was Darwin’s most important popularizer in America. Under the leadership of Charles Eliot, from 1869 to 1909, Harvard had a massive influence in spreading Unitarianism and Darwinianism. Eliot appointed John Fiske to the post of science and history “specifically to introduce evolutionism in the Harvard curriculum” and “as America’s leading university, Harvard became the example to others, and almost the entire university world quickly followed her down the evolutionary trail” (Henry Morris, The Long War Against God, p. 47).
In 1819, influential Presbyterian pastor William Ellery Channing (1780-1842) publicly espoused Unitarianism in a sermon titled “Unitarian Christianity” (also called the “Baltimore Sermon”). Channing was minister of Federal Street Congregational Church in Boston, but his sermon was preached in the First Independent Church of Baltimore on the occasion of an ordination. Channing urged his listeners to keep their minds free from external authorities and to inquire more of “the oracle within.”
In 1825, the Unitarian congregations formed the American Unitarian Association, with its headquarters in Boston.
In 1837, the Unitarian Horace Mann (1796-1859) was elected Secretary to the Massachusetts Board of Education and played a prominent role in the secularization and state control of education in America. Mann falsely believed in the perfectibility of humanity and society through universal public education. He believed children in public schools should be taught the ethics of Christianity without its doctrines, which was a stepping stone to the complete divorce of public education from religion and morality.
As in England, the American Unitarians became increasingly skeptical and anti-supernatural as the 19th century progressed. They preferred terms such as transcendentalism and anti-supernaturalism. In about 1819 William Channing “became the spokesman and the new leader of the Unitarians. In his sermons and writings he enunciated three principles of the greatest importance: God is all-loving and all pervading; the presence of this God in all men makes them divine, and the true worship of God is good will to all men” (Unitarianism and Transcendentalism, http://lonestar.texas.net/~mseifert/unitarian.html).
Some of the Unitarians, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), attempted to synthesize pagan religions such as Hinduism, Confucianism, and Zoroastrianism, with Christianity.
Emerson rejected the Trinity as well as the Deity, virgin birth, sacrificial atonement, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
While still in his teens, he wrote in his dairy: “Who is he that shall control me? Why may not I act and speak and write and think with entire freedom? What am I to the Universe, or, the Universe, what is it to me? Who hath forged the chains of wrong and right, of opinion and custom? And must I wear them?”
His subsequent life testifies that he decided to be his own god and to reject “the chains of wrong and right” forged by the Creator.
Emerson was the Unitarian pastor of Second Baptist Church in Boston. Following the death of his first wife, he began an intense study of the Hinduism and other pagan religions. He had been introduced to Hinduism in his childhood by his Aunt Moody Emerson (Christopher Walton, Unitarianism and Early American Interest in Hinduism, 1999, www.philocrites.com/essays/hinduism.html).
Emerson held to the Hindu concepts of pantheism and the divinity of man.
“... within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal One. ... there is no bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases, and God, the cause, begins” (Emerson, The Over-Soul, 1841)
“Standing on the bare ground,--my heard bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,--all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God” (Emerson, Nature).
Emerson promoted the synthesis of religion. In July 1842, he wrote: “Each nation has its bible more or less pure; none has yet been willing or able in a wise and devout spirit to collate its own with those of other nations, and sinking the civil-historical and ritual portions to bring together the grand expressions of the moral sentiment in different ages and races, the rules for the guidance of life, the bursts of piety and of abandonment to the Invisible and Eternal;--a work inevitable sooner or later, and which we hope is to be done by religion and not by literature” (Emerson, The Dial, July 1842; quoted in R. K. Dhawan, Henry David Thoreau, a Study in Indian Influence, 1985, pp. 27-28; The Dial was a transcendentalist periodical that featured extracts from non-Christian religions).
Emerson taught that man is his own ultimate authority. In his message to the Phi Beta Kappa society at Harvard in 1837, entitled “The American Scholar,” Emerson exhorted scholars to free themselves of tradition (such as the Bible) and to maintain a “self-trust.”
