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UBF=God 
7th-Jan-2006 03:47 pm
Dilbert
The "UBF=God" equation is really at the heart of the whole UBF calamity.

It stands short for the following beliefs:

UBF is "God's ministry"
UBF leaders are "servants of God"
UBF leaders convey the will of God to you
UBF leaders' commands to you are God's commands to you
UBF leaders' orientation is God's orientation for your life
You need to obey UBF leaders as you would obey God
Training by UBF leaders is training by God
etc.

What is "faith" in UBF? Actually it is faith in "UBF=God."

I think this problem deserves its own thread.
In the comment section I will explain more.
Comments 
7th-Jan-2006 02:48 pm (UTC)
First, why do UBF members believe "UBF=God"?

I already gave some reasons in a different thread,
but I want to repeat and extend because it is so important:

1) By a false inductive conclusion:

Because people see many things which are or at least appear to be godly, and see that God works in UBF, they generalize that UBF=God. They don't see the fact that a lot of ungodly things happen behind the scenes and that God can also work in an ungodly environment. Or with other words: A church can be godly in some aspects, but very ungodly in others (see all the letters of the NT, and revelation).

2) Because of the repeated indoctrination:

All of UBF's 1:1 teachings, messages and testimonies base on the axiom that UBF=God. If you hear this nearly every day over years, it simply becomes a part of your subconscious. If you repeat a statement often enough, you start to believe it is a fact.

Take any UBF sogam or life testimony. You will notice that where you expect "UBF", "God" is placed. It is always "God did this" and "God did that" when UBFers talk about what UBF did to them. This way the equation "UBF=God" soon gets a part of the members' subconscious. (On the other hand, if friends or parents or you self do something, then it's "Satan").

3) Because of having been invited by UBF:

Many members have been invited by UBF when they were sitting in a desperate mood in the dormitory. Some had even just thought "if only God would interfere into my life" or things like that, when the missionaries knocked on their door. Therefore, they believe this invitation was a supernatural, miraculous sign that God has chosen UBF as the instrument to save them, and in the following only UBF is the path to God as well. This is again a false inductive conclusion. Also, they ignore the fact that UBF members actually knocked on nearly *all* doors of the dormitory. You will always find somebody who is just desperate, particularly among students. It would be rather miraculuous if you would not find anybody, if you knock enough doors.

Sarah Hong once frankly explained to me that to get one Bible study candidate, you simply have to invite 100 students. It's actually probability calculus, but from the view of the person invited it is like a miracle. The following love bombing does its share to make the new recruit believe angels from heaven have knocked on his/her door.

4) Because of emotional experiences in UBF:

While the last factor affects the recruited members most, this aspect also affects the 2nd gens. It is undeniable that many members have very emotional, personal, touching spiritual experiences during conferences or Bible studies. Everybody is sure this is an encounter with God and the Holy Spirit, even if this is often dubious. If you feel emotionally high and feel close to God, this can be only a feeling and must not mean that God is really happy about you. But let us assume this is really God and the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. I will not deny that this cannot happen in UBF as well. But from here, the false inductive conclusions follow again: If the Holy Spirit dwelled and worked in me during a UBF conference, UBF must me "God's ministry". So: No questions and criticism of UBF allowed, "UBF=God" reaffirmed. I noticed that this thinking is really at the core of the 2nd gens motivation to defend UBF.

I also often heard the following argumentation: "Would you deny that I can feel the Holy Spirit as well? Do you think I am not born again? Do you think I am lost because I am in UBF?" This is of course a rhetorical question and they get very upset about this, because salvation in UBF is unsure enough anway. And I assume that many of them are really born again. If you admit this, then follows: "So where's the problem (since UBF is an organization that produces born again people)?" A lot of fallcies are in this conclusion: The Holy Spirit is the one who does it, not UBF; the problem is not with these 2nd gens, but with the organization; the end does not justify the means; and last not least the question is not only whether they are born again but whether they will mature or become corrupt or dependent Christians.
8th-Jan-2006 06:35 am (UTC) - Christians also get caught in that web.
3) Because of having been invited by UBF:

Many members have been invited by UBF when they were sitting in a desperate mood in the dormitory. Some had even just thought "if only God would interfere into my life" or things like that, when the missionaries knocked on their door.


