Book: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

em[Here are some thoughts by the President of UBF on Peter Scazzero’s book, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality“. I suggest listening to Peter’s introduction to his book.]  I would like to share with you about Peter Scazzero’s book, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality”. Often times seemingly good Christians can have deficiency in emotional maturity. Scazzero deals with this problem very well in this book. Before I thought “emotional” means immaturity and something to be avoided if possible. But the author said the emotions of anger, sadness and fear are just one component of many parts of our whole human being.

Another aspect of emotional health is to respect and love others without having to change them. We have to assess our strengths, limits and weaknesses and freely share them with others.

The author said the importance of balancing of our healthy spirituality between Contemplation and Activity.

“Mary is “being” with Jesus, enjoying intimacy with him, loving him, attentive, open, quiet, taking pleasure in his presence.  We became “human doing” not “human being”.

“The reason we need to stop and be with God is so we might create a continual and easy familiarity with God’s presence at all times—while working , playing, cooking, taking out the garbage, driving, visiting friends, as well as during worship, prayer and Bible study.” There is no dichotomy in God.

“God speaks to each one of us every day—through Scriptures, creation, dreams, silence, traffic jams, boring workdays, interruptions, conflicts, job losses, relationship breakdowns, successes, failures and betrayals.”

Another good example is Joseph in the OT.  He said in Genesis 45:8, “It is not you who sent me here, but God”. Joseph overcame his personal tragedy by accepting it from God’s divine providence. Joseph put God in between him and his brothers. He accepted his misfortune as God’s mysterious leading with good purpose.

The author said, “Every mistake, sin and detour we take in the journey of life is taken by God and becomes his GIFT for a future of blessing. Joseph rewrote his life script according to Scripture. He was not bitter or revengeful. He opened the door to God’s future by rewriting it with God.”

It is inevitable for us to face some kinds of walls and crisis during our journey of life.

It can be through divorce, a job loss, the death of a close friend or family members, a cancer diagnosis, a disillusioning church experience, a betrayal, a shattered dream, a wayward child, a car accident, an inability to get pregnant etc.

Christians can be notoriously judgmental in the name of standing up for the truth. I am not an exception. I judged other people’s journeys with Christ that were different from mine.

Scazzero said, “Pride and our tendency to judge others I found in every corner of the world, in all cultures, workplaces, playgrounds, families, neighborhoods, sports teams, classrooms, marriages, homeless shelters, corporate boardrooms and ten year olds birthday parties.

Contrast that image with a broken person who is so secure in the love of God that she is unable to be insulted. When criticized, judged or insulted, she thinks to herself, “It is far worse than you think!”

The author contrasted some characteristics between emotional children and grown up adults.

“(Emotional Children) Interpret disagreements as personal offenses.// Are easily hurt.// Complain, withdraw, manipulate, take revenge, become sarcastic when they don’t get their way.// Have great difficulty calmly discussing their needs and wants in a mature, loving way.”

“(Emotional Adults) Can, when under stress, state their own beliefs and values without becoming adversarial.// Respect others without having to change them.// Give people room to make mistakes and not be perfect.// Appreciate people for who they are—the good, bad, and ugly.// Have the capacity to resolve conflict maturely and negotiate solutions that consider the perspectives of others.”

Martin Buber, a great Jewish theologian wrote a book called “ I and Thou”.

“Buber described the most healthy or mature relationship possible between two human beings as an “I-Thou” relationship. In such a relationship I recognize that I am made in the image of God and so is EVERY OTHER person on the face of the earth. Because of that reality, every person deserves respect—that is, I treat them with dignity and worth. I do not dehumanized or objectify them. I affirm them as having a unique and separate existence apart from me. Though you are different from me—a “You” or “Thou”—I still respect, love and value you.

The result of I-It relationships is that I get frustrated when people don’t fit into my plans. The way I see things is “right”. And if you don’t see it as I do, you are not seeing things the “right” way. You are wrong.

True relationship can only exist between two people willing to connect across their differences. God fills that in-between space of  I-Thou relationship.

Practicing the “I-Thou” in our relationship leads to another aspect of emotional maturity. It informs our capacity to resolve conflicts maturely and negotiate solutions as we consider other people’s perspective.”








  1. James Kim

    The great Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky once stated: “Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.”

    “Buber described the most healthy or mature relationship possible between two human beings as an “I-Thou” relationship. In such a relationship I recognize that I am made in the image of God and so is EVERY OTHER person on the face of the earth. Because of that reality, every person deserves respect—that is, I treat them with dignity and worth.

    This is something we can learn both ubfers and ex-ubfers.

    • big bear

      James Kim…Yes I agree with your post…”every person deserves dignity and respect” It is easier to condemn another because we dont agree with them than to love and accept them in Gods love….often we choose the first rather than the later…I am happy you are doing your homework….as an exubfer….I see this is much needed in your ministry to young people…..I see area where God is molding UBF through the furnace of its birth…….I will always love UBf people it is where I was born spiritually but change is needed to make Ubf a more healthier ministry for young people….life is from God and every believer makes the body of Christ……God be with you

  2. James Kim

    big bear, thank you for your comment. I am so happy to see your new family and children. As you said, we are all in the body of Christ. It does not matter where you serve God. God bless you.

  3. James,

    I’m glad you shared about Scazzero’s book, even though you seem to have dismissed AbNial’s advice here in a comment recently.

    I think emotions need to be seen in a new light. ubf has been an environment where unhealthy spirituality was not only allowed to be rampant, but honored as holy. The Shepherding Movement failed and ubf has failed repeatedly in large part due to ignoring, dismissing and suppressing human emotion.

    The book you highlight points us to one key reason for this: ignoring and discounting our emotions. Like you, I was trained in ubf to suppress my emotions. I no longer do that.

    Why do I sometimes express my emotions like a 19 year old? Well that is how ubf treated me for 20+ years. My emotional health became damaged not only through my personal tragedy but though ubf bible study. I was trained to stoically sit there when someone wept openly during testimony sharing. I was trained to suppress anger and to express appeasement.

    You mention Dostoyevsky. He also wrote, in The Brothers Karamazov: “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

    I hope all ubfers read this book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, and begin acknowledging the plethora of unhealthy elements in the ubf system.

  4. “Another aspect of emotional health is to respect and love others without having to change them.”

    James, if this is true, then don’t you think that UBF followed a completely wrong paradigm since decades? Isn’t the fundamental idea of “raising/training disciples” the wish to change people? Aren’t the passages you quoted a rebuttal of everything UBF was doing in the past?

  5. Speaking of Dostoyevsky, I think he has a lot of wisdom for the ubf crisis. For example, he said this: “Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the PRIVACY of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.”

    Why are former members sometimes so sarcastic? Could it be because that is our last refuge from the ubf invasion of our souls?

    • Speaking of Dostoyevski, here is a passage from an article that had been published on the old ubf-info website:

      The excellent expert for the human soul, Fyodor Dostoyevski, wrote in his book “The Brothers Karamazov” in the part about the tradition of the “elders” (“startsi”), which can be considered a very old Russian Orthodox variant of “shepherding”: “An elder was one who took your soul, your will, into his soul and his will. When you choose an elder, you renounce your own will and yield it to him in complete submission, complete self-abnegation. … The obligations due to an elder are not the ordinary ‘obedience’ which has always existed in our Russian monasteries. The obligation involves confession to the elder by all who have submitted themselves to him, and to the indissoluble bond between him and them. … In this way the elders are endowed in certain cases with unbounded and inexplicable authority.” The relationship between the elder and his “trainee” described here, amazingly resembles the relationship between “shepherd” and “sheep” in UBF. Though most of these elders surely were much superior to UBF leaders in terms of age, wisdom, experience and modesty, nevertheless Dostoyevski resumes his assessment of the tradition of this kind of elders with the following remarkable sentence: “It is true, perhaps, that this instrument which had stood the test of a thousand years for the moral regeneration of a man from slavery to freedom and to moral perfectibility may be a two-edged weapon and it may lead some not to humility and complete self-control but to the most Satanic pride, that is, to bondage and not to freedom.” Dostoyevski recognized here two problematic results of “shepherding”: Bondage and dependence of the “sheep” on one side, and pride and righteousness by works on the other side. These and other negative effects can obviously be clearly seen also (or maybe even clearer) by outsiders.

  6. Hey big bear, I’m curious to know what you now think of chapter 5 of the Churches That Abuse book? How would you relate that chapter with the concepts Scazzero’s book presents?

    • big bear

      Brian….I have never read either book yet so I cant comment….want to read…reading about 8 different books at the moment and writing a book….enjoying freedom….I do agree that we were refrain from emotions as well though… 50 I feel like a 21 year old emotionally as well… is like I left prison

  7. James, it seems to me that the purpose of this post of yours is to tell exUBFers to not criticize/critique UBF, and to not try to change or denounce spiritually abusive UBF leaders. Is this true?

  8. big bear

    James Kim…Thanks for recognizing God who established my new family….I did not receive such gracious words when I returned to visit my UBf chapter with new family….I was judged and condemned and told to keep my mouth shut and quietly attend a local church… one has the right to do that and no body is above God…will this person be held accountable for their actions….my wife did not deserve such treatment….we forgive but it is spiritual abuse such actions pour over God people like a wild fire….such things make a ministry unhealthy…..I have witness this same person rub pepper and onions in my brothers eyes because he did not cry when when he read his sogam……..I was guilty to for not saying something ………I no longer want to associate my family to such practicesto such physical abuse……how are you going use this book to bring change….do you understand what is going on

  9. James Kim

    Chris, yes, UBF has practiced many unhealthy elements. I do not believe any human being can change anybody through human training. Only the work of the Holy Spirit can change people with his transforming power.

    Ben, my purpose of this writing is that we all have some degree of immaturity (except Jesus). We all have good, bad and ugly. We all have room to grow for maturity, mutual understanding. Sometimes it is not easy for me to fully understand my wife of more than 30 years, let alone someone whom I never spent time together.

    • “Chris, yes, UBF has practiced many unhealthy elements.”

      Good to hear that admitted from somebody like you, thanks. My question was a bit deeper. Don’t you think that the statements you quoted challenge not only “many elements”, but the fundamentals, the essence of UBF, the “disciple training” paradigm (I am understanding “training” in a very broad sense here, not only the abusive, humiliating methods invented by Samuel Lee).

      “I do not believe any human being can change anybody through human training. Only the work of the Holy Spirit can change people with his transforming power.”

      Unfortunately, I found that humans actually can change people very effectively. They can change their outward behavior, and even their thinking and emotions, they can change their moral standards, their personality and identity.

      Just look at what happened last week in London – the work of Islamic preachers of hate who changed a man who was originally a Christian. Or how Hitler was able to change the German people. Or the Kim dynasty in North Korea. Look at what happens in cults all around the world. Think of Sun Myung Moon. These political and cult leaders were all able to change people very deeply. They all use similar methods of “though reform” which unfortunately have proven to work very well.

      So the frightening thing is: You can change people. Samuel Lee knew this very well and invented and refined a complete system of teachings and practices that allowed to effectively change people. Most of us who are writing here experienced this, that our behavior and thinking and personality and identity has been changed. This is also what makes us so upset. Even if it was only temporarily, it often lasted for many years. And to me it seems that there are people in UBF who have been changed so deeply and for such a long time they can’t even return back to their true identity any more.

      “Only the work of the Holy Spirit can change people with his transforming power.”

      Let’s put it this way: Only the work of the Holy Spirit can change people in a way that does not hurt or corrupt their souls and that is pleasing to God.

  10. James Kim

    Happy Memorial Day to you all!

    • Uh James, Memorial Day is not really a happy day… It is usually a somber remembrance of fallen soldiers everywhere, especially American, who have given their lives for freedom.

      Speaking of freedom… Too many American soldiers died and shed their blood on this soil for you Koreans to come here and enslave unwitting young people. This land is soaked with the blood, sweat and tears of freedom and I for one will fight for that freedom.

      The Declaration of Independence inspired me to declare my FREEDOM from ubf bondage:

      “WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.”

      And the Declaration inspired me to blog the way I do:

      “The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.”

      Anyone who wants to be a missionary to Americans probably ought to be quickly reading the Declaration, especially the conclusion:

      “We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

  11. James Kim

    Through reading this book a few years ago, I found out some weaknesses of UBF. We were like Martha, a very busy body running around here and there. We have many-things-to-do lists. But Jesus wants us to be like Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to His words. The author emphasized the importance of silence and solitude in regular prayer. That kind of life style is like to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to him.

    • “We were like Martha, a very busy body running around here and there. We have many-things-to-do lists. But Jesus wants us to be like Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to His words.”

      In some way, yes, this comparison is appropriate. But I don’t think we really were like Martha. Martha tried to humbly serve out of love. She did not do it for the glory, honor or other gains, she also did not try to lead and become a “spiritual giant” and lord over others (even if UBF likes to call this behavior “serving” as well).

  12. Mark Mederich

    we stand at a crossroads, difficulty is really opportunity (more difficulty is more opportunity), but we must rise to the occasion; noone can change the past nor guarantee the future but we can do out best in the present

  13. @James. Big Bear wrote, “I did not receive such gracious words when I returned to visit my UBf chapter with new family….I was judged and condemned and told to keep my mouth shut and quietly attend a local church… one has the right to do that and no body is above God…will this person be held accountable for their actions….my wife did not deserve such treatment.”

    @James, will you, as the President of UBF, discuss this with your fellow elders and UBF leadership? Will you respond to the question of Big Bear: “…will this person be held accountable for their actions?….my wife did not deserve such treatment…”

    • big bear

      I would like a letter of apoligy written from this person and an acknowledgement of his insensitivity to my family regardless of what he says to justify his actions. This person has helped me much over the years but such actions do not justify his meanness to my wife and telling me as a believer to keep my mouth shut. There is so much more to this story but I chose to be merciful as God has been to me. I do not seek to get revenge or bass him just for him to be aware of his actions and recognize that he is not God. I believe he operates beyond the scope of a humble servant of God and must be accountable. Such actions are unhealthy for the work of God.

  14. UBF likes to say: “We take it ‘case by case.'” Well, this is one clear specific case (among many) brought up by Big Bear that hopefully the UBF leadership will specifically address, take personal/corporate responsibility for, and be accountable for, as we take it “case by case.”

  15. James Kim

    Big Bear, Ben, I was really sorry when I heard about the story of big bear. Actually when I raised the question about his situation in UBF, how and why this happened, two weeks ago in our elder’s meeting, nobody seem to know exactly how this happened. Now I have better idea and I will pursue this problem further. Personally I really apologize to big bear and his family.

  16. James Kim

    Chris, you said, “Let’s put it this way: Only the work of the Holy Spirit can change people in a way that does not hurt or corrupt their souls and that is pleasing to God.” Thank you for this comment. Yes, it is the work of transformation we all need.

  17. ubf ethics is an oxymoron and ubf justice is a farce.

    “nobody seem to know exactly how this happened.”

    Yea, right. I call bs. I’ve been out of ubf for 2 years and I know something of what happened with big bear! I am SO sick of ubf leaders playing the “dumb card”. How can you not know? Are you so out of touch with the health of your organization that nobody knows what’s going on outside of Chicago? More likely, no one cares to know.

    The psychological battle has been going on the whole time ubf has been in existence. For example, look what this ubf chapter said about a former member back in 1988:

    “Since David stopped the Bible study his impression is not very good of our organization. Not many people have had experiences like him.”

    Source: UW student felt suffocated by Bible group

    The same thing happened to me. In 2011, before the ethics committee was formed, I reported the 1990 incident to a few Chicago elders. They all just said “We never knew about that. This is the first time we heard any details about this! We are so sorry.”

    If ubf elders are so out of touch, how can they claim to be so spiritually mature?

    James, the book in your article seems to mention many healthy elements of spirituality. Isn’t it so clear that ubf leaders embody almost none of them?

    This article from 1986 was right, ubf is a Korean cult seeking converts on campus.

  18. James Kim

    Brian, you said, “Are you so out of touch with the health of your organization that nobody knows what’s going on outside of Chicago?” I accept this as your concern for healthy UBF ministry.

    • My concern is that ubf stop teaching Confucian loyalty to “God’s anointed”. This thinking is still deeply ingrained in ubf thought, that we must “respect God’s annointed”.

      Look at this garbage teaching posted 5/26/2013:

      “David didn’t try to find Saul’s weaknesses although Saul had lots of them. Rather he simply said “….for he is the Lord’s anointed.” and he spared his life, respecting his kingship. He could do that simply because he honoured God and his anointed one. In the same way we also must respect God’s servants because they are God’s anointed ones. I pray that we may grow as God respecting people by respecting his anointed ones. I also pray that our growing students may respect their Bible teachers as they respect God.”

      (source: LA ubf lecture)

      I say No! Think for yourselves, young people going into college! Don’t let ubf shepherds convince you they are “God’s annointed” to rule over your life forever with your eternal respect and gratitude!

      Sometimes we need to treat “Saul” not like David did, but like Samuel did:

      1 Samuel 15:35 Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel.

    • Brian, thanks for pointing out how UBF still today teaches such horrible stuff: 1. In the times of the NT there are no special annointed people. 2. Particularly, UBF leaders aren’t annointed, they are annoying at the most. 3. Not killing somebody is different from not criticizing somebody 4. We should never respect a person as we respect God. (Note that in UBF language, “respect” means “obey” and “do not criticize”).

    • Yes Chris, and also:

      5. No one in ubf is an actual king with any kind of authority over you to physically harm you. A king or president has special privilege, but ubf directors are not kings.

  19. James Kim

    In this book Scazzero emphasized the importance of regular silence and solitude in our Christian life. Henri Nouwen also talked about the importance of this kind of prayer in this busy, noisy daily life. He said, “Without silence we will lose our center and become victims of the many who constantly demand our attention. Without silence the Spirit will die in us and the creative energy of our life will float away and leave us alone, cold and tired.” I am still learning to incorporate this in my prayer life because I believe this is the healthy way of practice for all Christians.

  20. “In this book Scazzero emphasized the importance of regular silence and solitude in our Christian life.”

    Apostle Paul spent 3 years in Arabia after his conversion, seemingly inactive and alone. I too think this is important. Unfortunately, UBF made it impossible. So far the UBF leaders always insisted on mandatory attendance of the weekly meetings. Nobody was allowed to just take a Sabbatical or pause from UBF activities. Do you think this should be changed?

    • James Kim

      Chris, I am well aware of this problem. I absolutely agree with you at this point. For the first time in my UBF history, we elders talked about Sabbatical to full time pastors. It is good to prevent burn out issue of many over working pastors. The change is coming slowly.

    • “we elders talked about Sabbatical to full time pastors”

      Actually, James, I was not talking about the full time pastors. Our chapter director was the only full time pastor, and he had a pretty convenient and quiet life. He didn’t have a daytime job, was able to stay at home or his room in the center the whole day, he didn’t write testimony, didn’t go to the campus for “fishing”, didn’t make 1:1 with sheep, didn’t take part in singing or dancing preparations, didn’t even type his own messages on the computer, but had his secretaries for typing and correcting and xeroxing the Sunday message, didn’t clean the center or cook food for Sunday meetings, or any of the other things the ordinary members and missionaries were required to do. But on the other hand, we had missionaries and shepherds with kids who were required to have a job, commute two hours a day, still find time to go fishing on the campus, feed several sheep with 1:1 a week, write their testimony every week, cook for UBF, clean the center, prepare conferences etc. These are the people who need Sabatticals.

      In my view, UBF is an organization where directors demand people to do things they aren’t willing to do themselves. (The example of giving your son to another family also fits perfectly here. Do you think Samuel Lee would have given his son or daughter to another family? Never! But he easily demanded this from other people. This is unfortunately the mindset of UBF leaders.) I don’t think such leaders should be rewarded by giving them Sabatticals.

      Also, I think members should be completely free to decide whether they want to pause 1:1 Bible study for some weeks or attend a different church for a while. These are the things the elders should start talking about. Lift the burden from the lower ranking members and sheep.

  21. “Another aspect of emotional health is to respect and love others without having to change them.”

    Yes but we are not to respect fellow Christians to the point of making them kings and queens. When ubf directors become king, I’ll respect them.

    Until then, you will always hear this song from me. Who made you king of anything? Stop invading young people’s lives.

  22. big bear

    James Kim…I have no interest in destroying God’s great work in UBF but there are many casualties that could be avoided if there was more unity and accountability in UBF…I spent almost 30 years in UBF and I like the Bible study and many lives are being changed and I do believe it is God’s work..including the change in my own heart and life but there is need for change to make UBF more fruitful and it begins with the leadership and the work of the Holy Spirit…Last year, my whole family had to go into counseling because of the damage done by UBF and its way of doing things…I got divorced and I am rebuilding my life in Christ and God gave me a new wife from Romania and a new son. One of my children was raped by someone in UBF when she was a child and it has caused much suffering in our family..I sent a sketch of the person to the director of UBF and he never responded to this not even with a sorry letter…I don’t hold him responsible but I pray that UBF leaders become more sensitive to the things that are going on around them and in their ministries and there is more support and unity for families like mine…I was a UBF director and a father of a large family…families are very important and as UBF leaders I am concerned about the emotional well being of families at the cost of doing UBF work…there should be more of a balance in the ministry..I do see some changes for the better and Pastor Ron Ward has been a great help with for me and has listened and given me prayer and verbal support and others but it does not correct the damage or does it prevent things like this from happening in the future…I pray only to be a voice of change and I consider myself the workmanship of God and we should be heard..I have no desire to destroy God’s work or make for revenge…just want to be heard in light of the tragedy that happened to our family and that things can be learned from all this…I deeply love the body of Christ and all Christians…I believe when we are heard then healing can begin and growth as we prepare to meet Jesus face to face…

    • James Kim

      Big bear, thank you so much for your comment. “I pray only to be a voice of change and I consider myself the workmanship of God and we should be heard..I have no desire to destroy God’s work or make for revenge…just want to be heard in light of the tragedy that happened to our family and that things can be learned from all this…I deeply love the body of Christ and all Christians…I believe when we are heard then healing can begin and growth as we prepare to meet Jesus face to face” Thank you for your courage to share your painful story openly. Because of your open and honest story, I believe the change is slowly coming in God honoring way.

    • Joe Schafer

      Note to all ubf elders and chapter directors: In case you are not aware of this, most states have “mandatory reporter” laws that REQUIRE certain persons (teachers, medical professionals, etc.) to report cases of suspected abuse or neglect of minors to the police. And in most of these states, the list of mandatory reporters includes pastors and other clergy.

      Bottom line: if you are acting as a pastor or fellowship leader and you encounter any evidence of physical/sexual abuse or neglect of a minor, and you fail to report it to legal authorities, you may be subject to large fines or imprisonment.

      The list of states whose mandatory reporter laws explicitly include clergy are:

      Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas,
      California, Colorado,
      Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana,
      Maine, Massachusetts,
      Michigan, Minnesota,
      Missouri, Montana, Nevada,
      New Mexico, North Dakota,
      Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania,
      South Carolina, Vermont,

      For more information, on this, go to

      This is an issue that state and federal governments take VERY seriously.

    • Joe Schafer

      And here are some other states where the law appears to require mandatory reporting by clergy of suspected abuse or neglect.

      Delaware, Florida, Idaho,
      Kentucky, Maryland, Utah,
      Wyoming, North Carolina,
      Oklahoma, Rhode Island,

  23. big bear,

    “I pray only to be a voice of change and I consider myself the workmanship of God and we should be heard.”

    This is a good purpose. Yes you must be heard. I am continually shocked by your story as you reveal more and more. I am glad this blog gives you a safe place to share. Such a safe place cannot be found anywhere else that I’m aware of.

    My purpose is a bit different. I aim to be a vocal critic of ubf until the abuse stops.

    Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets, and so Leviticus 5:1 takes on new meaning: “‘If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible.”

    There is a time for silence, and I practice silence now more than ever. And because of what the Spirit teaches me in those times of silence, I speak up now more than ever.

  24. big bear

    Brian..I understand your intentions..I read many of your blogs..yes we are different but we do have one thing in common…we see the need for change. You have taught me to speak up and I thank God for the things you are doing to bring redemption to God’s people and I appreciate your friendship. You are God’s workmanship as well and your wonderful family. I do not feel qualified to be a critic but I know what I have experienced and our family and the hurts and pains. My only hope is that we both may be heard and many who are out there trying to follow God’s will in love. We both been through the UBF life for a long time and that in itself should be enough for people to listen because I see you are acting in love as well. A year ago I would have not saw that because I was so programmed to believe that any critic was just trying to destroy God’s work but this is not true at all.

  25. Thanks big bear. We’ve only exposed the tip of the iceberg so far. ubf is going to need a full-fledged Truth and Reconciliation Commission before this is all said and done. ubf should look to the Canadians for examples of such a Commission.

  26. big bear

    I earnestly believe that the biggest emotionally unhealthy practice of UBF is how they celebrate and recognize the family unit. My chapter director wanted me only to have 2 children and asked me to get a vasectomy because he told me that having too many children is very difficult in doing ministry work. In my chapter, I had the largest family so I did struggle much trying to make it to all the meeting and arranging my life so that I could be faithful to the meetings. This created imbalance in our family and life was probably the most difficult for us but I was always happy in Jesus. The problem arose when the family broke down and there was no real support. As a father of 5, there was no support for my family. My children suffered under this in the name of feeding sheep and mission. It seemed like everything in UBF is centered around students but family life can be horrible. I think change should be in how the family unit is treated and to be sensitive to the children and create better environment for them as they are growing up. I missed out on much of my children’s lives due to teaching the Bible to so many people that I was driven to the point that I became a bad father and bad husband. Please I ask that UBF leaders love your wives and your children.

    • @big bear: “Please I ask that UBF leaders love your wives and your children.”

      Excellent words. Loving my wife and my children is truly far more difficult than feeding 1:1 Bible students. It brings out more of my wretched pride, selfishness, and lack of love than shepherding ever did. Loving my sheep seemed easy, but loving my wife and my children selflessly and patiently is not. Going to meetings doesn’t require much self-denial. Staying home and being a loving husband and father does. Perhaps much of the immaturity and lack of Biblical leadership in UBF discussed on UBfriends is due to a general disobedience to upholding the qualifications of leaders as described in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus. When I studied that passage in a discipleship workshop at Chicago UBF a few years ago, the qualifications for leaders described in 1 Tim 3 were really minimized in my opinion.

  27. @Big Bear, I wonder how severely some UBF leaders would have severely rebuked Susana Wesley’s Christian parents and also Susana Wesley herself, the mother of John and Charles Wesley.

    Susana Wesley was the 25th child of her parents who had 25 children. Susana herself had 19 children. I guess they must really have no time at all to live a life of mission! She would have really been quite a terrible UBF member.

  28. big bear

    yes, indeed. I did not have a vasectomy because I believed that if God gave me 5 children that He would get my tubes cut went against everything I learned through the Bible study and to mutate my body…maybe my Catholic background influenced me in this..but I always wanted to have a large family…my new son tells me I am the best dad ever..but if I was in UBF he would probably think I ignore him to go to meetings..I decided to put my children first and pray for them and focus on them knowing Jesus personally at this stage of my life and show the world God’s love in this way…I thank God at 50 that I got a second chance with marriage and to be a husband and dad…

  29. Mark Mederich

    I think the more emotionally healthy are those who honestly deal with difficult issues & are now growing stronger from past trials; I think the less emotionally healthy are those who avoid issues & are now growing weaker from past comfort

  30. James Kim

    Chris, I don’t know whether you read this book or not. Scazzero is a pastor of Queens, New York with big multicultural congregation. One day 200 people left the ministry and his beloved wife declared she was leaving the church. One of the things he mentioned in his book was that in order to understand his wife correctly he should go back to her family of origin.

    This is what he said,”Our marriage bore a striking resemblance to that of our parents: Gender roles; the handling of anger and conflict and shame; how we defined success; our view of family, children, recreation, pleasure, sexuality, grieving; and our relationships with friends had all been shaped by our families of origin and our cultures.
    Even though we had been committed Christians for almost 20 years, our ways of relating mirrored more our family of origin than the way God intended for his new family in Christ.”

    At least to understand one person better one should go back to his or her family of origin. That makes a lot of sense to me.

    • “At least to understand one person better one should go back to his or her family of origin.”

      GOOD IDEA! James, do you expect Americans, Russians, Ukranians, Mexicans, etc. all to go back to Korea in order to understand Koreans better? Isn’t that what has been happening for 50 years as “natives” were paraded about in Korea during “world mission journies”?

      Why don’t you try to understand Americans more than eating big macs? Why don’t you try for once in 50 years to adopt the host culture instead of implanting your messed up Korean sense of justice and Confucian value system in the host countries?

      And speaking of “family” of origin, when will ubf WAKE UP and hear the pleas of people like big bear. So many young people are taught in ubf to reject their family of origin and be with their “true family” in ubf.

      Why don’t you publicly reject and renounce the horrid teaching about ubf directors being God’s anointed servants who can never be touched?

      And speaking of sabbaticals, even McDonalds understands the necessity of sabbaticals!

    • James, no, I haven’t read the book. Can you elaborate on what you mean with “go back to his or her family of origin” in our context?

  31. big bear

    James Kim…..what kind of program do you have in place to help families…..what about marriage retreats….couseling and honest dialogue between spouses and take off all the masks……in Ubf you are taught to pretend everything is perfect….I am spending a fortune in counseling for my children because the state has ordered them to receive counseling…….my daughter has attempted suicide on several occasions….what I have been through is real…..there is so much pain and hurt….I am pleading for ubf to help families…I am in tears as I write this

    • Joe Schafer

      big bear, I’m praying for you.

    • @big bear: I share your pain, although by God’s grace not to the same degree.

    • big bear

      The teen daughter who I love was in a Psch ward much of last year….I cried daily last year….I lost everything my wife, my family last year…..I spent my days by the Ohio River in prayer and fasting….I lived in my Van and gave everything to my ex but few items and the cloths on my back……some Ubf missionaries came to visit me…….as I lived in a smalll apartment I taught a woman in Romania the Bible and went through divorce…….God gave me a small house because a mormon family told them God asked them to do so……..and the amazing woman from Romania became my wife and a new son……James Kim….my ex and children need more help

    • MarthaO

      Big Bear,

      my heart breaks as I hear bits and pieces of your story. I believe that God’s heart breaks for you , your family . the pain is real.

      I believe that God weeps as he sees our broken condition in ubf. Unfortunately, the pain of broken families is too common in ubf. I have listened to many second Gens who are suffering from many wounds from all the neglect. They don’t care to serve a God who did not care for them, but demanded so much from their parents. The sad thing is it wasn’t God that demanded, it was Samuel Lee and many of his loyal followers. Many people confused Gods voice with Samuel Lees voice. They believed it was the same. This is a very serious problem that has caused so much sin and inflicted unnecessary pain. God was replaced with an idol(Samuel Lee).

  32. big bear

    Maybe Ubf can send our family a love offering to help our family….I know my ex could use the help and the children….It will not erase the damage but it will be practical help…..

    • big bear

      Joe….thanks for your prayers…much needed…

    • Joe Schafer

      An excellent suggestion. James, if you are serious about helping people become emotionally healthy, please bring a proposal to the elders to set aside ministry funds to pay for counseling (real counseling by qualified non-ubf professionals) for people whose lives have been damaged by the abusive practices of ubf and its leaders.

    • A love offering? ubf is so poor… oh wait maybe they could use the $13 million for something good… instead of storing it up on earth as a retirement/scholarship reward for ubf Korean loyalists who caused so much harm.

    • big bear, thank you for sharing your personal story here. I’m so sorry I have no words to comfort your heart. I’ll pray for you and your family. God bless you.

    • When I sought counseling a few years ago, my counselor was surprised that our church didn’t encourage, pay for, and even require counseling for those who are involved in ministry.

