I will continue some thoughts I began several days ago on this blog. For those who have not read this train of thought it would be best to go back to January 27 and then read the February 28 and March 1 comments first.
What I believe all of us should remember, UBF members, ex-UBF members, and every other Christian from any church or mission group, is what Jesus plainly taught us—if you are on your way to the altar and remember that someone has something against you, go and deal with this person and that issue first. That is an incredibly strong statement about the importance of reconciliation. My friend, who I noted previously wrote to me about this conversation, also wrote: “To me it’s as if God is saying ‘take care of your relationships with other people before you take care of your relationship with me’–wow.” Yes, I would agree: “Wow!”
I believe that those of you who have chosen to leave UBF are best served to forgive those who you believe wronged you, to let the past go as much as possible and then to move on into a deeper faith in Christ. As a friend accurately wrote me about this discussion, “support groups, while helpful in some ways, often make the mistake that their members don’t challenge each other to do this but rather, stop at affirming each other’s anger. This is appropriate as step one but then people need to progress from there, rather than be stuck in the anger.” It is important that you move on from being victims to forgiving and seeking to cover with the love of Christ. This counsel does not take lightly your pain and the sins that may have been committed. It is, however, biblical and quite necessary for anyone who leaves any church for whatever reason.
Those who have left UBF also need to guard their own hearts, not nurse their anger. You need to finally come to the place where you see that anger will never accomplish the work of Christ. (I am not saying you are angry but some of the comments posted on this blog spot indicate this point.) I also agree that some things have happened in UBF settings that pushed the envelope way too far or I would not have printed the excerpts from the letter(s) of former-UBF members who addressed me kindly. I am asking you to allow your hurt to become a means toward a deeper relationship with Jesus who knows your pain and understands. This is easier said than done but it is the way of the kingdom. If you are not extremely careful you will project your response toward UBF on to everything that you now think and do as a Christian, responding as if UBF is the whole story of your life. Remaining angry with any authority, even if it has been abusive, will only keep you locked into a place of immaturity that will drive you away from Christ and his grace and into more human brokenness and pain. Think of the numerous Christians who have been attacked, harmed and lied about over the centuries. Some of this has even come from Christians, maybe a great deal of it. Remember the examples of those who have learned to pray for their enemies as our Lord taught them and us. And recall that even he urges us to do good to those who have done evil to us.
This is a primary issue that counselors face every day with adult children who were abused by their parents. The child, who is now an adult, must finally come to grasp a simple fact—¬they may never be completely restored in a healthy way to their abusive parent(s). The child will eventually have to learn to let this go, step by painful step. And the child will also need to forgive the parent without agreeing with everything the parent says or does. Many parents will even deny that they ever did anything wrong at all in such circumstances. Christ wants to heal these types of pains in all of us but we must invite him to do so and pursue him for it in good faith.
I ask a simple question: Did Christ die specifically for the leaders of UBF? Did he also die specifically for former-UBF members? Are you all one in Christ, even if you now disagree about methods of ministry, errors and sins in former leaders, shepherding and group decision making? I have to remind myself daily that Christ loves even my enemies. And I am called to follow him in that love.
Another former UBF member who wrote to me said: “In your public comments, I plead with you to not minimize the seriousness of the sins and problems of UBF.” This same writer added:
I know there’s only so much my words can do, but I have been praying for you, that God’s Spirit might lead and guide you in whatever way he deems best, that he gives you his wisdom. If you do decide to continue in your public relationship with UBF, I hope and pray that you keep in mind the seriousness of the sins that have been committed in God’s name in UBF and the many lives that have been damaged, shattered, and even cut short because of UBF.
Now, in an attempt to show how complicated this whole discussion really is I want to include some reflections from another letter. This letter comes from someone who remains active in UBF after many years of service. This letter will allow fair-minded readers to see how very complicated this issue remains for many.
I wanted thank you for your kind support of the work of God in UBF. Your messages to us are very encouraging. I have followed the comments made on your blog site. I wanted to join the fray but held back. But I wanted to share with you what is on my heart and mind about this issue. I realize that mistakes were made by some, in the past and that as individuals and as a ministry we need to learn and grow. And that is what we are doing. But I also want to share a little of my spiritual struggle on this matter. Why? I just need to and I covet your prayers in this matter. I first met Jesus through 1:1 Bible study with UBF.
I have been a UBF shepherd many years. I thank God for how he has used me and my family over these many years as we have pioneered small UBF ministries. Because of Jesus’ grace alone, we could bear fruit for him.
It amazes me that over these years I could spend almost a decade caring for peoples’ parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I could also serve people and befriended families and I could pay the property taxed on two properties, contribute thousands of dollars a year to the local economy, be friends with various local groups and sing to aged and even dying people in nursing homes and teach basic Christianity through 1:1 Bible study to students and locals for years, befriending them and encouraging them and praying for their spiritual lives and academic success.
My wife and I could raise children who are good students and a blessing to their school and community and appear to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I thank God that I could set an example to my children and to young families by loving my wife for all these years and I thank God, that by his grace, that my family and I could be a blessing and bear fruit for Jesus within our church, neighborhood and community. But to some people I realize that my battle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. I can thank God that I could suffer in many of the same ways that Jesus suffered. I could learn Jesus’ heart. I also can learn that I am in a spiritual battle, for I am called to serve Jesus as a 1:1 Bible teacher and shepherd. I am called to teach the Bible inductively to students. I am called to live as a "tent making" shepherd and church planter. I am called to live as a house church ministry. I am called to be a life long campus minister. I am called to serve God through this UBF ministry. This is my calling in life. Satan wants me to despair and stop doing what I am doing. He wants my children to be fearful of serving Jesus. He wants me to stop living in a house church. But by the grace of God I can go beyond the confines of self in order serve my Lord Jesus Christ. Fair-minded Christians can see the obvious differences in these types of letters and the pain that exists, sadly, on both sides. This is what I have witnessed personally. I have listened, and continue to listen, but do not intend to become an enemy of UBF. All of the blogs, comments and Web sites do not lead me to adopt such a position after reading thousands of words now. Finally, as I noted a few days ago, I will not turn this blog spot into either a place for constant criticism of UBF or a place for its perpetual defense. My orirginal desire remains—to report on the ministry that I have had among these dear Christian people and to continually encourge reconciliation. I have come to love many new friends, not simply as UBF or non-UBF. I intend to continue to love my friends regardless of how they feel toward this group, pro or con. If my name is misused by anyone, for or against UBF, please make sure that they read my own words before they assume anything about me or my motives.
I realize that my battle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. I can thank God that I could suffer in many of the same ways that Jesus suffered. I could learn Jesus’ heart. I also can learn that I am in a spiritual battle, for I am called to serve Jesus as a 1:1 Bible teacher and shepherd. I am called to teach the Bible inductively to students. I am called to live as a "tent making" shepherd and church planter. I am called to live as a house church ministry. I am called to be a life long campus minister. I am called to serve God through this UBF ministry. This is my calling in life. Satan wants me to despair and stop doing what I am doing. He wants my children to be fearful of serving Jesus. He wants me to stop living in a house church. But by the grace of God I can go beyond the confines of self in order serve my Lord Jesus Christ.
Fair-minded Christians can see the obvious differences in these types of letters and the pain that exists, sadly, on both sides. This is what I have witnessed personally. I have listened, and continue to listen, but do not intend to become an enemy of UBF. All of the blogs, comments and Web sites do not lead me to adopt such a position after reading thousands of words now.
Finally, as I noted a few days ago, I will not turn this blog spot into either a place for constant criticism of UBF or a place for its perpetual defense. My orirginal desire remains—to report on the ministry that I have had among these dear Christian people and to continually encourge reconciliation. I have come to love many new friends, not simply as UBF or non-UBF. I intend to continue to love my friends regardless of how they feel toward this group, pro or con. If my name is misused by anyone, for or against UBF, please make sure that they read my own words before they assume anything about me or my motives.
Comments are closed.
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“When one person, for whom this does not matter, comes to a Bible student with one subjective article, via the Internet, then Bible students suddenly become fearful and suspicious and break-off their relationships with me and with my family. Some begin behaving like my enemies instead of my friends, almost overnight,”
I truly sympathize with the UBF shepherd who wrote the letter. How painful it must have been to him when he saw his sheep behaving like an enemy who was a friend only yesterday!
But it doesn’t seem to be fair to me for the UBF sheperd to imply that all the comments posted on Internet by former members caused the problem. First of all, why should the sheep have had to find all the information about UBF system through Internet indirectly before he could find out about them directly from his own shepherd? If the shepherd had had honest discussion about the problems in UBF system beforehand with his sheep, could his sheep have acted like an enemy?
As much as I sympathize with the UBF shepherd, I also have the same sympathy for the sheep. The sheep must have felt that his trust to his shepherd was betryed because maybe he thought that all those years his shepherd was hiding all these things from him. If the UBF shepherd conducts his Bible study with his sheep this way without honest discussion of the problems in UBF that are actively discussed on Internet, how could there be any genuine trust developed through 1-to-1 Bible study?
Are former members who post comments about the problems in UBF on Internet Satan? Are they enemies of Gospel work? Is this what UBF shepherds try to make their sheep believe using their 1-to-1 Bible study?
