The debates regarding the ministry of University Bible Fellowship (UBF) that have arisen through this blog spot since I first wrote about this ministry last year, and then when I wrote about it again over the past few weeks, have led me to do a great deal of thinking about the missional context in which we presently live. In particular, how is the church going to disciple the next generation? What models will God use to reach un-reached millions in previously un-churched cultures, as well as university students and 20-somethings, in the West who know nothing of the church or the gospel at all?
We must face the honest fact that there is a growing body of research which demonstrates that there is a significant disconnect between professing faith in Jesus Christ and actually following Jesus. A recent study by the National Study of Youth & Religion entitled, "Portraits of Protestant Teens" reveals a great deal about our current approach to youth ministry and its shortcomings.
The study revealed that 59 percent of Protestant teens (13-17) report regular church attendance, meaning they attend church at least 1-3 times per month and 41 percent of all teens report regular church attendance. The study participants identified affiliation with nine Protestant denominations with Southern Baptist being the largest group represented in which 65 percent of teens reported regular attendance.
Forty-seven percent of Protestant teens reported active involvement in their church’s youth group compared to 38 percent of all teens. The majority of Protestant teens also reported that they attend Sunday school “a few times a month,” participate in youth retreats, rallies, and conferences.
In all, 90 percent of Protestant teens say they believe in God compared to 85 percent of all teens; only 12 percent of all teens say they are “unsure about the existence of God.”
Clearly this generation is not irreligious, quite the contrary. However, further research begins to reveal the disconnect that I mentioned in my second paragraph. According to this study, only 55 percent of Protestant teens believe in life after death—a belief held by 50 percent of all teens including non-religious teens. In a further contradiction, 69% of Protestant teens say they have made “a personal commitment to live for God” and yet only 32 percent of these teens read the Bible once a week or more and 19 percent report having had sexual intercourse in the last year compared to 22 percent of those who are un-churched. Additionally, 63 percent of Protestant teens report cheating in school compared to only 58 percent of all teens and 41 percent say that morals are relative—that “there are no definite rights or wrongs for everybody.” Barna Research further underscores the broad scale contradictions between the beliefs of most professing teens with those of orthodox and normative biblical doctrines.
The well-known sociologist Dr. Christian Smith reported in an earlier, and much larger, study gleaned from in-depth interviews which he published in his book, Soul Searching that “we suggest that the de facto dominant religion among contemporary U.S. teenagers is what we might call “Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism.” This kind of faith, of course, has very little to do with historic, orthodox Christianity.
I want to further suggest that this is a major reason why groups like UBF are successful in discipling many your people in rigorous and highly-ordered settings. They ask for a serious commitment and many teens and young adults are ready to make such a commitment, a commitment that few traditionally American churches are seeking at the present time. Most churches are just happy to have you show up and support the program now and then.
These research findings are consistent with my own experience as I have traveled and spoken with teens and young adults around the country. Most have little idea at all as to why they believe what they believe or how to integrate these beliefs into a coherent view of reality that guides their lives in every area. UBF helps its many young converts do exactly this in ways that work, though they could stand to change some unnecessary practices and admit their past mistakes more candidly. Though I believe there are some real dangers inherent in UBF’s approach, as should be apparent by now from what I have written, there will also be even more blessings as this ministry seeks for humility and greater openness, which I believe is presently happening. (Perhaps not fast enough for some or in the proper way for others.) I do not believe any church is beyond reformation and renewal, including UBF. I committed myself to this proposition over thirty years ago and I follow it wherever it takes me. This makes people, on the left and the right, very uncomfortable. I am willing to live with these tensions so long as I can advance the kingdom of Christ and seek the renewal of actual churches.
The reasons for the unorthodox views of Christianity among modern teens, and the paradox between professed beliefs and sound biblical doctrine, may be seen in the responses of the teens themselves. More than one-third of Protestant teens say that Church “does not make them think about important things” and 51 percent say that church “is not a good place to talk about serious issues.” A Barna survey among 8-to-12-year-olds discovered that only one-third of them said the church has made "a positive difference" in their life and “most of them would rather be popular than to do what is morally right.” You will not find this kind of thinking among UBF members.