    • Good point Sharon. Counseling is a normal part of the ordination process for Christian pastors as far as I can tell. Counselling is a normal part of any Christian ministry. If a ministry to ignore psychology and/or psychiatry means they use some other means for these issues, such as demanding bible study as the answer for all problems.

      This is what I mean by spiritual abuse in ubf: the over-prescription of the bible and ubf activities as solutions to human problems. That is abuse of the bible just as a druggie abuses drugs.

  33. @big bear, I agree. I think ubf should cover your current and former family’s expenses 100% for something like 1 year WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED! You would not owe them any thing in return and you would not be required to return to ubf or even remain silent. You could still be as vocal as the Spirit directs you to be.

    @joshua: Me too. The only reason I see that I’m not like big bear is that I was called to leave ubf when I did. 5 more years? Who knows I might have been in the Ohio river with big bear. In fact, I think we should all go down to the river and cry. The river will flow.

    • big bear

      YES…THE river was my only comfort because I saw Christ the river of life…it kept flowing no matter what….I got married near the river….God gave me a house near the river….it was a river of tears for me but hope….

  34. Speaking of counseling, I myself was in a dicey situation a few years ago over family issues (mainly with my wife who is not Korean nor UBF member). I sought out help from professional marriage counselers but it was not as easy to find a good one as I expected. I needed one that would understand my family issues together with my christian (or missionary) life. (You know, it would be very hard to explain UBF missionary life to others.) No counseling or practical help from UBF was I able to receive. Luckily I’ve got counseling help from one senior missionary. I’m reluctant to say his name here. (I thank God that he is not a prototype UBF elder missionary.) He (together with his wife) has been the lifeline for me and for my family. My wife also goes to meeting with his wife (who is not a typical UBF elder) on a regular basis. My wife refuses to be associated with typical UBF missionaries but she really respects her. If you need any counseling help (including marriage counseling), please let me know.

    • ” it would be very hard to explain UBF missionary life to others.”

      That is our problem too. Counselling is very expensive. But I think my friend’s advice to me is wise: Find a counselor who is outside the church and doesn’t use the bible. In other words, someone who would simply counsel based on humanity without any spiritual or biblical input.

      I think beer fellowship is helpful too. I have found that I need to learn the basic human interactions, such as how friends share things over a beer. I’m glad Ben and I could do this.

  35. big bear

    UNFORTUNATELY, our children can only go to court appointed counselors which I agree with you.

    For James Kim if you want to help our address is

    Michael A. Martin
    412 Lehmer Street
    Covington, Ky 41011

    • James Kim

      Thank you big bear, surely I will address this issue with other elders.

  36. My friend Desiree mentioned this a while back, maybe time to bring it up again. How about ubf sets up a “Reconciliation Relief Fund” in the name of the late James Kim from Toledo?

    I am willing to host and setup the website, complete with a donation to PayPal mechanism. People could donate and a board of trustees could be established (mostly with non-ubf or no ubf members on the board).

    The first donation would be $5 million from ubf. The board would receive applications for relief and the board would decide how/when to deliver the funds. The funds would be delivered with some kind of tear-stained apology note from a ubf director.

    If something like this does not happen soon, the sickening cycle will continue to roll on.

  37. @Brian, we need to do it again!

    @James, I hope that UBF leadership and the Board of Elders would seriously consider the clear practical proposals on this thread:

    * a letter of apology, restitution, accountability to Big Bear and his broken family for his daughter being raped in a UBF chapter. I propose that this be seriously done in earnestness and urgency.

    * financial remuneration for professional counseling fees.

    * since more and more exUBF people are beginning to share how they were spiritually abused at the hands of “sincere” UBF missionaries, an empathetic (not defensive) counsel/committee should be set up to address these painful practical issues or former and current UBF members.

    • @Ben: “@Brian, we need to do it again!” Yes indeed we do.

      @everyone: I am actually going to take the lead on setting up the “Reconciliation Relief Fund”. More details soon.

  38. I listened to this talk about “domestic abuse,” which is interesting and intriguing:

    Abuse thrives only in SILENCE. Those who do not speak up loudly, clearly and persistently against abuse, will only perpetuate the abuse.

    I didn’t realize that 70% of victims of domestic abuse are killed after they leave the abuser. Why? “It’s incredibly dangerous to leave an abuser, because the final step in the domestic violence pattern is: kill her.” The abuser has nothing else to loose.

    I made a loose connection as to why exUBFers get blasted and caricatured in the worst ways: “You’re ungrateful, unthankful, bitter, selfish, family-centered, abandoning God’s mission, running away,” etc.

    Why do once loving sacrificial humble Christian shepherds and Bible teachers suddently “slam their sheep as they are on their way out the (UBF) door?”

  39. @Ben: The answer to your question in my observation and firsthand experience is narcissism. Korean ubf directors and those trained by them for years are afflicted by narcissism. Some are full blown NPD (narcissistic personality disorder).

    Don’t these videos describe the bizarre and unhealthy actions of ubf directors?

    And yes all of these describe me :/ I need to weed out narcissism from myself…

  40. Wow! Narcissistic leaders, Christian or otherwise, seems to just describe self-centered, self-obsessed, self-preoccupied people who revolve the world (or UBF) around themselves as though they ARE the center of the universe (or UBF). The 7 traits might be worthy of a separate post, entitled the “7 Traits of Spiritually Abusive Christian Leaders”:

    1) Shameless: They are quite unable to do the following in a healthy way: process shame, admit mistakes, apologize, or be vulnerable or broken (which to them is shameful). They dump their own shame on others. One chapter director said to his sheep, “My chapter is not growing because of YOU!”

    2) Distortion/illusion of themselves as perfect (“magical thinking”): Any problem is others’ fault, not theirs. They blame others and use ad hominem arguments why others are the problem, NOT THEM.

    3) Arrogance: They inflate themselves (I am a servant of God!) by diminishing, debasing and degrading someone else.

    4) Superiority: They highlight their own strengths (real or imagined) against others’ weaknesses.

    5) Entitlement: They expect to be treated deferentially with special and favorable honor and respect. Everyone must cater to them. Any critique toward them (real or perceived) is insufferable and brings out their worst self-righteous indignation.

    6) Exploitation: They use others to fulfill their own ends. They are hardly aware that they are using others.

    7) No boundaries: Others exist to meet their needs. In their own mind others should always be subservient to them.

  41. Yes Ben, great list. Some have doubted my actions the past 2 years. And at times they were right to do so. But I have acted and re-acted based on identifying the rampant narcissism in ubf chapter directors and in myself.

    I could not see the narcissism because I was too close to ubf. Things just seemed odd and I accepted them as “my problem” due to “my shortcomings”. But the farther away from ubf I get, the more clearly I see the harmful narcissism.

    It is like these close up pictures that may seem to be one thing, but are entirely different the farther away you are, when you see the whole picture.

    Many need to leave ubf or take a break from ubf activity (as per my challenge to all ubf members.

    ubf people are also too close the bible. They can’t see the clear healthy bible teachings and sound historical Christian doctrines because their noses are too close the the bible. ubf people will become more healthy and ubf families will start functioning as healthy family units when they back away from the bible and look at 2,000 years of Christian history.

    God is patient. God is sovereign. His mission and kingdom will not fall or fail in any way if ubf people accept my challenge.

  42. wesleyyjun

    Dr. James, I really liked your book review, especially “I and Thou” relationship, which excellently explains Christian maturity. I must confess that I come to this website mainly to see what’s wrong with them, not to find the reasons to respect them. That may actually change if they pray for me and I pray for myself and them. May God show his mercy and shine his light on me and all of us.

  43. “I must confess that I come to this website mainly to see what’s wrong with them,”

    Thank you for putting in writing what most of us already know and have experienced: the ubf mindset looks for what is wrong with “sheep” and if someone leaves ubf, something must certainly be wrong with them.

    The ubf mind is fixated on at least two main things: where can I find justification that ubf ways are right? how are former members wrong?

  44. Wesley, people are praying for you and for all of the old leadership. Can’t you and all the others realize that in UBF it is a one-way dialogue. The Shepherd, Bible teacher and Director speak and the sheep/student listens. In another discussion Vitaly said well that it is like military: You are not allowed to think, but only take orders. Similarly, the natural instincts of new comers must be repressed in order to adjust because most people are always affected by a social culture shock. That being said, in the beginning those who stayed were willing to open their mind to a different environment because they desired to have Bible study and come to God. Now at this point you say they are ungrateful and complaining etc…..consider the fact that UBF does not allow for open discourse. Any public comment out of place is seen as dissent and/or disresepect.

    Any one of the many websites or blogs which permit (ex)members to share is a healthy way to unite those who were once silenced. Just read through the comments – it is very important for this forum because other church communities cannot fully relate to and understand the mourning period for anyone who has just left UBF. So, if you come here to see what is wrong with people – it really is like taking the mask off. No doubt, you too have had deep and personal reservations about this or that over the years, but have accepted everything in accordance with your understanding of scripture and faith. That is understandable to all who have been through UBF. But, many stop looking at situations as a test of faith and/or a biblical imperative. Many finally stopped and said, “Enough is enough.” They challenged and argued and finally left because their was no voice on the inside. Only on the outside is there a voice. There is a voice because it is on open terms. UBF is always UBF terms. Has change been happening? Yes, but too slowly and frankly on matters that are of minimal importance.

    You know when a government has to apologize for something it gives consideration and sometimes ceremony. Now, I am not saying either is needed, but most of the alleged abuses have gone undignified by UBF in official terms. Publish a declaration listing abuses A – Z with care and tact. Turn away from these. Consult individuals personally and sincerely with true repentance.

    Furthermore, instead of condemning anyone who leaves you need to cry. You need to handle the break up honestly. It is petty to slandor anyone once they have left, similarly it is petty for anyone to complain. But, complaining does not include legitimate accounts of abuse that occurred not once but repeatedly throughout the tenure of anyone’s time in UBF.

    We need to remember that the purpose for gathering in the first place was Jesus Christ – not a church. If we were really friends there would be no question why people leave. I have seen many people leave, but I have always sought after the “why?” I have not written them off as ungrateful or useless…. If we did something wrong then we need to change. Now a song is a song, we really need to think about the man in the mirror.

    Those who are giving hours to this blog are not doing it out of hate. They are praying for UBF people – but you must be willing to accept what is expressed and uncovered. Sin is sin, and avoidance of the issues is a denial – it is a lie. So, when comments about abuse are met with silence that is sin. Silence can be apathy it can also be a form of a lie. Being silent and moving along is not heroic. The one who has a terminal illness can be silent. They can be silent to their wife, children, parents, employer, friends and so on, but does that make it right? Question their motives and you can argue it as understandable. However, UBF has been for too long that patient with a terminal illness. The devastation can be seen miles/years around. Confess the sin and stop trying to be heroic for the sake of a legacy.

  45. ” I must confess that I come to this website mainly to see what’s wrong with them, not to find the reasons to respect them”.

    I am afraid that the same is the ubf leaders’ attitude to the Bible (what’s wrong with it before the Confucian teaching).

    And this is the only possible result of “Telling It to the Church” in ubf.

    Thousands has left ubf and consider it a cult because there is something “wrong” with them, and I believe such ubf leaders’ phrases will result in many more leaving until only “Dr”s who are very “right” stay (loyal to Confucius). The Bible is only a cover and an instrument which ubf uses to bring people to Confucian loyalty. Why call ubf a “Christian evangelical” organization?

  46. big bear

    When you are in UBF, you see everything with rose colored glasses. Leadership is surrounded by many yes people like the communist party. You are carried away with mission that you dont see that you are in a prison of fear and guilt and depession and sadness. You are taught to smile though your whole life is falling apart. There is no real dialog withothers and you cant be yourself. You dont want to believe you are in a cult because at first you are showered with love. In the 80, I was on channel 5 as a cult leader, “Clutches of a cult” I was compared to Jim Jones. I was a young Ubf leader and I have been called a cult leader for 20 plus years I had no idea of what some of the founders did all I knew was I was happy but now I feel like I left a prison. Ubf helps you only for their agenda. It is all about them. Why did I not see this? They owe me for 29 years of prison.

    • big bear, do you have video or a transcript of this? I think such things would be helpful to see. I now that Chicago, Toledo and Columbus chapters in the US all had TV investigations, with cameras and everything. The ubf response was the same old “we are like any other church” and “any problems are just cultural misunderstandings”.

  47. wesleyyjun

    Does anybody give me credit for saying, “That may change….”?

    • No, wesley, you do not get credit for “maybe changing”. That is what I put up with for 20+ years. ubf missionaries like to play the dumb card, or the God’s annointed card or the wait-and-you-will-see card. I’m done playing cards.

      Now if you said something like “I will change or I’ll make every effort to change…” you might get a different reaction.

      Here is another contradiction in the ubf mindset: You missionaries demand “sheep” to change themselves yet you claim to be so helpless to change even a simple attitude to see “sheep” as human beings.

    • big bear

      wesley…What may change? I think it is best to begin a whole new church and begin with all new leadership…..find well trained pastors from healthy churches to counsel and help train leadership….How could this go on for 50 years…those who want to leave let them and love them for doing so

    • big bear, while I appreciate your sentiment and I too feel like the best thing is to shut down ubf completely, I think grace has to work both ways.

      I don’t want to see ubf destroyed. And we cannot just “shut down” people. Many have committed their lives to the ubf system, so I think we need to find a healthy way forward. And for many that means finding a healthy way out.

  48. big bear

    BRIAN…YOU MISS UNDERSTOOD ME..NOT SHUT DOWN OR DESTROYED BUT NEW LEADERSHIP..if this means changing the name and putting more healthy pastors in positions who are trained rightly….my point

    • Ah ok, then I agree :)

    • big bear

      Rename it….Green Berets for Christ

    • I was thinking more along the lines of “Confucian Bible Teachers Association” tagline “Obey and be thankful for all eternity to your shepherd.” (or other tagline: “We keep psychologists busy.”)

      And I apologize in advance for my biting humor which is really mocking. Go ahead and chastize me!

    • Nah, you just need a gentle tap on the back of your hand…

  49. Speaking of “That may change…”, this gives me another idea for my upcoming new feature of my blog.

    I’ve always wanted to be a cartoonist. I have many ideas for cartoons depicting life in ubf as I and many thousands experienced. I’ll be publishing the cartoon series one of these days. Sometimes humor is the only way to deal with ubf…

    Also, if anyone has ideas for the Reconciliation Relief Fund project, let me know. I’m waiting for some traction to begin this.

  50. big bear

    Brian…MADE me chuckle there…you have a gift for comedy for sure..maybe you can be a comedy act at the summer conference….you would be more exciting than some of those boring messages….

  51. big bear

    Maybe we could go to conference and set up table to offer free counseling to those who want out….or petition for a relief fund…or mount a Korean Flag…or boycott a cross to be on the stage….or hang cartoon jokes from the cafe walls

  52. big bear

    I REMEMBER THE first summer conf I went to….many who came ran away into Canada and I wondered why…Umm…I almost left with them…

  53. wesleyyjun

    When I wrote, “I must confess that I come to this website mainly to see what’s wrong with them,” I thought this feeling might be shared with some ubfriends: when a “ubf loyalist” as Ben may describe me writes something on this site, they try to find what’s wrong with him, not what’s so nice about him. Maybe I was wrong. I would be glad if I was wrong.

    • Wesley, I can barely comprehend what you are talking about. It sounds like you are turning the tables and saying “Even though the ubf directors abused you, you should find out what is nice and respectful about ubf loyalists who knowingly or unknowningly support those same ubf directors and the abusive ubf system.”

      We former members already know what is nice and respectful and good about ubf directors. Some of us have shared our “thankful hearts” for such nice and respectful things every f’in Friday until we bled dry.

      No one comes here trying to find out what is wrong with ubf directors. Most of us already know that too. Some of us come here to share our stories and connect with others who may be in a similar situation. Some of us come here to work out our theology and for some form of counseling with people who understand the ubf system (no one else in the world understands ubf, so options are limited).