If this is the case, I say that we former members are being treated very unfairly. If this is the case and the UBF sheep break off the relationship or even act like enemy, why is that the blame is on us rather than on the UBF shepherds? If this is how the UBF shepherds carry out the 1-to-1 Bible studies, by hiding all the problems in UBF from sheep and by portraying former members as Satan, aren’t they the real enemies of Gospel work?
When we arrive in the kingdom of heaven, we will have to face the fact
that many of these people with whom we have bitterly disagreed, whom
we have opposed, whom we have hurt, and who have hurt us will be
there. They will be in the receiving line, eagerly waiting to greet
us. What will we say to those enemies then? How will we embrace
them in the presence of Jesus, when the sinful nature has been
stripped away? It is so difficult to imagine. Yet we should
imagine. We should try to formulate those words now. And we should
begin to say them now. Then the glory of the gospel will gloriously
John Newton once said there would three great surprises when he got to heaven. (1) Many would be there he never expected to see. (2) Some he expected to see would not be there. (3) And, finally, the old reprobate slaver, John Newton, would be there by the grace of God alone.
Such a humble response would be good for us all in this discussion. What is evident is that those who feel very strongly against UBF will not be satisfied with my comments and counsel until I turn against UBF or adopt the rhetoric of the former-UBF Web sites. This is why the discussion in this forum will not finally lead to the peace I desire. What I hoped for was an honest explanation of my own actions and desires, that was all. I trust that has been accomplished.
One more article will follow but it will be less about UBF and more about culture and missiology as it relates to this UBF debate.
I find the quote of the UBF shepherd (who seems to be a UBF chapter leader according to his own words) quite disturbing in the way he praises his own accomplishments, particularly emphasizing UBF-atypical activity (contributing to the economy, caring for elder people and family, charity) in order to defend the UBF organization. Even granted that all of this is true, it does not disprove all the negative testimonies about UBF chapters around the world. Both can be true at the same time and it does not supersede dealing with these negative testimonies.
When I was a UBF member I also lost a “sheep” who had not read about UBF in the Internet (which was not widespread at that time) but heard about the problems by a pastor. He told me many things about UBF both which he heard from this pastor as well as his own observations (like how he was manipulated by the chapter leader) and concluded that he could not longer stay in the organization though he liked me. I was very sad at that time, but with hindsight I must say both the information he got from others as well as his own observations were correct, and his leaving UBF consequential. “Sheep” are not dumb as UBFers may believe (there is a UBF saying “sheep are sheep”). They would not leave simply because of “information that one or two strangers passed along.” They can very well discern whether this information is in line with what they observed with their own eyes. My UBF sheep was much smarter than I was at that time. He also did not consider me as an enemy, but he just was careful.
Concerning what you wrote, Mr. Armstrong, I think somebody already commented that indeed the vast majority of UBF dropouts *has* already moved on and does not talk about UBF any more, most of them never talked about it in public. If I only look at the dropouts from my chapter from the 10 years I was there, they were maybe three times the number than the chapter actually has members. And the majority of these people left because of spiritual abuse, some cases were extreme as I later found out. Nevertheless none of them ever talked about these things in the Internet. The kind of people in the lower UBF ranks that are usually the victims of the abuse because they can be easily guilt-tripped are not the kind of people who would wage a public war against UBF. People like me who write publicly are rather exceptions. Even my wife who experienced similar things and has the same opinion as I about UBF, does not write anything about UBF. The majority of dropouts is like her. And the fact that I write something does not mean that I am holding a grudge against people or am consumed by anger or anything. In view of this, isn’t it good that at least some people talk about this abuse and write about their concrete experiences in testimonies so people can understand what is meant with this abuse? What would you recommend? Should people publish their negative experience or not? If they don’t, then people are condemned to experience the same again and again, or people will say the testimonies are so few that they only represent the disgruntled few you have in every organization, implying that all the others who left were happy with UBF or that this silent mass (the casualties of UBF that nobody remembers) does not even exist. Publishing these testimonies also helps the good-willing people in UBF to recognize that they need to change something since they know very well that these testimonies have not been written out of thin air by people who just want to slander UBF for the fun of it.
Joe, I don’t think we should worry about what we will say to people in heaven, but rather about what we are saying *now* as long as we both are alive here on earth. Anyway, I think that was your conclusion also. So with this in mind, I think the “policy of silence” of UBF introduced by Samuel Lee is a big failure. It is important to talk with each other and try to do our best to have peace with each other. A policy of silence produces the opposite since it does not express humbleness as UBF purports, but arrogance, unaccountability and disdain of opponents. The policy of silence created much of the “heat” that you complained about in another comment. So I hope the era of this policy will end and I am happy that you agree with me in that point as far as I understood. Let’s hope and pray the top UBF leaders will understand this also. Reconciliation can only happen if we talk with each other.
But there is also a danger in believing you must always keep “harmony”. If you really love your neighbor, then this means you must rebuke your neighbor frankly in case this is necessary. Otherwise you don’t love him. Those people who never criticized the top UBF leader out of reverence and fear did not do them a favor, and those people who vehemently criticize them, may be people who really have love and concern for them. My best friend is somebody who tells me the truth and with whom I can argue heatedly without anybody of us being hurt or angry. Again, even heat may not be wrong. It must not be an opposite of light, as you suggested, but sometimes heat *produces* light. Only through a heated discussion, not superficial talk, we can come to grip with the real core of our problems, or we are not talking about the real serious and problematic issues.
Christians must not be automatically enemies only because they hold different opinions. I don’t know why Christians fail so badly in this point, why they so easily become “enemies” of each other. It should not be so.
(This was meant as a general remark in this context; let’s continue to discuss the actual UBF issues via email, not here.)
I concur with Joe. You are right. “We should try to formulate those words now. And we should
begin to say them now.” So let’s talk about “how” we are going to do exactly that. What do you suggest that the framework of our formulation should be? I don’t think UBF framework is good one to start with. Let me elaborate this a little bit.
As you know can discover easily in any introductory books on philosophy of science and epistemology, the most fundamental issues of any science is the problem of “justification” and “necessary connection”. Consider the following:
A: Tylenol has power to relieve headache.
B: Taking Tylenol is good.
We start to have problems only when are trying to conclude B from A. In this case, we must ask, “does A justify B?” Not necessarily. But many scientists especially those who work with a lot of statistical data fall into this kind of logical fallacy that lots of statistical data, supported by sophisticated modeling technique, that confirm A justify B. You would agree with me saying that statistical data are only necessary condition but not sufficient condition in scientific reasoning. In the end the justification of B requires the knowledge of good and evil that ultimately exists in the realm of God. I can continue but because of the limit of time and space I will move on to talk about the issue of “necessary connection”.
Even though David Hume brought the notion of “necessary connection” down to psychological connection which he called something like habitual regularity, I favor Kant’s view of “necessary connection” that is a priori. Let’s consider an example ( http://community.livejournal.com/rsqubf/37091.html ). Dr. Samuel Lee liked to use horror stories in his messages telling how those who left UBF ran into terrible accidents because he didn’t bless them. But he didn’t seem to understand that he was making a terrible mistake in his reasoning.
C: Dr. Samuel Lee didn’t bless those who left UBF.
D: Those who left UBF without his blessing ran into terrible accidents.
Dr. Samuel Lee preached in his messages that D happened because of C. What he was trying to do was that he was trying to establish “necessary connection” between C and D. In other words, D didn’t happen by accident but C “caused” D. So D happened necessarily due to C. Logically speaking the only connection between C and D is “temporal” connection that D happened after C. But for Dr. Samuel Lee, this “temporal” connection was good enough to establish “necessary” connection. Well surprisingly, I believed it! And many others too. Why? I think that I believed in him. I believed him as a great servant of God. Anyway this example clearly shows the issue of “necessary connection”.
Now let me turn to the main point of my argument: Why UBF framework cannot be used for our formulation. As the example of Dr. Samuel Lee’s horror stories clearly shows, it could be the case that “necessary connection” was established only based on one person’s authority even though there did not exist any “necessary connection” based on sound scientific/theological reasoning. Likewise it could be the case that “justification” was also established only based on one person’s authority with no ground of sound scientific/theological reasoning.
Consider an organization or a society where things are run only by the authority of one person and only by his personal interest bypassing all the considerations that must go into establishing “justification” and “necessary connection” that we have already considered. My claim is that UBF system is run like that.
Let me tell you another example. In UBF, the only methodology used in Bible study is expositional Bible study. Even tough topical Bible study is enjoyed by majority of Christians, it is practically not allowed in UBF. UBF leaders’ justification for it is that topical Bible study suffers from the drawback of preconceived idea. But they don’t tell sheep that expositional Bible study suffers the same drawback of preconceived idea. The only reason they promote expositional Bible study and prohibit any other methodology is that Dr. Samuel Lee used expositional Bible study. In this sense, UBF leaders are blinded in their theological reasoning by the authority of Dr. Samuel Lee. Please don’t get me wrong here. What I am saying is that Dr. Samuel Lee blinded UBF leaders’ reasoning to run UBF only based on his own authority and on his personal interest.
The UBF framework or paradigm is based only on the authority of Dr. Samuel Lee. Well you say he is dead. But as someone has already indicated, his spirit still lives on in UBF in the name of Dr. Samuel Lee’s spiritual legacy and most first generation UBF Korean missionaries and staff shepherds teach the junior leaders to stick to Dr. Samuel Lee’s authority.
