The Master's Ministry
Fortifying the Foundation
Part II - Building Up The Urantia Book Community
July 5, 2015
In Part I, we discussed the need to fortify the beginning pillar of our ‘bridge,’ the Fourth Epochal Revelation (“4th ER”) of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Since the 4th ER is primarily recognized and honored within Christianity, Christianity is where the fortification work must begin. It is our belief that in order to best appreciate the Fifth Epochal Revelation (“5th ER”), one must first gain a clear understanding of the 4th ER. That applies to both Christians and non-Christians.
In this Part II, we will discuss the need to fortify the receiving end of the ‘bridge,’ the place where one will find himself after successfully crossing from the 4th ER to the 5th ER. Fortifying the receiving end is just as important, if not more so, as fortifying the beginning pillar. Those who cross the bridge will be leaving behind a structure that has served to provide a sense of security. Their churches and religious affiliations provided community, stability and purpose. But when they are exposed to the larger world of universe reality, they can begin to feel a sense of loss and loneliness in their new paradigm. Therefore, it is imperative that those engaged in this ‘bridging work’ provide a stable, proactive community that fills the void and fosters continued growth.
This article will provide some suggestions in that regard based on our own experiences and challenges. There may be many other great suggestions that can be presented by others, and if so, we encourage all to do so.
Taking a Stand
The first thing we realized when we were introduced to The Urantia Book community (“UB Community”) is that none of the major UB websites provide a ‘Statement of Beliefs.’ There is much information about their organizational structures, their administrative personnel, their literature and art, and what they do. But there is nothing about what they believe.
We suspect this is because the UB Community wants to appeal to all religions and all peoples, and perhaps they feel that by defining their religious position, they could be alienating some potential readers. Or perhaps they feel that by openly stating their beliefs, they are somehow crystalizing and fossilizing their faith. While we understand each of these concerns, the reality is that The Urantia Book simply will not appeal to all persons at this time in history. In time, it will have wider appeal, but for now, we have to identify the most receptive communities and appeal to them. Also, stating beliefs is not crystalizing or fossilizing faith, certainly not in a negative way. Jesus had strong, definable and definite beliefs. He spoke with authority and conviction. His audience knew where he stood and they found comfort in his strength. As his followers carrying on the ministry he began, we are to be the ‘salt of the earth’ and the ‘light of the world.’ But how can we do this if we have no savor? And no illumination?
Not knowing the beliefs of those in the UB Community was very disconcerting to us when we first began investigating the community. It was one of the primary reasons why we never joined or associated with any group. How does one develop a sense of community among believers without any beliefs? How does one engage in shared faith or even interfaith activities without identifying one’s faith? How would individuals know whether they are united in faith unless the foundations of their faith are made known? These are the things we pondered.
Our past religious affiliation had been with Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was the commonality of beliefs among Witnesses that bound us together, that allowed us to share a particular purpose and to pursue specific goals as a community. Without that fundamental commonality, we doubt we would have continued active in the fellowship for as long as we did. And that could be a major reason why there is transient commitment among many who interact in the UB Community.
So in starting our own ministry, we made sure we provided a Statement of Beliefs so our readers would be able to decide whether they were interested in reading what we publish. On one of our sites, we published an article explaining our beliefs, Fundamental Beliefs of a Living Faith, which we contrasted with an article explaining faith, The Genius of a Living Faith. Of course, some people do not agree with our beliefs, but at least they know where we stand. We are not recommending these beliefs to others, but we are suggesting that some sort of statement of belief be formulated. So what does the UB Community really believe? What do they stand for?
Of course, it could very well be that there are shared beliefs within the UB Community, but they have decided not to publicly declare them. Whatever the reason, we believe a public declaration would strengthen the movement and silence quite a bit of criticism and controversy. Because the UB Community does not identify itself, others with ignorant and small minded prejudices are doing it for them. They are defining the UB Community as a godless, demon inspired, new age cult seeking to destroy the Bible and mislead God-loving Christians. Aside from reading The Urantia Book for themselves, there is really no way to know that these challenges are not true. And who among them has any interest in reading what they believe is ‘godless, demon inspired, new age cult’ literature?
