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, November 30, 2010

Chaplaincy Studies Course

If you have ever given any thought to serving as a chaplain, take this course. Rev. Daniel Moore presents the most complete description of a field that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Not a single question goes unanswered. Not a single aspect of the field is ignored.

When I signed up for the course, I was not sure this was the right direction for me to pursue. It had been suggested by a friend when I asked for an idea on how to put my ministry to work. But after spending many weeks learning about all the different chaplain possibilities, I decided that all were too structured. Not that going to a hospital every week and visiting the sick and grieving was a problem. It was the formality that has put me off. I always thought it would be fine to speak to the social worker at a hospital near my office or residence, one in which I knew a staff member or member of the Board, offer to volunteer to visit a particular group of people such as hospice patients and be on my way. Maybe this is still a possibility. But the course cautions a much stricter regimen.

But this dilemma belongs only to me. For anyone taking this course with the intent of completing the entire series, and then becoming a chaplain, there could be no better introduction. For me, I will continue with the series and see where it leads and what possibilities present themselves.

My thanks to Rev. Moore for allowing me the opportunity to glean from his wisdom.

Rev. Judith G. Wolf

Many people get ordained through the ULC as a means to become wedding officiants, but also to study through our online seminary. If you need minister supplies or online ceremonies, we have a wide selection to choose from, as well as a place for spiritual articles and spiritual bookmarks. Visit our FB Page at ULC Seminary.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spiritual Development

This course had my attention right from the start. The opening line
“Life with Clarity and Purpose: Running Your Race with the Benefit of Content, Focus, and Direction in Your Thoughts.”

Right from the beginning of this course Dr. David Crouch stayed on course giving the skills that one can apply on this spiritual quest. The more I got into the lessons the more I understood that Energy follows Thought. As I began in lesson 3 to actually write down the outcomes I want from my quest they became clearer and more definite.

During week 5 I kept falling asleep asking that question, “Who am I, really?”. I am still asking that question and getting deeper and deeper into my real self. By allowing myself to take the time each day to go to that special place of meditation and quietness around me and discovering who I really am and where I want to go on my spiritual quest. By following the directions given in this course I am beginning to allow myself to accept the changes that are needed along the path of my spiritual quest.

As I go deeper and deeper into the real me, my imagination has gone wild with the possibilities that can come from knowing my inner self. Making time to do this has been most rewarding and a very joyful experience.

Thank you, Dr. Crouch for putting this course together. I know a great deal of research and time went into putting this all together.

I would highly recommend this course to everyone.

Rev. Don Eck
The Universal Life Church offers free online ordination and an extensive seminary program where we offer a course in Wiccan Studies, one on the Four Gospels, several courses that are based on A Course in Miracles, several Christian Studies courses and a variety of courses on Spiritual Awareness and Spiritual Development.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gospel of Thomas

Thank you Rev. Thompson for putting together such an enlightening course on the Gospel of Thomas.

Why such a collection of Jesus sayings would be kept a secret for so long is beyond me. I would be most interested in another course on the other hidden Gospels.

I thank you for Lesson 1 as I was not aware how the Gospel’s had been found. It has to be God’s direction that lead the two Arab peasants from Nag Hammadi to find the jar buried there. What a collection of articles they found that would lead to a study of the years following the crucifixion of Jesus.

I grew up studying the four synoptic gospels and this was a real awaking to read these collections of Jesus sayings’ and the authors reflection on each one. Rev. Thompson’s reflections on each saying opened my mind to many new thoughts on the Gospel writings.

In Lesson 15 we learn of the early years of Jesus in Egypt. I was unaware that bisexuality was the norm for men in that time. I did not know that older men would become teachers, mentors and lovers for boys. The idea that this was normal and the question arises why would we think Jesus would be any different made me really think about this. Over the centuries we have changed. Yes, I can see how the Gospels have been changed to our Jesus conform to our sexual standards of today.

If we would take the Gospels as written and preach the love of Jesus and get rid of all the man made rules of the Church we would be a better world. As we minister to people today everyone is on a different level in there spiritual journey and that respect must be given to each individual were they are today. I believe that Jesus taught acceptance and love for each person regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey. It is our responsibility to help them along their journey not make rules for them to follow.

These lessons have given much food for thought in preparing Sunday messages and guiding people on their spiritual journey.

Once again a ULC Seminary course has provided me an opportunity to open mind to new ideas. Thank ULC Seminary for providing this course.

