Proclaim the gospel! This was a cornerstone of Jesus' teachings, and so, this article about Pope Francis and this recent address of his to the faithful caught my eye. The article is called: Pope Francis: Don't be afraid to proclaim the Gospel message, from the Independent Catholic News.
We will blog about the gospel as taught by Jesus in The Urantia Book below, but one thing that I wanted to see in this article was an explanation of just what the Catholic gospel is; I was not really able to find it, but I did want to share what I think comes closest to an explanation:
"In his Angelus address today, to pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis urged Christians not to be afraid to proclaim the Gospel message. Although they might experience failure and even persecutions, Christians always live in the knowledge that Lord will always be with them.
"Reflecting on the liturgical reading of the day in which Jesus said to his disciples "Fear no one" but instructed them and prepared them to face the trials and persecutions the would suffer, the Pope said: 'Jesus' mission did not guarantee the disciples success, nor did it shield them from failure or suffering.... this is a bit scary, but it is the truth.'
"In fact, he explained, the disciple is called to conform his life to Christ, who was persecuted, rejected and abandoned to die on the cross."
Click to read the article
What is the Christian Gospel?
I was surprised that there was not some sort of statement regarding the actual gospel in this article, as taught in the Catholic Church, so I went to try and find it. And these next two examples seemed to explain it pretty well. In essence, it is much the same as all other Christian versions of the gospel: Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again on the third day.
The Basic [Christian] Gospel Message:
God is a loving Father.
Sin separates us from God.
Jesus died for our sins.
Jesus offers us eternal salvation.
Conversion and turn to Christ.
And here's another version of the Christian gospel:
That's it —the gospel in a nutshell: Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again on the third day. That is the cornerstone, the foundation of our faith.
In the first example, the first two statement are entirely consistent with Urantia Book teachings, i.e., God is a loving Father, and sin separates us from God. But the rest of the statements are simply re-wordings of traditional Christian teachings about the atonement doctrine - that God required the sacrifice of an innocent person to make up for the sins of humanity.
In The Urantia Book, we learn that this doctrine is false; not only false, but an actual affront to the goodness of God. Once a person has read and has grasped the reality and nature of God as revealed in The Urantia Book, it does become impossible to reconcile the atonement doctrine with the beautiful portrayal of God that we understand from this revelation.
Why doesn't the atonement make sense?
The atonement assumes that mankind is inherently sinful. Jesus corrects that assumption. He declares:
156:5.8 Do not become discouraged by the discovery that you are human. Human nature may tend toward evil, but it is not inherently sinful.
This is one piece of really good news that is revealed in The Urantia Book; and it is fully explained when we understand the revelations concerning the mission of Adam and Eve to our world. Rather than a Biblical fable about the first two humans whose sins forever stained mankind, we discover that the default of Adam and Eve (who were celestial personalities) while devastating to humanity, did not somehow infect all succeeding generations of humanity. We do not carry some kind of "original sin" with us as an evil birthright.
Instead, we see this default as what it really was: a failure of these celestial visitors to fulfill their mission of improving the races of mankind through genetic sharing of a higher form of life plasm. Their mission was to have helped humanity to advance materially, physically and spiritually by interbreeding with a superior race. Their default was realized because they were impatient to make it happen, and they did not follow the Divine plan in that regard. But this failure, while it did retard our progress, did not mark succeeding humans with some sort of inborn sin.
Read Urantia Book teachings about "The So-called Fall of Man" HERE
In that light, we can see that there was no original sin to be eradicated...no need for a ransomer...no need for an atonement, or a punishment that could only be effected by sacrificing an innocent Son of God.
What is the gospel according to Jesus?
To be clear, Urantia Book teachings are consistent with these truths: Jesus did die on the cross; he was buried; and he did rise again on the third day. But this is not the gospel that Jesus taught.
Jesus' gospel is truly good news...not only is mankind not destined to labor under sin from birth, Jesus declares that all humans are children of God. And by faith, anyone can grasp and accept this reality, thereby securing eternal salvation.
