“The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead” (Proverbs 21:16, KJV).
Both Unitarianism and Universalism were offshoots from early Christianity. Universalism made an early appearance on the scene even in the 1st century. They believed that no person would ever be condemned by God and that there would be no hell; though hell was taught by Jesus more than almost any other subject. The first Unitarians appeared around the 2nd or 3rd century. They believed that Jesus was an “entity sent by God on a divine mission” but they did not believe Jesus was God or that God was triune as we see fully revealed in the New Testament. Both belief systems seemed to take root in America by the late 1700s.
“Avoid the profane chatter and absurdities of so-called ‘knowledge.’ By professing it, some have strayed from the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20-21).
In 1819 William Emery Channing preached a sermon entitled “Unitarian Christianity” which became a platform of sorts for the Unitarians. He rejected the triunity of God as well as the doctrine of human depravity while espousing belief in the goodness of humanity and the possibility of men to become godlike. Channing inspired “Transcendentalists” who were looking to create almost an Americanized religion or Philosophy not based upon anything previous. They believed that reason, within each person, was godlike; this allows people to judge the right and wrong based on intuition which transcends the physical. These ideas led others, including Universalists, to begin importing and absorbing teachings from other world religions.
“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have remained” (1 John 2:19).