Emerson taught that man should trust his own heart. “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men,--that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost” (Emerson, Self-Reliance).
Emerson entertained homosexual lusts. “In his journals, Emerson dreamed of a ‘tremendous affair’ with a college classmate named ‘Martin Gay’ and wrote poems with homosexual intonations” (Kevin Swanson, Apostate: The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West).
This reminds us that at the heart of man’s rebellion against God lies his desire to fulfill his own lusts. The prophecy of end-time apostasy in 2 Peter 3 reveals that skeptics are motivated to “walk after their own lusts” (2 Pet. 3:3).
Another influential Unitarian in America was Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), author of On Walden Pond (Walden, or Life in the Woods), who said in his Journal, “I am a mystic, a transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher to boot.” He denied man’s fall, the necessity of the new birth, and Christ’s sacrificial atonement. He sought for “truth” through communion with nature, study of eclectic philosophies, and reflection. He was his own god. In Walden, Thoreau said, “No man ever followed his genius till it misled him.” On the other hand, the Bible warns, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). To follow one’s natural heart is to invite disaster and destruction.
Like Emerson, Thoreau loved Hindu doctrine. He wrote, “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial” (On Walden Pond). What spiritual blindness to exalt the vain myths of Krishna and his 1,000 girlfriends as great literature!
Another prominent Unitarian in America was the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82).
Longfellow’s wife, Fanny, was a committed Unitarian and attended Bible classes given by William Channing’s assistant, Ezra Stiles Gannett, in 1842-43.
Longfellow was a professor of modern languages at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, which was a hotbed of Unitarianism and abolitionist thinking fueled by the liberal social gospel. Influential Unitarian Hezekiah Packard was a trustee of Bowdoin in the 1830s and 1840s. Packard’s son Alpheus was a professor of Latin and Greek at Bowdoin from 1824-65. Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), was the wife of a Bowdoin professor and wrote her book in her husband’s office there. She is known as “the little woman who started the big war,” as her book incited anger against the slavery states and provoked violent-prone hotheads on both side of the issue. Her brother Henry Ward Beecher was the liberal pastor of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn. During Beecher’s career there, he opened his pulpit to Unitarians such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Horace Greeley and even to agnostics such as Mark Twain. Henry Beecher “once argued that a Sharps rifle held a better argument than a Bible for persuading slaveholders--hence these rifles were nicknamed ‘Beecher’s Bibles’ when used to combat the spread of slavery in the Kansas Territory before the American Civil War” (http://www.embassy.org.nz/encycl/u1encyc.htm). The Beechers were related to Julia Ward Howe, a Unitarian universalist and the author of the “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which confused the coming of Christ with the armies of the North. She misidentified God’s altar with “the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps” and falsely claimed that His gospel was “writ in burnish’d rows of steel.” Julia Ward Howe delivered a pantheistic, universalistic message at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893 entitled “What Is Religion?” (http://womenshistory.about.com/library/etext/bl_1893_pwr_howe.htm).
Longfellow was later a professor at Harvard, another hotbed of Unitarianism.
Longfellow’s brother Samuel, a Unitarian minister, wrote his authorized biography in two volumes.
Unitarianism had a strong influence on modern textual criticism in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Unitarians loved the critical Greek text from the days of German modernist Johann Griesbach onward. Prominent Unitarian leader Joseph Priestley attempted to publish a new English version based on the Greek text of Griesbach, and the project was well advanced when the manuscript was destroyed in a fire in 1791. Priestly’s successor, Thomas Belsham, continued to make this project his primary objective.
