The Urantia Book Fellowship


On Accepting Evolutionary Reality
The Spiritual Fellowship Journal
Editorial -- Meredith Sprunger
Fall 1993

From our vantage point of 2000 years of history, it is difficult for us to understand the hostility which the Pharisees and Sadducees exhibited toward the message of Jesus. We tend to forget the strength of tradition and institutional power structures. If we keep these evolutionary dynamics in mind, it is easier for us to understand both their reaction and our contemporary situation.

Jesus attempted to upstep the spiritual insights of Judaism and used the synagogues to present his teachings until they were closed to him. He succeeded in winning the hearts and minds of only a small number of the Palestine society. This nucleus carried his transforming spiritual message throughout the world. In the context of this 2000 year history, much in Judaism has been changed by the evolutionary dynamics of Jesus' teaching. Today the Reformed branch of Judaism exemplifies the essence of Jesus' message -- the Fatherhood of God and the kinship of humankind. Spiritual Reality eventually transforms tradition.

In our day the Fifth Epochal Revelation presents a similar opportunity to contemporary religious institutions. The authors of The Urantia Book express the hope of upstepping the Christian Church and other world religions. After 40 years, the Fifth Epochal Revelation is experiencing a reception similar, but more humane, to that given the message of Jesus. The leadership of the Christian Church has taken a stance of deliberate, benign indifference to its message. They are afraid of what it might do to them. Institutional and theological power structures are strong and pervasive.

Once again, we have a small group of people assuming the task of bringing this enlarged revelatory message to the world. Most of the church will need more time to discover its renewing and transforming power. We need to accept this evolutionary time-lag without too much frustration and discouragement. This is a natural response when we understand the growth dynamics of the evolutionary universe in which we live. All individual and social phenomena follow a course which social scientists describe as "normal curve" phenomena; growth or change takes place among the few pioneers and proceeds through the population until the new orientation becomes the norm for the majority of society. The ultra conservatives and reactionaries bring up the rear. New generations are required to complete the process.

The pioneers, the 1% which Abraham Maslow describes as the innovators, break the trails into new territory. We hope our clergy-laity network is in the vanguard of the Fifth Epochal Revelation. Rather than being impatient with the slow response to new spiritual truth, we need to accept and love people where they are, and devote ourselves to the creative activity of building resources for the future. There is much work to be done. A significant body of literature needs to evolve. Theological foundations have to be restructured. Hymns and rituals will require revision. New art, music, and drama should be created.

While slow evolutionary leavening takes place in the old institutions, new religious institutions will no doubt emerge to carry the enhanced and enlarged spiritual insights of The Urantia Book to the world. As people who love the church and long for its revitalization, we hope the progressive orientation of many members of mainline Christianity will enable the church to discover the enlightening and renewing message of The Urantia Book in a much shorter time than was required for the spiritual rejuvenation of religious institutions in the past.

A service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship