What Is the Difference Between Christian Universalism and Unitarian Universalism?

Universalism has many different definitions. But one of its most common and meaningful definitions is the idea that everyone will be saved and no one will be eternally condemned by God. This concept of Universalism has a long, rich history as a Christian belief. This understanding of Christian Universalism dates back to the time of Jesus, the Apostles, and the early leaders of the Church. As recently as the 1800s and early 1900s, there was a major Christian denomination (the Universalist Church of America) based on the Universalist view of the Gospel.

Beginning in the early 20th century, the Universalist Church of America moved away from its Christian roots and took an increasingly pluralistic, interfaith view of Universalism. In 1961, it merged with the American Unitarian Association — a liberal religious denomination emphasizing the social gospel — to form the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Today, the UUA is an organization of churches whose members represent a variety of religious faiths, centered on an open-minded view of spirituality and humanistic values. The UUA does not have a creed or set of theological beliefs. Unitarian Universalists, therefore, are not necessarily Christians, though some remain Christ-centered in their spirituality. Other UUs identify themselves as Buddhists, Pagans, Humanists, etc.

Some people today are not aware that Universalism can refer to a Christian theological belief, and was once in fact embodied in a Christian denomination. The Christian Universalist Association hopes to raise awareness of the Christian origins of Universalism and the fact that Christian Universalism is a coherent, meaningful spiritual belief system that has been shared by many Christians throughout history.

Here are a few important things that Christian Universalists believe:

  • The Creator of the universe desires a personal relationship with every person.
  • We human beings are living souls and continue to exist after death of the body.
  • There is justice for people in the afterlife.
  • All people will eventually be saved from sin and suffering, transformed in the divine image, and become like Christ.

Some Unitarian Universalists may believe in these things, but many do not. Each UU church is different depending on the beliefs of the congregation and the minister. Some UU churches contain a large number of Christian Universalists, and others are more oriented toward non-Christian religions or secular humanism. UU churches can be a good place to explore various spiritual ideas and traditions, but most of them do not specifically teach the message of an all-loving God proclaimed by Jesus Christ who will save all souls.

The Christian Universalist Association teaches this spiritual perspective, and our teachings are based on a 2000-year history of Christian Universalism.

We invite you to learn more about Universalism from a Christian perspective, and to join our community of faith if you agree with a Christ-centered Universalism.