The fact is, according to this same research, most Americans have a period of time during their teen years when they are actively engaged in a church youth group. However, Barna’s tracking of these young people showed that “most of them had disengaged from organized religion during their twenties.” (This is precisely when UBF reaches highly intelligent young adults, during their college and graduate school years.)
Of course these conditions are not exclusive to young people. According to Barna Research; “Among those adults who attend Protestant churches, only twenty-three percent named their faith in God as their top priority in life.”
The “modern” idea of church, or ecclesiology, is that the church exists as a venue to “attract” the lost through dynamic programs, performances and events—the more dynamic the better. This is what one pastor friend of mine has referred to as “theo-tainment.” The problem with this approach is that a disproportionate amount of the church’s time and resources go into these efforts at the expense of real discipleship. And the obvious result is that the proverbial church group, for teens or young adults, “is a mile wide and inch deep.” Yes, the church grows in numbers but rarely in spiritual maturity and real discipleship. Thus the powerful witness of the Church is often rendered lackluster.
Furthermore, this approach seems to ignore Christ’s final command: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20) This is the duty and work of every Christian through a church community. And this is carried out through our relationships with the lost in which we endeavor to persuade them to enter into the Truth relationally and through our training up of those already committed to the faith. In both cases, this process never ends this side of eternity. This is how the kingdom grows in this present age.
Scripture is full of admonitions on this point. One of the most direct in my mind is Romans 12:1-2 which challenges us “by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
This passage speaks to the fact that the resurrection of Christ and our adoption into the family of God demands a wholly new way of understanding the cosmos and the human situation. EVERYTHING relative to our view of reality must change and this new view must be integrated into every aspect of our lives and thinking. This is the role and necessity of Christian discipleship in producing a new way of thinking that is accompanied by obedience, i.e. presenting the entirety of our being as a living sacrifice to Christ as Lord.
It is astonishing to note that despite the growing body of evidence demonstrating the American church’s failure to adequately and holistically disciple the faithful into maturity; the leadership in so many of our churches continues to do the same thing, employing the same paradigm that emphasizes programmatic evangelism rather than making disciples. Where are the courageous men and women who will raise their voices in the church to lead our congregations back to fulfilling the Great Commission?
These very questions are the issues that got me interested in UBF when I first met a UBF-trained student in my apologetics class at Wheaton Graduate School nearly two years ago. The spirit I saw then is expressed now in another letter from a UBF member that was sent to me privately only a few days ago. I quote from some of this letter:
Thank you for your thoughtful and prayerful articles. There is one thing that I have liked about UBF ever since I became a Christian, at the age of 22. UBF missionaries always respected me as a servant of God. I still remember my first attempts at teaching the Bible. I ran down the street and stopped a stranger and invited him to our house to review the book of Genesis. He came and we taught him. I was young and ignorant of many things but the UBF leaders still supported me and gave me hope. Didn’t Jesus do the same thing when he called his disciples and gave them new names, such as calling Simon to become Peter, the rock? The UBF leaders supported my decisions of faith to serve Jesus. I have always been given the freedom to seek and to find new and innovative ways to serve Jesus and the leaders have been supportive.
The point I want to make here is that I was not only young spiritually, but I came from a non-Christian background. My mother was nominally Catholic, my dad was an atheist. I have seventeen cousins, some of whom are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Only one of my cousins is a Bible-believing, born again Christian. I have done genealogy with my dad and there is no indication of Bible-believing, born-again Christians among any of my ancestors. I was not raised in the church. I did not know church discipline and church culture. I only went to a UBF church initially because their Bible-house setting reminded me of "The Little House on the Prairie.” I only knew the UBF missionaries for one month before I met Jesus. But I decided to live as a servant of God immediately. I also decided to become a lay shepherd. I am committed to this church paradigm. This conviction comes from God.