Additionally, this fact of sonship with God brings into reality the brotherhood of all people - a brother/sisterhood that is to be served by every child of God. We are all related - all brothers and sisters under this benevolent Fatherhood of God.
What Jesus taught
Simply go forth proclaiming: This is the kingdom of heaven: —God is your Father and you are his sons, and this good news, if you wholeheartedly believe it, is your eternal salvation." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (141:6.4)
Love is the greatest of all spirit realities. Truth is a liberating revelation, but love is the supreme relationship. And no matter what blunders your fellow men make in their world management of today, in an age to come the gospel which I declare to you will rule this very world. The ultimate goal of human progress is the reverent recognition of the fatherhood of God and the loving materialization of the brotherhood of man. ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (143:1.4)
"Today, the unbelievers may taunt you with preaching a gospel of nonresistance and with living lives of nonviolence, but you are the first volunteers of a long line of sincere believers in the gospel of this kingdom who will astonish all mankind by their heroic devotion to these teachings. No armies of the world have ever displayed more courage and bravery than will be portrayed by you and your loyal successors who shall go forth to all the world proclaiming the good news—the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men. ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (143:1.7)
The gospel of Jesus is a simple one: it proclaims the Fatherhood of God and the resultant brother/sisterhood of men/women.
Sin and salvation?
It is true that sin can separate a soul from God; but sin, we learn in The Urantia Book, is a choice - it is not a stain placed on a soul without the soul's participation. Jesus helps us to understand sin; he re-frames sin in a clear and understandable way. Jesus taught:
148:4.3 "Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfectness of obedience to the Father's will.
148:4.4 "Sin is the conscious, knowing, and deliberate transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Sin is the measure of unwillingness to be divinely led and spiritually directed.
148:4.5 "Iniquity is the willful, determined, and persistent transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Iniquity is the measure of the continued rejection of the Father's loving plan of personality survival and the Sons' merciful ministry of salvation.
Click to read more of Jesus' teachings about evil, sin, and iniquity.
About sin and the gospel, Jesus teaches
In preaching the gospel of the kingdom, you are simply teaching friendship with God. And this fellowship will appeal alike to men and women in that both will find that which most truly satisfies their characteristic longings and ideals. Tell my children that I am not only tender of their feelings and patient with their frailties, but that I am also ruthless with sin and intolerant of iniquity. I am indeed meek and humble in the presence of my Father, but I am equally and relentlessly inexorable where there is deliberate evil-doing and sinful rebellion against the will of my Father in heaven. ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (159:3.9)
Salvation is the gift of God, and righteousness is the natural fruit of the spirit-born life of sonship in the kingdom. You are not to be saved because you live a righteous life; rather is it that you live a righteous life because you have already been saved, have recognized sonship as the gift of God and service in the kingdom as the supreme delight of life on earth. When men believe this gospel, which is a revelation of the goodness of God, they will be led to voluntary repentance of all known sin. Realization of sonship is incompatible with the desire to sin. Kingdom believers hunger for righteousness and thirst for divine perfection." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (150:5.5)
Please see more about the Gospel of the Kingdom in TruthBook's Topical study on the Gospel
So, are we excited about proclaiming the Gospel? Yes! And we always want to remember this commission that Jesus left with us. This quote is from the Master's sixteenth resurrection appearance:
193:0.4"I admonish you ever to remember that your mission among men is to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom—the reality of the fatherhood of God and the truth of the sonship of man. Proclaim the whole truth of the good news, not just a part of the saving gospel. Your message is not changed by my resurrection experience. Sonship with God, by faith, is still the saving truth of the gospel of the kingdom. You are to go forth preaching the love of God and the service of man. That which the world needs most to know is: Men are the sons of God, and through faith they can actually realize, and daily experience, this ennobling truth. My bestowal should help all men to know that they are the children of God, but such knowledge will not suffice if they fail personally to faith-grasp the saving truth that they are the living spirit sons of the eternal Father. The gospel of the kingdom is concerned with the love of the Father and the service of his children on earth.