Bridge to the Future -
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The Master's Ministry

Bridge to the Future

June 10, 2015

 

    In our Introduction to the Urantia Book, we recommended our readers start in Part IV - The Life and Teachings of Jesus.  It is our belief that examining the part of the book that expounds on matters that are most familiar to a reader allows the Spirit of Truth to more easily bear witness with the reader as to the truth of the matters addressed. That was the experience we personally had, and it is the experience many of those who accepted the challenge to examine the book are having.

    Unlike what some expected, the Urantia Book does not undermine Jesus as he is portrayed in the Bible, nor does it contradict the Biblical Jesus, or lead the reader into a nebulous metaphysical concept of God and Jesus, like other so-called revelations. What it does is provide context for the Bible accounts. It gives the background story, the sights and sounds, and the history that was not included in the Bible. It is a ‘color commentary’ that places the reader in the same frame of mind as those who actually lived during the time of Jesus and heard his masterful teachings firsthand. All of this context serves to deepen and enhance a Bible reader’s understanding and appreciation of Jesus and his earthly ministry, and it helps explain where Paul’s unique knowledge of the heavens came from, since the gospel accounts do not go into those matters.

    Part IV concludes with The Faith of Jesus, the most beautiful summation of the unmatched personality of the man Jesus and his superlative faith experience we have ever read. We have not heard from one person who, after reading Part IV, was not moved in spirit toward a greater love of Jesus and our gloriously Grand Heavenly Father.

   But Part IV does more than just give a history of Jesus’ life.  It tells us how Christianity developed into the religion it is today and gives us direction on what to do next, especially in Paper 195, chapters 9 and 10. After reading how Christianity developed, one learns to have a more tolerant view of the various sects. It is humbling to know that Christianity was never a perfect religion and that all sects are struggling together in their knowledge and understanding of God. It makes the Bible characters real and quite human, while at the same time highlights their divine intentions and aspirations in spreading Jesus’ message to the best of their ability. And it tells us that in spite of all the superstitious creeds permeating modern day Christianity, “the truths of Jesus’ gospel will persist gloriously to illuminate a new and better way.” (195:9:1) We were especially moved by these paragraphs:


“But paganized and socialized Christianity stands in need of new contact with the uncompromised teachings of Jesus; it languishes for lack of a new vision of the Master’s life on earth. A new and fuller revelation of the religion of Jesus is destined to conquer an empire of materialistic secularism and to overthrow a world sway of mechanistic naturalism. Urantia is now quivering on the very brink of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment.

(195:9:2)            

Religion does need new leaders, spiritual men and women who will dare to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings. If Christianity persists in neglecting its spiritual mission while it continues to busy itself with social and material problems, the spiritual renaissance must await the coming of these new teachers of Jesus’ religion who will be exclusively devoted to the spiritual regeneration of men. And then will these spirit-born souls quickly supply the leadership and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic, and political reorganization of the world.”

(195:9:4)

“The world needs more firsthand religion. Even Christianity—the best of the religions of the twentieth century—is not only a religion about Jesus, but it is so largely one which men experience secondhand. They take their religion wholly as handed down by their accepted religious teachers. What an awakening the world would experience if it could only see Jesus as he really lived on earth and know, firsthand, his life-giving teachings! Descriptive words of things beautiful cannot thrill like the sight thereof, neither can creedal words inspire men’s souls like the experience of knowing the presence of God. But expectant faith will ever keep the hope-door of man’s soul open for the entrance of the eternal spiritual realities of the divine values of the worlds beyond. (195:9:8)
    
“Christianity has indeed done a great service for this world, but what is now most needed is Jesus. The world needs to see Jesus living again on earth in the experience of spirit-born mortals who effectively reveal the Master to all men. It is futile to talk about a revival of primitive Christianity; you must go forward from where you find yourselves. Modern culture must become spiritually baptized with a new revelation of Jesus’ life and illuminated with a new understanding of his gospel of eternal salvation. And when Jesus becomes thus lifted up, he will draw all men to himself. Jesus’ disciples should be more than conquerors, even overflowing sources of inspiration and enhanced living to all men. Religion is only an exalted humanism until it is made divine by the discovery of the reality of the presence of God in personal experience.

