What is shepherding?

At the heart of the UBF lifestyle is something called 1:1.  This is pronounced “one-to-one” and it refers to the role of shepherding other people (specifically college students) on a one-to-one basis. Often the assumption is that we understand this shepherding, accept it as a command from God, and just do it. The tendency is to see Bible study as the solution for all life’s problems, even at the expense of seeking other types of help when needed.

But what is shepherding? I’d like to take some time to stop and think critically about this important subject.

First of all, I don’t claim to know all about shepherding. My point here is both to learn and to kick off some discussion. Currently I am being mentored in a new and exciting way. I have much to share, but here are my initial thoughts and questions.

1. Shepherding is not parenting. Mentoring becomes unhealthy when the role of a parent is replaced or assumed.

2. Shepherding is not permanent. Some mentoring relationships may indeed develop into lifelong relationships. But that is rare. Mentors have to realize they do not have a lifelong mandate to mentor.

3. Shepherding is voluntary. It is so strange to think that shepherds choose sheep. It is far more healthy to allow students to choose, change and switch mentors. I’m not convinced everyone must have a mentor.

4. Shepherding is secondary. The role of the Holy Spirit (and the person being mentored) are primary. A mentor who insists on being the primary checkpoint in a person’s life is very unhealthy, especially for highschool/college students.  A mentor’s voice should never be the loudest voice in the head of a student.

5. Shepherding is about being a confidant. Often we need a friend to listen to us, to share in safety and confidence and to aid us in finding self and God. Setting up a relationship that goes beyond friendship or breaks trust however, is prone to leading toward a loss of  “self”, and thus not being able to see “God” clearly.

Questions for discussion:

What is the difference between healthy and unhealthy shepherding?

Is every Christian called to be a shepherd for someone else?

What role does psychology play in mentoring others?

What is the value of having group mentors?

How are advising, counseling, coaching, mentoring, shepherding, pastoring, parenting, mastering, lording and dictating related? Are they all the same thing?




  1. Thanks, Brian, for a nice, relevant, short post!

    My short answer to the first question is:

    Healthy shepherding allows the Holy Spirit to be the primary voice in the heart of the one being shepherded, mentored or discipled.

    Unhealthy shepherding happens when the shepherd plays too prominent a role in the life of the “sheep,” so that the one being mentored cannot clearly tell when he is pleasing God or trying to win the approval and acceptance of their shepherd.

    • Phil 2 Five

      Thanks Brian for the post! Very interesting and important topic to think about and discuss!

      @Brian, here’s my take on this issue! Often I see shepherding in UBF as a military boot camp–the shepherd being the drill sergeant and the sheep the cadets (or the way drill sergeants call them, ‘rats’). That is not how Jesus’ shepherded his disciples! Just as on an military base cadets don’t have a say and they are always told what to do and how to do it, it is no different in most UBF chapters. This almost applies in every aspect of the sheep’s life. They MUST obey just as the cadets obey the drill sergeant. Is this how a church suppose to look like? That’s very frustrating and disturbing!
      @Ben, regarding your statement, “Unhealthy shepherding happens when the shepherd plays too prominent a role in the life of the “sheep,” so that the one being mentored cannot clearly tell when he is pleasing God or trying to win the approval and acceptance of their shepherd.” In a boot camp the ultimate goal I suppose is to please the drill sergeant or the commander. Our commanding officer is Jesus not the ‘shepherds’ in the church. So when pleasing any shepherd becomes the objective, then that shepherding is not shepherding at all. True shepherding leads the ‘sheep’ to God and His throne; it leads the ‘sheep’ to the GOOD SHEPHERD!

