My Confession

To Rebekah B. Kim in Houston: If you are reading this, I want to apologize. I was one of the Toledo brothers who broke into your house one cold winter afternoon. I would rather say this to you in person, but I do not have contact information for you. Please forgive me.

It was a normal day in the winter of 1990. My friend and roommate rushed into the house and said “We have to move everything out of James and Rebekah Kim’s house. They need our help to move to Houston.” My friends and I immediately mobilized for action. I walked out of our house on Montebello Street, over to the Kim’s house on Kensington, which was only 2 houses away. But there was a problem. No one had a key to the house. One of my friends ran behind the house, another one ran up to the front door. Crash! I heard glass breaking in the back of the house. Crash! I hear glass breaking again, in the front. I started to go back to the house, but then someone called out, saying that the truck was here. Within a matter of minutes, the Kim’s belongings started to be packed into boxes. I walked into the Kim’s house. I picked up a box and loaded it onto the truck. Then I fled.

I knew something was wrong that day. I broke the “breaking and entering” law of Ohio. I ignored the fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Most of all, I broke God’s law. God’s command is to “love one another.” I was not showing love toward James and Rebekah.

For many years, I accepted the advice of those who said, “Just forget this matter,” or “You didn’t do anything wrong.” Some said, “Just repent before God and don’t mention it.” I thought: We were just helping a family out… How gracious we were! And besides, what did it really matter? We didn’t do anything wrong. “By faith” we moved the Kim’s!

Today I am writing to tell you God’s revelation to me. In 2009, I happened to read both James and Rebekah Kim’s accounts of this event. My heart broke when I read their accounts of how hurt they were and about their experience of returning to Toledo to find their house empty. Until I read those letters, I had been a staunch defender of the UBF ministry. I published my testimonies and thoughts on my website, But in 2009, I started removing the UBF defense material. I could no longer defend such actions. What is more, I have been seeing the same principles at work in 2011. I decided I must confess my sin in this matter publicly in order to prevent these things from happening again.

Dear God, I have sinned against you and against James and Rebekah Kim. I helped cause indescribable grief to an already grieving family. Instead of covering up this sin, I repent. Instead of spinning these events as an “act of faith,” I repent. I will make every effort to no longer spin the facts of a situation to give the perception of faith. Let my faith, my actions and my thoughts be genuine. Let me truly love my friends with the love of Christ. Amen.


  1. Jason Roth

    I thank God for your public repentance.   May we protect and build up all people around us–never tear down or do anything against them.

  2. Reading this article has filled me with conflicting emotions.

    On the one hand, I am very proud of Brian for sticking his neck out and doing something very courageous and godly. Brian, thank you for your honesty.

    On the other hand, I am deeply ashamed. I am ashamed of myself for not honestly facing the darker side of our ministry’s past. Yes, great things were done in UBF. We all know that. At the same time, shameful things happened. Every longtime member of UBF knows that. But so many of us have refused to face it. When I heard of things like this happening, I shut my ears and didn’t want to listen. I kept myself in a state of denial. I am ashamed of myself for not having the courage of conviction and conscience to stand up and object when things were being done that were clearly wrong. And of my unwillingness to demand that our leaders come clean and speak with honesty about the facts and stop protecting and apologizing for those who did wrong. Like so many others, I just fell into line and maintained the “code of silence” not because it was right, but because I wanted to avoid conflict and enjoy others’ approval rather than be ostracized for asking the tough questions that needed to be asked.

    Actually, I did bring this up with ministry leaders on at least one occasion and asked them what happened. The response? “James Kim was heartbroken about the tragedies in his life.” Yes, okay. But  attempting to diagnose  this person’s  emotional state  is evading the question of what was actually done to him and his family. The other response that I heard is, “Whatever was done, was done out of love, with the best of intentions.” Please, let’s allow God to be the judge of intentions.  Let’s focus on the  facts. I suggest that we put aside  any discussion of “why” (which is very easy to spin) until the  “what” is fully known. Let’s look at the facts with a spirit of truth and impartiality — not to spin, defend and justify ourselves to protect our reputation, but to understand what actually happened and seek to make it right before God and man. The gospel demands no less.

