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Analysis of the Toledo UBF Message 
12th-May-2005 10:04 pm
I feel compelled to comment on the subtle scripture twisting and manipulation by the Toledo UBF messenger last Sunday. Often, these subtle twists and manipulation were not evident when we were members of UBF as it was often necessary to close our brains and tacitly accept whatever was given to us. Leaving UBF provides the opportunity read UBF messages with a clear, open perspective. The three examples observed in this message are clear now, but would not have been when I believed that serving in UBF was God's mission vision for my life.

To avoid dominating the new thread section, my analysis is a comment to this post.
Comments 
13th-May-2005 03:08 am (UTC)
The following is an analysis of the Toledo UBF message delivered on May 8, 2005. The message was based on Philippians 2:1-30. The title is "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…"

Excerpt

Look at verses 14-16: "Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe….". "Complaining" is "speaking with a negative attitude" about matters because of a presumed sense of unfairness and mistreatment. "Arguing" is vocalizing these complaining thoughts and justifying reasons for complaints. Here, Apostle Paul provides hope and vision for us. How can we become shining stars in the universe? By working out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is a general attitude. More specifically, do everything without complaining or arguing. If we do everything with gratitude and joy, we take hold of God’s word. We become blameless and pure. We shine like stars in the universe.

Analysis

Paul implores the Philippians to do everything without complaining and arguing. The messenger exemplifies this point by defining what it means to complain and argue. Complaining is defined as speaking with a negative attitude when there is presumed unfairness or mistreatment. Arguing is defined as justification of complaints. This interpretation of Paul’s words indicate that when Christians believe they are being unfairly mistreated, they should not complain or argue about how they are being mistreated. Instead, Christians should just do what they are told and keep their mouths closed. Based on reading the entire Bible, Paul did not mean that Christians should keep quiet about being mistreated. Paul spoke numerous times when Jewish Christians treated Gentile Christians unfairly by claiming that Gentiles must be circumcised to be saved.
This is an excerpt from a message focused entirely upon Philippians 2:14-16, by Reverend Geoff Thomas from Alfred Place Baptist Church in the United Kingdom. “Now of course we have a right to speak out. This passage may not be pleaded as the grounds for saying nothing when there is error tolerated or ungodliness in the congregation, especially in the leadership. Paul is not saying that we should keep our mouths shut when the Judaizers or other false prophets start influencing the church (http://users.aber.ac.uk/emk/ap/sermons/phil18.htm).” Thomas made it clear that “we have a right to speak out.” All Christians have a right and duty to speak out when church leaders misuse scriptures and mistreat church members. UBF misuses this scripture to keep members quiet who have concluded that their shepherds and leaders have mistreated them. In UBF, do everything without complaining or arguing means that members must do everything their shepherd asks even if it is unbiblical and sinful. In UBF, members are required to bare mistreatment from leaders as their cross of mission, for the glory of God, and because the leader only as their best interest at heart. When UBF messengers write about not complaining and arguing, their point is that UBF members must follow the spiritual order by absolutely obeying their shepherds and chapter leaders.

Clearly, this is the wrong interpretation of Philippians 2:14-16. Throughout the book of Acts, Paul spoke against the Jewish Christians who preach that Gentiles must be circumcised to be saved. In Galatians 2:11-14 it would appear that Paul is complaining during eating fellowship. Paul rebukes Peter for not eating with the Gentiles. Based on the Toledo UBF message, Paul should not complain about this presumed mistreatment of the Gentiles. The messenger’s point is clear to Toledo UBF members, stop complaining about how UBF leaders mistreat you and stop arguing when your shepherd imposes their direction upon you. However, the scripture clearly reveals that mistreatment should not be ignored.


13th-May-2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
Pecowas, maybe you can collect and sum such twisting in one article.

"Do everything without complaining or arguing."

It is interesting that this is preached by the same person who reportedly uses the members of his chapter to maw his lawns and things like that.

The question is: How literally take members the "everything"? Surely they would not go, kill the cashier and rob a bank to get more offering money, when they were told so. But it's interesting to ask that hypothetical question. Where would this limit be for UBFers? When would they start to complain and argue? How would UBFins perform in a Milgram experiment (particularly if the authorities would look like UBF leaders)?

The passages shows how dangerous it is to take a Bible passage, deprive it from its original context, put it in a new context and declare it as universal, ignoring a balanced view that shows also the limits of a Bible application. By the way, the passage is about serving each other. Particularly about helping the weak and poor. Not about obeying leaders.
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