Rev. Don Eck


The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more.

Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.We also offer many free wedding ceremonies for your use.

The  ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christian Studies Gospels

Even though the book John is said to be the most hotly debatable of the Four Gospels. I find it to be written in a more realistic content than the other Gospels.

The book Matthew opens with Jesus genealogy, with more of a Jewish twist to it. Leading to Him as being the King of the Jews. Matthew writes the Sermon on the Mount in a repetitive, narrative kind of way.

The book of Mark written to the Romans. Mark’s writing is seems to be to someone that already has the details and he is just going over what has already happen.

Luke was known to be a physician and his writings were to the Greeks. His book is trying to give encouragement as Paul did in his writings. He shows the Roman Emperor that Christianity was not a threat to Roman Rule.

In the Gospel according to John
I am moved by John’s opening statement. In the beginning was the word and the word was God and the word became flesh Jesus. The steps that John stakes to tell the story of Jesus is leads me to believe that he had to have a closeness as Paul had with Jesus. He speaks as if his relationship with Jesus was true even after His death. John speaks of how Jesus heals a man and tells him to change his ways or something worse will happen to him. Tell of how Jesus came to heal and deliver us all. How when choosing disciples chose men from all walks of life. How He came to do the works of the Father not of any chosen people. How He fed the multitude out of the lest of them. Letting them know that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, He can work miracles in your life. He is the living bread of life that came down from Heaven. John’s closing tells of how He tells Simon if you love me then feed my sheep.

I believe that all the Four Gospels have its significant point of view. I am intrigue more with John’s writings.

Rev. Leo B. Burns


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church, as well as an online seminary program and a chaplaincy program.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Christian History

This paper can be written on anyone or anything within Christian History from 1A.D. to 1054 A.D. I think that I would like to focus on the Roman Empire’ influence on Christianity. After the death of the man Jesus Christ of Nazareth. A man that we know existed because he was written about not only be his followers but by historians at the time.

It became then a matter of what you believed. Some believed Jesus to be the messiah sent by God to save the world. While others believed him just a man who was original and attracted many followers but still just a man trying to teach his beliefs to others.

Jesus was persecuted by the Roman government and the Jewish leaders of his time. Eventually they crucified him because they were afraid of the following that he was attaining. A common date used for his death is Friday April 3, 33 AD . On this date Jesus of Nazareth was taken to the Place of a skull and crucified along side of two common thieves. The charge was blasphemy (because he claimed to be the King of the Jews). This all took place in the first century.

Jesus is believed by his followers to have resurrected in three days and he stayed among his followers and taught others for 40 days and then was ascended to heaven. After this his followers then began to teach the gospels of Jesus. They were still functioning as faithful jews. They just believed that Jesus had been sent as the Messiah to save the world.

These followers of Jesus had to meet secretly and keep to themselves because they were considered different and even considered a cult at that time and they were feared. But the spread of Christianity still started to happen. Then there was the great Pentecost when three thousand people were converted to Christians. This began to really scare the Roman government because of the number of followers and the power they could hold.

Christianity began to spread though and the Roman empire mad it easier because it was a large area focused on one law and one government. That unity made it easier to reach many people at the same time. The road system gave them easier access and more freedom, and the Roman legions enforced peace.

Around the year 50 Ad in the Council Of Jerusalem there was a split of the Gentile Christians from the Judaism laws. This making the Christian religion even more prominent. Christianity began to grow.

The Roman government banned Christianity because of it’s threat of competition for the peoples allegiance to the Roman Empire. Christians were seen as a real threat. They began to publicly persecute them in mob like scenes. In the year 250 AD the persecutions became organized actions of the Roman Empire.

In the year 258 AD the Roman Emperor Valerian I began Valerian’s massacre where he killed all of the Christian bishops, presbyters, deacons, Pope Sixtius II and the Anti Pope Novatian, and Cyprian Carthage. Trying to kill all of the leadership of the Christian’s.

When Roman Emperor Diocletian took over in 284 AD there was a fire that destroyed the imperial palace. It was never really confirmed who set the fire. But it is believed that it was ordered by other government officials to start more severe persecutions of the Christians again. Which it did from 303 AD to 311 AD Christian churches and scripture were burned, more Christians were killed, put in prison, and in work camps.

In 311 AD Galerius the new Roman Emperor issued an imperial edict that tolerated Christianity as long as it did not threaten the peace of the Empire. In 313 AD The Edict Of Milan issued by Constitine, Licinius and Galsrieus all Roman Emperor’s proclaimed religious tolerance and legalized Christianity.