The point I am trying to make is quite simple. Can you imagine the mistakes I made as I was growing as a servant of Christ? I made a lot of them. I failed, repented, accepted God’s forgiveness and tried again and again. There was a lot of "trial and error" over the years. But I thank God for the UBF missionaries’ grace and unconditional support over these last 21 years.
I also appreciate the lay minister model and the tent-making paradigm for church growth. Frankly, I believe this is how the billions in the 10/40 window will be reached. But with this church paradigm there will be thousands upon thousands of un-churched, untrained new converts, like myself, who will be trying to live by faith in serving Jesus Christ. They will undoubtedly make million upon millions upon millions of mistakes, but is this wrong? In the words of many postmodern youth, "Let’s cut them some slack so they can grow." We need to show some grace to new converts and thus the attempts of lay people to serve Jesus. We need to show some grace to ministries who are trying to raise disciples of Jesus from among the unbelieving and the un-churched masses. I think Satan does not want millions of tent-making shepherds spreading throughout the world.
I would like to humbly suggest that UBF needs to engage the wider church for the good of many of the rest of us and for their own good too. Only by learning from the many of us, and by us learning from people in groups like UBF, will the greater good come from this debate. I long to see Christians who are mature enough to love and to learn from one another, and to realize that every new movement has known excess that call for serious correction. If you do not believe this then I would urge you to study the Wesleyan revival movements. Many were saved, many were matured and taught, and many lives were also impacted negatively as well. Mistakes were made and made again. When the Spirit works things are not always orderly. The enemy is always sowing tares in every field where there is wheat sown. We all need to be aware of the “wiles and schemes” of the evil one regardless of our position on UBF or any other church or group.
Soli Deo Gloria
Comments are closed.
My Latest Book!
Use Promo code UNITY for 40% discount!
Well said! Amen.
I still recall with tears how beautiful it was to see Korean missionaries attempting to speak English and putting aside their Korean standards to visit highly sinful American college students in their dorms– for the one purpose of glorifying God!
Personally I am 37 and grew up in the Catholic church. I heard many things in that church, but it was in a small study room on campus reading the Bible with a stranger (who later became a good friend) that I found Jesus and God’s calling for my life.
It is truly amazing that we live in a time when most young people are VERY spiritually thirsty, yet there are so few willing to talk to them personally, apart from the typical church setting.
May the kingdom of God advance in our geneartion and may God’s people see through the end-times haze of deception that could deceive even the elect.
You are so right on this one John, Much of what we think we are doing in most churches in discipleship is really outreach to the lost.
If you have a person hungry for more you don’t have to have a program to serve or attract them. They will beat the door down. The fact that we think our discipleship efforts must be wrapped up in glitz and fancy dress means we don’t have discipleship.
You as a pastor have had people as I have who you would have had to beat with a stick to keep them away from being discipled. Then there are others who if you gave them a thousand dollars, a free meal and sent a limo to pick them up wouldn’t participate in discipleship.
We have lost people who we are trying to disciple. That horse is on the wrong end of the cart.
Lets help them find Jesus first then disciple them. Not the other way around.
You can’t disciple people into salvation.
Mr. Armstrong, you mentioned a survey among 8-to-12-year-olds were “most of them would rather be popular than to do what is morally right.” And you commented: “You will not find this kind of thinking among UBF members.” Well, you will probably find something similar in* 8-to-12-year-old* UBF members. And, what’s worse, in my experience most of the *older* UBF members and the leaders would rather follow the UBF party line and tradition and defend UBF than do what is morally right! Recognizing this as a UBF member during the reform movement in the year 2001 made me really, really sad and was a big delusion for me because I really believed at the time UBFers were morally better than others.
I also would like to question what the buzzwords “lay minister model and the tent-making paradigm for church growth” really means and whether this is good. All three top UBF missionaries in Germany and a lot of top UBF leaders in the USA are not making tents to earn their living, but are paid from the offering money. Still, these people have no education at a Bible school. Does abandoning any theological education automatically make you a better missionary? Paul worked as a tent-maker, but you cannot call him a layman. Samuel Lee even claimed at one conference that Martin Luther was a layman which is nonsense.
