The 10 Commandments of UBF

10commandmentsI am the LORD your God who delivered you from human systems that keep you in bondage to slavery (cf. Ex 20:2; Deut 5:6).

  1. You shall not put your church (core values, methods, legacy) above my Word and my Son.
  2. You shall not make your church an idol in Asia or the Americas or anywhere else in the heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
  3. You shall not be Lord over your sheep or replace the Holy Spirit in their life.
  4. Remember to find rest in God alone, and not be burdened by many church-driven activities.
  5. Honor and fear God more than you fear your human shepherd and church director(s), so that you may live with love, joy and peace all your days.
  6. You shall not gossip and slander those who leave your church or disagrees with your church.
  7. You shall not control who or when your sheep marries, their wedding guest list and menu, or how they live their lives after marriage.
  8. You shall not steal God’s glory by having certain people decide the lives of others in the church by their unilateral decisions.
  9. You shall not lie and spin stories to justify your church, but simply tell the truth that gives freedom.
  10. You shall not judge and belittle other Christians, churches and chapters.

Here are some practical scenarios:

1) If a person wants to date/marry, will your church obey #1, #3, and #7?

2) If a person disagrees with “non-essentials of the faith” (testimony writing, attending your church conferences, etc), will your church obey #1, #3, #4, and #6?

3) Will your church leaders obey #9 and encourage everyone in church to do the same?

4 + 6. These 10 Commandments express love for God (1-4) and love for neighbor (5-10). How well does UBF love God and neighbor?


  1. Interesting article, Ben.

    I’m wondering if you could explain how the law is currently our “guardian/tutor until Christ comes”? Galatians 3 seems to be making the opposite point, that the law *was* a guardian, but now faith has come and we have the Holy Spirit as our guide into all truth. For Christians, the law is no longer our supervisor. So in my observation, ubf is trapped in the law and needs Christ to come. Thoughts?

    Galatians 3:23-25 “23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.”

  2. Or, another paraphrase from 1 Cor 13: “If I speak in the language of my mission country and invite students to Bible study, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong and a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of writing messages and eloquent testimonies, and I have faith to leave my own country and come to a foreign land, but have not love, I am nothing. If I sacrifice everything to serve my Bible students and suffer endless poverty, disease, and hardship in this foreign land, but have not love, I gain nothing.

    “Love is patient enough to not force people to come to conferences before they are ready. Love is kind enough to respect their “yes” or “no”. It does not envy other chapters for their large numbers, and so push their members to drive up the numbers. It doesn’t boast by putting sheep’s names on a bulletin board. It is not proud that we are the marines of Christ. It does not dishonour others who leave, it does seek to justify oneself, it is not easily angered when a junior disagrees, it keeps no record of the weaknesses and wrongs shared in testimonies in order to remind the junior how much the shepherd has helped him. Love does not delight in evil practices done in the past and glorify them by recording them in a blue book, but rejoices in bringing error into the truth. It always protects those who are weak and marginalized who don’t have a voice, not the leader at the top, always trusts people to make their own decisions following the leading of the Holy Spirit, always hopes that God who is Sovereign will lead the sheep in the right way and so doesn’t need the shepherd to intrude into their life, always perseveres in preserving the relationship even after the sheep has left. Love never fails.”

  3. EXCELLENT, Joshua! For the longest time I have been trying to figure this one out: “(Love) always protects those who are weak and marginalized who don’t have a voice, not the leader at the top.”

  4. Thanks, Brian, I threw in the Law and Grace part toward the end after writing the 10 Commandments of UBF. I probably should have left it with just the 10 Commandments, and not complicate matters with Law and Grace.

    What I was trying to say was that since Christ and grace is clearly not prominent in UBF, perhaps we need the Law to lead us there. I felt that if UBF abides by these 10 Commandments tailored to UBF (which they cannot), grace and Christ would begin to shine through when the Spirit works in the hearts of UBF collectively. Does this make sense?

  5. I added onto the 1st Commandment in brackets. That was in my original draft but I took it out for simplicity, but I just re-added it in brackets for clarification.

    My point is that UBF wants you to be a UBF-type/style Christian before you are welcomed as a full fledged Christian in UBF. One of my points in these 10 Commandments is that you should be a Christian first and foremost, and the UBF-type/style methods, legacy and so-called “core values” are really “non-essentials of the Christian faith.” But I felt that in UBF it has become the essential element of being a UBF Christian. So, even if you are a Christian, but if you reject UBF core values, methods and legacy, you suffer some negative repercussion. Does this make sense?

  6. For the sake of simplicity, I took out this paragraph from my initial posting:

    Christ-centered inclusivity vs. UBF-centered exclusivity. The law is a guardian/tutor until Christ comes (Gal 3:24). Can these “10 Laws” eventually enable UBF to be more inclusively Christ-centered (instead of remain exclusively UBF-centered)? Be more Christ-like and gracious toward current UBFers, ex-UBFers, and non-UBFers?

  7. yea Ben, starting to make sense.

    love the paraphrase, joshua! keep going… you could paraphrase the entire bible like that. but of course as someone wrote here (probably ben), the ubf people see themselves as the “victims” being “attacked” by us.

