Praise God Who Blessed the 2013 ISBC!

CMI ISBC cropped 2“Praise God who blessed the 2013 International Summer Bible Conference August 1st thru 4th…”

Thus beginneth the first sentence of the official report from the 2013 International Summer Bible Conference.

Except for one tiny detail. Between the year “2013” and the word “International,” I omitted three letters.

The letters are C, M and I.

They stand for Campus Mission International.

Campus Mission International is the present name of the group that split off from UBF in 2001. This is the dreaded “R-group.” The people who were said to be bitter, angry and godless, the ones who were motivated by pride and selfish ambition, who were hellbent on discrediting and destroying the beautiful things that God had done in UBF. As a UBF insider, I was told that everyone in the R-group was “absolutely wrong,” that I should avoid them at all costs and ignore everything that they had to say. I dutifully obeyed, and as a result, I never got to hear what happened from their perspective.

At the CMI website, you will find the conference program, a brief report and some videos from their ISBC which was held at exactly the same time as the one held by UBF.

Looking over that material, I see two major differences between the CMI and UBF conferences.

First, the CMI conference was much smaller. It had 277 attendees from 16 countries, making it about one tenth the size of UBF’s.

Second, the key lectures at the CMI conference were delivered by speakers from outside the organization. Rather than having messages that restated and recycled the group’s internal perspectives, they brought in fresh input and expertise from the outside. (A wise choice, in my opinion.) The presentations by the invited speakers were considered to be the main course on the conference menu, rather than a snack or dessert.

But in other respects, I see little substantive difference between the UBF and CMI events. Even the layout and content of the conference program looks so similar to any UBF conference that I cannot tell it is not a UBF document.

CMI began as a reaction against authoritarian practices by UBF’s leaders. Although I don’t know for sure, I would guess that the organization is run more transparently than UBF, with a less top-down and more collaborative style. It’s a good bet that many of the abuses that present and former UBF members have experienced, the kinds of things that have been discussed on this website, are not being practiced in CMI.

But when those abuses take place in UBF, they happen behind the scenes. They are hidden from view, and are certainly not put on display at UBF conferences.

Here’s an interesting thought-experiment for readers who attended the recent UBF conference at Indiana, Pennsylvania. Suppose that, in the middle of the conference, you were suddenly lifted from your seat and transported to Zion, Illinois and dropped into the CMI conference. Suppose that you didn’t notice how many people were present, but only paid attention to the words and behaviors on stage and reactions of people in the audience. How could you tell that you were no longer at a UBF event?

And if you couldn’t tell that you were no longer at a UBF event, what does it suggest about the split that occurred in UBF twelve years ago?

P.S. – A few months ago, we reached out to Paul Laska, the current President of CMI, and invited him to write an article for UBFriends and/or participate in this discussion to share his perspectives on what happened twelve years ago. He said that he might have time to do so after the ISBC. Paul, we’d love to hear from you, and we’d love to hear from anyone else in CMI who wishes to chime in.


  1. Mark Mederich

    amazingly similar except focus on Christ as head:)

    • Joe Schafer


    • Mark Mederich

      i also like the Christ Alone topic:)

      past ‘religious’ experiences make me cautious in general, however sure looks worth a closer look..

    • Joe Schafer

      What I mean is: the theme of UBF’s conference (So Loved, So Love) could be understood as: you’ve received so much love from Jesus and from God’s servants, now it’s time to give back by loving others, especially through evangelism and missions. The focus on Jesus himself is less explicit than in CMI’s theme.

  2. If there is no difference about the balance 90/10 of Koreans/non-Koreans then I would suppose that there is at best a very “tiny” difference between doing “the world mission” in ubf and cmi.

    Still it is nice to hear that some bad ubf practicies are left behind in cmi. The best news I see in the article is that Paul Laska is the president. Hopefully he is not a “puppet” ubf-kind leader who just obeys his Korean rabbis.

