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UBF and Bible languages 
17th-Nov-2005 09:43 am
I suddenly thought about two questions that I think haven’t been discussed so far:

First, UBFers (leaders, shepherds, missionaries) unwillingness to learn the Biblical languages. How does this go together? They claim to be “Bible teachers” for intellectual students. Yet they refuse learning the Biblical languages. Every UBF member says he/she loves Jesus and wants to give his/her whole life for “Bible study” and teaching students the Bible. Yet they refuse learning even a little bit of the original languages of the Bible, spoken by Jesus himself.

We all admit that not every Christian needs to be an expert in Greek and Hebrew. But of those who claim to be Bible teachers and want to give their whole lives for teaching the Bible should have at least some interest in these languages, shouldn’t they? Just think of Martin Luther. His whole life would be unthinkable if he didn’t knew the languages. They were the clue for his translation and understanding of the Bible. (He wouldn’t have needed to study them, the Latin Bible already existed and he understood Latin well enough, but nevertheless he studied the languages!) Or shouldn’t at least SOME people in such a University Bible group study at lease SOME of the principles of the languages? But the fact is that literally NOBODY in UBF cares for the languages to ANY extent. They take so much time for their “Bible study,” wouldn’t be a little bit invested in learning the languages of the Bible be helpful? Even if it would help only a little bit, wouldn’t it be worthwhile? Remember that they (claim to!) believe that the Bible is God’s word more firmly than other Christian and that they claim to be “God’s servants” and interpreters of God’s word for other people much more firmly than any other Christian leader. But they don’t even know the languages the Bible was written in.

For instance, my chapter leader didn't work at all in the last years. His only job during the week was to write the Sunday sermon, and he claimed he took it so seriously. Still he didn't even strive to learn the languages, though he had so much time. He had so much time that he would regularly read the (Korean) newspapers in his office room. But he did not even have a book about the Bible languages in his office.

Why is there this unwillingness and disinterest towards the Biblical languages? I have some ideas, but I would like to open the discussion first. It may help us to understand the mind of UBFers a little bit better.
17th-Nov-2005 05:11 pm (UTC) - sum total of bad ubf Bible study
This is a very good question, as is the other one about the totally scripted message delivery.

For the Bible language problem. To me, this is just one result of their bad approach to Bible study and everyday life. It kinda goes in a huge circle. Intellectual capactiy is not the issue. The issue is a conscious decision by ubf to not properly equip their people.

They want to keep the Bible study itself at a dumbed down level, where no student of theirs ever becomes knowledgeable and self sufficient. The person above should always appear to know God and the Bible more closely than the recruits, so no recruit is ever immersed in rigorous Bible study. The recruits are only immersed in all kinds of ubf activities. The main ubf Bible study activity of writing the testimony is actually not a time of Bible learning, it is only a time of reinforcing the ubf themes and ubf slogans imbedded in the lesson.

There are lots of phenomena that come alongside this, but I think the over-riding theme is to make the recruits eternally dependant, never able to do anything by themselves or for themselves.

Anyway, just one person's opinion.

18th-Nov-2005 01:14 am (UTC) - Re: sum total of bad ubf Bible study
"The issue is a conscious decision by ubf to not properly equip their people. ... They want to keep the Bible study itself at a dumbed down level, where no student of theirs ever becomes knowledgeable and self sufficient."

Nick, you're using the right words.

I also agree very much with human12, that Mr. Lee

... murdered the independent thinking in UBF in the name of the world mission and in the name of the Bible study, which I think amounts to the same as murdering a soul in a person.

I think we all feel that our soul had be kind of suffocated, raped or killed. It's hard to express. It makes us angry, also angry against ourselves that we allowed others to do that to us, that we stopped to think and judge everything. We were made so "comfortably numb" by UBF, like in a Pink Floyd song title: "I can’t explain, you would not understand.
This is not how I am. I have become comfortably numb." Probably "The Wall" could have been written by a UBF member.
19th-Nov-2005 09:32 pm (UTC) - Re: sum total of bad ubf Bible study
Good topic and comments. I agree. I would also add that ubf "killed" any EXPRESSION of independent thought also. Anyone who disagreed with them was considered "unspiritual" or did not have "faith". There are so many bibilical words they use which do not have proper meaning. And to correct or challenge them, meant "training".

In the book, "Healing Spiritual Abuse" there is one paragraph that said it so well:

"As we shall see, the most committed believers are often the most vulnerable to abusive religion. But as the Berks say, "The Gospel means life to those who are spiritually dead. The Shepherding movement has increasingly brought spiritual death to those who were once spiritually alive"

When I read that, I thought, that pretty much summed up my experience in ubf. Thank God, since leaving ubf, I have experienced spiritual renewal and recovery.
21st-Nov-2005 07:16 am (UTC) - Re: sum total of bad ubf Bible study
"that we stopped to think and judge everything. We were made so "comfortably numb" by UBF,"

Actually Chris, I don't think this statement is true for me. I did think and judge things. In fact, it was because I did think and question things that I was personally attacked. I am not sure I know what word to use to describe it, but "comfortably numb" does not fit.
21st-Nov-2005 10:43 am (UTC) - Re: sum total of bad ubf Bible study
Ok, I also had this experience. Whenever I started to think, judge or do things on my own according to my own conscience, I was personally attacked and got into troubles. But that's how you learn to stop doing these things. If you stop asking questions and simply obey, it is very "comfortable". You don't need ot make decisions on your own, you don't need to be responsible for what you are doing any more. Plus, you are appretiated and recognized in the UBF community. Life is a lot easier in UBF if you stop thinking and simply do what they want you to do. Most members over time live in this state of mind after a while, because otherwise you cannot bear the dissonance, particularly if you are harmony addicted as many members are.

If you really would think and judge every day in UBF, you would soon get so many troubles that you could only leave. You learn to switch off this critical thinking with the rationalization that UBF is "God's ministry". That's what I meant with "comfortably numb."
21st-Nov-2005 07:41 pm (UTC) - Re: sum total of bad ubf Bible study
How about "comfortably conformed"?
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