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“A Way of Life in the Family of God”

 

 

“Purpose and Statement of Faith”

It is the purpose of God the infinite and eternal Creator, our Universal Father and Supreme Mother1, to create all human beings as spiritual sons and daughters, to be in loving relationship with us, and to inspire us to love each other as sisters and brothers in the global Family of God.

In order for us to live our lives more fully in spiritual family, God calls us to gather together for worship and inspiration, fellowship and mutual support, growth in spiritual family relationships, and service outreach —  so that all people might be uplifted and transformed in spiritual community.

For this purpose, we establish ourselves as a body of believers, the Family of God Fellowship, joining together to live and proclaim a new and higher way of life in the Family of God.

In order to accomplish this purpose,  we dedicate ourselves to:

1.  Spread the truths of a way of life in the Family of God by all possible means.

2.  Establish and support local Family of God Fellowships as places of worship and spiritual community.

3.  Train Ministers, Teachers and Leaders, call them to serve in the work of the Fellowship, and support them in their efforts.

 

Statement of Faith

This Statement of Faith makes no claim to contain all or final truth; it simply covers matters essential to a way of life in the Family of God, and to the accomplishment of the Fellowship’s purpose.

The Family of God

Family is the master pattern of all personal relationships in Creation.  It is the symbolic lens of understanding through which each of us can grow to see who we really are, and discern how best to relate to our Creator and to each other.  God is first and foremost an all-wise, loving spiritual Parent.  We are God’s beloved sons and daughters, sisters and brothers in a vast universe family.  (140:8.14 , 160:2.6 , 103:4.4) 2

Participants in the Family of God Fellowship aspire to an actual way of living.  The Family Way centers  around seven essential truths or experiences in spiritual family relationship:

“The Family Way – A Way of Life in the Family of God”

♦ The Spiritual Parent Child Relationship

♦ The Spiritual Sister/Brother Relationship

♦ The Indwelling Spirit            ♦ The Will of God

♦ Love         ♦ Eternal Life        ♦ Faith

 

The Spiritual Parent Child Relationship.   The unique bond between parent and child is the seed out of which all family relationships unfold.  To God, our Universal Father and Supreme Mother, each human being is a special child.  We gain our most profound insights into God’s nature by experiencing God’s parental qualities.  We find our deepest satisfaction in childlike worship of our heavenly Parent.  (5:6.13 , 141:4.2)

The Spiritual Sister/Brother Relationship.   In addition to being parental, spiritual family life is also fraternal.  The spiritual sister/brother relationships we can enjoy with each other flow inevitably out of the ideal parent child relationship we each have with God.  It is precisely because our heavenly Parent cares so fully for each one of us, that he wants us to love and serve each other as family.  Indeed, the way that God loves us is the perfect model for how we can best love each other.  (12:7.10 , 159:5.7)

The Indwelling Spirit.   In addition to being parental and fraternal, life in the Family of God is also spiritually intimate.  God has placed an actual fragment of himself at the center of each human personality.  All human beings enjoy the dedicated ministry of such a perfect Indwelling Spirit, devoted solely to our spiritual welfare.  Each of these God fragments is an undiluted part of the Creator.  They constitute our heavenly Father’s ever available Presence, loving and guiding us moment-by-moment along our Godward journey.  The Family Way is a life of intimate companionship with God, an affectionate inner sharing between our heavenly Father and each spiritual son or daughter.  (195:10.4 , 156:6.10 , 110:3.4)

The Will of God.   Life in God’s family is also directional.  It is forward-moving, progressive.  Our Supreme Mother rejoices in the spiritual growth of her children.  The divine will, God’s deepest desire for us, is that we share our inner lives with him in moment to moment communion.  Even in the midst of the distractions of modern life, we can learn how to sense God’s subtle leading and live in keeping with it.  This practice of progressively seeking to understand and live in confluence with God’s will is an essential part of The Family Way.  (181:1.3 , 195:9.6 , 133:0.3)

Love.   Our relationships in God’s family are progressively affectionate.  We discover that true love, which originates in God, flows in many directions.  We are each healed, nourished and transformed by the affection of God’s Indwelling Spirit.  We can in turn pour out our love to God, adoring the Creator in the depths of our worship.  And we can bestow the overflow of our love in service to our sisters and brothers.  Love energizes the soul.  In every relationship, spiritual love purifies and clarifies; it shows the way ahead.  (143:1.4 , 192:2.1 , 3:4.7)

Eternal Life.   Death cannot deprive us of our relationships in God’s family.  It is because they are never-ending that we can feel so spiritually secure.  The Family Way is an eternal path forward, an endless adventure of discovery and growth.  This life is but our beginning and death is simply a passageway, the entrance to an unending future of spiritual advancement.