    I saw and experienced personally that when you leave ubf, ubf directors challenge you, “Instead of critisizing ubf do your own thing your own way better than we do, and we will see who is better”(according to the number of your “church” members). They don’t want to hear anything because their “methods work”. I like the way Brian put it when he wrote about ubf shepherds’ following the heritage too well. ubf directors have this in their minds always, “See, they left and they can’t show us anything better than ubf, we are right and we will stand faithful and loyal to the heritage! It came from God!”. That’s why even at the ISBC there was something about an Ukrainian shepherd running and shouting in training. The old good methods work even today in our “post-modern” time in ubf! Why changing?! Why repenting?! All those who “ran away” just missed the train of the number one Bible student movement in the world! “Those losers are like Barnaba who left Paul and God blessed Paul and did the world mission through him!”

    The ubf directors’ challenge is satanic because it tempts people to follow wrong motives and to try to show someone unrepentant that you can reach some “number” of followers and prove right. It is better to listen to Jesus the Lord and follow him in life and serve others in love. At the same time I believe that God blesses right motives and truly saves many people through sincere Christians. God “shows up” in many non-ubf events and churches. (Thanks, Joe, for your link to the Tractor movie of Francis Chan in the “0.3%” article. Since that first time I heard Francis I regularly listen to his sermons and admire his walk with the Lord and his Bible study. Let him and such(or better the Holy Spirit working in freedom) be an example for ubf directors to show them they are “worse” and much worse. After his sermons to read a ubf report from the same locations where Korean missionaries say they are living in a spiritual desert with no sheep for more than 20 years and no Christians anywhere around in California (all those megachurches don’t count) and pass the directorship from father-Korean to the son-Korean for there is no native leader there.)

    And I remember someone wanted to contact the former ubfer who is working at a center helping former cult-members (don’t remember his name). What about him? Any news? ANd looking forward for Paul Laska’s article.

    • Joe Schafer

      Vitaly, the name of the person you mentioned is John Wick. Don’t know if Brian has successfully contacted him yet.

    • Vitaly, Joe: I contaced John Wick via the contact form on his website, but never got any kind of response. I actually considered enrolling in his program; it sounds rather good.

    • Joe Schafer

      Yes, it does sound good, but the cost seems prohibitive.

    • Mark Mederich

      religious challenge sounds kindof oxymoronic (like Jesus sending the 12 on a competition to see who could win more souls faster to get an award or top post in his coming kingdom..james & john & mother tried that one but didn’t really pan out:)

    • btw one of the recent words by a ubf missionary, “Our chapter is completely destroyed and all this because of one man’s doubtful negative thinking”. I am sure there was competition thinking in them even when people were leaving: who wins (we, ubf directors, or this bad guy). Some missionaries even came to my home and yelled at me and told me that my only wish was to make all our chapter leave and then to say to the director, “See! I won, you lost!”. They couldn’t imagine that I didn’t participate in their competition and that it was God who led people out of ubf. Even those who left at first thought that I wanted to be a new director for them. Later they made a decision to stop any ubf activity for 3 days and pray about what to do. And then they gathered and EVERYONE of them was sure God was leading them out of ubf. Jesus won, ubf lost but the “missionaries” are still not able to understand. (btw the young missionary who came to me and yelled at me the most later told a police officer that she has never met me and that she doesn’t know anyone with the name Vitaly. Also she said she has never heard about an organisation called “ubf”))

    • Vitaly, this is horrible “Some missionaries even came to my home and yelled at me…”

      If there are any brave missionaries out there, perhaps they would like to try that here in Detroit.

      At some point someone just has to realize there are parts of ubf (many parts in my opinion) that are just out of control. No one believes us though because they see the glorious performance and don’t take action.

      Slow change should continue, but swift justice is needed badly. Yeah it’s one of those Eminem nights…..

