Confronting Error: Condemnation or Conversation?

shatter[Admin note: Here is an article submitted to us that raises a relevant question that deserves consideration. How do we confront serious errors by religious teachers who are harming other people? This article briefly takes a look at some advice from John MacArthur.]  Luke 20:46-47 says “Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows’ houses, and for a show make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation”. John MacArthur spoke on the topic and here is a link

John says that the scribes were the most religious people in Israel. Maybe they were good humanly. They were moral people. They had good intentions. But Jesus didn’t have a conversation with them. Instead, Jesus pronounced condemnation. And there are many places in Scripture where Jesus pronounces condemnation upon the most religious Jews. He even calls them “sons of hell”. He says, “Woe to you!”

Jesus warns the disciples and people to “beware of the scribes”. Why? Because they are in an error and yet claim to be the source of truth and light. They are harming other people. They oppose Jesus and his gospel. John MacArthur said that a Christian should not confront error with conversation but with condemnation. Some people say that Christians should learn some good and deep things from the spirituality of Muslims and Buddhists and Jews (and of course Confucius). But shouldn’t Christians act like Jesus?! And Jesus gives us an example how to confront errors even of the most close to Christianity religious leaders (the Jews) – and that is with condemnation. How should and must we confront those whose errors are as far from Christianity as Confucius is?

Jesus describes the Jewish scribes and their errors.

1. They desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts. They are very careful about their status in the church and in the society. John MacArthur says that in our days they would desire people call them “Dr.”. What is more they would love when people call them “father”. They love to show themselves holy and special and high before people. This goes against Jesus’ clear teaching, “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ” (Mt.23:5-10).

I suppose that every member of ubf can give a number of stories when he/she heard how ubf leaders love and demand that they were called “Dr.”/ “msn.”/ “shepherd”/ and even “father/mother”. Jesus says many times “Woe!” to such people. It is condemnation and a curse from the Lord.

2. The scribes “devour widows’ houses…” The scribes were the lawyers of the time. They used their position to cheat widows. In that time, widows were “the most indefensible people” in the society. Who are the most indefensible people in the society in our time? Aren’t the most indefensible people today our college students? Who are the people whom you could manipulate the easiest? Students are very young and often naiive about life. They have “left their father and mother” in order to study at a university. So it is rather difficult even for parents to influence their college-age children. What is more, if a college student enters a closed system (such as in ubf) they become most vulnerable. Look for an example here

John MacArthur gives an example in his lecture of “devouring widows” in our time. Some “preachers” go to the poorest nations in Africa and promise people that they will be blessed by God if they bring their money to the “church”. They even demand that these poor people bring their monthly payment and give it to the “preachers”. Hopefully students are richer than people in Africa. And after graduation the students can hopefully have good jobs and give nice tithes.

In the UBF context, I know for sure that to give the tithes is an “absolute” command. Also (at least in our chapter) when you have a job you must give your full first monthly payment to the UBF treasury as “your first fruit to the Lord”. Whether you are poor or not doesn’t matter. What is more it is very very difficult and unrealistic to find a person in ubf who would know how and who uses all the tithes of UBF people. You may know that people give their money to UBF, a lot of money, but that’s all you can know about the money after offering it. Isn’t this an example of “devouring widows”?

3. The scribes “…for a show make long prayers”. I personally could not and still cannot understand those UBF-style “3000 prayers” for an ISBC so that more than 3000 people would participate. Is this Christian? Is it healthy to pray for sending 100,000 ubf missionaries worldwide even after God hasn’t answered any ubf “number” prayer, and even after UBF missionaries showed themselves to be spiritually abusive toward many kinds of people? And even after sending ubf missionaries to the most Christian countries in the world? What kind of prayer does UBF promote and teach?

How do we deal with UBF leaders who have refused to repent?

Jesus says, “the same shall receive greater damnation”. They will receive a damnation from God which is greater than “usual damnation” for sinners. There are many Christian opinions about UBF available on the internet. Let me give one which is short and to the point of the article: Please pay attention to the words “error” and “aberrant” and the way the site confronts UBF errors.

“Theologically, we consider the University Bible Fellowship to be at best an aberrant movement. In Christian theology, aberrant means, “Off-center or in error in some important way, such that the doctrine or practice should be rejected and those who accept it held to be sinning, even though they may very well be Christian.”

This blog, UBFriends, has provided public space and offers the possibility for real conversation with UBFleaders. However, it hasn’t worked over the past three years. The conversation hasn’t even begun yet actually with the UBF leaders who need to join in the discussion. Some UBF leaders have realized the problems in UBF with godly sorrow, and have already “told it to the church”. What do we do now? Do you see any principles for you to follow in Jesus’ confronting error with condemnation?


  1. Hi Vitaly,

    My first reaction to this article is that I’m troubled by the use of the word “condemnation”. I won’t use it because I believe condemnation is reserved for God.

    However, the point is highly relevant to the ubf context. Will endless conversation with ubf chapter directors be fruitful in regard to opening their eyes to the harm they are doing? No. Such conversations have gone on for decades and yet the ubf machine marches on with triumphant arrogance.

    So while I won’t use the word condemnation in regard to ubf, I strongly agree with the clean break, action-oriented approach. Talking with a ubf chapter director is like sloshing around in a big syrupy mess. Such conversations are sticky, messy, ugly endeavors that always end with a one-way dictation of direction from the director. ubf directors don’t know how to listen, but only how to give direction. Such a conversation is a no-win situation and only serves to feed the narcissistic supply of the director.

    A clean break, action-packed approach, like Jesus took, is really the best way for us and for them. Related to that, no one should mistake my commenting less on ubfriends as me being less vocal. I will be speaking up in more meaningful ways and in other mediums.

    One other note, JM’s criticisms of the emergent movement hit close to home for me, as I find much in the movement that rings true. JM’s criticisms are worth listening to but in the end I often feel that I’m just done with anything religious in nature.

    • “I won’t use it because I believe condemnation is reserved for God”

      Sure, Brian! condemnation is reserved for God. And I think that if we know the truth we should on our part warn the people who are under God’s condemnation. I think JM says about that, not that we can or should condemn anybody.

    • Still, I’m glad you raise the issue of condemnation, Vitaly. We should discuss it more.

      Condemnation does belong to God alone. And in Christ here is no condemnation, yes. But as you point out Vitaly in this article, there is a time and place to warn others of God’s condemnation.

      I’m not a huge JM fan, but he nails some things quite well in this video. We must be aware of false teachers. Who will the false teachers be? Will they look so ugly and beastly? False teachers will be nice looking, using words of flattery. The worst false teachers will be in the church, and we are told to point them out.

      This is beyond disagreement or differences of opinion. We are talking about false teachers. And more specifically Jesus points out “falseness” as an abuse of power and authority. Was Jesus so angry because the religious teachers had some wrong doctrine? (Certainly He would not be pleased) Did Jesus pronounced a worse damnation because the leaders committed some sin or made some mistakes? (Jesus would not be pleased but such things did not invoke a pronouncement of damnation.)

      What was it then? Jesus pronounced damnation on those who misused and abused their position of power and authority.

      That is what I have been pointing out and rebuking in ubf chapter directors all along. I can forgive everything, but no one has explained to me how to forgive abuse of power. Scripture repeatedly instructs me to call out abuse of power. The Spirit continually has released the constraints on my tongue when it comes to exposing the spiritual abuse and misuse of authority by ubf chapter directors.

      For over 2 years I have been primarily concerned about expressing the summary rebuke of authority in ubf. My summary rebuke is a warning of God’s condemnation if the lording-over authority is not given up.

      So false teaching is not about a misunderstanding of baptism or the atonement theories. False teaching is not about methods such as one to one bible study. False teaching is teaching others to submit to your authority and leading them to obey you at the expense of surrendering to Jesus our one Lord, Shepherd and Overseer for our souls. We can see this false teaching all of the public ubf teaching material.

  2. This space has and hasn’t been working. It depends what you want from a discussion forum. We all know how ‘in house’ discussions operate when you find something that you disagree with or have difficulty understanding. The points or mission of UBF is often stated and re-stated until you accept what has been said. There is no real room for anyone to understand what is being said. Explanations are only given to questions in the Bible and as they are being explained it is through the lense of UBF agenda interpretation. The trouble any dissent confronts is a refusal to discuss on equal grounds.

    UBFriends should be equal grounds, but is not really because of blatant evasiveness from top leadership who should be discussing these issues openly. Why is there always silence? Why is there intolerance (or a feeling of disrespect) when someone points out another way to see things? The moment discussion makes transparency of all motives behind actions of anyone with so-called authority in UBF clear to everyone then it will be a day of universal change.

    At one time I would not have participated on here. Many years ago I read as much as I could from the other websites because I had been through some tough disagreements, but I never contributed. Now, I find myself visiting here and wanting to say various things as I can – But – I hit a crossroad! I found that there was no longer any point for me to discuss if I was unwilling to lose myself and make more clear examples from my own life.

    The freedom that ex-members have is a comfort in sharing personal details about what they want and when they want to. I found I could only share so much and then had to quickly search for an example that I had observed from someone else. I also diluted personal statements to somewhat make my identity less obvious.

    We are not getting dialogue from top leaders as Joe stated some time ago in an article explaning his initial desire to create this blog ‘in’ UBF. Many top leaders wanted this managed – meaning censoring any comment that does not promote the UBF ideology. As a result, Joe eventually established his child ‘UBFriends’ on his own with the present aid of people who also saw the need.

    Past and present members can only do what is best for themselves and then pray for the guilty leaders. We cannot force their hands or anything else. A continued effort can be made to discuss, but we must be ready for silences. If anyone is still in UBF (like me) they must also be willing to share their experiences to demontrate that there is still trouble among many chapters. If only the ex-members are speaking up then it leaves gaping holes in the time line. Thus, top leadership can always claim no trouble just because people ‘in house’ are not speaking up.

    I say both ‘good and bad’ or ‘bad with good’. At least these are just some comments.

    • Good points, gc.

      “UBFriends should be equal grounds, but is not really because of blatant evasiveness from top leadership who should be discussing these issues openly. Why is there always silence?”

      I read recently that arrogance and cowardice go together. Most ubf directors are cowards, letting others defend them. I was such a defender in the past, always justifying, filtering, re-defining and spinning what my chapter director said. Finally, I couldn’t handle the vast difference between my KOPHN fantasy and the reality around me.

      [btw, I give many kudos to Wesley and James Kim, who are not cowards. I don’t agree with most of what they say, but they earned some respect by courageously sharing here.]