If the UB Community does not take a stand for itself soon and clearly identify who they are and what they believe, it is possible that the movement could be overrun and lost in the way Abner’s movement was lost. (UB 195:1.11) The Urantia Book’s reputation can become irreparably damaged for our generation and must await a new generation that has the courage to boldly, yet respectfully, contend.
Therefore, we encourage the UB Community to begin formulating a statement or statements of belief based on the teachings of The Urantia Book. There is no need to state every belief, just the fundamental ones – the ones that are necessary and unavoidable, along with beliefs that are shared by most religious people and will foster unity. For example, it is fundamental that there is a First Source and Center, the Infinite God of All, that Christ Michael who incarnated as Jesus of Nazareth is our Universe Sovereign, that personality can survive the death of the mortal body, and that faith in that possibility is the key to achieving it.
But some discretion should be exercised. As an example, because of the diverse understandings and misunderstandings of what the “Trinity” is, it may not be wise or necessary to identify the Infinite Father as part of the Trinity. Doing so is likely to mislead people into believing that The Urantia Book teaches that Jesus is part of the Trinity. Also, there is no need to discuss The Supreme Being or God the Sevenfold or the Unqualified Absolute. These are concepts for the mature reader, not universe babes. The point is to provide some kind of identity that fosters the greatest unity of beliefs and that will allow interested persons to know what they can expect from The Urantia Book and those who read it. Formulating a unifying statement of beliefs would be a wise undertaking for any UB fellowship or organization.
Developing ‘Genuine Second Milers’
“In winning souls for the Master, it is not the first mile of compulsion, duty, or convention that will transform man and his world, but rather the second mile of free service and liberty-loving devotion that betokens the Jesusonian reaching forth to grasp his brother in love and sweep him on under spiritual guidance toward the higher and divine goal of mortal existence. Christianity even now willingly goes the first mile, but mankind languishes and stumbles along in moral darkness because there are so few genuine second-milers—so few professed followers of Jesus who really live and love as he taught his disciples to live and love and serve.”
This is the goal for our generation – becoming “genuine second-milers” – not just within Christianity, but also within the UB Community. We should ask ourselves: Do we attend church or study groups and then decide we have done all that is required of us? Have we adopted the attitude that the revelation is for a far distant age and in this way excuse ourselves from taking initiative? Have we allowed our experience with organized religion to cause us to isolate ourselves with the view that all we need to do is treat people fairly? If so, we would likely be classified among those who are merely “first milers.”
What the revelators are looking for are those who will step outside of their comfort zones and put forth the extra effort to reach out to others and ‘sweep them under spiritual guidance toward the higher and divine goal of mortal existence.’ That describes a ministry – a service to others. What is that ‘higher and divine goal?’ We believe it is two-fold: (1) recognizing our sonship with God and (2) pursuing the divine mandate to ‘be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.’ (Matthew 5:48; UB 140:5.15) Yes, we must perfect our faith as sons of God, and not be complacent or content with mediocrity.
Those who truly love our Universe Sovereign and understand his will for our planet have an even greater drive for perfection and going the ‘second mile.’ Jesus said:
“... True, each of these believers shall have great and lasting peace in his own heart, but peace on earth will not come until all are willing to believe and enter into their glorious inheritance of sonship with God.”
If we truly want to see better days for our planet, we must make the extra effort to reach out to our neighbors to let them know that they, too, are sons of God, that life has real meaning and purpose, and that life need not end at the demise of the mortal body. The theme of sonship has been the common thread throughout our ministry. We were recently asked why we put so much emphasis on sonship, and in response, we published an article Why Sonship? to show why and how sonship is the most important concept for our mortal lives.
All “genuine second-milers” recognize their sonship and the implications of being a faith son of God. Their relationship with Deity impels them to go beyond the call. Think of what has happened here: (1) our planetary prince rebelled; (2) our Adam and Eve defaulted; (3) our planet is an experimental decimal planet; (4) we have double the number of races; and (5), in spite of all this (or because of all this) our Universe Sovereign chose our planet as the place of his seventh bestowal! These realities should move all faith sons to want to do everything they can to help this special planet reach light and life.
