Christian History

 ULC Seminary: Master of Christian History Paper
                        Lesson 13
1.    What set the post-Nicene fathers apart from the ante-Nicene fathers?

Answer:
The “Ante-Nicene fathers”, are the Church Fathers who worked before the Council of Nicaea regardless of whether they were apostolic fathers, apologists, or polemicists. They studied the Scriptures in a more or less scientific way to gain theological meaning.
While the Post-Nicene Fathers which include the Eastern Post-Nicene Fathers and Western Post-Nicene Fathers are the Fathers of the church who were part of the schools of Biblical interpretation.

2.    Why is Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History so important to us today?

Answer:
Eusebius of Caesarea (c. A.D. 260-340): an Eastern Post-Nicene Fathers wrote a historical work known as ‘the Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History work’, which is a survey of church history from apostolic times until A.D. 324, is important because it offer a record of past trials of the church at the end of its long period of struggle and the beginning of its era of prosperity. Also the work is still very valuable today because of his access to the library at Caesarea and the imperial archives. Eusebius made a tremendous effort to be honest and objective in his use of the best and most reliable primary sources available to him. The work foreshadowed how the present-day historian goes about evaluating his sources of knowledge. His work is the best source of knowledge we have about the history of the ancient church in the first three centuries of existence, but scholars do wish that he had left some kind of notations pointing to where he got his knowledge from like the present-day historian does. His work also has at times a monotonous recitation of facts and extracts with no orderly view of cause and effect. Regardless, this work is very valuable to the church throughout the ages.

3.     In what way was Augustine the greatest of the Church Fathers and how did his work influence later Roman Catholicism and Protestantism?

Answer:
Based upon the great weight of Augustine’s work and influence on the church of his time, he arguably was the greatest of the Church fathers (he left behind over 100 books, 500 sermons, and 200 letters) who can be called “post-Nicene fathers”. He was an able polemicist, a good preacher, a fine episcopal overseer, a great theologian, and the creator of a Christian historiography that is still valid in its fundamentals. Living in a time when the old classical civilization was on its way to doom at the hands of the barbarians, Augustine stood between two worlds, the classical and the new medieval. Both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism give honor to his contribution to the cause of Christianity.
The influences are also from his contributions like; his most widely known work which was his Confessions, one of the great autobiographies of all time. It was finished by A.D. 401. Like all of his main works, it came out of trials he or the church faced. In it he laid bare his soul for all to behold.
Augustine’s intellectual biography was a work he wrote just before his death entitled Retractationes or Revisions. In it he chronologically documented how his thinking had changed over time. He regretted being earlier associated with pagan philosophy because it would never bring humanity to the truth as it is in Christianity.
He also wrote philosophical dialogues, the most interesting being Contra Academicos. In it he showed that humanity could probably achieve truth through philosophy, but certainty can only be found in Biblical revelation.
His greatest exegetical work was De Doctrina Christiana, a small manual outlining his views on interpretation. It is there that he developed the concept of the analogy of faith. No teaching on particular passages should be developed unless it conformed to the general tenor of the Scriptures. Failure to recognize this leads into heresy.
Augustine’s greatest theological work was on the Trinity, De Trinitate. His Enchiridian ad Laurentium is a small manual of his theological views. He also wrote many polemical works condemning the false teachings of the Manicheans, the Donatists, and especially the Pelagians. His De Haeresibus is a history of heresies.
His greatest apologetical work, and to most the greatest work of all, was his treatise De Civitate Dei, The City of God (A.D. 413-426). Astounded by the sacking of Rome by Alaric in A.D. 410, the Romans assumed that this disaster occurred because they had forsaken their pagan gods and goddesses in favor of Christianity. Augustine answered this charge at the request of his friend Marcellinus. He showed that Rome had suffered tragedy long before Christianity came. Worshiping the Roman deities was not needed for eternal blessing. Christianity was the only thing that could give blessings.
It was also in The City of God that Augustine revealed his historiography, the first real historiography to be developed. This is significant for Christian historiography. Neither the Greek nor Roman historians had been able to gain any universal grasp of humanity’s history. Augustine elevated the spiritual over the temporal in maintaining God’s sovereignty. God created history in time. God is Lord over history and is not bound up in history as the philosopher Hegel later taught. History is linear, not cyclical. All that comes about is a result of His will and action. Even before creation, God had a plan for creation. This plan will be partly realized in time in the struggle between the two cities on earth and finally realized beyond history by the supernatural power of God. Augustine saw history as universal and unitary in that all people were included in it. Herodotus, writing of the Persian War, limited his work to the conflict between the Greeks and the Persians. Augustine championed the solidarity of the human race. Progress was moral and spiritual resulting from the fight with evil. The consummation would be in the final victory of the City of God. In this Augustine avoided the later error of Marx and others who try to make a relative temporal scene of history absolute and eternal by finding solutions to humanity’s problems in temporal history. Augustine taught that the goal of history is beyond history in the hands of an eternal God. This historiography sustained the church through the dark half-millennium before A.D. 1000.
Augustine is viewed by Protestants as one who had proto-Reformation ideas by saying that humanity is saved from original and actual sin only by the grace of a sovereign God who irresistibly saves those whom He has elected. But in this he so emphasized the church as a visible institution with the true creed, sacraments, and ministry that the Roman church considers him the father of Roman ecclesiasticism though he did so to refute the Pelagians and the Donatists at the same time. His analogy of faith in interpreting Scripture is of lasting value in the church.