  3. jaemanpark1231

    UBF directors vs. religious leaders in Jesus time

    It is very interesting but inaccurate comparison between UBF directors and religious leaders. We might like to entertain the idea that UBF directors are like wicked religious leaders in Jesus time. But contextually speaking, I do not think it is accurate interpretation or application of the Scripture.

    1) UBF leaders who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior are not like religious leaders, who rejected Jesus. This is completely different people in terms of their spiritual positions in Christ. UBF leaders are wicked, but they are not rejecting Christ like religious leaders in Jesus time.

    2) Although UBF leaders did something like religious leaders did in some sense, I think we must apply the truth of God to us first. Generally speaking, Scriptures is given to us so that we can apply these truths to us directly. Therefore, we should not point out others’ problem without purifying ourselves (Mat 7:5)

    I would like to share my opinions about these two points in more detail.

    a) UBF leaders are wicked but they are forgiven sinners like us. They have been wicked for a long time without knowing what they were doing were wicked. They were just like us, who have been doing wicked things without knowing them as well.

    At the same time, they are saved by the grace of God just like we are saved by the grace of God. (Eph 2:8,9) No one can boast about his own righteousness before God. No one condemn others about their wickedness before God.

    Although they did wicked things in the name of God, still I believe most of them are God’s people, Christ’s bride, God’s sons, God’s slaves and God’s people. [Of course, they are not qualified to be leaders, but how many of us are literally qualified to be leaders with our own righteousness (1 Tim 3:2-7). None]

    But, they are not enemies of God in their positions in Christ, although outwardly, sometimes, they might act like Satan, just like Peter did (Mat 16:23); we all did/do/will do again. They are forgiven sinners just like us. They are brothers in Christ who needs our proper respect. (Heb 13:17) and who need our prayer support. (Heb 13:18)

    I understand you might have different understanding, that’s why you leave UBF, God bless you. I do not blame you; if I were in your position I would do the same thing, but that does not mean that we can condemn God’s people without any punishment from God.

    Clearly, they have been disobeying the law of Christ as leaders. But spiritually speaking, they are just sinful men just like us; they need forgiveness of sin just like us. Shouldn’t we pray for them more than we condemn them? Shouldn’t we ask God’s mercy upon their wicked lives more than we ask God’s mercy upon our wicked lives?

    They know they are terrible sinners. They know they need Christ, simply, they just do not know what they are doing. [Here it the difficult part: how can they know what they are doing is wrong: without the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, impossible. Therefore, pray for the work of God is the only way as well as speaking the truth in love in person to build them up each other in the church]

    Big If: if you think you know better than them [sign of pride], shouldn’t you speak the truth in love in person; building them up in love in the church [practical impossibility for men of pride to do this outside of UBF] (Eph 4:15,16) Condemning them in anger is against the law of God. (Matt 5:22) We have to reflect ourselves first. (Mat 7:5)

    Of course, it does not mean that we should not point out their sin problems; of course we should do it. But it should be done in more biblical ways than condemning them in writing. [Probably, you did this way out of huge frustration since they are not listening; they are not changing at all despite you spoke the truth. I understand it. But this is not the way God wants us to do to change the hearts of people. We must pray for them earnestly. We must believe God is working in their hearts through the Holy Spirit; we must speak the truth in love very carefully. Real question is “without knowing the truth, without love, how can we speak the truth in love? We do not know the truth, we do not have the love of Christ, how can we speak the truth in love, this is just impossible.]

    What is the biblical way to discipline the church leaders, then? (1Tim 5:19-20) That’s a Million dollars question throughout church history. We should seek God in prayer, in study in His words and meditation on it. How can we do this since we are all terrible sinners before God? Only by God’s grace (Eph 2:8) Only the blood of Jesus (Heb 9:14); Only the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (Jn 16:13)

    b) UBF leaders are wicked but we might be worse than them; And I believe we are.

    In more accurate spiritual sense, we should think about the possibility that we, not UBF leaders, are the one who are more like religious leaders; we might be a lot worse than UBF leaders. Otherwise, we might deceive ourselves; as if we are better than them when actually we are a lot worse than them.

    If we think we are better than them, condemning them with the Scripture, this kind of application is not only inaccurate but also misleading. We should be very careful about this because we are as bad as they are or even worse than they are. (Jer 16:12)

    If Apostle Paul, the most sanctified man who ever lived except Christ, confessed that he was the worst sinner of all, then, how can we say that we are better than them? [sign of spiritual ignorance] Only thing we can say, “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners like us: we are the worst sinners of all” (1 Tim 1:15)

    If we are worse than them, how can we point out their wickedness? (Matt 7:3-5) Only thing we can say, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13) “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”. (Lk 23:34) (Psa 19:12,13)

    If we are not the judge, and only God can/will judge the sinners (1 Cor 4:4) how can we judge them saying they are wicked like religious leaders. Therefore, we should judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. (1Cor 4:5)

    If UBF leaders are still sinning purposely or without knowing what they are doing just like all of us. Are their sins are worse than the sins which you and I have been committing? Simply because they did wicked things as leaders, and simple because we are not leaders when we did the similar wicked things, does that make us more righteous than them? I do not think so. “I am the worst sinner of all time before God” That’s the confession of real believers, I believe. That’s the only confession we can confess before God.

    If you think you are better than UBF leaders simply because you are keeping the law of Christ a little better than them, simply because you are not doing what UBF leaders have been doing, I think you are badly mistaken. If we break one law, we break all the law. (James 2:10) No one is better than anyone in God’s sight.

    Every time, I have tendency to criticize others, I ask myself “Do you love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength ever since you become a believer?” (Deut 6:5, Mat 22:37) I am far from the truth. I am hopeless sinner apart from the amazing grace of God, apart from the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, apart from the protection of the Holy Spirit

    Even one second, do you obey this law completely? No one in human history could ever obey this law in his life except Jesus Christ. Everyone broke the law; everyone is breaking the law of God even after they become believers. We are just so sinful; no hope without/apart from the grace of God, apart from atoning sacrifice of Jesus, apart from the protection of the Holy Spirit. I should mourn for my wickedness; not loving God wholeheartedly; ask God’s forgiveness; I should praise the grace of God. I proclaim the abounding grace of God to others; I should seek His kingdom and his righteousness; I should follow Jesus in my life without condemning other sinners.

    I hope and pray that we may not entertain an accusation against the church leaders but let church members/leaders deal with their church problems before God according to the Scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (1Tim 5:19,20) but we seek God; God’s kingdom and His righteousness in our lives in our God-given places. (Mat 6:33)

    • Thanks, jaemanpark1231, for your long reply!

      I’d like to ask you: who are you? You include yourself and possibly me and some others in many “we” and say that “we must”, “we must not”, “we should” etc. I want to say that I am not and don’t want to be included in your “we”. Possibly others also don’t associate themselves with your “we” and accept you as a Rabbi who can teach who must do what.

      The main problem with ubf is that it hasn’t been a church, so ubf leaders shouldn’t be called “the leaders of the church”.

      Nevertheless, I would wish that you send your reply to Jesus, John MacArthur and ApologeticsIndex first of all, not me. I just ask you and others a question, ” Do you see any principles for you to follow in Jesus’ confronting error with condemnation?” And this question also is not actually mine but John MacArthur’s. (And I personally like JM and his expository teaching of the Scripture and his question).

      What do you think about using your comment by any cult leaders in this world in order to justify themselves and silence critics? For me it looks like an “abuse of the Bible” about which Brian spoke a lot on this site.

      btw your comment shows some “pride” you yourself mentioned as if it is only you who know and can teach others that “we” should think about ourselves first and apply God’s word to ourselves and think that “we” are the worst sinners )) What if “we” know that already and obey the teaching of Jesus? Didn’t you think about such possibility?

      What do you think about such words of Scripture as, “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person”. (Many people have shared on this site ubf leaders’ sins which are more than obvious and which you could hardly find in a normal Christian church. Is it normal when a “president” of the organisations says, “I don’t know” whether it is a sin for a church leader to order a missionary candidate family to make abortion? Are there many Christian churches which “don’t know” and practice other ugly sins? I don’t think so.)

    • jaeman,

      So to summarize, you are saying that ubf directors are wicked like everyone else and perhaps they are even better than us. And so because of that we should “not entertain an accusation against the church leaders but let church members/leaders deal with their church problems before God”.

      That is what I hear in your long comment. I can’t think of a more condescending, insulting, infuriating, unloving, insensitive, arrogant thing to say here.

    • jaemanpark1231, you’re writing a lot, but it boils down to: “Don’t criticize leaders in the church because a) no matter whether they repent or not their sin is forgiven anyway, b) since you are sinners you have no right to ciriticize any other sinner.”

      Both is completely wrong and unbiblical. We have explained it a thousand times and given all the Biblical references, why won’t you understand?

      You also wrote “UBF leaders who accepted Jesus as their Lord”. Are you sure? Someone who refuses to repent for obvious sins and refuses to follow the simplest commandments given by Jesus (e.g. not to lord over others as explained in Mt 23) even if they read the Bible every week does not look like someone who “accepted Jesus as his Lord”. Jesus said “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” If you systematically lord over and even abuse others, and refuse to repent, you’re surely not doing the will of God. “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” Don’t believe that UBF “leaders” are an exception and that they can do without repentance.

      The criticism and the focus on the dark side of UBF will disappear not sooner thatn the leadership has repented. As long as the “old yeast” is still there and leavening the whole batch of dough, people must either leave and shake the dust off their feet or talk about it, even if it’s a pain.

    • Mark Mederich

      unfortunately beautiful ideas don’t work so we must persevere in this discussion; it may not directly work, but it cries out to heaven for God’s help; He is slow to answer, being so kind to all us but he is a coming, coming on the clouds..

      humanly we only get a visit seemingly concerned but mainly checking if we really have intimate/damaging knowledge to an individual or the organization, if not (or as far as we say & they know) then they continue business as usual

      has common $ been used to help key members or their kids thru college, debt free? now that we have increasing debt (despite scholarships) for our own kids college i guess i have to obey the government by giving more of our income to college loans & less to donation (for if i don’t stay ‘solvent’ who will benefit then, who would solve it?)

      let’s face it reality, lived as rightly (not perfectly) as we can is what dictates necessity, not platitudes or wishful thinking; oh some say just believe, but just believing God often gets Jeremiah’s prophet-like reward (trouble on earth reward in heaven) which is ok; i think they mean they believed People, so yes they got people’s reward but it doesn’t last & is about to disappear..

    • @Jaeman: Thanks for your comment. While I agree with most here that your comments are very unsavory to me, I appreciate your forthrightness.

