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Suffering and Punishment 
9th-Nov-2005 10:57 pm
Mr. Lee’s unbiblical theology on suffering and punishment

There were three medical doctors. They came as UBF missionaries to Chicago. But when their commander arrived, they all ran away so as not to suffer in doing the work of God. The leader was unhappy about them and did not bless them. Then soon one of the doctors, who was an anaesthesiologist, overdosed a patient for an operation and the patient died. So he lost his medical doctor’s license. Now he is running a grocery store very poorly. Another one, influenced by American relativism, cursed the servant of God. Then he left UBF. After several years, he was in a severe car accident. His body was totally crushed and his hands and feet were paralyzed. The third one got a proper job. But he has rheumatism in his right leg and in his left hand. He suffers day and night. All these events happened when they took God’s word lightly. This is to say that when we obey God’s word, God blesses us; when we disobey, God does not bless us.
Comments 
10th-Nov-2005 05:04 am (UTC)
Mr. Samuel Lee again preaches false view on suffering and God’s punishment. Here he claims that God afflicted great suffering on the three medical doctors who left UBF. He claims that God did not bless them when they left UBF. He says this based on the tragic sufferings they went through. His reasoning goes like this:

1. Mr. Lee was not happy about them and did not bless them.
2. They left UBF.
3. Soon, one lost his medical doctor’s license
4. Another had a terrible car accident
5. The third one suffers from rheumatism day and night.
6. All these events are terrible sufferings.
7. Sufferings are not God’s blessings.
8. Therefore God did not bless them when they left UBF.

First, what he really wants to say is that 3, 4 and 5 are the consequences of 1 and 2. He is implying that they suffered greatly when he did not bless them. When he did not bless them, God did not bless them either. At this point, he may as well tell UBF people that they need to get his blessing first if they really want to get God’s blessing. They’d better obey him blindly if they don’t want to go through the terrible sufferings. So is this message about Matthew 21:1-11 or about his authority to bless and not to bless people? Why is it necessary to talk about his blessing in this passage? What is the main point of this message? It is his authority. There is Jesus in his message and there is also Mr. Samuel Lee and his authority in the message too. Therefore we cannot say that this message is gospel message but a message of his own theology based on his own authority.

Second, his point on 7: Sufferings are not God’s blessings. It is true that God uses sufferings to punish his people that they might repent their sins. From this fact, can we say that all sufferings are God’s punishment? No. It is not true that every suffering is God’s punishment. For example, Job suffered a lot. His friends thought that he was suffering because God was punishing him for his sins. But it turned out that they were wrong. Job was not suffering because God was punishing him for his sins. Another example is the early Christians. They didn’t suffer much because God was punishing them. So we can say that not all sufferings are God’s punishment.

Then, is it the case that no sufferings are God’s punishment? No. It is not the case that there is no suffering that is God’s punishment. Just consider the people of Israel. God brought tremendous amount of sufferings on them to punish them for their idol worship. God brought great sufferings on men through the great flood to punish them for their violence.

So what can we say now? We can say that Mr. Lee’s theology on suffering and punishment does not accurately depict the biblical view on suffering and God’s punishment. He thought that the three doctors were punished by God because they suffered greatly after their departure from UBF. He cannot say that because his view is exactly the one Job’s friends took about Job’s suffering. In fact the Bible teaches us that God brings us suffering with a good purpose. In this case sufferings are very good for us. St. Paul said that sufferings are good because it builds in us Christ-like characters. When we go through suffering, we must know that God has a very good purpose for it. Consider Joseph's suffering in Genesis. Consider even Jesus' suffering. That is also what had happened to Job. Therefore Mr. Lee’s reasoning displayed in this message on suffering and punishment is not biblically sound. He develops the unbiblical doctrine of suffering and punishment only to strengthen his authority to control UBF people so that they may never leave UBF.

(Reply to this)
10th-Nov-2005 10:20 am (UTC)
Actually, UBF has not theology of suffering. They don't have a theology of anything. If a high UBF leader suffers, or even if he dies under strange circumstances (take the example of Mr. Lee himself), then UBF would never call it God's punishment. Mr. Lee wrote in many of his letters about his illness, pneumonia or things like that. He never indicated that it could be God's suffering. So many UBF members lost their jobs and things like that. Instead of calling it God's punishment, they speak about how they are bearing these burdens for the sake of God. But as soon as anybody is critical of UBF, as soon as he is considered an "enemy of UBF" or even only "disobedient", it is explained as punishment. So UBF has no consistent theology here, as in every other area. They like ad hoc explanations in the respective situation, always from the view of UBF, but never from a neutral view.

This passage was not about a theology of blessing or suffering. It was about instilling a *superstition* into members, "magical thinking". Once this seed is sawn, it is very difficult to make people get rid of these believes again. Many people know UBF is bad but they believe if they ever leave UBF or lose the blessing of the leader, they will have an accident or their life will become tragic. Many of the members, particularly the Korean have very supersititious beliefs, maybe even coming from their culture of Shamanism. It is nearly always *fear* what the leaders are playing with. But the Bible says many things about the spirit of fear, how it is contrary to the spirit of the Gospel and contrary to love (1Jo4:18).

I once wrote about the problem that was UBF actually calls "faith" is in reality "magical thinking." It is not faith in the meaning of the Bible.

Also, please don't take everything in these stories for true. It is usually exaggerated or even imaginary. Lee sometimes repeated these stories in his Sermon a year later, and every year it was repeated became more extreme. These stories are not about telling real stories, but just about implanting fear and superstition.
10th-Nov-2005 04:07 pm (UTC)
On skimming through the exceprt of Mr. Lee's message again, I found out that I forgot to mention about this underlined part: All these events happened when they took God’s word lightly.

By just considering the context of his message, what does he try to imply with God's word? It seems to me that he is trying to imply that his word is God's word! So what we have here is this: his blessing is God's blessing; his word is God's word; so he is God???
10th-Nov-2005 10:13 pm (UTC)
Good observation. And here we see also another UBF trick: UBF leaders would never *directly* claim things like "my word is God's word"; at least not in public or in the Sunday sermons. They say these very things *indirectly*, either between the lines or it follows as a logical consequence of the passage as in this case. Very clever. UBF's teaching is always indirect and between the lines. If they would say it directly, it would be immediately recognized as strange or ridiculous; but if they say it indirectly, it is usually swallowed.
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