Previously churched Christians also unfortunately get caught in this net of "having been miraculously invited by UBF." It happens too often. I've heard this in too many of their sogams. More than the unbelieving student, it's the young Christian student who is looking for a "Bible study" group to join on campus. When they meet UBF they think it's an "answer to prayer." In this way, they get sucked into a group that gradually tries to subvert the gospel that they believed before they joined UBF.
9th-Jan-2006 01:25 am (UTC) - Re: Christians also get caught in that web.
I was also desperate when I was fished in to UBF. I grew up with no friends at school and a miserable family life. The only way I survived my high school years was through the love and support of my church youth group. However, since they were a group for high school students, I was unable to stay in the group after I graduated. When I met Teddy Hembekides on the OSU campus in June 1982 and started going to 1:1 and group Bible study with him, I thought I had found a group like the church youth group. It wasn't until I had been there a year or that I began to see behind the love and concern with which I had been initially greeted. Even after beginning to see what was really going on, it took me another seven years to reach the point where I finally decided to leave for good. And, unfortunately, along the way I recruited my younger sister into the group. Thank God she left on her own a couple of years after I left permanently in June 1992.
8th-Jan-2006 04:54 pm (UTC)
I also often heard the following argumentation: "Would you deny that I can feel the Holy Spirit as well? Do you think I am not born again? Do you think I am lost because I am in UBF?"

This question is horrible.
For one, it blames you for being spiritually too blind to recognize the other's spiritual condition (which UBF leaders claim to know very well for their "sheep"), trying to put you into a spiritually inferior position. If you swallow this pill, they've got you in "second row".
Two, it blames you for lacking discernment on spiritual issues. If you swallow that pill, the discussion is closed, what does someone without discernment have to say?
Third, it's begging the question. They make a lot of assumptions and claim that those things follow from the permise. It only works if you follow their path of logic. It also puts the burden on you to make a ton of long-winded explanations when all that happened was they make a few assumptions.
If you eat this pill, you're in for a tedious discussion that gets you off on endless rabbit trails. Even if you make all your points well, you'll be spending at least half an hour before you can get back to the issue of UBF, and by that time, they can claim to have lost focus or needing to get on...

A simple suggestion here would be to just turn the pitchfor back at the wielder:

"Would you deny that I can feel the Holy Spirit as well? Do you think I am not born again? Do you think I am lost because I am not in UBF?" And then let them answer, because they made the presumption that God and UBF are linked. Let them explain how UBF=God, and you're still born-again. Let them explain how UBF = God, and God works outside UBF. Let them explain how you, being a born-again, spirit-indwelt believer, are worth less than a member of UBF who claims to be exactly level with you.
7th-Jan-2006 02:49 pm (UTC)
Anyway these 4 factors are very very strong. You cannot underestimate their power and infcluence on the people. They are the real reason why UBF members cannot discuss rationally and see the truth and the light. This one axiom "UBF=God" has become more influential and important for their mindset than the truth.

I also said "faith" in UBF is actually faith in the equation "UBF=God".

Let me give some evidence for this proposition.

Take, for example, "marriage by faith". What is marriage by faith? The real UBF marriage by faith is when you marry somebody without having seen him or her before, just because a UBF leader tells you. Where is the aspect of faith here? It is in believing that the arrangement made by the UBF leader is God's will for you. That's the crucial difference between UBF marriage and ordinary marriage. You don't trust God to directly show you a marriage candidate, but you trust that UBF leaders (and only they) convey God's will to you.

Here is another example, taken from a UBF testimony here:
http://rsqubf.fortunecity.net/discuss/archive/kevin_albright_black_sheep.html

"There was a time when I had all black sheep or Chinese sheep or street sheep. Once Dr. Lee gave me a direction to give away my black sheep. Reluctantly I did so. Then God gave me 3 NA boys to study with. Several months ago, Dr. Lee told me to give away my non-student sheep, which meant basically all of them. My spiritual energy was being consumed by an unchanging girl sheep who finished her PhD and never simply accepted the word of God. Dr. Lee sensed my stagnant shepherd life. When I obeyed his direction from my heart, God granted me 5 new sheep in 2 weeks. "

This typical pattern could be called "obedience by faith": You think, according to your ratio, to your Biblical knowledge or to your conscience, a command by a UBF leader is silly, unethical or bad. Then the UBF teaching is "obey him anyway" (http://drchungj.blogspot.com/2005/12/but-obey-him-anyway.html). If you do this, you are considered to have "faith". Faith in what? Faith in UBF=God.
7th-Jan-2006 05:10 pm (UTC)
Dr. Lee sensed my stagnant shepherd life. When I obeyed his direction from my heart, God granted me 5 new sheep in 2 weeks.

What is very disturbing in the testimony by the UBFer is that he claims that when he obeyed Samuel Lee's direction from his heart, God blessed him. What does he mean by "obeyed his direction from my heart"? Is this what is required for any UBF member in UBF? What is more surprising is that he seems to claim this subconsciously without being bothered to further qualify his claim. It seems to come to his mind automatically that Samuel Lee(UBF)=God.

I believe that anyone/anything who can claim our heart is God. So then does he mean that any UBF member must obey UBF system as if he/she obeys God? And if he/she doesn't, God will punish him/her by bringing sufferings? Then we are qualified to say that UBF system has become an idol. What the UBFer wrote in his testimony clearly generates a lot of biblical/theological questions. But the UBFer doesn't seem to be bothered by them.

I think every problem in UBF stems from this kind of unbiblical attitude enforced systematically by UBF leaders. UBF is clearly unbiblical organization because the UBF system is set up to glorify Samuel Lee one person even after he died in a fire. The level of the glorification of Samuel Lee in UBF is not less than the glorification of Kim Jung Ill done by North Korean leaders and than the glorification of Rev. Moon done by Moonies. At the current level of rampant glorificaion of Samuel Lee in UBF, the UBF leaders will soon want to erect a great statue for Samuel Lee. Samuel Lee is God in UBF together with Peter Chang and there are more who are God in UBF. Incidentally they are all Koreans. But please note that most non-UBF Koreans are good human beings who are not God.
7th-Jan-2006 05:16 pm (UTC)
I believe that anyone/anything who can claim our heart is God.

I just want to add that loving our neighbors from our heart is different from obeying UBF system from our heart or loving UBF system from our heart.
7th-Jan-2006 05:30 pm (UTC)
I just want to add that loving our neighbors from our heart is different from obeying UBF system from our heart or loving UBF system from our heart.

Yes. And those people who blindly obey and never criticize do not even really love the system. Lev 19 says (only one verse before the one about loving our neighbour): "Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt." It seems only the UBF reformers have really loved the UBF system...
7th-Jan-2006 05:24 pm (UTC)
Good observation. He created a progression by writing that when he obeyed only reluctantly, he was only blessed a little (3 new sheep), but when he obeyed "from his heart", he was blessed more (5 new sheep).

The problem is here not only that Mr. Lee's advice was unbiblical/unethical. It would be even a problem if the advice would have been a good one, because it teaches that the blessing did not happen because he obeyed God or God's Word or the Holy Spirit, but because he obeyed the advice of Mr. Lee.
7th-Jan-2006 10:53 pm (UTC) - Preach To Whom UBF Commands

Several months ago, Dr. Lee told me to give away my non-student sheep, which meant basically all of them. My spiritual energy was being consumed by an unchanging girl sheep who finished her PhD and never simply accepted the word of God. Dr. Lee sensed my stagnant shepherd life.

This quote exemplifies another problem with equating UBF=God; members allow UBF to determine to whom we preach the gospel. Albright was tired of teaching the Bible to a woman who would not "accept the word of God."

As Christians, we would pray for the woman and allow ourselves to be used by God to preach the gospel to whomever God wants. This is often difficult. It is not always easy to preach the gospel to people different from us and/or who do not seem to care. This would require personal time with God in prayer to decide what to do. However, in UBF, members can just forget about the person who is not white and not a college student. Thus, there is no personal struggle. The Bible clearly reveals that God wanted the early Christians to be open to preaching the gospel to everyone. How did Paul react when he was told to give away his Gentile sheep? Paul proclaimed strongly that the gospel was for Jews and Gentiles. UBF members can just forget about people that God has put in their lives by rationalizing that the UBF leaders told them to "give the sheep away." God never gives up on anyone. God certainly does not want us to ignore people that he placed in our life when an opportunity to preach the gosple arises. But UBF would rather take the easy way out and just fish white sheep.

7th-Jan-2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
I forgot another very strong motivation for people to believe in the equation “UBF=God”:

5) Because it is convenient

What do I mean with this? As we know the Bible defines faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do *not* see.” Therefore faith is a pretty difficult thing. We want to cling to something that we can *see*. Here is where UBF jumps in.

Reading the Bible is difficult, because you have to interpret what you are reading. There are thousands of opinions about the meaning. Whom can I trust? Myself? A certain denomination? Actually, you are challenged to read and think about every Word of God for yourself, and meditate on it in the light of what the rest of the Bible says, and with the help of what our ancestors of faith have already written. But still, you have to compare and read many sources and judge who is right. Even more complex, Luther may have the right teaching in one part, and Calvin in another part, and both may be wrong in a third question.

You can simplify this a lot of you simply assume that UBF’s interpretation is the correct interpretation. No need to read anything else except your leaders’ messages (or Samuel Lee’s which is actually the same). No need for reading various commentaries or forming your own opinion. No need to learn Greek or Hebrew or read about the historic environment. No need to study Church history. No need to read various contemporary interpretations and sermons. Everything becomes so simple. You don’t need to chew; you only need to cud and rehash what others are spoon-feeding you or even spitting pre-chewed into your throat.

Same with obedience. I assume that many ordinary UBF members have the honest desire to show God that they are obeying him. How can you do that? If I put myself under the axiom of UBF=God, then it's very easy. Simply obey whatever the leaders tell you. How can I show I have faith? Again, simply obey. Marry the first one they propose to you.

You don’t want to have an invisible God and an invisible Holy Spirit guiding you. You want a real, visible man to guide you, “God's servant.”

In the end, you can spare a lot of thinking, doubts, decision-making, research, headache and accountability once you swallow the UBF=God equation.

During the reform movement, this was also the easiest way for many. No need to judge whether certain testimonies, reports, suggestions were right or wrong. No need to research and examine. From the beginning, it is already clear that everything can only be malicious slander if the equation UBF=God holds.

Yes, I know, following UBF=God can also be inconvenient. Not only when UBF chose the wrong spouse but also because you have to put yourself under tutelage, you have to incapacitate yourself, you have to let others rule over your life, sometimes abusing you, which can sometimes come close to a mental or spiritual “rape”. Later, after you left UBF, you will hate yourself for having done this, and probably even many inside struggle with it. On the one side they are very “proud that they are so humble”, on the other side, adult people are not made for such slavery and dependence, God wants them to mature and make own decisions and God will judge according to our own decisions only. “I only obeyed orders” was no excuse for the Nazis in the Nürnberg court, and is no excuse for Christians in the final judgement. The question is not whether you had faith in UBF=God, but whether you had faith in the gospel.
8th-Jan-2006 12:11 am (UTC)
Part I

What do I mean with this? As we know the Bible defines faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do *not* see.” Therefore faith is a pretty difficult thing. We want to cling to something that we can *see*. Here is where UBF jumps in.

Reading the Bible is difficult, because you have to interpret what you are reading.


There have been so many questions about the meaning of certainty. I am reading an interesting book by Morris R. Cohen titled “Reason and Nature.” According to him there are different types of certainty: psychological certainty and logical certainty. Psychological certainty is like that you are certain of the existence of your two hands when you see them in front of you. Logical certainty is more like mathematical certainty such as you are certain that the sum of two even numbers is even. They used to talk about the certainty of empirical science such as Newton physics but these days they prefer to use probability rather than certainty after Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle was accepted.