      You seem to make a big deal out of Paul’s statement that he was the greatest sinner. You imply that Paul held this view of himself, and we ought to as well, and so not speak against the sins of others. I cannot argue against viewing ourselves in humility and acknowledgement of our worthlessness apart from the merit of Christ. But note that Paul also said, “In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.” (Acts 24:16) He also said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.” (Acts 23:1) Paul did not only consider himself a great sinner, but he also struggled to live before God and man with a clear conscience. And how do you think Paul endeavored to live with a clear conscience? No doubt it did not involve just keeping quiet to himself as the greatest sinner, but it included speaking up when wrong-doings (his own or others) bothered his conscience, repenting when necessary, asking forgiveness to those he wronged, and proclaiming the truth with the aim of revealing falsehood and purifying the church. Are these not the very things that we on UBFriends are trying to do, fail as we may?

    • Joe Schafer

      Jaeman, thank you for commenting. A healthy and convicting exposition of Paul’s “I am the worst of sinners” statement can be found here:

    • “If we are not the judge, and only God can/will judge the sinners (1 Cor 4:4) how can we judge them saying they are wicked like religious leaders. Therefore, we should judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes.”

      Jaeman, I have three big issues with this statement.

      First, it is simply wrong. If you continue to read the Bible after the verse you quoted, you find Paul saying in the very next chapter: “Are you not to judge those inside [the church]? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked person from among you.'” So Paul clearly says that we should judge wicked people in the church – all people in the church, including and particularly wicked leaders. It is simply wrong to say that a Christian must never judge. Please read the book “Judging: When? Why? How?” by Derek Prince about proper judgment. By the way: Prince was also part of the “Shepherding Movement” but later repented.

      Second, you are applying a double standard. When it comes to UBF leaders, nobody may judge. But when it comes to ordinary UBF members and sheep, they are judged and assessed every week. The whole “business” of UBF is about judging young campus students as hopeless sinners who can only be saved by working for UBF, and when they do that they are still judged every week and get rebuke and traning if they are not found to fullfill the requirements. If you want to promote a lifestyle of “live and let live” not interferring into the lives of others then why are you in UBF? Generally, what do you think, who needs harsher judgement? Sheep or shepherds?

      Third, you suggest us to “wait till the Lord comes.” Do you know that when the Lord comes there is no chance any more to repent? Isn’t it heartless to let a brother continue to live in sin, and to let him contaminate the whole church with that kind of sin, only to stand as a righteous one next to the Lord when he will have the final judgement? Maybe even saying “I always knew it, now he receives his rightful punishment!” Do you want to be like that? Now is the time to repent, and now is the time to reveal sin in the church so that it can be corrected. If you see your brother sinning and do not rebuke him and help him repent, you’re doing him the worst disfavor you can do to him. You know the verse “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Have you ever looked up the passage in Leviticus? It says: “Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.” Loving your neighbor means rebuking him frankly if it is necessary.

      Jaeman, can you answer to any of my 3 objections? I feel that I must have written them a thousands times already as answer to posting such as yours, but so far I never, never, got a meaningful reply to my objections. Can you be the first who would really go a step further and not just repeat the same old lame fallacies again and again?

    • “UBF leaders who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior are not like religious leaders, who rejected Jesus. This is completely different people in terms of their spiritual positions in Christ.”

      If anybody who claims to know Jesus would be automatically so completely different from the Pharisees, then the Bible would hardly need to talk so much about the Pharisees. I think they are covered a lot because Christians, particularly Christian leaders should always take them as a warning and consider whether they may have become like them. I don’t believe the Pharisees were so evil people who were so different from us and religious leader nowadays, in UBF or in other churches.

      Also, talking about double standards, it brings up a buried memory. I remember how one of the Cologne senior shepherds was publicly (I say publicly because it was even proclaimed to us in Heidelberg through our chapter director) called a “modern-time Pharisee”. What was his “sin”? He had not able or willing to pick up somebody from the airport immediately after the director commanded him, because he was busy with other things. Through this we learned that refusing a request to a UBF director was tantamount with becoming a modern-time Pharisee. Obviously, for a “German shepherd” it was easily possible to become a Pharisee while Korean leaders are “completely different people in terms of their spiritual positions in Christ” who can never happen to be similar to a Pharisee, right? I’m sarcastic, but the point is that we ordinary members were always left in uncertainty about our spiritual position in Christ. One day we could be saved and forgiven sinners, the other day we could have become unspiritual because we did not obey, and had fallen out of grace. One day we could be a royal priest and the other day we could be a modern-time Pharisee. The director decided. That’s why I say UBF does not really teach assurance of salvation, because that assurance you be shaken any time if the leader was not please by you. And because we were all so fearful of the leader and believed he knows the will of God so much better than we do, and our self-assurance, self-confidence and self-esteem was systematically broken in the name of humbleness training and thus was practically non-existent, this was always a real threat for us.

    • David Bychkov

      Hi Chris!
      What happened in Cologne center was clearly wrong as well as many other cases when people in UBF were accused of being pharisees b/c they have not met organization requirements.
      And yes I also believe that Christians, including church leaders, including UBF leaders should be beware of some pharisees traits or even become pharisees (Mk. 8:15). But mainly I will agree with Jaemen on this if talking from exegesis perspective. I believe that according to the Bible the main trouble of pharisees and Judes was rejecting of their Messiah, the Son of God. This theme is a red line in John Gospel (John 5:40, John 10:26 etc.)

    • “the main trouble of pharisees and Judes was rejecting of their Messiah, the Son of God.”

      Right, David. But it is quite possible to talk much about Jesus and give a Biblical appearance but in reality still reject him. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” For instance, Jesus clearly taught that we are all brothers and nobody should fluff himself up as a special spiritual authority (Mt 23). If you reject that fundamental teaching and claim that you need to set up and follow a “spiritual order” of shepherds and directors instead, and if you tell people they need to follow the direction of these leaders instead of the direction of the Holy spirit and their conscience, if you’re rejecting his fundamental and simple teachings and commands, then you’re close to rejecting Jesus himself. Those who do this are very much like Pharisees. A lot of the characteristics of Pharisees as described in Mt 23 I can also see in the behavior of UBF leaders. So this comparison is really not so far-fetched.

  4. jaemanpark1231

    Personal Requests To who is in charge of this website.

    I would like to share my opinion as a believer about this website.

    I hope this Web site might be more productive, more graceful, and more sensitive to brothers/sisters in Christ including UBF.

    Although you guys are very intelligent, sincere to the truth, and some of comments are interesting, intelligence-stimulating,
    Although I fully understand why you guys are pointing out sin problems in UBF, [We know these by experiences, by Scripture, by 2000 years church history- so many wicked things had been done in the church in the name of God; UBF is a small part of wicked church history; it is sad but reality. But we are the part of wicked church history; we are the wicked people, not just church leaders but also ourselves], we should focus on Jesus rather than focusing on criticizing people in UBF because all the treasure of wisdom and knowledge, is hidden in Christ.

    Criticizing people in UBF or system in UBF is not building them up in love; it is destructive. It is not graceful but condemning. It is not sensitive to brothers in Christ, it is time-wasting.

    Personally, a lot of comments [not all, but a lot of them] in this web sites are so destructive that I feel like this place is full of darkness.

    We all know UBF is wicked, but they know that they are wicked: who else is not wicked? Nobody, no church. Nothing good will come out of focusing on wicked people. There is nothing to focus on with imperfect system in UBF.

    If you want to focus on wickedness,
    We should focus on our own wickedness, not their wickedness: so that we can know the grace of God more deeply; so that we know power of God more deeply; so that we can love God more deeply; so that we can fully trust God wholeheartedly.

    If we focus on people,
    We should focus on how much they need Christ; how much they need our prayer; our service, our love.
    We should focus on how much they need comfort from God: how much we should encourage them; how could we speak the truth in love in real life; not passing judgment because we should not put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of believers in Christ. (Rom 14:13)

    But I strongly believe we should more focus on God.
    We should more focus on God, the Father: the glory of God; majesty of God; Holiness of God.
    We should more focus on Jesus, God the Son; What Christ has done for us.
    We should more focus on Holy Spirit, God the Spirit: His gifts; Work of the Holy Spirit
    We should more focus on His kingdom and His righteousness.
    We should more focus on the truth in Scripture; inerrancy, sufficiency of the Scripture.

    Whoever is in charge of this website, should re-evaluate the content of this website; Test the spirits whether they are from God, (1Jn 4:1) Test them whether they are in the faith. (2 Cor 13:3)

    At this time, I cannot recommend this web site to any sincere believers as I know who are in UBF nor who are not in UBF.

    May God of grace be upon us and cover all our sins with the perfect blood of Jesus so that we just humble ourselves before you and fully surrender our live to you and embrace the multitude of sins in UBF and also carefully speak the truth in Agape Love for Your Glory.

    • jaemanpark1231, one more question of mine: what is your opinion about the site? And can you comment anything there as you have just done it here?


    • And one more )) : How would you make this site better and more Christian? What would you advice to ubf people and ex-ubf people? Where and how would they better express their thought and build a “dialogue” which is by now not “dia” yet?

    • Park Jaeman, most of us know what you are saying. In essense I agree with you, especially since I am presently participating and serving in UBF. It would seem rather counter productive to carry my views and not want to stop the negative commentary. But, these accounts have happened, still happen and most likely will continue to happen because of the system. I believe that a handful of top leaders boldly do what they do even though they know it’s wrong. But I believe that the majority of people in UBF high and low are victims of the heritage in place.

      I think a good renewal might come from a new benchmark for Biblical studies. Renew understandings of all the books (instead of dusting of the legacy).

      But, let me say softly before others say plainly. Almost everyone who contributes more than 50% has been on the inside of UBF and carried or still carries leadership responsibilities. Some have been agents of the very skillful sinful behaviours they talk about. Can you ever imagine why the illustrations are so graphic and brutal? It is because Joe, Ben, Chris, Brian, Joshua, Sharon, Abraham N., Vitaly, David B., etc…have all been engaged at leadership level to maintain the integrity of UBF.

      I also, have to maintain a certain dignity of UBF, but I will not lie to my Bible students. Even if I suffer rebuke from my senior I will not demand they sign away their life for the machine. Such a calling as in any Christian church (organization) must be personal.

      By personal, I mean that individual must have a personal conviction before God. They must have a personal relationship with God. They must believe in the word of God. They must understand what they believe and have a sincerity by their own measure in front of God alone. Let them stand naked before God, for they do not need to stand naked before me. I cannot impose my wish for recognition through any of them. Neither can anyone else who is serving a Bible student. No one should be subject to another in the name of faith. We should all be under Christ alone.