    Of course, there are some who will say, “Don’t dredge up the past. What happened 20 years ago is irrelevant.” It is not irrelevant. The story of Joseph in Genesis clearly teaches that sins of the past need to be dealt with.  The more you try to bury sin, the worse it becomes. As David wrote in Psalm 32:3-5:

        When I kept silent,
              my bones wasted away
              through my groaning all day long.
        For day and night
              your hand was heavy on me;
              my strength was sapped
              as in the heat of summer.  
       Then I acknowledged my sin to you
             and did not cover up my iniquity.
        I said, “I will confess
             my transgressions to the LORD.”
              And you forgave
              the guilt of my sin.

    Brian, may God bless you with the grace of forgiveness and with peace through our Lord Jesus Christ. To the family of the late James Kim: I am truly sorry about this.

  3. Hi Brian, thank you so much for sharing this openly before God and God’s people. Surely the Lord will bless you with heavenly peace and freedom after many years. May the Lord help us to have such a spirit of honesty and open repentance in our ministry.Thank you for setting the good example.

  4. David L

    Thank God Brian, THAT is what UBF needs.

  5. Yongha Lee

    Brian, may God give you peace. I think you didn’t do on your own. Someone behind you should come repent. I wasn’t there so I can’t say much but it’s painful to know the Kims’ story. God be with the Kims.

    • Yongha, I had some peace from posting the confession, however my conscience is still striken. I simply don’t know all the details behind what I did. I seek peace in this matter, but the Spirit of Truth will not let this rest until the truth is fully disclosed, yet I do not know all the truth in this matter.

      You said “God be with the Kims”…. well James Kim is with God already. He died some time ago. I was heartbroken to learn he had died and my dear friends in Toledo didn’t tell me or invite me to the funeral.

  6. I am reminded of a quote: “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.”

    I echo Joe’s sentiment almost to the T. I commend Brian’s honesty. I’m personally sorry before God and man for standing idly by and for doing nothing when I heard and saw things that were done that pricked and bothered my conscience. I wanted to be supportive of my church and my church leaders. I didn’t want to discourage others. I tried to keep “spiritual order,” as I then understood it. I wanted to “just obey” like all other UBF members.

    But I’ve been gradually  realizing that truth will ultimately prevail, because God is Truth. Anyone who is complicit with wrong doing, is standing on the side of deceit and evil. I also pray for myself that God may protect me from deadly self-righteousness as we address these highly sensitive, painful and shameful issues, that many have long tried their hardest to keep buried and hidden and unaddressed.

    • Ben this is a good quote: “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.”

      However, I have come to the conclusion that we need to “let God be God”, as you wrote elsewhere. Sometimes we need to step back and let the inventions of man fall to the ground. If people and good works are indeed from God, then they will stand and once again glorify God. If not, God will be the judge.

      I’ve also learned this: “When good men shine the light of God and seek truth, Satan gets furious.”

  7. Brian Karcher
    Brian Karcher

    I now have much peace about this specific event.  However, I am far more aware now of people’s actions in our ministry.  We say many good things.  We have many good intentions. But I hope we can also watch our step, and keep our actions accountable.  May the Spirit of Truth be our director, our theology be  codified  correctly and our love for God and neighbor burn brightly.

  8. Here’s another quote that seems relevant: “Hell is full of good intentions; heaven is full of good works.”

    Perceived intentions are a very poor indicator of the rightness of an action. It is so easy to deceive ourselves into thinking our intentions are noble when in reality  they are not. A great example is found in 1 Samuel 15. Saul pretended that his disobedience was actually obedience and that his intentions were good. Only later, after his sin was uncovered, did he come out of denial and start to admit that he was acting out of pride and fear.

    Can actions that are wrong  spring from intentions that are truly good? Can clean water flow from a polluted spring? Can grapes grow from thornbushes? The answer, of course, is no. If something done was wrong, then the motivations were corrupt, whether or not anyone knew it at the time.

    Again, some will say, “There’s no need to dredge up these unpleasant things. That was 20 years ago. Let’s put the past behind us and live a new life in Christ!”  I want to address that very carefully.

    As we grow and mature in faith, the Holy Spirit transforms our minds, jogs our memories and pricks our consciences. We realize that things we did in the past, things that we thought were okay at the time, were wrong. What should we do? Should we bury these things and  act as though  they never happened?   That kind of dishonesty grieves the Holy Spirit. Unconfessed sin eats away at individuals and communities from the inside. It saps our strength and rots our bones.