Regardless of these abiding values, Augustine introduced some errors into the stream of Christian thought. He participated in the development of the doctrine of purgatory with all its associated evils. He so emphasized the value of baptism and Eucharist that the doctrine of baptismal regeneration and sacramental grace were the logical results of his views. His views of the Millennium as the era between the Incarnation and Christ’s Second Advent in which the church would conquer the world led to the Roman emphasis on the Church of Rome as the universal church destined to bring all within its fold and to the idea of post-millennialism. The Protestant Reformers found Augustine to be a great ally in their belief that humanity bound by sin needs salvation by God’s grace through faith alone. Between the Apostle Paul and Martin Luther the church had no one of greater moral and spiritual stature than Augustine.

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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.
As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Spirit-Quest

I must say that when I began this course, I could have never dreamed what I would learn. I could not have imagined how many facets there are to finding peace, tranquility and answers, all at the same time.
I have learned to ground myself as well as not care what others may think of me as long as I, myself, know I am okay and I feel good about it. As long as I, myself, am doing what is right and good to the best of my ability. But I must say over this past year, as I was studying this course, the lesson on pain is the one I read over and over again more so than the rest. And – each and every time it held a different meaning. Had I not taken this course, I may have missed the lesson.
In December of 2004 – one year ago this last December, I received a call from my Aunt in Ohio who was very concerned about my mother who lived in the same town as myself. She said she had spoken to her on the phone and that she was incoherent and could not carry on a conversation. I come from a family of 6 girls, I am second to the oldest and I seemed to have taken on the role of being the responsible one a long time ago. Therefore, on that evening in December, I promised my Aunt that I would go over to my mother’s home the very next morning and check on her. In the meantime, I called my mom and she was in fact incoherent. I asked to speak with the sister whom she was living with and she too was in a drug induced incoherency of her own.
Two weeks before this I had learned that my mom had broken a vertebrae in her back, a very painful situation for a 79 year old woman to have to recover from. She had just been sent home from the hospital that week and my younger sisters, who are all in their 30’s were supposedly taking care of her. This was my mother’s choice.
So, the very next morning, I drove over to my mother’s modest little mobile home and I did in deed find her very doped up and in considerable pain. The girls could not possibly even get her to the bathroom as the trailer was much too small and my mom couldn’t walk. None of them really knew how much morphine my mom was getting and they had no clue when her last dose was. This was clearly the blind leading the blind. My mom had always enabled the girls and she had always taken care of them. Again – her choice.
I sat down next to my mom and asked if I could call an ambulance to have her taken to a rehabilitation facility where she could recover from this and get the proper care she needed. She hesitantly agreed.
When the ambulance arrived, two gals came in and assessed my mom and decided that it was in her best interest to go to the hospital. I’m sure they could see the situation at hand as well. My mom needed proper care. One of the paramedics asked me to back my truck up which was parked right outside the front steps so they could get the ambulance closer to the front door so they could transport my mom.
I went out to move my truck and simply backed it up a couple of feet. I do remember backing over the speed bump however it had no significance at the time. I opened my truck door and as I was stepping out of the truck I was also at the same time, asking the paramedic if I had given her enough room and the next thing I remember, I heard a crack and I hit the ground like a ton of bricks. The pain was unbearable. I figured I had broken my leg because I heard it crack. However, I was going into shock and when I sat up and looked down at my leg, my foot was turned completely around facing the opposite way. The pain was so intense, I passed out. They called another unit to come and get me.