      Stop trying to turn the tables.

  54. @Wesley, I realize that the phrase “UBF loyalist” might be offensive to those who love UBF. I do not use this phrase to offend anyone. I use this phrase when it seems to me that some UBF people will not speak up against something that is clearly wrong, simply because it involves someone in UBF.

    Perhaps, if it is less offensive I should not say “UBF loyalist,” but instead say this long phrase instead: “UBF people who will not speak up against something that is wrong because it involves someone in UBF.”

  55. @Wesley, I may be wrong, but perhaps some Korean missionaries may not realize how horrible and degrading it sounds to any American when any foreigner uses the phrase: “You selfish Americans.” It is as offensive to an American as saying to Koreans: “You wife-beating Koreans.”

    I believe that both Americans and Koreans in UBF (and exUBF) need to truly speak TO one another with humility and tears, rather than speaking THROUGH one another with superiority and (self)righteousness.

  56. wesleyyjun

    Ben, if anyone in ubf said “You selfish Americans,” I am confident he does not represent Korean ubf members’ general attitude toward Americans, absolutely not mine. We have our own Mother Barry. You know how DL respected her until the day he died. I am sure we all share DL’s attitude toward her. Even now his example inspires and guides me in how to work with my American friend here in Lehigh UBF.
    There have been many painful moments in history. Personally, one of them is one young Macedonian’s call to Paul to come and help him. I think it was a turning point in history that gospel went to West first instead of East. Since then West, not East, has been dominant in history. East has been the recipient of grace from West. We Koreans received many Mother Barrys in their modern history. We owe them very very much. These days when Mother Barry goes to Korea and sees how the country has been changed, her feeling of gratitude to God is beyond description. She remembers what it was like when she went there only two years after the War was over. Recently Korean churches have been sending out missionaries. Westerners have been doing it for more than half a millennium. They have know-how’s. Koreans have been doing this only for the last few decades. They make lots of mistakes. Even some “wife-beating” guys go out as missionaries. (This is a true story.) Some ubf loyalists(I don’t find this term so offensive) may be slow in admitting their mistakes and accepting new ideas about mission. But I see it’s coming. As someone put it, we have read the last page of the Book. There is a victory. Truth prevails. Let’s believe in God’s rule in history and his desire for glory for himself. Let’s try not go ahead of God himself.

  57. “You know how DL respected her until the day he died. I am sure we all share DL’s attitude toward her. Even now his example inspires and guides me in how to work with my American friend here in Lehigh UBF.”

    Well, yes, SL in his own words said that he managed to make her from his boss to “his secretary” in only 10 years, and he was proud of that. I hope that is not what inspires you in how to deal with your American friend. I also asked where SL ever gave credit to any western teacher (or even Korean for that matter) for “raising” him.

    Still, yes, Miss Barry received much honor in UBF, even too much honor. According to the Bible (Mt 23:9), it is not right to use a spiritual title “father” for a fellow brother (and of course, “mother” for a fellow sister). Can you explain to me why UBF so blatantly disrespects Jesus words in the Bible? Isn’t all the obsession with Bible study a farce if you do not care about such clear and simple instructions of Jesus?

    But anyway, concerning honor, you know well that she is an exception in UBF. The general attitude towards westerner is that they are lazy, selfish hedonist who need training. If you read the 2013 mission report, you find the sentence “the word of God fed even American students”. Why do they use the word “even”?

    “Let’s believe in God’s rule in history and his desire for glory for himself. Let’s try not go ahead of God himself.”

    What concretely do you mean with that in our context? It’s really discouraging to read such hollow phrases again and again.

    Only through corporate repentance and a declaration of spiritual bancruptcy UBF would be able to give the glory back to God.

    • Mark Mederich

      insiders (not all members but those most “connected”) will continue to benefit; less connected members & “outsiders” will not; that’s how the world goes round

      mental delusions of greatness or entitlement are strong so not likely to change unless forced to by circumstances such as low enough numbers or external trouble

      religion didn’t bow to Christ 2000yrs ago, why would it now? indulgences didn’t end because Luther said was wrong. people didn’t believe earth not at center of universe just because Copernicus & Galileo explained. priest abuse didn’t curb until became public issue. Mr Novak/Sacred Heart Hospital didn’t curb his profit motive until FBI showed up.

      collective $ spent on a bible house but not available for collective use, sometime no campus worship service available to students because they are expected to bypass the bible house & draw close to the magnetic mother church (“missionary sending” in theory, but “magnetic pull” in practice)

      yeah, it’s hard to follow Jesus simple words: don’t lord it, don’t hoard it, etc

    • Mark Mederich

      i think the biggest issue is lying, not sure us humans can totally come out of it, but i mean mostly we lie to ourselves, believing we are more than we are, can do more than we can, rather than humbling before God & seeing what He chooses to do (of course He is able)

      in religion let’s try to tell ourselves: Stop Lying! (better to be quiet at times than to continually spout out defensive lies); of course always being silent can be a lie too (not speaking up for right or to defend the weak-not the favored, the weak); maybe that’s the biggest problem: silent complicity with questionable things-how will it ever change if noone has the guts to question & try to seek/do different/better?

  58. Not that I see it happening anytime soon, I would further like to see any official declaration and coporate repentance in both legal and certified written documents and online. Online being defined as a live conversation/discussion with Ben or Joe as acting UBFriends/UBF members and anyone from among former members who is willing to join the conversation. This should not be understood by UBFers as an assault, but rather as an open forum that allows for as many bases to be covered as possible. I would suggest an uploaded podcast if this sort of thing could ever happen in said future.

  59. @Mark Mederich. I agree with you about lying. These are the subtle forms it takes:

    1) Silence, as you mentioned, believing that silence will make things go away.
    2) Spinning the truth, avoiding and evading the truth, and a refusal to answer or respond to direct questions.
    3) “Let’s move on”: refusing to clearly address past (or current) abuses and sins.

  60. wesleyyjun

    When I said “Let’s believe in God’s rule in history and his desire for glory for himself. Let’s try not go ahead of God himself” I did not mean to say “just wait and do nothing.” We should keep working on what we believe should happen in ubf. When I went to Chicago a few weeks ago I also attended ubf staff meeting. I was encouraged to find out that Ben usually attends the meeting though he was absent that day because he was out of town. Ben should keep going to the meeting and talking to leaders there. Joe as a member of senior staff refused to attend the last meeting. If not attending was a way of expressing his displeasure for what’s happening, it was good. But he should keep talking to senior staff members about change in one way or the other. It can be frustrating when things don’t move as fast as we want. But I think what is worth fighting for is also worth patiently waiting for.

    • “It can be frustrating when things don’t move as fast as we want.”

      So what should we expect Joe and Ben to do when things don’t move at all?

    • Mark Mederich

      @Wesley: way to go Joe! it’s not about displeasure, it’s about not wasting time/breath when the wind of the Holy Spirit isn’t moving in a group; change isn’t waited for, it’s seriously considered & efforts made;

      where’s that just do it by faith lingo? can’t people just decide & change? come on what’s good for the goose is good for the gander (gotta be old enough to know that one..)

      heck let’s just start our own improved movement, within if possible, without if necessary, but Lord forbid we shrink back into evil obsolescence!!!

  61. “But I think what is worth fighting for is also worth patiently waiting for.”

    Wesley, repentance for sin in the church is not something that should be “patiently waited for”, but something that must demanded, and if it does not happen, consequences must be drawn. Either such people are expelled from the church, or you have to leave the church if that’s not possible because they are the “honchos” in the church. Mt 18:15-17 does not end with: “If they still refuse to listen, then just wait 50 years. And if you waited 50 years, wait even more.”

    • Mark Mederich

      does not end with: “If they still refuse to listen, then just wait 50 years. And if you waited 50 years, wait even more.”

      did Jim Bakker get to wait 50yrs? did Ted Haggard? etc

  62. I hear often from “UBF loyalists” (sorry if this phrase is offensive to some) that things in UBF are changing and moving. I believe they are to a greater or lesser degree, because UBF HQ leadership is including and empowering younger/junior/indigenous leaders (which rarely happened in previous years), but with a “senior UBF overseer.”

    Though “changes are happening,” and “things are somewhat moving,” yet my impression is that it is NOT HAPPENING ON A WIDE SCALE throughout the UBF landscape. That’s just my opinion, of course.

  63. James Kim

    This is from my FB quote from Chuck Swindoll. Some people may not like it.

    “We tend to think that if God is really engaged, He will change things within the next hour or so. Certainly by sundown. Absolutely by the end of the week. But God is not a slave to the human clock. Compared to the works of mankind, He is extremely deliberate and painfully slow.

    As religious poet George Herbert wisely penned, “God’s mill grinds slow, but sure.”

    God’s hand is not so short that it cannot save, nor is His ear so heavy that He cannot hear. Whether you see Him or not, He is at work in your life this very moment. God specializes in turning the mundane into the meaningful.”

    • hi James,

      Thanks for those quotes. I remember another one I liked:

      “To God, time doesn’t especially matter, but his timing is impeccable.”

      However, while we accept that God works in His good time, we shouldn’t allow that to diminish our resolution to act rightly NOW.

    • God does not seem to be engaged and does not seem to be changing things at least according to our time schedule. But, why? Is the only justification for that is God’s patience. The Scriptures does not tell us so. Rather, He is waiting for human response to the affairs on earth. That’s the way God has ordained the earth and He will not change. That is why the Son of God became a man. When we as humans fail in our responsibilities beyond repair, He will intervene ultimately.

      Psalms 115:16 The highest heavens belong to the LORD,
      but the earth he has given to man.

      Do we realize, how fast things were moving in the last three and half year period of Jesus on the earth. Why? Because one man (also fully God) chose to take upon himself the affairs of the world around him. And that God-man has given us privilege and responsibility to ACT with the help of His Spirit, until He returns. In fact, if we knew how to judge ourselves, he need not have to do the hard task; and judgment begins with the family of God.

      He does not follow our time table, but our actions can actually hasten or delay his return. We as fallen human beings, even after being justified by God’s wonderful free grace, are incapable of looking after the affairs of the earth (especially matters of justice and righteousness). We absolutely need the God-man again, here on earth, to govern the earth. And that is the gospel. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

    • Sorry in advance if I offend:

      God’s time is God’s time. But, the leaders in UBF are not God.

      How come it is God’s time and work if one international member of UBF goes to the USA embassy for a visa to attend the conference and gets rejected not once, but several times and then finally gets that acceptance and permission to enter the USA for the conference?


      When (ex)members speak up repeatedly it is not yet God’s time and work.

      James, your failure to communicate directly with anyone on any topic in this blog reveals your human arrogance and pride. Whenever I read a comment or article you have made you always hide behind quotations and never place yourself before us. Let me say University BF – All of us are academics. None of us are impressed by your crafty usuage of a scholar here, an author there, a philosopher at this time and so on. Misusing all of these is a well made distraction for us, but some of us can see through it. For once I would like to hear you directly say that there will be no change or that change is surely coming. But instead we have these wonderful quotations – and oh my – I cannot fault them, not one bit.

    • Mark Mederich

      the indirect answer MEANS there will be no change (at least not by man, at least not until outside forces come to bear some day)

    • To the good answers by joshua, Ab, gc and Mark I also want to add the reminder that concerning repentance, God’s patience is limited, particularly towards those who claim to be His people. Did you ever read Lk 13:6-9 or Heb 3:13, 4:7 “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” and Rev 2:16 where Jesus said “Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you”?

      Samuel Lee refused to repent by saying “God will punish me if I did anything wrong”. One year later he was dead. Even if you don’t believe it was God’s punishment, you still see how important it is to repent now, as long as it is possible, and to not delay it. Don’t believe your time frame for repentance of the leadership is unlimited or even some years longer.

      Also, as some already said, we are tired of being taken for fools. Just as God’s patience, our patience is limited, too.

    • Mark Mederich

      today daily bread (Jeremiah 20) temple priest has Jeremiah beaten for prophesying the Babylonian invasion/deportation; but Jeremiah could not stop speaking God’s true words which were like a fire in his spirit

    • Mark Mederich

      James, that quote is right & wrong. It’s right in general that God works slowly in history. However it’s wrong in particular when God has already been long suffering & the time has come to change (or be changed..)

  64. big bear

    James…UBF teaches its leaders to hid behind religion and quotes…so like the families in UBF the ministry family suffers….God patience should lead us to repentance….the Pharisees did not want to repent though they listened to Jesus to trap Him in his words….if you are really concerned about emotional healthy spirituality be humble enough to admit Ubf needs to think of families and recognized that Ubf needs to think of other Christians and truly step down as a pharisee organization and start to serve the practical needs of others… is all about bringing Koreans here under the pretense of ministry…this is why the american families can go to hell….Ubf is all about using the money of americans to finance the twisted teachings of the Ubf system….and bring koreans to america….I witnessed a korean leader beat up an american bible student in the bible house and thought it was funny and my own director told me that what other churches preach is bullshit …both men are still directors as korean men…..these are the type of people who are destroying us young leaders emotionally ….I was taught by these shepherds….the result you know I looked up to them…now I see the spiritual abuse and women in Ubf are abuse and children for the sake of mission…..I pray for the families…I would suggest Ubf people not have children if they are going to be neglected or have wives if they are going to feel unloved….please have open dialogue…I was always rebuked for speaking openly so ubf people hide their true feelings..the system is fake…the ax is already at the door…wake up my friend

    • big bear

      THERE IS ALSO A DOUBLE STANDARD….Korean missionaries get much help…many dont write testimonies…my chapter director never did but he constantly look for faults in others and played God with our lives….he told me who to marry, what career, where to live, and even tried to tell me how many kids to have and ordered me to get a vasectomy which I refused, also rebuked me when my offerings were not enough, could not wear facial hair…..had to wear suits to worship…forced me to sing for years and rebuked me for missing notes and I was born Hoh….how did I not see this….at work he would call me and ask me to come to prayer meeting as faith training so lose many jobs and after meeting he would tell me to go back…I was stripped of all human dignity…many years I could not even pay my rent but demanded me to give offerings…he so spiritual abused all of us….he was getting rich at our expense

  65. Mark Mederich

    when i was younger i heard extramarital affair & tax evasion are what brought Jim Bakker down, so yes religious use/accounting of tax free $ seems to be a critical issue in the long run..more important for people of “faith” is spiritual health & rightness, but governments care more about taxes

    • big bear

      Yes…the money trail…solve a murder…find the money trail..know a ministry follow the money trail

  66. James, you wrote that people may not like Swindoll’s quote that says “(God) is extremely deliberate and painfully slow.”

    I hope that you have read, digested, embraced and understood the comments and responses to you and your quote. Better yet, I hope that you will also share, copy and paste, or read it to your fellow missionaries how sound, reasoned, biblical and passionate their responses are.

    When UBF missionaries teach sheep the Bible, they stress the utmost urgency that sheep repent, not linger, not make excuses, etc.

    But you seem to use Swindoll’s quote to say that these same missionaries and chapter directors who teach the urgency of repentance to sheep can take their own sweet time to ignore the complaints against them and delay appropriate action because “God is extremely deliberate and painfully slow.”

    I hope that you and your fellow missionaries who have taught the Bible to Americans for decades will realize how horrible, twisted, self-justifying, defensive, offensive and unbiblical such “Bible study” and logic is.

    • “…will realize how horrible, twisted, self-justifying, defensive, offensive and unbiblical such “Bible study” and logic is.”

      Moreover, how horribly displeasing to the Lord, and how horribly damaging to the health of the church. I literally weep tears of sadness when I think about my beloved brothers and sisters who are living in such an environment. I also cry when I think about how lonely and heartbroken the families in small house churches must be, as the leaders like myself leave. My own pain has been far eclipsed by the ache of seeing God’s family in disarray, in seeing unhealthy patterns of leadership, unhealthy families, broken children, unfruitful churches. I am not complaining or slandering or embittered; I am weeping for Christ’s church.