(195:10.1)                 

The call to the adventure of building a new and transformed human society by means of the spiritual rebirth of Jesus’ brotherhood of the kingdom should thrill all who believe in him as men have not been stirred since the days when they walked about on earth as his companions in the flesh.”

(195:10:6)

“If the Christian church would only dare to espouse the Master’s program, thousands of apparently indifferent youths would rush forward to enlist in such a spiritual undertaking, and they would not hesitate to go all the way through with this great adventure.”

(195:10.10)

“Christianity is seriously confronted with the doom embodied in one of its own slogans: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The non-Christian world will hardly capitulate to a sect-divided Christendom. The living Jesus is the only hope of a possible unification of Christianity. The true church—the Jesus brotherhood—is invisible, spiritual, and is characterized by unity, not necessarily by uniformity. Uniformity is the earmark of the physical world of mechanistic nature. Spiritual unity is the fruit of faith union with the living Jesus. The visible church should refuse longer to handicap the progress of the invisible and spiritual brotherhood of the kingdom of God. And this brotherhood is destined to become a living organism in contrast to an institutionalized social organization. It may well utilize such social organizations, but it must not be supplanted by them.”

(195:10.11)

“The great hope of Urantia lies in the possibility of a new revelation of Jesus with a new and enlarged presentation of his saving message which would spiritually unite in loving service the numerous families of his present-day professed followers.” (195:10.16)

“The hope of modern Christianity is that it should cease to sponsor the social systems and industrial policies of Western civilization while it humbly bows itself before the cross it so valiantly extols, there to learn anew from Jesus of Nazareth the greatest truths mortal man can ever hear—the living gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.”

(195:10.21)

 

   It is these portions, more than any other portion of Part IV, that motivates our ministry and moves us to be among those “spiritual men and women who will dare to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings.” We hope to do our part in developing the Jesus brotherhood of faith sons who would “supply the leadership and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic, and political reorganization of the world,” by furthering “the greatest truths mortal man can ever hear — the living gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.” We know that others are likewise motivated. We hope we can all work together to fully accomplish the ministry Jesus started.
 

A Model for a Ministry

 

   It has been our opinion from the very beginning of our ministry in 2012 that what is needed is an army of preachers and teachers who are fully versed in the authentic teachings of Jesus. We need men and women who are willing to offer themselves in this monumental work, this “call to adventure,” of generating “a revival of Jesus actual teachings” (170:5.20), as set forth in the gospel accounts and contextually enhanced by the Urantia Book. Because of our 50-year background with Jehovah’s Witnesses, we felt Jehovah’s Witnesses would be well suited for this undertaking, not as they are currently constituted, but as a spiritualized fellowship of faith sons of God.

   They are well known for their near flawless apparatus for supporting a worldwide ministry, and for the millions of well trained ministers who skillfully carry their message. These ministers have received extraordinary training in various specialized schools, all offered free of charge to those who qualify. Those who do not qualify for the specialized schools are able to take advantage of the local Theocratic Ministry School designed specifically to enhance public speaking skills.

   Unfortunately, the message Jehovah’s Witnesses currently carry is primitive and out of step with Jesus’ actual teachings. Their focus on ‘end times,’ imitating the ancient Jewish religious system and developing a quasi ‘clergy class’ has bogged them down in a mire similar to that imprisoning the Jews of Jesus’ day. And it does not appear that their leadership is quite as open to change as are the rank and file members. But we have seen, firsthand, that when individual Jehovah’s Witnesses are introduced to the actual teachings of Jesus, as contained in the Bible, they abandon their fear of men and follow Jesus counsel to ‘keep asking, seeking, and knocking’ for knowledge in full expectation that “it will be given.” (Matthew 7:7-8) Many of them eventually find the Urantia Book, as we did, and are able to use their valuable ministry skills in a far more effective and efficient manner. We believe many of these individuals would be happy to show others how to be effective ministers of Jesus’ actual teachings.

