UBF Doctrine – Ideological Slogans

m1Just to re-cap, next up on my systematic review is point 8 of the 12 point ubf heritage. This “house church” point begins a new section, which I call “behavioral slogans”. So before moving on, I feel the need to pause and briefly review where we are at.

The first part of the heritage is what I call the  “mindset section” or the “ideology section”. The first 7 points are concepts and ideas, describing the ubf idea of orthodoxy. The last 5 points however, describe specific actions and behaviors, and make up the ubf idea of orthopraxy. While the first section had many vague thoughts and often was open to individual interpretation as to what the slogans meant, we will find that the second section is more clearly defined. This second section really gets into the heart of the ubf lifestyle, and there is little doubt as to what these last 5 points mean.

Section I – Ideological slogans
the ubf mindset
1. Back to the Bible
2. World mission
3. Campus evangelism
4. Manger ministry
5. A spirit of giving
6. Spiritual order
7. Lay missionaries

Section II – Behavioral slogans
the ubf lifestyle
8. House churches
9. One to one Bible study
10. Disciple-making ministry
11. Daily Bread
12. Testimony writing & sharing

What does the mind of a UBF shepherd Look Like?

Before getting into point 8, I’d like to look back on an image of the first 7 points. The pictures I chose for the articles were specifically chosen to represent each slogan. If we make a collage of those pictures, we get an accurate visualization of the ubf mindeset. Click the image to see a larger sized image. These images permeate the mind of every ubf person. Understanding this snapshot is crucial when interacting with ubf people.















  1. The ideological mindset reminds me of a quote I once heard from D.A. Carson: “You are not what you think you are, but what you think…you are.”

    • Good quote, Ben.

      When the ubf leaders came up with the new 50th anniversary mission statement and pledge, it was so clear what they are thinking. By the way, if anyone doesn’t like the 8 point or 12 point heritage, maybe the 15 point anniversary statement is more palatable… :/

      [This is the copy that was published, bible verse typo and all, and no mention of Jesus at all.]

      UBF Mission Statement for the Next 50 Years

      2 Timothy 3:16-17

      “All scriptures is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

      1) At this ‘UBF shepherd and missionary seminar’ at our 50th anniversary, we shared the ‘spirit, ministry and vision’- the spiritual heritage that God has handed down to us.

      2) This spirit is: ‘The spirit of discipleship,’ ‘the spirit of world mission and self-support’, ‘the spirit of community,’ life –giving spirit,’ ‘manger spirit-to live a sacrificial and simple life,’ and ‘pioneering and independent spirit.’

      3) Our ministry is : ‘discipleship and house church ministry,’ ‘one-to-one Bible study,’ ‘daily bread,’ ‘testimony writing’, ‘raising and sending professional, self-supporting missionaries,’ ‘social responsibility in action,’ and ‘prayer for the ends of earth: North Korea and beyond.’

      4) We confirmed that this spirit and ministry came out of the Bible

      5) The key point of this spiritual heritage is ‘who we are and what we do.’

      6) This is our identity.

      7) We thought about how this heritage contributed to our community, to churches in Korea and throughout around the world, and to universities and societies.

      8) At the same time, we also shared our future direction.

      9) We give our thanks, praise and glory to god who has accomplished his amazing work in campuses in Korea and around the world for the last 50 years.

      10) Nevertheless, we repent that we have not lived up to this beautiful spiritual heritage well, and developed it well.

      11) We have a historical mission to keep this spiritual heritage well and pass it on to our descendants.

      12) Therefore, looking forward to the next 50 years, we pledge as follows;

      1. We pledge to devote ourselves to live up to the spirit, ministry and vision that God has passed down to us, and to develop it further

      2. We pledge to dedicate ourselves to the ministry in our native country and to the task of sending out 100,000 missionaries to 233 nations, including 140 unreached nations, by 2041.

      3. We pledge to give a good influence to the society and churches in our native country and around the world by being salt and light in each of our respective mission fields.

    • The first time I read the anniversary pledge, Jesus’ words in John 5:39-40 immediately came to mind:

      “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

      That was a good description of my mindset while in ubf. And it is an apt passage of Scripture to summarize the 50th Anniversary blue book.

    • Just fyi, for ubf members who probably don’t know this. The new mission statement guiding ubf can only be found on the Korean websites. The link on the main ubf.org site was taken down.

      ubf 50 year mission statement

    • Yes, UBF likes to hide what they really teach. You also can’t find the Sunday sermons delivered by Samuel Lee any more on the website. Even before, they were password-protected. What kind of church is it that needs to password-protect its own sermons?

    • I attended the seminar. When everyone was made to stand up and make an oath and swear by that declaration, I almost threw up. The whole time I was there, I wasn’t quite sure if the speakers were serious or if there was a translation issue that made the words so egregious. It was no translation issue. I’m ashamed that I contributed to the whole spectacle by sharing a UBF-agrandizing testimony.

    • @Joshua,

      I was not there (as per my resignation just before the event). But I did receive a CD with the videos from the event, as well as the published book that went with it. Oh and one of those calendars that will bless you if you hang it on your wall :)

      I just finished reading the Lausanne Capetown Commitment. Although there are two place where I believe the bible adds clarification and more completeness to their statements, I accept this document as a compelling Christian statement.

      I readily notice a HUGE difference from the 50th Anniversary material (note: SB’s lecture is a notable exception and I think her thoughts are more in line with Christ-likeness than the other lectures).

      When I read the Capetown Commitment, I come away with these words: love Jesus, love the world, love our neighbor, love people of other faiths, love our children, love families; honor Jesus, honor the word of God. honor our fellow humans; care for and respect the earth as God’s creation; work together as a worldwide body of Christ-followers; contextualize the gospel using available means in today’s culture; work toward equality.