    • Brian, I saw that she did it out of despair. I was very glad she did that. It was kind of sincere. And I told her I didn’t do what she thought I did. I respect her and love her as my sister. But the officer happened to ask her and after saying to me at my home “I have always considered you my brother” she told the officer at her home, “I have never met him”. The missionaries live in constant fear themselves. May God help them understand that God doesn’t want them to live that way, God doesn’t want them to be “missionaries for many Russians” and “bury their bones in the mission field”. I heard that they found some Koreans in our city and now gather with them. That’s better. And looking at the picture of the cmi conference I’d feel better if cmi and ubf say that they are Korean organizations who are going to serve Koreans worldwide (of course having repent of the ubf abusive methods of “serving”).

  3. Thanks for sharing this Joe. I always wondered what happened to CMI. I hope some of them may comment here. I would love to hear their input on the articles here.

    Good questions:

    “How could you tell that you were no longer at a UBF event?”

    You would just need to look and listen. Do people call each other by “shepherd”? Do you see 90% Koreans? Do the people serving look sad and exhasperated? Do the messengers all say “I have the mooost beauutiful wife in the world”? Are there lectures that all say “do world mission”?

    “And if you couldn’t tell that you were no longer at a UBF event, what does it suggest about the split that occurred in UBF twelve years ago?”

    If you couldn’t tell the difference, it might mean it is possible to make the ubf-style programs work in spite of their builtin contradictions. It might mean CMI is just a clone of UBF with no real difference. It might mean you aren’t looking hard enough or at the right things that make up the difference. I think we need more information to make any conclusion on these things though. We would need to know what the CMI folks did with the heritage and ideology? Maybe they just kept the framework and not the ideology behind it?

    If you couldn’t tell the difference between CMI and UBF, it does tell us at least one concrete thing. We would know for certain that the CMI folks were not burdened or upset by the ubf program istelf, but were burdened by something else. What was it? What did they change if CMI looks like UBF? I’d like to hear from CMI people what the difference is. I suspect it all has to do with authority and control, but maybe not.

    • Mark Mederich

      hopefully (if so, maybe good was kept & bad was replaced by Holy Spirit working freely among?)

  4. would love to see young people from CMI and young people from the Well get together to host a conference together. That would be interesting on multiple levels

  5. I attended the first CMI conference in Germany in 2001 or 2002 (at that time still called “Reform UBF”). Both conferences happened at the same location, only one week later, and were about the same size.

    We had several workshops and seminaries. Most workshops covered issues which were neglected in UBF, like spirituality, Holy spirit, family life etc. I lead a workshop about the history and problems of the shepherding/discipling movement. Unfortunately, only the usual suspects attended, not those who should really learn about these things. They wanted to have something new without really understanding what was wrong with the old style, and preferred to attend the “spiritualy” seminaries instead.

    Overall the atmosphere was very free and happy, like chains had fallen of from people. The 2nd gens contributed with great musical and other performances. But there were also some things that worried me, like the fact that there were no more workshops processing the UBF past and the problems of UBF heritage. Also, I was often addressed as “shepherd” even though most understood that the usage of such titles should stop. Paul Laska preached one of the main messages. The text was from Ez 37, the key verse was “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life.” It was clear that UBF heritage was the dry bones in this parable, and the hope was that God would bring new life to CMI/UBF, but as usual in UBF, everything was said only between the lines. So some didn’t even understand that simple parable – I remember how one of the “prayer servants” who prayed after the message obviously understood the dry bones to mean the students on the campus, and not UBF/CMI itself. Peter Chang from Columbus was there and gave a lecture on Bible interpretation, which was good. James and Rebecca Kim from Houston (former Toledo) were also there. Rebecca was introduced on the stage as “this is the coworker of James Kim”. I remember how Rebecca protested and clarified that she was the “wife, not the coworker” of James Kim. That was one of my highlights ;-) There was also a lecture on the meaning of “fruit” in the Bible, given by a guest speaker. He clarified what fruit really means, namely love etc. and not how many shepherds you have raised. At the end of the lecture, one senior missionary asked “but fruit could also mean sheep, right?” It was obvious how difficult it was for them to get rid of the old paradigms. As usual, they also collected money as offering. But then a discussion arose how that money should be used. For the first time, this was discussed openly. I was also amazed how much money was acutally collected at such occasions. I had never thought about that before. In UBF conferences, we were never told how much money was collected and for which purposes it was used.