How would you feel if the adversaries achieved their goal of planet-wide default? How do you suppose Christ Michael feels when he looks at the results of his bestowal ministry? Second-milers refuse to let our Christ Michael/the Glorified Jesus down. They will not allow his earthly life work to languish any longer out of fear or being too timid to stand with him as fellow workers, completing the ministry he began.
What do you suppose would happen on our planet if all readers of The Urantia Book became “genuine second milers?” Can you imagine the impact that small group would have on the entire world? What if their education programs were designed to create, not just great thinkers, but great doers? What if the study groups gathered to, not just read something, but to do something? Something like, go out and volunteer together to accomplish a community purpose. Or visit a local church together and introduce themselves, as ambassadors would do. Or maybe arrange to hold their study session in a public area, like a park, where curiosity might cause others to want to sit in. We are aware of one group that has created a working relationship with a pastor of a church and holds some of their meetings in the church building. These types of liaisons can result in members of the church joining in and learning more about the revelation. At the very least, it can serve to minimize the fear many Christians have toward The Urantia Book.
These are actions that can be taken now to further the 5th ER and develop genuine second-milers. And those who become attracted to the 5th ER may be moved to join in and become a part of something special. Can the UB Community create ways to develop genuine second-milers? We have heard from many readers who have been reading The Urantia Book for over 40 years who are excited about the forward momentum achieved so far by reintroducing the actual teachings of Jesus within Christianity. These individuals seem eager to do something to further the revelation, but they need leadership and direction in order to have the greatest effect. Regarding effective and wise leadership, The Urantia Book says:
"In civilization much, very much, depends on an enthusiastic and effective load-pulling spirit. Ten men are of little more value than one in lifting a great load unless they lift together—all at the same moment. And such teamwork—social co-operation—is dependent on leadership. The cultural civilizations of the past and the present have been based upon the intelligent co-operation of the citizenry with wise and progressive leaders; and until man evolves to higher levels, civilization will continue to be dependent on wise and vigorous leadership.”
– UB 81:6.37
Such leaders already exist in the UB Community and more potential leaders are joining with increasing frequency. They just need the encouragement to step out on faith and put some of their innovative ideas into action.
We hope we have provided some workable suggestions in this article, such as formulating unifying statements of belief, redesigning education programs that train readers on how to use, not just know, the information in the 5th ER, reorganizing study groups into service groups, and reaching out in the religious community to form liaisons and possibly shared goals. These and similar actions and projects will fortify the 5th ER and the UB Community and bring them out of the shadows and into the glorious light, positively effecting mainstream consciousness. Their presence allows others to examine and test the revelation, to ask real questions and get meaningful answers, and to see and get to know the kind of people who are drawn to The Urantia Book. And, just as important, by taking affirmative action, it takes the power back from the ignorant and the uninformed who have sullied the 5th ER and those who accept it.
And let us not forget our celestial family of Midwayers, group and guardian Seraphim, and a host of unrevealed celestial personalities who are anxious to see Christ Michael’s mandate fulfilled:
“I have plainly told you that I must leave you in the world to carry on the work of the kingdom. It was for this purpose that I set you apart, in the hills of Capernaum. The experience you have had with me, you must now make ready to share with others. As the Father sent me into this world, so am I about to send you forth to represent me and finish the work I have begun.”
– UB 178:3.2
When we take the initiative to advance the 5th ER in bold and innovative ways, our celestial family can see that we sincerely appreciate all the effort they expended in giving us the 5th ER, and they will no longer have to wonder whether our planet will suffer another revelatory default.
Let us untie their hands, so to speak, and provide for them some “genuine second-miler activity” that they can get behind. Their assistance, combined with the Spirit of Truth, could propel us far beyond our limited expectations and allow us to truly experience the unexpected.
We can do this! And we welcome your comments and support.
Fortifying the Foundation Part III - Preparing Statments of Belief
Your Family in the Faith,
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