As we ascend through the cosmos, our universe home, innumerable new experiences and unimaginable opportunities for fellowship and service await us.  The eternal goal for which we shall strive is divine perfection.  And though it may take us age upon age to attain it, eventually we shall enter that celestial place where our heavenly Father dwells at the center of all things, there to experience the fullness of God’s Paradise Presence. (92:4.2 , 40:5.18 , 195:2.8)

Faith.   Genuine family relationships are always trusting.  The children of wise and affectionate parents have learned to be confident that everything needed for their well-being will be provided.  They have implicit faith in those who love and care for them.

It is just such simple childlike faith that opens the way to eternal relationship with God.  The divine Presence resides within, quietly calling to us.  God knocks gently at the inner door, waiting for us to invite him into our lives.  By extending the faith invitation, we literally open the inner door through which God can enter with all manner of spiritual gifts.  And as we continue to exercise our faith more robustly, as we spiritually mature, we begin to use God’s gifts more fully.  We begin the eternal process of growing up in God’s family.   (138:8.8 , 140:10.1 , 150:5.3)

 

The Family Circles – Arenas of Fellowship and Service

The Family Way is a philosophy of living, a vital way of life.  It can never be reduced simply to a doctrine or creed.  It is made real in the relationships and activities of daily life.  There are five family circles within which a participant in the Family of God Fellowship can live out his or her ideals.  Each of these circles is a broad arena of service opportunities, as well as an actual family of loving relationships.

First Circle: The Inner Family.   We experience inner family love and devotion primarily in relationship with our Father’s Indwelling Spirit, as well as with Jesus, our angelic helpers, and other spiritual influences.  First Circle activities center on the regular practice of inner communion — prayer, worship, and other personal devotions.  First Circle sharing groups provide a nourishing context for spiritual study, the sharing of insights and experiences, and small group prayer and worship.

The Family Way flows from the wellspring of the inner life.  The quality of all outer family relations depends upon the constancy of our Inner Family sharing.

Second Circle: The Home Family.   The home is where we form our earliest and most lasting impressions of family relationships, our own self-worth, and the nature of reality.  Good family life and spirituality are mutually beneficial.  For these reasons, parents should be especially concerned with improving the spiritual life and stability of the home.

However, whether or not there are children in the home, one of the highest priorities in the practice of The Family Way is the cultivation of spiritual home culture.  Participants in Second Circle sharing groups support each other’s efforts to incorporate spiritual practices into the everyday events of their home lives.

Third Circle: The Faith Family.   Throughout history, like-minded believers have gathered together in Faith Families to pursue their common spiritual purposes, forming the myriad religions of the world.  Similarly, believers in The Family Way can establish local Family of God Fellowships to share their spiritual ideals and work toward the realization of common service goals.

Such local groups are chartered by the Family of God Fellowship, which develops and supports a world-wide association of believers who aspire to live The Family Way.  Local Fellowships are led by Ministers, Teachers and administrative Leaders who have been trained and commissioned  by the central Fellowship.

A list of the functions undertaken by a fully functioning local Fellowship includes gatherings for  worship, spiritual education of children and adults, celebration of significant events, orientation and welcoming of new participants, and evangelistic sharing of a way of life in the Family of God.  Participation in Third Circle fellowship deepens and broadens our  journey into spiritual family.

Fourth Circle: The Interfaith Family.   All people who have discovered a living relationship with God, whether or not they are members of organized religious groups, are participants in the Interfaith Family, the family of all believers.  It is important that all such believers strive for relations based on mutual respect and affection, as befits our common status as God’s beloved sons and daughters.