      I get none of those words from the ubf 50th statement, nor from the 12 point heritage. As I think eveyone case see by now, the ubf heritage and mission statements are steeped in Confucian thought and are severely lacking the big Christian values of love, justice, unity and most notably for me, submission to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

      Now Confucian thought has much to offer the world. I would love to learn about Confucious, but without binding his thoughts to the bible. And by no means will I stand by idly while ubf presents and pushes their Christianized Confucianism as the gospel of Jesus.

      I find these quotes from the Capetown Commitment to speak directly to the ubf context, and help me to recover:

      “First, training leaders to be godly and Christlike is the wrong way round. Biblically, only those whose lives already display basic qualities of mature discipleship should be appointed to leadership in the first place.[80] If, today, we are faced with many people in leadership who have scarcely been discipled, then there is no option but to include such basic discipling in their leadership development. Arguably the scale of un-Christlike and worldly leadership in the global Church today is glaring evidence of generations of reductionist evangelism, neglected discipling and shallow growth. The answer to leadership failure is not just more leadership training but better discipleship training. Leaders must first be disciples of Christ himself.

      Second, some leadership training programmes focus on packaged knowledge, techniques and skills to the neglect of godly character. By contrast, authentic Christian leaders must be like Christ in having a servant heart, humility, integrity, purity, lack of greed, prayerfulness, dependence on God’s Spirit, and a deep love for people. Furthermore, some leadership training programmes lack specific training in the one key skill that Paul includes in his list of qualifications – ability to teach God’s Word to God’s people. Yet Bible teaching is the paramount means of disciple-making and the most serious deficiency in contemporary Church leaders.”

      “Children and young people are the Church of today, not merely of tomorrow. Young people have great potential as active agents in God’s mission. They represent an enormous under-used pool of influencers with sensitivity to the voice of God and a willingness to respond to him. We rejoice in the excellent ministries that serve among and with children, and long for such work to be multiplied since the need is so great. As we see in the Bible, God can and does use children and young people – their prayers, their insights, their words, their initiatives – in changing hearts. They represent ‘new energy’ to transform the world. Let us listen and not stifle their childlike spirituality with our adult rationalistic approaches.”

      “We call on all church and mission leaders to resist the temptation to be less than totally truthful in presenting our work. We are dishonest when we exaggerate our reports with unsubstantiated statistics, or twist the truth for the sake of gain. We pray for a cleansing wave of honesty and the end of such distortion, manipulation and exaggeration. We call on all who fund spiritual work not to make unrealistic demands for measurable and visible results, beyond the need for proper accountability. Let us strive for a culture of full integrity and transparency. We will choose to walk in the light and truth of God, for the Lord tests the heart and is pleased with integrity.”

    • Mark Mederich

      seems like the universal church is in disarray but surely the Holy Spirit is working more & more to overcome our human lack

  2. So taking into account the bad and ugly nature of how this ubf mindset was taught to me, I made up a second picture. The collage above shows you how my mind first understood the ubf ideology (first 7 points of the heritage). It looks so nice and wonderful, right?

    Here is a snapshot of how my mindset looked after 24 years of living and breathing the ubf ideology. My mind became dark and my soul became empty.

    The wonderful bible became a binding chain.
    The mission for the world became a black burden.
    The beautiful campus became a dark lonely place.
    The humble manger caught on fire and choked me.
    The spirit of giving bled me dry.
    The self-support/layman ministry made me crawl like a zombie.
    The spiritual order ruled my life like a massive demon of authority.

    I put the picture on my own blog, in the link above, in case the picture collage was too gruesome for ubfriends…

    • Mark Mederich

      “The humble manger caught on fire and choked me. The spirit of giving bled me dry.” i hear ya bro! i guess simple mangers are flammable by definition:)
      old songs make me happy: “drove my chevy to the levee but the levee was dry..”

  3. The zombie picture in your collage reminds me of the Brad Pitt movie, World War Z, which I saw with Christy last week. She liked the movie, but not the zombies. I told her that I decided to regard the zombies as “kinda cute” since I know that they are not real, but only Hollywood CGI and make up.

  4. @Brian: “We call on all church and mission leaders to resist the temptation to be less than totally truthful in presenting our work. We are dishonest when we exaggerate our reports with unsubstantiated statistics, or twist the truth for the sake of gain. We pray for a cleansing wave of honesty and the end of such distortion, manipulation and exaggeration.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/07/27/ubf-doctrine-ideological-slogans/#comment-9509

    Your quote from the Capetown Commitment is virtually the point of my sermon last Sun when I preached on “The Dishonest Church – Sardis” (Rev 3:1-6): “…the problem is not just that the church was dead, but that they gave the false impression that they were alive even though they were dead–which is dishonest. Her dishonesty stemmed from a lack of any honest self-evaluation. It gives a false dishonest impression of being alive, but are in actuality dead, like the zombies in World War Z.” – http://westloop-church.org/index.php/messages/new-testament/38-revelation-messages/323-the-dishonest-church-sardis-rev-3-1-6

    • I am so glad you see this Ben. I am immensely edified by this fact.

      You wrote: “they gave the false impression that they were alive even though they were dead–which is dishonest.”

      THAT is exactly the gist of what all of us former members have been saying for 50 years. We don’t want ubf to change or become perfect. We just want honesty, for the love of Pete! We want reality.

      And you are correct, zombies aren’t real. That is why I chose the zombie movie picture. My life in ubf startd out fine, for the first 2 or 3 years. Then my life became a movie, disconnected more and more from reality. I even dismissed my own parents :(