Cross the Street Chapel

Cross Street Chapel in Manchester has an enviable city-centre location and a fine set of premises dating back to 1997, with lots of glass and comfortable modern seating. It has an enviable Christian pedigree, its first minister being the Rev Henry Newcome, ejected puritan back in 1662. Yet with time’s passage, this faithful presbyterian congregation drifted into unitarianism, a form of ultraliberalism which denied almost every doctrine and tenet of orthodox Christianity. The church’s website has a section on their beliefs which begins:

Unitarianism has its roots in protestant Christianity…

- just as nettles have roots in the same soil as parsnips. It then goes on to to add:

For some, the very word God is unhelpful.


In the chapel’s foyer, which has a gigantic glass window looking out onto the city’s busy centre, two huge Pride flags command attention. A printed sign stuck to the (locked) doors proclaims that it ‘celebrates diversity’.

Unitarianism is not the radical and bold counter-culture it often pretends, but a dull reflection of the prevailing norms. In the 2020s, it bedecks itself in the Pride colours; in the 1790s, it denied the possibility of miracles and special revelation. When a church or denomination rejects the Bible, it merely regurgitates current, worldly wisdom. In the 2060s, if the movement is able to survive, it will be politely echoing whatever the godless world is then spouting, but in a gently sanctimonious manner.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.

- 1 John 4:1-3a, NKJV