Fellowship participants engage in many activities aimed at furthering good relations between believers of different faiths.  The study of various religions, visiting the services of other traditions, and the promotion of interfaith dialogue and events are vital to a full realization of The Family Way.

Fifth Circle: The Global Family.   All people everywhere are sons and daughters of our heavenly Parent.  God, the original Person, created each human being as a person — one who can know and be known, and can love and be loved by other persons.  Even if we are not yet aware of being God’s child, even if we question or reject the very existence of God, each of us is still God’s child by virtue of his having made us.  The overarching Global Family of God transcends all institutions and includes all human beings, whether or not they have discovered a living relationship with God.

The main service activity in this Fifth Circle family is helping those who have not yet realized that they are beloved sons and daughters of God, to make this life-transforming discovery.  Evangelistic sharing of a way of life in the Family of God, on levels ranging from personal ministry through local outreach to worldwide mission, is the primary goal of Fifth Circle service.

 

Role of The Urantia Book

The Urantia Book is a 2097 page volume, first published in 1955, which purports to be a major revelation of truth to our world, authored by higher celestial beings.  It presents detailed information on the nature of God, our relationship with God, the universe and its trillions of inhabited worlds, the history and destiny of our world, the purpose of our lives, a full description of the afterlife, and an 800 page portrayal of the complete life and teachings of Jesus.

All of the main principles and theological perspectives involved in the formation of the Family of God Fellowship have been derived from The Urantia Book.  While its ministers and teachers may draw material from all religious traditions, The Urantia Book is the primary written source of guidance and inspiration in the unfolding work of the Fellowship.

Familiarity with The Urantia Book, or any other inspirational text, is not a requirement for participation in the Fellowship.  A heartfelt commitment to living in spiritual family relationship with God and one’s sisters and brothers is what is essential. However, familiarity with The Urantia Book is part of the preparation for any formal leadership role in the Fellowship.

 

Role of Jesus

While ministers and teachers in the Fellowship may draw upon the wisdom of all the world’s great religious leaders, the life and teachings of Jesus – especially as they are fully described in The Urantia Book – are primary, and provide an unparalleled illustration of a life lived in the Family of God.  Indeed, it was Jesus who originally called us to this new and higher way of living in intimate family relationship with God and humanity.  Any believer who wishes to understand more of such relationships will find great inspiration and insight in a study of Jesus’ life.

 

In summary …  The Family Way is an actual way of living moment-to-moment in vital family relationships with God and with other people.  While recognizing that no set of human understandings can provide a complete or final grasp of truth, life in the Family of God rests on the foundation of seven primary truths or qualities of spiritual family life.  It is parental (Spiritual Parent Child Relationship),  fraternal (Spiritual Sister/Brother Relationships),  intimate (Indwelling Spirit),  directional (Will of God),   affectionate (Love),  secure (Eternal Life),  and trusting (Faith).

In order to be potent, however, these truths must come alive in our daily experience.  They cannot be simply ideas we understand and believe: they must be truths we increasingly live out and become.  The  power of The Family Way lies in its ability to unify human experience, if it becomes an actual way of living.  There is great life coherence for the believer in the integration of family relationships on all conceivable levels; from the Inner Family to the Home Family, from the Faith Family of the local Fellowship to the Interfaith Family of all believers, from the Global Family of all human beings to the Universe Family of all beings in God’s vast creation.

 

If you have questions or comments, or are interested in participating in the Family of God Fellowship, please email us at:   familyofgodfellowship.org@gmail.com

 

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1.  Unfortunately, the English language does not have a noun which conveys both paternal and maternal qualities in a single inclusive term.  Individual believers may more naturally relate to God as Father, or Mother, or both. The most effective concept for God is the one which best facilitates an intimate parent/child relationship with Deity.  While attempting to use inclusive language in this document, we resort to male usage when inclusive terms are linguistically awkward.

2.  All references in this document are to The Urantia Book, 1955, and are cited in “paper:section.paragraph” notation. The full text may be accessed on many websites, including urantia.org, urantiabook .org, and truthbook.com .