      I think I understand our Lord when he said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Lk 13:34) I imagine him saying, “Oh my precious beloved children in UBF, how I long to gather all of you together in my love, rest, and freedom, but you were not willing.”

  67. Joe Schafer

    James, I echo the sentiments that others have expressed.

    You and your fellow elders may take as much time as you like. You are free to change your direction or not, as you see fit, according to your own time schedule.

    But don’t expect me or my family or anyone else to remain in ubf indefinitely, submitting to your leadership and attending your events and sending you our tithes and offerings, waiting until your generation sees fit to change or just passes away. We have a responsibility to use our God-given time and energy and resources wisely, investing them in endeavors that are likely to be fruitful. I have invested over 3 decades in this ministry, and I don’t have many decades of life left. We can’t remain in a holding pattern forever. Many have already moved on. As leaders continue to dither and delay, many more will have to move on. It will be for our own good and for your own good.

    • Mark Mederich

      James, Joe speaks prophetic words. God gave his people windows of opportunity but eventually time ran out & judgement came. Then survival depended on surrendering to captivity. The window is passing. The end is near. Those wise enough to act must do so now or incur the inevitable result.

  68. I echo Ben’s comment above. If missionaries are going to preach repentance, they must be willing to listen to their own preaching. Rom 2:4 “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

    @Joe: Your comment strongly resonates with me. Sadly, in my view, many UBFers feel all-the-more justified when people leave, thinking that they must be on the “straight and narrow path.” In my former chapter, not one missionary, Bible student, or shepherd family remained longer than a few years–my family at ~11years was the longest. And this was consistently treated as a badge of honour for remaining stalwart for Christ. Now I deeply grieve for the emptiness and unhealthiness I see evidenced in God’s children. (1 Cor 12:26)

  69. @Joshua, I’m trying to figure out this “unhealthiness” in the way some longstanding UBF leaders teach the Bible.

    * I want to write a post entitled something like “Bible Study that Gives Power to the UBF Leader” (and which emasculates the sheep and causes them to become dependent on, humbly deferring to, subservient toward and “inferior” to the UBF leader).

    * Another title might be “Dogmatic Directives Demand Dependency.” Sorry that my brain just does not stop alliterating!

    So if a sheep has sin they must be made to immediately confess, repent, write and share a sincere testimony publicly (preferably with tears!).

    But if a UBF missionary or chapter director has sin, we must forgive him, not push them, just move on, defend and protect them, understand “their side of the story,” and simply trust God who is “extremely deliberate and painfully slow.”

    • Ben, while I think you’re partially correct in the way the Bible is taught (directives-based), I don’t see that as the whole story. In my view, much of the unhealthy leadership, abusive practices, and lack of personal accountability stem from personal unwholeness in the leaders. He or she has unhealed relational, personal, emotional, or spiritual wounds that encumber him or her from properly relating to others, leading people in the church, and establishing normal, healthy relationships in or out of the church. I think that moving away from directives-based, top-down Bible study is important, but it doesn’t address the reasons why such style of Bible study exists in the first place: the leader struggles in relating to people any other way.

      I propose that the ministry stops emphasizing student outreach, and put a much greater emphasis on the spiritual formation, relational healing, and personal wholeness of leaders, especially the missionaries. When the leaders are healthy emotionally and relationally, they are far better equipped to serve the students that God brings.

    • Mark Mederich

      one way streets hit a dead end sooner or later; better 2 way street

    • Ben, I find it interesting that most ubf Bible teachers I have known are very good at using Scriptures for emphasizing mission, demanding submission and repentance but very poor in using Scriptures for resolving conflicts, healthy relationships, living out our Christian hope and view of eternity. For such important issues, they tend to look for inspiration from the world, society in general and other philosophies. Is it because of idolizing mission, neglecting the New Testament, heavily depending on Old Testament for mission strategies and leadership models, typical evangelical mindset, and the influence of Sir lord Confucius?

  70. The vast majority of UBF North America elders and North America senior staff are older Korean missionaries. They are decent people but apparently cannot fully empathize with the struggles of native people and younger people in UBF.

    We see in the book of Acts that at a critical juncture the Jerusalem church conceded some non-conformity and autonomy to the predominantly Gentile Antioch church. Very quickly there was Gentile leadership in the church. Of course, Paul played a key role as a Jew who humbly advocated for the Gentiles in the grace of Jesus. I hope that people like James and Wesley and others of our senior Korean brothers and sisters can be like contemporary Pauls at this critical time in our ministry. There can and should be flexibility within the church whereby younger people and native people are more trusted and empowered.

  71. big bear

    I am learning so much from working with ministers from healthy churches…they are so free and joyful and I can see how I used the Bible wrongly in Ubf to try to manipulate people to be committed to the ubf system and not allow people to be free…the pressure of my director who told me lies to keep me around by using the Bible in a twisted manner…my wife and children saw my lack of love…..but I only saw what I wanted to see……I asked God forgiveness and vowed to fight for families….I know so many others like me but afraid to come forward…a shepherd wife that who is not even touched or notice by her husband and she suffers and many others…Ubf is a student ministry but this is a deception….their are many old families and disoriented leader….once you get married and have family you are screwed…..I had my own chapter for 5 years and never got no support…when the mayor threatened to close us down my family endured threats threats and we were isolated……many of the Bible students ran away and trying to raise 5 kids…it was too much…no balance in family all ubf.. Ubf has to stop parading as church…a healthy church must take care of family..too much deception in ubf…we were scarred for life thru Ubf..mamaybe ubf somebody needs needsto stand up….there should be be some justice…maybe I should take this before the supreme court and subpoeny James Kim maybe change will happen quickly..enough is enough..God save our families..we are naked and defiled….raise the battle cry for the soul

  72. @Joshua, I agree that spiritually unhealthy UBF missionaries will hurt and wound their sheep. It reminds me of this quote by Henri Nouwen: “Much Christian leadership is exercised by people who do not know how to develop healthy, intimate relationships and have opted for power and control instead. Many Christian empire builders have been people unable to give and receive love.”

    But I think that even fairly healthy well adjusted people [like me, for instance :-)] used dogmatic directives to cause my “sheep” to be dependent on me to give them continued direction for their life.

    My contention is that dogmatic directives by some authoritarian UBF chapter directors have made UBF people “a slave of the UBF system,” rather than a slave of Christ, and a slave of justice and righteousness–which gives freedom.

  73. wesleyyjun

    I echo aw’s comment: “Jerusalem church conceded some non-conformity and autonomy to the predominantly Gentile Antioch church. Very quickly there was Gentile leadership in the church. Of course, Paul played a key role as a Jew who humbly advocated for the Gentiles in the grace of Jesus.”
    I think it is best to give each chapter non-conformity and autonomy and American leadership wherever it is possible(I mean where there is an American, who is willing to take it up and objectively qualified(not subjectively in the eyes of the present “authoritarian” leader). We have so many able creative young indigenous leaders. Why don’t we let them do ministry creatively on their own with our support? They will do great job. Every once in a while we can hold conferences where young leaders can give report on their success stories. I am so pleased and thankful to God that one of our young leaders in Lehigh UBF took ownership of young adult ministry. He prepares his own study material and leads the weekly group Bible study. I have never asked him even once to rehearse it or have his material checked beforehand. As he and I have done weekly Bible study for a while, I know he has doctrines correctly. As long as I know he does not teach his group heresy I am free to let him do whatever he wants to do with his group.
    About God’s timing many are discussing here, I don’t think it is always as slow as we may think. As an example, at the time they were electing the next general director, I heard that at least two Americans were on the list as candidate. I did not hear from them directly, but according to the secondary source of information, one declined candidacy for personal reasons and the other deferred to another, who in turn became a candidate and was elected.
    I cannot overstate the great ingenuity of Americans. Most scholars agree there can be no better government form than democracy, which is mainly perfected in America, though it may have started in Europe. They don’t mean it is perfect but it is the best humans can possibly have. The first time I ever carried some kind of conversation with an American was when I was doing my mandatory military service. I was on the top of mountain near DMZ. An American officer who had to take care of some business with us was so hansom. He looked very much like Tom Cruise. I was so thrilled to utter even a few English sentences. What privilege I have enjoyed for the last three decades that I have worked with great Americans whom I, along with many other Koreans, think as apostles of angels! I hope Joe doesn’t mind me saying this. When I first came to Chicago as a young, only 24-years-old, missionary, for sure I spoke very broken English. But I was full of enthusiasm. One time I was talking to one of my Bible students. I thought I had to rebuke him for some reason I don’t recall. I spoke to him on the phone, actually more like yelling at the top of my lung probably an hour. Joe was in the next room. He did not go away for my loud yelling, but apparently was listening to me. When I hung up the phone, he came up to me and said, “It was very inspiring.” Because of this one short sentence, four beautiful words, I fell in love with him. I have many other love stories with Americans. This is just one of them, but maybe one of the more meaningful ones.

  74. Thanks, Wesley. You are a breadth of fresh air because you are genuine, authentic and real. Also, you are free in Christ and not political.

    I agree with this: “I think it is best to give each chapter non-conformity and autonomy and American leadership wherever it is possible(I mean where there is an American, who is willing to take it up and objectively qualified(not subjectively in the eyes of the present “authoritarian” leader). We have so many able creative young indigenous leaders. Why don’t we let them do ministry creatively on their own with our support? They will do great job.” Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!

    But the sad and painful reality is that those UBF chapter directors who want to keep their power and control over their chapter have already driven out by their own authority so many wonderful indigenous Christian leaders from so many UBF chapters and countries already! I believe you know this and acknowledge this. Can this change? Will this change? Is it changing?

    Or do some UBF chapter directors want the change to happen under their power and control over the process?

    • Mark Mederich

      power & control, power & control (it’s like the old Burl Ive’s song: Silver & Gold, Silver & Gold, in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)

  75. wesleyyjun

    Ben, since I came to visit ubfriends, I’ve got used to conflicts and begun to actually enjoy them. So when you replied my post in a tone of agreement, I felt very awkward. I almost didn’t know what to do. I am now so comfortable with conflicts. This world is full of conflicts. Conflicts will cease to exist only when we get to heaven. We will just have to get through the conflicts you mentioned, “Can this change? Will this change? Is it changing?” That is the best answer I can think of. If it must change, it must change. (Sorry, another hollow sounding statement.)

  76. joshua, I strongly share your views and feelings when you say, “I literally weep tears of sadness when I think about my beloved brothers and sisters who are living in such an environment. I also cry when I think about how lonely and heartbroken the families in small house churches must be, as the leaders like myself leave. My own pain has been far eclipsed by the ache of seeing God’s family in disarray, in seeing unhealthy patterns of leadership, unhealthy families, broken children, unfruitful churches. I am not complaining or slandering or embittered; I am weeping for Christ’s church.”

    Honestly, myself (and I believe many others) do not visit ubfriends to enjoy, at least not to enjoy “conflicts”. We do not come here to win arguments or show off superior knowledge and doctrines. We enjoy when we experience Jesus’ leadership in our lives, families and ministry. We enjoy when size of our hearts increases. We are in tears, sadness and weeping, and some of us are in that state for decades. That is a subtle form of denying the charges and expressing that ubf directors ways are the highways, and the conflicts are because of native younger leaders not submitting to their highways.

    We did not realize the conflict after visiting ubfriends. Many of us have already left and moved on in life. If all that is left is to enjoy conflicts because “conflicts will cease to exist only when we get to heaven” then perhaps Joe would not have said he would leave ubf and move on to best utilize his time, energy and resources in fruitful ways after spending 30 years in ubf.

  77. wesleyyjun

    AbNial, thank you for your comment. I think we suffer more when we are in denial of truth that conflicts will face us as long as we live on this planet. When we accept this simple truth that conflicts are undeniable reality we will be readier for them than we are in denial. Ubfriends have so far taught me how to respond people with different views in a gentle way. At first I thought this was rough fighting ground. Actually it is not. Just open newspaper and look at the society and see how they try to resolve conflicts.

  78. wesleyyjun, this planet is not bad in itself. In fact this planet is eagerly waiting for the sons of God to be revealed. It is we humans that have started the conflicts and if we go on trying how “the society” in general tries to resolve conflicts, we are not doing it the right way. Why else do we need the gospel, if there is no hope for this planet? Do we preach the gospel to bring people out of the conflicts of the world into the conflicts of the Church? What does Jesus’ command to be a peacemaker mean? Does that mean learn to accept conflicts and enjoy democracy? Or does that mean accept Jesus’ leadership, who is also the Prince of Peace, by turning from our self-righteous sinful ways?

    • Mark Mederich

      church is gathering of forgiven sinners, so why do leaders impose humanistic methods on others? shouldn’t leaders just offer guidance & let the Spirit of God add to it/work it out in lives (including leader’s) as only God knows best? do some think they are God? take a load off, seek the Spirit, who alone can guide

      THE SPIRIT BE WITH YOU (works be condemned for the sake of Christ)

  79. wesleyyjun

    AbNial, we think that conflicts between people are great. But the greatest conflict that ever existed is the conflict between God and men. We may call it Conflict with Capital C. Because we know God resolved this great conflict through his Son’s death, we have hope that small conflicts between people will be resolved. Who loves conflict? I don’t. Truth is that conflicts do exist. But I don’t have to be in denial because we have assurance of victory in God, who resolved the Conflict with Capital C. When I did not know the gospel I was afraid of any conflicts. But because I know God who resolved the greatest conflict, I don’t have to pretend conflicts don’t exist. I don’t deny we brothers and sisters must be one under Jesus’ leadership. But we will be one in spite of conflicts, not in the absence of conflicts.

  80. wesleyyjun, I understand and probably agree what you are talking about generally.

    But we are not talking here about conflicts because of difference of opinions. We are talking about glaring painful sins and abuses that ubf as a Church refuses to admit and change. We are talking about financial abuses, forced abortions, violation of human rights and freedom and to add to that long list sexual exploitation of a young daughter by her so called “missionary” father, and the Church proding protection to the criminal and not doing anything about it, not because of lack knowledge and evidence but because the Tower of Babel (ubf empire and the reputation of it’s legacy) is considered more precious than people and justice and righteousness.

  81. wesleyyjun

    AbNial, it seems you thought I meant to say to read newspaper and learn from society how to resolve conflict when I said, “Just open newspaper and look at the society and see how they try to resolve conflicts.” Totally the opposite. I meant to say how cruel and brutal they can be when they have conflicts.

  82. wesleyyjun

    I don’t know if we are better. We know at least what the Bible teaches. And I must admit this ubfriends has taught me to think how to interact with people with different views. When we heard about the most shameful incident in India, we were all shocked. He must have been expelled from the church at the moment it was exposed. The way the leaders handled the matter was also shameful if what I heard about it is true. I think the ubf headquarters have to investigate the matter and build culture of accountability.

    • yes, accountability. That is the conflict you cannot ignore for too long. And avoiding accountability is the primary reason many long time members of ubf have to make a decision whether to continue or leave. And it is not the responsibility of the HQ or some elders to fix things, you and me are equally responsible to fix it, even if that demands you and me to sacrifice our crowns.

  83. wesleyyjun

    I absolutely agree.

    • Thanks for your agreeing. But pls do something about it. In your comment above you said, “We know at least what the Bible teaches.” It is not so important how much truth we know, but how much of that we put into practice.

  84. wesleyyjun

    What would you suggest me to do?

    • Sorry I can tell what you should do to demand accountability from your peers and maybe seniors as well. You are a senior, respectable and experienced missionary. I leave that to your own wisdom and judgment. Let the Bible and the Holy Spirit be your Guide.

    • Wesley Jun, the first thing I would expect you and James Kim to do was to openly and frankly admit that the teachings and practives of the shepherding/discipling movement in general and the teachings and practices of Samuel Lee in particulary were wrong, unhealthy, dangerous and not in line with Biblical teaching, and to admit that the conduct of Samuel Lee himself was the best example for spiritual abuse that is the inevitable consequence of such ideas.