  We believe other religious groups can be similarly affected if they are shown the actual teachings of Jesus, as recorded in the Bible, without the added dogma of men. And once their minds are clear, they can more effectively examine the Urantia Book to see if it bears witness with their spirit. We believe this because although our ministry was initially directed toward Jehovah’s Witnesses, millions of other people, including a very large number of young people, in over 180 countries have taken up the ‘plain and open teachings’ of Jesus and are now ‘examining all things.’ (1 Corinthians 2:15) The words of the Urantia Book are coming true in this regard:


“If the Christian church would only dare to espouse the Master’s program, thousands of apparently indifferent youths would rush forward to enlist in such a spiritual undertaking, and they would not hesitate to go all the way through with this great adventure.”

(195:10.10)

 

    By following this ministry model of focusing on the actual teachings of Jesus, we have shown that the Urantia Book serves to enhance Bible understanding and poses no threat to a Jesus-loving Christian.  And we have also shown to many in Urantia Book communities that the Bible is not an obsolete book, but continues to be an important part of the ministry of Jesus in that it serves to prepare the way for the Fifth Epochal Revelation. Accordingly, we have full confidence that this ministry model, as expressly stated in the Urantia Book, coupled with effective ministry skills, will be met with certain success. If more and more lovers of Jesus do this, we believe the wishes of the revelators, the intentions of Christ Jesus, and the purpose of the original Grand Father for our planet will be realized far sooner than expected.        
 

A Dilemma in the Urantia Book Communities

 

    Within the Urantia Book community are organizations and individuals who desire to develop an effective outreach ministry and have sufficient resources to accomplish that goal. They have produced high quality recordings of the Urantia Book, several foreign language translations, beautiful and informative artwork and videos, many profound treatises, and hold informative local and international conventions. A farseeing group recently produced a full length movie revealing more information about the places Jesus walked and preached. Yet, with all of these resources, their growth in faith sons is very slow.

    We believe the reason for the slow growth is threefold:

 

(1) Many are focusing more attention on the cosmology in Parts I and II and the planetary history in Part III, instead of Part IV – the actual teachings of Jesus. The cosmology is interesting and enlightening, but unless we approach the Father through ‘the door’ ‘the way’ – Jesus of Nazareth (John 10:9; 14:6) – we may not ever get to experience the cosmology first hand. And, of course, history is important, but only Part IV tells us how to reach our destiny.

(2) Many in the Urantia Book community are ‘religion shy.’  They are well versed in the errors of primitive religion, organized religion, and authoritative religion, and wisely want no part of it. But instead of pursuing revealed religion, they ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’ and wash their hands completely of anything that smells of religion.  As a result, the ensuing independent spirit hampers unity and a shared purpose.

(3) Many have inadvertently associated the Urantia Book with ‘new age’ cults. It is estimated that there are 2.18 billion Christians in the world. That’s one-third of the entire population who are poised to receive a greater revelation of Jesus’ life and teachings. But by focusing on the cosmology, the Urantia Book has become more associated with the so-called ‘new age’ and ‘UFO’ cults than with sound theology, which repels the traditional religionist.

 

   The good news is that each of these factors is remediable, but it will take effort and a fresh perspective. Most readers in the Urantia Book communities are getting up in age and worried about the future of the revelation. They ask: Who will handle the revelation when the old guard passes on? Even the youth within the community, especially a few associated with the UrantiaNow fellowship, are asking whether the fellowship will survive. We believe it can, not only survive, but thrive, if, as the book says, they “dare to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings” and if they spend their resources in developing ministers, not just academics.