When we study the Bible or when we hear a message based on a passage in the Bible, we should require them to have some degree of certainty based on sound theological certainty. What is the most serious problem with UBF bible study or messages? It is that they lack this certainty. The whole UBF teaching is completely based on one person Samuel Lee’s opinion. His opinion which is not supported by any sound theological certainty is imposed on people in UBF as if it contains divine(?) certainty or as if it is God’s own word. But as we can see very clearly in most of his teachings, his teachings do not deserve the claim of the status of being logically certain or theologically certain. They mostly appeal to psychological certainty as we can see in his horror stories.

Continues in Part II...
8th-Jan-2006 12:11 am (UTC)
Part II

Any type of bible study or Sunday messages must be supported by some degree of theological certainty and logical certainty. We cannot base our faith only on psychological certainty. Faith is not psychological certainty anyway. Faith is based on the word of God. Then clearly we have the question of how we are going to study the word of God so that we can claim some degree of certainty of what we study. Samuel Lee one person cannot answer all the questions regarding the methodology. But UBF has set up the power structure to make everyone believe that Samuel Lee and his methods are the only methodology everyone should follow. If anyone goes against it, he/she is a proud rebel. This clearly is nonsense that should exist only in North Korean regime. That is why Christian theology has been developed: to study how we are going to do this and to know what is considered biblically sound. Since theology itself is not going to be perfect, we also have to investigate theology itself so that we can improve theology to become more bible-centered. So I guess bible study could be very difficult when it is a lot easier to simply obey what is told to do.

That is why we have full-time pastors who devote their full time studying the word of God and prying to God. But in UBF the full-time pastors devote their full time only to glorify Samuel Lee and his theology and devote all their energy to protect the power structure set up by Samuel Lee in UBF against all the “enemies” who “attack” divine(?) UBF system. Since they are having hard time recruiting new members, they now try to force 2nd gens to participate in this divine(?) mission of maintaining the power structure for the glorification of Samuel Lee.

But they must learn from their own history and their own mistakes. They must open their eyes to clearly see why God had to split UBF into two. But again this will be impossible because they do not try to see the spiritual meaning of UBF split. They only see it as the work of rebels, the enemies of divine(?) UBF system who loved easy-going life more than UBF’s divine(?) mission of glorifying Samuel Lee through 1:1 bible study. So they are blind. Maybe I should say that they have become blind by Samuel Lee’s fabricated theology.
8th-Jan-2006 08:51 am (UTC)
And, though they believe Samuel Lee's interpretation is certain, they are not actually aware that it is his interpretation only. They believe that they "simply" study the Bible. They believe that they don't interpolate or extrapolate. They believe that they don't read the Bible selective. They think all other read selective and "interpret", but they only "read and obey". For rhe more intellectual among the members, Samuel Lee has made up the story that he (Lee) had invented what he called "inductive Bible study", the best method to be sure what the Bible really means. Lee officialy explains his idea as to not have any theological system and interpret the Bible in the frame of this system, but let it speak for itself. But the truth is of course completely different. As we know so well, Lee has very well set up a theological system, and the Bible is always read on the background of this system in UBF. What UBF claims and what UBF practices are often diametrically opposite, but still people are fooled by that.
7th-Jan-2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
Actually, the most frightening about this 5th aspect is that it has to do with the “original sin” of wanting to press God in a visible image, which goes against his second commandment. A prototype of this sin can be seen in the story of the Israelites and the golden calf. This is also explained as being the original in Romans: “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” You want something visible, something “at hand” – an image, an organization or a leader.

The problem is also mentioned in Corinthians: “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. ... Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?” And even: “You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face.”

The ex Jehovah’s Witness in the recently mentioned TV talk answered when asked why he willfully gave up his personal freedom in the group: “You loose some freedom, but you gain security.” Everything becomes simple, convenient and secure if you simply follow the principle “UBF=God”. The irony in all of this is that UBF members usually accuse all others of living an “easy-going” or “convenient” life-style. But actually, I think the most convenient and easy-going life style is the one of UBFers. You don’t have to think for yourself, you only have to follow the UBF=God dictum. “Simply obey him anyway...”.
7th-Jan-2006 11:49 pm (UTC) - Isaac Kim expressed this idolatry
Isaac Kim of the Los Angeles UBF and currently one of the top leaders of UBF USA expressed this idolatrous desire for someone "visible" in 2000:

"First, I am afraid to say that in the name of conducting reformation, you are comitting the sin of rebelling against God who uses a visible servant like Dr. Samuel Lee."
8th-Jan-2006 12:26 am (UTC) - Re: Isaac Kim expressed this idolatry
"First, I am afraid to say that in the name of conducting reformation, you are comitting the sin of rebelling against God who uses a visible servant like Dr. Samuel Lee."

