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God's sign in UBF 
13th-Dec-2006 10:05 pm
The following is an excerpt from Mark Yang’s testimony posted on the Anamgol website. He presented his thanksgiving topics for this year. His first thanksgiving topic is that he believes that “it was God but not him who sent him as a missionary.”


“저는 미국 비자 인터뷰를 할 때 내가 선교사로 가는 것이 아니라 하나님께서 친히 보내 주는 것임을 알도록 하나님께 싸인을 구했습니다. 당시에 제가 미국 비자를 받는 것은 쉽지 않은 상황이었기 때문에 만일 영사가 까다롭게 굴지 않고 흔쾌히 비자를 통과시켜 주시면 하나님께서 친히 보내 주는 것임을 알겠다고 하였습니다. 하나님은 저희에게 분명하게 싸인을 보여 주심으로 저희를 사명의 땅으로 보내시는 분이 하나님이심을 알도록 하셨습니다. 저는 이 사실을 깨달았을 때 너무 기뻤습니다.”

“When I was having visa interview at the USA embassy, I asked God for a sign that it was not I but God who was sending me as a missionary. Since at that time the circumstances were not favorable for me to get the visa, I said to God that I would take it as a sign from him that he was sending me as a missionary if the consul granted me the visa without any difficulty. God showed the sign clearly and let me know that it was God who was sending me as a missionary. I was so glad when I learned this.”
14th-Dec-2006 04:18 am (UTC)
According to Mark Yang, he knows that it was God who sent him as a missionary because he saw/experienced a sign from God. There are three major points in his reasoning.

1. Getting the visa was very unfavorable.
2. He decided that a successful visa interview would be God’s sign.
3. The visa interview was successful.
4. So it must have been God who sent him as a missionary.

But I am sure that when he was a director at the Anamgol UBF, he must have told his sheep to keeping on trying again and again to get the visa by any means if he was denied at first try. But that is not the concern about Mark Yang’s reasoning. The concern is about “knowing God’s sign”. I think Mark Yang’s theology about “knowing God’s sign” is very questionable. Of course we should respect “personal experience” in “knowing God’s sign”. But “personal experience” cannot be the only consideration in determining “God’s sign”. It should also accompany reasonable degree of theological “certainty” to know God’s sign. Otherwise any kind of personal experience would be God’s sign! I think Mark Yang’s experience of God’s sign is too personal. He says, “만일 영사가 까다롭게 굴지 않고 흔쾌히 비자를 통과시켜 주시면 하나님께서 친히 보내 주는 것임을 알겠다고 하였습니다 (I said to God that I would take it as a sign from him that he was sending me as a missionary if the consul granted me the visa without any difficulty.)”

The most obviously controversial part of this kind of knowledge of God’s sign is that a person who is seeking God’s sign is setting his own criteria of God’s sign. For example, Mark Yang’s position about God’s sign in his personal life is that he had already decided what would be used as a God’s sign for him. In this case he decided that he would take it as God’s sign if the visa interview was successful. This kind of theology is too personal and arbitrary. Setting the criteria for God’s sign should be based on the Bible. Personal experience should be guided by good theology. Personal experience together with sound theology could determine whether something is a God’s sign. One cannot just say that he would take it as a God’s sign if something happens according to certain way that he has already prescribed on his own.

I am not denying the fact that everything is under God’s control. God is sovereign. I am not denying the fact that it was God who gave Mark Yang the visa. But the problem is that Mark Yang is claiming that it was God’s sign of sending him as a missionary. Why is this a problem? Well why didn’t Mark Yang take the unfavorable circumstances as God’s sign that he was not sending him as a missionary? What disqualifies the unfavorable conditions to get the visa as God’s sign that God is not sending Mark Yang as a missionary when getting the visa under the unfavorable conditions is qualified as God’s sign that God is sending Mark Yang as a missionary?