Without going into a whole lot of detail, it turned out that I had broken my leg as well as shattered my ankle socket completely. Without surgery, I would never walk on it again. It was a six month recovery. I would not be able to place any weight on my leg for six months.
I have never experienced pain like that in my entire life. They had to rebuild my ankle. Two steal plates and seventeen screws now replaced what used to be my ankle. The x-ray tech said he hadn’t seen snow boarding accidents that were this bad. All I did was step out of my truck.
In the meantime my mom didn’t get better – she became worse. She would call me from the hospital and tell me she wanted to die. She refused all treatment and her doctor was furious as he felt that she could fully recover from this injury. My mom continued to refuse treatment and when I felt there was nothing else left to do; I called Hospice and asked them to assess my mom. They did – and they accepted her as a patient. My mom was ready to go. Her Choice again.
They moved her home and I had my oldest son drive me over there day after day as I sat by her bedside. She was now refusing to take her heart medication as well. It was now – just a waiting game.
One afternoon, as I was sitting there with my leg up and simply listening to my mom’s short shallow breathing as she slept, she woke up out of a sound sleep and asked me if I knew why I broke my ankle so badly?
I told her that I had thought about it quite a bit and I guess The Lord needed to sit me down for a long period of time. She smiled and said, “Oh yes.” And then she went on to explain that had I not been hurt that day, I would have been to the hospital daily and I would have forced her to get well. And that just wasn’t in the plan. This was the way she was meant to leave this world and I was right, The Lord had to get me out of the way for a long time and keep me out of the way.
She then went on to tell me that as active as I am, (I have several horses that I ride and drive), why would I simply step out of my truck and destroy my leg? I was baffled. And then she asked me what speed bumps are for? I told her to slow you down. And she simply smiled and nodded. Two days later my mom passed away. I had just ordered this course.
As I began this course, I couldn’t believe the messages I received. From the grounding cords all the way to the last lesson. I have read and re-read most of my lessons more than three times. Each and every time I retain something new. I do so hope it is this way for everyone.
I am completely healed now and am riding and driving my horses again. I have created a big sun bubble around my truck. I have also created a different sort of cord. One for safety each and every time I step out of my truck.
A freak accident is what the doctors called it. I myself, now see it as a necessity as well as a blessing. My mom was right. I would have asked of her something she would have been reluctant to give. She was tired and she was ready to leave this place.
I now know that I can create my own perception of all things. This course has empowered me to create and ask for things instead of simply waiting for them to come to me. It has also taught me patience and to accept the things I truly have no control over. I used to always be on the go, non stop, always in a hurry to get to the next chore of my day. That speed bump as well as this course taught me to slow down. That the world won’t come to a screeching halt if something doesn’t get done. My chores sure didn’t get done that day in December.
I have decided that it is okay to put off till tomorrow what I don’t get done today. I have learned to take the time to be with me – each and every day. Just ten minutes is very relaxing.
I am a perfect being. God Loves Me. I was created in perfection,
By perfection, for perfection. My success is guaranteed.
Rev. Martha J. Tote
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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.


As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge selection of Universal Life Church  minister supplies. Since being ordained with the Universal Life Church for so many years and it’s Seminary since the beginning, I’ve watch the huge change and growth that has continued to happen.