The UBF defender also wrote “They will undoubtedly make million upon millions upon millions of mistakes, but is this wrong?” Yes, this is terribly wrong, since these are not just mistakes, but they affect the lives and souls of UBF disciples which are treated like guinea pigs here in the attempt of untrained leaders to improve their mistakes. These casualties include divorces, shattered families, hurt people, and people becoming frustrated in their work for God or completely turning away from God because of the abuse. Also, I don’t see where people like Samuel Lee improved and changed after having made such mistakes which already became apparent enough in the 1976 open letters by senior shepherds. In the UBF history so far, I did not experience Samuel Lee or other authoritarian UBF leaders learning from mistakes and stopping to hurt and abuse people, but rather they only learned to manipulate people more subtly or effectively the next time.
Though I don’t like to sound so negative, I feel these comments need to be made here.
“I still recall with tears how beautiful it was to see Korean missionaries attempting to speak English and putting aside their Korean standards to visit highly sinful American college students in their dorms– for the one purpose of glorifying God!”
I also recalled such things with tears. (Indeed that was what made me accept the invitation by my UBF missionary.) But another thing I recall with tears is how my UBF missionary and many other then started to control and manipulate me and other college students, and enforce their Korean standards again for the sole purpose of glorifying UBF. Did you ever shed any tear about things like these, too?
I appreciate the fact that you are deeply troubled by UBF and want to make a number of points. The time has come, however, to cease using this site to make point after point. You have dominated this attempt at discussion if I begin to count your number of posts. The purpose of this blog is to allow others to respond and to foster a dialogue that is respectful and helpful. It is not to provide an anti-UBF site or, for that matter, a pro-UBF site.
I was asked to speak for UBF in February of 2006 at the Billy Graham Center, where I teach evangelism. I accepted and had a delightful experience. I was then asked to speak at the Chicago UBF twice since then. I have also spent a lot of time talking to some of the leaders in this area. I did not seek a controversy, but a faithful ministry consistent with the work of ACT 3. UBF has not in any way restricted me or refused to listen to my teaching, questions or concerns.
The problems arose when I began to get negative letters, and third-party anonymous contacts, about my mistake in working with UBF leaders and members. I answered those objections as honestly as I could. This was not adequate for the critics thus I decided to think about this further and write a bit more. I have nothing else to say by way of new blogs. I remain open to UBF’s leadership and will continue to be faithful to my own conscience and to the gospel.
Chris, I would humbly ask you to refrain from further comments, at least for now. I will allow your numerous posts to remain if you will honor this request. It is only fair that others be allowed to comment now and then and that a healthy dialogue ensues if anything else is to be added that is edifying and truly helpful. Many have listed links to various anti-UBF sites so readers can do their own research if they are desirous of doing that.
1 great paster * 1000 people * 15 years = 15000 christians
one disciple 1st year
2 disciples 2nd year
4 disciples 3rd year
16348 disciples 15th year
Jesus’s disciplesship ministry is the fastest and the best way to world evangelization
Dear Dr. Armstrong,
This is how I understand your reasoning in this article. Please correct me if I am wrong.
1. There is a great need for discipling.
2. The Bible commands us to make disciples.
3. We should adopt UBF style of discipling.
If 3 were the conclusion you were implying in this article, I am having a very hard time to see how it really follows from 1 and 2.
Suppose we decide to give it a try to adopt UBF style of discipling in America. Now all churches in America practice UBF style of marriage by faith that all members are required to marry anyone that their pastors present. Should we conclude that at this point of discipling, American churches have finally achived what is really meant by “make disciples” in Matthew 28:19?
My personal opinion is that it requires further qulificaiton to say that what is taught and practiced in UBF organization in the name of “making disciples” is what is really meant by “make disciples” in Matthew 28:19. Discussion on “making disciples” by former UBF member can be found here ( http://community.livejournal.com/rsqubf/115954.html )
you really need re-read.
i have not a wit of stake in this whole thing, but you and your fellow ubf opponents who have posted here need a good dose of charity and patience–not least in your ability to read others!