Therefore again the need for the systematic topical Bible study of knowing God’s sign arises. But in UBF, personal experience is guided/controlled by one-to-one shepherd or a chapter director. UBF leaders disregard the need for the topical Bible study in order to preserve Dr. Samuel Lee’s legacy of expositional Bible study. It seems that Mark Yang and the Anamgol messenger who wrote a message on Ten Commandments are suffering from the same kind of failure in theological reasoning. I think maybe it is related to UBF Bible study methodology. Too much emphasis on copying Dr. Samuel Lee’s messages and the expositional Bible study—in fact UBF Bible study is not qualified to be called expositional Bible study—hinder UBF shepherds from evaluating their own Bible study in logical and systematic way. Moreover UBF culture does not encourage critical evaluation of its own messages which is mostly based on Dr. Samuel Lee’s theology.

Can any UBF shepherd address the issues raised in this post biblically? I don't think so. The UBF shepherds will just say, "Just respect Mark Yang" or "Repent your human thinking" or "You are a satan!" So all they do is just boolsheetting with authority, which they consider very very spiritual.
16th-Dec-2006 09:34 pm (UTC)
UBF defenders like Dr. Joseph Schafer and Dr. Joseph Ahn might argue that Mark Yang did nothing wrong because the apostles and the early saints also used casting lots to know God's sign. But what Mark Yang did does never measure up to what the apostles and the saints did.

Suppose a person flips a coin to decide whether he should go out as a missionary. He prays to God saying "if a head, you are sending me as a missionary; if a tail, you are not sending me." Can we say that what this person is doing is basically the same as what the apostles and the saints did? I don’t think so. I don’t think any pastor would encourage a person to flip a coin to decide whether to go out as a missionary or not. What Mark Yang did is not much different from flipping a coin to seek God’s sign.

In a soccer game, they flip a coin to decide which team would get the chance to kick off the game first. This practice is thought to ensure fairness. Flipping a coin in a soccer game is also much different from tossing a coin to decide whether to go out as a missionary. This would require more rigorous study to clearly elaborate the difference. But one difference is that flipping a coin in a soccer game is an agreement between two different parties to settle an important matter by making sure that both parties are given the fair chance. But flipping a coin to make a decision before God does not have this agreement between two different parties.

When we read Acts chapter 1 carefully, we see how apostles and the saints ran their church. We clearly know that Peter was the leader appointed by Jesus. Peter saw a problem in the church and he presented the problem to the congregation. But Peter did not implement his own solution by using his authority. Verse 23 reads, “So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.” It was not Peter who came up with the proposals for the solution. It was “they” who came up with the two proposals for the solution. Now compare this process to Dr. Samuel Lee’s methodology: “Obey the servant of God absolutely!”. We see that this is not what the apostles and the saints did. Peter helped the congregation to come up with their “own” solution to the problem. Compare again this to the UBF Anamgol teaching, “Respect your UBF one-to-one shepherd who equal to God!”

Going back to the passage, since there were two very good proposals for the solution, Peter might have used his tie-braking authority to pick one that he liked most. But amazingly Peter did not do that. Peter agreed to the idea of casting lots! Since the passage says “Then they cast lots…”, casting lots probably was the congregation’s idea too. So where is Peter and his authority in this whole process? This picture of the early church is very sharply different from UBF hierarchical structure and the idea of respecting one’s one-to-one shepherd absolutely. So we see that UBF is not biblical organization. UBF is a cult!!

The process that the apostles and the saints used in the early church was very spiritual and democratic. I think their method was more sophisticated and democratic than that of modern day democracy. There was no influence from lobbyists and pressure from special interest groups. Thus I think 100% justice and fairness was possible in the early church just like the kingdom of God. If this is the picture of the kingdom of heaven, I don’t think we will have one-to-one shepherd in the kingdom of heave. If we strive to imitate the early churches, we can clearly say that UBF strives to imitate the exact opposite of the early churches.

When we consider all these scenarios, we cannot but conclude that what the apostles and the saints did was not simply like flipping a coin to settle a matter. So how can UBF defenders argue that what Mark Yang did is the same as what the apostles and the early saints did? I cannot but conclude that these UBF defenders do not know the Bible at all!
16th-Dec-2006 09:40 pm (UTC)
There was some mistakes in the previous post. So I corrected them. Someone said that the apostles and the saints in Acts chapter 1 should not be considered a church because it was before the coming of the Holy Spirit. After the coming of the Holy Spririt, there is no mention of the early church's casting lots to settle a matter, he says. But I was thinking that the congregation at Jerusalem before the Pentecost was a church in prayer to receive the Holy Spirit.
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