"Endeavoring to keep
the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace"
The Universal Life Church Christian Fellowship (ULCCF) is an ecumenical, interdenominational, Christian ministry and one resource among many for disciples who seek ever more intimate communion with Christ within the household of faith, and who seek to engage the world in loving witness as ambassadors of God's Kingdom (Heb. 3: 1-6; John 17:20-26; Col. 1:23,13).
The Universal Life Church Christian Fellowship, although an independent ministry, is an integral part of the Universal Life Church (ULC) with a definite Christian orientation. The ULCCF strives to uphold and promote the two basic tenets of the Universal Life Church, and especially to serve as a Spiritual home for those Christians who seek a fellowship unfettered by denominational bias but founded on traditional Biblical Christian doctrines and morals. The ULCCF believes "in essentials unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love."
Before proceeding with the particulars about the Universal Life Church Christian Fellowship, a little background about the Universal Life Church (ULC) and the Universal Life Church, International Headquarters (ULCHQ) located in Modesto, California, is in order.
From its modest beginnings in 1959, the Universal Life Church now has members and ministers with independent, autonomous, ministries and congregations around the world. The sun never sets on the Universal Life Church. Its members come from all walks of life and spiritual traditions and are united on two basic tenets which are:
- The absolute right of freedom of religion
- To do that which is right
Because of the non-restrictive nature of these two tenets, the Universal Life Church, International Headquarters does not promote one religious tradition above another, but leaves the choice of those traditions to its individual members, ministers, and congregations, as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others to do the same. A main function of the Universal Life Church, International Headquarters is the legal ordination of its ministers. The Universal Life Church, International Headquarters exists because of, and for, the minister. They will ordain anyone without question of their faith, for life and without fee. (Click here for more information about ordination) They stand between the government and the minister and not between the minister and God.
Therefore, under the broad canopy of spiritual traditions encompassed by the Universal Life Church, International Headquarters, there are specialized ministries and congregations devoted to those two tenets, which also, emphasize their own elective form of spiritual worship and experience. Among these specialized ministries is the Universal Life Church Christian Fellowship (ULCCF) for Christians, and Christian Ministers, within the ULC.
Incorporating the two basic tenets of the ULC, the simple Statement of Beliefs of the ULCCF is:
We believe the authenticity, genuineness, and inspiration, of the Holy Scriptures; that both the Old and New Testaments contain the revealed will of God and that the Bible is the supreme written authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
We believe that there is one God, whose nature is love; revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of grace; that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. He came in the flesh, died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures.
We believe that holiness and true happiness are inseparably connected, and that we should do that which is right, and strive to maintain order, and practice good works, for these things are good and profitable to all people.
We believe that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Recognizing the unity of the Church of Christ in all the world, the ULCCF extends to all believers the hand of Christian fellowship, upon the basis of those great fundamental Christian truths in which all should agree as contained in the historic Apostle's Creed:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy *catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
(* the word "catholic" in the creed means "universal")
The ULCCF believes that, beyond these fundamental truths, there can be unity in diversity and diversity in unity in other particulars of faith within the body of Christ.
As Christians, members of the ULCCF strive to promote faith in God and unity of the Spirit among believers, and love and understanding among all people. They pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim. 2:22). They seek to walk worthy of the calling with which they were called, with all lowliness and humility, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (see Eph 4:1-3). In their daily lives and in their relationships with others, they endeavor to:
Maintain high ethical and moral values in all our dealings, personally and professionally;
- Respect each person's difference in religious beliefs, including the differences in doctrine, style and personality of other Christians as they follow the leading of the Holy Spirit;
- Only speak in edifying ways in regards to others, including Christian ministers, ministries, and the Body of Christ at large;
- Treat all with whom we come into contact as we would like to be treated.
The ULCCFbelieves that all people are brothers and sisters in a natural sense. We also believe, as stated by the Apostle Peter in Acts 10:34-35
"Truly I perceive that God doesn't show favoritism; but in every nation he who fears [reverences] him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.
Additionally, we believe that there is a special spiritual, moral and religious sense, in which people are united as brothers and sisters in Christ through faith. We accept as Christian brothers and sisters, in this special spiritual sense, anyone who through faith believes that:
"There is one God, whose nature is love; revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of grace; that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. He came in the flesh, died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures."
Contained in this statement is the "gospel" in which we stand, and by which we are saved, by which one becomes "a believer", or, "a Christian", as declared by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
It is through believing and living the principles presented in the above statements, and in the love of God, shown and commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ, and exercised in our love for each other as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, that Christians have unity of the Spirit (see Eph. 4:1-3). With unity of the Spirit based on the principles contained in the statements presented above, there is room for diversity of beliefs in other doctrines. There can be unity in diversity and diversity in unity. Although differences of beliefs, doctrine, interpretation, and opinion may be held and expressed among believers, they should be expressed in love and fellowship with those who may differ. This is true Christianity, based upon the freedom that is in Christ, as it was instituted in the very beginning.
But, one may ask how Christians with different beliefs, doctrines, or theologies can claim equal trust in the same Scriptures, or how they can fellowship and work together when so many Christians have divided and fought over those very issues through the centuries?
In the ULCCF, one answer is that our communion is one of life and love more than one of doctrine and opinion. The oneness in the life of God through Jesus Christ is a stronger bond than that of non-essential doctrines emphasized by many denominations or churches.
Also, some additional answers can be found by reading the articles:
As Hans Kung wrote in "Christianity and the World Religions", page 121:
"The criterion for being a Christian is ... belief in the one and only God, the practical imitation of Christ, trusting the power of God's Spirit ... who works WHEREVER he wishes, and will lead us wherever HE sees fit".
""the specifically Christian element in Christianity is God's revelation in Jesus Christ through the Spirit."
- The Universal Life Church International Headquarters Home Page
- ULCCF Ministerial Resources
- ULCCF Articles
- ULC Seminary
- True Grace Ministries This is a is non-sectarian, trans-denominational ministry for those who wish to fellowship with like minded Christians in the promotion of unity of the Spirit among believers, love and understanding among all people. For more information, click here.
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