    The biblical pattern for dealing with sin, even if it was unintentional at the time, is  described in Leviticus chapter 4. The sin must be brought out into the open and acknowledged before the community, starting with the leaders.  Evidence of repentance must be displayed and a  sin offering must be made for the sin of the leaders and the community.  Jesus is our sin offering. The cleansing blood of Jesus  must  be intentionally applied to specific sins. If people were hurt, then apologies must be offered and restitution  should be made (Lev 5,6). Until that happens, the matter has not been settled.

    • Brian Karcher

      Well-said, Joe.   I’ve always thought we had little to learn from Leviticus. After all, didn’t Jesus abolish the sacrificial system in Israel?   I’m chaning my mind quickly now.   I see that Jesus fulfilled the Law. We are not to implement the animal sacrifices, but it is clear that we can learn God’s attitude toward sin from the sacrificial system.

      For example, God has much to say about unintentional sin:

      Leviticus 4:13,14,22 (NIV)    13 “‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt 14 and the sin they committed becomes known, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the tent of meeting.”

      22 “‘When a leader sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the commands of the LORD his God, when he realizes his guilt 23 and the sin he has committed becomes known, he must bring as his offering a male goat without defect.”

    • Brian Karcher

      And Leviticus 5:1 (NIV) is now my second key verse for 2011, and probably my new life key verse:

      “If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.”

    • Joe, as I read your comment again, I see that your words are prophetic…are you a prophet? :)

      “Perceived intentions are a very poor indicator of the rightness of an action. It is so easy to deceive ourselves into thinking our intentions are noble when in reality they are not. A great example is found in 1 Samuel 15. Saul pretended that his disobedience was actually obedience and that his intentions were good. Only later, after his sin was uncovered, did he come out of denial and start to admit that he was acting out of pride and fear.”

  9. Brian Karcher

    Just had this thought: UBF has studied Genesis and Exodus a LOT the past 50 years.   Perhaps it is time to move on to Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, or better yet, the New Testament?

    • We  ought to reconsider how we  have been studying the Bible as a whole, and make a new and deliberate effort to see the Bible (including the OT) from a gospel-centered and Christ-centered point of view. Before Dr Lee passed away, he urged us to “Go Back to the Bible.” Going back to the Bible is good, provided that we are approaching it properly. I would say that what we need to do  now is  “Go  Back to the Gospel.”

    • Brian Karcher

      Ah yes, I’d agree with that wholeheartedly.

    • Abraham Nial
      Abraham Nial

      In my opinion, the problem in UBF is due to the tall claim of being a “ministry of the Word of God” and in reality being ignorant about great many numbers of books/chapters of the Bible. This was largely due to Dr Lee’s failure to raise up among his successors scholars who could understand the whole biblical perspective even as a broadstroke. Lacking of this leads to starvation (messages and bible studies does not provide the spiritual bread that we need),  even malnutrion (we start looking outside for spiritual food, sometime falling to dangerous unbiblical teachings etc), and  both are dangerous.

      As Joe mentioned we need whole bible’s persepctive in studyin the Bible. And what we also need is studyin the Bible for what it says and not just to advance  our agenda, such as “decisions of faith”,  “disciple making”, and “world mission”. Earlier on this blog, I expressed my frustration about focussing on Daniel while studyin the book of Daniel for a conference. Recently I received a mail/update of a young friend who was in need of material to understand Daniel 11 &12 said those two chapters intrigued him. I can understand. It is so because in UBF we never go past the life of Daniel and into the message of Daniel. Now, in this age of world wide web, as leaders and shepherds, we must choose between: spiritual starvation, spiritual malnutrion, or getting past the copy-cat generation for the sake of those who God has entrusted to our care!

    • Brian Karcher
      Brian Karcher

      Abraham, I’d have to say I agree with your thoughts.  However, I’m “burned out” trying to decide “what UBF needs”.  When I talked with Sarah Barry the other day, things were so clear. When I talk with my grandmother or with Pastor Steve (her pastor), things are so clear.

      The bottom line is really quite simple: repent.  Repentance makes many things so clear, so pure and so wonderful.

  10. Darren Gruett

    Brian, I commend your courage and honesty. God bless you!

  11. Abraham Nial
    Abraham Nial

    May God bless you Brian for coming out openly. If anything UBF or for that matter the whole Body of Christ needs  as its top most priority is honestly  taking responsibilites for  our mistakes and newly signing up for Sermon on the Mount lifestyle. I ask God’s mercy on me for the same.

