The Master's Ministry
Building a Brotherhood
October 13, 2016
What a complicated world we live in! Some parts of the world are relatively peaceful and prosperous, while other areas are war torn and poverty stricken. Traditional religious, political and secular systems around the world are being challenged, while new systems and technologies, that are solving some problems, are giving rise to other unanticipated challenges.
Readers of The Urantia Book (“UB”) know that things will get better, that man is fully capable of solving all of these problems with the help of our celestial family, and that our planet will eventually reach its destiny of Light and Life. But considering the current state of affairs, such a destiny is clearly far off, causing even those ‘in the know’ to feel helpless, despondent and depressed. Some of them, along with billions more, believe they cannot do anything to make a difference, and that finding and implementing solutions is the work of world leaders and politicians. But that is far from the truth! The solutions are in the hands of those who are engaged in some form of the Master’s Ministry and who “effectively reveal the Master to all men.” (UB 195:10.1) We are told:
“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.” (UB 195:10.16)
Yes, a united brotherhood of the followers of Jesus are the ones who really have the power to positively change our world. In the 1st century, the little band of Jesus followers, who eventually became known as Christians, were first entrusted with this challenge to change the world. They accomplished much good, but in time, they allowed material problems to overshadow their spiritual mission, and the ‘saving message’ was submerged. Yet the need for a spiritual brotherhood carrying out the Master’s Ministry persists. The UB explains this continued need and describes how a spiritual brotherhood of Jesus’ followers can change the world:
“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.”
When the Jesus brotherhood rises anew, they will spiritually regenerate all kinds of men with Jesus actual teachings – the ‘saving message’ – and then these regenerated souls will be the catalyst for worldwide change – socially, morally, economically, and politically. But notice ... the development of the Jesus brotherhood comes first! Accordingly, all who seek to become one of those new spiritual leaders and teachers of Jesus’ religion must learn to ‘depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings.’ How do we do that?
Jesus’ Actual Teachings
Jesus did not teach doctrines or creeds. He taught a way of thinking, of living, of behaving, and of successfully relating to one another. We might refer to it as the ‘the mind of Christ’ or ‘the Christ way of living.’ He introduced the true character of the Universal Father and showed how to approach Him. He taught that we are all children of that same Father and consequently, brothers to one another. He was indeed building a brotherhood!
Yet, he did not set up churches, or impose rules of conduct to micro-manage the personal affairs of the brotherhood. Nor did he institute a series of holidays or ecclesiastical ceremonies. The only ritual Jesus instituted for the brotherhood was the re-enactment of the Remembrance Supper that would serve as a reminder to his followers of the life he led and the spiritual gifts he gave.
Accordingly, we must be careful to avoid imposing doctrines, creeds, commands, or rituals that Jesus did not teach, and instead spend our time showing people, by our words and actions, the Christ-way of living and relating to one another. From time to time, we may need to clarify misconceptions about the Father and Christ Jesus, or reason with others about the value of certain doctrines or rituals, but we do not need to correct all errors. Once people understand the love and mercy of the Father and the simple Christlike philosophy of living, the Spirit of Truth will take over and ‘guide them into all truth.’
This is not to say that we cannot set up churches or impose rules of conduct or institute holidays or ceremonies. We are free to do those things, as were the Apostles and early disciples. But we must be clear that those matters would be voluntarily done for social order and mutual enjoyment, not compelled as divine arrangements that are required in order to gain God’s favor.
Again, the important thing is to build a brotherhood around a common ideal – that ideal being the life and teachings of Jesus. And we can re-enact the Remembrance Supper in intimate groups as a means of confirming the unity within the brotherhood and with the ideals of Jesus.
There is another thing Jesus did. He introduced the Kingdom of the Heavens. That will be the subject of a future article. In the meantime, let’s consider some of the obstacles to developing a spiritual brotherhood.
Obstacles to Developing a Brotherhood
The obstacles to developing a spiritual brotherhood based on the actual teachings of Jesus are many. The UB makes the following observation about one major obstacle – fear:
“Primitive man lived a life of superstitious bondage to religious fear. Modern, civilized men dread the thought of falling under the dominance of strong religious convictions. Thinking man has always feared to be held by a religion. When a strong and moving religion threatens to dominate him, he invariably tries to rationalize, traditionalize, and institutionalize it, thereby hoping to gain control of it. By such procedure, even a revealed religion becomes man-made and man-dominated. Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them — and with them. And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man.”
We find this to be so true, even within the UB community. We have found that many readers choose to rationalize and intellectualize the revelation in a feeble attempt to control it rather than allow it to control them. They ignore Part IV in particular because deep inside they know that if they accept Part IV, it will require them to change – to do something, not just be something. Part IV humbles us and exposes our weaknesses. It reveals the futility of pride and neutralizes all of our weapons. It exalts the humble and humbles the exalted. It leaves no room for human lords, masters, or leaders. And it requires that we accept one another as brothers. Part IV is the great spiritual equalizer, and the irreplaceable guide on how to develop and maintain the spiritual brotherhood.
Another obstacle is false liberty. Being a part of a brotherhood requires that we be willing to make some accommodation for the feelings and rights of others. There will be a need for self-control, mutual respect, and moral and ethical behavior. Unfortunately, some people refuse to accommodate others. They reject the need for socialization, viewing it as controlling or restrictive. They believe that all they need is a relationship with God. The problem with that thinking is that they are handicapping their own spiritual progress. All of us will have to master socialization before we can attain spiritualization. Thus, being a part of a brotherhood not only affords us an opportunity to be fellow workers with our Sovereign Christ Michael, it also helps us develop as spiritual people.