      Lastly, you want us to look at ourselves – we have done just that. The truth is we don’t really like these gross stories that you have been reading on UBFriends either. Let me tell you – These are our scars! They are our wounds! They are our cause for grieving and mourning! Inside the walls of most chapters you have to suffer silently and believe that what is happening to you has come as the result of some sin you committed. But, for anyone who realizes that they don’t need to stay in UBF – when someone plucks up the courage to quit – they are awoken from a nightmare that causes them to seek counsel for days or sometimes years.

      If you do not like UBFriends then please take a closer look at Bible students in UBF. Have a conversation with them about their impressions on ministry. I have one question Jaeman – where are you? In Korea or North America or somewhere else? Where?

    • Mark Mederich

      i agree we should not waste our time with people/systems that have no desire to change (we should just do differently with or without them, seeking Holy Spirit fruit), however i disagree about embracing multitude of religious sins;

      why do we have to be so sensitive to the insensitive? was Jesus so sensitive (turning over marketing tables in temple court or spewing Woes to out of control Pharisees who were using religion for self-benefit)?

      here is the plumb line: are religious leaders also preaching to themselves or just to us little followers; is the type of ‘faith’ they preach more in God & what He decides to do or more in man (themselves) & what they try to do? trust me, when leaders always win more than followers (& followers eventually get used up/leave/replaced by new wave of sincere seekers to get used in turn), then religion is being misused for the benefit of some

      when will enough inside stand up for God’s right & say no more, do right or answer to God; it’s a prophet’s job to advocate right, it’s each of us job to struggle to do right or deal with God in the long run;

      not to be psychological, but it is helpful: some church websites (& much of world) is like the ego gone wild, boasting about self; some church life for all of us (& much of world) is like id, seeking excess/needing restraint; some voices in church or world are like superego, prophetic effort for truth/justice/right-use-ness (although a little unrealistic at times)

    • Mark Mederich

      in or out, voices must seek change to the dying breath or we have extremely dishonored God, honoring mere men instead; when will men learn to stop playing Desert? noone stands in the place of Moses but Christ. (period)

      Moses system is long gone, surpassed/replaced by Christ; we have basic respect but not glory for others (glory is for God); religious leaders must obey Christ command to not lord it over others the way the Gentiles (human nature/world) do; there is no ‘special’ spiritual order from God (human invention for self-elevation benefit), there are leadership roles which deserve respect if carried out respectfully for helping others sincerely seek/follow God

      let me be perfectly clear: religious leadership must not be used ungodly way like world to advance personal goals for personal profit/benefit (or they undoubtedly must quake in boots waiting on the answer someday from the Mighty God)

    • Mark Mederich

      thank God for this website thru which my wife & i are closer than ever; the vibrant conversations about obvious issues (that we too have survived) has helped us draw closer & join other underdogs in the valiant battle for right;

      to love one another at a deeper level than ever before, for this we thank you, friends..

    • Mark Mederich

      is this really also written by you jaeman? (your writing style seems rapidly evolving)

  5. jaeman:

    “I hope this Web site might be more productive, more graceful, and more sensitive to brothers/sisters in Christ including UBF.”

    So you want us former members who were pushed out of ubf to shut up and go away, ignoring decades of our lives?

    “Criticizing people in UBF or system in UBF is not building them up in love; it is destructive. It is not graceful but condemning. It is not sensitive to brothers in Christ, it is time-wasting.”

    Is this what you would say to Jeremiah or Hosea or Ezekiel? When I read other people’s comments here, they combine into the voice of a prophet. Sometimes things must die and be destroyed in order for life to grow.

    “We should more focus on the truth in Scripture; inerrancy, sufficiency of the Scripture”

    Yea, right. Sure. No problem. What you prescribe is more spiritual abuse? The farther away from the bible and church I get the more wonderful, hopeful, amazing and joyful my life becomes. We need the bible. And we need church. But too much bible or too much church turns these good things into drugs that we abuse. Would you suggest an alcoholic who abused alcohol to go out drinking? No. So do not suggest more bible study to those who abused the bible like drugs. What is more most of us were also abused in some way by chapter directors. Your advice is like pouring salt on our wounds.

    “Whoever is in charge of this website, should re-evaluate the content of this website;”

    Ha! Who is charge? We just publish articles sent in and see what happens. No one is controlling this website. No one is manipulating the content here.

    jaeman, your insensitive words make me sick. I see several trick card in your words. Your trick of ignoring the facts of what we have been discussing; your trick of turning the tables on former members, your trick of pretending to be holy by suggesting we look at the bible more.

    The problem is not that former members are calling the good work in ubf as evil. We know there is good work in ubf. The problem is that ubf directors call the spiritual abuse they inflict as “the work of God’s annointed.” You say the same thing, jaeman, that the spiritual abuse inflicted by the chapter directors is just “normal sin” that we should just cover up and forget.

    Maybe we could discuss the difference between “covering up” (a Confucian/Buddist/Eastern idea) with “covering over” (a Christian, biblical idea). And maybe we could discuss Vitaly’s questions.

    • I suppose that one more trick maybe is that jaeman will (or maybe will not) answer four months later.

      I received an answer for my letter from the ubf GD 6-7 months later. I suppose he wouldn’t answer at all if the rest Russian members in our chapter didn’t say they were going to leave. That’s a normal Confucian trick: why would an older man with the position of GD answer a younger man with no position but a child of God?! These Confucian minded people do something only when there no other option for them and they have to.

    • Good point, Vitaly. Yes another card in the ubf director deck of deception is to wait months on end, in an attempt to outlast the problem. Their hope is that the crisis will just blow over and they can get back to controlling and directing their chapter members again. One high level ubf director told me his eyes opened when he submitted his decision to move to another city. The director above him waited 9 months to announce his decision, in hopes he would change his mind and stay. When he didn’t change his mind, the senior director made a sudden announcement that made this person look rebellious, like he just suddenly left. The reality was that he had given 9 months notice and had hoped people could prepare and move smoothly. Instead, everyone thought he was disobedient and a troublemaker.

      And of course it was the same with me. We give our decision to move to Detroit to our chapter director 6 months in advance. But then he claimed we suddenly left without notifying him, and therefore we needed 6 months of training.

    • Mark Mederich

      believers hold onto your seats: but yes the bible misused can be the worst idol ever & too much religion will certainly squeeze the life out of us until we need Holy Spirit resuscitation:)

      come Holy Spirit, thou art welcome & needed to revive our religion/churches/lives..

    • Mark Mederich

      silent disregard, now that’s a good idea, let’s fight fire with fire (fail to answer important questions/fail to deal with unpleasant issues for months on end hoping it will all work out in our favor)

  6. big bear

    JaemanPark1231…I read your response before God and in defense of UBF…it is how most UBF people think…the scripture content is very good…and I agree on mostly what you are saying but you left out one important ingredient…accountability..what do you say to the Catholic Church who abused children by their priests…the priests should still be in positions of leadership and should be honored despite what they have done…yes, we are all sinners but this does not justify the horrible things people do in the name of serving Christ…the church should take such people out of leadership as an example and for the protection of God’s people….the truth must be heard by UBF and things can be done with God’s help to protect the flock…UBF hides behind religion and the word of God…the purpose is to repent and to change for the sake of God’s people…this is healthy…speaking out is not pride at all…it is courageous..John the Baptist did it and so did Jesus and the prophets…

  7. Joe Schafer

    Jaeman, the editors of this site do not control the content. People who write here express their own views. Do you want us to remove comments that don’t seem to have the right spirit? To you want us to carefully monitor all the discussions and shape and mold them to some standard so that they will be more palatable to ubf leaders? I have no idea what you are actually suggesting.

    • David Bychkov

      Hi Joe. But I see the problem in the fact that the website has a commenting policy. Does not that mean some kind of censure? In my opinion lately the stuff here is often breaks it and in many cases harldy serves to declared purpose.

    • David Bychkov

      e.g. I hardly can see the desire to promote unity and dialog in the way Jaeman’s comments was met by Brian and others:
      “That is what I hear in your long comment. I can’t think of a more condescending, insulting, infuriating, unloving, insensitive, arrogant thing to say here. – See more at:

    • Joe Schafer

      Yes, David, we do have a commenting policy. I encourage everyone to read it and follow it. If you believe that some people who comment here violate the policy, then when they do, please let them know. That would be far more effective and constructive than editors deciding which comments are acceptable and which are not.

    • David, note that some ex members were much deeper and longer involved with UBF than you, they have lost mand years of their lifes through UBF and suffered from much abuse of their souls and their families and they are really, really annoyed when they read statements such as Jaeman’s. Brian expressed honestly how he felt when he read such comments, he did not offend Jaeman as person. Maybe his unvarnished description of his own feelings was offending to Jaeman, but Jaeman’s post is not less offending to ex members. A post can use nicer words, but the offense can be on the same scale or even worse. Personally, I cannot see how statements like those of Jaeman can promote unity and dialog either. But that’s only a personal opinion. I believe the sharper language of some commenters reflects the overall sentiment that we don’t want to be taken for fools any more and chewn trough the same lame and unbiblical exuses again and again which have been thoroughly refuted a thousand times already, without getting a response, just after some weeks the same old fallacies are repeated anew as if they had never been discussed.

    • David Bychkov

      Yes, Chris. For example I believe that Vitaly’s experience in UBF was much worse then my, I know that his chapter was the strictest in CIS, and surely it was just good enviroment for authoritarian and cultic and abusive practices, which I believe he experienced. I need to undestand him and to consider this background when I read his comments. But I believe that is his and others duty also. Can others has different and not that well-defined experience? I would witness that I have many good experience in my UBF chapter along with abuses of different-levels. Shouldn’t you guys consider it as well while commenting and meet others comments?

    • Mark Mederich

      @ Chris: Amen
      i think the issue is level/length of involvement; of course someone less affected feels words sound extreme, but someone more affected (self/family/friends) feels words are necessary to move or even shock us out of apathy/indifference
      (a slight heart problem needs meds, a serious one needs shock paddles or even corrective surgery)

    • Yes, David, I also believe that my ubf life was more extreme and longer than yours. I shared already that our director took your director as an example to follow. But I think that your director put at least some sense in the “trainings” and our director did complete nonsense. He didn’t know what he did.