    Many seniors are afraid that when we become open with our failures and shame the ministry might collapse. But in reality it is exactly the opposite. And in fact it is unnecessary and dangerous and the very reason for a ministry at the verge of breaking apart. Is God unable to protect his work or ministry so we must do something about it, by any means and at any cost?  How long can we hide our failures and shame? I commend you for setting an example. With you brother!

    • Brian Karcher

      Thank you Abraham!   And indeed you are my brother!   I read some of the accounts about India UBF on this blog.   Toledo could have (and might still) go the same way, but I pray not.

  12. Thanks for being open Brian. I pray that God will lift that burden off of your shoulders and encourage others to be as honest and open about their sins and you have.   I was wondering, where could I read the Kim’s account of what happened? I hope I don’t sound like I’m trying to instigate anything, I’m just wondering what they thought about it. Thanks!

    • Brian Karcher

      Oscar, both testimonies are posted on the internet.   I am not comfortable posting the links here, because the purpose of ubfriends is different and has a much better spirit than the sites that post the Kim’s letters.   Plus the Kim’s letters have a ton of emotional baggage, so it might be troubling to wade through.  

      However I can testify that the sections concering their Kensington house are filled with facts, along with the emotion.

      If you want the links directly, just email me:   brian (a) priestlynation (dot) com   or google for “James Kim UBF”.   But pray first, and guard your heart and mind from Satan’s deception.   The letters should not be taken as “gospel”, in my opinion, if that’s even the correct term.

    • Thanks for the warning.   I’ll check it out.

  13. I will posit a speculation: Dr. Samuel Lee “treated” Koreans and non-Koreans differently. Honestly, he was quite brutal and rough with Koreans; but it was “culturally acceptable.” (Of course, it is still wrong.) But as a non-Korean Dr. Lee did not treat me the way he treated Koreans. He practiced “forbearance” toward me, and toward countless other non-Koreans in many countries.
    I’m thinking that the issues that Abraham Nial and Yaruimgan faced in India, and the issues Brian has been alluding to in Toledo is because the Korean leader treated their indigenous leaders like Koreans, which is “culturally unacceptable,” and quite offensive, especially with time. The problem is also that the Korean leader doesn’t realize how offensive and condescending he comes across. He may subconsciously think that he is “just like Dr. Lee.” Or that others must “keep spiritual order,” or “just obey.” Practically, the leader treats the native leaders like “sheep” no matter how many decades have passed. The implicit communication from the leader is that it is either “my way or the high way.” Please do correct me here if I am wrong.
    That is why the biblical model is to establish indigenous leadership as soon as possible. Paul did so in Acts in just a few years. William Carey stated so as well. This is one area that UBF has been highly reluctant to do.
    Our Korean leaders have a really hard time as to what they would do, should they really establish an indigenous leader. They have been leaders “all their life” that it is quite hard, if not humanly impossible, for them to let go of their leadership position without keeping a trump card, or overtly interfering with the indigenous leader. The only way this has been practically done so far is if the indigenous leader “goes out to pioneer.”

    • Ben, thanks for this observation. What you say is correct to an extent. But Dr Lee did not treat Americans alike. He was very strict and demanding with the American staff in Chicago, but he was very lenient with some Americans, including me. Some have said that he was intentionally protecting me from harsh treatment — perhaps because he thought I couldn’t take it, or perhaps for some other reason. As a result, I sense that those who were severely trained by Lee regard me with suspicion. They have hinted or explicitly said that I am insufferably proud (which I am), untrained (yes, untrained by Lee, but trained by God through many other life experiences), unproven (maybe because I have not raised 12 disciples, 120 disciples, or whatever the magic number is), not sufficiently loyal (loyal to whom?), etc.   The time is  fast approaching when we absolutely must have an honest, frank conversation  about Lee and all the things he did, — the good, the bad, and the ugly — not to pass judgment on him or anyone, but to simply understand how we came to be the people that we are. We really, really  need to  take an objective look at the whole history of UBF, repent of things we did wrong, make amends, and then try to move forward with complete honesty and integrity. I hope and pray that this will happen soon.

    • A long time ago I read a biography of C.T. Studd, written by his nephew (don’t remember his name).   It was interesting to me that he described Studd’s failure to cowork with people in later life, when all deserted him.
      Maybe after 10-20 years we’ll have a good historical account of UBF.   As for now, memories need to be recorded and preserved.
      One Russian Orthodox priest whom I know in person, who is also a historian by profession, has an idea that history is composed by human beings, not ideas and ideologies and projects (like UBF), and history should be told from that point of view.   On his website he has a timeline not of churches, but people in those churches, with descriptions.   Website is in Russian (

    • Thanks, Timothy. It’s interesting that everyone deserted C.T. Studd, because he couldn’t cowork with people. I was wondering who the people were: Were they British Christians/missionaries, or were they the indigenous people?

