The Master's Ministry
Religion Guided by The Urantia Book
(August 20, 2016)
The Urantia Book is not exclusively a religious book as it touches on so many topics beyond religion. Yet it does encourage readers to develop and strengthen their relationship with God and to serve their fellow man, which is the essence of true religion.
When discussing religion directly, The Urantia Book (“UB”) reveals the dangers of “institutionalized religion” and “formalized religion” – the type of religion that is authoritative, bureaucratic and controlling. For that reason, many UB readers, as well as those who have escaped from authoritative religion, shy away from religion as a whole. However, as has been recognized by many, the UB does not discourage “socialized religion,” which can also be described as a brotherhood or a fellowship – an arrangement where all members are equal and organized to serve others. In fact, the UB encourages it.
It further divides religion into two other categories – evolutionary or revelatory. Evolutionary religion encompasses those religions that have gradually evolved along with mankind’s understanding of his world. Whereas revelatory religion describes religion that arises due to divine intervention. In its inception, Christianity was an example of revelatory religion. But in time, the more higher spiritual concepts were set aside in favor of more mundane ideas that were more consistent with tradition. As a result, modern-day Christianity is more evolutionary than revelatory. But how can a new socialized and revelatory religion, or fellowship, guided by the UB, be developed?
The most difficult part in socializing a new revelatory religion is figuring out how it would be structured and how it would be practiced. It cannot be just another church founded on another book, like Mormons with the Book of Mormon, Christians with the Bible, Islam with the Quran, and so forth. A religion guided by the 5th Epochal Revelation must itself be revelatory. It must transcend evolutionary religion in practically every way. The whole structure must be different. We must approach the idea of socialized revelatory religion in a wholly different way.
To that end, please consider the following.
1. What could be the purpose in forming a new religion guided by the UB?
Establishing a purpose seems to be the first step in forming a new UB guided religion. That purpose must be more than mere fellowship and association. It has to be dynamic. It has to have direction and meaning. It must do something, not just be something. (UB 115:0.1) We must not only be enlightened, but also be the lights of the world, igniting that same light in others. So what would be a meaningful purpose for a UB guided religion?
We can think of no better purpose that to be fellow workers with Michael, pursuing his goals, and furthering his agenda. A religion guided by the UB that has any goal other than the furtherance of Michael’s agenda would be doing a disservice to the numerous celestial personalities who labored to bring the revelation to mankind, and it would be nothing more than an exercise in mediocrity.
2. What is Michael’s agenda?
In the 4th Revelation, Michael, bestowed as Jesus of Nazareth, sought to reveal to mankind the true nature of the Paradise Father and to show all men they are children of that same Heavenly Father, and that we have a heavenly destiny. During his earth ministry, he gave these instructions:
“Preach the gospel of the kingdom and proclaim the saving truth that man is a son of God.”
– (UB 150:4.2)
“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)
That work is not yet finished as the majority of mankind is not aware of the complete ‘saving truth.’ Christians, and even secularists, strive to accept all men as brothers, yet they lack a true understanding and appreciation of the extra-terrestrial journey – the real hope that leads us beyond our mortal boundaries and into the very presence of the Eternal God. The early Christians began that work, but they were sidetracked. The saving truth of Jesus was submerged for centuries under layer upon layer of Christian dogma. Notwithstanding their errors, the 5th Revelation assures us about the Christian ministry:
“Jesus did not found the so-called Christian church, but he has, in every manner consistent with his nature, fostered it as the best existent exponent of his lifework on earth.
- (UB 195:10.9)
“But the Christianity of even the twentieth century must not be despised. It is the product of the combined moral genius of the God-knowing men of many races during many ages, and it has truly been one of the greatest powers for good on earth, and therefore no man should lightly regard it, notwithstanding its inherent and acquired defects. Christianity still contrives to move the minds of reflective men with mighty moral emotions.”
- (UB 195:10.12)
It further assures us that preaching and teaching that same ‘saving truth’ is still necessary and must still be done in this 21st century:
“There must come a revival of the actual teachings of Jesus, such a restatement as will undo the work of his early followers who went about to create a sociophilosophical system of belief regarding the fact of Michael's sojourn on earth.”