      I remember the conference in Turkey when I was a group Bible study leader and said some positive words about PK. I was shocked when I saw how you and other Kiev brothers were sitting silent and sad in response. I thought I didn’t know something about the Kiev chapter situation. And yes I learnt about AS and many others leaving Kiev chapter only after I left myself. Maybe you also didn’t know and wasn’t in ubf at the time when PK often gave me and my family as an example to follow for Kiev shepherds. Believe me there were very many people in Kiev ubf who left before you came to ubf. (btw your Kharkiv ubf coworkers surely know this, you may ask them for JP was a good friend of mine, and still is, but there is possibly a “wall of hostility” between us now for he is still in and I am fully out). While I was still in ubf I showed some ubf pictures to ubf brothers and sisters and told them my ubf life story. But after watching the pictures they asked one simple question, “Where are those dozens of people we just saw at the pictures?!”. As you can understand they all had long before left ubf. And it is true that dozens and dozens of people had left our chapter long before I left. The same was in Kiev chapter. I suppose there were very many people you didn’t see for you came later. Probably you didn’ participate in the CIS conferences when 20+ Belorussian native shepherds participated and then they all left, you don’t have ubf friends from St Petersburg or from Volgograd but I had many and they all also left, etc.

      I agree with Chris and he expresses my (and I believe many others’) feeling about jaeman’s comments and the like very well.

    • @David: “I would witness that I have many good experience in my UBF chapter along with abuses of different-levels. Shouldn’t you guys consider it as well while commenting and meet others comments?”

      Don’t you think we consider this? Don’t you think any of us would have stayed in UBF so long if he wouldn’t have had some good experiences there? Even in the worst cults people make some good experiences. But really, what has this to do with Jaemans’ comment? His comment is offensive for me and frustrating and horrible and wrong and unbiblical on so many levels anyway. How can one not be upset when reading such a comment, after all that had happened and had been discussed? How can any good experience in UBF compensate what has been written here? I cannot express how much responses such as Jaeman’s frustrate me, and even your tolerance with them starts to frustrate me.

    • David Bychkov

      How can any good experience in UBF compensate what has been written here? – See more at:
      It can’t Chris. But would it compensate or justify if you or me or others will wrongly mistreat a UBFer? e. g. if you or others will accuse UBFer in being abuser, manipulator, dictator, hinder to work of God, anything but it would not be true? Would you or any other exubfer justified b/c of this extremely negative experience?

    • “But would it compensate or justify if you or me or others will wrongly mistreat a UBFer? e. g. if you or others will accuse UBFer in being abuser, manipulator, dictator, hinder to work of God, anything but it would not be true?”

      I don’t see where UBFers are sweepingly accused to be abusers or dictators. Neither Jaeman or anybody else who wrote here has been called such. I only see some concrete leaders, particularly SL were branded as abusive, usually by giving very concrete examples of their abusive or dictatorial behavior and manipulation, not by mere name-calling. The examples I have given from my chapter were examples that I experienced myself, so I am very sure that they are true. And the examples from SL have also been given by people who witnesses these things, and we have so many consistent witnesses that I believe they are true. What do you think might not be true? Who do you think has been called wrongly and without good reason been called abusive?

    • David Bychkov

      Thanks, Chris. One example is the expression which was used on this thread by Vitaly and were used before as well – God work’s inspite of UBF and UBF is hindrance to God work. I read it as any UBF missionary or shepherd has nothing to do with God’s work and is hindrance to it. I think you will forgive my English.
      The other example is words of Brian regarding James Kim that he visiting this site in order to make it less poisoness (so he is manipulating). The words of Brian to Jaemen which I quoted before.

  8. Jaemanpark, David, I think that each person writes/comments based on their personality disposition and life experiences.

    As much as some UBF loyalists find UBFriends unpalatable, discouraging, bashing, negative, stereotypical, even boring and predictable, I can likely find critical thinkers who will say the exact same thing about UBF sanctioned website: unpalatable, discouraging, bashing (those who do not conform to “UBF expectations”), negative, stereotypical, boring and predictable.

    So, yes, we need to love and forgive and be gracious to each other. We need to do our best to stand in the shoes of the other person in order to understand them better—which is always tough to do since I would much rather stand in my own shoes and judge others condescendingly, confrontationally and condemningly, and which I likely still communicate though that is not what I would like to do. I want to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). I want my communication to always be full of grace and seasoned with salt (Col 4:6). Yet I do it quite poorly and almost always invariably fail to do so.

    • big bear

      PLEASE FEEL FREE TO REMOVE ANY COMMENT I make in the name of policy but Our voices will be heard if not here somewhere because we speak in love and great concern for God flock….the truth will be proclaimed on the mountaintops

    • @big bear: none of your comments so far will be deleted. Your comments need to be heard. Would you submit an article? Could we use some of your private emails as articles? Up to now, we’ve only removed a couple comments the past 3 years, and the commenters were discussed with privately first. We hesitated to even remove those. One comment was spiraling into detailed, personal discussions about people who don’t comment here. The other comment was becoming severly disruptive to the site (i.e. requesting us to remove all of the person’s comments).

      @David: The policies are are just that: policies. They are not laws. This is primarily a self-governed site. If anyone has problems with the nature of someone’s comments, call them out in whatever way you are comfortable with.

  9. @gc, Chris, Vitaly, MarkM and everyone, I echo your concerns and questions to jaeman.

    Just tagging this so hopefully jaeman will see it and reply before another 4 to 6 months pass by…

    If ubfers don’t like the bitter response to their comments, then perhaps ubfers shouldn’t do drive-by bombs, expecting us to just suddenly agree with their dictator-style monologue.

    Chris makes some very, very good points that someone in ubf should consider. Maybe jaeman, you could read Chris’ 3 objections and respond?

    “Jaeman, can you answer to any of my 3 objections? I feel that I must have written them a thousands times already as answer to posting such as yours, but so far I never, never, got a meaningful reply to my objections. Can you be the first who would really go a step further and not just repeat the same old lame fallacies again and again?”

    @MarkM: I’m so glad to hear this! “thank God for this website thru which my wife & i are closer than ever; the vibrant conversations about obvious issues (that we too have survived) has helped us draw closer & join other underdogs in the valiant battle for right”

  10. David Bychkov

    Hi Joe, Brian and others!
    Thanks for your answers.
    Here what I read:
    “Anyone who visits this site is welcome to post comments, but we reserve the right to remove material that does not conform to the following guidelines.” – See more at:
    Is it true or not? Does not that mean that there should be “we”-party, which is doing this? Does not people who come to this site can expect to meet the atittude which is described in commenting policy, site purpose and site name (ubfriends)? In my opinion such things could be misleading and they hardly reflect the general atmosphere of the website (may be including my own comments).
    Sure in the inititial stage the site perfectly corresponded to those descriptions and purposes, and what we have now is a result of the process which most of us, discussions here have gone through, may be b/c of UBF leaders policitics and reactions . So I believe that UBF leaders and their atittude toward this website and people here (including myself) have a great amount of responsibility for what is going on now. But I think it does not mean that people who run this website and who comments here are not responsible for it as well.
    I think I also undestand why you guys tell nobody should control it and you don’t want to be in control, so the community shall move wherever it shall move. But can’t it have the elements of irresoponsobility? The moderation is stated in the policies of the website, it is doing on most of websites and it is pretty healthy provided it is done according to clear standarts. Isn’t it healthy to have some standarts according to which community exists? Even if not moderation, I think we still need to consider the atmospere of the site and how it serves to declared purposes. Or we should change them. It would be much honestly to say – this site is the place where former members can reveal dark sides of UBF. Don’t you guys think it is now more close to what is really going here? I just do not know how to be with the domain :)
    And anyways I have daubts that this statement – no one is in charge is true. The truth moslikely is that some people like Brian are dominating here, posting tons of comments without even considering if they can offend someone. And other people, who can not be so bold or so verbose or so “free” just can not do anything about it.
    You know guys I’m really frustraited with how James was treated, how Jaemen is treared now, and there were other examples. Can’t people which come here expect to be treated with kindness and respect? I know UBF people who are pretty open minded but they could not stand the atmosphere of the website. It is really frustraiting to me.
    Well, if back to Jaemen comment, don’t you think some his statements can be true? – “Personally, a lot of comments [not all, but a lot of them] in this web sites are so destructive that I feel like this place is full of darkness. – See more at:” Don’t you guys think it can be true, and you or me just can not see it as well as UBF directors can not see their faults? We can be so get used to our way of thinking that we ourself just can not see other perspectives. I think it can be very true. Personally I believe that my first duty is to correct my own ways before God and to be responsible for the community I’m involved in. And if, let’s say UBFriends is the community I’m involved more close then UBF then UBFriends should first subject of my concernes, and UBF second. Even if UBF use manipulative tactics to shut down this website or something it does not take our responsibility off.
    For now I will share Jaemen’s santiment that this website is pretty destructive. And what really-really troubles me is your reactions to Jaemen’s words. It sounds for me like – everything here is ok, we are ok, and you are manipulative UBFer who wants to defend UBF. I don’t ask anyone to stop critisize UBF. But such reaction for me is pretty selfrighteous and just not wise. We need to consider our ways.

    • Thanks David for your honest feelings. That’s something I long for.

      How do you think we could have responded better to jaeman or James Kim? Besides removing comments, how can make this blog a more responsible site? What do you see is being destroyed here on this blog?

    • Mark Mederich

      with due respect to all humanity the main thing hurt is pride, especially religious pride; but isn’t that the problem to begin with? & make no mistake about it, what people love most is to feel sorry/no uncomfortable change ever happens (i speak from experience of self first not self-righteous comment);

      & in-fighting among selves is exactly what opposition wants (although they too experience same thing, if they notice); i just want to go on record saying regardless of imperfections of speech (of course people vent to help & feel better) yet silence is worse for it perpetuates evil & bottles up damage

      Jesus spoke woes, true prophets spoke warnings, of course people prefer pleasantries (until reality came & made them get real); it’s like we can be unhappy now or unhappier later

    • David, I suppose that if you read jaeman’s comments carefully you’ll see that the comments are much worse than others’ according to the site’s policy. They just contain more “kind” and “holy” words. The comments don’t contain anything but directions to “us”. It reminds me Brian’s words that ubf directors are not able to talk and discuss they are able to direct only. As you see now there are no more comments by jaeman and it is because he (??) fulfilled his (??) purposes of directing others and dissappeared. I and many others asked him questions and there is no answer. Do you know who he is? Are you sure he is a friend of ubf? I wouldn’t try so hard to defend him but let him say at least something himself.

