Episode 78: Special Edition with Dale Tuggy and Mark Cain: The UCA comes to the UK!

Paul and Dan talk with Dale Tuggy and Mark Cain to find out about all the work they do with the Unitarian Christian Alliance (UCA) including their upcoming first conference outside the US to be held in Windsor, London 25 July 2024. They also discuss how increasing numbers of people are coming to understand the Biblical God, rather than one of the many ‘trinity theories’.  It’s exciting times for unitarian theology so listen in to find out about the UK conference or just how you can help the growing network of people coming to a Biblical understanding of God and his son Jesus!

Show Notes

Paul opens this episode by welcoming Dale and Mark to the podcast, who are recording from Nashville, Tennessee. Mark gives a summary of the Unitarian Christian Alliance (UCA), which both he and Dale are heavily involved in. He explains how the UCA operates as an organisation that promotes theology and an understanding of the one God as the Father, distinct from Jesus his Son, through podcasts, videos and conferences. Its website and directory, (including a map of members), facilitates connections with like-minded people who are also unitarian Christians. It’s an opportunity for people to find established churches and groups who are not trinitarian, such as the Christadelphians.

An early point of clarification is raised, which is that the UCA is not a denomination and is definitely not the Unitarian Universalist church or linked to them in any way. Instead the UCA is a network or directory (like the old yellow pages!) through which you can contact people with a variety of convictions around one God, the Father. Dan explains that their normal contributors are all Christadelphians, a unitarian Christian group that believes that Jesus is the Son of God, distinct from God himself. However, this special edition episode with Dale and Mark is all about how groups like the Christadelphians can be part of teaching and promoting truths they have taken for granted for many decades to a new audience that is facilitated by the work of the UCA.

The UCA UK Conference

With that introduction, Dale and Mark give some information about the very first UK conference that is scheduled for July 2024, including the academic papers that will be presented and the more informal workshops. Presenters include Dale Tuggy and Thomas Gaston who will both be speaking on aspects of early Christian history and Christology. Papers presented by Jerry Wierwille and Dustin Smith will get into biblical topics in 1 Corinthians 8 and John’s gospel respectively. A presentation by Rohan Holt will look at how the trinity places a barrier to Christian mission and preaching, and our very own Dan Weatherall will present on “It wasn’t God on the Cross: Precisely articulating Christianity to a secular world”! A further presentation from Andrew Perriman who teaches at the London School of Theology is also planned. Full details are on the UCA conference event page, where you can sign up to attend.

Different backgrounds and many trinity theories!

After discussing the conference details, Mark shares his background in the Church of God General Conference, (which is a non-trinitarian denomination predominantly based in the USA), and how he has valued his recent experiences in meeting others who are turning away from traditional trinitarian beliefs to unitarian convictions. Mark talks about his podcast (the Unitarian Christian Alliance Podcast) where he shares stories and conversations with a rich array of people. This includes those who have always been unitarian (like Mark himself), and those who have recently discovered unitarian beliefs in the Bible, and everything in between!

Dale describes his background as a trinitarian Christian who finished his PHD in 2000, trained in Analytic Philosophy, who then began to really delve into the trinity from a philosophical point of view to try to figure it out. Finding that there were many trinity theories disguised by orthodox language, and that none of these were actually in the Bible and instead contradicted it, Dale explains how he lost his belief in the trinity. He has continued to produce podcasts (the Trinities podcast) and more recently is working as part of the UCA to further the cause of reformation in this specific doctrinal area.

The UCA comes to the UK!

Mark and Dale then share practical details about the UK conference. Being held in Windsor, near London, the conference is over three days from Thursday 25 July and officially finishing on Saturday 27th. Aside from the academic papers and workshops, there will be time to network and meet others over meals and coffee, something Dan recognises that he probably takes for granted. The established network of a denomination such as the Christadelphians provides valuable fellowship that many new unitarian Christians may not realise is available. Making the existing churches visible at this UCA event is so important to helping and supporting many who may feel isolated and providing opportunity to explore the distinctive beliefs and biblical teaching of each attendee and church.

The interview finishes with some quickfire questions to keep Dale and Mark on their toes(!) – we look forward to Mark’s holiday selfie taken at Worm’s Head, Gower Peninsular!

Further information

For more information about the UCA UK conference, the details are all at the event page.

Holding a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Brown University, Dr Dale Tuggy is the author of “What is the Trinity?” and co-author of ‘Is Jesus Human and not Divine’ and ‘One God, Three Persons, Four Views’. He has published peer-reviewed articles on the variety and history of Christian views about God and Christ.

Mark Cain has a BA in Theology from Atlanta Bible College and a BS in Computer Science from Cleveland State University. He works in a medical software company as the Privacy Officer. Mark serves in several roles at the Church of the Open Bible in Bedford, Ohio, where he attends with his wife and sons. Mark is the host of the Unitarian Christian Alliance podcast. (See the UCA website for more details).

The Christadelphians are an example of what is sometimes referred to as a denomination with “Socinian” beliefs, or more recently, a “biblical unitarian” church. This term is now used to describe the theological position that believes the Father alone is the one true God (John 17:1, 1 Corinthians 8:6), Jesus is a human just like us without any preexistence (1 Timothy 2:5), yet conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit miraculously and therefore called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). For more information on Christadelphian beliefs in relation to God and Jesus, our podcast and blog explores much of these topics: