Watch and Pray (Derek Parker) has begun to muse on the Washington Avowal.
The Washington Avowal which like the 1899 “Five Principles is technically an interpretation or elaboration on the Winchester itself. I used to like it, it has a certain poetry and an activist sensibility, but now I read it as a slippery slope away from historic Christianity, towards (at best) cultural Christianity, to thenceforth into something completely other. Plus the “progressively establish the kingdom of God” just rings as naive.
The irony is that the Washington parish (Universalist National Memorial Church) doesn’t use the Washington Avowal, even though it was adopted by the Universalist General Convention in this city; indeed, at the Mayflower Hotel, a rather swank and un-Social-Gospel place to get a martini.
Plus, each document (1803, 1899, and 1935) was trying to accomplish something different, making comparisons at best difficult, and probably inappropriate. Until we get at the grammar of theological expression, neither the direct heirs of the Winchester Profession, or its collateral heirs (the UUA) is going to make much headway in crafting coherant theological statements.