Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Life of St. Paul

Life of St. Paul
One can hardly imagine the fate of the Christian religion without the acts of Paul and Peter.  The unselfish, relentless, drive of Christian evangelism Paul dedicated himself to truly is an accomplishment worthy of sainthood.  He performed duties and miracles and his oratory and letters became the fundamental foundations of the structure of developing Christianity.   If a 'congregation' went on an errant heading he applied the course correction. He was a preacher's preacher and evangelist's evangelist, a disciples apostle and above all a motivational speaker and in that context a leader of men. 

Today one can only assume the obstacles and difficulties one had to overcome to prevail in teaching and broadcasting the works of Jesus Christ.  First, as the course points out is the omnipresent pagan environment. Be whatever god, idol or personality supported by pagan rites, if not the sword, it was the only 'religion' the vast majority of the populations of the area knew.  Conversion certainly was no easy task to encourage and no simple decision of the pagans to make. 

Jewish factions were no friends of Christ and Paul as well. The course properly identifies that initially Christianity was a subset of the Jewish religion. First one was an 'ancient' Jew and then a Christian until Paul made the statement that the gentiles could join in the praise and following of the truth, way, the righteous path of Jesus Christ without first being Jewish.

Then there was the power of the sword wielded by the fearful Romans that regarded Christians as undermining the authority, allegiance to and the wealth due the empire. They dealt with Christians as they had successfully with others – death and death by barbaric means to dissuade others not to follow.

Paul is the accepted author of Romans.  His act of gathering contributions for the poor of Jerusalem was to be a demonstration that gentiles could join the 'church' of Christ in harmony with the devote Jewish. He delayed his return to Jerusalem to write an epistle, a book, of guidance and instructions to those in Rome and thus set into motion a chain of events that would take almost three centuries to run its course. The word of Paul, the works and words of the Lord in time overcame all obstacles of paganism, treachery and brutality.  Never in my view was there ever in the course of human events any comparable historical record the triumph of good over evil, of knowledge over ignorance, of faith over sacrificial ritual – to the extent one might call the era of 50 AD to 325 AD the Era of the Epistles of Paul the Evangelist.

A philosophy triumphed over all barriers.  Pagan gods fell, tyrants fell, an empire began conversion, the church came from underground to above ground worshiping in the light of creation, Genesis 1:4; the light of good, Psalms 4:6; the light of salvation, Psalms 27:1; the light of Jesus, John 8:1 – "I am the light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the everlasting light of life."  

That path to everlasting light St. Paul walked three times. 

 Rev. Kurt Fondreist


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1 comment:

Lorin Cahill Stanley said...

I found Rev. Federspiel's insite of St. Paul to be very inspiring. The one thing that stands out in my mind is the life that Paul had in his later years when he was wrongly imprisoned and yet kept his faith and continued to write church members of Corinth, Ephesus, Antioch, and so many more places he had been, not only "chastising" them for things they had been doing against the Christian teachings, but he continued to teach them and lead them, encouraging them to keep going in the midst of difficult times, right from his prison cell.

I have to say that of all his letters, the letters to the believers in Philippi are my favorite. There is so much to learn and gain from them; but the one piece of scripture that comes to my mind is Philippians 3:13-14: "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

I think that pretty much sums it up for me...the call of's not all pretty sometimes, but Paul sets a pretty good example of what I should strive for. When I start feeling discouraged, I need to remember what Paul went through.

Thank you Rev. Federspiel for that wonderful write up on the Life of St. Paul.