So I think it is impossible to formulate any sensible formulation of anything using the UBF framework.
“(1) Many would be there he never expected to see. (2) Some he expected to see would not be there. (3) And, finally, the old reprobate slaver, John Newton, would be there by the grace of God alone.”
I like that, Dr. Armstrong. Jesus also said in Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in YOUR name, and in YOUR name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”
Those peole in the passage seem to me that they did amazingly great work in the name of Jesus, prophesying, healing people and oh man, performing great miracles. So it is very shocking to me that Jesus told them that they did “evil”. I mean, aren’t they great servants of God? And isn’t doing all those things, prophesying, healing and performing miracles, the will of God? Those great servants of God who did great work of God were doing evil? Hard to imagine.
Dear Dr. Armstrong and fellow bloggers,
Dr. Armstrong said that Jesus loved his enemies, and that we Christians should do likewise. In fact, Jesus plainly said, “Love your enemies” (Mt 5:44), and “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (Jn 13:34). Before God and man and even my dear wife (though I often tell her that it is unintentional), I have acted like God’s enemy in more ways than I can possibly remember. But God (and my wife) has never ever treated me as my sins deserve. And only by God’s grace, I want to treat and regard others, as God has treated me, even if I fail too often.
As we know the solution is love, and love that works is agape or unconditional, and love must be a verb. Thus, love has nothing to do with the recipient of the love, but only with the giver of love. So, if a communication or response is not motivated by love (but blame, accusation, finger pointing, slander, self-righteousness, correcting others rather than self, etc), then it will not result in any reconciliation or good, because it is at variance with Jesus’ command to love others, even enemies. So, I agree with Dr. Armstrong who stated that he would remove responses that are spiteful or mean spirited, or that do not display love or promote reconciliation.
If I may try to summarize, several recurrent and repeated complaints have to do with 1) Dr. Lee’s/UBF shepherd’s “abuse” of his/their authority, and “controlling or hurting others in the name of shepherding,” and 2) marriage by faith.
1) Abuse. Dr. Lee’s “abuse” has to do with his culture, his strong character and his flaws. This is not a defense or justification of him (which to UBF people is not needed, and to ex-UBF people is completely futile). Nonetheless, the simple obvious undeniable fact is that God has used his life greatly to advance the gospel for the last 50 years, in spite of himself, which would also be true of any other notable gospel worker through out history, other than Christ. Dr. Lee had detractors, but so did Christ, St. Paul, Dwight Moody, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, etc. I very strongly do not believe that it pleases God for anyone to lambaste Dr. Lee or anyone else, after he has gone to the grave, or even while they are still alive. God, who is the righteous Judge, knows how to give each man his due (Ro 2:6, 2 Co 5:10, Re 22:12). My personal wish is that we show love in our communication, emails, websites, blog sites, etc. If one does not show love and mercy, even for his enemies, than he is no different from the unmerciful servant (Mt 18:35), who will someday not be shown mercy (Jas 2:13). It is questionable if such a person truly and deeply and personally knows the love of God and the forgiveness of his own wretched sins.
2) Marriage by faith. All I wish to say in this matter is that I married by faith in 1981 with great fear and trepidation before deciding to do so. I thought my wife to be was too domineering and therefore scary!! Finally, I came to the conclusion that though man makes mistakes, God NEVER does. So if I were to trust man (my shepherd or myself or my wife to be), then I’m taking my chances and rolling the dice. But if I were to trust God (not man), then God WILL BLESS my faith. So I “married by faith,” trusting in God, and I have been blessed by God in my marriage, in spite of myself. (Everyone who knows me will wholeheartedly attest that God has indeed blessed my marriage “in spite of myself.”) I have no doubt that countless others in UBF have similar glorious and happy accounts of their “marriage by faith.” My proudest statistic of marriages in UBF is that since the early 60s when we married by faith, our divorce rate is in the low single digits (though it really should be zero), even among those who married by faith in UBF and later joined other churches. Also, adultery in UBF is almost unheard of (again this should be zero). How many churches in the world can boast of such marriage statistics? Sorry that I could not help myself from boasting here.
I would like to write a lot more, but as others have said, we should not be using Dr. Armstrong’s blog to discuss the pros and cons of UBF. Personally, I would like to thank Dr. Armstrong for his friendship, Christ-like demeanor and his great sermons, especially the most recent one on “Servant Leadership.” God bless you all and may we love because Jesus loved us first (1 Jn 4:19).
Quoting a UBF veteran who wrote John: “When one person, for whom this does not matter, comes to a Bible student with one subjective article, via the Internet, then Bible students suddenly become fearful and suspicious and break-off their relationships with me and with my family. Some begin behaving like my enemies instead of my friends, almost overnight, not because of what they have seen with their own eyes or experienced themselves after years of a relationship with us, but because of information that one or two strangers passed along to them, directly or indirectly through the Internet.”
I have also seen UBF Bible students (some of them my friends) suddenly become fearful and suspicious and break-off their relationships with their UBF shepherds. Yes, some began behaving like enemies instead of friends, almost overnight. I know of many who even packed their belongings in secret and left their UBF housing secretly, were never heard from again, were hardly mentioned again except to say that they had “run away” from UBF (UBF leaders’ words, not mine). Why did they “run away?” Because of what they had “seen with their own eyes or experienced themselves” after years of a relationship with UBF. The breaking point was (and still is) often the surprise introduction of a “marriage partner” and the corresponding pressure to get married to this stranger.
And this was long before the Web, email or even fax machines.
The web sites that so trouble UBF leaders have been around only since 2001 and probably weren’t even on the usual Web search engines’ radars until 2002-2003. One might also ask why these UBF recruits are googling for “university bible fellowship a cult?” in the first place.
This comment is in response to Ben Toh’s recent comment. It consists of Part 1 and Part 2. Ben Toh, Thank you so much for such graceful and wonderful comment. I still remember your lovely wife who once gave me a cookie. I have never seen in UBF such a lovely lady who is spiritual, intelligent, powerful, funny, and charismatic although her loveliness does not come closer to my wife’s loveliness. I am not boasting about my wife and I have no intention to embarrass you with your worship of your wife’s loveliness. Please understand that I am simply stating the fact that my wife is 12 times lovelier than Choi Ji Woo, the queen of tears. Although your wife didn’t offer the same cookie to my wife at that time and I didn’t share it with her either, may God bless her for her kindness!
Thank you so much for your thoughtful summary on some recurring issues in UBF. You comment is very important to us, former members, because we can see how one of the UBF board members interprets the whole thing and what his attitude is like toward the issues in UBF through your comment.
(1)Abuse: You stated “Nonetheless, the simple obvious undeniable fact is that God has used his life greatly to advance the gospel for the last 50 years”. I will just quote what Jesus said in Matthew 7:22-23: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” You would agree with me based on Matthew 7:22-23 that “advancing the gospel” alone does not make “doing evil” not evil. You would know from introductory courses in history how much evils were done and being done in the name of advancing gospel. I am sure that you remember what Dr. Samuel Lee taught you to advance gospel. He once said that it is ok to violate human rights to help sheep as Jesus did. This is false. This kind of spirit is still prevalent in UBF system in the name of Dr. Samuel Lee’s legacy. That spirit is alive and well even in your comment.
As we can see in Matthew 7:22-23, advancing gospel and doing evil should not have anything to do each other. We should not do evil to advance gospel. We should not use gospel to justify evil like many politicians. Advancing gospel and doing evil cannot coexist in a church. But how many times this principle has been twisted by a strong human authority? Dr. Samuel Lee was such authority. He justified doing evil to advance gospel by his charismatic authority. Dr. Lee put his authority above the principle in Matthew 7:22-23. Not only that, he also TRAINED other UBF leaders to put his authority above all other authorities. The result is that the current UBF leaders has severe damage in their spiritual discernment as one can see in Ben Toh’s comment. The division of UBF, the RSQUBF website and numerous testimonies by former members against the abuse in UBF are the results of doing evil to advance gospel. This must be honestly acknowledged by the current UBF leadership including you instead of justifying Dr. Samuel Lee’s abuse of his authority again and again claiming “God has used his life greatly to advance the gospel for the last 50 years”. You are right that we should not “lambaste Dr. Lee or anyone else, after he has gone to the grave”. But is Dr. Samuel Lee really gone to the grave? My personal opinion is that his authority is still alive and well in UBF system. Why? It is because his theology has not been fully and critically reevaluate among UBF intellectuals. The fact is that doing so is forbidden. I now there are many UBF critics even inside UBF organization. But UBF spiritual(?) environment is oppressing their voices.