When the Unitarian Book Society was formed, a major objective was the translation of a new English version based on the Griesbach critical text. Abandoning this plan, it published in 1808 an “improved” edition of the 1796 translation by William Newcome of Ireland “chiefly because it followed Griesbach’s text” (Earl Wilbur, A History of Unitarianism in Transylvania, England, and America, 1952, p. 339; see also P. Marion Simms, The Bible in America, pp. 255-258). The complete title was “The New Testament, An improved version upon the basis of Archbishop Newcome’s new translation with a corrected text and notes critical and explanatory.” It was published in London by Richard Taylor & Co., in 1808, and in America by William Wells of Boston, in 1809. This publication “drew the fire of the orthodox by omitting as late interpolations several passages traditionally cited as pillars of Trinitarian doctrine,” such as “God” in 1 Tim. 3:16 and the Trinitarian statement in 1 John 5:7.
By 1857, the state church of Holland was deeply infiltrated by Unitarians and they revised the Dutch Bible on the basis of modern textual criticism. The following appeared in a Dutch Reformed paper in America: “The National Church of Holland, the descendant of the Old Reformed Church of Dort, has, it is true, still its old orthodox standards; but by additional regulations the Synod has deprived them of their binding power, in consequence of which Rationalism and Unitarianism have, in the course of the last fifty years, seized almost the whole of the clergy. The Synod recently by an official verdict virtually declared, that ministers who hold Unitarians views are legal office-bearers of the Church. OF HER 1500 MINISTERS, NOT MORE THAN A HUNDRED ARE KNOWN AS MAINTAINING EVANGELICAL TRUTH; AND THE SYNOD HAS RESOLVED TO PUBLISH A NEW TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE, which (as the committee and TRANSLATORS CONSIST, ALMOST WITHOUT EXCEPTION, OF UNITARIANS) will doubtless favor their views--and thus the faith of the people, sustained by the old Dutch translation, one of the best in Europe, will be still further undermined” (quoted from Arthur Cleveland Coxe, An Apology for the Common English Bible, 1857, p. 18).
In 1869, the American Unitarian Association of Boston published The New Testament, translated from the Greek text of Tischendorf, edited by George R. Noyes.
Many of the prominent early textual critics were Unitarians, including Daniel Mace (1685-1753), Johann Wettstein (1693-1754), Alexander Geddes (1737-1802), Edward Harwood (1729-94), George Vance Smith (1816-1902), Ezra Abbot (1819-84), Joseph Henry Thayer (1828-1901), G. B. Winer, and Caspar Rene Gregory (1846-1917). Information on these men can be found in other parts of this book.
Consider the testimony of the American Standard Version translation committee upon the death of committee member Ezra Abbot on March 21, 1884. The following excerpt from a memorial resolution issued by the committee is clear evidence of this Unitarian’s influence on the Revision work on both sides of the ocean:
“Always one of the first in his place at the table, and one of the last to quit it, he [Ezra Abbot] brought with him thither the results of careful preparation. HIS SUGGESTIONS WERE SELDOM THE PROMPTINGS OF THE MOMENT. HENCE THEY ALWAYS COMMANDED CONSIDERATION; OFTEN SECURED INSTANT ADOPTION. ... BUT IT WAS IN QUESTIONS AFFECTING THE GREEK TEXT THAT DR. ABBOT’S EXCEPTIONAL GIFTS AND ATTAINMENTS WERE PRE-EMINENTLY HELPFUL. Several of his essays on debated passages, appended to the printed reports of our proceedings which were forwarded from time to time to the brethren in England, are among the most thorough discussions of the sort which are extant, won immediate respect for American scholarship in this department, and HAD NO SMALL INFLUENCE IN DETERMINING THAT FORM OF THE SACRED TEXT WHICH WILL ULTIMATELY, WE BELIEVE, FIND ACCEPTANCE WITH ALL CHRISTIAN SCHOLARS” (Historical Account of the Work of the American Committee of Revision, 1885, p. 68).
Here is the plain admission that the critical Greek text owes much to Unitarians.
It is important to note that Bible believers of that day did not accept the modern critical Greek text and many critiques were published to refute the theories of textual criticism. The eager acceptance of the critical text was limited in that day largely to theological modernists and Unitarians.
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