    • Phil2Five, I like Calvin’s commentary on 1 Timothy about pastors. He writes that a shepherd MUST NOT be like a sergeants (strikers). If he is then he is not worthy to serve in the church… “I think that here he reproves generally that fierceness which is often found in the military profession, and which is utterly unbecoming in time servants of Christ. It is well known to what ridicule they expose themselves, who are more ready to strike a blow with the fist, and — we might even say — to draw the sword, than to settle the disputes of others by their own sedate behavior. Strikers is therefore the term which he applies to those who deal much in threatenings, and are of a warlike temperament.” I remember how at a Moscow conference Paul Sambuccor (I am not sure about the name) said that his director (John Bird) was like a drill sergeant. John shouted from the audience “amen” and everybody clapped and rejoiced supporting the idea that a director must be a sergeant. And I remember how Lee commanded to John Bird to stand up and to sit down many times right on the stage after John’s message on “Jesus is the way” in 1997. It seemed that Jesus should have been the focus of the conference and of the message but the focus was ubf military absolute obedience again. I remember also how a messanger (or possibly the messanger) read at the conference something like “Last week we studied John 13…” for Lee didn’t allow to make even the smallest changes in his message )) “To obey is better than sacrifice” – I think in ubf this means “better that Jesus and than anything else”.

    • Vitaly and Phil2Five, you both raise a good point that deserves some more thought. Shepherding in UBF is more like an army camp, and they are proud of it (at least I used to be). UBF has a “soldier oath” and “soldier training”. The model in UBF is directors who train others in obedience.

      In case someone thinks I’m just making this up check out slide 10 in this presentation:

      UBF Fishing and Outreach 2010

      Slide 16 is just horrible, but clearly documents the UBF director a “dear leader” style dictatorship.

      On one hand I am glad to finally see documentation like this that clearly spell out the big problems of UBF shepherding. But on the other hand, reading the material is so depressing…

      I had hoped to discuss non-UBF mentoring somehow. There are so many methods, principles and ideas that vastly outweigh UBF 1:1.

      Anyway, here is the UBF soldier oath. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you are not an official UBF member:

      “The small prayer council grew. It was composed of committed leaders. Each new member was chosen by unanimous decision of the council. Each meeting began with a pledge (sun suh) 1. “We are soldiers of the cross of Jesus Christ. We will do our best to correctly handle the word of truth and build a Christian view of life.” 1. “We are soldiers of the cross of Jesus Christ. For the sake of `Bible Korea’ and World Mission we will participate in the suffering of Christ.” (Ro 8:17)We prayed for the campus, for leaders in training, for growing sheep, and for world missions. We accepted Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to “obey everything I have command you.” (Mt 28:19,20)” (source)

      Where did the soldier spirit come from in UBF? A moment in Samuel Lee’s life galvanized him, and the “soldier spirit” and “doing good works without grace” theology began:

      “Samuel Lee was a high school boy then. His class of 30 boys were handed rifles and sent out to fight a Chinese-North Korean army which was trying to cross the Imjin River. He saw the young communist soldiers, some women, some high school boys like himself, wading across the river. He couldn’t shoot them. He couldn’t understand why brothers must fight brothers. Then the guns of the enemy were trained on him and his classmates. His friends dropped like flies around him. He jumped out of the trench and danced in front of the guns, hoping to die with the others. But God spared him. All of his friends died in that battle, but God had a purpose for his life. He knew that. Later, he accepted Ephesians 2:10 as his life key verse: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (source)

      I am thankful that Ben and Westloop has repented of this! Most UBF chapters have not. They still have a “dear leader” director, feverishly run the UBF hamster wheel of activity, and endlessly strive to build up a pyramid of authority– all the while promoting hardcore theology.

    • Mark Mederich

      titles falsely elevate for noone is great, not even one:)
      all are siblings in Christ; perhaps one can “mentor” friend until strong in Christ; certainly all can “encourage” one another in Christ;

      we can “facilitate” bible study by initiating discussion, but Holy Spirit teaches all

      we can “coordinate” bible activities, but God alone directs

      hierarchy is man’s intention to advance himself at expense of others, God had no such intention

    • Mark Mederich

      God’s $ should be used to help people truly in need, not to fund lifestyles of rich & famous:<

  2. A negative way to say this is that healthy shepherding is NEVER EVER coercion, control, manipulation or guilt-tripping, because this is NEVER what the gospel does.