Ben Toh, you also said “God, who is the righteous Judge, knows how to give each man his due”. You are absolutely right. But God sometimes sends his servants to correct those who do wrong. The best example is the case of King David and the prophet Nathan. When David committed adultery and murder, God sent Nathan to confront the king with his sin. I don’t know anything about leadership as Dr. Armstrong does. But I can say one thing clearly. I think any leadership shows its true color when it is confronted with its own sin problem. When Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” What does the text say? It says “David said to Nathan”! This is very contrary to what we see in UBF leadership. UBF leadership counter-accuses those who accuse it as ‘Satan’ or ‘rebels’. David did not do that. He confessed to Nathan that he had sinned against the LORD. Even though David had the authority to accuse back Nathan as ‘Satan’ or ‘rebel’, he humbled himself before Nathan and God. I think that David humbled himself under the authority of God rather than put himself above it. Dr. Samuel Lee and UBF leadership have failed in doing what David did before Nathan. During the reform movement back in 2000, I think God sent many Nathans to Dr. Samuel Lee. But he called them all ‘rebels’. Then he died in tragic accident and the UBF itself was divided into two. Who knows maybe God has sent Dr. Armstrong as a Nathan to UBF leadership now? I will quote from Dr. Armstrong’s article ( http://johnharmstrong.typepad.com/john_h_armstrong_/2007/03/following_up_on.html ):
“I have not reproduced every single word of this brother’s letter in order to protect him from any unnecessary personal misunderstanding and to cut out a few extraneous comments that might hinder the reader from hearing his primary points of concern. I have no doubt that he is earnest and that he has some serious points to be made that should be made and appropriately heard. I also believe there is, in his appeal, a word that UBF leaders should listen to and seriously consider in the days ahead. If he is wrong then they can learn much from him anyway. If he is right, in the slightest sense, then they can improve and correct excessive practices by hearing him out.”
Is UBF leadership willing to listen to him? Time will tell. But I personally have strong doubt about it. Why? Ben Toh, you wrote “Dr. Lee had detractors, but so did Christ, St. Paul, Dwight Moody, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, etc.” Personally I feel somewhat troubled about your placing Jesus on the list together with Dr. Lee. I don’t like seeing Dwight Moody and Billy Graham together with Dr. Lee on the list either. It is correct that they all had detractors. But they had the detractors for different reasons. Christ didn’t have detractors because he ordered one of his female followers to abort the baby she was carrying so that she could devote more time to his ministry. Dwight Moody and Billy Graham didn’t have detractors because they ordered one of their followers to divorce her husband because her husband was writing criticism on Internet about their ministry. As I commented in other posts, UBF leaders need to receive more rigorous training from OUTSIDE experts like Dr. Armstrong to learn how to distinguish the differences among similarities instead of continuing to stick to “ingrown” methodology fabricated by Dr. Samuel Lee.
(2) Marriage by faith (UBF style of marriage by faith): I think Ben Toh your argument about this matter is not a strong one. First you need further qualify whether or not divorce rate is the only indicator of a good (biblical) marriage system. Currently the Unification Church run by Rev. Moon Sun Myung also adopts the same marriage system as that of UBF: mass marriage with couples paired up by Rev. Moon himself. I don’t have the statistics but you can find it out on Internet. I am sure the divorce rate in the Unification Church would be as low as your data in UBF after correcting some variances in the size of organization and other factors. AS CHRIS INDICATED, I AM NOT SAYING UBF IS LIKE THE UNIFICATION CHURCH RUN BY MOON. (But I am saying that the two share many common characteristics. One should note that Rev. Moon is also from Korea as Dr. Lee.) Anyway this shows that the divorce rate alone is not the indication that the UBF style of marriage by faith is biblical or even good. It is a possibility that the couples in UBF may not have a good marriage even though they do not divorce. In a recent debate appeared on Korean UBF website, a UBF staff shepherd praised UBF style of marriage by faith with such boasting as Ben Toh’s saying that the divorce rate in UBF was zero. Then one student shepherd claimed the following: (http://www.ubf.or.kr/bbs/view.php?id=counsel&page=5&sn1=&divpage=1&sn=off&ss=on&sc=on&select_arrange=headnum&desc=asc&no=1372 )
“넷째, 완벽하진 않지만 아름답다고 하셨는데,, 물론 가정을 이루고 섬기는 가정은 아름답게 보이겠지만, 그렇지 못하거나, 아픔을 가지고 있는 가정,그
문제 때문에 많은시간을 섬기며 나아갔던 교회를 떠날수 밖에 없었던 사람등
그렇지 못한 사례도 더욱 많다고 봅니다.” (English translation) “Fourth, you said that you said UBF style of marriage by faith is not perfect but beautiful. It might be the case for the couples whose marriage is working well for them. But I think there are a lot more cases where couples are going through unnecessary problems because of UBF style of marriage faith and many people are leaving the church because of this issue.”
Ben Toh also says “But if I were to trust God (not man), then God WILL BLESS my faith. So I “married by faith,” trusting in God”. I say “AMEN!” to that. We, former members and probably the other UBF critics, do not criticize such faith in one’s marriage. In fact everyone in the world should get married with such faith. Then what is the problem with UBF style of marriage by faith? UBF leaders teach sheep that this kind of faith in marriage is acknowledged ONLY inside UBF. If their sheep wants to marry someone outside UBF based on the same faith stated by Ben Toh, it is not recognized as marriage by faith. So the UBF leaders tell their sheep to break up any relationship regardless of how much they couple is committed to each other. As I showed in other post, a UBF 2nd gen had to break up with her boyfriend whom she was planning to marry. In such situation, why is it a problem for a UBF member to marry someone outside UBF and to follow her husband to other church, her husband’s church? Is it not a marriage by faith if a UBF member marries a non-member Christian even though the couples share the same faith as Ben Toh had about his marriage when he got married? According to UBF doctrine, it is not considered marriage by faith. That is the issue. Another issue is that one cannot choose a spouse of his own choice even though he has the same faith as Ben Toh had. What Ben Toh stated in his comment about marriage by faith is clearly misleading. This is how UBF style of marriage by faith works. First, one’s chapter director picks couple. Second, the couple MUST accept the marriage by faith that if they were to trust God (not man), then God will bless their faith. The whole point is that the couple must believe that God is establishing their marriage even though the UBF leaders are doing it. So the couple must have faith in UBF marriage. Moreover, all UBF members must have faith that UBF marriage is the only legitimate marriage established by God! Ben Toh believed that and I also believed that. We were taught to believe in a system. In this way, UBF members are trained to believe that whatever UBF leaders do, it is done by God through them. If you doubt this, you doubt God. This is the real danger that one can also find in the Unification Church run by Moon.
Dear ex ubf member/pyodor12,
I have not read your 4 page response because I should go to work, but I intend to this weekend and respond to you personally, because as I had stated, I don’t think we should be using Dr. Armstrong’s blog for our “UBF discussions.”
To be direct, which I am, are you willing to reveal who you are? I only ask that because it is easier to respond to a person than to ex ubf member/pyodor12. You can respond to my email: email@example.com
But if you are not willing for whatever reason, that is your perogative. If there is fear that I would use this against you (perhaps because of your bad experiences with UBF), then let me reassure you that I have no such intention. I know you agree with me that God is the ultimate judge of me, you, Dr. Samuel Lee, UBF, all other UBF shepherds and leaders who may have “hurt/abused” others, and everyone else in the world.
While I agree with you that ex-ubf members should move on with their anger toward UBF so they can be used by God in a new ministry. I also believe that the unrighteousness and unrepentant (evil) characteristics of UBF should be exposed. UBF does not function as a Bible believing church with financial accountability, sound doctrine or church discipline. As ex-ubf participants I believe it is our responsibility and calling as Christians to expose evil and defend the gospel. (Gal.1:8,9;Jude 3,4). I have personal experiences of the abuses of UBF since I was a participant of this group from 1983 to 2001. I was associated with Dr. Ben Toh and his fellowship since 1984. I was constantly manipulated to attend meetings, even lied to and about so I would go to these meetings. My last straw was when Dr. Toh, a church elder in UBF, was floating the false rumor to many people that I was in the immoral company of prostitutes. I could not take it anymore so I left an organization that I had been associated with half of my life at that time.
As a reformed theologian, you should know that the Christian education is very poor in UBF and a formal Christian education was discouraged while I was there. If you asked someone to explain the doctrine of election/predestination, you would be scoffed at as an old Christian. You could even end up in someone’s (Dr. Toh’s) public testimony as someone who should be mocked and derided. I would venture to bet that if you asked someone in UBF today, to explain the five points of Calvinism, you would face a dead stare and/or be ignored. While I may not be an expert on Reformed theology, I do believe these principles should be central to one’s Christian faith and basic beliefs of God as Dr. Sproul would say.
Another central problem to UBF is the financial unaccountibility. In 1997, when I was requested to make up some offerings, I first requested copies of my offering statements from 1996 and 1997 YTD. The contribution statements were understated by at least 50%. From that point on, I never received another annual contribution statement. I have also seen financial statements from UBF during those years and they were very shoddy compared to the regular financial statements I have seen from the churches I have attended since I left UBF. UBF never let regular members scrutinize or even see their financial records while I was there!
Another obvious spiritual sin in UBF is that there is no church discipline. There have been several incidents of adultery in the church hierarchy of UBF and yet there has been no discipline. No one has been removed from their positions or told to leave UBF because of their immoral conduct. At every church I have attended people who were exposed for these sins were told to leave their position and the church. So I cannot say that UBF is a Bible believing church because they do not practice sound Biblical doctrine. I would not encourage anyone to participate in UBF, even if you do think they exhibit missionary and evangelical fervor. There are several other theological errors I could share with you that the others have covered but I think that you have not examined the true spiritual state of UBF sufficiently. If you have, then you should have answers for the topics I have covered briefly.