      Yes, Joe, almost the exact same things said about you were also said about me: because I was never a staff, but a lay worker, thus Dr. Lee spoilt me, which accounts for my “present behavior,” whatever that is. My honest response is that I did not choose the way Dr. Lee treated me. That’s the sovereignty and providence of God, perhaps even the wisdom of God.

      For sure, we need to reasses Dr. Lee’s life as objectively and honestly as possible, because I think the repercussions and influences of his life, especially his authoritarian style of leadership, is beginning to surface today, more and more. I cannot stress how often it is implicity stated by leaders the following:  “That is how Dr. Lee did it,” unusally in refernece to “training people,” or “giving direction,” and things that Dr. Lee used to say. Sorry, but my bratty response is, “But you are not Dr. Lee.”

    • “It’s interesting that everyone deserted C.T. Studd, because he couldn’t cowork with people. I was wondering who the people were: Were they British Christians/missionaries, or were they the indigenous people?”
      They were British – his fellow missionaries in Congo, the last place Studd served.   I found a reference to the book now.   Written not by nephew, but son-in-law, but a member of Studd’s family, though. See:

      C.T. Studd: Cricketer and Pioneer by Norman Grubb ISBN 0-7188-3028-8

      A little bit is described there in that wiki page: “In 1931, still labouring for the Lord at Ibambi at the age of seventy, Charles Studd died from untreated gallstones, but his vision for China, India and Africa was maintained by Norman Grubb, who took charge of WEC. His last years, however, were marked by controversy; some missionaries dissented from his methods and leadership style, and several either left or were dismissed. Studd’s use of morphine – including supplies which may not have been declared at customs – also scandalised some.”
      I don’t remember how Norman Grubb commented the events in his book, but I remember well that he did not hide Studd’s weaknesses.   And at that time I thought I would write some history of Moscow UBF like that.   But I was young then, and I am still incapable now.

  14. Abraham Nial
    Abraham Nial

    Dear Admin,
    Opening of the site is giving me some weired experience sometime. It opens up a page showing a system scan and summary of infected files etc and further asking of entering into a strange site. I am not sure if others who access are also experiencing this?

    • Brian Karcher
      Brian Karcher

      Abraham, I am one of the technical admins.  I haven’t seen what you are experiencing, but I will check it out.  The site seems ok to me, but I’ll check.

    • Something like that happened to me yesterday as well.

    • David L

      Yeah when I opened this page this morning my computer said it gave me a virus!

  15. Brian Karcher

    Yes, we unfortunately have a virus lurking in the scripts somehow, some sort of injection virus.   It seems to only affect IE browsers. I use Chrome and haven’t seen it at all, but when I tried IE 9 I immediately saw the rogue script running.   It acutally is a fake anti-virus virus, the worst kind.   It deceives you into thinking your computer is infected, when it really is not.  

    Just close the popup window and reboot your computer immediately and you shouldn’t be infected.

    Mary J.  and I will be looking into this right away.

    • Joshua Brinkerhoff

      I use Firefox 4.0 and I also haven’t seen it. Godspeed for getting it fixed.

    • Just happened to me using firefox 3.6.17. Popped up on hotmail.   I almost got suckered in by it. My laptop never gets viruses either but this one popped up. Took care of it, hopefully it won’t come back.

    • Brian Karcher

      Thanks. I’m working on removing all the rogue scripts, as there were more than just 2.

  16. Brian Karcher

    I found and removed 2 rogue scripts, but we’ll do a comprehensive search to be sure.   So at the moment, we’re no longer infected.   But please email us or post if it returns.

    • Hello, Brian,
      Did you find how they got in? Through HTML-formatted comments or in some other way?
      As for comments, I usually do prevention by str_replace(“<script”, “<shrift”, $comment) and that’s all :-) and onclick can be changed to offclick, etc.