      And to me what you write and how you write seems not so nice. If you have some disagreement on some points then please express it. I personally liked the way Brian expressed his opinion about jaeman’s comments. I believe it is one of the best and real and true comment here. (But I don’t like his opinion about lgbt people and have expressed it already and am going to express more)) And I like many comments here. I echo his comment and can’t understand what you don’t like about it. If you think that you understand jaeman better than others maybe you’ll feel comfortable to give some answers in his place. But would it be healthy? (maybe let’s wait for another 4 months period until jaeman possibly give an answer)

      About good ubfers who might probably feel not so comfortable to come to this site. I believe I understand what you mean. I myself didn’t come to any sites which were somewhat “negative” about ubf. But now being outside of the ubf “ever positive” system I can say that “good ubfers” are just not ready and haven’t tried yet to look at the reality and hear anything “negative” about the organization they are in. They don’t want to be responsible for the many “bad” facts which happened in ubf for they feel they didn’t do such bad things they didn’t participate in others doing bad things. But they have to be responsible for the fact they are in the organization (which btw hasn’t given any sign of repentance but have tried to delete some things from wikipedia article and to stop some “negative” sites). And I believe that this site is still the most positive and friendly toward ubf and welcomes ubf people who make first steps to independant thinking and making decisions on their own.

      I personally often don’t agree on many points with Ben but I like and respect him for giving answers when there are questions and for participating in discussions. Again James Kim has done a great thing: he came here and contibuted some nice quotes but jaeman’s comments have nothing to do with discussing, expressing opinions, etc. He made some teaching and directing. It is clearly against this site policy “Be humble, and don’t preach. No matter how right you think you are, you may still be wrong”. – See more at:

    • Sibboleth

      Personally, I think the most destructive thing said in this thread was: “Criticizing people in UBF or system in UBF is not building them up in love; it is destructive. It is not graceful but condemning. It is not sensitive to brothers in Christ, it is time-wasting.” Sounds nice, but so destructive. This has been one of the usual push-backs by UBF against critics, reformers and victims, and it’s been discussed before.

      That being said, there is necessary contentiousness and unnecessary contentiousness. Taunting, calling people out, name dropping; I’d say these are unnecessarily contentious. I remember in older forums and discussions that there would be one or two people who would post things like, “Where’s Brain (sic) Karcher today?” or “Why won’t Brain (sic) answer a simple question?”, and they’d do this every other day. And I’d roll my eyes every time. I want fallacious ideas to be challenged and even attacked, but if it starts to sound like taunting, I want to turn it off.

    • David, I agree the spirit of the guidelines has not been followed in many of our comments, and it would be good for everyone to take the time to re-read them.

      Concerning your first question: The “we” party are obviously the creators and maintainers of this site. The statement “we reserve the right to remove material that does not conform to the following guidelines” does not mean that the maintainers will remove any comment that does not seem conform, but that they only reserve the right to do so in extreme cases. But the general guideline is to censor as little as possible. The spirit of the policy unfortunately cannot be enforced by the maintainers, but must be kept by all of those who are writing here.

      As I have explained, identifying what is a “offensive” comment is difficult, because what is offensive to one is not offensive to the other and vice versa, and there are various grades of offensiveness. So drawing the line is difficult, and messages can only be removed in very obvious or extreme cases.

      The problem here is that we have a “split” community: Those critical of UBF and those who defend UBF. Personally I believe it’s impossible to defend UBF in an open discussion, and that is the real reason why we see so few people trying to defend UBF, or resorting to throwing “drive-by-bombs” as Brian called such comments, repeating the same fallacies, without really responding to the objections of UBF critics and entering a serious dialog. It’s not because they are not “so bold or so verbose or so free” as Brian. UBF shepherds can be very bold and very verbose and freely rebuke when dealing with their sheep. But they like to be bold only behind the closed doors of UBF and not in the open. I don’t think it is true that they are in a different position than Brian on this forum. That would be the case if they were censored, but Brian would be not censored. But I don’t see this is happening.

      David, I understand a little bit why you are frustrated about the tone of some reactions towards James and Jaeman. But I hope that you understand that I am frustrated so much more about what James and Jaeman wrote in the first place – so much that it is difficult for me to understand your frustration about how they have been treated.

      I want to know whether we are on the same side here. How do you think about the opinion in Jaeman’s comment? And how do you think about James’ engagement here, who refused to openly and clearly condemn the evil actions by Samuel Lee including the forced abortions, claiming that one can have “different opinions” in that matter? Such statements make me feel much more to be in “place full of darkness” than any comment with harsh words. Don’t you think so? Hasn’t darkness and light much more to do with how right and just an opinion is, not with how polite, diplomatic and kind it is articulated? Is the chapter Mt 23 a “place of darkness” just because Jesus used terms like “you hypocrites” or “you brood of vipers”? Or is 1Cor 5 a place of darkness because Paul spoke about dark things in the church and asked to judge and expel the evildoers?

    • Sibboleth, I completely agree with you. The problem is that on this forum, everything that needed to be said has been said. But here was no serious and appropriate response from the side of UBF leaders or members. So now, everything repeats. Those who are angry about UBF become more angry and express their angriness, because they still don’t get a serious and appropriate response. The overall tone on the websites becomes more aggressive and repugnant because of that, so much that some already start to be frustrated, and UBFers don’t want to visit this site any more. The doves and hawks among UBF critics start to tear lumps out of each other, and UBF leaders are looking from far with delight in the hope that the site will soon be shut down and thus they can see the problem as solved.

    • David Bychkov

      Thanks guys.
      The first of my concern is that the title, declared purpose and the policy in my opinion are misleading. The name of UBF organization is misleading – as it is hardly connected to Universities. but the name of the website is misleading as well. As UBF didn’t care about this dissonance, we guys seems also to not be much caring. Is it ok or no?
      If it is not ok what shall be done? I see several options:
      1) to rethink statements and policies
      2) to re-read our comments and try to hold policies (as Chris suggested)
      3) to evaluate if this site serves any meaningful purpose – and if not – shut down it. It also can be a good solution. As UBF is hardly University bible fellowship, the UBFriends – is hardly friends of UBF. Should it exist? What for? (look options 1-2)

    • David Bychkov

      the second my concern regarding the Jaemen comment is this. The comment had some messages:
      “Personally, a lot of comments [not all, but a lot of them] in this web sites are so destructive that I feel like this place is full of darkness. – See more at:
      “Whoever is in charge of this website, should re-evaluate the content of this website; Test the spirits whether they are from God, (1Jn 4:1) Test them whether they are in the faith. (2 Cor 13:3) – See more at:
      “I hope this Web site might be more productive, more graceful, and more sensitive to brothers/sisters in Christ including UBF. – See more at:
      “If you think you are better than UBF leaders simply because you are keeping the law of Christ a little better than them, simply because you are not doing what UBF leaders have been doing, I think you are badly mistaken. – See more at:
      How you guys answered him (and then me)? Few quotes.
      ” I have no idea what you are actually suggesting.”
      “So you want us former members who were pushed out of ubf to shut up and go away, ignoring decades of our lives? – See more at:
      ” I see several trick card in your words. Your trick of ignoring the facts of what we have been discussing; your trick of turning the tables on former members, – See more at:
      ” what is your opinion about the site? And can you comment anything there as you have just done it here? – See more at:
      “you are applying a double standard. When it comes to UBF leaders, nobody may judge. But when it comes to ordinary UBF members and sheep, they are judged and assessed every week. – See more at:

      Well. Why are you guys sure that Jaemen purpose is to defend UBF and make you stop your critics? Can it be true? may be, but how do you guys know? Why should we necessarily turn everything toward UBF? Isn’t it looks like how I was approached in UBF when came to my director with questions or concerns and was judjed by my hidden motives, and was immidiately attacked back? Don’t you guys thinki you can so get used to your rebuking position, so you just are not looking at yourself any longer? (Mathew 7:3)
      I agree that what Jaemen suggested should be answered. But I also think we still need to listen to him, as 1) we can not be sure about his motives 2) he suddenly can appear to be right at least and some points 3) we should always re-evaluate our ways before God. And I don’t think it is much metter who speaking to us.

    • “UBFriends – is hardly friends of UBF”

      I don’t think so. Why would Ben be a member of UBF if he was not a friend of UBF? I believe a friend is somebody who really cares about another one. This can include harsh rebuke. Those who only talk sweet if you are on the wrong track are usually not your best friends. Also, we can discern very well between UBF “the system” and UBF “the people”. I believe the term “UBFriends” refers to the people, not the UBF system.

      What do you think about the Internet group “Friends of NorthKorea” ( Do you think these people are really friends of the North Korean people because they praise the Korean leadership? Aren’t they rather enemies because they support their dictator and suppressor?

    • David Bychkov

      Yes Chris. I mostly agree with you on this point. Sure Ben is friend of people UBF and may be you too. But
      1) in this case I believe friendly and gracious and kind atittude should be shown to UBFers who can be shown up on this site. And yet it can be done without damage to the truth.
      2) I think if even so it is still misleading. Imagine me as an student evangelist who have purpose to win converts. Therefore I would open website or club which will be called – for friends of student, or student youth club or anything. And students will came – and there is me with my evangelism. Would it be right way to share the gospel? I’m not sure. And I am not sure if the right way to show UBFers the truth using site which called “UBFriends”, have so nice purpose and policy but yet full with stuff rebuking UBF. Even if you or others friends of UBF have no this intention it still can be misleading.

    • “And I am not sure if the right way to show UBFers the truth using site which called UBFriends”

      David, in such questions I always consult the “golden rule” – one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. Personally, I wished somebody had shown me a website like UBFriends while I was still in UBF. So for me, the issue is clear. And often I try to write in my comments as if I would be writing to my “former self” in UBF.

      Another thing – you wrote that we cannot be sure about the motivation of Jaeman. Do you really think we responded to him because we insinuated a certain motivation that we do not like? I for my part resorted to the essence of the content that he wrote. That essence was: 1) UBF leaders are wicked, but they are Christians anyway, so everything is forgiven, 2) We are even more wicked than they are, so we should shut up, or wait until we are sin-free before speaking up (which of course can never happen). Isn’t this the gist of what he was saying? If not, please correct me or let Jaeman correct himself.

      As a side node, even if it would be true that we are more wicked persons than Samuel Lee, there would be still a huge difference between him and most of us. We do not exert authority over the lives of people and we do not claim to be the servant of God who needs to be obeyed. He would be right if we focused on some private sins of Samuel Lee, like secret adultery. But that’s not true. Jaeman quoted 1 Tim 5:19 “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprovei before everyone, so that the others may take warning.” Haven’t we done exactly that? And haven’t we brought so many more witnesses than two or three? How many witnesses do we need then so that our accusations are taken seriously? Haven’t so many talked in tongues of man and angels behind closed doors for so long? Haven’t there been so many friendly discussions?