In 324 AD Constantine I became the first Christian Emperor of Rome. In 325 AD in the Council Of Nicea the first unified Christian doctrine was formed. In 391 AD Christianity became the only legal religion in the Roman Empire.

This is how the Roman Empire helped to spread Christianity. Of course since then there has been a lot more spreading of this religion to all parts of the world. There has also been more separations in the religion. There are now many different denominations in the Christian religion now. I think that the different denominations weakens this religion.. I don’t believe in the separations. I believe that we all worship one God and that we all live under his rule.

By; Gwendolyn Kerr Simpson

I really enjoyed this course I learned a lot from it. The instructions were to write about a subject from this course so I chose this subject. I know that it is supposed to be ten pages but I feel that I have summed up the subject in the preceding pages and if I were to write more it would just be a lot of repeating of the same material. I hope that this paper is acceptable and if it is not that more explanation will be given to me and I can try again. Thank you so much for your time and your sharing of Knowledge.


Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

The  ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I've been ordained with theUniversal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Universal Life Church

From Rev. Tina Rizzitello
Happy Thanksgiving! 
Thankful Quotes and How to Feel at Peace! 

Peace Love and Happiness….. Inspirational quotes poems for Thanks-giving Day….'for you!'

*"Gratitude takes three forms: a feeling in the heart, an expression in words, and a giving in return". ~ ~ John Wanamaker

This post is written to wish you a very Happy Thanks-giving, of course! But if you brake down this word, you'll see, just how beautiful the quote above really is!

I'm sure you've heard statistics say, that the holidays can be one of the most loneliness and unhappiest times of the year for many, many people. And as the world is quickly evolving, not to mention, also us human beings, in these changing times, it's the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate what is really important for us and to be thankful for it.

*"Keep a grateful journal. Every night, list five things that you are grateful for. What it will begin to do is change our perspective of your day and your life." ~~Oprah Winfrey

I wanted this post to be my Happy 'Thanks-giving gift for you'… I made a list of practices that I use, to feel more peace in my own life. And finding new ways to feel more grateful can be a pleasure in itself.

1-For myself, keeping a gratitude journey,  has become a daily ritual, not only for feeling inner peace, but also, has helped in applying the UNIVERSAL LAWS OF ATTRACTION more successfully. It can help you to attract more of what you want, when first being thankful for what you already have. And writing down what you're thankful for works ten times better, than just thinking it, or saying it.

2-And don't forget how truly wonderful Thankful/Appreciation quotes can be when you need a little picker upper of inspiration
I can assure you that once you get into this habit of gratefulness; you will be feeling more Peace Love and Happiness as each holiday comes rolling along.
*"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~~ Melody Beattie

Even if you're out there, with all the many distractions of planning, shopping, cooking and so on, try to take a few moments to get centered….stop what your doing and take a few nice deep breaths, breathe in LOVE…and think about what this holiday is really all about. It will have you feeling so much more inner peace.

3-As you celebrate this Special American Holiday, joining your family and friends, or maybe not at all, enjoying whatever traditions you like to follow for this day, where many eat turkey, but others may choose not to…. lets learn to accept each others choices. Making no judgments, what so ever, for how anyone may choose to celebrate it. That's a blessing in itself for one another!
4- As soon as you wake up in the morning, take a moment to sit in bed before you begin your day, by really appreciating the aspect of just being alive. If you're not feeling good about the holidays, just be aware of why they even came about. And I think we all know that, traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general.
*"The Pilgrims came to America not to accumulate riches but to worship God, and the greatest wealth they left unborn generations was their heroic example of sacrifice that their souls might be free". ~~Harry Moyle Tippett

If for some reason holidays are difficult for you, can you look at this just a little differently? If you are joining others for Thanksgiving Day, or any time what so ever, and you want to feel at peace with others…..

5- Lets say, you are giving your normal greeting to another…the 'Happy Thanksgiving Day' wish, maybe even a hug, but just before you do this, try making eye contact.

Do you know that when you connect with someone in this way you can actually get in touch with their soul? But putting it more simply, you just connect…you feel a much closer, warmer feeling with this person.

Something we don't usually think about. By doing this, you're conveying to them they are special enough to take that second to connect. You can actually feel better yourself…because you acted from the goodness of your heart.