    In my understanding CMI is pretty much the same as UBF, but without most of the pressure and authoritarianism. That’s also the explanation why CMI is smaller. As I claimed earlier, UBF mostly works via fear and pressure. If you remove fear and pressure, most people will leave. If CMI had really reformed themselves, processed the past, and clearly repented of their former authoritarianism, they would be much more attractive and probably much larger today.

    Anyway, CMI is still there after 12 years. And as far as I know, even ESF which originated from the 1st UBF reform movement in 1976, is still there after 37 years. In 2001, our chapter director told us “Wait 3 years and see if Reform UBF is still there. I predict that they will not be there any more, and this will show that they were not from God.” Apart from this being a completely flawed argumentation, he was obviously wrong. CMI is still there. But I never heared that a UBFer considered this as a proof that they should rethink their stance towards reform. Similarly, SL claimed in 2001 that only God was able to correct him and He would punish him if he did anything wrong. One year later he died through a fire in his house. If you follow SL’s reasoning (I don’t do that!), who often preached that bad luck, bad health and accidents were a result of disobeying God, and only God was allowed to punish and correct him, he was obviously punished by God. Still nobody in UBF took this as a warning that something was flawed in their view of SL and reform.

    • When recalling the events, I remembered that there were actually two big Reform UBF summer conferences, probably 2000 in Eringerfeld (where both UBF and reform UBF had there summer conferences on two consecutive weekends, which was very awkward) and 2001 in Güntersberge, when the reform UBF was not yet officially expulsed from UBF and there was still hope that a reform would be possible. Some of the things I mentioned probably happened in Güntersberge, not in Eringerfeld. Just to be historically accurate.

  6. Mark Mederich

    “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” so guess none of us can be corrected by anyone but God:)

    • Mark Mederich

      thank God that Jesus wasn’t steeped in the religious circles & hierarchies of his time; though totally dishonored & rejected by men, he showed God’s better way to those able to notice

    • Mark Mederich

      @David, thanks, humorous truth makes me feel better:)
      didn’t know there were different goose (girl) & gander (boy) sauces (the former lists sweet ingredient, the latter salty ingredient)
      anyway, may we all be blessed by God to be supported by Christ such that our mistakes are opportunities to admit our insufficiency by looking more to Him/leaning more on Him; that’s the real religious issue of the ages, isn’t it?
      man makes religion to seek God but then wants to become a god, lording it over others ‘the way the Gentiles do’; funny how Jesus simplest words seem to be the hardest for the most religious to follow:)

  7. James Kim

    CMI conference this year was hosted by a good friend of mine, Mark Hong. At present he is a pastor of campus and community church in Madison, Wisconsin. He studied at Trinity and was ordained by the Baptist Church. When he was a director (UBF) of Madison, he discipled both Paul Laska and Mark Moran who was one of the main speakers at ISBC this year. When his shepherd in Korea joined CMI, he was also persuaded to join with him. He had no ill feeling of UBF.

    Like Ben, he recently celebrated his 32 years of wedding anniversary. As I understand, most of the main members of CMI are now full or part time pastors of different denominations. The common ground between CMI and UBF is very similar, focusing on campus mission and world mission.

    • Mark Mederich

      funny how hidden/shunned movements eventually sound like one with the original movement, somehow measuring up to the standards of the elite

      what really matters is that honor-seeking destroys individual psyches (purposely making dependent on praise/money/benefits), damages families by being distracted with fantasized ‘greatness’ pursuits, & corrodes community by competitive oneupmanship;

      oh Lord save us/set us free from all the evils of man, for You Alone are Worthy
      Amen. Hallelujah!

    • “The common ground between CMI and UBF is very similar, focusing on campus mission and world mission.”

      James Kim, can you please then explain me why these people have been expelled from UBF?