      That would be a starting point. If you can’t do that, please tell me why. Is it because you don’t think this is true? In this case, how can we help you see the obvious? Bring more examples from UBF and other shepherding/discipling movements? Or is it because of the culture of losing “face” that you can’t admit the obvious like in the parable of the emperor’s new clothes? How then can we help you to overcome that culture and make a leap of faith to follow the gospel instead of Confucius, to base everything on truth, even if it is painful, and to cure your sins and the sins of your proud organization through admittance and repentance instead of covering them up as Eastern culture requires?

  85. Oops… “I cannot”

  86. James Kim

    Chris, understanding one person is not easy. You seem to have air tight slam dunk complete understanding of SL based on your logic, knowledge and limited experiences and some materials you have. To me it seems like blind men touch the different parts of an elephant and say different stories about the shape of an elephant with full confidence based on personal experiences.

    My point is only Jesus has full understanding of each one of us. He knows all about our good and bad and ugly parts. Some ugly parts maybe more conspicuous to other human beings. Am I better than him? No. My ugly parts are not so conspicuous because I am more skillful to hide them.

    To me Jesus’ grace is so abundant. Jesus who has full knowledge of all our ugly sins still do not condemn us. “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Without this abundant grace of forgiveness we cannot stand before the holy God. Jesus who has full and complete understanding and knowledge of our ugly part, says “You are not guilty”. This gracious verdict can be freely give to all who accept what Jesus has done on the cross. Church is nothing but these gathering of forgiven sinners.

    • -1

    • Indeed, -1.

      I am impressed with something though, James. You nearly perfectly summed up the “gospel” I heard and preached my entire 24 years at ubf.

      Never before have I read such an articulate expression of Confucian values cloaked with Christian words.

    • Mark Mederich

      (oops, meant this to go here)
      church is gathering of forgiven sinners, so why do leaders impose humanistic methods on others? shouldn’t leaders just offer guidance & let the Spirit of God add to it/work it out in lives (including leader’s) as only God knows best? do some think they are God? take a load off, seek the Spirit, who alone can guide

      THE SPIRIT BE WITH YOU (works be condemned for the sake of Christ)

    • James, I don’t need to have a complete understanding of SL in order to understand that certain things that he did (some of them systemically) in his function as church leaders were abuisve an sinful. Again, look at Mt 18:15-17. If there are witnesses for the sins of a brother and the brother still refuses to repent, he should be treated like a pagan. 1 Tim 5:19 says “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.” But you are saying “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder until you have air tight slam dunk complete understanding of him”. That’s something completely different, isn’t it?

      “Am I better than him? No. My ugly parts are not so conspicuous because I am more skillful to hide them.”

      Maybe, but then it’s a matter between you and God. But if your ugly parts are not hidden, but influence the church, e.g. if you would start to demand abortions or humiliating training like Samuel Lee, that would be different because it is not only between you and God, but it affects the church members, both directly by interfering in their lives and indirectly, by giving a bad example for others to follow. So, such sin must be challenged. What do you think about 1 Cor 5:12-13: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked person from among you.” Honestly, what do you think about these verses? According to your logic, nobody should ever be expelled or judged, because we cannot fully know anybody and because Jesus forgives everything. And here we come to your next misunderstanding of the gospel:

      “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”

      Right, and who is “in Christ Jesus”? Those who live in the light and repent their sins. Jesus clearly said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven”. Peter said in Acts 3: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.” As you see, repentance is the first step and necessary condition for forgiveness in Christ, and even being able to turn to God. Or do you think you need to repent only once? Remember Luther’s theses number one: “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent’, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

      James, why need I to tell you all these things? Shouldn’t you know them so well as a “Bible teacher” and even “president” of a Bible study organization? Why are you telling such nonsense? Are you trying to fool me or some of the readers? Are you trying to fool yourself? Why are you trying to denfend the undefendable?

      The first step for healthy change of UBF as an organization would be to admit that they followed wrong teachings and tolerated and practiced spiritual abuse, and that these things were engrained in UBF from the very beginnings through the person of the founder and general director Samuel Lee. If you are not willing or able to understand and do this, sorry, I cannot take you and your talk or attempts about “change” in UBF serious. It shows that not Christianity but Leeism is your true religion and you don’t want to ever give it up. I know I sound offensive, but I simply cannot interpret your words otherwise.

    • James,

      I think your emphasis on the grace of Jesus is important and the basis of any action we do as Christians. Thank you for this. We should never forget it.

      However, I can’t help noting an irony here. One of the strengths of UBF has been a Biblical repudiation of a “cheap grace” that essentially renders the gospel of Christ meaningless and powerless. I’ve learned from the Bible and many people within UBF that the grace of Jesus leads us to humbly acknowledge the sinners we are and spurs us to have compassion for others to selflessly seek their salvation. Also we have taught testimony writing and repentance. If we only say everything is ok now in this context because of the grace of Jesus, what has happened to us?

      The forgiveness and forgetfulness you are talking about are true but we have to be careful about how to get there. Certainly if we have a math problem to solve and then write down the answer that appears in the solution key in the back of the book, we have the right answer. However, we have not really worked out the problem nor understood the solution. Philippians 2:12 says, “…continue to work out your salvation in fear and trembling.” Thus, there is a process and responsibility on our part in this that we should not avoid going through.

      Per Dr. Lee, I’m pretty sure that he would never want his slogans and actions held anywhere near on equal par with the Bible itself. Also if there are any issues with leaders, it is an especially serious matter. As you know, James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” We honor our leaders but because of their position and influence, they especially have responsibility before God and the people they serve to have integrity. I take this responsibility very seriously in my tiny, insignificant realm of leadership.

  87. and here we are again….”First go and be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift.” I have to seek reconciliation and never assume, presume or bypass it. I have no business claiming the grace of Jesus unless I have done what is possible to repent, reconcile and restore the relationship with those whom I have sinned against.

  88. James, I hope you understand the -1 in response to your comment.

    This is how your logic sounds to me:

    1) A particular abusive UBF chapter director/senior leader is a sinner.

    2) Only God fully understands all people, but we humans cannot.

    3) The grace of Jesus covers all our sin so that there is no condemnation.

    4) Because of 1 + 2 + 3 above, we cannot specifically and clearly address the sins of certain particular UBF leaders.

    Your 1,2,3 statements is the beautiful gospel.

    #4 simply thrashes and denies God’s justice and righteousness where there is no favoritism, and no “special people” who are above the law and who cannot be touched and who do not have to be accountable.

    As long as you keep sticking to your point #4, I guarantee you that you are making UBF more and more an elitist, exclusive ministry of unaccountability, inequality and injustice, and where favoritism and abuse will continue unchecked and unabated.

    • Mark Mederich

      THE UNTOUCHABLES! let ’em exalt themselves into oblivion:)

    • Mark Mederich

      if people don’t believe there is a cliff ahead, hopefully they’ll notice when they reach the edge..

  89. I too am wary of the false gospel ubf is preaching: once saved always saved; since we are incapable of seeing people’s motifs, we should not judge anyone and leave all judgments to God; Jesus is all about forgiveness, so does not condemn anyone implying he will never condemn anyone; the claim of forgiveness without bearing the fruit of repentance. These are only true if Bible verses are taken out of context and used to justify wrong deeds.

    I do not claim to have got everything right about the gospel, but to me ubf’s view of the gospel is in fact that of a blind man touching a part of the elephant and telling a story about that elephant with full confidence based on personal experience.

    Yes, even this imperfect and partial view helped me and many others, but if we remain there forever, we know we are heading toward increasing lawlessness, injustice and spiritual abuses inside the Church and final apocalyptic disaster.

  90. James Kim

    Ben, number 4 is not my logic. We are working on it with caution. We need God’s wisdom how to proceed in God honoring way.

  91. James Kim

    @aw, thank you for your comment. I fully agree with you.

  92. James Kim

    The author said one of the signs of the unhealthy spirituality is trying to work for God. He said we should be with God more instead of working for God. One of the weaknesses of UBF is that we try to do things for God.

    “Work for God that is not nourished by a deep interior life with God will eventually be contaminated by other things such as ego, power, needing approval of and from others and buying into the wrong ideas of success and the mistaken belief that we cannot fail.”

    • “One of the weaknesses of UBF is that we try to do things for God.”

      Good point, but a bit vague. The word “for” can interpreted in several ways, like “to the advantage of” or “in place of”. I think it’s the whole continuum of meanings at work here. It starts when people try to do things “to please God”, then “to help God”, then to proudly “do God’s work” and finally replace (usurpate) God in the lives of people, and becoming God’s visible and untouchable representative like Moses, only not so humble. That’s not a problem of UBF alone, but of all shepherding/discipling movements. It starts as a weakness, but grows to a sin. UBF and its founder have reached the phase of becoming sinful already after a few years, as you see in the 1976 letter, and stayed in that phase since 40 years now.

    • Mark Mederich

      doing for God leads to trying to defend God by dividing/conquering perceived threats

  93. Thanks, aw. In my opinion, your leadership in UBF is neither tiny nor insignificant. Like Wesley, it is a breath of fresh air, and a sign of hope for the future of our church.

    • big bear

      I PERSONLLY LIKE POPE francis….a voice of change…washing the feet of prisoners and rebuking the hyprocisy in the priesthood and calling for change. Such a leader is needed in Ubf. It will only take one courageous man or woman to turn the tide.

  94. James Kim

    Chris, it was a good point. i did not know how to harmonize a hard work and give glory to God. Henri Nouwen gave a good answer.

    “–I have to work hard. I have to do my task. And at the end of the day I have to keep saying that if something good happens, let us praise the Lord for it. But in order to do that, we had better take some time out and experience being present for God and God alone, and that is not so easy.”

  95. wesleyyjun

    Chris, you are not encouraging me to do what you want me do by saying such as these: “…covering them up as Eastern culture requires?” I don’t find this kind of phrase appropriate for a gentleman.

    • Wesley, based on your comment above I think there are almost no gentlemen among ubf directors. What gentleman may say that Ameicans are lazy and selfish or that Germans should have kept shooting instead of thinking or that all Russians are irresponsible? Please, pay more attention to what Chris and others say than to the “discouraging” phrases they may use.

    • And your comment reminded me Russian criminals’ behavior. They do a crime but at the court they say beautiful words about their mothers, “Please, don’t put me into prison I have to care for my mom, I am her only son”.

      ubf directors act “as the Eastern culture requires” and abuse and hurt and harm especially Westerners and then when the abused say something back the directors say, “Be gentlemen, please, as the Western culture requires”.

    • When you say gentleman you probably mean “diplomat”. I don’t want to be one. These problems cannot be solved with diplomatic words, which you may see as the solution. I want openness and I want to be able to speak what I think. And you should also learn to appretiate people who talk this way, so you don’t need to spend so much energy on finding what they might have said between the lines. Someone here has coined this way of straight talk “HOT” – honest, open, transparent. HOT talk is what UBF needs, not diplomatic smalltalk. You can rebuke or correkt me if what I say is not the truth. In this case, isn’t is true that UBF covers up all internal problems? Is it wrong that I attribute this to “Eastern culture” instead of “UBF culture”? Wouldn’t that have sounded even more offensive to you? Didn’t you always say we should consider Eastern culture when talking about UBF?

  96. big bear

    St Augustine: “Love God and do as you please.” It is this freedom to love God that makes a healthy church. When a church is set around trying to work for God, it will always fail and be abusive and will be burnt out and depressed with no joy. God is love. Jesus gave a new command, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Love has to be sincere and real for God. This only comes through spending time in His presence with no agenda and no numbers for feeding sheep just enjoying Him and allowing Him to do His work through you. The work of God is to believe Him. In UBF, the problem lies in the pressure to raise disciples at the cost of life itself, emotions, speaking your true feelings for fear of rebuke and discipline or being judged, no real repentance by those who are leaders just hiding their sins and weaknesses, and to much on works. I was surprised when my shepherd rebuked me for drinking and when I went to His house he had wine and beer and all kinds of drinks. This was a shock to me. Little by little I saw that the system is corrupt and the leaders are not practicing love of God (some are) but many I knew were not. No one speaks out because they are so weighted down with their lives and the heavy burdens put on them by UBF. But you can’t weigh a person down forever, love wins, God wins.

  97. wesleyyjun

    Chris, I will respond you as “Eastern” culture requires. First Eastern culture requires me to smack you with a cane, if you were within my reach physically, for not showing proper respect to your senior. (I am sure I am your senior). And then I have to study some more how Eastern culture requires to react to those whose languages are too HOT and show all the indications of disrespect and indecency.

    • I know, Wesley. One day when I said I had could not stay to attend a meeting because I had something important to do, one of the Korean missionaries who was considere my “senior” harrassed me and kept repeating I needed to attend anyway, though I explained clearly why I couldn’t. Finally, when I just left, he became very angry, followed me to outside and wanted to beat me. Then he paused for a moment (mayb started to understand that I might fight back), and started to kick my bicylce instead, until it was completely broken. I have seen this, Wesley, and this was not the only example, I can give you more if you like. So much for “gentleman behavior”.

      I respect people who have proven to be worthy of respect. Most UBF leaders haven’t proven to be worthy of respect, due to their abusive behavior and wrong teachings, and their silly attempts to sugarcoat or whitewash the wrongdoings of Samuel Lee and the ministry in general, and stubborn refusal to admit the obvious, let my respect decline even more quickly.

  98. wesleyyjun

    By the way I apologize the way I spoke. It is not so “diplomatic.”

  99. wesleyyjun

    Chris, that Korean missionary was wrong. I am not he. I wouldn’t bother a person who has to leave the meeting for a reason. But I would be very displeased with someone who speaks the way you do.

    • Wesley, no matter when or how I disagree with a turn of phrase from you I can appreciate that you are human in your responses. You might evoke a feeling of frustration at times when we are all trying to address a point, but I can say that by lashing out it reveals weakness, which is refreshing. Also, you asked AbNial “What would you suggest me to do?” this openly reveals your willingness to discuss matters with desire to figure it out and correct things.

      I wish that more people would allow themselves to participate and to even “lose control” once in a while. For me, your dialogue may superficially hinder credibility, but in reality reveals someone who is actually sincere when they have an exchange on this blog.

      Chris, Wesley almost never or rarely refers to Eastern culture and custom directly. Most of the time those references come from James.

      “Didn’t you always say we should consider Eastern culture when talking about UBF?” (Chris)

      But that aside, we have to be sure to talk about what needs to be confessed and acknowledged instead of being ignored in silence, denied or accepted with an “I didn’t know!” response.

    • “I wouldn’t bother a person who has to leave the meeting for a reason.”

      I hope so. But you tolerated when SL showed similar abusive behavior, and even today in retrospect you refuse to comdemn such behavior when it was done by SL. Or would you be willing to do this?

  100. @Wesley:

    Thank you for sharing honestly. I am glad to hear these words:

    “I don’t find this kind of phrase appropriate for a gentleman.”

    Correct. Chris is not a “junzi man“. Nor am I. But the hidden ubf mantra has always been “be a junzi man”, using several prooftexts such as 2 Timothy 2:15 to bind junzi to the Christian concept of integrity before God. They are not the same concepts.

    So am I asking you to stop being a Korean with Confucian ideas? No. I am asking you to be self-aware, to ask the tough questions like “Is my thinking rooted in my own culture or in Christ? Am I justifying my concept with the bible or am I allowing the Spirit to teach through His word?

    And I am demanding that all Korean ubf missionaries STOP judging Indians, Canadians, Americans, Germans, Russians and all peoples by the Confucian concept of junzi. You came as missionaries, but what is your gospel? Will you continue to try to make juzni men and women? Or will you allow Christ our Lord to make His disciples in His way and in His time? Will you allow Jesus, who is our one Shepherd and Overseer for our souls, lead His sheep instead of upholding a religious system built to manufacture junzi people?