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As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

The Miracle of Prayer

 At the start, the 1st discourse I thought, this is going to be long and a real drag. You see I thought I knew what I needed to know regarding the bible. I soon found out that after a few of the exercises really got me on a new life with God. We must have love, we must give love and care for our people that we share this earth with. 
Also that we are a family and Jesus is in fact our elder brother. The importance of forgiveness and how it’s best to forgive and let go of the matter. That a lot of the time it’s us that needs the comfort of saying I forgive you. Sometimes it’s your action of kindness and forgiving that shows God’s love. I also understand how to pray and what I should be praying about. It’s not all about my financial problems. But the opportunity to serve Gods will. For many of the discourses I would spend time seeking God with quite time. I now ask God each day to use me in his work and the best possible way. 
We need to go out each day and use our gifts that God has given. I like the saying that It’s sometimes better to show God’s love in a more practical way then talking. I truly believe that this life on earth that we spend so much of our day’s working for bigger and better things. Larger, nicer and more, puts us on the track of no purpose. We are on this earth for just a short time. This time should be used to do Gods business. And use this time as a proving ground for what’s to come after we take our last breath of air. What a great course, so much information. I will be using the information for years to come as a minister. 
Yes I do feel stronger and more set to serve God.
Rev. Mike Zhmendak
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Many people get ordained through the Universal Life Church 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. If you need any assistance in any area of your ministry, please feel free to contact amy@ulcseminary.org and we’ll give you all the help we can.
As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Mystical Christianity

Lesson 9;
 
Questions for the Heart and Mind;
 
  1. Given what we know of the historical Mary Magdalene, what role do you think she played in the ministry of Jesus?
I think Mary played an important supportive role in the ministry of Jesus, emotionally, financially and in service. Mary was chosen by Jesus to be the first bearer of the Good News of His Resurrection. This was no mistake – Jesus chose the one He deemed reliable and faithful to carry out this important task.
 
It is possible that Mary came from Magdala, a center of commercial fishing on the Sea of Galilee. Mary left her home to follow Jesus, and fossibly financially supported Jesus’ ministry.
 
Mary led the other women together with Jesus’ mother at the crucifixion. She strengthened their resolve with her love and fearless loyalty as Jesus was executed.
 
Mary was a faithful and loving follower of Jesus Christ, remaining loyal and at His side until His ascension. 
 
  1. What validity do you give historical material that is based on oral and/or cultural tradition?
It certainly has its place. Many cultures have handed down stories from century to century, faithfully passing them on from storyteller to storyteller. 
 
  1. Do you believe in continuing revelation, and if you do, what standards do you use for discerning what is true?
Yes, I believe in continuing revelation. God through Jesus Christ continues to take an active role in the fortunes of the world and its people. This necessitates ongoing revelation of God through Jesus Christ to us. The standard I use for discerning what is true, is the test of time and test of God. The test of time is to wait; the truth always comes out with time. Also, if a revelation is of God, time and God will show if the revelation is indeed from Him or a clever lie.
 
  1. What is your opinion regarding the conflation controversy? Do you believe that Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene are the same woman?
My personal opinion is that historical evidence should be taken into consideration when preaching. Gregory assumed that Mary of Bethany and Mary of Magdala were the same person without having any historical evidence for the same. Mary of Bethany was from Bethany in Judea, within walking distance of Jerusalem. Mary of Magdale was from Magdala, three miles north of Tiberius in Galilee. Two women with the same name from opposite ends of Israel benefited from the charismatic presence of Jesus Christ. I believe that Mary of Bethany and Mary of Magdala were two different people entirely.

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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have various classes in Christianity, one on Wicca, along with several Pagan courses, more than a few courses about Metaphysics with more being added regularly.

The Four Gospels

First of all I would like to say that this course was very interesting and thought provoking. To be able to choose just one specific area is going to be difficult but I would like to talk about the book of Mathew.

It’s interesting to first note that the gospels are not placed in order in the bible, but rather in the order of what makes sense. I was looking at the estimated dates of when the gospels were written and discovered that the gospel of Mark was actually written first, followed by Luke, then Mathew and finally John.