6-If this seems a little difficult, because you may not be looking forward to spending time with some of your relatives; maybe you can look at this in a simple way….. That it's 'just for today.'

When you know that something isn't forever, you seem to adjust to it much easier. And it never hurts, to think in this way. It can actually help you stay focused on what is good, and enjoyable while in their company.
Everyone has beauty inside them, if you take the time to look for it.

*"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some". ~~Charles Dickens

7- If you stay grateful for the little things, whatever beauty is surrounding you, and also towards the people that you chose to be with. You may just see things you wouldn't have noticed, if things were always perfect. Try 'staying in the moment'….enjoy everything possible as if was your first gathering together. AS a child would see it, if it were their first Thanksgiving Day…. as you mingle, and 'stay present'.
*"Pride slays thanksgiving, but an humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves." ~~ Henry Ward Beecher

8-And lastly….Put a little humor in your life as often as you can. The more we smile, and laugh, the healthy, happier and more peaceful we feel!
This awareness you've been reading, was not only intended for people that find holidays difficult, but for all of us, all the time, so that we can begin seeing those great positive, peaceful changes in ourselves. So that we're sure to feel more of that peace love and happiness, which I talk about so often….especially, as we practice the UNIVERSAL LAWS OF ATTRACTION more successfully in our lives!

Thank you for the beauty you have woven into the tapestry of my life…..for you, just being here. I am grateful!

Wishing you the Happiest Thanksgiving Day ever!!!

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Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

The ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar


Buddhism Mastery Essay
I have to admit, when I first was researching this class, I was very hesitant to embark on such a path. I have been studying Buddhism, independently now for what I would call, “since I was 12”. What I mean is that at the age of 12, I gained a certain realization. I will admit, I wasn’t totally understanding the things I was starting to “understand”, but what I knew for sure is that I had to find guidance and education about my experience…plus I wanted to make sure I was the only one.

So as my journey began, I started in my school library. There I quickly realized that there wasn’t much with regards to religion available to me. so I proceeded to go to the public library. What a treat! The public library opened up a whole new world of reading and knowledge, all at my finger tips. I can honestly say that I have read every Buddhism book available in my local library. And as I have continued on my path, I have read any books I can get my hands on to increase my education. 

I was very grateful to have found this online course. I was able to further my education, on my own time, but at a whole new level. Taking this online course allowed me to utilize many resources that I didn’t have access to as a child. Doing such activities, while having the lessons and blog board available to me has made the learning experience 100% better…3-d.'

While most of the information in each weeks’ lesson was familiar to me, they served as great refreshers. I especially liked having the opportunity to blog about my ideas in response to the thoughts of the week. Seeing as how I am an individual practitioner I don’t often have the opportunity to discuss the lessons and/or ideas. I also really appreciated the motivational emails that I would sometimes receive from the instructor.

What I can appreciate the most is that the information was presented in a very “user friendly” way. While each lesson included some form of the history, it would also use current examples, which would help but a better understanding on a particular subject. Not to mention the added bonus of having the option of keeping each lesson and being able to use them for future educational purposes.

I did learn more about the woman’s role in the Buddhist society. It was interesting to see how the rules would change and increase for any woman wanting devote herself to the practice.

The Universal Life Church offers free online ordination and an extensive seminary program where we offer a course in Wiccan Studies, one on the Four Gospels, several courses that are based on A Course in Miracles, several Christian Studies courses and a variety of courses on Spiritual Awareness and Spiritual Development.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Comparative Religion

This was a very interesting course for me. For several years now I have been trying to make sense of the different religions. I generally knew (or at least I thought I knew) the major differences between for example Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and so on.

But I liked to learn more about the differences within the main streams: Quakers, Mormons, 7th Day Adventists, Baptists, Methodists, etc.

Two years ago I bought a book: The Everything World’s Religions Book. It has the main facts of many of the main and some of the smaller religions. I was quite surprised and also overwhelmed.

I went through that book several times, and also with research on the Internet tried to map out the relationship. That actually has proven to be quite a bit task.

Earlier this year I found out about the ULC Chaplaincy program and I enrolled in it. Comparative Religion was one of the first courses I started with.

When I first got started with it, it was not quite what I expected. My day job is in computer consulting: design and development. So I was initially looking for clear-cut tables, lists and cross-references where all major religions were compared and explained.

But getting in to the course materials I got used to the way it was presented. And with 5200+ religions in the world it is practically impossible to list everything.