    • David Bychkov

      Thanks again, Chris.
      1) regarding UBFriends I still can not agree with your argument. Yes, I would not see the problem if there would be some site with public discussions like which are going here, and UBFers would be invited there to read about the problems, suggestions etc. But I have problem with site called UBFriends – for friends of UBF and nice purposes – which in reality full of stuff which a UBFer can hardly expect on such website. As long as UBFriends maintained it policy it was all ok, but I don’t think it so now. I remember even you once came here said that it should be a site primarily for members. But from now there is less and less UBFers, and atmosphere here and may be UBF politics are hardly supporting them to join website. So for me the discussions which are going here lately are pretty illegal exactly b/c of this inconsistency with site name, purpose and all appearence.
      2) I would agree with your conclusions about Jaemen’s statement – that we don’t must critisize or rebuke UBF leaders. I think it’s ok to express critics toward UBF or it’s leaders or practices or even members. But a) even if Jaemen is wrong on this it does not mean he or even his comment should be not listened but called arrogant and unloving, I see no evidence for it. I even see not evidence that he clearly suggest all of us just shut up b) his comments is not only about our critics toward UBF but it itself contains the critics toward UBFriends and commentators here. In reactions I see your and others attacking him back and defend your right to critic UBF. While no one seems to listen to his critics toward this site and contributors here.

    • David, I have read again what Jaeman has written. He repeatedly claimed that we “condemn” UBF leaders. The problem is that the words “condemn” and “judge” can have different meanings. I think nobody condemns anyone as person or even wants to anticipate the final judgment which is done by God alone. But we certainly condemn certain deeds and patterns of behavior. I think we talked about that important difference already. When Jaeman repeatedly writes we should not condemn leaders what does he really mean, then?

      “I even see not evidence that he clearly suggest all of us just shut up”

      Indeed, Jaeman wrote “Of course, it does not mean that we should not point out their sin problems; of course we should do it.” But then he added “But it should be done in more biblical ways than condemning them in writing.” So if we cannot write about it, it means we should up. Also, some sentences later he contradicts himself and claims that it false to even point out the wickedness: “… we might be worse than them; And I believe we are. … If we are worse than them, how can we point out their wickedness?” His logic leaves no other conclusion than to stop pointing out wickedness.

      In a similar way he wrote “Therefore, we should judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes.” If we need to wait until the Lord comes that means we cannot comdemn the abuse right now, or can we?

      You wonder why “no one seems to listen to his critics toward this site and contributors here.” Maybe someone would have listened if he wouldn’t have coupled his critics with his other unacceptable statements concerning the unjudgeability of UBF leaders. Maybe someone will still start to listen if we see him engage in a dialog and respond to our objections.

  11. And, David, one more thing I’d like to share. I am sure that there are people in ubf who haven’t experienced the “bad” ubf things and have experienced the “good” ones. But what should they do when they come to know about the “bad” really very sinful ubf things which they have never experienced but others experienced?

    In Kiev when I read about AS and his leaving I saw that AS learnt about really bad facts from ubf history and raised the issues. Then he could see the issues in his chapter (authoritarian leadership, fear of all members, etc). But the main cause he left ubf was he didn’t want to stay in the organisation where others experienced leaders’ obvious sins and abuse and the leaders hadn’t and didn’t want to repent.

    What I want to say is that surely you could experience good things in ubf but what do you think about the facts of ubf history? Would it be OK for you to be in the organisation where others no you experienced many bad things? Is it a responsible position before God? What do you think about Donna A.? What do you think about Rebecca Kim? What do you think about big bear and his family? What do you think about Chris and AS? I would advise you to carefully look through ALL the “negative” testimonies in the internet about ubf. I am sure you will see that the truth is there, hidden and turned upside down by ubf leaders.

    Is it important to hear others’ experience for making your own decision and position?

    • David Bychkov

      “I would advise you to carefully look through ALL the “negative” testimonies in the internet about ubf. I am sure you will see that the truth is there, hidden and turned upside down by ubf leaders. – See more at:
      I have done it already, starting from 2008. I am very much aware of everything what is public. I know the really dark reality of UBF history and I think I’m pretty honest with myself about my own UBF experince. And nothing of this still convincing me that UBF is not Christ church and if so it should not be viewed as a Christ church (or at least local churches). Yes UBF and it leaders should be called to account (and probably even to the point confronting with condemnation), yes they refuse to answer and that is their sin. More then this, I would agree with your point in the article regarding the college students – which are easy to manipulate – and UBF can bring damage to their lives. I would agree. In the same time I believe that most of UBFers (at least which I know) are sincere Christians who should be treated as Christians, with love, respect and credit of trust. I believe they can bring many good to their students as well. My atittude toward UBF is well summarized by Jonathan Edwards. I hope you will forgive me for a quote:
      “It is a hard thing to be a hearty zealous friend of what has been good and glorious, in the late extraordinary appearances, and to rejoice much in it; and at the same time to see the evil and pernicious tendency of what has been bad, and earnestly to oppose that. But yet, I am humbly but fully persuaded, we shall never be in the way of truth, nor go on in a way acceptable to God, and tending to the advancement of Christ’s kingdom till we do so. There is indeed something very mysterious in it, that so
      much good, and so much bad, should be mixed together in the church of God; as it is a mysterious thing, and what has puzzled and amazed many a good Christian, that there should be that which is so divine and precious,as the saving grace of God, and the new and divine nature dwelling in the same heart, with so much corruption, hypocrisy, and iniquity, in a particular saint. Yet neither of these is more mysterious than real. And
      neither of them is a new or rare thing. It is no new thing, that much false religion should prevail, at a time of great reviving of true religion,and that at such a time multitudes of
      hypocrites should spring up among true saints. “

    • David, I agree that there are sincere Christians in ubf. And my question is, “Why are they there?” and “What should/must they do when they know the dark side of ubf the suffering of OTHERS?”

      Look at the report in “telling it to the church”. It is full of quotes by ubf members! And I agree with most of them. If sincere Christians have power to “expel the wicked”, to change the things then let them do it. If they have no such power then I think they should make a decision and leave.

      Should we speak kindly to the sincere Christians who are still in ubf? Sure! But how should we speak to the obvious sinners in leadership and to the “I don’t know what is right” leaders, to the kind of leaders Jesus condemned in Lk20? Honestly, warning them about Jesus’ condemnation.

  12. David, I also want to ask you as a seminary student, “What do you think about John MacArthur’s lecture on Condemnation not Conversation?

    You mentioned somewhere that ubf teaches righteousness by faith. You are right. But have you received a rebuke in ubf? If yes then what was the cause of the rebuke? You didn’t have faith and so didn’t have righteousness before God? In our chapter we received daily rebukes and most of them them were because of the “small number” of Bible students. Also of course nobody dared even to think about missing a single (daily) ubf meeting. The demands and the rebukes in ubf are all about deeds and works, not faith. And that’s why there were always fear, guilt and doubt even though you worked very hard. All these things interfere in your relationship with God. In ubf you become not “self-forgetful” but “righteousness-forgetful”. The theory in ubf is nice, but practice is all about works. We discussed it many times between our “former ubf members”. It is the reality: all had fear and guilt in ubf. Where is that righteousness by faith you mentioned? Only in theory of ubf. And it took time for people to get free from the fear and guilt after leaving ubf. (How dare you not to write sogam?! How many times have you “fished” this week?! Are you reading the Bible enough? Are you fulfilling your mission from God? I must this…I must that…)

    The gospel of Jesus is absolutely different from what there is in ubf. The gospel is all about God’s work, not human work.

    I started to watch JM’s lectures thanks to a brother in my church. And this week I listened to a QA session where JM said something like, “And in a couple of years our ministry doubled. We did absolutely nothing for that. It was all God’s work”. He spoke about the time he finished a seminary and became a young pastor. He didn’t even pray about numbers, he prayed to be a faithful Bible teacher. And now there are about 20 pastors training centers of the Grace to You church only in Russia, not to mention this church impact in other countries. And what about ubf’s hard work to double the ministry before 2010? This is the difference between God’s work and human efforts. This is the difference between God’s gospel and the gospel ubf has.

    • David Bychkov

      Yes I have received many rebukes in UBF, including those you mentioned. Some of rebukes were reasonable I believe. E. g. I was rebuked for dictator-like leadership. But mostly it was sure hardly connected to the righteous by faith. Those rebukes made me sad and confused and frustrated and feeling unnecessary guilt. And yes I was comforted by faith in Christ and his blood. When I realised that those rebukes was wrong I’d stand up against them.
      I believe that in UBF leadership can be people who don’t know Christ, and I believe there could be many who have very much amount of religios mess in their heads. And yet I believe that many have hold to more or less biblical teaching reagardin justification by faith. And If God do it, if God gave them this faith – we should respect his work.

    • And If God do it, if God gave them this faith – we should respect his work. – See more at:

      Exactly! And I respect these sincere Christians and would gladly say that they are my precious brothers and sisters in Christ. I respect God’s work in these Christians. And I am sure that ubf as a system and ubf leaders are hindrances to the work of God. God works in the hearts of people in ubf inspite of ubf. And it is better not to mix God’s work and ubf. Again in a talk with JM he asked someone, “Why did you come to this church?” The answer was, “Because in this church the word of God is honoured, love relationship is practiced…..”. ANd I liked JM said, “Saying about why you came to this church you didn’t mention my name. It is very important for me!”. For this pastor it is very important that he wouldn’t be mentioned.

      So I respect God and God’s work in me and in others. And I sincerely respect those people whom God wants me to respect in Christ and who deserve respect. I respect those true servants of Christ who humbly serve the Lord and don’t want to be mentioned. But I am not going to respect those who sin and don’t want to repent and say to everyone around, “You must approach me with due respect”. There are many such people in ubf who deserve condemnation and because of them the sincere Christians are suffering.

    • David Bychkov

      And I am sure that ubf as a system and ubf leaders are hindrances to the work of God. God works in the hearts of people in ubf inspite of ubf. And it is better not to mix God’s work and ubf. – See more at:
      I think it’s too simple way to deal with reality. The problem is God’s ways are not our ways and God has not asked us to give him advices whom and how to use. Your experience in UBF can be pretty common but can be not that common as well. And if so, someone can testify the work of God in his life through and not inspite of UBF. Vitaly, I think you need to consider it as well as I need to consider that for some people, like you UBF could be just a hindrance.

    • Mark Mederich

      this is like Rocky Balboa, ‘GETTING STRONG NOW’; the same things that used to crush us now only astronomically increase our determination & experimentation with more fruitful Spirit-filled ways day by day: HALLELUJAH!

      those who choose to cling to inferior fallen ways, BYE BYE, we’re rising to Holy Spirit heights..

  13. My perhaps overly simplistic theological perspective on UBF based on my 33 years in UBF is this:

    * UBF believes in justification by faith in Christ alone and by grace alone and by Scripture alone, which is good, and which has resulted in many true conversions to Christ.

