by Rev. Meredith J. Sprunger
Why The Urantia Book should not be introduced to the Christian Church
I. First, let us consider reasons why The Urantia Book should not be introduced to the Christian Church. A great many members of the Urantia Brotherhood believe that it would be premature to acquaint the leaders of the Christian Church with The Urantia Book . The most basic argument is that the leaders of the church are not ready for it; therefore, it would cause opposition.
- In all past epochal revelations divine initiative does not come until a significant percentage of the people have the spiritual, intellectual, social, and cultural development to profit from the revelation. This is also true of The Urantia Book .
- No civilization or institutional religion has ever been psychologically or institutionally ready to receive revelation. There has always been a certain amount of social opposition and individual turmoil associated with the growth stimulated by all revelation. 'This will also be true of The Urantia Book .
- Today there are a vast number of people, especially in Christianity, who are evolutionarily ready for The Urantia Book . Only a few of these people, however, are psychologically ready to accept the book without inner struggle. But from an evolutionary point of view, our civilization drastically needs the leavening influence of the fifth epochal revelation. It is, therefore, highly important that we wisely initiate the inescapable psychological turmoil and possible social opposition which will accompany the introduction of The Urantia Book to our society and which isassociated with all spiritual, personal, and social growth.
- The important factor in spiritual ministry is that we follow the inner leading of the spirit of God rather than taking our cue from the attitudes of religious institutions or our own fear of opposition or persecution. Had Jesus and the apostles waited until theinstitutional religionists of their day were psychologically and institutionally ready for their message, they would still be waiting to begin this life giving ministry.
Key Principles for Introducing the Book to the Christian Church
II. The key factor ininitiating spiritual ministry is not when it begins but how it is conducted. I believe the most important principles in effectively carrying the fifth epochal revelation to the Christian Church and the world are the following.
- Presenting the revelation itself rather than some supposed human facsimile or adaptation. Virtually all of the "concepts" of The Urantia Book are already in our culture. Only their unique integration in The Urantia, Book will be divinely effective.
- Strive to use an evolutionary approach. Seek out those who are most prepared spiritually, intellectually, and socially. Use the language and frames of reference familiar to people.
- Let spiritual truth sell itself. Do not argue, push, or try to coerce people.
- Be objective, understanding, and permissive. Allow truth and freedom to lead people where they wish to go.
- Communicate love and goodwill no matter what response your ministry may receive.
- I am confident that whenever The Urantia Book is introduced to the Christian Church,, now or a century hence, it will meet essentially the same reception given the message of Jesus. The fundamentalists (Pharisees) will label it a work of the devil; the Liberals and power structure (Sadducees) will largely ignore it as irrelevant; but, the great majority will receive it gladly when they have an opportunity to read it for themselves.
- If the above principles are followed, I believe far more good will eventually accrue to the world by introducing the church to The Urantia Book now than if we continue to be "closet" followers of the Urantia teachings. We should use wisdom and restraint in our ministry but we should have the courage to present the best that we have to our fellowmen. We are no more "advanced" than many of our contemporaries. How we acquaint the church with The Urantia Book is much more important than when.
Why The Urantia Book should be brought to the attention of the Christian Church
III. In a more positive way, let us consider why The Urantia Book should be brought to the attention of the Christian Church.
- Revelation always builds on evolutionary religion. The Christian Church is the major evolutionary religion rooted in the teachings of Jesus. It is the best of the religions of the twentieth century (2083). The churchis the cocoon in which the kingdom now slumbers (1866). Jesus has fostered the church as the best exponent of his lifework on earth (2085). The authors of The Urantia Book express the hope that someday a reformation of the Christian Church will bring it back to the unadulterated teachings of Jesus (2091).
- Jesus attempted to work through the major religion institution of his day. He, no doubt, would have us do the same today. The authors of The Urantia Book say that we are called to build a new and transformed human society by means of the spiritual rebirth of Jesus' brotherhood of the kingdom (2084).
- The Urantia Book spends more time commenting on Christianity and making suggestions for its improvement than any other planetary religion. It seems both logical and appropriate that we should have a similar concern for the Christian Church. It is one of the greatest powers for good on earth and we should take it seriously (2085).
- Since the church is the greatest obstacle to the immediate advance of the real gospel (2085), we should give priority to work with the church and co-operate with the spiritual ministry of the angels of the churches in bringing about constructive change in the church.
- The greatest hope of our world lies in the possibility of a new revelation of Jesus to unite in loving service the numerous families of his present day professed followers (2086). It is time to start working on this greatest hope of our world. The church has contributed much to the brotherhood of Jesus. This brotherhood of Jesus deserves to be shown a more adequate presentation of his life and ministry. Even if many reject it, love and mercy requires that they be given every opportunity to benefit from the fifth epochal revelation.
- No realistic interface with our society can take place without involving the Christian Church; and, I believe, the reaction of the church is fundamental to the dynamics of the reception given to the fifth epochal revelation in the next one hundred years.
For me and many others the authentic spirit within leads us to a ministry to the Christian Church. I am confident: the indwelling spirit will lead others to a ministry to other religions and other social and cultural institutions.