What I really liked about the course was the background stories from the different religions. I have taken notes of many of those and placed them on my smart phone for easy reference. I read through them often hopefully memorizing them somewhat so I can discuss them when I meet people of the religion of that story.

Other information I got from the course I did re-work into my own attempt to categorize at least the main religions.

Eventually working towards my chaplaincy degree, I like to be prepared to meet with people from different backgrounds, faiths, and religions. This way, at least I can show them that I have made an attempt to understand where they are coming from.

By the way: I have been looking for an appropriate title for myself. I originally called myself “interfaith minister”, but not think that “Multifaith minister” (as also listed on my business cards) is a better title for me. It shows not only that I look at the dialogue between faiths but that I embrace all faiths.

Having finished this course, I feel that I have gained a lot more knowledge about at least the basics of many religions.

The subject of Religious Ceremonies and especially Ritual Objects was a great eye-opener for me. Between the ages of 5 and 11, I used to frequent a Roman-Catholic church as my friend attended that. At such a young age I was somewhat turned off by the formal rituals. After this course, and also after I visited that church and spoke with the pastor about my experiences there (45 years ago…), it now all makes sense to me. I actually am now thinking back with good feelings about that church and my visits there.

Also the exoteric and esoteric subject I enjoyed quite well. As I have been philosophizing for many years, I have found now that I have formalized my studies, that I have come to the same views but did not know they were called exoteric and esoteric.

I don’t think there is anything that can be improved much or if there was anything I did not like about this course. I do believe that it is best that this course is takes in conjunction with other ULC offerings like Religious Philosophy and others in order to get a better and more complete picture.

I am looking forward to taking many more courses from ULC, not only the ones focusing on the Chaplaincy degree, but I will continue with others as well. I have found that the more I study, the more questions I get. I am looking forward to a lifelong learning process in this area.

Thank you!

Rev. Peter Paul van Sluis


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Spiritual Development

Dr. of Spiritual Development Course Essay
By Jason Stone

 I sort of have a knack for being in the right place at the right time when it comes to meeting someone in need, spiritually that is. Several of those times although I knew in my heart what I wanted to tell that person, there seemed to be a wall between my heart and my mouth and I just couldn’t seem to find the right words.  This course helped me tremendously find what I was missing.

 This course hit the proverbial nail on the head with the section on Clarity and my personal favorite was the section about the “Power of Now”. The power of now was very insightful to me. Being pagan I have been involved in many different meditation courses, read many different mind quieting books, and done several “shielding” techniques which are really nothing than blocking yourself from all negativity, all frantic thoughts, or one may say finding clarity and finding the power of now.  I work a very stressful job as a Security Officer in a School. Many times I come up on stressful events where I have put myself in the power of now and found clarity without even knowing that is what I was really doing. The power of now is so obviously true. I mean after all you can’t change the past, and you can’t see the future so the only thing you can really address is the present, so why not give every drop of attention you have to it. I very much enjoyed this course. I am looking forward to continuing my education through the ULC. Thank you to all.

Jason Stone


Ordination with the Free Online Ordination button.

The  ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I've been ordained with Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

The Four Gospels

The Four Gospels
Dr. Willis Henry

“Four Perspective of one man, one deity, one savior. Expressed by four men who were not religious scholars.” 

Matthew spoke predominately to the Jews. He attempted to convince the Jews that Yeshua was the Messiah. In the book of Matthew ,he emphasizes Yeshua fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies .Matthew starts off with giving the readers a full genealogical history of Yeshua, he points out how there is fourteen generations between Abraham and David fourteen generation to Yeshua. The book of Matthew is systematic, yet artistically, style. He did not tell Yeshua’s story in a strict chronological sequence but grouped facts topically.

Mark addressed his writings to Gentles; he often explained Jewish customs or translated Aramaic for his readers. Only one was Mark noted as having quoted directly from the Old Testament law. Mark reveals Yeshua as both Son of God and the Son of Man.

Luke’s is the most comprehensive of the four Gospels. Luke articulates his desire to give his readers a clear and coherent view of the words and deeds of Yeshua. Luke accounts of Yeshua, place great attention to Yeshua’s concern for the poor and oppressed, and diverse ethnic, religious, economic and social groups. Luke was well educated in Geek culture and he was a physician by profession. When one begins to read Luke’s Gospel one can find depth in his Gospel.