Since you made a reference to me and what I did which caused you to become very bitter toward UBF, I apologize for doing what you said, even if I honestly do not remember doing that. Again, my apology is sincere and the fact that I do not remember doing that is not an excuse, if in fact I did what you said.
I would also like to say to you that I have no ill will or negative sentiment toward you. I only have very fond memories of the times we spent together for a good part of 16 years when you were in my fellowship.
Clearly, you have been hurt by me and others in UBF and for that I am truly sorry. Even if you do not believe this, it has never been an intention of mine to hurt you in any way. If there is something that I can do within the limits of the Bible I would be more than glad to do so.
God bless you.
“While I agree with you that ex-ubf members should move on with their anger toward UBF so they can be used by God in a new ministry. I also believe that the unrighteousness and unrepentant (evil) characteristics of UBF should be exposed. UBF does not function as a Bible believing church with financial accountability, sound doctrine or church discipline.”
>>> Jim, you crossed the line here. So I will speak up. I respond to your writing below.
“As ex-ubf participants I believe it is our responsibility and calling as Christians to expose evil and defend the gospel. (Gal.1:8,9;Jude 3,4).”
>>> Jim, I hardly see your attacks against UBF ministry as “exposing evil” and much less “defending the gospel”. Your energy is much better spent building up the kingdom of God where you are.
“I have personal experiences of the abuses of UBF since I was a participant of this group from 1983 to 2001. I was associated with Dr. Ben Toh and his fellowship since 1984.”
>>> It’s clear that your personal experiences are your motivation for posting such things on Dr.Armstrong’s blog.
“As a reformed theologian, you should know that the Christian education is very poor in UBF and a formal Christian education was discouraged while I was there.”
>>> Christian education is an area for UBF to grow in. However, I would never want to place this kind of education over and above Bible study.
“If you asked someone to explain the doctrine of election/predestination, you would be scoffed at as an old Christian. You could even end up in someone’s (Dr. Toh’s) public testimony as someone who should be mocked and derided.”
>>> These thoughts are puzzling to me. I remember clearly a conference where we discussed election and predestination in depth. Obviously you didn’t attend.
“I would venture to bet that if you asked someone in UBF today, to explain the five points of Calvinism, you would face a dead stare and/or be ignored.
>>> Jim, I would gladly debate you on the five points of Calvinism (TULIP). I think neither the followers of Calvin or the followers of Armenius were completely correct. The correct answers to the questions they raised is found by a combination of both sides of the eternal security debate. I don’t think the Armenians should have been killed for disagreeing with Calvinism. Nor do I think Calvin should have oversaw the murder of a Godly man.
“While I may not be an expert on Reformed theology, I do believe these principles should be central to one’s Christian faith and basic beliefs of God as Dr. Sproul would say.”
>>> Since when did the study of other people’s study about the Bible and Christ become a requirement for Christian living? Why should what Calvin or Luther or Augustine thought be central to my faith? I agree they are helpful. They can also be terribly divisive and misleading. I would rather study the Bible itself as the center of my faith. Other things can be built around that.
“Another central problem to UBF is the financial unaccountibility.”
>>> Jim, you are on shaky ground here. Do you realize our books have been audited and approved? I don’t know about the Chicago chapter, but the Toledo chapter always gives offering reports and they match exactly to the penny. Please refrain from making generalizations about all of UBF when you only know part of the issue.
“Another obvious spiritual sin in UBF is that there is no church discipline.”
>>> Jim, you make some serious allegations here. Church discipline is certainly practiced in UBF ministry. Perhaps it is not practiced in the way you approve.
“So I cannot say that UBF is a Bible believing church because they do not practice sound Biblical doctrine. I would not encourage anyone to participate in UBF, even if you do think they exhibit missionary and evangelical fervor. There are several other theological errors I could share with you that the others have covered but I think that you have not examined the true spiritual state of UBF sufficiently. If you have, then you should have answers for the topics I have covered briefly.”
>>> Jim, you are welcome to your opinion. You say UBF is evil. I wholeheartedly disagree with you.
The following is an excerpt from this website: http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s2i14145
…In many ways the “I don’t Remember” defense takes its cues from and is closely related to some of former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s more famous quotes:
“I don’t know what I said, but I know what I think, and, well, I assume it’s what I said.”
“I believe what I said yesterday.”
“Needless to say, the President is correct. Whatever it was he said.”
” . . .there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
“I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started.”
“We do know of certain knowledge that he is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead.” (referring to arch-terrorist Osama Bin Ladin)
“We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”
(On weapons of mass destruction, which in fact were NEVER TO BE FOUND)
You spent many years saying and doing ungodly things to Jim St, and to dozens of others. I myself experienced your abuse. You learned that from your ubf elders, and you certainly did these with the approval and at the direction of EE Chang Woo alias Samuel Lee.
I remember that you made hundreds of vicious and demeaning statements, in public meetings and even ubf World Mission Report meetings, over the course of the time I was in ubf. I can name a few people you slandered such as Jim, Pat Carraher, Richard and Becky C, Tony Beltran, David R, Lisa Huang, Gordon T, Dacian, Hazel, etc. These are just a very few. You also tried to convince Jamie to divorce Amy rather than leave ubf, due a sex scandal by a third party. I think you owe very large, very public apologies to numerous people. If Zaccaheus the tax collector could make a public apology, why wouldn’t you?
I suggest you start by taking some ubf stationery and write a very long, very detailed confession of the sins you committed against Jim. Maybe you can read it a ubf Sunday meeting, or World Mission Report Meeting? If Jim accepts, you can use that as the template to apologize to others.
Right now, I would say you are 99% in denial about who you really are and what you have really done. I think this is the legacy that Samuel Lee left in ubf, to be in denial about all his sins against God and against people, but to praise himself for small good things he did. Jim and I and so many others have concluded that the small amount of good that ubf and ubf people did for us is invisible compared to all the nasty and harmful things done to us. To be blunt, you were a very nasty and vicious person for several decades.
Luke 17:3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
Ban, you never did this even one time. You have alot of people who you need to apologize to, better get started now. The other issues I will not touch here, but this one the stench reached up to heaven a long time ago.
I don’t care to discuss this anymore. There is nothing to discuss.
My dear Nick,
Thank you for your response and for your love for Jim and for all the people you mentioned who have been “viciously slandered” by me. Please do continue to love them deeply and intimately with the love of Christ.
I’m just wondering whether or not it could be true that when you point one finger at others, you might be pointing 4 fingers at yourself?
According to your righteous judgment, I am totally worthy of condemnation like the woman caught in the very act of adultery. But Jesus did say, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Now that you have hurled many rocks and boulders at me, I hope that you may stand tall when you apply your own set of standards and criteria to yourself before the judgment seat of Christ. God bless you, sir.
Again, I wish to apologize to Dr. Armstrong that his great blog site has inadvertently invited so many rocks and boulders to be hurled at others, both dead and alive.
If you think I crossed the line and my personal experiences and observations of UBF don’t count and are invalid because they don’t fit your personal framework, why don’t you look me up the next time you come to Chicago? I have a listed phone number you could probably even look me up through the internet from where you are in Michigan. My father and I are the only two James St. Lawrence’s in Chicago. I am James M. St. Lawrence. My father is James F. St. Lawrence. I’ll be looking for you.
The facts are very clear in my mind that UBF is by every Biblical standard evil. The little good they do by educating people with the Bible and providing an occasional meal is greatly overshadowed by the evil manipulation and control they assert over young people. This is an anathema to the Christian faith as I stated when I cited Gal.1:8,9;Jude 3,4.
I know you can say that never happen to you with your deceased leader, Daniel Hong, but you never lived in Chicago with Ben Toh who tried tearing people down whenever he thought he could or should. You saw nothing of the abuse both mental and physical abuse Samuel Lee dished out even to children as young as two years old. You also saw nothing of the abuse that Chris Z. witnessed under Peter Chang in Bonn. For you to say that because you never saw it in UBF it must not be true is very childish and foolish on your part. This includes the financial unaccountibility in UBF. I was in no way talking about your dinky chapter of UBF in Toledo. You seem to ignore the fact that every chapter of UBF sends a tribute to Chicago, instead of money going out from Chicago. This is where you have crossed the line with me and several other former UBF people in Chicago and elsewhere who were immeasurably damaged by UBF leaders.
Church discipline is not practiced in UBF the way it is practiced in Bible believing churches. At the churches I have attended the pastors, elders and members were/are held in higher personal accountibility. If they committed or lived in adultery they were told to leave the church. This is the Biblical standard in case you haven’t read it in your Bible. This Biblical mandate is in 1 Cor.5. The same thing is in no way happening in Chicago UBF or elsewhere in UBF. Because of this, sex scandals are continually being covered up in UBF. This creates a very dangerous environment for the younger people in UBF. I don’t want my teenage son, John, exposed to such an evil and vile environment. In fact, I am prepared to do anything necessary to stop people in UBF from damaging my family anymore.
