Over forty years ago my husband and I saw a copy of The Urantia Book in the home of a pastor friend in South Bend, Indiana. As we looked through this big blue book of over 2,000 pages and read the strange names of the authors, we chuckled and put the book back on the shelf thinking that was the last we would see of it. Little did I dream that before another year passed, I would be reading the book!
Some time later a lay member of the Michigan-Indiana Conference Board of the United Church of Christ sent the book to my husband, Meredith, and asked for his opinion of the book. It lay virtually untouched for months. I was not concerned until he started sitting up into the wee hours of the morning reading the book. I thought he was delving into heresy and told him so!
After he finished reading the book, he urged me to read it, and gave me a copy of the book, along with A Harmony of the Gospels [Title of the original version of Duane Faw's "Paramony"] and a sheet that told where Urantia Book passages are paralleled in the Bible. Thus motivated, I started reading and read the entire book. Since that time I have read the book numerous times. For me, it makes more sense out of the Bible than anything I've ever read.
The Urantia Book is a marvelous treasure of spiritual insight and inspiration. From the description of the Trinity and an awe-inspiring spiritual cosmology to papers on religion, prayer, worship, marriage, the development of civilization, and the nature and mission of Thought Adjusters (indwelling Spirit of God), everything is excellent. The spiritual distinctions among the terms evil, sin, and iniquity are insightfully explained and, although God is a loving heavenly Father, none of us can escape the consequences of violating the laws and will of God.
But for me the most inspiring passages are in the 774 page Life and Teachings of Jesus in Part IV of the book. This section presents a chronological account of Jesus' life from pre-birth to post-ascension and his status in the universe today. This narrative reinforces and enhances the New Testament story. One of the important corrections that The Urantia Book account makes is in the wording of the Lord's Supper. Instead of using language like "eating the body" and "drinking the blood" of our Savior, it is more correct to use expressions like "Jesus is indeed the Bread of Life" and "Jesus is truly the Cup of Love" or "Let us remember his life among us" and "Let us rejoice in receiving his Spirit of Truth." In this Remembrance Supper we are assured "the Master is really present." (p. 1942)
In A Passion for the Possible: A Message for U.S. Churches, William Sloane Coffin said: "So I pray that the Lord will save all of us from three things: the cowardice that dares not face new truth, the laziness content with half-truth, and the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth!" John Shelby Spong in "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism" says: "Those who would freeze truth in any words, concepts, or creed will guarantee a time warp that will finally doom the truth to extinction. ....My understanding and knowledge of the history of religious systems convinces me that whenever a group of religious folk begin to believe that they possess God's truth, almost inevitably they become those who in the name of their version of that truth persecute, excommunicate, purge, burn at the stake, or justify cruel religious wars against any who will not salute their tradition or acknowledge their rightness in things religious."
These and many other statements from contemporary theologians which could be cited urge us to keep an open mind and search for enlarged spiritual truth. The authors of The Urantia Book reinforce this observation:
"All Urantia is waiting for the proclamation of the ennobling message of Michael (Jesus), unencumbered by the accumulated doctrines and dogmas of nineteen centuries of contact with the religions of evolutionary origin. The hour is striking for presenting to Buddhism, to Christianity, to Hinduism, even to the peoples of all faiths, not the gospel about Jesus, but the living, spiritual reality of the gospel of Jesus." (p. 1041 emphasis added)
"A new and fuller revelation of the religion of Jesus is destined to conquer an empire of materialistic secularism and to overthrow a world sway of mechanistic naturalism. Urantia is now quivering on the very brink of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment....Religion does need new leaders, spiritual men and women who will dare to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings." ( p. 2082)
"Some day a reformation in the Christian church may strike deep enough to get back to the unadulterated religious teachings of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. You may preach a religion about Jesus, but, perforce, you must live the religion of Jesus." (p. 2091)
Any book that has the spiritual insights and truths of The Urantia Book deserves a thorough reading and evaluation by the thinking men and women of today. May you have the courage to read and study this great book
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