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Dr. John Armstrong 
29th-Jan-2007 11:26 pm
The following article by Dr. John Armstrong was posted on UBF website. Dr. Armstrong says the following:

Two things have totally convinced me of the credibility of UBF. First, my own personal relationships with UBF leaders. I have taken the time to get to know Pastor Ron Ward of the Chicago UBF very well. We have shared hours and hours of fellowship over the past twelve months. I know this man and I love his heart for God and for the gospel. He is a sound, humble, and Christ-centered servant. He is willing to admit his mistakes and is personally gracious almost to a fault. I have come to love him and I deeply admire him. When I pursued these charges with Ron he answered them in ways that I found convincing and credible. He admits that there were errors the group made in the past and more things will likely be discovered and need further correction in the future. But Ron seeks to grow and be faithful as a servant of the church. And he is both accountable and genuinely teachable.
30th-Jan-2007 06:49 am (UTC)
Dr. Armstrong claims to know UBF leaders. But his argument to back up the claim seems to be mostly based on one person: Pastor Ron Ward of the Chicago UBF.

My personal impression about his argument is that he seems to be too naive about many fundamental problems of UBF leadership because he was too impressed by UBF zeal for world mission. Dr. Armstrong seems to need to investigate the characteristics of UBF zeal and UBF leaership more carefully.

Most of all, Dr. Armstrong's argument about UBF leadership is too weak. He argues that he knows Pastor Ron Ward of the Chicago UBF ver well. Does he really? Does he know the real position of Pastor Ron Ward in the context of UBF hierarchical structure? Does he even understand how UBF leadership position is structured?

What troubles me about Dr. Armstrong's arguement is that he seems to make a conclusion about UBF power structure based on his acquaintance with Pastor Ron Ward. What he should have done is the other way around: Understand the UBF power structure first and then understand Pastor Ron Ward's role and position in that context. But he seems to have taken easier way and made the conclusion that UBF is ok because Pastor Ron Ward is ok. I claim that Dr. Armstrong does not understand UBF power struture. Pastor Ron Ward is not at the core of UBF power structure is he? Pastor Ron Ward is not the author of the harmful UBF theology is he? Pastor Ron Ward is not the architect of the UBF culture and environment is he?

Dr. Armstrong seems to say that UBF is accountable and teachable because Pastor Ron Ward is accountable and teachable. So I claim that Dr. Armstrong knows nothing about UBF. In UBF everyone is accountable and teachable except John Jun and Dr. Peter Chang and all UBF one-to-one shepherds who are considered equal to God. UBF missionaries have the authority to break up family and any personal relationship.

I think Dr. Armstrong is too naive about UBF and UBF power structure. His argument is too weak to be considered professional. I am very disappointed at the depth of his theological reasoning about UBF. I expected more from a professor from Wheaton College which is considered one of the most prestigious institutions of Christian theology.
30th-Jan-2007 02:39 pm (UTC) - personal testimony about Ron Ward
This use of personal testimony as a type of evidence is not valid. In 12 months Armstrong could not uncover the deceptions, bad motives, bad behaviors of Ward and ubf. He came to a conclusion that ubf and Ward must be good. Is Armstrong not saying, "If I found Ward to be credible, then he is credible"? This is totally a false conclusion. I believe Armstrong is purposely engaging in a logical fallacy called 'argument from personal incredulity'. He is saying that since he did not find evidence that Ward and ubf are not good, ubf and Ward must be good. (Can you say 'simpleton'?) ubf follows this up with a logical fallacy called 'argumentum ad populum' where if everyone decides to believe the ubf story, then it must be true. Then the fact that this group decides to believe a story is the sole evidence presented. Dr. Armstrong, did you ask Ron Ward about Tom Fosler's testimony to learn cold, hard facts about Ward? I think Tom spent considerably more time with Ward then you ever will. That is just one tiny event in more than 25 years of Ward playing ubf, there are hundreds more. I think Armstrong's testimony should be placed in the context of an outside observer who has not seen or experienced ubf, so his testimony is of extremely limited value. It only proves that ubfleaders can fool some of the people some of the time. No student should trust Armtrong's testimony in making a decision to join ubf or other similar groups. I won't mince words on these false endorsements. Don't trust Armstrong's testimony or Ward. I can line up 100 people who will say Ward is a bad guy, a buffoon, a puppet, a horse's behind, a yutz, etc.
30th-Jan-2007 03:07 pm (UTC)
I think such people have no right to say anything about UBF because they do not know UBF from inside. Even if he spends more years with Ward, or even with many other UBF leaders, he will always be treated completely different from the ordinary student recruited by UBF who was to undergo UBF training, arranged marriage and a lot of abuse. What was the purpose of Ward's fellowshipping with Armstrong and their invitation to conferences? It was exactly in order to gain credibility through them. Surely Ward did everything possible to give that impression that UBF was not a cult. What did he expect?

And he did not take any time and effort to speak with UBF critics, but listened only to Ward. With this article he is mocking the many victims of UBF abuse. He did not discuss any of the concrete issues we have with UBF, but makes sweeping statements from his gut feeling with Ward. He is the typical cult apologist. So arrogantly dismissing the testimony of many dropouts and any basic knowledge about cult dynamics. If a young college recruit talks like that, I could understand it. But as a scholar, this is so disgustful.

This makes me so angry. This is heaping hurt on those who have been abused, and enables UBF to abuse more people in the student by giving this abusive group credibility. Shame on you, Mr. Armstrong.
30th-Jan-2007 03:16 pm (UTC) - Post your response
I just posted my response to Dr. Armstrong's ridiculous testimony at his website. There are lots of UBFers posting THANK YOU notes for his courageous effort to defend UBF. I encourage all of you to visit his website and post your response to his testimony too. The website is at http://www.johnharmstrong.com/ Scroll down to Jan. 27th article with title "The Korean Revival and the Ministry of UBF". Then click on "comments" at the bottom of the article to post your response.
30th-Jan-2007 03:22 pm (UTC) - Re: Post your response
was exactly in order to gain credibility through them.

You are exactly right. Remember one of the top objectives of John Jun specified in his inaugural speech was to improve public relations. The UBFers seem to be working very hard to achieve this goal without repenting their sin.
30th-Jan-2007 03:20 pm (UTC) - "three men make a tiger"
Here is an ancient Chinese story that somewhat explains the 'history' of ubf. This is an ancient phenomena that requires three Dr. Armstrongs. Add Ruth Tucker, then one more.

Please cut and paste, as I don't know how to make links.

31st-Jan-2007 02:36 am (UTC)
Thank you Nick and Chris for posting your responses to Dr. Armstrong's article. I think it is very important that we let him know we do not agree with him and find incoherencies in his theological reasoning. Let's hope that he may give more serious thought to his position about UBF. I think it is also important that we post the real issues about the truth of the credibility of UBF system among the disgusting flattery and self-deception among UBF defenders posted on Dr. Armstrong's website. I think there was a person named Fernando who seemed to have posted opinion disagreeing with Dr. Armstrong. But I don't know Spanish. I am guessing because I could find Spanish word like 'abusivos'.
31st-Jan-2007 04:16 am (UTC) - lie detection software
There are several brands of lie detection software on the market. If any ubfleader would like to sit through a session with me, I could ask some salient questions about them and their beliefs and behaviors. IF a ubfleader, whether Korean or American or German, can be honest about anything, that would mean an awful lot. We can make the results public information, and settle these controversies once and for all. Either they are liars or we are liars. Any takers among ubfleaders? Could this great Christian man Ron Ward undergo some quick lie detection interview? I am of the opinion that there is not one honest ubfleader anywhere.
31st-Jan-2007 04:34 am (UTC)
Hi everyone,

There was an ex-member who posted response on Dr. Armstrong's website. The posting seems to me very valid point. I thank God that there is an ex-member who is concerned about the bad influence of UBF system on young people and is willing to have his/her voice heard.


Dear Dr. Armstrong,

I had the opportunity to read your unbiased opinion of the UBF ministry. As a former member of UBF what struck me most were these statements ‘Some feel pressured and can’t live up to these group expectations. Sometimes UBF helps a young person to grow and then the person will feel the need to move on into a different ecclesiastical context in due time.’ What is unclear is that you may be stating that it is ok for Christians to be pressured by men into loving and serving God whereas being compelled by the holy spirit I am a young ex ubfer and therefore I cannot even attest to having a full grasp of theology, that I know you possess but what I do know is what it is like to be a UBFer something you undoubtedly were not privy to see. Most ex members leave the ministry feeling that their faith was being stunted, some were burned out and others are still guilt ridden by their inability not to live up to being imitators of Christ but to the rules of an organization.

At some point Dr. Armstrong I and many were of the deep conviction that our faith was tied to an organization and not to the one who bore our sins on the cross. We devoted our lives and time to what we thought was the work of God, praying that all one to one bible students became UBF disciples. ‘Sometimes UBF helps a young person to grow and then the person will leave’ is the sugar coated version of the truth any other church in the eyes of UBF is not a true Christian church the hope (not the lip service) is that all follow the path of becoming a shepherd, fish on campus and raise a specified number of disciples on University campuses. Leaving UBF is not a welcomed option a good church will pray for their members and ask God to bless them wherever he leads them this is not the same of UBF. You also missed out on the over emphasis on numbers but that may easily go under the radar if you did not have the opportunity to meet the well intentioned rank and file member or ex member. These are not issues from ten years ago these are the problems that exist today. I think that maybe if you had stripped away all the titles and success and spent a day in the shoes of the lowly UBF member your opinion of the UBF ministry I pray would have been different.

Thank you for your time
Young Christian

31st-Jan-2007 04:54 am (UTC)
Please take a close look at the following claim by Dr. Armstrong.

"This seems especially odd given the fact that they have openly charged UBF with violating Scripture but then never made even the slightest overture to follow a biblical pattern for resolving the problems they sited to me, preferring to contact me and others through intermediaries."

What is he trying to say here? We who are trying to expose the problems in UBF are bad guys who “never made even the slightest overture to follow a biblical patter for resolving the problems”? This is literally a slap in our face! THIS IS NOT FAIR!

Dear Dr. Armstrong, I am so sorry that our experience with UBF did not prove to be as fortunate as yours. Was it because we were not good enough as you? Was it because we didn’t try hard enough as you?

What should we have done to resolve the problems following a biblical pattern? I wish you could tell us what to do. Why? Because when we tried to talk to the UBF leaders about the problems, they called us "Satan" as many Korean pastors do in Korea; when we tried to talk to the UBF leaders about the problems, they called us "rebels"; when we tried to talk to the UBF leaders about the problems, they said "If you don’t like how we do it, you can go." Then finally John Jun, one of the good UBF leaders Dr. Armstrong you refer to, expelled all reform-minded members which was almost the half of the total UBF members condemning them as second-class Christians who compromised their absolute faith in Jesus with their worldly desires.

So I am personally very curious to know how you maintain very good relationship with UBF leaders. Please give us word of wisdom so that we can try to resolve the problems with the UBF leaders by following a biblical pattern.

**NOTE: I posted the above article on Dr. Armstrong's website but the links to the various documents did not show up. So I ended up posting it here again and posted a note on Dr. Armstron's website to refer to this site.
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