As far as theology, the fact that UBF does not teach eternal security for salvation is enough evidence alone that the efficacy of Jesus’ death and resurrection is greatly diminished by UBF to their shame. The basis of salvation is solely Christ’s work on the Cross for our sins. (Rom. 5:8-10;17-19; 6:3-8; Eph.2:8-10). It is not based on how many disciples we raise for Christ as it has been taught continually in UBF. Salvation is not of our doing or works, it is acquired by faith alone (Rom.4:5; Eph. 2:8,9; Titus 3:5). The fact that you diminish the teachings of Luther, Calvin and Augustine shows that you do not consider the theology of the church important for guiding the church. This is why there is so many dangers inherent in the severely flawed UBF system. Sound theology is everything for our faith. I would suggest you invest a few dollars in some books by Dr. R.C. Sproul, Dr. Erwin Lutzer and Dr. John MacArthur. While I don’t agree with Sproul’s eschatology, he is deadon right about eternal security and election/predestination in his books. After saying all this about theology, I, in no way, am diminishing the importance of daily personal Bible study. Along with prayer and Biblical meditation, these are keys to our daily living as Christians.
Brain, again I recommend that when someone is communicating something regarding UBF, do not reframe it to fit your perspective. Do you think you are the Tom Cruise of UBF? You need to come off your UBF highhorse and stop trying to silence the incredibly apparent dark side of UBF. This is disrespectful, insincere and intellectually irresponsible. This is the same thing your late leader, Daniel Hong did and it is a bad attribute you picked up from him. I don’t need my words respun by you like you are superior to me. You have no idea what I have done since I left UBF so you need to stop trying to infer that we are not doing the work of God. I have talked to many people about Christ since I left UBF. I am also actively engaging in changing and challenging the godless agenda of our community and government. I don’t need to enumerate all my good deeds because I don’t believe these things justify me with God and I am certainly not looking for your approval. My rewards will be with God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, where is the love of Jesus in these discussions? For the most part, I read anger, stubbornness, lack of forgiveness, and even hatred that is anything but Christ-like.
Although the love of God on both sides is sincere, it seems unlikely that this discussion will go anywhere productive if it keeps going in this direction. And I highly doubt that a theological or intellectual debate will produce any positive change.
I have no proposed solution to this complicated conflict; only Jesus can heal wounds and turn hatred into love. It just deeply saddens me to see Christians throwing stones at each another when we should be uniting to fight our common enemy.
“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23
JCO, you make a good point. As Dr.Armstrong pointed out, love must prevail. Attitudes toward UBF will never unite anyone.
I do see the love of God here in some ways. I see the love of God in Dr.Armstrong’s allowing these conversations to take place on his blog, and by his wise and Godly words. I see the love of God in ChrisZ, JimSL, ExUBF and AndrewP who must care a lot to post such zealous words. I see the love of God in BenToh, JoeS and others from UBF who showed thankful minds and tremendous restraint in not replying with anger or bitterness.
So perhaps we can agree to be united in the love of Christ. In the end, Christ’s love is the one common denominator of Christianity.
Dr. Ben, Brian & to any others who say, “Do not judge; God will judge… you’re not being loving… causing division, not unity”– when you say these things you are only taking a few verses out of their context. We need to take the whole counsel of the word of God on every subject. I plead with you all to read the message called “The Cult of ‘Do Not Judge'” at the website listed below. It’s a powerful message that takes you through the many Bible passages that tell Christians TO JUDGE and to rebuke and correct in love.
Eagerly awaiting your response and, as always, in prayer for the people in UBF we love,
It’s good to hear from you. 2 of my favorite passages in the Bible are the parable of the lost son (Lk 15), and the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8). Personally, I would like to be like the father of the prodigal son. Someone might say, “Yeah, right!” and I wounldn’t blame you. It is obvious even to me that I have failed to be so repeatedly.
I also like the story of the woman caught in adultery, because Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” No one could before Jesus. So, I personally thank you Amy, that you did not hurl any rocks or stones, as some others may have inadvertently done, even if it was done in love.
Do I judge? Of course I do! Do I want to judge those who are judging me or those I love? Of course! But should I?
I wrote previously that any defense of UBF is completely and totally futile to those who left with bitterness or resentment. So it is never my intent to try to convince anyone otherwise.
But I just have to say that to continue to repeat and rehash the “sins of UBF” repeatedly, bringing back events from the 1970s to the present time, and to continually accuse UBF of all kinds of “evil” is really Satan’s distraction from reaching the countless of millions who are still lost. If UBF is really evil, I have absolutely no doubt that God will deal with us very, very severely.
Yet it just seems too hard if not impossible for some to just move on. So I have to conclude that we have hurt you, wounded you, took advantage of you, manipulated you, controlled you, forced you against your will, etc, etc. But even if you do not believe this as true, I can speak for myself that my intent is never to do that, even if I communicated that because of my multitude of sins, which includes impatience, pride, aggresiveness, forcefulness, a lack of trusting God, a lack of humility and prayer, a lack of controlling my tongue, etc. I’m sure there will be some who will love to add to my sins, which is really not too hard, as previously posted.
So what can I say? Love us and forgive us, just as Jesus loves you and forgives you. Even if you don’t think Jesus should, Jesus still does love “evil” UBF people. This might be truly shocking to some! As we all know, there are things that UBF should correct, as Dr. Armstrong has previously stated, and I am positively sure that God will continue to love us until we do.
If I have one request, which was also made by Dr. Armstrong, let’s continue to communicate with love and respect, and use words and language prayerfully, without being laced with condemnation. Jesus pronounced 7 woes on the Pharisees. But Jesus was willing to die for them. So for those who want to continue to pronouce woes on UBF, then I will interpret that you are like Jesus who is willing to give up everything, including your life, your family and everything you have (even if we don’t repent to your satisfaction).
As Brian has done, I would also like to thank Dr. Armstrong for allowing us to use his site to somehow try to promote some degree of reconcilliation, even if we are unable to reach a meaningful resolution of our differences. God bless you.
I want comments from both current UBF members, former members, John Armstrong, and random people who may have an opinoin about this. I was wondering what people thought about the interesting mix of Confuscianism, Hyper-Calvinism, and Presbyterian teachings within UBF? I realize it is a general quesiotn but it is something that has been nagging me for a while . Any input or opinion would be greatly appreciated.
Aren’t all of you just tired to death of this? Criminy, we’re all sinners trying to worship a good and holy God. Duh. Of course there will be mistakes. Get over it and everyone go their own little ways to worship God as they see fit. Obviously, no one here will convince anyone of anything.
But I must say it’s very intriguing how alliances are formed. I’ll never forget the 1995 Christmas Season when Yvonne Timlin confessed how much she loved her husband and Amy Young, sitting next to me, gasped. When I asked her why, her reply was, “Well, because everyone knows Nick beats his wife.” Actually, I didn’t know that, and never would have until she had to get the RO. But it’s very funny how she could despise him for beating his wife but now support him so fervently now.
And now, I’m off and will bother you all no more, because I, unlike many of you, HAVE A FRICKIN’ LIFE, I love God, I love everyone I meet, and when I meet folks I don’t agree with, I can LET IT GO…
“And I’m so happy, so very happy, I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart…”
I have no idea first-hand how to answer this intriguing and very important question but would have to guess that you may have touched upon an issue that should be explored by all who are truly concerned for UBF and its future. This should be done in the spirit of honest questioning and helpful self-doubt. Just as gnosticism and rampant individualism impact so many American churches so Korean ideas and culture impact the Korean churches. I have argued all along that UBF should take a look at these kinds of questions. Good leaders will ask: “What have we done wrong? How have me mixed the gospel with culture and how can we get the truth of Christ’s kingdom and mission right without the extra cultural baggage?” This will include questions about how leadership can be truly servant-based and how to keep the leadership from controling people in their conscience. I am continually urging UBF leaders to do exactly this work.
Brian has spoken what might appear as “simple” words but they are in fact very hard words that provide a landing place for much of this debate. We, none of us who have written and especially not me, will solve these disagreements. Remember, I did not desire this debate but rather wanted to report on what I had seen and experienced in UBF (in Chicago and among North American leaders) and then I was critiqued quite widely, and sometimes very aggressively, for my compromise and for being duped by these people I have come to deeply love.
You make some very valid points about the need for a deeper appreciation for the great theology of the historic Christian Church. This is why I have openly stated that I am a part of a confessional church myself and why I have studied serious historical theology, both ancient (early church East and West) and Reformed.
Any group that treats past great thinkers (Ignatius, Anselm, Augustine, Athanasius, Luther, Calvin, Aquinas, etc.) as unimportant is in potential danger of thinking that they alone have arrived at the truth of the Bible by the Spirit leading them and them alone.
One of my prayers for UBF is that more and more leaders will study more and more serious theology and confessional Christianity from outside of the UBF history and culture. It will only strengthen them in the end if they take this course. I believe this will happen, but maybe not fast enough for those of you who are convinced UBF cannot, or will not, change.
Bottom line: I believe both people and movements do change. I have and will hopefully change even more if I have both humility and courage in abundance. Grace is greater than our sin, so leave room for grace to do its work. Thus the apostle John wrote:
Dear friends let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8).
Let us aim for love and keep our minds and hearts open to the Spirit’s work through many, including those who have hurt us and those who may count us as their enemies.
“I was wondering what people thought about the interesting mix of Confuscianism, Hyper-Calvinism, and Presbyterian teachings within UBF?”
