Christianity

Membership, Community, Diversity

Are Unitarians Christians? How about Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Unitarians, by definition, profess belief in a non-Trinitarian deity, denying the divinity of Jesus. Insistence on the “unipersonality” of God finds ancient echoes in teachings declared heretical by early church councils. Jesus’ role is that of an important prophet, teacher and ethical model, but no more than an especially favored human being. Unitarianism began as an offshoot of Radical Reformation groups and in modern times was significantly reinterpreted by American thinkers William Ellery Channing (1780-1842) and Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). Many Unitarians consider themselves part of the larger Christian community, but generally prefer the identity of an open community not defined by assent to a particular body of doctrine. Jehovah’s Witnesses was founded in the United States by Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916). He emphasized Messianic expectation based on an Old Testament concept of theocracy. Jehovah’s Witnesses publications have generally maintained a consistently critical attitude to mainstream Christian beliefs.



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