  3. Recently we studied 2 Peter 1. Peter says that the most important thing is faith but faith should not be naked, it should be closed with many good things like self-control, godliness and love. Peter doesn’t mention shepherding among these high qualities of a Christian (except brotherly kindness maybe). In my ubf life I didn’t find such qualities in my chapter director. He would never say like Peter “Dear friends…” or “I appeal as a fellow elder…”. Peter writes about such “christians” that they are ineffective and unproductive in their knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and even that are nearsighted and blind.
    And Dr Ben, you write, “Unhealthy shepherding happens when the shepherd plays too prominent a role in the life of the “sheep,” so that the one being mentored cannot clearly tell when he is pleasing God or trying to win the approval and acceptance of their shepherd.” It would be not such bad if the too prominent and domonant shepherds would be biblical and would force biblical things. Unfortunately they are not only prominent but also too often unbiblical and even unchristian.

    • Phil 2 Five

      Here’s an interesting article by John Piper along the lines of what you are saying Vitaly!

      Here’s one of the lines that really struck a chord with me, and I quote, “We must remember this for ourselves, lest our position go to our head and we forget we are slave as well as pastor, slave as well as deacon, slave as well as trustee, slave as well as teacher, executive, doctor, lawyer, merchant, supervisor, etc. We all have “like precious faith,” if indeed our faith is in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ and not in our own.”

    • Phil 2 Five

      Sorry, forgot to attach the link…

      Here it is: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/liberating-promises

  4. Phil 2 Five

    @Brain: In reference to your question, Is every Christian called to be a shepherd for someone else?

    >> No! We are all called to minister to one another as fellow-believers, not shepherd each other! If everybody becomes a shepherd, who are those shepherds going to shepherd? Who would be the flock?
    In many UBF chapters, shepherding becomes very unhealthy when every aspect of the ‘sheep’s’ life is under a microscope and ‘shepherd’s’ control! I mean every detail!

    Here’s a link by John Piper which I found to be helpful! http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/brothers-we-are-not-superstars

    In addition, one of the issues I find in UBF language is this:
    “How many sheeps do ‘YOU’ have?” (The sheep don’t belong to us, they belong to Jesus)
    “He/she is “YOUR” sheep?” (Again, NOT OUR SHEEP, but JESUS’)

    • Phil2Five, thanks for point out the Piper links. The Superstars sermon is quite useful to discuss.

      For example, Piper writes: “Evangelicals have their cult-heroes and cult followings. This is true both inside and outside the local church. We have our groupies who pine after their “Christian rock stars.” Such stars are given almost infallible status, at least by their devoted fans, and if they are not careful, they may begin to believe what blogs, fans, and fellow superstars say.”

      In any shepherding endeavor, I think we should heed this advice, which is clearly derived from Scripture. No one will be declared righteous by obeying the law– nor any part of the law. Some Christians tend to split the Law into multiple parts, then declare that others should obey certain parts, or imply that they themselves can indeed keep certain parts. Such thinking leads to elevating leaders to infallible status and having to cover up their sins to keep them at such status. Such thinking is not gospel thinking.

    • Mark Mederich

      seems like religion can become steeped with living in Old Testament or in traditions

  5. The current Leadership Journal article: What Good Shepherds Don’t Do (http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2012/fall/what-good-shepherds.html)

    “Knowing how helpless and stupid sheep can be, we (pastors/shepherds) come to believe that without our guidance, they can do nothing. So beyond feeding and tending, we assume it is also our responsibility to call—to tell Christ’s sheep what they are to do.”

    “Where we overstep as shepherds is when we assume the responsibility for a disciple’s specific calling. …when feeding and tending becomes controlling or determining life direction, we’ve overstepped our role.”

    • Good article Ben. Thanks for the link. I had some discussions today with ubf people about shepherd/sheep relationships. I think this is not understood well enough. Maybe we could also discuss “What is a Pastor?”