That is a very good question. If you are familiar with UBF movement, you will see that in UBF, sending a missionary to another region is the same as setting up a new branch office. UBF movement is more focused on changing natives to conform to UBF practices than helping natives to follow the gospel of Jesus. This is where all the problems start. Please refer to Ben Toh’s earlier comment on UBF style of marriage by faith. In the comment he says:
“But if I were to trust God (not man), then God WILL BLESS my faith. So I “married by faith,” trusting in God, and I have been blessed by God in my marriage, in spite of myself.”
When he said “if I were to trust God (not man)”, he actually means that he would trust that UBF leaders are doing God’s will. For example a UBF leader chooses one’s spouse for him and asks him to marry her. In this situation, he must trust that it is God’s will for him to marry her. So the point is that he must believe that the UBF leader’s decision is God’s will. So marriage by faith in UBF is a test to see if one has grown spiritually(?) enough to trust UBF’s decision. Only in this sense, UBF marriage by faith is marriage by faith: faith in UBF. UBF marriage by faith is not designed to HELP one to make right decision to obey God’s will in his marriage. It is very subtle matter. One cannot tell precisely what is going on. But if you read many testimonies from current and former members, you will have impression that UBF marriage by faith is designed more toward forcing members to commit to UBF ministry. This is the focal point of all UBF disciple-making programs that one must trust UBF system as God’s will or trust UBF system more than the Bible itself!
To understand “the interesting mix of Confuscianism, Hyper-Calvinism, and Presbyterian teachings within UBF”, you need to understand “the UBF culture” as illustrated in UBF style of marriage by faith. UBF leaders must look into this and separate the gospel and UBF culture. I think that the UBF culture must be understood in the context of Korean Christianity in general. There is a good article on Korean Christianity on one of the leading Korean news papers (http://www.hani.co.kr/section-005000000/2005/01/005000000200501261016001.html ). A brief English summary can be found here ( http://community.livejournal.com/rsqubf/40942.html?thread=238062#t238062 ). Korean Christianity has grown too fast with no rigorous and sound theological development. Korea has the biggest church in the world. But the church has almost the same problems as UBF has: absolute authority of a pastor, deification of the church founder, absolute obedience to the church leadership, financial unaccountability etc.. This kind of church problems in Korea has now become a social problem. It is too big a price for fast church growth. UBF mission movement is not much focused on helping natives to live according to the gospel of Jesus. It is more focused on discipling natives to commit to UBF hierarchy.
You make several helpful comments but I would challenge you to carefully study revival movements, in Africa, Asia, Latin America and even in 17th and 18th century Europe. In all of these movements you will find the same kinds of problems. In fact, did not the early church, based upon a contextual reading of the Pauline letters, have a lot of human mess on its hands because of some fast-growth dynamics at work in several Greek and Jewish contexts?
I am sometimes asked, “Where do we see revival patterns in the New Testament?” My answer is that we see them all over the place. The early church was living in dynamic tension. And the epistles are the God-given correctives to the very kinds of problems caused by these dynamic movements of the Holy Spirit.
Did the church in Korea grow too fast? How could any one of us make such an assumption if it is God who gives the increase? The best we can do, if we love Christ and his people, is to seek to correct abuses with the Word of God, in real love, and then keep seeking for an even larger harvest at the same time. I would never say a harvest of any sort is too large. I would say churches can desire to grow in the wrong way, employing wrong methods and false expectations.
“Let us pray to the Lord of the harvest.” I am no expert on these things but the Korean church has much to teach us I think. And we in the West, and in Latin America and Africa, have some important things to share with them. This is why we need one another and thus we should keep expanding our horizons beyond what we can see and plan.
UBF is only one expression of Korean life. As you note, it is probably like others, at least from what I have seen. But through the globalization of the Christian Church, deeper and broader learning, and wider and wider exposure to many types of Christianity, UBF will grow in grace and others will grow in grace as they work with them.
I have much to learn here and hope that my comments demonstrate this to anyone who reads them with a fair mind and an open heart. What I am promoting is not the perfectability of UBF but rather the value of this movement and the way it can continue to grow in God’s grace. As leaders come and go, even generationally, God will shape his people and draw them to become more like Jesus or they will fade away and/or become enamored with doctrines that clearly deny the Lord who bought them.
Dear Christine, a.k.a “I Got a Life”,
It seems as though you are attempting to discredit me by associating me with Nick Timlin. You said I have an alliance with him and fervently support him. May I ask what you are talking about? You said, “I’ll never forget the 1995 Christmas Season…”. Umm… I think you did forget. I gave birth to my first son on Nov 18, 1995 and would not have gone to any of the meetings and services because I was recovering from childbirth (UBFers know the Korean tradition of making the new mother stay home 1 month…To further refresh your memory S.Lee had me stay in the apartment above Little Sarah for that month). So, no, I really don’t think I said that. I do not have any knowledge about Nick beating his wife; I think I would remember something like that. I can remember a handful of other UBF husbands who have beat their wives; so if I can recall them, I think I would recall Nick too. Nick did tell me how around 2000-1 Yvonne accused him of this and then proceeded to divorce him. But my point is: I don’t know either way if this is true or not. I’m not here to defend Nick regarding things I know nothing about. A question though: why didn’t Yvonne separate or seek counseling way back then to protect herself and their 5 sons? Also, if he Nick did this, his sons probably witnessed it and the truth will come out. But it appears that you have said all that as a distraction, a “red herring”, an attempt to discredit me for having a connection to him in that we both speak out against the abuses and false teachings in UBF. But if you want to discredit me here’s your chance. Here’s my challenge to you. Name 1 false thing I said in my letters posted on RSQUBF. Try to refute any of it. And I ask the same of Dr.Ben as well. To use a UBF expression, I think you’ll “run away”. And why doesn’t UBF invite the same kind of openness and transparency? The answer is in John 3:19-21.
Before you took us on the detour regarding “alliances” with Nick, this whole discussion was about how UBF has not alligned itself with God’s Word. This is about Samuel Lee and the other corrupt and abusive UBF (I do not say all UBF people are corrupt) and their false teachings. To give a quick summary it’s about: coercing women like Rebekah Yoon and Ki-Chul Oh’s wife to get abortions**, destroying marriages by making a UBF-loyal person divorce their spouse who wants to leave UBF, tons of corruption with offering money and rental properties (we can give you the details of very many instances, or are you too busy, or are these just little “mistakes” as you put it?). It’s about making members: put their children in an orphanage; breaking immigration laws; breaking into peoples’ homes; stealing passports so people like Samuel Choi could not leave Chicago UBF so he ended up commmiting suicide; covering up cases of adultery instead of loving the people and helping them repent. It’s about false teachings like: human thinking, marriage by faith, spiritual order, everyone having only 1 gift (being a Bible teacher; see James 3:1), you can’t leave UBF or God will punish you teaching (In my case I was told by Dr. Ben/S.Lee that God would curse my 2 children and that the earth would open up and swallow me like Numbers 16), the “shepherd” usurping the Holy Spirit’s place in the lives of “sheep”, etc, etc, etc.
Regarding, “no one here will convince anyone of anything”- this is definitely not true. To some with seared consciences yeah, they’ll probably never listen, but reality is many have discovered the truth about UBF through the various websites. Many have contacted us– even this very week. God is on the throne and HE is working. Any reasonable person can see that 100’s of ex-members could not possibly have just been so bored or evil to make up these tragic abuses.
Regarding your choice of words like “Frickin”- it is not be-fitting a “Holy Nation Woman” 🙂 to use another S.Lee expression or, better yet, as the word says, “Do not let any unwholesome words come out of your mouth”. Try not to use it too much during 1:1 Bible study with your sheep. Or maybe that’s ok in UBF afterall Samuel Lee swore several times during his announcements and as I sat next to you, you giggled about it and thought it was funny. You also say you have the love of Jesus in your heart, but does this love not compel you to care for these abandoned or aborted babies and all the other damaged lives OR is your love partial only to UBF members?
**Regarding Ki-Chul Oh: I would like to invite everyone to read his very short letter on escapeubf. In summary, he tells how after serving Christ faithfully for 19 years in UBF he suddenly found out that years earlier his wife was coerced to get 2 abortions without him ever having known she had been pregnant with their children. Of course, he left UBF because of these things, wouldn’t anyone and rightfully so? After pouring out his agony over this tragic abuse at the hands of UBF leaders, he then shares how he was denounced and slandered from the pulpit right after he left as 1 who “left Jesus ” for worldly desires. Dr.Ben, Dr.Armstrong, Joe S, Christine, whoever, please feel free to comment on these things. Do you think I am just “throwing stones”? I would seriously like to know what you would do if it was your wife (or yourself) whom these things happened to. Think about it and honestly answer. God is a God of love and justice. He cares about the oppressed, broken, abused, shattered lives. He wants us to love our neighbor; we are our brother’s keeper. Christine and others have said we should just “get over it” and “get a life”. I know and am friends with many ex-UBF members who do “have a life”; many are born again Christians who are very involved in various ministries and love to witness and share the gospel, myself included. (By the way we continue to do this even though we don’t have a UBF “shepherd” lording it over us, threatening us with some kind of punishment, like walking barefoot in the snow for hours. The grace of Jesus compells us.) You tell us to just go on with our lives and not say anything… and Martin Luther shouldn’t have exposed the corruption and false teachings within Cathliocism, too? Why is it hard to understand that we are doing both? We are serving/witnessing in our respective churches, neighborhoods, workplaces AND faithfully sounding a warning about UBF. “When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself” (Ezek 3:18-19).