    • Joe Schafer

      James, you wrote, “He had no ill feeling of UBF.” It would be good to hear if this is so from his perspective. What effect do you think this split had on two young American disciples who, through no fault of their own, suddenly had to choose between UBF and the R-group and found themselves on opposite sides?

      The fact that CMI and UBF are so similar reinforces how unnecessary the split was. It was not about the organization’s doctrine or mission. It was about political power and authority: whether SL could do as he wished and extract absolute obedience from everyone under him.

    • Joe Schafer

      After parents divorce, it’s common for them to claim that they are still friends, and that the divorce did little or no damage to them or their children. It’s a pleasant story that may help them to feel better for a while. But it isn’t true.

    • Mark Mederich

      to religious politics, there is no end
      (overly self-esteemed ‘gods’ will always think they don’t need to repent; after all power leads to $, which ‘makes the world go around’)

      hey, now there’s the answer, reduce the flow of $ in, & the power wanes, & their felt need to repent increases; i knew there was some lesson in the reversing of the flow of the chicago river:)
      let’s put it another way, i’m a plumber’s son so i know that a basement bathroom usually needs pit/pump to send the sewage ‘hi’ (high) enough to gravity flow out of the building: but i also studied psychology so i know that when people elevate themselves above us, dropping their ‘waste’ on us, all we have to do is pump it back up on top of their own heads to share the effect before it flows out of the building where it belongs; the gig is up, HALLELUJAH!
      that’s a time tested method of the ages: when people can no longer take oppressive government (recent ‘springs’) or runaway religion (Luther,etc),
      just find a way to boomerang oppression upon the oppressors:))))))))))))
      they may learn real fast who not to ‘dump’ their waste on..they may even be forced to de-elevate themselves to avoid retroactive ‘soiling’ of their own heads; oh the joys of reality..
      maybe i should write a book: ‘the psychology of plumbing’, or ‘the plumbing of psychology’:)

    • Is the Mark Hong who is part of CMI now the same Mark Hong mentioned in this newspaper report about ubf?

    • Mark Mederich

      that’s it: a demon of control (perhaps the ‘spirit’ God predicted would come in the end times to sway us from Him): an evil spiritually communicable disease that must be eradicated

    • Joe Schafer

      Brian, yes, that is the same Mark Hong.

    • The CMI leaders imitated what they learned under Samuel Lee in the 1980s and 1990s. But I saw that during the 2001 reform movement, most of them started to see and understand the problem of authoritarianism, and very visibly changed their ways. Unfortunately, though, they never issued a declaration of guilt and repentance for their former authoritarianism. The Confucian mindset made them believe they would lose face and authority if they admitted their former sins. Today, both UBF and CMI don’t like to talk about the division and the reason for the division any more. The maximum I found on a CMI website was the vague phrase “God led us different ways”. Because of failing to clearly process and document the past, identifying and naming the problems, and admit their own share of guilt, CMI or parts of CMI will always be in danger of falling into the same sins again, no matter how much they changed overall. That saddens me.

    • As far as I know, Mark Hong had experienced and seen a lot of unbiblical practices from SL. He has some close friends who had been expelled by SL. I am sure he was not just persuaded by his shepherd. He may not have ill feeling of most UBF people but he definitely had ill feeling of SL.

      I think the R-group was not thinking of separation from UBF and was not ready for starting new organization. They just wanted to fix some wrong things in UBF. Mark Hong tried hard to solve the conflict between SL and Korean shepherds in 2000/2001. They had no choice but leaving.

      The main concern for R-group at that time was SL’s abusive, unbiblical and authoritarian practices.

      Korea CMI became more like local churches now. Most chapters follow presbyterian church system. It’s not campus mission focused any more. CMI is collage group in their own church. Most of them has their own unique church name.

      Anyway, UBF still needs to give official answers to the questions that ESF and CMI leaders had brought to UBF leaders. If not, there will be another divisions or loosing faithful members.