      At some point we have to ask Are we Christian missionaries who bring the gospel of Jesus or are we Judaizers who demand people to submit to the Law? Romans 5:1 has nothing to do with conforming to the Law through our obedience and effort.

    • David Bychkov

      Hi Brian!
      “At some point we have to ask Are we Christian missionaries who bring the gospel of Jesus or are we Judaizers who demand people to submit to the Law?”
      I just want to ask if you aware that with such statement I think you accusing of being Judaizers not only UBF shepherds (which by the way I’m not sure are doing it as they hardly have coherent teaching about God’s law and rather mostly demand people submit to organization unwritten code), but many of Christian confessions. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodoxers, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Reformed, Anglicans all of them have coherent teachings about the Law of God, and as far as I know they have 10 commandments represented in their cathehisms or other oficcial confesstional statements.
      I don’t think that how you attacking the Law of God is wise approach of dealing with both Scripture & Church tradition.

    • By the way, I should have written Romans 1:5 above. That is the verse ubf often uses as an out-of-context proof-text to justify enslaving people to the ubf system.

  6. Hi David,

    Yes I am aware that my statement reveals my outlaw theology, which I know you disagree with :) And yes, my thoughts do run counter to most religious systems.

    For anyone who wants to live under the Law and try to build your Christian life on obedience to God’s laws, I suggest pondering on Galatians, Ephesians, Hebrews and Romans, especially passages surrounding Galatians 4:21 and Galatians 5:12.

    I believe following Christ is about things such as surrendering to grace and submitting to Jesus’ lordship. Where does Christ tell His followers to conform to obedience to the law?

    I will stake all of my “ologies” on this statement: God’s Law is not binding nor unifying on Christians, but the Spirit of God is binding and unifying.

    I believe Christians are to teach the Law and the Prophets, which did not disappear. But what do we teach from the Law? We do not become anarchists and teach others to break the Law. We teach them the redemptive narrative about Jesus. The Law is no longer our supervisor! Galatians 3:25

    Christians do not teach conformance to the letter of the law, but transformation through the Spirit of the law. For this I am willing to die. I will put all of my eggs in the basket of the grace of God displayed in Jesus Christ my Lord.

    • Hi Brian and David, I’d like to add my two cents:

      I’ve been amazed by the over-arching narrative of John’s gospel, which is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The greek word for believe is found over a hundred times in John’s gospel. When the Jews asked Jesus what work they must do, he didn’t mention the law at all. He only said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29) Believing in Jesus is all that is needed; nothing less and certainly nothing more.

      I also love how the creedal statements like the apostles’ creed do not list requirements for the believers to obey. And when the apostles contemplated the requirements for Gentile believers in Acts 15, they landed only on prohibiting eating food sacrificed to idols, sexual immorality, and consuming the meat of strangled animals.

      I agree with Brian (in spirit, perhaps not in degree); if we believe in Jesus, we become participants in his divine nature and are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Then, we must submit ourselves to obey Holy Spirit.

    • David Bychkov

      Hi Brian. Thanks for answer. I will try to give my comments to it later, once will have a chance, as I need some time to express my opinion. And I want ask once again if you find the way how you define those who disagree with you (“Judaizers”) acceptable in the view that it is really huge part of Christian world as I think would disagree with you, and would be those who teach their people to obey to the Law of God?

    • Joe Schafer

      Most Christians would agree that we ought to observe the spirit of the Ten Commandments. But the gospel has fundamentally changed our relationship to the commandments. We don’t observe them in the same way, or for the same reasons, that the Israelites did. New Testament obedience is rooted in what Jesus has done for us, which is, to fulfill the requirements of the law on our behalf. Through our baptism into the faith, we have been united with Christ in his death and resurrection. Jesus comes alive in us by his Spirit and encourages us to do what he would do. So although Christians strive keep the spirit of the commandments (especially as Jesus expounded them in the Sermon on the Mount), they are not binding upon us as a written code as they were in Old Testament times. Otherwise we would be in trouble, because many of us work on Saturdays.