    • Not sure or can’t remember if I said that. Hope it’s not Alzheimers!

    • Don’t worry Ben, it’s not Alzheimer’s (at least not yet!). It was Joe who said that:

    • thanks joshua, perhaps i’m the one with alzheimers :)

      Yes I have seen this and I myself viewed myself as a victim while in ubf: “So, while exerting oppressive amounts of control over the lives of their members, they imagine themselves as the victims of injustice.”

      And any outside connection is often merely to affirm and justify such a view. To outsiders, ubers look “so good” and ask such “good questions” and seem “so wise”.

      How do you explain to an outsider what it’s like to be an ex-member of ubf? It’s not like anything I can find. The closest situation I can find is a homosexual being mistreated and condemned with the bible by Christians. Your 10 commandments, Ben, perhaps are a way for outsiders to begin to understand what goes on behind closed doors.

  8. My wife’s first response to my 10 Commandments is that she read it quickly and said it came across as “obnoxious.” Sigh… After 33 years of marriage I still can’t please her! Maybe I should get her to proof read and edit my articles before posting them.

  9. I should qualify that my UBF 10 commandments is not an accusation, nor is it directed at anyone in UBF. I am not even saying that it is what UBF does. But I would say that any Christian will agree that these UBF 10 Commandments are biblical, isn’t it?

    So how did I came up with this list? It is primarily based on what people have personally experienced in UBF and which I obtained from three sources:

    1) what people have shared publicly on UBFriends.
    2) what people have shared privately with me in emails and facebook.
    3) what people have told me in person, usually with varying degrees of angst, and sometimes even with tears.

    So these 10 commandments are primarily based on how people in UBF have felt from their respective UBF leaders and chapters. Most of the people who shared their stories had left UBF, while some are still in UBF. Usually, when they begin to share their stories, it is usually just a matter of time before they leave, because they are not able to share their concerns in their own UBF chapter, without getting shamed, rebuked, trained, guilt-tripped, disciplined, threatened and accused in some subtle or blatant way.

    Here is a link a current UBF person sent me, which the person says is what their own personal experience is over their years in UBF even to the present time:

  10. A very good link, Dr.Ben. Is it possible to make an article of it here or several articles and discuss it?

  11. Last saturday an orthodox scientist from US was invited to speak in the Baptist church I attend. It was very interesting for me to know about Mark 2. While in ubf I was taught the whole doctrine of Jesus’ approval for “any illegal acts if you do that by faith for the sake of mission and bringing sheep in”. The ubf doctine was based on the act of four people bringing a paralized man to Jesus through the roof. Now the scientist showed us some pictures of houses for puplic meetings in Israel. He said that they have a round hole in the center of the roof for light and air. There is a cover on this hole which is easily taken away when necessary. So there was nothing illegal for the sake of mission in Mark 2.

  12. Another “commandment” of ubf was based on Eph.6:1. “Obey your parents in the Lord”. It is easy to compare this verse with verse 5 “Obey your earthly masters … just as you would obey Christ” to grasp the meaning. A Christian should obey his/her earthly parents. But in ubf they teach that you must not and should not listen to/obey your parents for they are not “in the Lord”. Instead you must absolutely obey your “spiritual parents” who are the missionaries for they are “in the Lord” and they are “your true parents”. One of the first trainings I received as a ubf sheep was to write down Eph.6:1-3 a hundred times (to learn obedience to my ubf parents). It took me more than 4 hours to do that.

    • So sad and so sorry. It cannot make up for the past, but I think that such unacceptable abuses will, by God’s mercy and grace, decrease or be eliminated entirely, as people like yourself and others begin to speak up unashamedly.

    • This is awesome Vitaly! Thank you for sharing this. The public simply must hear these kinds of stories. What kind of church gives such “training” to adults? What kind of Christian leaders would demand such a thing?

  13. Vitaly, As many have already expressed, UBF has inadvertently “proof-texted” certain Bible passages to support the practice that “the ends justify the means.”

    As previously shared, some use Rebekah’s lying and deceit to help Jacob receive the blessing to support that Christians can lie and deceive if it leads to receiving God’s blessing or fulfilling God’s will. This is surely improper exegesis and application.

  14. Based on the recommendation of a friend he felt that these 10 commandments comes across as hostile. He suggested that I change the word “UBF” with “church,” which I did.

    • Nice idea… replace “ubf” with “church” :)

    • Also, Ben, your post here is not hostile. God is furiously angry with us for what we all have done in propagating this religious machine for 50 years. We (ubf and ex-ubf) will one day have to give an account to God. Does anyone care? Or will we deny reality for another 50 years. When we meet we can no longer avoid the elephant in the room and just talk about the weather.

  15. This is perhaps a quote for any church to keep in mind and to do so graciously and humbly:

    “Christ is central, Christ is essential, and anything which calls itself Christianity which does not go on repeating the blessed Name is ultimately a denial of Christianity.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Ephesians – God’s Ultimate Purpose)