Yet another obstacle is complacency or procrastination. Some believe all we need to do is work on our own self-improvement and leave the development of Light and Life to evolution. What they fail to appreciate is that evolution alone will not take us there. Evolution must be supplemented by revelation, and revelation is earned from epoch to epoch. For example, we had to first acquire ethical judgment and moral will before receiving a Planetary Prince (UB 52:1.6); we had to first reach the apex of physical development before receiving a Material Son and Daughter (UB 52:3:1); and we must first achieve a flourishing brotherhood of man before receiving the next revelation, likely a Magisterial Son. (UB 52:4.1-2)
Building a brotherhood requires effort. And a failure to put forth the required effort slows down both evolution and revelation. Consider the defaults of our Planetary Prince and our Material Son and Daughter. These events severely set us back and thwarted our progress. And more recently, the failure of Christianity to do its job has restrained the development of a brotherhood and necessitated an emergency revelation – the UB – to get us back on track. Complacency and procrastination will only further delay our destiny and subject our children and grandchildren to unnecessary suffering. We must stand up, strap on our boots and get to work.
What seems to be the biggest obstacle to achieving a spiritual brotherhood is pride. Pride has been the downfall of so many who have attempted to establish a spiritual brotherhood. What often begins as an honorable attempt to promote and adhere to Jesus’ teachings, turns into a charismatic movement led by a dominate and controlling personality who declares some coming catastrophe that requires allegiance and obedience to the leader. In some instances, the leaders were once truly devoted to the Master, but when contact was made or divine guidance was undeniable, their pride got the best of them. This unfortunate, yet common, result is explained in the UB:
“There exists a vast gulf between the human and the divine, between man and God. The Urantia races are so largely electrically and chemically controlled, so highly animallike in their common behavior, so emotional in their ordinary reactions, that it becomes exceedingly difficult for the Monitors to guide and direct them. You are so devoid of courageous decisions and consecrated co-operation that your indwelling Adjusters find it next to impossible to communicate directly with the human mind. Even when they do find it possible to flash a gleam of new truth to the evolving mortal soul, this spiritual revelation often so blinds the creature as to precipitate a convulsion of fanaticism or to initiate some other intellectual upheaval which results disastrously. Many a new religion and strange "ism" has arisen from the aborted, imperfect, misunderstood, and garbled communications of the Thought Adjusters.”
When this occurs, the spirit withdraws and the prideful mortal is left to his or her own devices. What follows is a steady stream of confusion, “intellectual upheaval” purporting to be divine communication that misleads many. How much better it would be to maintain the mental disposition of the Christ, to consider all men your brothers, and to recognize and assent to the actual teachings of Jesus. Only by ascribing to the Jesus ideal, and setting aside pride, can we achieve a true spiritual brotherhood.
Finally, it bears mentioning the matter of unity, without uniformity. There are so many different ways that followers of Jesus are reaching out to spread his ‘saving message.’ As Jesus said, ‘the harvest is great but the workers are few,’ so we should appreciate all ministries that are pursuing the goal of a worldwide brotherhood. While we may not be uniform in method, we must be united in purpose. We must all recognize the sovereignty of Michael and consecrate ourselves to accomplishing his objective of building a worldwide spiritual brotherhood – the benchmark that must be met before we can receive the next epochal revelation.
Effecting Social, Moral, Economic and Political Reorganization
Before we can actually achieve Light and Life, there must be a reorganization of our social, moral, economic and political systems. And as mentioned above, before we can effect such as world-wide reorganization, we must have built an international spiritual brotherhood devoted to the regeneration of mankind. Any efforts to achieve world peace and unity without first developing such a brotherhood will either fail or be short-lived at best. No innovative governmental arrangement, no well-intentioned social order, and no religious movement will be able to achieve or sustain world peace unless the individuals living under those arrangements are united in purpose. That requires a change in people, not just systems. Hence, the need for a spiritual renaissance.
Those who are spiritually regenerated as suggested in the UB will apply Jesus’ philosophy of living to their personal family lives, and out into their social and secular arena, and in this way effect positive world change. Imagine if regenerated spiritual men and women became our politicians and leaders. Imagine if they were our police and public servants. Imagine if business men and women responded to their employees as brothers, and if doctors and nurses cared for their patients as brothers. Imagine if our educators and scientists worked honestly and without a selfish agenda. And imagine our entertainers working to entertain, instead of shock, and our sports heroes behaving in a way worthy of honor. All these things can be accomplished if there first develops a brotherhood of spiritual men and women ‘who dare to rely solely on the incomparable teachings of Jesus,’ and who expend themselves in the spiritual regeneration of mankind.
Our contribution to developing a spiritual brotherhood is by pursuing what we call the Master’s Ministry. (See Religion Guided by The Urantia Book.) We are reaching out to all people, especially the Christian community, to uplift them with the actual teachings of Jesus. And we are seeking ways to unite with others who share our desire for a spiritual renaissance.
‘The great hope of Urantia lies in building and sustaining an international brotherhood of Jesus-following, God-oriented people united in loving service.’ If you share our vision, please let us know, and feel free to write us with your ideas, suggestions or comments.
Your Family in the Faith,
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