Talk:Arlington Street Church
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Stuff needs to go
This article has a great deal of material about the growth of Unitarianism in general that is not specific to this church. Please be forewarned that sooner or later, by me or by an another editor, that info will be removed. - House of Scandal (talk) 22:36, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the 2008 comment from User talk:HouseOfScandal). Two of the current sections in the article pertain to general history and not to Arlington Street Church. I'm starting the process of removing this text by moving it here as suggested by Wikipedia:Avoiding common mistakes and Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines. Of course, it'll be available in page history too. For my own reference, the text has been there since 2005-10-18, added by User talk:Mfelipe. I want to credit him/her with really giving the page its start with that addition, so I feel kind of bad about removing part of it, but I conclude that it's for the best. Text is unaltered except I cut out the images because I plan to leave them on the page, and I decreased the heading levels so they'll appear as subheadings to my post. I also plan to reincorporate the bit about the merger with 2nd Universalist, as it does pertain directly to the article subject. Officiallyover (talk) 04:03, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Start of parked text.
In the late 18th century, liberal and conservative wings emerged in the Congregational churches of New England, the liberals affirming the Unity of God and the conservatives affirming the Trinity. Additionally, the movement reacted against Calvinistic doctrines that emphasized human sinfulness and the predestination of some souls to heaven and some to hell. Unitarians (and Universalists) argued that such doctrines were inconsistent with the concept of a loving God, were unbiblical, and contrary to reason. After 1805 the dispute between liberals (Unitarians) and conservatives (Congregationalists) became so bitter that many churches divided, and organized separate religious bodies. It was Channing at Federal Street Church who most powerfully championed and defined the new Unitarianism. The term Unitarian referred to the belief in one God, as opposed to God in three persons.
Nineteenth-century transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson had a lasting effect on Unitarianism, especially in making it more receptive to religious ideas drawn from personal experiences and non-Biblical sources. From the late 19th and into the 21st century, the variety of liberal religious beliefs has broadened greatly to include those who prize the Jewish and Christian traditions, those who affirm the impact of science on their humanistic faith, persons with an earth-centered spiritual orientation, and many more. Indeed, many would hold that the nature of humanness makes it natural for persons to hold a vast diversity of beliefs and still unite to worship and find inspiration for their own lives and to serve causes of justice and peace.
In 1770, Universalism came to America from England with John Murray. Rev. Murray founded the First Universalist Church of Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1779, and spread the word throughout the northeast by horseback. In 1785, he helped to found the first Universalist organization. In 1805, Hosea Ballou, the foremost Universalist theologian of the 19th century, defined a more unorthodox gospel that had much in common with Unitarian thought. Ballou rejected the Trinity and the predestinarian belief in God’s punishment of even the innocent. Ballou held that a loving God forgave human sin, and thus there would be universal salvation.
Early Universalist preachers, believing that they were called by God, were mainly self-taught or mentored by Ballou and others. They established churches through circuit riding, debated the orthodox on courthouse steps, and attracted large numbers of common people to the new faith. By 1850, ministerial education had become a priority and the Universalists began founding their own theological schools. Where Unitarianism appealed to the educated and socially elite, Universalism touched the hearts of a broad cross-section of common people. Both movements spoke to issues of slavery and peace and acted to help those in need.
By 1900 Universalism was the sixth largest US denomination but declined as its message came to seem less unique. Yet, Universalism in the 20th century was informed by many of the same cultural, biblical, and scientific advances as Unitarianism, and the two denominations grew more alike, making possible the merger of 1961.
Closing the circle, the church of Hosea Ballou, the Second Universalist Church of Boston, merged its assets with Arlington Street Church in 1967. In so doing, Arlington Street Church inherited the thinking of two great liberal theologians, the Unitarian Channing and the Universalist Ballou.