2017 Report from California Former Members
Part 1 - Events in 2016
The following content was provided by the couresy of the ex-members of the 1st group. The photos were already public on Sarah Flores’ google plus account. Links provided at the end. [Names of ex-members have been changed out of respect]
Most of the current members of Shepherd’s Church know that several years ago there was a major falling away of many of the original Shepherds from the ministry. However, few people know the true story of how this ‘First Crisis’ actually unfolded. For the most part, the official story from Shepherd’s Church about this matter was that this was a “satanic attack” against the ministry, caused by lust and marriage problems. John Baik himself briefly describes this First Crisis in an official UBF mission report: “As many disciples deserted God’s mission and raised their heels against us in the year 2010, we were greatly discouraged” (http://www.ubf.org/world-mission-news/north-america/el-camino-ubf-mission-report-ca). The first group was even called satanic in a report. Unfortunately the report is no longer available (http://www.jongro7ubf.kr/xe/7900).
However, after the recent 2016 crisis, in which another 20 members left the ministry, contact has been made between the first and second groups. The purpose of this article is to describe the part of the story that no one has ever heard before. The first group of members who left were wrongfully labelled as rejecting God’s will upon their life and rebelling against false teacher John Baik. Now their story will be told.
Tommy, a former student of John Baik leaves the ministry in 2009. During his time in the ministry he noticed many unbiblical doctrines being taught by the church. When he brought up his concerns, he was labelled as ‘demon possessed’ by the ministry. He is the first person to leave due to the church’s unsound doctrine and unorthodox practices. After his departure, he reaches out to several current members who are still willing to speak with him. He convinces some of them to leave after explaining the unbiblical doctrines being taught at Shepherd’s Church.
Marvin comes forward with his true feelings for his Bible teacher, who was the leader of the UBF team at UC Irvine. He tells her that he would like to get married. She responds favorably. Veronica approaches John Baik about her interest in marrying her student. John Baik rejects her marriage desire as being lustful and against God’s will since it is not “marriage by faith” (arranged marriage). This leads to a major breakdown in the relationship with John Baik.
At the same time, a young student, Janey shares her desire to marry her Bible teacher, Gary [here you can read her full story (http://inductivebiblestudyblog.blogspot.com/2016/11/marriage-by-faith.html ). Gary was the leader of the UBF team at UCLA, and he was one of the founding members of Shepherd’s Church/El Camino UBF with John Baik, Moses Webster, and John Boos. He has also raised several disciples during his time in the ministry. He does not accept her marriage desire at first.
During this time, many longtime members of Shepherd’s Church begin to have serious doubts about the doctrine and practices in UBF. Many have strong concerns that much of what has been taught is not biblically sound. Several members then meet with Pastor Steve Mays, the leader of Cavalry Chapel South Bay, to express their concerns. He advises them not to gossip or spread anything malicious about Shepherd’s Church.[What constitutes as gossip is revealing private details about an individual members. Criticizing the practices, sermons, or revealing events that the church as a whole witnessed is not gossip]
In August 2010, Gary decides to leave the ministry. He has lengthy discussions about this with his “sheep” and fellow members. Once he leaves, his missing presence is immediately felt throughout the church. Soon after his departure, the entire group from UCLA (which he had been leading) also decides to leave.
he following month, in September 2010, Veronica leaves the ministry as well. Her entire team from UC Irvine also leaves as well. She sends out an email to the entire church explaining her reasons for leaving. Four young disciples who read the email left the church as well. Marvin also leaves the church shortly after.
In August 2011 Joanna leaves the ministry in realization that not only are the teachings at the church are unbiblical but the church practices the violation of the conscience and people’s vocation.
The following are public photos of the first group that left as well as the current senior members.
Overall, this ‘First Crisis’ (or ‘exodus’) saw 15-20 members leave Shepherd’s Church, including all of the UCLA and UC Irvine Members. The cause of the crisis was officially blamed on lust and marriage problems. One of the fellowship leaders at Shepherd’s Church said that both of those campuses were “lost” because of sexual sin. Gary in particular was blamed for causing the crisis and leading everyone out. A current member at Shepherd’s Church described him as having “poisoned everyone” against John Baik and the ministry.
The year 2010 was an especially hard year for John Baik. Not only did he experience the first major crisis in his ministry, but his business also went bankrupt. He described this time period as when most of his hair went gray. [This is false because he hair was already turning gray before the crisis] Despite losing almost the entire membership of Shepherd’s Church, John Baik ordered the handful of members who decided to stay to increase their time spent fishing on campus. Many of them went on a massive fishing spree, and by 2014, the numbers in Shepherd’s Church had completely recovered and an entire new generation of Shepherds was established until the 2nd crisis happened.
In 2011, John Baik began an arranged marriage spree of the longtime members.[“We are very thankful to God for establishing three more house churches – Johnny and Kathryn Pringle, Ty and Jessica Rothrock, and Roberto and Sarah Flores. So, now we have four house churches including the house church of John and April Boos,“(http://www.ubf.org/world-mission-news/north-america/el-camino-ubf-mission-report-ca)] The actual reason why all of these “marriage by faith” pairings happened was for John Baik to keep the remaining members intact and reinforce his fist on current members.
Many of the first wave of former members have more or less moved on with their lives. They have remained committed Christians, and remain very close to each other. Interestingly, Gary and Janey ended up getting married as noted in her blog post. Although initially resistant to marrying her, Gary eventually realizes that it was God’s will for them to be together, and they marry by “faith”.
There maybe a follow-up on this article in the future.
Additional note: Here is the church’s website http://www.shepherdschurch.org/