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§ 117. The Universalists.

The Universalist Churches of the United States, starting in New England, have modified the orthodox Christian system as expressed in the historic creeds but while differing among themselves, they retain reverence for Christ as a divine teacher, the belief in the immortality of the soul and suitable awards after death for conduct in this world. A movement towards the union of Congregational and Universalist churches has had advocates as in California, 1930. The New England Convention of Universalist Churches, meeting in Winchester, New Hampshire, 1803, adopted a Profession of Belief in three articles. Eddy, in his Hist. of Universalism, says that "while the Profession was sufficiently definite to exclude the possibility of mistaking its most prominent thought, the reconciliation of all souls to God, it was sufficiently liberal to be acceptable alike to Trinitarians and to Unitarians, to the believer in future punishment and to the believer that the consequences of sin are confined to this life." In 1899 the General Convention, meeting in Boston, added to the Winchester Profession, clauses giving "The Conditions of Fellowship." At a meeting of the Convention in Winchester, 1903, celebrating the adoption of the Profession, its three 934articles were spoken of "as the first explicit statement in a creed of what is known as liberal Christianity."

"The Profession of Belief and Conditions of Fellowship are as follows"17281728   Minutes of the Winchester Convention, Washington, 1929. In 1878 the Universalists of Boston and vicinity put forth a statement of belief in 9 articles which was not adopted by the convention. See R. Eddy: Hist. of Universalism, in Am. Church Hist, series, X; 255–507.—Ed.

Art. I. We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain a revelation of the character of God and of the duty, interest and final destination of mankind. Art. II. We believe that there is one God, whose nature is Love revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of Grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness. Art. III. We believe that holiness and true happiness are inseparably connected, and that believers ought to be careful to maintain order and practice good works; for these things are good and profitable unto men.

The Conditions of Fellowship shall be as follows: 1. The acceptance of the essential principles of the Universalist Faith to wit: 1 The Universal Fatherhood of God; 2 The Spiritual authority and leadership of His Son, Jesus Christ; 3 The trustworthiness of the Bible as containing a revelation from God; 4 The certainty of just retribution for sin; 5 The final harmony of all souls with God.

The Winchester Profession is commended as containing these principles but neither this nor any other precise form of words is required as a condition of fellowship, provided always that the principles above stated be professed.

2. The acknowledgment of the authority of the General Convention and assent to its laws.

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