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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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Master of Religion

I enjoyed this degree path:  “Master of Religion”.  It covered a lot of material from basic to advanced, and was done in a clear and logical way.  The instructor is clearly knowledgeable and sincere.

I was intrigued by the two “versions” of Ten Commandments as given in Exodus and Deuteronomy.
And especially insightful was how the first few verses of the Protestant, Catholic and Hebrew versions of the 10 Commandments in Exodus differ (The Protestant and Catholic versions leaving out the context of who G-d was speaking to).

Also, the instructor said that the Jew and Gentile are saved the same way.
However, some denominations teach the Jew was saved by keeping the law before the time of Christ (BCE, before Common Era), but NOW (CE, Common Era) the Law is done away and everyone is saved by faith.

1. The Dead Sea Scrolls have shed light that the Jews of  BCE  did not believe in salvation by works. They believed they were saved through the Covenant of Abraham, the covenant of faith. And the Law was simply the lifestyle of an already redeemed community. The giving of the Law (Torah), the covenant of Mt. Sinai, does not negate the covenant of Abraham. All of G-d’s covenants are eternal. As an Israelite they were born into the covenant of Abraham. And had a part in the Olam Haba (the World to Come) by virtue of this covenant of faith unless they did something heinous to lose this status. According to Jewish understanding gentiles could also be assured a place in the World to Come by obedience to the covenant they received from G-d through Noah. In which one was considered a Noachide Chassid, a Righteous of the Nations. It too is a faith covenant with the Noachide laws as the halachah, or lifestyle, of  a righteous non-Jew.

“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.” Acts 15:19-21
The Jewish Encyclopedia states that the Acts 15 reference is the first written example of the Noachide laws (outside of the Torah itself).

2. The denominations who claim the Law/Torah is done away cannot even agree on what parts of it are done away. In addition the Torah itself states that it is to endure as long as heaven and earth remains (which were the two witnesses G-d called on to witness the giving of the Torah in the first place).  Jesus agreed saying “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17.

Also, the Jews that believed in Christ (who constituted the first congregation) continued to keep the Torah/Law:
“And when they heard [it], they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many myriads (tens of thousands) of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:” Acts 21:20.

Paul is twisted by many to be interpreted that the Law is done away in Christ. I do not believe he taught that. If he in fact did, it would invalidate Paul since he would be contradicting the Torah itself as well as Jesus. Peter warned regarding misinterpreting Paul’s writings by those unlearned in Torah: “As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 2 Pet 3:16

Also in the course Constantine is mentioned.
True he did stop persecution of the Christians. However, he was no sweetheart. He was the head of the Emperor Cult of his time being worshiped as God (Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun). He merged the prominent state religion of Mithraism with the faith in Christ, creating a new religion. He was a Sun worshiper and murdered some of his family for fear that they might seek his throne. He outlawed the Biblical holy days of Sabbath (the 7th day) for SUNday (in honor of the Sun God), Passover for Easter (1st SUNday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox, the feast of Ishtar). The church then exterminated those who would not go along with it by abusing the power of the state.

Universal Life Church

Rev. Sheldon Lampson


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