- (UB 170:5.20)
“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)
Re-introducing that ‘saving truth’ should be the goal of any UB guided religion that seeks to be fellow workers with Michael, ‘espousing the Master’s program.’ (UB 195:10.10)
3. What could be the structure of such a religion?
A UB guided religion must not fall victim to the same errors of Christianity. We cannot set up another religious structure that elevates a clergy class or takes away from its members the ministry of reconciliation, relegating them to passive audience members. A revealed religion must be more than a fellowship of believers. It must be a fellowship of brothers in the family kingdom of the Father in heaven. (UB 194:4.6)
“It must be a brotherhood of dynamic believers as Jesus commissioned continuously to effect the spiritual transformation of successive generations of mankind.”
- (UB 195:9.10)
In the first century, Jesus referred to his followers as ambassadors of the heavenly kingdom. (UB 174:0.2, 181:2.7, 11, 26) An ambassador is a representative of a sovereign nation sent to reside temporarily in a foreign nation for the purpose of explaining and exalting his home nation. As the original ambassador to the heavenly kingdom, Jesus took his message to the Jews, the Samaritans, the Greeks and the Romans. And he taught his followers to do the same, to go out into the world and teach people where they live.
Imagine if Jesus was on earth today. How would he approach the issue of religion? How would he deal with the many sects of religion? We doubt he would start a new religious sect. Instead, we believe he would organize a group of teachers to reach out to all religions, to spread the saving truth that they are all children of God and brothers to each other with an eternal career ahead of them. Accordingly, a UB guided religion could consist of ambassadors who go out into the various churches to introduce the ‘saving truth’ by restating the actual teachings of Jesus. It might be considered a new religion, but it would really be a Fellowship of Ambassadors and ‘Transition Ministers’ who uplift evolutionary religion so as to help it transition to revelatory religion.
Instead of being another sect that divides, it would be a fellowship that unites. It would not be segregated in its own little “church,” it would reach out! Jesus said we are “the lights of the world.” Lights illuminate what is already there. He said we are “the salt of the earth.” Salt enhances the flavor of what is already there. Thus, there is no need to create a new sect. A new socialized revelatory religion could build on and enhance the ideas of the existing religions with the goal of unifying all of them under the ideals of our Sovereign Master Son, Christ Michael.
Such a religion would be wholly different from all evolutionary religions. It would have a purpose higher than personal salvation or mere fellowshiping. It would respect the autonomy of the individual. It would eliminate the risk of clergy-laity distinctions and the potential for oppression, dominance or control. And most importantly, it would allow all ‘members’ of the religion to be equal active co-workers with Michael, ‘espousing the Master’s program.’
4. How could such a religion be developed?
We know there is good in all religions, but unfortunately, the bad often overshadows the good. Nevertheless, there is hope because: (1) the members of all of them have a Thought Adjuster, a fragment of the one Paradise Father; and (2) they are all beneficiaries of the same Spirit of Truth, the spirit of Christ Michael. This spiritual connectedness allows us to speak the same spiritual language. But it requires a lot of patience, a lot of love and a good deal of skill. A UB guided religion could be a community that develops skilled ministers and sends them out to upstep the religious associations in their communities, enhancing their ideas and bringing them closer to Michael’s ideals.
In developing such a religion, we can look at what occurred in the Adam and Eve schools. Those who were brought into the Garden were the higher minds of the surrounding tribes. They were not coming as permanent residents, and they were not set aside to be a new group outside of their communities. They came into the Garden to be educated and were then sent back to their own tribes and communities to uplift them. And that is the way worldwide upliftment was to occur. That can be the template for a socialized revelatory religion.
Those visitors to the Garden were no doubt trained on how to uplift their tribesmen. We can only imagine what the training would have consisted of, but it would have included some information on how to introduce ‘Garden concepts’ to the more primitive minds. They were not going back to their community to say “Here is what I learned in the Garden!” They would be far more discreet. If simply telling what they learned in the Garden was appropriate, the entire tribe could have gone to the Garden school and learned it first hand. But that was not how it was done. Instead, they were no doubt taught an art – the art of bridging the ‘Garden concepts’ with their tribal traditions.