However, having said this, I find Luke to be the least in depth of all the gospels and Mathew to be the most detailed. I seemed to be constantly drawn toward the book of Mathew for the main reason that it’s the first book in the New Testament and has often been unofficially declared the “New Genesis”, meaning that it is the book that sets the foundation for the New Covenant.

Upon reading the book of Mathew we see that it starts with the outline of Jesus’ lineage demonstrating that His return was indeed foretold from the very beginning, in fact it was talked about in the book of Genesis. In fact it is quickly understood that Jesus is God incarnate and that He is coming to live as man so that He can fulfill the promises for the new kingdom, Jesus has to become a human and live among men not as a rich man but as a man of humility, He is born of a virgin whose husband is a carpenter. This picture of humility is illustrated many times throughout the bible as it is the spirit that is more important, the body is just a temporary shell and as we know, God does many great works through those who are looked down upon by the world. Jesus was no different, He was disrespected by many in His time but He demonstrated great faith and continued to share His teachings to all who would listen. Despite what people thought and said, Jesus was to become the new Adam except this time to live a life that was sinless, in a sense, cleaning up Adam’s mess!

The first part of Mathew talks about the birth of Christ and the visitation of the 3 Magi or Priests. We see right from the get go that Jesus was threatened with death by Herod so He had to be taken to Egypt until it was safe to return to Nazareth.

John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin paves the way for Jesus saying to the people that the Messiah is coming and when He does come, Jesus is baptized by John. We see that in order for the new covenant to succeed, Jesus has to experience all that man has had to experience, including being tempted for 40 days and nights by the devil. What this demonstrates is that Jesus not only became human but it shows that with the faith that Jesus had in His father, man can overcome anything, this is important because in order for Jesus to truly understand what man is, He has to become what man is, including the experiences of man.

After Jesus calls His first disciples, he travels throughout the land performing miracles, which included healing the sick and raising the dead. This is also the time when Jesus lays down the law, so to speak, starting with the beatitudes and reaffirming that the law will indeed be upheld until the end of time and if any of the laws or commandments are broken, they will be called least in the kingdom, but for those who practice and teach the laws, will be great.

Jesus, for those who may have had a memory lapse, provided some refresher courses around the commandments so that all knew what had to be done. Jesus also taught about other things that must happen, from practicing humility, feeding the hungry, loving your enemies, fasting and prayer, just to name a few.

The book of Mathew is a book of great wisdom and is an instruction manual for eternal life and riches. Jesus had never ending wisdom and that wisdom He taught through parables, in fact the book of Mathew is the first we see of the parables and we see 14 of them, the other gospels talk about the parables but in less detail. The idea behind the parables is that if you have the “eyes and ears” needed, meaning the true faith of God, you will understand Jesus’ parables. I have found this in my personal life as I have grown in my faith. When I first started out reading the New Testament, I didn’t really understand, I saw Jesus’ parables as really confusing stories, but now, I have re read them and they make a lot of sense, the depth of such wisdom in them is unparalleled anywhere else, in fact many times in Mathew we see the disciples asking Jesus what He meant by His many stories. This has always been a surprise to me, even after they saw Jesus perform such wondrous miracles, they still questioned their faith and they still questioned Him, can you imagine!

As part of Jesus’ ministry, we see Him cast out demons and thus we have the first exorcisms recorded, and with His great teachings, the disciples learned to do the same thing. This demonstrates and foreshadows on a smaller scale, the predicted defeat of Satan, the defeat that will signal the beginning of the new kingdom.

Mathew is also the book where we see the great sermon on the mount, when Jesus knows that His end is near and He has gathered all in the land to pass on the things that must be done in order for the new kingdom to be successful. The sermon on the mount is what Christians should be abiding by today…He basically has said that we are the body of Christ and that it is important for us to go forth as the arms of Christ and reach out to all that need to be saved, helped and healed. This sermon is probably one of the most important ones in the entire bible and I would say that this is the “backbone” of Christianity.