    • @Joe, speaking of the Sabbath laws, I listened to an excellent exposition of how Christians should understand the Sabbath from Dr. John MacArthur. It is contained in three sermons from 1999:


      I was forbidden from missing Sunday service in UBF on the basis of the Ten Commandment law to keep the Sabbath holy. Other churches also didn’t qualify. As a result, I had a weird understanding of the Sabbath, and those sermons helped me.

    • Brian: “I believe Christians are to teach the Law and the Prophets, which did not disappear. But what do we teach from the Law? We do not become anarchists and teach others to break the Law. We teach them the redemptive narrative about Jesus. The Law is no longer our supervisor!” (or in the Ludy sermon – grace)

      We do learn the law. We do learn from each other. We are permitted grace under Christ crucified. In this there is no anarchy, but we will follow Christ and Christ alone. We will not follow each other. Are we so perfect that we can replace Christ? No. Moreover, to follow each other is idolatry. Under each other we are bound to the law, but under Jesus Christ we receive the gift of grace.

  7. David, I’m not sure I’m understanding your question. I can say that I do not think everyone who disagrees with me is a Judaizer. Nor do I think most Christians are Judaizers.

    I do have a problem with a church who claims to be Christ-followers and who also teaches people to obey the Law of God in the letter. I know that often the Law is divided into 2 or 3 codexes (is that the plural?) and then it is said that we obey the moral laws, but not the ceremonial laws, etc. I find such thinking not inline with the new wine Jesus brought.

    So no, I do not think a “shepherd” or “pastor” should be teaching the 613 laws and telling Christians to submit to them. I think we should be finding the redemptive narrative of the Law and the Prophets, and equipping Christians to listen to the Spirit’s guidance and giving them tools to search Scripture in light of grace and act on Scripture in light of love.

    I don’t know if I have the right definition of “Judaizer”. Probably I’m missing something.

  8. Now we are getting into matters that I am SO excited to discuss! I don’t claim to be the “holder of truth” but liberation comes from discussing the gospel of Jesus.

    For example, Ephesians 4:4-7 mention unifying factors for Christians. Notice there is no “one Law” or “one Prohpet” or “one Judge” anymore! In ancient times, God raised up “Moses” style people. But after Jesus we have plurality of leadership, never dependent on one “super apostle”. The “one man” is now Christ, our Lord who reigns supreme. No human “director” of our lives is needed.

    “4 There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

    • We have not come to Mt. Sinai where there is fear, darkness, gloom and storm, but to the city of the living God, where there is joy, life, grace and righteousness, mediated by Jesus. Hebrews 12:18-24.

      Throw off everything that entangles and enter the rest that comes from Jesus dwelling inside you, taking up the yoke of grace that is easy and light.

    • MarthaO

      ! In ancient times, God raised up “Moses” style people. But after Jesus we have plurality of leadership, never dependent on one “super apostle”. The “one man” is now Christ, our Lord who reigns supreme. No human “director” of our lives is needed.

      Brian this is a very important conversation to have. Recently I had a conversation with a missionary about this. Moses and Joshua seem in “ubf’s eyes” to be a great model for leadership. Moses and Joshua are seen as exemplary strong leaders that Pastors/directors should model after.

      I also agree that we are no longer in the Moses and Joshua era. During this time, Moses was the one who would go up the mountain and come into God’s presence. He would receive God’s word and experience God’s glory. For days he would radiate and deliver God’s word to God’s people.

      Because of Jesus, we no longer need a high priest, all Christians can come into God’s presence and experience Him and receive guidance and direction through the Holy Spirit.
      The question is what is the role of a pastor as a leader of the church? If we have been following the Moses and Joshua style of leadership, our view of a Pastor is somewhat skewed. If we all have the same access to God through the Holy Spirit, Where does spiritual authority or anointing of a Pastor come in?