The UB reveals that giving primitive minds too much information too soon is dangerous. And that principle remains true today. Look at the pervading view of the UB by mainstream religionist. Without proper bridging, many religionists think the book is demon inspired or new age propaganda. There are segments of religion that actively oppose and ridicule both the UB, and UB readers. We have seen first hand how ineffective, and even dangerous it is, to give the book out with no preparation, or practical connectives. Thus, it would be necessary for a new UB guided religion to provide similar training in the art of bridging.
In developing such a religion, we can envision two phases – the Education/Training Phase, and then the Ambassador Phase where we actually go out and ‘do something.’ But first, a curricula would need to be developed and a medium must be established to disseminate the teachings.
This idea of developing a new UB guided religion is not all theory. In our ministry, we have begun building this very type of socialized revelatory religion, though we call it a fellowship and we refer to ourselves as Faith Sons. (UB 40:6) Interestingly, we did not intend to build such a fellowship. We had no aspirations and no end game. We simply wanted to promote Jesus’ authentic teachings. And then one thing led to another. We were wholly unconscious of what was occurring until we stopped to look back at it. Our fellowship structure developed organically and we are only able to describe it in hindsight.
In hindsight, we can see that the first 3-1/2 years of our ministry were spent discreetly educating our readership – the Education/Training Phase. We wrote several articles that bridged the UB and the Bible, and received a lot of great feedback. The actual teachings of Jesus was changing lives. In time, we introduced the UB to our audience and suggested they critique it for themselves to see if it bore witness with their spirit. To our delight, it did!
Next, we moved into the second phase – the Ambassador Phase. Thousands of our readers have been on this journey with us and are now engaging in an outreach ministry – the Master’s Ministry. Some are sharing the actual teaching of Jesus informally and others are sharing in a ministry we call “Into His Harvest.” There is no blueprint for this type of ministry. These brothers and sisters are pioneering this type of religious fellowship and ministry, and we are all learning as we go.
Our Symbols, Rituals and Slogans
The UB makes two interesting points about developing a new religion:
“From the dawn of civilization every appealing movement in social culture or religious advancement has developed a ritual, a symbolic ceremonial. The more this ritual has been an unconscious growth, the stronger it has gripped its devotees. The cult preserved sentiment and satisfied emotion, but it has always been the greatest obstacle to social reconstruction and spiritual progress."
- (UB 87:7.2)
After describing the drawbacks of ritual and symbolism, it goes on to say:
“Notwithstanding that the cult has always retarded social progress, it is regrettable that so many modern believers in moral standards and spiritual ideals have no adequate symbolism—no cult of mutual support—nothing to belong to. But a religious cult cannot be manufactured; it must grow. And those of no two groups will be identical unless their rituals are arbitrarily standardized by authority."
- (UB 87:7.3)
We synthesize these two paragraphs to mean that having rituals and symbolisms is what will bind believers together. But in time, as society progresses, the devotion to those same rituals and symbolisms will likely hinder social growth. Therefore, it behooves any new religion to limit the number of rituals and symbols, and try to establish ones that leave open the door for future progress. Here are some of the symbolisms that have organically developed in our fellowship.
Our Ritual: We only have one ritual, The Remembrance Supper that Jesus instituted on the last day of his earthly ministry. (UB 179) We reenact a Remembrance Supper occasionally throughout the year, as well as at an annual observance. The Remembrance Supper has proved to be the first step in developing new fellowships.
For example, we often receive requests from readers to introduce them to other active fellowships of Faith Sons. Our response has always been that it is better to develop a fellowship than to join one. That is how the brotherhood grows. We recommend that the person invite a few family and friends over to commemorate a Remembrance Supper. At that time, the person can explain the meaning and importance of the supper, and then all would partake together. Afterwards, the person might suggest that they do this again inviting others. Often they refer them to the website www.FaithSonsofGod.Org, and suggest some reading material. Or they make plans to perform some service together in their community, such as volunteering at homeless shelters, or having a garage sale and donating the money, or collecting clothes and shoes and donating it to a Salvation Army or thrift store, and things like these. In short order, what began as the desire of one person turns into a fellowship of dozens, even hundreds! The Remembrance Supper is the greatest and only ritual we observe, and it serves to bind the brothers together in Christ.