  17. Hi everyone, we’ve contained the malicious script and removed instances of it from our database entirely. We are quite positive that it was a random attack that may have targeted iPower servers specifically (our website hosting company), and not an attack aimed at UBFriends in particular. We’re very sorry about the potential infection. If anyone was redirected to a bad site, please download anti-virus software if you don’t already have one installed and scan your computer for threats (two free, open-source anti-virus programs are AVG and Avast

    Brian and I intend to be more vigilant about our site’s security in the future and have set up extra security around the site. If anyone gets antivirus warnings or encounters strange behavior while navigating UBFriends, please let us know as soon as possible.

    As a side note, some of the text on our site was temporarily scrambled during the virus clean-up process, so some apostrophes (‘), quotation marks (“) and other special characters may render as strange gibberish. We’re slowly converting these characters to their proper state. If you encounter any of these characters, please let us know via a comment or email. Thanks!

  18. Today is 7/2/2013. Just tagging this article, not sure why really other than after 2 years I still feel the need to commemorate my resignation from ubf on 7/2/2011. That day I sent this email to over 100 ubf leaders and embarked on an amazing journey.

    I resign from being a UBF director. Please remove Detroit UBF as a chapter in your lists.

    In Christ,
    Brian Karcher
    former Detroit UBF director

    This immediate reply spoke volumes to me:

    I am deeply saddened by the events that led to your resignation. It is truly a loss for the UBF church. Although I have not had a chance to get to know you more personally, I respect you and was encouraged by your honesty and courage when I read your article, “My Confession”, on the UBFriends website. I believe that you and Mary made a decision out of your commitment to follow the Lord Jesus, and He will surely honor it and bless your journeys together to follow Him more closely. May the Lord lead you to a healthy church community where you can find a genuine fellowship of love and grow deeper in your love for Him.

    Your brother in Christ.

  19. Brian: happy anniversary. Praise God for the wonderful liberty He has given us in our Lord. Thank you for all your contributions. Your efforts in administrating UBFriends are really meaningful, and is really a ministry to me and many others.

  20. big bear

    DEAR Brian, God is using your life more than you will ever know. You are great writer and a great friend. You accepted me though you wanted to take me behind the shed to beat my brains out. It was around this time last year that I was living in my van by the river and I lost everything. You have encouraged me much and I know your pain. Each of us have a purpose and call from God. Your purpose from what I see is to bring the truth of God love more clearly to Ubf and all people. Mother Sarah Barry was the first to know of my divorce and email me that God would use me for His kingdom elsewhere. She already knew my future before I was asked to leave by my hometown director. I had a dream from God the night before I went to Ubf with my new wife for the last time that I would be asked to leave. But I went anyway telling my wife my dream. Everything happened as I dreamed. God has revealed to me many things in dreams. Recently I dreamed I would eventually preach again. I even saw the church in my dream. God has a great purpose for us. All we went thru in Ubf will not be wasted. God will bless our new journey. He freed us both for a reason only he knows. I look forward to next book hope we can write together this fall if God provides a way. You are a much better writer than me. Surpising many exubf people coming from a far to visit us and many in Ubf want me to write this book. My only prayer is to write and live in love. Proud of you….Big Bear

  21. Since one of the threads recently brought up elders and the role of elders, I was reminded of how one ubf elder responded to this article via email, around September 2011. I had been speaking to him and a few others about changes I saw that ubf needed to make:

    “I am sorry, but change what? Admitting that we broke into a house 20 years ago and won’t do it again? Admitting all of our sins? Really, what will that do? You really want all my sins or just certain ones? Okay, we broke into a house illegally 20 years ago. I didn’t know about it, but I suppose it is true. Now what?

    We really have to cover one another’s sins. This is love too, don’t you think? Do we have to let everyone know all the sins committed by all the members of UBF around the world? Where does it stop?

    Honestly, I have too much to worry about in my daily life of trying to serve Jesus where I am to worry about that.”

    • Joe Schafer

      “Honestly, I have too much to worry about in my daily life of trying to serve Jesus where I am than to worry about that.”

      Translation: “Honestly, I’m just too busy proclaiming the gospel, helping all those worldly people out there to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus, that I have no time or desire to help the leaders of my church to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus.”

      Brian, has the body of elders taken any action or given any formal response to this issue that you brought before them two years ago?

    • No. Or at least no one told me they did.

    • Hey Brian,

      As you know, that was not my response to you at the time. I can tell you that the elders discussed it and were generally disgusted by it. It has also led to the support for the change in the Toledo ministry.

      I am quite busy alright, but not too busy to deal with these types of things to the best of my ability.