“theo-tainment.” Yes, this is a phenomenon I have noticed with sadness. I have been reading about the modern movement toward “seeker friendly” churches that continue to water down the Gospel and the Bible to the point where it is trivial in order to attract people. My feeling is that instead of lifting up new believers the more pronounced result is to lower the standards and challenges of faith for everyone.
That is why I like UBF, although it is not perfect I feel I am challenged to focus on Christ and his word and to seek to obey Jesus.
Also, people have to remember that EVERY church has serious problems because it is composed of sinners. I have attended Churches other than UBF, all of them mainline and have witnessed authoritarianism, conflicts, disgruntled leaders, members, mass exoduses, denunciations…etc….they all have these problems. The only hope is to work through the problems with faith, prayer, God’s word, mercy, and much forgiveness. It is the only way.
These posts today are extremely helpful, on the whole, and quite insightful I believe. “Ex-UBF Member” should read his post again and consider taking a simple introductory course in logic. (I am not taking a cheap shot here or seeking to be cute.) Your conclusion is a false one entirely as Ryan notes well. And you are using this discussion to still seek to drive people you to site to see “the truth.” You, like so many former UBF members, do not show a great deal of objectivity in how you present your argument. I think the day may come when you could do this, as Ryan does, but you must loose a lot of the anger and frustration first. (Note my Lenten blog for today if you have time and interest!)
Some UBF opponents are actually making most of the case I have made in my blogs easier to see by these kinds of arguments. I can only urge you to read my words as they are and not judge my motives or actions quite so harshly.
I am in no way suggesting that UBF is the way other churches ought to be. I am saying there are things UBF can help others appreciate more fully. I am not a member of UBF, but a member of the Reformed Church in America. The last I checked this Dutch contribution to American Christianity is very, very different from UBF. I have simply argued that there is room for many expressions of the church in Christ’s kingdom and in our present world. In saying this I have argued that UBF has a place, one I happen to respect. At the same time I do not follow UBF as a devoted member who condones their mistakes at all. I teach them as a friend and brother in Christ when I am invited. For this I am opposed by former UBF members. What brought this about, I will say again, was whether or not I was wise to teach UBF or not. This was followed by insults and attacks I received for daring to love these dear Christian folk.
Love must prevail, not exposing UBF or defending UBF. Only when this happens will real people, with real pain and real past histories, move on into a brighter and better future.
Thank you again for your courage and frankness. I’d like to add my final comments…
When I read your first blog regarding our ministry, I prayed that God would be glorified. I believe God answered that prayer in some ways. Through this blog I have received confirmation of my own experience. The blogging here follows nearly identically with my own personal conversations and dealings with the people and issues brought up here.
I was labelled a “UBF defender” since I have been a member for 20 years, since 1987, and have no intention of leaving the ministry.
I actually despise the label of UBF defender. The purpose of my testimonies on my website and postings elsewhere is to witness to Christ and glorify God.
I have little interest in defending UBF or any organization. UBF is merely one part of the vast kingdom of God (and a part that has a lot to contribute and a lot to learn). But when lines are crossed and God’s work is called evil, I will speak up.
It is amazing to me to hear some of the criticisms of UBF brought up here, because many of the criticisms have either been resolved or are being addressed. One reason I have remained in UBF ministry so long, and will continue to do so, is the new wineskin nature of so many people there. In light of world history, our ministry is a fledgling. Still I have seen how God can use us to be a blessing to His world salvation work. God has transformed a single decision by Sarah Barry to go to Korea as a missionary into a world wide ministry with tens of thousands of members.
In spite of the difficulties, I thank God for all those who attempt to live the Christian faith, rather than simply profess to be Christian. As Chesterton quipped, “the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” Praise God for all those who have courage to follow Jesus, our perfect standard, our Judge and our Good Shepherd!