    • vmi, I fully agree with your comment. I’d just like to make totally clear what “They had no choice but leaving.” means: They were officially expelled from UBF. First 11 Korean reform leaders were deprived of their UBF membership in October 2001 and then the remaining reformers in January 2002 by the legal board meeting of Korea UBF after a 35 minute meeting. The Korean news agencies NewsNJoy and CBS 98.1 reported about this. We really should stop using the word “they left” when talking about the reform UBF. They did not leave, they were expulsed. And so far, no UBF leader has apologized for this and rehabilitated the reformers.

    • Joe Schafer

      Chris, thank you for providing clarification on this and many other matters. These details are important. Most ubf members and even leaders simply do not know what happened.

  8. sheepherd1

    Wow, I never know that there was a split in UBF. I didn’t know that. No one talked about the history of UBF when I was in UBF. UBF has a lot of history and mystery.

    • Sheepherd1, actually they talk a lot about history, they even published two books about UBF history (see But yes, things like splits and abuse are not covered in such accounts. They live in a fantasy world like North Korea, people outside think they are scary and ridiculuous, but people inside believe they are so glorious and the world is revolving only around them, because they get only the information that the leaders want them to see.

    • Mark Mederich

      we all have some ‘closeted skeletons’ but i guess some people excel at having too many:)

    • And by the way, that big divided European UBF conference (first reform UBF and one week later hardliner UBF) was also in Eringerfeld. The 2009 UBF conference in Eringerfeld should have been an opportunity to repent and reflect about what happened there in 2001 instead of glorifying and bragging about 40 years of UBF again.

      I also remember how sad the 2nd gens were about the division. They used to have youth conferences together and so they knew each other. But after the split, they all became separated.

  9. James Kim

    “Let’s not forget that the church does a lot right. It is a body animated by the Holy Spirit, connected to the risen Christ. And Christ loves her, far more than we ever could, even if she’s ugly and dysfunctional at times. As Dorothy Day once wrote, “Though she is a harlot at times, she is our Mother.” We may have a love-hate relationship with the church, but Christ’s love for her is unyielding. And we’re called to love her in the same way. We should celebrate her accomplishments far more enthusiastically than we lament her faults.”–From the article John Y posted in FB recently from Christianity Today

    • James, I’m not sure whether you realize it or not, but when you post a quote without any personal comments or reflection, it comes across as though you simply want to lecture us by quoting an authority or an article, and thus to simply make your point somewhat dismissively without truly:

      * interacting with us, or
      * engaging us in a two way dialogue, or
      * responding to specific questions that are asked of you.

    • We should celebrate her accomplishments far more enthusiastically than we lament her faults. – See more at:

      That would be the day when UBF begins to celebrate the accomplishments of churches outside of their control, rather than pointing out their faults and lauding themselves for having “God’s best ways” and criticizing all who leave.

      It’s precisely because we exUBFers love the church–the UBF branch of it especially so–that we so loudly voice our laments about the faults we see that continuously go unchecked, nay, lauded and espoused as “God’s best ways.” Inviting some thousand people to a conference is not an accomplishment to be lauded. Rather, corporate repentance, humility, contrition, and brokenness of heart for the errors perpetrated by its members–that’s an accomplishment that is worthy of recognition, and an accomplishment that truly reveals the work of Christ within His church, and not the pressure-cooker tactics of a man-made system. Show that accomplishment and I’ll give glory and laud and honor to Christ, who alone is worthy to be praised.

    • Joe Schafer

      Yes, James, I agree with that quote wholeheartedly. It pinpoints one of the longstanding major problems in your organization. Its leaders have maintained a very critical stance toward the Church outside of its organizational boundaries. UBF taught me, implicitly and explicitly, that it had the most beautiful and pure form of Christianity, and that other churches (especially American ones) had become lazy, family-centered, liberal and corrupt. I was encouraged to immerse myself in UBF and isolate myself from the Church. It was a big mistake. Now I’m wholeheartedly pursuing fellowship and partnership with non-UBF Christians in my local community, and I will celebrate their accomplishments rather than point out their faults. I hope that others will follow suit. And I hope that UBF publications will stop berating the Bride of Christ. But unfortunately they still do. For example, a mission report posted last week on included a blanket criticism of American Christianity for having “big talk, but small action.”