    • Correct, Alan. That email I quoted above was not from you. It was from someone who has never commented here on ubfriends. I suppose he’s too busy :)

      btw, Alan, almost all of my criticism of “UBF” excludes you, as it does for Ben and Joe and Westloop and Penn State and my friend Andy S/JWHY up in Canada. You are the “redeemed ubf” :)

    • Alan, also Joe asked above “has the body of elders taken any action or given any formal response to this issue that you brought before them two years ago?”

      I am unware of any action taken by the elders, expect the non-action you mention of allowing some new changes initiated by Toledo leaders. There was also the action taken by Chicago to advise Toledo through some elders who came and said “it’s all inter-personal conflicts” and “just get back to one-to-one ministry”.

      I know you sent me some private email with some information as you stated here. But I don’t consider that any “formal response” that Joe is referring to.

    • Brian,

      As you know, the EC was created in 2012. Since that time, we’ve been investigating and responding to formal inquiries about issues. We can do that now with such a request.

    • Joe Schafer

      So, after feeling “generally disgusted,” the elders
      * decided to wait for the feeling of disgust to pass and the whole thing to be forgotten?
      * decided to wait for the community as a whole to turn against Brian and decide that he is a fool and troublemaker and they no longer need to worry about any of the issues he raised?

      Would it be wrong, unspiritual, immature, ungodly for me to be upset and disgusted by this now?

      Or might God want me to feel disgusted?

    • Joe,

      The elders did not “decide” as you indicated, and to extent that the things you mention eventually happened it wasn’t due to anything the elders did or ignored.

      But to put it simply, I am still disgusted and do not think this is a closed matter.

    • Joe Schafer

      Thank you, Alan.

      I did not really think they made those decisions. Those questions were mostly rhetorical, my thinking out loud. But not deciding to do anything is, in effect, a decision to kick the can down the road, hoping that it gets dealt with later or just goes away. I’m glad you still have negative feelings about it. At this point, I’ve grown weary and numb about a lot of these things and probably won’t be pestering the ethics committee much in the weeks and months ahead. It’s not that I think your work isn’t important. It is. But I feel it would be much better now for other people to step in and make the case for ethics and oversight. If the community as a whole doesn’t feel strongly about it, then so it must be.

  22. Joe Schafer

    Brian, please correct me if I’m wrong, but is this a truthful summary of what has happened thus far?

    1. In 2011, you acted as a whistleblower, confessing that you participated in criminal activity 20 years ago under the direct orders of a ubf chapter director. That activity caused significant harm to Rebekah Kim and the late James Kim.

    2. The chapter director who ordered this has not disputed that he did it. All of the major facts (except the role of SL in this) are uncontested; all the elders believe that it happened.

    3. After two years, as far as you know, nothing has been done about it. This story was part of the toxic stew that caused about half the members of Toledo UBF (most of the Americans) to leave the ministry.

    4. The chapter director in question was not disciplined in any way that UBF members can discern. He stepped back from pastoring Toledo UBF, but as he did so, he was said to be “retiring” and was honored for 20+ years of faithful service. He retains his position on the North American senior staff. This year, he was given responsibility and authority over major aspects of the recent ISBC, including the messsages and interest groups. And after the ISBC, he played a highly visible role in Toledo, welcoming guests and acting as a titular head.

    • Joe Schafer

      And meanwhile,

      5. You (Brian) were not commended for bringing up this problem. On the contrary, you were villified for raising this issue and other problems. Your reputation and relationships with other people were undermined to the point where, for the well being of you and your family, you resigned your position and left UBF.

    • Correct Joe.

      I would add something to #2 however. The director in question apologized to me for doing this. He then also claimed he is 100% responsible and that I was 0% responsible. He also stated that this was an act of love to help and bless the Kim’s family.

      In my view, I am responsible for what I did back in 1990. I and my friends would have been the one’s that went to jail if the Kim’s had pressed charges (they could have but did not).

    • “He then also claimed he is 100% responsible and that I was 0% responsible.”

      Sounds a lot like “covering doctrine”. In real life, and common law, both the accessory and the principal are equally guilty. Covering doctrine says that you must just follow and obey your shepherd, then all your sins are covered.

      “He also stated that this was an act of love to help and bless the Kim’s family.”

      When you read Rebecca and James Kim’s testimony you understand how much they felt “blessed” by these and other acts done to their family.

  23. Hey everyone, just tagging my article from 2011. I hope one day to share an amazing update to this article :)