As discussed here, Isaac Kim, one of the top leaders of UBF-USA, does not devote his time to study Bible but to glorify Samuel Lee and his false theology. I think we can safely conclude that every UBF leader does nothing but that. Maybe it might take another UBF split until they really go back to the Bible and study it seriously.
8th-Jan-2006 04:41 pm (UTC)
Taken other real life exaples to show the absurdity of such reasoning:


2) ...Some had even just thought "if only God would interfere into my life" or things like that, when the missionaries knocked on their door. ...
Call it selective inattention or whatnot,but when one of a hundred wishes comes true, it doesn't mean you have a lucky streak or you're a lucker overall. Maybe those someone (as we read from their life testimonies) had also wished for success, a partner, better finances or wahtnot - all of it didn't happen. You just need to wish for enough things, chances are, ne of them will come to pass.
This is also called "selective inattention", to forget all the things which didn't come to pass and focus only on the one that did.

Real life example: I need bread for dinner, gas for the car, a new TV programme. So I go to the gas station, grab all these things and say "They got everything there at the gas station!". Forget about the fact that they don't sell electronics there, forget about the fact that gas stations are overpriced, forget about the low quality of the products. They got everything, period.
This is like finding God in UBF.



Therefore, they believe this invitation was a supernatural, miraculous sign that God has chosen UBF as the instrument to save them, and in the following only UBF is the path to God as well.

Ôn Tuesday, I'll get a lottery ticket in my mail again. Should I believe that this is God's way of dealing with my financial situation to make me a millionaire? Of course, this is folly, since everyone will be receiving that ticket and God hasn't ordained everyone to be a millionaire. While SOMEONE will say "This is my success story... I found this lottery ticket and filled it in...", the purpose of sending people those lottery tickets is not to allow them to be millionaires, but to get them to play lotto. Likewise, the UBF invitation is not to bring you to God, but to make you a member of the UBF system (which is why UBF isn't sufficiently happy to "get you saved", but they must make you a UBF "shepherd" to complete their mission).

Sarah Hong once frankly explained to me that to get one Bible study candidate, you simply have to invite 100 students

I heard a nice story one time. Assume you want to make a living as a horse race fortune teller.
You take out the LA phone book, choose a horse race of your choice with 10 horses. Now, you send to everyone in LA a tip, evenly distributed, with the name of one of the ten horses.
In 10% of cases, you WILL BE right, LA is 2 million people, so that's 200,000 for whom you gave the right tip.
Now you take ONLY those whom you sent the right tip the first time, and send them another tip for another horse race.
Again, 10% of the time, you will be right. 20,000 people will have received the right tip.
Now, you do this three times more, and you have 20 people who will swear by their lives that you're a miracle man, a fortune teller, 100% right tips, in five races in a row. That's beyond probability!
Conveniently forget the 1,999,980 people whom you "sorted out" because your tips were wrong, you have 20 testimonies to back you up as "THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE" fortune teller. Take those 20 testimonies and start up your enterprise!
This is exactly what we see in UBF, more often than not, UBF makes a "wrong guess", they offend a person, they're making false assumptions, they get shown the door or whatnot. But a few times, they're right, and taking the testimonies of those select few, they claim that they're doing "God's work" and that their mission turns people out for the better and whatnot.
It's the same thing as the horse racer: let only those of favorable testimony speak, and you get the impression that "there must be something to it".
This is also why UBF doesn't like people reading negative testimonies, because when you all of a sudden start seeing that UBF only shows you a select, limited part of the world, you might get the impression that not really everything is like what they tell you...
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