Unitarian Benevolences -- By: H. M. Scott

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 057:228 (Oct 1900)
Article: Unitarian Benevolences
Author: H. M. Scott


Unitarian Benevolences

H. M. Scott.

Chicago Theological Seminary

In my article in the Bibliotheca Sacra for January last, the remark was made, “that the Congregational churches of one town in New England gave more money for benevolent purposes than did all the 420 Unitarian churches in America.”

I had in mind the statement made some time ago by Senator Hoar, and thought it referred to the moneys raised by Unitarians for all forms of mission work; but Rev. G. W. Young, of Lawrence, Mass., kindly informs me that “Senator Hoar’s statement was made in criticism of his brethren giving so little for propagandisim in which he compared our body with a limited number—less than a score, I think—of ‘Orthodox ‘churches near his Worcester home. His criticism was just.” I gladly make this correction; though it seems to leave untouched the position taken, that a liberal theology lacks the power of self-propagation. If Unitarian churches best represent the teachings of Jesus Christ, why are they less ready to spend money and labor in multiplying their number than are the orthodox churches, “adhering to dogma, declared by methods which would put to shame the modern ward caucus, controversial theology, which prevents the clearest insight into the Master’s real teaching,” as they are described by Dr. C. D. Wright in his last President’s address before the American Unitarian Association?

It seems to be admitted that Unitarians do not give as much for their church work as others do. There remains the question: Do they do as much for education, Bible societies, and other branches of benevolence of a general character as do the orthodox churches? Of this Mr. Young says, “Probably it would be impossible to give statistics, though the general impression is that such work is possibly that in which Unitarians are not behindhand.”

We have not the means of making a statistical comparison. From the annual report for 1899 of the American Unitarian Association, we see that $4,300 were spent for the salary of Rev. C. MacCauley and for other expenses of the mission in Japan. This is the only foreign mission work of the Unitarian churches. This sum would represent about $10 from each Unitarian church. The Congregational churches last year raised for foreign missions $644,200, or an average of $133 a church. For work among the negroes, the income of the Frothingham Fund, No. 2, amounting to $400, was given to the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, representing less than $r per church; the Congregational churches last year gave for work among the negroes $122,457, or at the rate of $25 a church. For Sunday-schools, which may be regarded as somewhat general and missionary work, the Unitarian Sunda...

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