Jesus demonstrates a couple of times in this book, the awesome power of faith and prayer, specifically demonstrated with Him feeding the five thousand and the four thousand; during these times, Jesus goes off on His own and prays to God demonstrating to the people that God is indeed their provider, as a result all of the people were fed with food left over.

As we approach the end of Mathew, Jesus predicts His death, a death that has to happen in order to fulfill the new covenant. He gives 3 of His disciples a “sneak preview” of what is to come at the resurrection, but He is sure to tell them not to say anything until He has risen. Jesus foretells who is going to betray Him and later as we see, is subsequently arrested, all for things He didn’t do. When looking at this, Jesus is also teaching that just by being a Christian, we will be unjustly persecuted as He was but if you have faith and do not deny Christ, you will enjoy glorification in Christ’s name and have eternal life.

In the final chapters of Mathew we see the fruition of Jesus’ prediction and He is put to death on the cross and 3 days later He rose from the dead in His entire splendor, fulfilling the predictions from Christ Himself.

The book of Mathew is a fantastic book, a book filled with such great wisdom that despite the number of times you read it, there are many treasures to be unearthed. It is a book of hope, of awe, of wonder and excitement, it is a book of things to come, and it is “the new beginning”.

Rev. Jason Carey

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The Universal Life Church Seminary is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, and Paganism.  We have two courses in Metaphysics, as well as courses in Mystical Christianity, Buddhism and Comparative Religion. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.
As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Comparative Religion

COMPARATIVE RELIGION
The Comparative Religion Course gave me a better understanding of the various religions and beliefs practiced by many of diverse cultures in the world and now being practiced here at home In the United States.  Coming myself from a family of mixed religious backgrounds, beliefs and traditions; we lived in a kind of harmony because we each held in our hearts that there is a common thread that binds us as human beings and not just family. We respected each other’s beliefs and faith never puffing one belief over the other. This course explained the commonalty that all religions and beliefs have in worship, prayer, how they view life and that all men are spiritual from ancient times to present. In addition, this course has shown that all religions of today have a common source that you will find when one looks far enough. And that each religion has borrowed from the other. I remember talking to my late cousin who was a practicing and ordained follower of Krishna. I remember saying to him “that there are many paths and each in the end leads to what all humans seek that is a union with God “he said “so true.” This course confirms this believe which I have held for long time. Now I feel that I have a working  knowledge base and the confidence that will enable me minister to those who are not of my faith when approached by them for help and through this knowledge base there will be no misunderstanding but understanding between us.
I liked the way the course was setup. Many years ago I took a course similar to this. But it was not the same. I was given a few books to read and told to write a paper and that was that. Here the instructor takes the student from what is known and then brings the student to what was not known. I liked how Rev. Kythera Ann explains the vocabulary that is part of the study of religion. The examples that she used in the discourses such as the flood showed a common thread among the religions used in one example names may have been different but the story was the same, and even the photographs and pictures helped enforce the topic at hand. I liked how each discourse built upon the other keeping with what I said before known to unknown.  The internet activities were great reinforcements to the end of each of the discourses.
There wasn’t anything about the course that I disliked except for the last discourse and then only one section of it. When it came to cults a lot of time was spent on the Baha’i Faith how Islam views it as cult and how Iran is persecuting it followers today. Then it goes to Mormonism with a small paragraph and one small sentence taken from Wikipedia about them, calling Mormonism a cult. The Mormons too were persecuted by main stream Christianity in its beginnings with their leader Joseph Smith being killed with many other of his followers. I am aware that she also said that it was a new religion but using Mormonism as a cult example did not follow the final statement that when the leader dies so does the cult which never happened to both the Baha’I and Mormon religion. However, I was expecting to see The Reunification Church a.k.a MOONIES, Scientology, Christian Science, and The Jehovah Witness mentioned as cults these too being out of the mainstream of recognized religion with Scientology being a newer religion of modern times. Instead The Branch Dravidians, Heaven’s Gate and Aum Shinri-kyo  were mentioned at the beginning  of section as new age cults that had made the news.
I think these discourses could be improved by using the PDF format. This may cut down on how many times a discourse been resent because of being received incomplete.  Also, it would allow for better printing of the discourses. I had one discourse which needed to be reformatted before reprinting because there were no margins in the discourse. 