        
   The presently-constituted Christian community is ripe for a greater revelation of Jesus. They are growing tired of rehashing the limited information provided in the gospel accounts as is evidenced by the increasing belief that the world is coming to an end, and in the urgent search for ‘Bible codes.’ When one believes that the entire body of religious truth is contained in one small library of 66 books, they are compelled to refashion ideas and invent new perspectives in order to meet man’s unquenchable thirst for something new. Hence, we see the wisdom of providing a new revelation of truth for our generation – a revelation that honors and enhances the prior revelation rather than destroying it.

 

An Experiment


  This article is published as part of TheChristExperiment. We intentionally used the word “experiment” to encourage boldness and thinking outside the box. We want people to not be afraid to use their God-given intelligence as spiritual men and women to ‘examine all things’ (1 Corinthians 2:15), whether it be religious, scientific, philosophic, social, political or otherwise, without abandoning sound theology. We want to break down the barriers of fear that have been keeping mankind chained to the past and wandering in the desert of confusion. What separates greatness from mediocrity is having the courage to step out on faith to attempt the things we believe are right and just.

   True religion is not dying. It is old superstitious religions that are on the downswing. People are growing tired of the ministries of doom and gloom, of the monotony of token church-going, the refusal of religion to recognize true science, and the constant bickering and posturing of one religion over another. But true religion is being born every day by those who see the errors in primitive religion but do not give up in despair. They do not ‘throw the baby out with the bath water,’ but are willing to let the filthy waters drain away so they can fill the tub with the refreshing waters of life. To all such persons we say a hearty, bravo!

   And to all our readers – Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, Protestants, Urantia Book readers, Mormons, Hindus, Muslim, and Jews alike – we ask: Are you now ready for a true fellowship and a real ministry – a bold call to adventure?  Are you willing to abandon complacency and stand up with faith sons of God around the world? Are you ready to be fellow workers with Christ, our Universe Sovereign, carrying out the work he started and preparing our world for the Golden Age of Light and Life?

  Accepting the ‘dare’ posed in the Urantia Book ‘to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings’ is the greatest adventure possible on our planet. This is an opportunity for all lovers of Christ of all denominations, including the Urantia Book communities, to have a real hand in our own planetary destiny. We can help the Fifth Epochal Revelation brilliantly succeed.

    Let’s look at the history of revelations on our planet: the first revelation was thwarted with rebellion; the second revelation was thwarted with default; the third revelation was limited in its reception; the fourth revelation was distorted and submerged. What will we do with the fifth revelation? It is in our hands. Will we let it languish for lack of initiative? Will we sleep on it and pass the baton to a later more determined generation? Will we allow it to be swallowed up by ignorance and close mindedness? We say “No more procrastination! No more default!” The future of our planet is in our own hands.  There is no angry potentate waiting to destroy us.  We have a patient God who desires none to be destroyed, but desires that all gain everlasting life – the real life in pursuit of the eternal heavenly career. (John 3:16-17)

   This change will not come overnight. It took us a long time to get in this condition and it will take some time to get us back on track. We may not be able to turn our generation around, but we can certainly lay a foundation for our children and grandchildren who will take us further along that path. This means we have to step out of our own mortality and not let the temporal flesh inhibit our efforts. As the Apostle Paul wrote, accept that ‘we have been baptized into Christ’s death’ (Romans 6:3), and then be about the Father’s business.

   If you are up for the challenge, please share your thoughts about it. We believe a unified, but not uniform, effort to uplift the spiritual conversation, first within the Christian communities and then the world in general, will start a chain reaction that will ‘bring heaven down,’ allowing God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10) With the joint effort of skilled  ambassadors and disciples working together, hand in hand, the brotherhood of mankind will finally have its day.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

 

  Your Family in the Faith, 

TheChristExperiment.Org

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