  9. Brian, I would hazzard to say that your initial comment has more to do with understanding and accepted clerical practice. We have already discussed that UBF shepherding is riddled with practices that are objectionable to the standard accepted church behaviours. As a result you are bound to one man/woman who is your shepherd – and bound to a “church” UBF.

  10. gc, you make a good point. My wife always tells me I use too much rhetoric. She’s right, but also that’s who I am :)

    Eric Ludy articulates most of my thoughts extremely well in this sermon:

    Eric Ludy: Law and Grace

    I know I will be accused of being an antinomian or an anarchist. So be it. I’m betting on grace!

  11. @Martha: So glad to hear someone having a discussion about pastoring with ubf missionaries! That conversation is about 50 years overdue.

    @Ben, perhaps we could make two new articles: “what is the role of a pastor as a leader of the church?” and “Where does spiritual authority or anointing of a Pastor come in?”

  12. David Bychkov

    Thanks guys, for your responses.
    @Joshua. I believe the John Gospel main point is John 19:31
    “But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
    It is about believing in Jesus and having life in his name. And in my mind that is a perfect guide for John narrative undestanding (signs, Jesus speachs also). However even in the gospel we have this assosiations love/commandments/Holy Spirit. (John 14:21)

    But we have the John epistels as well. And this is the point of 1John, which is different from the gospel’s: ” I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1John 5:13)
    So it is more about insurence, not salvation. So he is talking much of signs whether we true child of God or no. And he talks much of faith, confession and love. But here he gives the mark whether our love is true:
    “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,” (1John 5:2,3)
    So according to the John the life of believer (not the way to became believer) is mainly about love. But those love should be evaluated by keeping his commands (whatever it mean, but it couldn’t be just – love each other, b/c in this case the verses are just meaningless). And we have the same pattern in 2John2:6.

    What I wrote above is connected to where I think I would not agree with you . I don’t think it is right to make such a statement:

    “But the gospel has fundamentally changed our relationship to the commandments. We don’t observe them in the same way, or for the same reasons, that the Israelites did. ”

    I think the pattern how John viewed love/commands(law) is the same which Jesus had ( e.g. Mathew 7:12), Paul had (e.g. Rom 13:10). And I think Jesus and others got this view directly from Old Testament itself (compare Mathew 12:30-31 to Det. 6:5, 11:1, Lev. 19:1).
    Jesus rebuke to the way how pharisees treeted law are also deeply connected to how old testament prophets did (Math 23:23 and Micah 6:8)
    I also believe that the commandments was intended to reveal God’s holiness and to call people to imitate him in holiness that is very much inline with Jesus and Peter views (Lev 11:44, 1Pet 1:15, Math. 5:48)

    @Brian, I don’t believe that the commandments were ever intended to be burden and to be 613 in number :). I think this view would be abuse, which was rebuked by prophets (Is. 28:13). Rather it was delight for God’s people (Ps 1:2)

    I know I didn’t answer all, but it is difficult for me to write more extensive in English.

  13. David, I would agree with Joe for he is a good Bibleman )

    Surely there is something new about the New Testament. And to the Brian’s thoughts about different layers of the Law: what is abolished by Jesus and what is still to be obeyed (in the new way of the Spirit) I liked Calvin on Eph.2:14,15

    “To understand this passage, two things must be observed. The Jews were separated, for a certain time, from the Gentiles, by the appointment of God; and ceremonial observances were the open and avowed symbols of that separation. Passing by the Gentiles, God had chosen the Jews to be a peculiar people to himself. A wide distinction was thus made, when the one class were “fellow-citizens and of the household” (Ephesians 2:19) of the Church, and the other were foreigners.”