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TheUniversal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Buddhism by Rev. Melgar


Master of Buddhism by Rev. Nitza L. Melgar
When I think of life and it’s meaning, I picture myself on the top of a very tall mountain. I stand there alone, overlooking the clouds that float slowly beneath me. I see the birds flying freely to their next destination down below. I am at the very point where the world ends and eternity begins.
There, there way down below the clouds, live the humans. Those beings, I am suppose to love and care for without constraint.
I stand dressed in a white hooded robe. No markings at all, as to indicate my station. My body is entirely covered, so my gender is not known, the color of my skin is hidden. My face, deep inside the white hood, is invisible. Here, I ponder, the question, regarding what I must do, to reach enlightenment?
I must empty myself. Disappear, if you will. I must love every living creature, as it is and not as I would like it to be. I must erase all anger, resentment, or feeling of hatred towards anyone.
I must walk away from all I have, and think more of others than myself.
I must dissolve myself and become part of the oneness that is humanity.
I am not black, white or any color. I am not male or female. I am not rich or poor. I am not tall or short. I am open to all things. Accepting all things as part of the greater picture, the tapestry that is life.
This, to me, is what Buddha, Christ and all those like them were trying to teach us. There is something greater than ourselves that rules all things. We must become less, in order to become more. It is only in dying to oneself, that one can live. It is only in reaching out to others, that we can receive.
We must accept ourselves, just as we are and strive continuously to do good. It is only in emptying yourself that you can become a vessel. A vessel to be filled with love, and selflessness.
The more I read the teachings of Buddha, the more I realize, how similar they are to Jesus teachings in the New Testament. It has been said, “that there is nothing new under the Sun.” I began to think about this, and try to see why this happened. It seems to me, that whenever the world becomes full of anger, war and violence,teachers such as Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohamed and others would come and remind us what the True Path should be for us to follow.
In our lifetime, people like Martin Luther King, tried to do the same thing. If we stray from the Path, we will be damned to relive our mistakes. I do believe in reincarnation and I do believe a soul returns over and over till he gets it right. To me enlightenment is the only Path to Ascension and eternal reunion with the essence from which we came.
I thoroughly enjoyed this course and highly recommend it to other ministers. Thank for this opportunity to learn and share ideas.
God Bless,
Rev. Nitza L. Melgar ULC Minister,SBT


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Gospel of Thomas Essay by Rev. Blackman

Grace unto you,and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The New Testament Apocrypha contains several writing that were similar to New Testament books but were not included as a part of the new Testament. These writing were greatly influenced by the philosophies and religions of the cities or nations out of which they came. The Gospel of Thomas proclaims a change in the way that we see things and transformation in what we are.It uses a definite set of symbols and images to communicate this and tells us Thai if we find the inner meaning of these saying, we shall not taste death.
One of the methods that the Gospel of Thomas uses to describe the human being is to use imagery from the first couple of chapters of the book Genesis. The taste to which we must aspire is the state from which we have fallen.It is light, it is the spirit, it is the beginning.Just as Jesus says that life is movement, so the spirit across the face of the waters on the first day,and God finds rest from work on the Sabbath, the seventh day in Genesis.
If we merely nod our heads at the Gospel of Thomas, or marvel at its profundity, we are like Jesus’s students saying that twenty-four prophets spoke to Israel, and all of them spoke of you, and so forget about the living one who is in our presence.it is not that a book gives us the answer, rather the kingdom of the father is already spread out on the earth and no one sees it. The Gospel of Thomas ask us to choose between being dead and becoming the image of God.
Yours In Christ,
Andrew Blackman

