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Theory on Sogam by Dr. Joon Ki Jung 
23rd-Jun-2006 11:16 am
The following is an excerpt of “Theory on Sogam” presented by Dr. Joon Ki Jung. It was delivered by him as a special message in UBF 2006 World Mission Report in Seoul. The English translation is not done by UBF but by me.


소감(所感, testimony)의 한문의 뜻은 “느끼는 바”이며 영어명의 의미는 “신앙의 고백, 간증”입니다. 그러나 UBF의 소감은 UBF에서 독특하게 사용하는 개념으로서, 성경을 ‘관찰’, ‘해석’, ‘행하는’ 귀납적인 성경공부를 하는 가운데 탄생한 용어입니다. 단순히 주관적으로 느끼는 바를 기록한 것이 아니라, 성경 말씀에 기초해 자신을 비추어 보고 깊이 생각하는 가운데 성경적인 가치관, 성경적인 관점에서 자아를 형성하도록 돕기 위한 글쓰기입니다. 즉, 소감이란 성경의 메시지를 통해 본인이 깨달은 점을 글로 쓰는 것이라고 정의할 수 있습니다. 이러한 소감에는 세 가지 필요 요건이 있는데 성경 말씀, 회개(죄 고백), 결단이 있어야 한다. 처음 소감을 쓰는 사람들은 말씀에 대한 묵상 없이 그 말씀에 대한 자신의 생각을 나열하는 경우가 많은데, UBF에서는 그러한 소감을 지양(止揚)하며 자신의 생각이 아닌 성경 말씀 자체를 정리하고 깊이 영접하도록 훈련을 줍니다. 그러나 이 훈련이 인위적이거나 강압적이지는 않습니다.

Sogam(所感, testimony), according to Chinese translation, is to express one’s thought on something. Its English translation is to confess one’s Christian faith. But Sogam in UBF has different meaning. The meaning of UBF Sogam has been formed through inductive bible study in which one first observes a bible passage, interprets it and applies it to his life. When one writes a Sogam, he does not simply express his subjective opinion. Sogam is designed to help one deeply think about himself based on the Bible that he can view himself and shape his identity based on biblical value system. So Sogam is defined as writing what one has learned through a message in the Bible. There are three elements that make up a Sogam: word of God, repentance (confession of one’s sin) and making a decision. Those who write a Sogam for the first time tend to list their personal thoughts about a bible passage without deeply meditating on it. UBF does not encourage such Sogams. In UBF one is trained to pay more attention to what the Bible says than to one’s personal thoughts so that he can accept the word of God deeply. But one is not manipulated against one’s will to receive this training in UBF.
24th-Jun-2006 10:34 pm (UTC) - The purpose of the Sogam and its shortcomings
To add to this, it is important to note that one of the purposes of the Sogam, as I understand it, is to give a spiritual growth report on a weekly basis. Now, one will not willingly reveal their innermost struggles and desires to a bunch of people they don't know. I can't tell you how many other shepherds and shepherdesses who shared at the Chicago Friday meetings told me that they just wrote whatever they could to appease their Shepherd and to fit in with the rest of the crowd. UBF teaches that the sogam is a tool for spiritual transformation, but in fact, it does the exact opposite. Spiritual transformation occurs best within the context of a Godly relationship between friends, when there is mutual trust and 100% confidentiality. One cannot expect to be changed through sharing weekly testimonies based on Bible passages that may or may not be relevant to the struggles they are dealing with. This "cookie cutter" lifestyle is sure to produce once kind of person, a UBF Shepherd. UBF teaches conformation transformation based on works and not faith in God. No, the sogam practice is one of superficial appearances, whose ilk bears no reflection of true, spirit-led transformation. The sogam is a farce and it is impossible to experience God's transforming power in one's life through a watered down template of generalizations.

This sogam style testimony is also indicative of the spiritual hierarchy prevalent in UBF. The sheep reveals their spiritual growth to the leadership, and the leadership doesn't do likewise. It further confines and separates the Holy Spirit from working in people's hearts and minds. The sogam was a device created by Samuel Lee to control people and use it against them.
25th-Jun-2006 03:38 am (UTC) - Re: The purpose of the Sogam and its shortcomings
UBF teaches that the sogam is a tool for spiritual transformation, but in fact, it does the exact opposite.

That is a very good point. I think there is a more serious problem with spiritual transformation or spiritual growth in UBF. The problem is that the definition of spirtual transfomation or spiritual growth in UBF seems to be very different from that of what most other Christian communities accept. What I mean is that even before we can talk about spiritual transformation or spiritual growth in UBF, we must know what UBF regards as spiritual transfomation or spiritual growth. For example, in UBF those who can accpet UBF marriage by faith are considered spiritually mature people. But those who do not accpet UBF marriage by faith are considered "humanistic" and "rebellious". Spiritual growth and spiritual transformation in UBF are measured based on one's willingness to comply to UBF system and UBF theology. In this sense, talking about spiritual growth in UBF is ridiculous. Maybe I should say it is impossible even to discuss spiritual growth under UBF model of spiritual transformation.
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