Our Symbolisms: We recognize two symbols – one is the three concentric circles. The other is the Christian cross, since our ministry is directed primarily to Christians and since we are on ‘the world of the cross.’ (UB 20:6.6, 57:8.6)
Our Slogans: Our other symbolisms are in the nature of slogans. Here are a few of them:
“The plain and open teachings of Jesus” – referring to Jesus’ actual authentic teachings.
“Uplifting the spiritual conversation” – helping other believers to achieve higher spiritual understanding and lifting the religions conversation from doom and gloom to joy and hope.
“Give an angel a job” – all those engaged in furthering Michael’s agenda will have the assistance of the angelic host who are ALL in the service of Michael’s agenda.
“Be victors, not victims” – helping people leave abusive religions with their faith and self-respect in tact.
“It’s a large field under cultivation, pick a spot!” – encouraging all to participate in Michael’s ministry.
And we refer to ourselves as “Faith Sons” – representing our current standing as sons of God by means of faith, awaiting the full adoption as Spirit Sons in the heavens.
These are just the symbolisms we personally use, but they have been effective in identifying what we do and who we are, and they bind us together in a common purpose.
But the most interesting thing about our ‘religion’ is that none of us recognize it as a religion. It developed wholly unconsciously and remains as such today. That has been important to most of us because we have experienced the danger and impotence of organized religion. We have come to appreciate our spiritual autonomy and will never again subject ourselves to a religious authority. So a socialized fellowship of ministers and workers is the perfect ‘religion’ for us, and it might be suitable for other UB readers who have similar experiences. We suspect many Faith Sons who are part of this organic fellowship will be as surprised as we were to learn that together we have possibly created “the highest concept of religion the world has ever known.” (UB 160:5.7) We shall see.
The Future of Such a Religion
The UB tells us that the reason Jesus embarked on the adventure of universe creation is so that he can duplicate in time what the Father created in infinity. (UB 14:0.2) He does that by bringing every human being to light and life, then every planet, then every system, then every constellation, until the entire universe is perfected.
A UB guided religion of Ambassadors and Transition Ministers working to further Michael’s agenda would quicken a religious revival that would ready mankind for a Teacher Son bestowal, a millennial reign of peace and advancement, and eventually the return of our Master Son as he promised.
The future is unseen, and the possibilities are likely beyond our imagination. But we do have faith that those who carry out such a ministry would be those “spirit-born mortals” who would, by their ministry, demonstrate “Jesus living again on earth.” They would assist the religions they serve to ‘become spiritually baptized with a new revelation of Jesus’ life and illuminated with a new understanding of his gospel of eternal salvation.’ (UB 195:10.1) They are the ‘genuine second-milers who really live and love as he taught his disciples to live and love and serve.” (UB 195:10.5) And they would be ‘the spiritual men and women who bring about a spiritual renaissance for the social, moral, economic, and political reorganization of the world.’ (UB 195:9:4)
We have learned through our own religious experiences that forming new sects only serves to further splinter believers and cordon them off in their own little groups. Whereas building a fellowship of Ambassadors and Transition Ministers that is not only all inclusive, but actively pursuing techniques to unify the various religions appears to be the best way to bring about a spiritual renaissance and seems to us to be the highest form of religion for our day.
By sharing these ideas about an organic, naturally unfolding UB guided religion, we hope to bring into the consciousness of the Faith Sons who are engaged in the Master’s Ministry the fact that they are already a part of socialized revelatory religion and already make up its foundation stones. We also hope to inspire others to join with us in this endeavor by becoming skilled Ambassadors and Transition Ministers.
Therefore, from this point on, most of our information will be laser-focused toward the conscious development of this UB guided revelatory religion. While we will continue to provide information for the general public, our ministry articles, videos and media will be available only to those who become Subscriber-Members with us in this endeavor.
We are excited about this new direction and we look forward to having the freedom of speech to be direct and transparent with mature brothers and sisters who are Father-focused, Christ-centered, and service-oriented.
Your Family in the Faith,
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