John Gospel was written to non Jewish believers. It was written to give hope to those believers who struggled with the belief that Yeshua was more than a prophet, but in fact that Yeshua was the Messiah.
(Whiston, June 2007) “The Works of Josephus”

While many who might argue that the four Gospels are all zealots for Yeshua so how can their word are proven. I sought outside sources for those who are religious or those who see the four Gospel as being nothing more than another cult group trying to push their doctrine on others. Josephus was a historian. But in fact his works are the principal source for Jewish History.

Josephus Dissertation “The Testimonies of Josephus Concerning Jesus Christ, John the Baptist and James the just vindicated”

Pg 815 Josephus declares Yeshua to be more than just a man, when he spoke with many of the Jewish people who believed that the destruction of Jerusalem was happening because of those who crucified Yeshua. 

The four Gospels with writings from Josephus help give me a clear view of why each Gospel was different but yet the under line meaning was the same. The Messiah had come offering Salvation, forgiveness, and hope. Offering good news for those who felt their was no hope. If one looks carefully you will not see religion but Yeshua spoke of a relationship between himself his Father and he offered us a chance to have that relationship. For religious I found neither in Yeshua’s teachings nor those that spread his Gospel, for religion was yet a creation of man. 

I found that each Gospel offered something different but yet the same, as we might be able to speak with kings and queens; if we can not speak to the common man then we are of no good service to the average man. So as for the four Gospel I found each sections good and each with purpose to assist a certain group of people to know and understand Yeshua’s teachings of love, forgiveness.


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Book of Luke

The Prodigal Son
Verse By Verse
Rev. Patrick T. Kiernan

Below is a verse by verse commentary on the popular teaching of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32.

●Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. (Luke 15:11) The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.” (Luke 15:12)

— Even though it would be detrimental for the Father to give the youngest son his share of the property to go astray, the Father still did. God honors man’s free will and choice to do right or wrong. God will not force us to love and to be faithful to him. The Prodigal was about to wreck his life, and the loving Father let him do it.

●Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. (Luke 15:13)

— Prodigal means wasteful. It is from this verse that the younger son becomes known as the Prodigal. NOTE: it was in wild living with sin that all his money was spent. He found such in a distant country away from the Father’s holy presence.

●After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. (Luke 15:14) So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. (Luke 15:15) He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. (Luke 15:16)

— His money was all gone and his lifestyle would have to change. He was so low he longed to fill his stomach with pig food, but got nothing. (This world can be mercilessly cruel.) Before he left the presence of the Father he longed for wild living, but now he was longing to have his stomach filled with animal food.

●When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” (Luke 15:17)

— When he woke up, so to speak, from the delusion he had been in, he realized the Father’s hired hands had food to eat that he didn’t have. (People in sin and away from God are in a deluded spiritual state or they would desire to be in God’s presence.) The misery, regret and pain of living outside of God’s will is also shown in the life of the Prodigal.

●“I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. (Luke 15:18) I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.” (Luke 15:19)

— Now that he came to his senses, after being brought very low, he was willing to turn from sin, admit he sinned and obediently serve the Father. That is repentance exemplified even though the word repent is not found in this teaching.

●So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)

— Here is a wonderfully amazing truth about God and his eager willingness to receive a repentant backslider back home. It is because of God’s compassion that he does this. Notice also that before the Prodigal could say he even sinned and wanted to be made like a hired hand the Father took him back. The Prodigal was in deliberate sin for perhaps many years, but the Father was glad to have him back a changed person from when he left. Also, this is the only time the Father is ever pictured as running.

●The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (Luke 15:21) But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. (Luke 15:22) Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. (Luke 15:23) For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:24)

— After the prodigal humbly spoke to the Father, the Father didn’t speak back to him here, but instead to his servants. He wanted them to quickly bring the best robe, a ring and sandals for his son who came to his spiritual senses. He also wanted to celebrate with a feast and the fattened calf. Why? Because the Prodigal is no longer spiritually dead and lost, but now spiritually alive again. There is rejoicing when a soul gets saved. Again sin, through the wild living he indulged in, had brought the Prodigal to a spiritually dead and lost condition, which clearly shows that sin can accurately be compared to deadly poison. Finally, even though the Prodigal was dead spiritually, he could still choose to act wisely and repent, which preceded him becoming alive again.

●Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. (Luke 15:25) So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. (Luke 15:26) Your brother has come, he replied, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound. (Luke 15:27) The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. (Luke 15:28)

— The older brother getting angry to the point of not celebrating against the Father’s will shows how people can unjustly get upset over the mercy shown to one who repents. The turn around of the younger brother no longer being spiritually dead and lost, but now spiritually alive again was the reason they were celebrating. The older brother should have been thrilled like the Father and rejoiced because his soul got saved again.

●But he answered his father, “Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. (Luke 15:29) But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!” (Luke 15:30) “My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. (Luke 15:31) But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:32)

— The older brother candidly voices his reasons for being upset, that is, he never had even a lesser celebration even though he had been obedient to the Father unlike his younger brother. Jealousy and anger go hand and hand and can be seen here. Again, the Father tells why it was fitting to celebrate in the case of the Prodigal—he was no longer spiritually dead and lost, but now spiritually alive again. In order for the Prodigal to become spiritually alive again shows he was first spiritually alive before he departed from the presence of the Father to be with prostitutes. Then, it was through sin that he became spiritually lost and dead, which was reversed through sincere repentance.

— This teaching of the Lord’s also proves there are two types of spiritually lost people: (1) Those who never came to first time salvation and (2) Those who once did but afterward died spiritually and became lost [again] through sin’s destructive power such as what the prodigal experienced. Certain sins bring forth spiritual death in the life of a real believer. See chapter 7 in The Believer’s Conditional Security.

— This teaching also proves that a backslider can come back to salvation again, which is consistent with James 5:19,20 and Rom. 11:19-23.

— The Prodigal was saved before he entered lifestyle sinning. Some would say if one turns away to that degree he was never really saved, but Jesus refuted that point of Calvinism with this teaching. We could also accurately say the Prodigal dove into wild living and didn’t just fall into it like some wrongly teach is what a saved person might do. The allurements and pleasures of sin (for a short time, Heb. 11:25) are shown here along with the devastation that wickedness leaves for those so deceived. The Prodigal made a complete mess out of his life, but was wise enough to go to God in such a wretched condition. Oftentimes one has to get very low like he was before a turning to God occurs. The Prodigal was certainly happy he turned to God and was glad to be back home once he was received by the Father.

— The eternal security teachers sometimes declare that the Prodigal remained a son all during his wild living with the prostitutes. By doing so they miss the point of Jesus’ teaching that there are different kinds of lost people which he started to teach about at the beginning of Luke 15. Also, by teaching that way such teachers are indirectly saying there are Christians who sin with prostitutes—a painfully clear proclamation of both damnable heresy and a license for immorality. Numerous times we are shown in other Scriptures that it is impossible to be sexually immoral and a Christian simultaneously (1 Cor. 6:9,10; Eph. 5:5-7; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 22:15; etc.). Finally, the Prodigal is not actually labeled a son by the Father when he was in unrepentant wickedness. It is glaringly unscriptural to say one is spiritually dead and lost and a son of God at the same time.

— The Prodigal had the best possible life in the Father’s presence but got deceived away from such. It probably happened slowly as he dangerously pondered the devil’s temptations about what (he thought) would be an exciting new life where you can be happy and have lots of friends and fun. There you can party hardy and eat, drink and be merry like the multitudes. Dear reader, remember this: No one can sin and get away with it. The Prodigal was not going to be an exception.

— To reiterate, God took the Prodigal back after he turned from his wickedness to humbly serve him. Such reversed his lost condition. There was instant restoration. God delights to show mercy (Micah 7:18), but with regard to salvation it must be accompanied by sorrow for one’s sins, turning from them and a willingness to serve the Father’s commands—all of which we see in the Prodigal. See also 1 Thess. 1:9b.

— The Prodigal did not have to confess his sins to a priest and say three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys (or the like) to get his sins forgiven. He got mercy and forgiveness directly from God without first going to any other person, including a female figure like Mary. The Father is filled with mercy and compassion for one who is repentant, as the Prodigal was. To represent the Father, under such circumstances, as wrathful is a horrible and dangerous distortion of vital truth related to salvation itself.


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Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Life of St Paul

Final Essay for Master of Life of St. Paul
Rev Sharon J. Mayer, D.D.

It is very obvious that Reverend Moline has great admiration for St. Paul. This is shown in his selection of text for the course and his own words on the subject. The course was well written and presented a doorway to other areas of study of St Paul. I found this to be a very interesting course.

I do believe that all thought comes from the God within and therefore all works are inspired by God. The Bible and other religious writings therefore are from God. That being said I do have some new insight on the writings by and about St Paul.