John, thanks so much for posting this series of articles. You’ve given ubf plenty to chew on, and we’ll be chomping for a long time. One of the best things that has come out of this in the short term is this that I and many other ubf members around the world have become avid readers of your columns.
(Few have been posting, but many have been reading.) I like the way you think and the way you write. I like how you challenge the conventional wisdom in unpredictable ways. I’ve been having loads of fun browsing through your archives and reading all sorts of articles that you have posted over the years. Some of them are real gems. In the long term, I’m certain that God will be using this series of articles about ubf to help us improve our organizational structure, disciplemaking practices and efforts to reconcile with those who have left our ministry. I believe that your articles are going be a strong catalyst for healthy change. I believe that they will also be a catalyst for healthy change and growth among some of our critics as well. We pray for your health and strength. Count on me as a prayer supporter of you and of ACT 3. God bless you.
One small correction, despite of my muzzle. Mr. Armstrong, nobody criticized you for things like loving UBF or teaching UBF or counseling UBF. You accuse others of not being logical, but I cannot see any logic here either. We *like* to see UBF getting external counseling. The point that was criticized was that you praised UBF in public and gave it a kind of zeal of approval by an external scholar in your earlier articles, without duly studying and mentioning its problematic issues and history. (The fact that I shall not write here while others who do not contribute much except of praising and defending UBF are welcome, makes me wonder how much you are really interested in understanding the issues by listening to what we UBF’s ex members have to say.)
Eric wrote: “The only hope is to work through the problems…” Of course, all opponents agree – and this is exactly what the various reformers in UBF’s history wanted. The point is that UBF has not *done* that in 40+ years. If this will *now* change fundamentally, it would be a revolution, and everybody will be happy about that. But I just hope that the frustration about 40+ years of not addressing problems (which were already grave in 1976) is understandable. It’s UBF’s turn to show and prove that this policy changes, instead of defending itself again and criticizing the critics which seems to be the tone of the last comments and contributions.
Ok, that’s all, I will now comply and be away for the time being.
Dear Brother Chris,
You talk much about dialogue and being open. But you screen every person who gets on your website so many who read your website only become confused and hurt. Thank God for the postings on John Armstrong’s website that truly make us all to be “sinners” and Christ to be Lord. May you use your energy to preach the gospel and raise disciples. Thank God for the gospel that is truly the only righteousness from God and the only way for “sinners” to know the living God.
Dr. Armstrong. Thank you for taking the time and effort to get to know UBF. I have a file on my hard drive, “Pro articles anbout UBF” there are many articles from many sources, but even if I present them to others, not many would take the time to investigate. Most quickly glance over sensationalized headings and stop there, like glossing over a newspaper. But you poured over “thousands of words”, as you stated. Thank you for your honesty. It is refreshing.
“If 3 were the conclusion you were implying in this article, I am having a very hard time to see how it really follows from 1 and 2.”
Thank you so much, Dr. Armstrong. I know you are very busy person. I really appreciate your love and concern for me as a brother in Christ. I read my post from yesterday again. You are right. I agree with you that there is indeed a possible cause of misunderstanding. But I think it is more of English problem than logical one.
Notice that I wrote “If 3 WERE the conclusion…”. The if-clause of the sentence is clearly in the form of subjunctive mood. What seems to be confusing is that I wrote “I AM having…” after the if-clause. If I HAD WRITTEN “I WOULD BE having…”, there WOULD HAVE BEEN no problem. If that had been the case, I would have been simply supposing a possibility that 3 would have been the conclusion. Since I am not a English major, I am not sure whether or not “If 3 were…, I am having…” should be still considered in subjunctive mood as “If 3 were…, I would be having…”
I didn’t intend to start any logical argument with the post. I was simply asking the question about the possibility where my understanding of your argument could have been true without making any definite conclusion. That is why I wrote above that it was more of English problem than logical one.
