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“M. Grandpierre on American Unitarianism,” by John Pierpoint

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Art. VI, “M. Grandpierre on American Unitarianism”

by J. P. (John Pierpoint)

in The Christian Examiner 

May, 1854, pages 397-422

John Pierpont photographed by Mathew Brady

John Pierpont photographed by Mathew Brady

The article is obviously a defense of Unitarianism. The section on organization interests most for polity issues. Does the nature of the defense suggest where Unitarians commonly felt weakness in their organization in the mid-1900s?

The author, John Pierpoint, was a leading minister, who served many years at the Unitarian church in Medford, Massachusetts.

  1. Unitarian religious growth does not need Unitarian organization. This attitude, suggests the author, held strong in the liberal church of 1854. Are similar ideas still strong today? How would a response be made to this argument?
  2. The author says equating Unitarianism with being a negative religion has hampered the denomination’s growth. Is this really true or is that a superficial argument to cover a lack of commitment to grow?
  3. What points does the author highlight to stress the potential for Unitarian growth. Is influence in the wider community an important goal? Might such a goal be stressed to the detriment of the institutional growth of Unitarian churches? Does the same tension (i.e. “institutional” vs. “humanitarian”) exist in the UU movement today?

The full text of John Pierpont’s article is available via Google Books, here.