Dr. Ben, what specifically is UBF ready to confess, repent, apologize, and make amends for? Let’s start with one. Is UBF ready to confess the abortions?
Abortions? I know two women in UBF that almost had an abortion. One was in my fellowship; the other I heard give a life testimony about it. Both women confessed that they wanted to get an abortion out of fear, but UBF members shepherded them, counseled them, prayed for them not to get an abortion, according to Scripture. Now both of these women have children and although they are single mothers, they have plenty of support from UBF co-workers. In one woman’s testimony, she said that it is through this event that she could learn Jesus’ unconditional love and forgiveness.
This is according to my personal experience, and I have seen firsthand the love and compassion UBF members and leaders have.
PS. This is slightly off-topic, but Dr. Armstrong wrote a very good article about the Abortion Debate last month (Feb 17th, under “Marriage and Family” in the archives), emphasizing the truth and supporting love we Christians need in struggling against abortion.
Thank you for your warning,
“Any group that treats past great thinkers (Ignatius, Anselm, Augustine, Athanasius, Luther, Calvin, Aquinas, etc.) as unimportant is in potential danger of thinking that they alone have arrived at the truth of the Bible by the Spirit leading them and them alone.”
This certainly is an area for me to grow in, and one which I’ve been attempting to address. I also applaude the new formats of our UBF staff meetings the last couple years, where this very issue has been discussed.
My point of emphasis, and the reason I brought it up in the comment above, is that I strongly believe the Bible should be the center of my faith. I don’t think Luther’s words (or Dr.Samuel Lee’s words for that matter) should be the *center* of my faith. Certainly they are worthwhile for learning and maturity.
I welcome your attitude of love for us “evil, power-mongering, pyramid-scheming, abortionist, divorce-ridden good for nothing, going to hell” UBF members. (I don’t mean to dismiss criticims of UBF here, but at some point I can only laugh and cry at certain attitudes expressed on various comments here. At least I can take comfort in being upgraded from the “Bagdad Bob” of UBF to the “Tom Cruise” of UBF!)
Dear jco, I believe you when you say some women were helped and counseled in UBF not to get abortions; but that doesn’t mean some other women in some other chapter were not told to get abortions. They can both be true at the same time. It’s just like any other kind of abuse/false teaching. Dr. Ben Toh told my husband Jamie to get ready to divorce me because I wanted to leave UBF and find a good church, but I’m not saying everyone in UBF who left was told this. Everyone obviously has different experiences, different Bible teachers, different degrees of contact with people like Samuel Lee, Peter Chang, etc. Did you read the letter by Ki-Chul Oh? What did you think of it? Perhaps you could contact him directly. I have met Rebekah Yoon 2x and have been to her home; I have her phone #; should we find out if she’s willing to talk about it? might it help you to contact her if that will help you see we’re not lying? you could also ask Dr. Mark Yoon since he took her to the clinic for the abortion. There are some current UBFers who say we’re lying about the abortions; others don’t deny that the abortion happened. About 5 years ago, I had to take my youngest son Luke to UIC for a doctor’s appointment. I ran into Dr. Henry Park in the waiting room (he said he was waiting to go fishing with Dr.Sohn). I took a copy of Rebekah Yoon’s letter (written with her son) out of my Bible and gave it to Henry and asked him what he thought about Samuel Lee coercing her to get an abortion. Instead of saying it never happened, Henry said Rebekah had the freedom of choice not to obey S.Lee. Then I went on to briefly discuss with him the UBF teaching of “spiritual order” and “absolute obedience” to your shepherd to explain how she didn’t really have the freedom of choice because of these false teachings which are so deeply engrained in the hearts of many UBFers. Also, last year when Dr. Armstrong spoke at UBF’s conference at Wheaton college in Feb I spoke to Joshua Hong out in the parking lot. He did not deny the abortions. Instead he said, “How do you know Samuel Lee didn’t repent privately before God for the abortions?” I then went on to tell him something like, “If you hurt your wife how would one know if he really repented? For one thing you couldn’t just ask God’s forgiveness; you’d have to go to your wife, confess your sin, and ask her forgiveness. It’s the same thing with Samuel Lee and other UBF leaders.” As someone (Helen?) has already mentioned we are asking UBF to obey Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
I really do urge those of you who want to discuss particular disagreements about UBF, and your own relationships with one another in the past related to UBF, to do this in private, not on this public site.
This is a good place to share disagreements about UBF and its practices. It is also a good place to express what good has been accomplished in people’s lives through UBF. It is not a good place for private and personal accusations and conversations that took place between you and someone else.
Finally, offering numbers and saying so many could not be wrong, pro or con on UBF, can be played both ways. Be careful about the logic you employ in this disagreement. One person’s distress is another person’s blessing. When you dig in on one side or the other you simply stop the process of reconciliation in your life or in someone else’s, on either side.
Again, this dialogue will not change most people’s minds, so it appears, but I remind you of why I began it; to offer an explanation for my own actions.
I just wanted to respond to Ben Toh’s last comment. In his last comment, he compares the effort of former members’ to help UBF to Satan’s distraction. He wrote,
“But I just have to say that to continue to repeat and rehash the “sins of UBF” repeatedly, bringing back events from the 1970s to the present time, and to continually accuse UBF of all kinds of “evil” is really Satan’s distraction from reaching the countless of millions who are still lost. If UBF is really evil, I have absolutely no doubt that God will deal with us very, very severely.”
The reason that many are continually “rehashing “sins of UBF” repeatedly” is very simple. It is because UBF leadership has failed again and again to address “sins of UBF” seriously. The UBF leaders did not address the problems as early as 1970s. They counter-accused those who were concerned as ‘Satan’ and ‘rebels’. So during early 1990s, exactly the same problems as those of 1970s were repeated. But again, Dr. Samuel Lee and other leaders did not pay any attention to them. They removed reform-minded leaders from UBF leadership position. So during 2000-2001, reform movement took place in a much larger scale to address exactly the same issues from the beginning of UBF movement that were brought to the table since as early as 1970s. The UBF leaders didn’t change their position on the problems. They decided to solve the problems by expelling all the reform-minded UBF chapters worldwide which accounted almost the half of the UBF organization at that time. Ben Toh writes, “If UBF is really evil, I have absolutely no doubt that God will deal with us very, very severely.” Don’t you think that God had already dealt with UBF very very severely when he reduced the size of UBF organization into half? Why do we “bring back events from the 1970s to the present time, and to continually accuse UBF of all kinds of “evil””? The answer should be found in UBF leadership which regards the sincere voices of former members and other concerned critics as only “Satan’s distraction from reaching the countless of millions who are still lost.” I think the problem is that the current UBF leadership is ready to “die” to preserve the spiritual legacy of Dr. Samuel Lee rather than to address the problems surrounding the legacy of Dr. Samuel Lee. Well, that is another legacy of Dr. Samuel Lee.
Another comment on Ben Toh’s “Do not judge” defense. We should not be a judge of other’s faith. We should not judge those who prefer NIV to KJV. We should not judge those contemporary Christian musicians who seem to produce music with unholy rock and roll rhythms. We should not USE the Bible to accuse others with the intention to DESTROY their lives based on the sins listed on the Bible as the evil but smart Pharisees did in John 8. But Jesus said in Matthew 18:15-17,
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
This passage deals with the case where there is a concrete sin problem between two brothers and there are several witnesses who can testify to the concrete sin problem on behalf of the accusing party. In this case, the matter MUST be settled IMMEDIATELY and this involves “showing him his fault.” I think there is a good message by Dr. James McDonald (Walk in the Word) regarding this issue.
One very easy case could be the one where there exist concrete material damages through certain actions done by the accused. We also know that this might involve concrete emotional damages through abusive words and improper behaviors. So if a brother sins against you, this matter must be settled even though you might have to bear the pain of showing him his fault. But Jesus warns us that this must be done with the intention to win over the accused brother. There are literally numerous testimonies against UBF system that “hurts and abuses” others. There are concrete material damages and emotional damages done to those who were hurt by UBF system since as early as 1970s. UBF leaders cannot simply refute these accusations as “Satan’s distraction” or just say “Do not judge”.
As Amy mentioned, we need to consider “the whole counsel of God”.
When I see Matthew 18, the whole chapter, I see the following points:
1) I must learn the attitude of a child.
2) I must learn the attitude of a shepherd searching for lost sheep.
3) I must confront a fellow believer who sins against me.
4) I must not be an unmerciful servant.
What do you think?
I don’t think we can focus on a few verses as you do. You and others seem to ignore verse 18 and also the point about not being an unmerciful servant.
I believe Jesus summarizes all of his points in chapter 18 in the last verse:
“35 This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
Again I ask you and others, where is the mercy of God in your comments here? Where is the forgivness of God in your comments here?
If we were having these conversations for the first time, I could understand your viewpoints. But I cannot see how your viewpoints match up with Jesus’ words in Matthew 18 and elsewhere, considering we’ve had these same conversations over and over and over for years.
When will it end? We in UBF already hear your points. We already are learning, growing and changing. What more do you want?