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Confession in UBF 
30th-Jul-2006 12:21 am

There is a question posted on the open counseling website of the Korean UBF. The 1362nd question is about confessing one’s sin. The post asks how we should confess our sin based on 1 John 1:9. It was posted on 7/20/2006. But Spurgeon Lee has not posted his answer to this question. No other UBF shepherds have attempted to answer this question and I wonder why.

The UBF protocol says that one should confess his sin to his shepherd orally or with written testimony. In UBF one has not confessed his sin unless he shares it in his life testimony during Summer Bible Conference. I think this practice is not biblical.

Consider John the Baptist. When he preached the forgiveness of sins, many people came to him and confessed their sin to him in Matthew 3:5-6. I wonder if he asked them to write their sin in their testimony. I wonder if he edited their oral testimony and written testimony about their confession. I wonder if he ordered them to walk to Jerusalem on bare feet when they didn’t obey his direction to rewrite their testimony or if he ever told them to re-perform their confession because he didn’t like the way they presented their confession. I don't think he ever did such things during his public ministry. The reason I think so is that he probably knew they were confessing their sin to God and not to him. But again in Korean culture, one is subject to the authority of his senior figure. UBF shepherding is structured in line with this aspect of Korean culture. So in this kind of strucure, one is forced to confess his sin to his senior or a shepherd in UBF but not to God.
3rd-Aug-2006 07:58 am (UTC) - Similarities between Roman Catholicism and UBF
This is similar to the Roman Catholic's Sacrament of Penance or "confession." Like Roman Catholicism, UBF often elevates human tradition above Scripture. Therefore, there is no need for the practice to be "Biblical" because it is not based on the Bible but on the teachings of a church father of founder.

Also, like the Catholic Church, UBF can abuse this teaching for their own gain. The Catholic Church did this by selling indulgences. Johann Tetzel, a 16th-century Dominican friar and the Pope's chief salesman is famous for one of the slogans he used to raise money to build St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The slogan goes something like this . . . "When the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs." When Luther posted his 95 Theses, the sales of indulgences dropped considerably.

Purgatory is another teaching of the Catholic Church which is not found in the Bible but is based on church tradition. Doctrines like this were used by the Catholic Church to instill fear and indebtedness in its parishioners. These teachings are both based on the idea that one can work for their salvation. Catholics believe that Faith + Works = Salvation. This idea is not Biblical and takes away from the sufficiency of Christ's completed salvation work on the Cross.

UBF leaders feel that they are the mediators between God and their sheep. In UBF, I was never really encouraged to develop my personal relationship with God but I was encouraged to attend every meeting, write testimony, etc. The emphasis was on what I did rather than the relationship I had with God. True Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship with God. It is trusting in Jesus and what He did on the cross for you, not on what you can do for yourself. We do not need a human agent to be a mediator between us and God. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus..."

Luther’s chief doctrinal fight with the church was over the nature/basis of salvation and the authority of the church. The cry of the Reformers was "FAITH ALONE!," "GRACE ALONE!," "CHRIST ALONE!," "SCRIPTURE ALONE!," "THE GLORY OF GOD ALONE!" With Scripture alone as the sure foundation, the Reformers affirmed that justification is by grace alone, received through faith alone because of Christ alone — for the glory of God alone.

As their name suggest, the Reformers did not set out to form a new church but to reform the catholic church. However, reformation requires the leaders of the church to admit wrongdoing and give up power. Reformation did not work with the Catholic Church or UBF because the leaders were/are unwilling to repent and humbly submit to the authority of God and the Scriptures. Rather, they rely on the traditions of man.
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