  101. @Wesley,

    “Eastern culture requires me to smack you with a cane”

    And my American culture requires me to get some of my good ol’ country boys and knock some sense into you behind the woodshed :)

    I say such an all-out brawl is needed. Oh how I longed to stand up at some Friday meeting and whip an eraser across the room! I imagined myself doing that numerous times as I sat through chair-sitting sessions ad nauseam. I so wanted to stand up in the middle of a meeting and shout: “Is anybody paying attention to what this person just shared? Does anybody care about anything real that just happened?!”

  102. wesleyyjun

    gc, I appreciate your comment. This website is supposed to be Christian site. Even if we share HOT dialogues it does not mean it should resemble some sites like CNN where people comment articles and exchange different views and usually do not shy away from unthinkable languages. Though we may have different views we are not exempt from the command, “Love one another.” Non-believers or new believers may visit this site and see how we react toward our brothers and sisters. Jesus sternly warns us against being stumbling block to “little” ones. If these basics of decency and respect are not established all our complicated and “highly advanced” religious dialogues have no meaning. Throughout history the religious wars have been more cruel and vicious than any other kind of wars.
    I have slowly come to respect Chris as my brother in the Lord despite our differences. I am willing to work with him toward spiritual well being of ex- or present ubfers. But if I get impression of threat or pressure, I cringe. There are a few ubfriends on this site, whose arguments are stimulating and respectful, despite myself, at the same time. I find it to be pleasure to dialogue with them.

    • “But if I get impression of threat or pressure, I cringe.”

      That’s fine, because it may help you better understand how I felt in UBF all the time.

    • “Jesus sternly warns us against being stumbling block to “little” ones.”

      I don’t believe that strong, but fair and honest language when pointing out real problems can be a stumbling block for “little ones”. Otherwise all the prophets including John the Baptist, and Apostles like Paul and even Jesus himself would all be stumbling stones.

      Concerning the passage (Lk 17:1-2) talking about “little ones” stumbling, the original Greek version and the Vulgate both have here the word “scandala”, from which the English word “scandals” is derived. What are the real scandals that make people stumble? Isn’t it the spiritual abuse, unaccountability and behavior of the leaders who never repent? If church members are told to have an abortion, that is a scandal. And that’s what people really make stumble. I saw so many people in my chapter and other chapters stumble over spiritual abuse. The verse says “woe to that person through whom they (the scandala) come“, not to those who reveal such things in the hope they can be admitted and fixed.

  103. wesleyyjun

    Please add “disrespect” to “threat or pressure…”

  104. Wesley: ” Non-believers or new believers may visit this site and see how we react toward our brothers and sisters”

    Yes indeed. I hope they simply see the honest reality of how ubf-trained people interact. And most of all I hope they can see the dangers in the ubf machine, and begin questioning it if they are ubfers, be consolled if they are exubfers, and be warned if they know nothing about ubf. I want people to open their eyes and think for themselves and make their own decision.

    There are no masks here… I cannot and will no longer pretend to be a junzi man. Nor can I pretend to be a good Christian boy. I am “me”. I am who I am. I just want people to know who I am, as the song Iris says well.

    • Mark Mederich



    • David Bychkov

      “There are no masks here… I cannot and will no longer pretend to be a junzi man. Nor can I pretend to be a good Christian boy. I am “me”. I am who I am. I just want people to know who I am, as the song Iris says well.”
      Hi Brian! Does that mean you should not investigate the way how you talk any longer? Can your willingness to be yourself and to express your thoughts freelly be hurtful or offending to anyone? Can it be hurtful without a good reason? Would it be justified b/c you just wanted to be yourself? Don’t you think you still have to consider Scripture suggestions? (e.g James 3)

    • Hi David,

      “Does that mean you should not investigate the way how you talk any longer?”

      No it does not. I must continually be self-aware.

      “Can your willingness to be yourself and to express your thoughts freelly be hurtful or offending to anyone?”

      Yes it can. And a few have expressed the hurt I’ve caused to me privately.

      “Can it be hurtful without a good reason?”

      Yes at times.

      “Would it be justified b/c you just wanted to be yourself?”

      Partially, yes.

      “Don’t you think you still have to consider Scripture suggestions? (e.g James 3)”

      Yes, very much so. James 3 is a convicting passage.

    • David Bychkov

      ok, thank you. Sometimes b/c of your comments I thought that answered may be different. So I wanted to ask it.

    • Thanks David. Not only can I “dish it out”, I can also “take it in”. Many times I wish someone would call me out in a logical, reasoned, bible-based manner. But that does not happen. I wish to engage in those kinds of dialogues and debates.

      And I have a unique perspective on the ubf situation. Sometimes I speak now with what appears to be (and somtetimes is) harsh words because I know how those words sound to a ubf loyalist. I was an ultra-loyalist and I needed the piercing words of men like Chris and others.

      People who don’t know anything about ubf won’t understand either side. But I know for a fact that ubfers understand clearly what we former members are saying.

  105. Wesley, I honestly can’t see how Chris has failed to follow the “basics of decency and respect.” I have been extremely impressed with him throughout these years of dialogue. I hear inspired words, intelligent and well-informed words, passionate and humble words, and many strong words that are clearly born out of frustration. But I can also find examples of such strong words in the writings of Paul. Whose standard of decency and respect has he violated? Does a universal standard exist? Further, if we continue to allow DSL and so many others a pass on extreme behavior and words, how can we hold this website and its contributors to some impossible standard? And as to the “little ones” you mention, I think we all should be more careful about the effect of our actions on them. All of us.

  106. James Kim

    I am asking you to be self-aware, to ask the tough questions like “Is my thinking rooted in my own culture or in Christ? Am I justifying my concept with the bible or am I allowing the Spirit to teach through His word?

    Thank you Brian for this comment. I agree with you. BTW, can you explain what “junzi” means. Everybody seem to know the meaning except me.

    • James, the tricks do not work on me anymore. You know full well what junzi is. Maybe you could find the Korean word for junzi to understand. The ubf term is Shepherd or Hope-carrier.

    • James, perhaps you would be more familiar with Manhae’s “bodhisattva” in Korean Buddhism. [보살 – 보살

      It is difficult for me to distinguish from Chinese Confucianism and Korean Buddhism. Maybe we need someone to explain such differences. All I know is that what I learned in ubf matches what I read in Chinese Confucian documents, except that ubf binds such things to the bible via prooftexts and adds on more and more Christian words onto the pile.

      I think I should study some more about Buddhism and Taoism. I remember seeing a small Budhha in my director’s house, and in several other Korean houses I went to. Perhaps it is actually Buddhism we are dealing with.

      For example, how many times did I hear the words “grace” or “Holy Spirit” in my 24 years in ubf? Probably only about 24 times, maybe once a year during Easter if I was lucky.

      But what about now? Now ubers are continually using the words “grace” and “Holy Spirit” and even “studying” Galatains! After every wave of reformers left, ubf loyalists added another layer onto their teaching, making it sound more and more Christian. But at the heart is a non-Christian gospel.

      I don’t think this is what SB intended… in fact I feel as if someone hijacked SB’s ministry.

    • Here is one article explaining some relationships between “saint”, “junzi” and “bodhisattva”. We should know and understand the differences.

    • Here is another link to Manhae. Perhaps like Manhae, ubf missionaries see SB as some sort of bodhisattva who gave them life?

  107. Thanks so much, Wesley, for being humbly willing to engage with UBFriends, even though being here likely rubs you the wrong way, and might make you feel dishonorable or even unclean. But I assure you that by being here and by being willing to be HOT as yourself (and not evasive), you have gained the respect of countless UBF indigenous “non-missionaries,” including myself, not that it means much.

    For 50 years and counting, UBF has inadvertently imposed Eastern values and Confucius ideals combined with Christian faith in every UBF chapter throughout the world. This is to be expected since you grew up under such a culture. Brian’s summary of Confucianism is quite good: As I read it, I felt as though that is how Korean missionaries act, and how they expect their indigenous sheep to act and behave. That is why that missionary felt it fully justified to want to beat up Chris (and destroy his bicycle) for simply skipping a UBF meeting, which is really no big deal to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or the Bible. But it is a big deal to Confucius and to his missionary pride.

    So even if you feel beat up and violated, please continue to engage us. If you do (and if your fellow missionaries do), then you might begin to understand why so many indigenous sheep have felt oppressed, constricted, controlled, manipulated, guilt-tripped and their personal boundaries rudely and indecently violated by the way that some UBF chapter directors have unbiblically discipled and pastored people in countless UBF chapters throughout the world.

    • Mark Mederich

      religious pride is the only thing hurt by writings here, necessarily so to pursue Christ alone as head (with one body many parts, albeit with growing pains)

  108. James Kim

    Someone said Confucius is the second greatest man in history after Jesus Christ. Confucius’ teaching is focused on social order, family order, loyalty, nobility and so on. It has good points and weak points. Hierarchical system and seniority can be smothering at times. The older or senior will always take care of the younger or junior. Every one is required to know exactly where they belong in the pecking order in the family, job or school. If you violate this invisible order you are severely punished. That’s why when people meet first, they ask each other their age, position etc to figure out where they belong in the pecking order. In this situation one year senior or one rank higher makes a huge difference in the pecking order.

    Korean missionaries grew up in this culture and by the age of twenty I believe their brains are already ingrained and fixed with Confucius ideas. I might say these ideas probably would last lifetime.

    Even after they studied bible and became born again Christians, they will continue to live in this mindset.

    That’s why a lot of conflicts and different opinions with native people can arise. Although one culture is not necessarily superior to another culture, Korean missionaries should humbly learn from native people continuously and try to understand the culture and language and many other things. It is not easy because you have to deny yourselves and come out of the comfort zone, and be transformed by the power of the gospel.

    • James, I can see that you are not justifying Confucianism, but rather explaining the conflict that an older and developed Korean has within themselves. I want to ask a couple of questions however. I understand the rationalized human theory of co-workers in UBF – but where does the separation between husband and wife come from? How come you can meet missionaries (even shepherds) who do not have a healthy relationship with each other, but cover it up because they are co-workers in Christ? Such people do not have healthy explanations for the roles of husband and wife.

      This is not a biblical understanding of the family. It is also neither a Jewish, nor Korean understanding of the family unit. All couples have difficulties, that is true, but there is a value and closeness inherent in family. Moreover, how about children? In UBF marriage is a very honourable level of maturity and growth for a shepherd to reach. The next step would be to pioneer and grow as a chapter director or to go out as missionaries.

      Why is it seen as family centered when there are basic responsibilities that go along with having kids. Why do Korean missionaries pester young families again and again to have children, “Any good news?” If it is good news than we should not be labeled as family centered when needs arise within the family unit. Please be understood, that I am not talking about an overdose of family leisure, but rather fundamentals.

      I know that there is a dilemma in Korea for families. The present generation only knows going to work for long hours and often leaving their children to the grandparents. Has the “work to live” culture in Korea affected how service to Christ in the Bible is understood – or is it rather a sound theology that can be biblically explained? I know that it is an even bigger problem in Korean life with women who chase after a career. As a result, many grandparents are almost singlehandedly raising their grandchildren as they had already raised their own children. Does this come from the subconscious of leaving poverty or greed?

      The affluence in America should deem families to not need to be dual income households. However, often you find that they are. But I beg anyone to consider the difference between parents who have a financial choice to remain a single income family and those who don’t have a choice. My generation really only knows the dual income model because of the present condition of the world’s economy etc…

      I am trying to divide the reasons why a Korean might do something differently to an American etc…Understandings and motivations can be intrinsically different.

    • I think nobody condemns the teachings of Confucius, much of it is compatible with the Bible. We all know that what we see in the real society is more like a distorted caricature of the real values of Conucianism, just like what we see in Evangelical circles is often more like a caricature of Christianity. And inside UBF, this caricature is even more grotesque. As gc pointed out, family actually has a great value in Confucianism. Yet in UBF, this is totally repressed in favor of mission. Then, on the other hand, UBFers are obsessed with marriage. From a real zealous mission organization you would expect that marriage was not so important and that there are many unmarried people like SB or apostle Paul. But, no everybody has to be married. Then again, they don’t have to care much whom they marry – it is seen as a sign of faith if you marry someone you haven’t even seen before, and if you don’t fit together at all. This is all very bizarre.

      “Korean missionaries grew up in this culture and by the age of twenty I believe their brains are already ingrained and fixed with Confucius ideas. I might say these ideas probably would last lifetime.”

      Sure, it is hard to completely free yourself from such subconscious mindset. But then, nothing is impossible for God. Also, the problem is that UBFers are not only obsessed with Confician pecking order in their subconscious mindset, but they also quite openly superimpose it on their Bible teaching, in the form of “spiritual order”. This “spiritual order” teaching and practice is not a subliminal thing in UBF, but openly taught and very distinct and visible and mandatory.

      “Even after they studied bible and became born again Christians, they will continue to live in this mindset.”

      To me it sounds a bit like “Even after they studied bible and became born again Christians, they will continue to live in sin.” But the Bible says “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin.” Applied to our case this means, anyone born of God will strive to avoid sinful behavior and sinful thoughts. From the Bible (Mt 23 et. al.) we know that authoritarianism and UBFish “spiritual order” is sinful. So we should expect that those who are born again shy away from these things. Usually a Christian who knows he is tempted by a particular kind of sin will avoid that sin even more than other people do. So from Korean Christians I would expect that they very visibly and clearly distance themselves from authoritarianism (even if it is still in their subconcious mind!). This would be a sure sign they are born again. It they try to stay in their old mindset and justify it, then it is not really a sign of being born again, but of some superficial or failed conversion.

    • So you do know what junzi is, James??

    • Mark Mederich

      spiritual order enslaves ALL in limited fishbowl, looking out with fantasy to go out but reality to stay in

  109. James Kim

    Chris, you said, ‘But the Bible says “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin”‘.

    Born again is just a starting point of our journey of faith. Born again does not mean we are transformed completely at the time we accept Jesus as our Savior. It requires sanctification process which will last life time.

    • James, it is relevant that you bring up being “born again”. First of all, how long does ubf need? 50 years? Time’s up. Game over. You’ve had 50 years. Many of us won’t give you any more time to change.

      Here is my Confucian-induced fantasy idea of being “born again”: Christianized confucianism.

      Oh how many times I missed the chance to share the gospel Jesus proclaimed! Instead I tried to explain a confucian value system and demand my audience to accept the value system. As a ubf messener I was more like a “confucian cheerleader”. ubf people SO need to hear sermons about Jesus and His gospel.

    • James, what you say is true, but do you think that it outrules this Bible verse? Would you say that Bible verse is not true? I repeat it again: “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin”.

      Do you understand what being born again means? Let me quote from a J.C.Rype (

      “There was probably a time when [the person who was born again] did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends. But the true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague, resents the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be completely delivered from it. Sin no longer pleases him, nor is it even a matter of indifference to him; it has become a horrible thing which he hates.

      However, he cannot eliminate its presence within him. If he said that he had no sin, he would be lying. But he can say that he hates sin and that the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all. He cannot prevent bad thoughts from entering his mind, or shortcomings, omissions, and defects from appealing in both his words and his actions. He knows that “in many things we offend all”. But he can truly say, in the sight of God, that these things cause him grief and sorrow and that his whole nature does not consent to them. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?”

      What I am missing is the grief and sorrow about the abuse that happened in UBF, and about the wrong theology of authoritarianism, the longing to be completely delivered from it and the sign that it is not matter of indifference to you. Somebody who is really hates sin does not say “I will slowly get rid of if, but I may not rush and make drastic moves.” Also, he will not try to justify it by saying that his special kind of sin was so common and deeply rooted in his culture. That’s not the reaction of a born again person towards sin.

      And again, dont’t tell me that Korean people are not able to see these things. The senior shepherds in 1976 have seen it, the reformers of 1989 and 2001 have seen it. They all were Koreans. And they did not just complain about Samuel Lee, but about the rampant authoritarianism and false teachings in UBF in general, even though they all were raised up with a Confucian worldview. Their conscience did not allow them to participate in this any longer. I can see true signs of born again people in their behavior towards the problem. But I do not see these signs in people who are indifferent and dismiss these things (and their fellow brothers who poured out their hearts and complained about all these things that happened in their church) saying “every church has problems and is filled with sinners”.

