Sermon of the week: “The Present Effects of Trembling at the Wrath of God” by John Piper.

Your sermon of the week is The Present Effects of Trembling at the Wrath of God preached only as John Piper can. You can also watch the video or read the transcript by clicking here.

This sermon is actually part two of his teaching on God’s wrath (part one can be found here).

The theology (or lack thereof) of Unitarian Universalists.

After hearing about the recent tragedy (caused by the evil of man’s wicked heart) at a U.U. gathering in Tennessee (and FourPointer’s post on the incident found here), I did a little looking into what this group is about and thought I’d share my discoveries with you. The following information was obtained here.

What do the Unitarian Universalists reject?

The One true God

We do not have a defined doctrine of God. Members are free to develop individual concepts of God that are meaningful to them. They are also free to reject the term and concept altogether. Most of us do not believe in a supernatural, supreme being who can directly intervene in and alter human life or the mechanism of the natural world. Many believe in a spirit of life or a power within themselves, which some choose to call God.

Jesus Christ

We do not believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, performed miracles and was resurrected from death. We do admire and respect the way he lived, the power of his love, the force of his example and his system of values. Most UUs regard Jesus as one of several important moral and ethical teachers who have shown humans how to live a life of love, service and compassion. Though some of us may question whether Jesus was an actual historical figure, we believe his teachings are of significant moral value.

A primary way we differ [from Christians] is that we do not regard Jesus as a unique revelation of God. Most UUs (even UU Christians) would reject a literal interpretation of accepted Christian beliefs such as the Virgin Birth, the miracles of Jesus and the Resurrection. While UU Christians would accept a symbolic interpretation of these events, most UUs view Jesus as a moral and ethical teacher and no more than that.

The Bible

We regard the Bible as one of many important religious texts but do not consider it unique or exclusive in any way. We do not interpret it literally. We think some parts of it offer more truth and relevance than other parts. Although UUs respect the Bible and regard some of its content as great literature, it is not a central document in our religion.

Life after death, and Heaven & Hell

Very few UUs believe in a continuing, individualized existence after physical death. Even fewer believe in the physical existence of places called heaven or hell where one goes after dying. Since there is no way to know for sure if we go any place when we die, very few, if any of us believe in the physical existence of a place called heaven or hell.

Sin

We do not believe that a person is born and enslaved in the manner that the doctrine of Original Sin teaches. You could attend a UU church for years and seldom hear the word sin.

Salvation and the need for a redeemer

Salvation is not a word we use frequently. We do not believe people are born into a state of sin from which they must be saved in order to avoid spending an eternity suffering in hell. Since we believe in neither original sin nor hell, we do not feel a need to be saved from either. No. We believe we should be judged by how well we live our lives and serve others, not in what a redeemer will do for us. We respect religious and spiritual leaders such as Jesus, Moses and Buddha for what they can teach us about living, not as redeemers in the traditional sense.

So, what do the Unitarian Universalists believe, accept, and affirm?

Evolution

We believe that more complex life forms have evolved from less complex life forms.

The wholesale slaughter of the unborn

As an institution, we are strongly pro-choice, as are most individual UUs.

All religions have truth

We believe there is wisdom in most, if not all, of the world’s religions. We feel each is valuable for what it can tell us about ourselves and our world, and how its members find religious meaning and direction.

Social issues

Recent issues include: clean sources of energy, fossil fuels, energy conservation, pollution, abortion, gun control, immigration, hunger, the homeless, racism, nuclear arms proliferation, and health care.

I also found out what a U.U. “church service” is like.

Our typical service follows a Protestant structure: hymns, readings, meditation, singing by the choir, organ music and a sermon. Although the service’s format is similar to a Protestant church, the content is quite different. God or Jesus is hardly ever mentioned and rarely are there Bible readings. Though the words prior to the meditation might sound like a prayer, they are not addressed to and do not request the support, inspiration, help or blessing of a supernatural deity.

And finally, the following videos should also prove to be very informative as to what this group believes:

TV Commercial

The puppet show explanation

The deliberate twisting of the Biblical account of Adam and Eve