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Matthew 23 
27th-Jan-2006 09:15 pm
One of the passages in the gospels which applies so well to UBF leaders and should open the eyes of the members is the whole chapter Mt 23. It speaks about leaders who want to be greeted with titles, who make others believe they are “fathers”, who claim to be guides but are blind guides and blind fools, who tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. All of this applies so much to UBF leaders, but most of all the following: “You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.” I always wonder what UBF people will do when they come to this passage in their passage based Bible study. How can they preach about this and not see that they are those who are addressed in this passage?
27th-Jan-2006 08:25 pm (UTC)
As an example, here is how London UBF preaches about this chapter:

"How was the life of the Pharisees? They did not practice what they preached. They tied up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves were not willing to lift a finger to move them. (3b, 4) The Pharisees made loads of regulations that they could not obey and put them on the people’s shoulders. For example, the commandment “You shall not work on the Sabbath and keep it holy” is simple. Yet they interpreted the command so strictly that they made lots of additional rules. To carry anything or to make fire for example was not allowed."

So strange! Why do they mention the Sabbath? Isn't UBF so strict about the Sabbath? In ten years I wasn't allowed to visit my parents or any other church on Sunday. I could not rest on Sunday, because I had to do a lot of things: Preparing the music, prayer meetings, correcting the lessons and questionaires, copying the lessons and questionaires, cooking for everybody, attending not only the SWS, but at least 3 additional meetings plus a Sogam sharing meeting, preparting the testimony for this meeting, correting testimonies of others. Often I did not see the sun the whole day because we had to stay the whole day in the stuffy center and do the things Kaleb told us. Of course he himself did not lift a finger. He did not even type the message himself. How can UBF preach that they are different from the pharisees? The Jews could have a quiet and edifying Sabbath, even if (or because!) they obeyed the rules like not making fire or carry things around. UBF's Sabbath laws are a much greater burden than those of the Pharisees.
27th-Jan-2006 08:47 pm (UTC)

Another passage from the same London UBF sermon:

"Look at verses 9,10. “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.” We have our fathers and spiritual shepherds who lead us. We have leaders in our church. They have the position in order to keep the spiritual order of the church. They are the same as us in that all believers are children of God. There must not be any difference between people and there is only one who is above us- our Father in heaven. (9b) Look at verses 11,12. “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Jesus tells us that we should serve one another. In order to be exalted not by men but by God, Jesus’ disciples should humble themselves."

They quote the Bible verse which says we should *not* have "spiritual" fathers. Then they conclude: "We *have* our fathers and spiritual shepherds who lead us. We *have* leaders in our church. They have the *position* in order to keep the *spiritual order* of the church."

What's that for a sermon? The Bible says one thing and their interpretation is to state the opposite!?

They claim the only thing in which the leaders are "the same with us" is that they are also children of God.

Then they insert a sentence which is correct but which comletely contradicts what they said before: "There must not be any difference between people and there is only one who is above us- our Father in heaven. "

Often UBF sermons are just strings of sentences which may totally contradict each other and may have nothing to do with the statement and intention of the Bible text. What they do is the opposite of what the claim to do - "inductive Bible study" deriving everything from the text.

The sentence "Jesus’ disciples should humble themselves." Now who are Jesus disciples? Couldn't they make it more clear that the *leaders* are addressed here. Couldn't they say "The leaders should humble themselves"?

Another way of UBF to deal with Bible passages which do not fit their ideology is to simply quietly skip over them.

For instance, the verse 8: "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers." The messages talks about verses 5-7, then continues with verse 9, probably in the hope that nobody notices if they skip a verse. The obsession of UBFers with titles like "Dr." or "missionary" or "shepherd" is one of their most revealing spiritual problems. This verse addresses this problem directly. The title "Rabbi" means something like "teacher" - the same as UBF shepherds claim to be "Bible teachers." They use the title "shepherd" or "missionary" in exactly the same way as those people used the word "Rabbi."

The problem is mentioned in verse 7 as well: "they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’" Here, UBF is able to comment the verse, because it starts with "they..." (the Pharisees). The UBF comment is: "They sought their own glory by being greeted in the marketplaces and being called "Rabbi." Jesus tells them that they should not be called ‘Rabbi’." That's all. Jesus tells *them* - it's only a problem of Pharisees. Then UBF skips verse 8 completely which starts with: "But *you* are not to be called..."

27th-Jan-2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
Another twisted teaching from the same UBF sermon:

"Jesus rebukes them. “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (33) They were responsible for the blood of the first martyr, Abel, to the blood of Zechariah, the last martyr of the Old Testament. (35,36) This is very true. When we find the sin of other co-workers, we despise them and think that we are righteous. We become proud. This is foolish. What should we do when other’s sins are revealed? We must accept the fact that we have the same problem and repent. Otherwise we fall into the same sin."

So many wrong interpretations here. UBF claims the Pharisees were responsible for the death of Abel which is absurd and which Jesus did not claim. Then they jump to conclusions which have nothing to do with the text and are even wrong.

"What should we do when other’s sins are revealed? We must accept the fact that we have the same problem and repent."

Let's take an example. It has been revealed to me that the leader of your chapter is commiting adultery or misappropriates the offering money or treats another member unjustly. What shall we do? UBF's answer: I shall accept the fact that I have the same problem and repent. That sounds pretty familiar. They told this to me when there was the reform movement. Sorry, but I did not have the *same* problem as Samuel Lee. I may have had problems, but they were completely different. Second, my private problems did not influence and spoil a whole ministry as Samuel Lee's sins were doing. But I should repent for having the problems of Samuel Lee and I should repent. That would be the solution. What a horrible teaching.

It is a completely unbiblical advice. The Biblical answer what to do in such a case is written in Mt 18,15ff for instance (a passage that had been preached only a few weeks before!).

The UBF advice may be applicable for small problems which are not worth mentioning. But if leaders abuse their position we should not simply be quiet with the excuse that "we have the same problem." Didn't Jesus gave a good example how to speak openly about these problems and name them? Doesn't UBF teach we should follow the example Jesus?

UBF's interpretation of Mt 23 is a good example that shows that UBF's Bible study and Bible teaching is a complete farce. It's not different from how the Pharisees abused the Thora.

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