    “Bounds were thus fixed by God to separate one people from the rest; and hence arose the enmity which is here mentioned. A separation is thus made. The Gentiles are set aside. God is pleased to choose and sanctify the Jewish people, by freeing them from the ordinary pollution of mankind. Ceremonial observances were afterwards added, which, like walls, enclosed the inheritance of God, prevented it from being open to all or mixed with other possessions, and thus excluded the Gentiles from the kingdom of God. But now, the apostle, says, the enmity is removed, and the wall is broken down. By extending the privilege of adoption beyond the limits of Judea, Christ has now made us all to be brethren”.

    “The meaning of Paul’s words is now clear. The middle wall of partition hindered Christ from forming Jews and Gentiles into one body, and therefore the wall has been broken down. The reason why it is broken down is now added — to abolish the enmity, by the flesh of Christ. The Son of God, by assuming a nature common to all, has formed in his own body a perfect unity.

    Even the law of commandments contained in ordinances. What had been metaphorically understood by the word wall is now more plainly expressed. The ceremonies, by which the distinction was declared, have been abolished through Christ. What were circumcision, sacrifices, washings, and abstaining from certain kinds of food, but symbols of sanctification, reminding the Jews that their lot was different from that of other nations; just as the white and the red cross distinguish the French of the present day from the inhabitants of Burgundy. Paul declares not only that the Gentiles are equally with the Jews admitted to the fellowship of grace, so that they no longer differ from each other, but that the mark of difference has been taken away; for ceremonies have been abolished. If two contending nations were brought under the dominion of one prince, he would not only desire that they should live in harmony, but would remove the badges and marks of their former enmity. When an obligation is discharged, the handwriting is destroyed, a metaphor which Paul employs on this very subject in another Epistle. (Colossians 2:14.)”

  14. There can be much of interesting discussion on all these things. I am sure David is not going to have circumcision, washings and sacrifices. At the same time I would agree that the “moral” Law is necessary, especially for understanding good and evil in detail. In this part I don’t agree with Brian that some sins were included in the Law to be abolished by Jesus (lgbt, etc). I believe they are in the Law for us to understand that they are sins before God (and if science says different then I will be on the side of the Law of God. I believe that lgbt must repent and can have a new life in Jesus and the eternal life in his grace and power of salvation)

    I would not agree with you, David, that the many churches you mentioned are Judiazers. And surely the apostolic church of the first century was clearly against Judaizers (who demanded Christians to obey the Law especially the circumcision part)

    When I think about ubf then I see there a kind of law and traditions: daily bread, sogams, 9 obligatory meetings a week, fishing and sws, etc. I see that all these things are really very bad especially because they are given as an absolute law and when someone “disobeys” even the least part of the law he/she feels guilt and fear and is rebuked as if he/she disobeyed the Law of God. I obeyed the ubf law for 17 years and missed a sws only once. I can say that I lived as a slave (and that of human law) and grieved the Lord. So now I believe that church should give every Christian freedom and trust even young Christians to the Holy Spirit, and there should be no obligatory “laws” every one must obey in the church. “laws” bring harm and nothing else. And in this sense I raise my both hands for Brian and his understanding of Jesus’ grace and freedom in Jesus.

    One more point is that there are quite many laws and traditions in many churches. They may appear to be very good. e.g. to come to the church in beautiful and offical wear is nice. But what would you say about such real story? A young lady was introduced to the gospel of Jesus and was invited to a church. Once she agreed and she put on the best wear she had and came to the church. The first brother who saw her rebuked her severely because her appearance seemed to him “worldly”. Maybe he was right and he followed a good law of his church. But the lady left at once and made a decision to never come to a church. Can such a church be welcoming the “tax collectors and prostitutes” of the world with whom Jesus himself ate and drank?

    • David Bychkov

      Thanks Vitaly.

      “I would not agree with you, David, that the many churches you mentioned are Judiazers.”

      I didn’t call them Judaizers (how I could if I am part of them :)). I wanted to hear if Brian would call them Judaizers as he seems is calliing everyone who believe obedience to the law (whatever it mean) is necessary.

      And surely I hold to calivnistic position regarding this issue. I would suggest you to read a chapter from Institutions concerning the law if you had not yet (2v, ch. 7, 8)