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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.
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