Thank you for suggesting that I should take introductory logic course. But I am not sure any introductory logic course would help me in this case. Maybe something like modal logic would help in this case. As you know very well, most introductory logic courses cover just propositional logic and little bit of predicate logic. They do not cover any logical issues related to subjunctive mood (or counter factuals). But I did take introductory logic course long time ago. I was also in a philosophy seminar a few years ago. I remember the philosophers there were talking about “justification” using subjunctive mood (counter factuals). But I cannot recall anything about them now except the word “subjunctive mood”.
Contrary to what you think about me, I am not an angry man. I guess the only time I get mad is when the yellow light beats me by less than a second. To be honest, I also get frustrated when my son proves to me again and again that he is not a wonder boy that I believe he is. I do not hate anybody. I do have some people whom I don’t like of course (you would understand this). I don’t like people who walk around naked on the street with no fur coat on their body. I almost hate the Japanese leaders who visit war shrine to pay respect to the war criminals buried there. They remind me of UBF leaders who enshrined Dr. Samuel Lee in UBF system in the form of Dr. Samuel Lee’s spiritual legacy. But please don’t get me wrong. I DO NOT hate any UBF leaders. I DO NOT hate anybody in UBF. I DO NOT HATE DR. SAMUEL LEE. In fact I love them. I love them all in Jesus. Well there was one guy I didn’t like. This guy shared testimony on one Friday. I still remember what he said in his testimony. He said that he used to prepare his 1-to-1 Bible study material using “other” Bible commentaries. But then all his sheep ran away or didn’t grow. Then he “repented” his proud mind and made the decision of faith to deny his own “ideas”. So during 1-to-1 Bible study with his sheep, he just read DR. SAMUEL LEE’s manuscripts to his sheep. Then all of sudden, his sheep started to grow! Many people in the meeting shouted ‘amen!’ and Dr. Samuel Lee said that this guy’s maturity was at the level of a Saint. But this saint guy really ruined my appetite that I had to go to bed that night without eating dinner. Anyway I still love him.
Someone might ask, “Why do you then post all these negative opinions about UBF?” Let me answer this question with another question? Why do you rebuke your sheep? I criticize UBF with the same reason you would rebuke your sheep. I criticize Dr. Samuel Lee with the same reason you would rebuke your sheep. Do you rebuke your sheep because you hate him? I do not believe so.
I forgot to say one more thing. I do not have any ambition to take away your blog readers to make them read RSQUBF website. The reason I posted links to RSQUBF site was only to support my arguments and to just refer to what was already discussed without repeating it here. Remember that I also posted links to UBF website and other websites too. One reason I posted the link in my previous post was to argue that the meaning of discipling in Mat 28:19 should be discussed fully before just go ahead and DO discipling. Another reason was that the meanning of discipling should be understood fully in biblical context with no “preconceived” idea influenced by Dr. Samuel Lee’s spiritual legacy. I don’t understand when UBFers like BrianK say 1-to-1 was Jesus’ way or 1-to-1 was Jesus’ only way etc.. I don’t see that in the Bible.
What is in the Bible and what is interpreted from the Bible are two different things. We only hope that they conincide.
You are right – there is a need in discipleship. It is true for US, it is true for Russia and for any other country.
UBF is good in commitment. But is this commitment good? Moon’s cult members have the commitment that exceeds the commitment of UBF members. Does it mean that Moon’s cult is better in discipleship than UBF? I don’t think you agree.
It is sad that you did not consider Chris’ comments but only count them. I have the same experiences, even he was in Heidelberg UBF, but I was in Moscow UBF. It seems you do not want to hear real stories. So let me give you one more “point”.
Do you know that your new UBF friend who recently went to open new ministry in Boston is the man who brought a woman to a clinic for abortion by the order of Samuel Lee? If not, have a look at this: http://ubf-info.de/int/ref3/jimmyrhee2000.en.htm. Will you ask Mark why he obeyed Samuel Lee even in that situation?
You know that “through obedience to man we learn to obey God” remains the key principle of UBF-discipleship till very present day?
And NOBODY in UBF teaches about danger of this principle. N-o-b-o-d-y.
I do not want to attack you personally. But you have made statements that can influence somebody to join this dangerous organization.
