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Opinion on Dr. Joseph Schafer's testimony 
14th-Oct-2006 03:12 pm
As I talked about it in this post, Dr. Joseph Schafer makes some ridiculous claims about topical Bible study. He says the following in his testimony:

“The vast majority of preachers today use topical Bible study, bringing together passages from here and there to make a point. This method is popular, but it suffers from a severe drawback: the one preparing the message already has a preconceived idea of what the main point must be, so he rarely learns much beyond what he already knows. This method does not challenge one to deeply examine his own personal and cultural prejudices to see if they agree with the revealed truth in God’s word.”
Comments 
14th-Oct-2006 08:32 pm (UTC) - Preconceived idea??
He makes the following three criticisms about topical Bible study.

1. The one preparing the message already has a preconceived idea of what the main point must be
2. So he rarely learns much beyond what he already knows
3. This method does not challenge one to deeply examine his own personal and cultural prejudices to see if they agree with the revealed truth in God’s word

I don’t know how the MIT-educated professor got all these ideas about “topical Bible study”. The only thing I can say about the professor is this: Dr. Joseph Schafer does not know anything about what “topical Bible study” really is. So the conclusions he draws from his ignorance about “topical Bible study” are all ridiculous.

Consider for example the first point he makes about “topical Bible study” above. He says that one has already a preconceived idea of what the main point must be when he prepares a message through topical Bible study. This is ridiculous claim! I will consider more about this in other post. But before I do that, let me point out one thing very clearly about UBF messages and testimonies. They are all, without even one exception, PRECONCEIVED because the messengers just copy Dr. Samuel Lee’s messages and testimony writers are required to write their testimonies based on the PRECONCEIVED ideas given in UBF messages. So here comes the second point of Dr. Joseph Schafer. UBF messengers and testimony sharers RARELY learns beyond what Dr. Samuel Lee knew or what UBF messengers know. Here is the third point of Dr. Joseph Schafer. UBF method does not challenge one to DEEPLY examine his own personal and UBF cultural prejudices to see if they agree with the revealed truth in God’s word.

Dr. Joseph Schafer’s criticism about topical Bible study is constructed based on the premise that it is wrong to preconceive idea of the main point even before the actual study of the idea. This premise is used in many scientific/social researches. In many researches, one starts with hypothesis. Then in the course of actual research, the hypothesis is modified to come to any reasonable conclusion. In this way, the conclusion is determined through the process of the actual study rather than it is predetermined and the subsequent research is used only to justify the predetermined conclusion.

Therefore it is an absolute requirement that there should be no irrelevant pressure from outside to influence the course of the study or its outcome. So to ensure the validity/authenticity/fairness of the study and its conclusion, those who are involved in the study must be given the right to exercise their skills freely without any irrelevant hindrances.

However in the real world, this kind of ideal condition is not ensured in most researches. Especially those who have money and power try to influence any actual research or study when they think that the outcome of the study would work against their interests. They use the arguement that only they can ensure the required fairness or that the students/researchers are not mature enough. I claim that this happens all the time in UBF organization. To protect their special interest in UBF organization, the UBF leaders try their best to influence anyone’s Bible study and research. There is no freedom in UBF so that one can come to a logical and biblical conclusion through one’s own independent study. One is required to accurately follow Dr. Samuel Lee’s preconceived theology. If he doesn’t do it, he is a Satan and a rebel. Anyone who conforms to the UBF system mindlessly is praised as a great servant of God. There are several testimonies posted in UBF website that were shared on UBF Founder’s day: M. Pauline Park, Sh. Christy Toh, Dr. Abraham T. Kim They clearly show how UBF system forces anyone to follow UBF’s preconceived ideas: Glorify Dr. Samuel Lee with your testimony. Unfortunately Dr. Joseph Schafer who was educated in MIT is writing his testimony to conform to UBF spiritual environment for he fears the consequence of doing otherwise.
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