    • Sorry for the typos. The author is J.C. Ryle.

      Just to clarify: I don’t presume to know who is born again or who not. I’m just saying that I miss certain signs that should be expected from born again people in the behavior of the UBF leadership, and also in the behavior of those in UBF who are indifferent towards the abuse and sins commited by their leaders and the systematic errors and Bible incompatibilities of their ministry.

  110. big bear

    JAMES i agree with your comment…but we cant justify the abuse of families in UBf for the sake of mission….families are the most imortant unit in God house…feeding sheep and going to meetings (which are very boring and superficial) and writing testimonies and all the other activities are garbage if family is neglected and wife unloved and kids left alone……I PRAY YOU WAKE UP AND ALL THE LEADERS…THE ABUSE MUST STOP….I saw it in my family and in all the families in ubf that I knew but you are taught that this is life of mission…no it is not biblical….it is funny when trouble does come to your family…you get lip service no practical help and you are kicked out and told to shut up……..ubf talks good but no real repentance from leaders….what is done for families to build them….can a parent be familiy centered or is this not tolerated..can a husband love his wife and kiss her doing worship service and put arm around her or does this dishonor God….what about affection is it sinful…kids are they enemies to mission..the system of ubf has replaced love and affection…this is abuse

    • I feel awkward as the one to say this, but….it might be a good idea for UBFriends to do fishing of its own. That is to prepare information to be submitted to any University student services that may or may not be useful upon a September orientation. The clear thing above is that comments here are being ignored. I feel like those Megooks who are in UBF should leave and the rest should boycott it. If concerns that are voiced out of comparisons to the Bible are not being answered than it is time…

      Forgive my use or misuse of this music, but I must:

    • Well said, big bear. I am continually amazed at how many people around the world have come to the EXACT SAME conclusion about their experience in ubf. As you know, we’re not hearing from half-committed observers to ubf. WE ARE HEARING FROM THE TOP NATIVE LEADERS IN UBF WHO LEFT! We are hearing from the former darlings of ubf. This weekend I cleaned out my basement and found ubf newsletters. I found a brilliant page in one newsletter where our friend Josahua and AbNail and JoeS were messengers at the conference. These were/are the best and brightest men in ubf. And they have been cast aside as “poisonous troublemakers”.

      You are correct, big bear, we need to remember the children. And we need to remember people like Sarah

  111. @gc, nice! and oh yes, +1.

  112. @gc, you mentioned a good idea: “prepare information to be submitted to any University student services that may or may not be useful upon a September orientation.”

    I have already started doing that.

  113. @James,

    You wrote this: “Thank you Brian for this comment. I agree with you. BTW, can you explain what “junzi” means. Everybody seem to know the meaning except me.”

    Then you write this: “Korean missionaries grew up in this culture and by the age of twenty I believe their brains are already ingrained and fixed with Confucius ideas. I might say these ideas probably would last lifetime.”

    How do you explain such a contradiction? How do we know when you are telling the truth?

  114. BTW, James, don’t worry about answering here publicly. You already answered in fact. Your silence speaks volumes.

  115. James Kim

    Chris, you said, “Just to clarify: I don’t presume to know who is born again or who not.” Thank you for your comment.

    I sometimes imagine if Jesus is with us and hears all our arguments going back and forth among us, what would he say to us? Would he support one side over the other? I seriously doubt it.

    I don’t know what would Jesus say to us. I can only imagine something like this he might say to us. “You guys listen to each other with love and respect. Lean from me, for I am humble and gentle. Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Love one another as I have loved you.” and so on.

    • James, those are only one type of Jesus’ statements which I might like to go on hearing in this life and make excuses for non-sanctified life assuming a cheap grace.

      But do you thing Jesus made a mistake when he spoke, Rev 2:5; 2:14-16; 2:20-23; 3:2; 3:15-19?

    • Really, really funny and sad the same time, how ubf leaders avoid repenting their own sins with all kinds of lame excuses, but go on demanding sheep/juniors to confess and repent, weekly and even daily, in writing and publicly!!

    • No James, I seriously doubt Jesus our Lord would say this: “You guys listen to each other with love and respect. Lean from me, for I am humble and gentle.” This is like saying “You who were abused in ubf and see the flawed doctrine, just listen again to your abusers, just love and respect them and stop being so bitter, then all will be fine and you can all get back to doing ubf ministry.”

      When one group of people lord over their authority on other people, turn a blind eye to decades of abuse, insist on enslaving young student with a heritage they love more than Scripture, and dismiss the holes in their theology as “cultural differences”, I really don’t think Jesus would just say “You guys listen to each other…”

      And I do not see very many arguments here, hardly any debate. What I have heard (read actually) here on this website is high-ranking, well-known ubf dropouts sharing their painful stories while hearing either silence or cringeworthy quotes from various books meant to get them to be quiet.

      What I have read here are the justified expressions of angst from the most prolific and inspired, repentant and Spirit-led ubf leaders ever: Ben Toh.

      What I have read here is the last effort by Joe and Sharon to find any shred of a reason to support ubf in any way. Do you realize the profound impact of that observation James?! Do you realize what it would mean for Joe and Sharon to become former members? How can you just ignore and dismiss two of the most brilliant, Spirit-led, godly Christians I’ve ever met? Do you not realize what is going on here? Do you not see what your dismissals have done to these friendly, generous and devoted people?

      So while I would not dare to claim to know exactly what our Lord Jesus would do, I am certain he would not say something like “Can’t we all just get along?”

      I think the Spirit has already revealed to many of us at least one word Jesus would say, and that is the word: STOP!

      Yes, I think Jesus would rebuke all of us. Jesus would rebuke me for not taming my tongue and for my flawed understanding of many doctrines. But I for one never want to hear the words of Luke 11:42-47 from my Lord.

    • Again, I cannot presume to know what Jesus would say.

      However, I know what he said according to the Bible. His first call was “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15) and his final call was “be earnest and repent.”

      This is not a discuss between two “sides”, but a call for an organization that pretends to be a “church” and has commited grievous sins in the past to repent.

      And authoritarianism is not an debatable issue; Jesus has already given his opinion about this in Mt 23. What do you need more?

      Btw, here is one of the best articles on authoritarianism in the church: It also shows that authoritarianism has two sides: there are the sins of shepherds and sins of sheep. Again, this is not debatable issue. To me it is absolutely clear on which side Jesus stands.

    • David Bychkov

      I would agree with Brian on this. For me what has been going on this website is just a tragedy. just a tragedy. it is so clear that people who were engaged in the community had nothing else just good Godly intentions to help themselves and the organization they were involved too. But now most of them are dropouts, and those who still in the organization are treated without any real respect. That’s nothing else but a tragedy.

    • Right, David, it’s a tragedy. And what happened in 1976, 1989 and 2001 were not smaller tragedies.

      And the reaction of the leadership is still this: “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”

    • David Bychkov

      Yes Chris. I absolutely agree with you.

  116. James Kim

    Chris, it was a good article. This is a part of it.

    “Pastors guilty of authoritarianism would do well to preach to themselves and their flocks an extended series on 1 Corinthians 13, Philippians 2, the Sermon on the Mount, or John 10. They should not be afraid to humble themselves to the dust before God and their people, for our God does not despise a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17). He comes close to the lowly and meek and raises them up. The true people of God will not despise “a good man who is good enough to recognize that he is not good enough.” Pastors must seek to cultivate the habit of intercessory prayer on behalf of their people. They must pray for great grace to resist the persistent temptation to play God for people. They must learn to redirect potential idol-worshipers to the living God who delights in His Bride but who will not share her with another. They must also pray for the sheep that they would not become embittered but would be forgiving of the pastor’s sins.”

    • James, your quote is yet again very far out of context and also yet again void of any explanation of your intention for commenting.

      But stil, we get it James. We know you want us former members to “not become embittjred but would be forgiving of the pastor’s sins.”

      But don’t you get it James? That quote has nothing to do with the context of ubf. THERE NO PASTORS IN UBF! Mr. RW does not count because he is so indoctrinated. ubf only has “directors” and “shepherds/esses” and “missinoaries”… oh yea and the lowly “sheep”.

      Why do we pretend that ubf chapter directors are “pastors”? Why do they get such a title/role just by virtue of length of loyalty to ubf heritage and the fact that they are Korean? Are they ordained? Are they trained in any way outside of ubf material? Have they undergone any form of counselling? Do they take regular sabbaticals? Do they even know about the numerous Christian sacraments? Do they practice any form of communion? Do they know anything about baptism? Do they study any of the 2,000 years of Christian history? Do they pray things like “Lord, let all glroy and authority go to you”? Do they pray such as “Lord, let me not get in the way of your Words and what you would speak today”?

      Maybe you could share your thoughts on Vitaly’s new article? What do you think? Chris, Vitaly, Joshua, and I and many other former members really don’t want to sit here and discuss ubf stuff, especially stuff that is so blatantly obvious.

      We want to talk about Jesus our Lord. We want to talk about things such as What is the gospel? What is mission? What is repentance? we want to talk about following Jesus. Maybe you could find some good quotes for us…

    • “They must also pray for the sheep that they would not become embittered but would be forgiving of the pastor’s sins.”

      James, you’re quoting from the second paragraph of the section “The Cure for Authoritarian Shepherds and Idol-Worshipping Sheep”. But you didn’t quote the first paragraph. Let me do it for you:

      “The call of the Word of God to sinners is always ‘repent and believe.’ … Repentance involves confession. Public sins must be publicly confessed; private sins must be privately confessed.”

      This is the prerequisite for the things the second paragraph is talking about. And this is exactly what we want to see happening. Once this has happened, let’s talk about the second paragraph, which I think is not even a big issue. I don’t expect that much prayer will be necessary; nearly everyone of us will be delighted to forgive the sins of UBF leaders once they honestly and publicly confess and repent as individuals and corporation, and clearly change their ways.

    • Chris, 1 million Amens and 1 million Google +1 and 1 million facbook likes :)

  117. Hi James, Are you implying that those who comment on UBFriends by plainly addressing the sins of UBF missionaries and chapter directors are simply embittered and unforgiving of Korean missionaries’ sins?

    • Hey Ben, I get the feeling James is not talking to any of us. He is posting quotes meant for any ubf sheep or shepherd who happens to read this. I sense that James is making comments around us intended to justify ubf ideology to any ubf loyalists reading here, in hopes that they wouldn’t become too poisoned.

    • Yes, and I would add that it is the common tactic that you faced while still in the ministry. I think when I referenced an abusive husband I commented that there were many platitudes given to convince the abusee to remain. Well, hiding behind quotations is void of personal accountability and saying that you will pray for your sheep not to become embittered by your abusive actions takes the focus off of you and puts it onto them.

      Clever, but not clever enough. I wish I could just use direct personal examples – I am dying to, but I can’t for the sake of my family. However, I can say that this is exactly the tactic of my previous chapter director. An incident occurs, there is time to cool down or be prayerful about everything. We meet and then he does not say, “Sorry, I repent for XYZ.” Instead he says, “I hope you can forgive me, for your sake and relationship with God.” (Keep in mind I am editing this while keeping the essence of meaning so as not to make it directly personal.)

      All the time you can be duped into believing that your salvation is the only one at risk such people have the power to keep you under their “care”. But, thankfully for the sake of our readers everytime we are faced with this break in open dialogue we can recognize it clearly and state it for anyone who enters this for the first time.

    • +1 gc.

      “All the time you can be duped into believing that your salvation is the only one at risk such people have the power to keep you under their “care”. But, thankfully for the sake of our readers everytime we are faced with this break in open dialogue we can recognize it clearly and state it for anyone who enters this for the first time.”

      WOW! What a transformation might occur if college students go to buf with “eyes wide open”. Why hide the lifetime of committment and marriage by faith behind “only 1 hour per week bible study”? Why hide the Confucian value system that will become your measuring line in spite of the fact that justice is God’s measuring line? Why not let new “sheep” study Isaiah 28:9-23 right away and decide for themselves? Why not let everyone in ubf hear God’s message to use “the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness.”?

      Let them through off the measuring line of obedience and the plumb line of loyalty!

    • @gc: I experienced the same thing in my previous chapter. Or even worse, when the director wronged me and then wrote a confession in his daily bread, “Lord, I wronged Joshua, please forgive me…” and read it aloud in my presence, but refused to ever apologize to my face and confess any wrongdoing personally. What a slap in the face! That hurt far worse the initial wrongdoing.

      The UBF version of papal infallibility is chapter-director unaccountability.

  118. UBF is emotionally spiritually unhealthy because there is no clear teaching of equality. Let anyone in UBF deny this, but:

    * the missionary is “more equal” than the native.
    * the chapter director is “more equal” than those in his chapter.
    * UBF websites are “more equal” than UBFriends.
    * the senior/older is “more equal” than the junior/younger.
    * senior UBF staff are “more equal” than UBF elders.

    This happens because there is no clear teaching that Christ is the head of the church. So the UBF chapter director is functionally and practically the head of the particular UBF chapter. So:

    * it is either his way or the highway.
    * you must “keep spiritual order and just obey.”
    * in many instances he does not genuinely welcome any objection or critique or challenges to his leadership.
    * he feels the need to “train you,” “humble you,” and “put you in your place,” (since his place is higher than your place).

    The list can go on and on. Here are 10 signs of spiritually abusive churches and leaders:

    • Yes, I saw that list a while back, Ben. We might want to consider an article on each of the 10, a 10 part series. They seem to line up nicely with your 10 commandments for ubf as well!

      For example, “1.Have a distorted view of respect. They forget the simple adage that respect is earned, not granted. Abusive leaders demand respect without having earned it by good, honest living.”

      I still have the email from my ubf chapter director (who was also my self-appointed ubf shepherd after my first shepherd “ran away”), the email where the director told me that I had not shown him even an “ounce of respect” because I had sent a couple emails expressing my honest feelings and observations. His distorted view of “respect” was very predictable, and I knew exaclty how to deal with it.

      Recognizing these things is of utmost important for ubfers, so I am glad to see the list pointed out again. The distortion of respect does not come from Korean culture, but is rooted in flawed theology and misuse/overuse of the bible.

      I can respect Koreans and love bulgogi, but I cannot respect most ubf chapter directors who simply demand me to shut up and go away and chastise those who they think don’t respect them.

      I remember multiple times over the course of 10 years or so when my “shepherd” chapter director would stop me in the middle of our two-by-two prayer and say loudly “You must respect me! Why don’t you show thankfulness to me when you pray!” Each time the prayer ended and I walked away in stunned silence.

  119. Cute: “You must respect me! Why don’t you show thankfulness to me when you pray!” Cute as in a little boy crying for candy.

    I think most UBF leaders are not as cute as that. Some feel the exact same way but they respond by not responding. Some, I believe, realize this and want to repent and change, even if they may not or may never ever say so publicly for a multitude of reasons.

  120. Classic, original, unique, memorable, poignant Joshua quote: “The UBF version of papal infallibility is chapter-director unaccountability.”

    I have expressed this to many who would hear me out: In UBF the gospel has not yet clearly evangelized the “strong sense of honor” in many UBF leaders. When their sense of honor is challenged, the gospel goes out the door while they cling to their sense of honor even to the point of suicide.

    Until the gospel evangelizes UBF’s sense of honor, then UBF leadership will remain weak and forced upon others. The evidence is in:

    * the stagnant or dwindling of numbers of UBF people world wide,
    * the decrease of tithes and offerings in most UBF chapters, and
    * worst of all the departure and disillusionment of many able and promising Christian young leaders, both among Koreans, 2nd gens, and indigenous people.

  121. James, many of your comments state clearly the gospel that gives grace and forgiveness, and calls for repentance.

    You clearly apply this to everyone on UBFriends, especially to forgive and repent of any bitterness.

    But it is not clear to me if you also apply this to UBF chapter directors as well who have a long history of horrible “spiritual abuses.” Are you also calling them to repent? If you do, I don’t hear it. To me, it comes across as blindly and repeatedly defending them, rather than calling them to account.