    • Joe, about the report which came from Russia I suppose the best part of it is, “One word came to me….do not be”.

    • Joe Schafer


    • @James, fyi, I clicked dislike on your comment above because you failed to explain why you quoted it. I feel just as Ben described accurately in his comment above. I could infer about a hundred positive thoughts from your quote, and I could infer a hundred negative thoughts. This makes it very difficult for someone like me, who is recovering from ubf, to process what you say. It causes me to want to dismiss you entirely.

    • Mark Mederich

      now i see clearly the problem: is that part of the church spoken of, really animated by the Holy Spirit? isn’t that part more idolized as can do no wrong, so must honor it? (here we go again with the pitfalls/’horrors’ of human honor)

    • Mark Mederich

      “We should celebrate her accomplishments far more enthusiastically than we lament her faults.”
      unfortunately what you really mean to say (based on your actions) is ‘only notice my part of the church that’s good (don’t notice the bad & expect me to do anything about it, or dare think it should try to get better)

    • I had similar feelings as Ben and Brian when reading that quote without putting it into a context and explaining how you understand it in our context. What is “the church” for you? Is it UBF? Is UBF even part of the church, after they separated from the (Presbyterian) church and started to do their “own thing”?

      Personally, I don’t agree with that quote no matter who wrote it and in which context it was written. And I don’t really see in Revelation 2-3 how Christ “celebrated her accomplishments far more enthusiastically than he lament her faults”.

  10. Mark Mederich

    ‘Rather, corporate repentance, humility, contrition, and brokenness of heart for the errors perpetrated by its members–that’s an accomplishment that is worthy of recognition, and an accomplishment that truly reveals the work of Christ within His church, and not the pressure-cooker tactics of a man-made system.’

    that is the only real solution: so from now on, anything else will be totally disregarded as what it is, speaking in the wind..

  11. Joe, thanks for pointing out this report:

    “For example, a mission report posted last week on included a blanket criticism of American Christianity for having “big talk, but small action.”

    That report deserves some reality checks. I am highly disturbed by his words.

    Mike writes:

    “The question people always ask me in America or in Russia is, “Why have you come to Russia?”

    He should probably answer this question honestly. It sounds like he and his children need to have some honest talks and much therapy. His wife passed away. Escaping to Russia is not exactly a healthy way to deal with his wife’s suicide. Suicide is not the unpardonable sin. It doesn’t mean the person gets a oneway ticket to hell. It means people need to take an honest, hard look at reality. All this information is publicly available. We should be discussing things like this openly instead of cowardly hiding the facts.

    “I went to oppose the trend of American Christendom which has big talk, but small action. I prayed a long time and realized that it would be a sin to terry or wait any longer. One word came to me from Joshua 1:9 “ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.”

    This is a classic example of the ubf method of “helping someone”. Mike and his family have had to deal with a traumatic situation the past 7 or 8 years. Yet his mind has been bound to “ubf mission” and bible verses that express commands. And his mind is turned against American Christianity.

    “So, the message from the God of Russian was, “Welcome!” but on the other hand, the devil seemed to be making life very difficult due to persecution form rebellious pupils and especially from Charles Thompson. So God was calling me in but the devil was shouting me out! Who do you think I listened to?”

    Is he saying that his own son Charles is persecuting him? Does he view his own son’s words as the devil’s attack?

    • Joe Schafer

      Brian, I took those words about Mike’s son persecuting him as an attempt at wry humor. But yes, that part bothered me as well.

    • Mark Mederich

      i empathize with mike, doing his best to take care of his family;
      i am sad that leadership was more concerned about image & organizational self-preservation than compassion for sarah/her family/religious & neighborhood community;

      the worst thing is more suicides can happen, when we can’t learn from the past, people don’t know what to avoid/where to get help;

      diagnosis: mentally ill organization, unable to heal itself

      treatment: offer help; check everything with God thru prayer/’gut feeling’ (accept nothing on face value)