You spent some time with some UBF leaders and stated that “Such a movement of God’s Spirit is still our real hope for major change in America”.
I spent 12 years in UBF as active member and can state that UBF is a biblical cult that is good in manipulation and mind control but NOT in Jesus’ discipleship.
Time and finally God will show us who was right.
God bless you.
In the early Christian church the Christians were accused of burning Rome, practicing cannibalism,practicing human scarifice, being against Roman. How many innocent Christians were executed in the first century. What are the new accusations against Christians in this generation? Is it not “cult”, “authoritarian” “abortionists”? Thank God there are laws or many would have sincere Christians thrown to the lions if they could.
It was also Christians persecutiing Christians during the Inquisition. Let’s obey Jesus’ command and love one another.
You who are writing as former UBF members keep citing the same things over and over and then you tell me I do not listen to your concerns. I have listened and I have told you what I think. You simply do not agree with my conclusions and now want to keep correcting me no matter how I write or what I write.
You stopped listening to my points long ago and now simply insist that everyone agrees with you that UBF is completely and positively evil, a Moon-like cult group. To compare them to the ministry of Sun Myung Moon is ludicrous and this is one reason why you will not be heard by following this approach. (Moon would never allow his leaders, and the children of his leaders, to attend Wheaton Grad School I assure you!)
I have been seeking to “hear” you but your insistent way of arguing has missed me the more you argue in this manner. I guess we will simply have to leave room for the judgment of God and do what “Concerned” urges us to do in his two well-written comments today.
I think his last comment reveals very much about Mr. Armstrong. First he complained “I can only urge you to read my words as they are”. Then when Andrew wrote a comment mentioning the Moon cult, Armstrong answered:
“You stopped listening to my points long ago and now simply insist that everyone agrees with you that UBF is completely and positively evil, a Moon-like cult group.”
That’s so idiotic. Andrew did not even compare UBF with Moon, he just explained that commitment in itself is no sure sign that somethnig is good, it can also exist in evil cults such as the Moonies. That was all Andrew said. Neither did Andrew or any of us claim that “UBF is completely and positively evil”.
At the same time, Mr. Armstrong praised an anonymous guy who compared criticism of UBF with persecution of the Christians by Nero.
So, while Mr. Armstrong urges others to read his words as they are, he does not heed this when commenting other people. I think he showed that he is not only “intellectually weak, plus psychological”, but also “arrogant, partial and hypocritical”. A fitting qualification for a UBF apologist.
And I can assure you that was my last comment here. My time is too precious to waste it for such nonsense.
Your response again shows your spirit I am afraid. Let each person decide as they are persuaded in their own conscience. We stand or fall to our own Maker, not to each other. It is best to cease this as I urged before. You noted you would stop posting and then did it twice more. I leave to my readers to judge for themselves what they will make of this debate/discussion.
THE PRIORITY OF FOLLOWING JESUS
 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”
 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Jesus Christ comes before everything. Nothing in my past life gave me any lasting peace or satisfaction. I was always looking, searching; all my vain attempts to be noticed, appreciated, loved, or respected, ended in ashes. I’ve had it all – marriage, kids, house, car, & job security – & lost it all through, sin. My purpose in life is to proclaim the kingdom of God, without looking back on my past life. I am a sinner who deserves to go to hell but Jesus has delivered me from my inequities, through his death on the cross. His love lasts forever. I was lost but was found by Jesus. I love Jesus, so much. Oh! Merciful Jesus! Praise the Lord!!
Peace Be With You
Dear Dr. Armstrong,
i am a coworker of UBF Heidelberg (Germany). My dad told me that you are a very powerful speaker. With great interest i have listened to your talks, which have been posted at the UBF website.
First of all i wanted to thank you for sharing your deep insights. It is my dying wish to obey Jesus’ command to make disciples and to become a useful preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I found your talks to be extremely helpful and very inspiring.
I was wondering where i could get more useful information about effective evangelism in our times. Could you recommend any helpful books?
Thank you very much and God bless your service!