Spirit-Quest

When I started this path I had a lifetime of lessons that helped lead me here. Becoming a Reiki Master and Teacher was just the beginning. I started meeting people and taking classes. I realized that I needed to learn more. This course offered me the knowledge and the tools I needed to help not only myself but others.
As you go through this course, their will be moments of realizations. Changes in your life, your thoughts, and your spirit. It makes your life lessons easier to understand and accomplish.
There are many important lessons in this course. One I found to be life-changing is when you look at things in your lifetime. Things that hurt or made you angry. Or maybe things you may have done. When you can learn to forgive yourself and others. It can be a very freeing experience. This tool is very important in these times and throughout your life.
I learned a new and fun way to meditate and to communicate on a more spiritual level. Creating roses to help communicate or get answers was interesting. Blowing them up was fun also. I can’t tell you how many roses I’ve created and destroyed.
Manifesting is an awesome tool to learn also. It didn’t take long before I realized things that I had manifested were happening. For example, I had asked to make more money, so I could pay bills and to be able to continue my education. I didn’t ask for money to drop into my lap. But for my job to have increased business, so I could earn the extra money. Business has increased and I now have the extra income I needed. Not only did I benefit but the owner and my fellow employees did too.
This course has allowed me to grow spiritually and personally. It also has given me the tools to help my children, friends, and on occasions people I just met. This is what I consider to be a wonderful blessing.
Another gift from this course is this statement. God loves you. You were created by perfection, in perfection, for perfection. Your success is guaranteed. It’s not just a catchy phrase. It’s a great affirmation. Saying to yourself feels great. But when you can feel it and really believe it anything is possible. This also means it goes for everyone else too.
This makes you think. Especially when you’ve been hurt or gotten angry at someone. You realize God loves them too. You become better person. You look at things in a different way.
I really have enjoyed this course. I recommend this course to anyone who wants to grow personally and spiritually. You receive the tools to help yourself and others. As for me I found this course to be life changing. In every aspect. It has enriched and enlightened my life.
Thank You
Many Blessings
Brenda Firestone
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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.


As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge selection of Universal Life Church  minister supplies. Since being ordained with the Universal Life Church for so many years and it’s Seminary since the beginning, I’ve watch the huge change and growth that has continued to happen.



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As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Paganism

Paganism Final Exam
Rev. Jean Pagano
The Paganism for A New Age class was truly an enjoyable undertaking. So many different facets of paganism were covered in the class because, I believe, paganism is multi-faceted. It is obvious to me that the author of this course was not merely an academic examining a discipline from a distance – this is a person who has intimate insights into the practice of paganism. There were many lessons which I found insightful. I will touch upon my favorite ones and describe what I liked best about each of them.
Lesson #9, entitled The Sacred Place, detailed the altar and mentioned three separate setups: standard, enhanced mage, and master/mistress. While the three different types suggested different levels of complexity, they all described functional altars, regardless of the elaborateness of design. In addition to the setups, a very thorough description of things one could have on the altar is included.
Lesson #10, entitled Creating the Sacred Place, describes various methodologies for dealing with the sacred space, from creating and cleansing the circle, to the calling of the guardians, the release of the guardians, and finally in the releasing of the circle. A series of different techniques, some traditional, some refreshingly non-traditional, are included and described.
Lesson #13, entitled Sacred Nature, has a wonderful list and description of many magical trees. As a student and teacher of the Ogham, many of the trees in this list are Ogham trees! There is also a very nice tree meditation included to help the student get in tune with a given tree. Herbs and stones are also listed and I found both lists very informative and enlightening.
Lesson #14, entitled The Mind and Spirit, has a great guide to meditation that is not only simple but it works. The manipulation of energy exercises are fantastic and will give any student a good luck at what one can do with intent and direction – truly amazing!
Lesson #18, entitled The Magick of the Mysteries, is by far my favorite. The idea of using stones in circle really resonates with me, and since it is such a natural tool, it seems particularly appropriate for a pagan circle. The best part of the whole course, in my mind, is to use the winds to perform ritual. In this way, one performs the ritual according to the winds, not in spite of them. The Gods choose the ritual to be performed in this manner.
The final lesson has a long list of links to web sites to further expand on topics touched upon by the course, or possible avenue for research and membership, if people so choose. This has been a most enlightening class and I would recommend it to anyone on the pagan path or those just interested.
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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.
As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.