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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Monday, August 13, 2012

Four Gospels Seminary Course

The Four Gospels

In the book of Matthew (Matter-of-fact/common sense),

(2 commandments, love God, love yourself as you love those close to you) one might be impressed with the authority and assertiveness of Jesus, over circumstances, diseases and even death. Common sense not foolish ignorance (if people are hungry then they should eat). Straightforward and direct is the text's thrust.
TWO COMMANDMENTS (cover it all)
1.   "Love the Lord with all your heart"
2.   "Love those close to you as you love yourself"
The gospel of Mark, the Metaphysician/one man-one woman, one may strongly sense, the feeling of the honest ministry of Christ supported as he presents Himself as the servant of God. Mark emphasizes a SPIRITUAL FOCUS. Mark makes use of metaphor to illustrate intent ie; fig tree. THIS book is my favored one for its Metaphysical references, tendencies, and weight. Mark's account might be borrowed, in part both large and small, by all of the other books in the New Testament.

A Metaphysical reference to the spirit/soul is present here as the Spirit lives forever, and the physical body is left behind.
Another metaphysical reference: "those who came before Him are part of Him and part of God." The spirit has no beginning and no end.

Mark and committee also reference Jesus' compassion for serving his creation, HUMANITY, by healing on the Sabbath. "Which is allowed on the Sabbath, doing good or doing evil? Saving lives or killing?

MARK and Marriage: Jesus said, "A man shall leave his mother and father and stick to his wife. And the two shall become one living thing." MAN and WOMAN …no question about this one, in my opinion!

The book of Luke, the Diplomat is written by a man/committee that, quite possibly, didn't  KNOW anyone that even lived during the time of Jesus!!!  Aside from the aforementioned, there is, however, the compassion and empathy of the Son of Man present in the text. A caring for those in need is again noticed, yet expected!

On the other hand, Luke, the Diplomat is presented as trying to ease the pressures of the Roman government on Christians.

As I wrap the fab four up and in the book of John…

In the first section he is the miracle worker.
In the second section, one experiences the teacher.
And in the last section of John, one might experience the Victor.
Could there, therefore, be a case for a Gospel by committee? Such a diverse set of guidelines for each section of John, I'm not convinced.

One last note of clarification:

The author of The Gospel According to St. John, 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John in the New Testament is John the Beloved, one of the original Twelve Apostles under the authority of Jesus Christ, or is it?  We, of course, know that the books were a compilation of stories given names for easier labeling. (1)

John the disciple of Christ was the brother of James and the son of Zebedee. He was one of the "Sons of Thunder", and he was also the disciple who went on to be imprisoned on the island of Patmos, where he received the Revelation that makes up, I think, the final book of the Bible. 

John the Baptist was beheaded before Christ was crucified, and before the writing of the Greek Scriptures started. Another faith based test.

In Summation

Matthew the "Matter of Fact" Assertive and direct …

2 Commandments (Love God, Love those close to you as you love yourself) (an adaptation of Mark)
Mark the "Metaphysician" …always was , is now, ever shall be … "ONE man and ONE woman" says it all.

Luke the "Diplomat" A report from a man, or a name given to this book, that probably didn't know anyone who lived during the life of Jesus. A TRUE political/diplomat that could weave a believable story from historical hearsay. (another adaptation of Mark)

John "By Committee" here is an example of parts of stories put together to formulate a book, as is the case with all of the books in the New Testament. How could one person have written this entire text, I just can't wrap my mind around the fabric of the line. It is true that it is written in a strong, familial, and poetic manner. It is true that the book of John is easier to read, it flows. BUT, one man did not write this entire book, a fact of realism. I realize that the above may have some redundancies; however, they are necessary in order to make my point.
Is the Bible the greatest book ever written? In my opinion, yes, there is no doubt. Has reading the Bible, in layman's terms, given me a greater insight into the possible multiple applicable messages?  Yes.

Now, if God, the infinite energy source, hadn't given us the ability to think for ourselves, there would be no need for the speculation of life after the physical, Metaphysically speaking!

The wisdom of the second century still translates today. Though the names chosen for the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Phillip, Thomas, etc. may not be the ones who actually penned the books the lessons are, to this day, applicable.

Did Jesus walk the earth? In my opinion, yes He did. For one man to have an earth-shattering effect on ALL of humanity proves that we, as a race, are looking, Metaphysically, toward the next life in the hopes of eternal salvation.
This course has given me many a moment to pause and reflect on my former education in the church. If the general public could only hear the Gospels in this light and be able to flex their individual minds respectively, we … as a society … would be better off, in my opinion.

"We" only learned what "They" wanted to teach us. I can't say that I haven't used what "They" taught me constructively, but I'm now better equipped to converse with my Jesuit friends, contemporaries, and mentors. I'm better equipped to dissect and assimilate the New Testament into my own thought processes.

Thank you for the opportunity to grow spiritually and independently, amen.
.Fn … this explains very much …again, thank you for the clarification…academic as it may be…(in Thomas' faqs …)
No one knows. The four canonical gospels and Thomas and other gospels such as the Gospel of Philip (found at Nag Hammadi) were given their names some time in the second century. Scholars of the New Testament generally agree that none of the gospels were written by people who had ever met Jesus of Nazareth during his lifetime. But at a later date names were assigned to them that were associated with famous individuals in the earliest church-

Written by:
Dr. Robert G. Manginelli

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