I have always had a problem with St Paul and some of his writings. After this study I better understand that the letters were in reaction to inquiries from the churches he had started while on his travels and persons who communicated with him. The ambiguities in what he said are not a change of heart but the fact he was answering a question put to him. We each do the same in our daily lives. One minute we are compelled to do or say one thing and at another time that same action or phrase would not be appropriate for the situation at hand. Each circumstance will need different words or interpretations of the events to be handled properly and with understanding.

The book of Acts was written after the letters written by Paul and the material was taken from varied sources. It is now thought that the writer, stated as being Luke, did not know Paul and was using verbal information given to him to write this book. He also was trying to enhance the interest in the teachings of Paul and incorporated many details that would appeal to and be appreciated by those persons he was writing for at the time. Understanding the times and the thoughts when this book was being written gives understanding to the words and why they were written. Many of the things attributed to Paul in the Book of Acts were not related by Paul himself. This may have been an oversight in his busy and extensive schedule or they may not have been important to the message Paul was giving. They also may have been embellishments to the life and mission of Paul to get the attention of the audience. In a time when there were so many religions and people were expecting a miracle they could believe some of the stories were parallel with other stories of the region about those that people thought of as gods. The Jewish peoples, as well as others, during that time were wanting for a messiah to come and save them from the oppressive government. Also we understand that each of us has an event where we are enlightened by God. Since all who may read the results of this are not present at the time, the reader must rely on the understanding that what is read is a remembrance and can vary from time to time or person to person in the telling.

Paul was an extremely busy person and he traveled to give the world a new understanding. I sometimes wonder if Christianity would still be here if it had not been for Paul. Because he understood so many cultures and was able to use the new Roman road systems he was able to travel to far distant areas and spread the word about what he was taught and the inspiration he received from his interaction with Jesus and others who had been with him as followers and disciples. Paul was under the impression that he was preaching about a messiah that had risen from the dead and would be returning at any moment to start a new world order. He wanted all that believed and accepted the Word to have a part in this new order and he felt that the kingdom was at hand. Paul felt that he had very little time left to convert all to the new teachings and had little patience with those that preached a different gospel. That he had disagreements with others and Peter is very evident. He was a new follower and as some even today his zeal was evident and he was driven to carry the Word to as many as possible in the shortest time possible. His feelings on this led to him impatience with others who did not feel the same urgency that he felt in makings sure all that were able heard the word and understood what Jesus had taught.

We know very little of the historical Paul. We can only rely on a few short passages in his own writings that have survived and the descriptions of those who came after that were either enhanced or had been handed down orally and given to the writers of the times. Not many writings survived the time period. Some have been found recently and are being studied and carefully pieced together. Time has blurred the real Paul, what he was told during his flash of insight from Jesus, and what he really spoke of to the churches when he started them. We will never really know the true Paul and as words have a way of taking on the speaker or writer’s views this is a problem in understanding the true message of Paul.

Over the years there have been many translations of the words of Paul and many thoughts on just what he said. We must understand that we have parts of letters that have been put together while other parts were left out of the official Bible. Many religious thinkers and those who held control over the writings have added or taken from writings and the Bible we now have is the one that was decided would contain certain writings while others were taken out or never included. The was to be a unity of belief so there would be a unity of government and control of the vast population that came first under Rome and then the control of leaders and governing bodies that followed.

I wonder if we will ever know what the original church was like. What the beliefs really were. What the early leaders thought and taught. New information is coming to light now and new books and writings are being found. There seemed to be many paths and teachings that differed from the one that has been handed down to us through the church. Even to this day the idea that there may have been a different meaning to the words of Jesus brings a debate. It is true that some doubt the findings and other want to suppress them but each should be used for leaning and moving forward in knowledge. We do not have to believe all we read or see but each event should help us think and work toward understanding.

I am not sure I am over my grievances with what I have read that St Paul said. But I do know that I have a better understanding of why he was answering in the manner he did. I have a better understanding of the times and what the people thought of women, church, and how each were to be taught and governed. He was a remarkable man and without him there may not have been growth in the small following of the new understanding of God.

The last lessons of the course were informative and helped rekindle some thoughts on the subjects presented.

I have used the following resources during this course: The course materials, multiple Bible translations. George Wills new book “What Did Paul Really Mean”, “Peter, Paul, & Mary Magdalene, The followers of Jesus in History and Legend” authored by Bart D. Ehrman, and other publications and articles in print and on the internet.


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As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

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