    * The problem is what comes next. UBF believes in sanctification by works in the form of “UBF discipleship training”—which has resulted in countless damaging spiritual abuses, many of which are well documented publicly. Such abuses has been going on for 50 years and still ongoing in varying degrees in so many UBF chapters throughout the world.

    • Mark Mederich

      let’s face it justification is the easy part, Jesus did it all, we just believe it;
      sanctification by works is not really a belief, it is someone’s tool to their own end..

      so let the Holy Spirit rule who can sanctify us gradually thru faith alone, & have fun while we do it:)

  14. @Vitaly, perhaps I am somewhat sympathetic and empathetic toward the “abusive UBF leaders,” because to whatever degree I was like them. I believe I was a Christian then, even though I was known as a “one two punch” shepherd. One sheep said that studying the Bible with me was like being beaten on the head with a baseball bat.

    As much as those who are abused by abusive UBF shepherds need God’s mercy, likewise the abusive UBF shepherds also equally need God’s mercy. The abusive shepherds who victimized their “innocent sheep” were likely themselves victimized in some way which we may not be aware of.

    But yes, the abusive UBF leaders absolutely need to be called out. Personally I would not use the word condemnation. I would personally prefer the less judgmental word accountability: Until the day it happens, I will not be silent.

    • Mark Mederich

      here’s an idea: rather than specific individuals being focused on (which may only invite resistance while spurring on their egos all the more) there can be general standards that all well-meaning believers would agree on, then everyone can see one another in light of that & gradually those who stand out too far from the good norm will lose support & drift away into obsolescence (or change out of necessity to keep support)

      i’ve never understood why tyrants rule as long as they do when the masses far outnumber them: fear is all it is, right? but when too much has been endured too long, guess what, boldness builds & the mass rush the enclave (oh yeah some are wounded, even killed, but their blood only encourages the crowd who easily overwhelm the few & establish new rule..

  15. @David. My opinion is that if not for this site (which was Joe’s great initiative), some UBF leaders will simply remain very very comfortable in their untouchable power hierarchy with themselves at the top. But now, perhaps because of UBFriends, I believe they know that they cannot simply “wield their abusive authority” like they once did.

  16. Ben, btw, I wanted to ask you, “What do you think about your chapter? Is it a church? Does it give and provide the members what a local church should and must give? Are you personally sure as the leader that your chapter is the place God want the members be in while on the earth?”

    And I want to ask the same question to Joe. And, Joe you mentioned that you have some friends among pastors in your city. What is their opinion about your chapter as a local church, about ubf as a whole? Would they recommend a ubf chapter as a local church to someone? Or would they rather recommend ubf members to attend a local church (if they think a ubf chapter is not quite a “church” in its true meaning)?

  17. Hey all, good conversation. I’m happy that many people are free to share honestly.

    One fact that makes this blog messy is that somehow many kinds of people have felt moved to join in the conversation. We have…

    -ubf ex-members (wide array of woundedness; processing their new life outside of ubf)

    -ubf redeemed (members who see problems and want to do something the bring about healing and reconciliation)

    -ubf loyalists (a few members who try to defend ubf heritage, SLee, or just dictate some message)

    -ubf double-agents (one or two who will be “mr. ubf” when talking to a ubf member, but will agree with most things ex-members say about the darkside)

    -anonymous people (people of unkown affiliations to ubf who feel compelled to share or sometimes are re-shared by Ben :)

    -silent readers (hundreds or thousands of silent readers from around the world who never comment)

    So no one person should expect an always safe place here that they like. It’s all mixed up, which itself is a work of the Spirit I believe.

    • David Bychkov

      Yes, Brian. I also enjoyed the discussion. It took me almost all day though. When I start commenting I can hardly think about anything else.

  18. @Vitaly, Perhaps my answer to your question may be best answered by what I wrote a few years ago about the purpose of West Loop UBF:

    • Do you have such basic things as baptism and communion? In my chapter we didn’t have them until once it happened in 2012.

  19. David Bychkov

    Brian, my last comment came to spam somehow. Can you please make something with it?

  20. David, I personally respect your opinion and suggestions. If you find something in jaeman’s comments worthy of listenining then please listen. It should always be this way: if someone wants to listen to another who can hinder him from listening?! I tried to listen to some of JM sermons, I liked them and felt that I want to listen to him more. After reading jaeman’s comment I felt his immaturity and pride so I personally am not in favor of listening to him

    As a whole I can’t see any necessity to change anything in ubfriends. I see that this site is still friendly toward ubf and has been this way from the beginning. It still unites many different people who know ubf this way or another. It contains so many useful references and articles and discussions. I wouldn’t like if someone would suddenly “shut down” this site. And I wonder if it is only you who have some concerns and a desire to shut the site down. Why?! If your concerns are about jaeman’s comments and others’ responses then you did well to share your concerns. And if you feel necessary to answer jaeman’s questions then please answer them.

    And it seems to me that the options are similar with ubf: to stay or not to stay. If I feel that ubfriends is a site that my conscience doesn’t allow me to participate I would quit. The opposite is true with me and I often recommend (ex)ubf people to come to this site. Also I personally find some very good information here which have nothing to do with ubf (e.g. Joe’s article on Acts helped me to understand the passage deeper from another side and prepare a sermon; another article helped me to know Francis Chan who is really worthy listening to, etc)

    I personally feel very comfortable here and consider many authors and commenters my friends and hopefully I am accepted as a friend by some people here. I believe we understand each other. WE TALK. And that’s so beautiful. As many shared this talk is repetetive, and I suppose that once I’ll stop commenting here (maybe soon) but still I would pray that this site as a precious treasury may have a long life. I believe that even if ubf be one day shut down there should be place where (ex)ubf people would talk. You know, army is not the best place on the earth but some people become life-long friends in the army. I would say, “If not for ubf we wouldn’t meet each other”

  21. @Vitaly, Yes, WE TALK. Trinity is a community. A true community communicates authentically. As many have already expressed, UBF does not really allow HOT dialogue, but only dialogue that is “approved.” This kills genuine dialogue, which incidentally is why UBFriends will continue to flourish.

  22. @Vitaly, in Dec 2012 we had 10 baptisms of our 2nd gen teenagers at West Loop, who were all baptized by their fathers. We also do have communion perhaps about once every 1-2 months, but not weekly.

    Because we no longer “push the UBF agenda or prayer topics” (since I concluded that the gospel is more important than UBF), some UBF loyalists no longer regard West Loop as UBF.

  23. @David, I basically agree with your comments and objections. So yes, I agree that:

    * UBFriends is quite messy.
    * we critique and criticize UBF more than we commend good things about UBF.
    * our responses and comments may come across as being defensive, angry, reactive, emotional, and thus do not clearly communicate love, respect, compassion, understanding, etc.
    * we “drive away” UBFers by our strong “negative critical” comments even though we are so-called UB”friends.”
    * we may make sweeping generalizations that clearly do not apply to everyone in UBF.
    * we violate the UBFriends commenting policies.
    * etc, etc.

    Probably, you can add to my bullet points above. So, yes, UBFriends is not perfect (which probably every church or Christian ministry says when they feel inadequate).

    If you have clear concrete suggestions and proposals as to how we may change, improve and make progress, I am sure that many of us would like to do so.

    My hope is that someday, by God’s mercy and grace, exUBFers who have basically been blamed, blasted and blown away for leaving UBF, may one day sit at the same table with UBFers, who many today do not want to have anything to do with those who left UBF.

  24. Just a note to anyone wanting to shut this blog down. I am fairly certain, the Lord willing, that this blog will not be shut down any time soon :) Anyone wanting to shut down this website will need to use legal means, which I am prepared for. I would welcome a lawsuit though because it would provide an avenue to take our concerns to a national level.

  25. @Brian, someone should write an article: Why Does UBF Lose Loyal Jesus Loving Christians?

    Among those who comment, these are their approximate years of ABSOLUTE UNQUESTIONING LOYALTY TO UBF before leaving UBF:

    * BigBear (US) – 29 years.
    * Brian (US) – 24 years.
    * Vitaly (CIS) – 17 years.
    * Chris (Germany) – 10 years.
    * Joshua (Canada) – 10 years.
    * AbNial (India) ~ 10 years.

    • Well that’s because we are all hell-bound, ungrateful, unthankful, bitter, wounded sinners who expected too much from our shepherds :)

      I don’t recall the total years, but Toledo ubf lost well over 300 years of faithful committed Christian service in a span of about 6 to 9 months a couple years ago. In spite of the cultic, Confucian, narcissistic nature of our ubf chapter, we endured and served as if we were serving the Lord. Finally the disconnect from reality proved too much for us to bear.

    • Oh an all your numbers should be doubled, Ben, because we need to account for our wives who were, at least in my case, more loyal and faithful :) And also add in our children.

  26. Our motivation behind our reactions is important to consider. Most may consider me to be just hateful or unloving by my demands. But I believe love is far more demanding than law. Law is the easy way out. Regardless of how people view me or how many people talk around me and ignore me, I want to live like that…

    This blog post is stunningly true:

    Eric Klein – 18 reasons Love is more demanding than Law

    Law is following the policy and procedure manual. Love is leading according to values and purpose..

    Law is waiting to get it right before speaking up, showing your stuff, taking action. Love is moving forward before you’re sure.

    Law says, “This far and no further.” Love propels you into un-mapped territory.

    Love demands that you pursue what’s calling you. Law tells you to check with an expert.

    Love pours it on. Law says, “This much and no more.”

    Love says, “Get your hands dirty.” Law is sanitary.

    Love demands that you stay in the game – even when you’re bleeding.

    Law lets you off the hook.

    Love says, “Now.” Law checks the schedule.

    Love says “No” to what confines you. Law says “No” to what does not protect you.

    Love throws you into the deep end of the pool and then says, “Go deeper.” Law gives you a job description.

    Love demands your own voice. Law repeats what others have written.

    Love turns towards your own and others pain. Law passes judgement.

    Love pours your heart into your work. Law asks what the contract requires.

    Love loses track of time. Law punches the time card.

    Love sweats. Law is temperature controlled.

    Love acts before it’s safe. Law gets insurance.

    Love shows up – even when there’s no audience. Law cancels two weeks before opening night.

    Love calls for your soul. Law reviews your resume.

    Love is much more demanding than Law.

  27. Mark Mederich

    Brian, i respect your push for truth/right & your concern for others; i also have concern not just for myself but others which is why i get pointed in my remarks sometimes & feel disliked by some in religion or the world; but to be honest i really don’t care anymore as long, as i seek Christ & advocate for good as best i can, wherever i’m at/whatever i’m in or out of

    maybe someday there’ll be what God intended:
    one body believers/one head Christ:)