Joseph Priestley and English Unitarianism in America by J. D. Bowers

By J. D. Bowers

Many have argued that American Unitarianism originated completely from inside of Congregationalism and constructed autonomous of outdoor affects. William Ellery Channing's “Unitarian Christianity” sermon in 1819 used to be a key second within the background of the denomination, as Channing consciously sought to outline the parameters of the religion and dispose of all vestiges of competing affects. but the yankee Unitarian culture was once way more advanced than its nineteenth-century adherents have been prepared to confess. In Joseph Priestley and English Unitarianism in America, J. D. Bowers reexamines its origins, direction, and improvement and to that end finds the level to which Joseph Priestley's rules pertaining to Congregational polity have been famous and tested in the usa.

In distinction to reports that easily hint the background of the denomination because it flows out of recent England and is managed by way of Bostonians, Bowers exhibits that Priestley's legacy grew in significance during the 19th century and held sway all through a few of the frontier areas of the country. through discussing the complexity of interdenominational contention, loss of imperative keep an eye on, and a continual transatlantic alternate between spiritual liberals, he exhibits that English Unitarianism persevered to function a necessary and memorable beginning for next advancements in the American denomination because it persevered the demanding situations of Protestant orthodoxy, unregulated liberalism, Transcendentalism, and the unending quest to outline liberal faith in the United States.

This is an insightful account of a regularly ignored set of tenets and advancements within the denomination's background. It uniquely strains the process persisted English impact because it validated a brand new element of reference for figuring out the dynamic origins of denominational improvement, Unitarian suggestion, and liberal religion.

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35. Theophilus Lindsey, quoted in Belsham’s 1820 edition of his memoirs. Lindsey felt compelled to write a reply to his detractors and admirers both, issuing A Sequel to the Apology, in which he gave his clearest defense of his actions. Bowers FM-Ch2 5/4/07 28 t 8:59 AM Page 28 joseph priestley and english unitarianism in america officials. 37 Other Anglicans followed in Lindsey’s wake, including John Disney, though not as many as he had hoped. For his part, Disney, the vicar of Swinderby and a relative of Lindsey by marriage, resigned in 1782.

Not until 1813 was the Act to Relieve Persons Who Impugn the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity passed that freed them, officially, from any legal repercussions. The Test Acts, which remained in effect until 1829, also excluded Unitarians from most political offices. 18. “Message from the King, that He will support the Protestant Religion;—recommending Toleration for the Dissenters,” House of Lords Journal, vol. 14, April 20, 1689. Bowers FM-Ch2 5/4/07 8:59 AM Page 23 english socinianism t 23 Anglican hierarchy, however, to actively seek out and excommunicate unitarian believers.

The attribution, however, shows that even one who was intent on remaining solidly within the dogmatic spectrum of the established church was prone to question even the most unyielding tenets of the Trinity. No matter who was the first to bring the idea into England, and this may never be known, it is undeniable that the idea spread among several key religious clerics and simultaneously was considered one of the most troubling of heresies. Adherents endured increasingly harsh repression even though they remained firmly ensconced within their original religious framework in all other ways.

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