I Don’t Trust Dr. Ben

gp11Highly autonomous. As a predominantly autonomously driven introvert and agent provocateur, the opinion of others likely affects me far less than it might affect others. I believe that this is how God wired me. In contrast, more socially driven extroverts might be affected more by the opinion of others, and by whether or not others like or dislike them. I hope I am not caricaturing any social butterflies (who are really fun people), but only making rather broad general statements.

If you say NO, it’s DONE. To put it bluntly I might even declare–at least to myself, but not to others (I don’t want to come across as being disrespectful or uncaring or rude!)–that I could care less whether or not others like, dislike, approve or disapprove of me. In fact, I am highly motivated and encouraged to do the very opposite of what others desire or expect of me. Thus, I often tell others with a big warm cheeky smile, “If you tell me NO, it’s DONE! If you say Stop, I Go.” So, my wife has learned to use reverse psychology on me. What a wise woman she is! Continue reading →

Misunderstanding Sin

sHe is IMPORTANT in the church. When a friend shared with me some horrible sin of a person in the church, I said, “For his sake and for the sake of the church, report him to the police.” My friend responded, “But he is an “important” older person in the church.” I am not blaming my friend, who is a genuine, sincere and passionate Christian. But I am addressing a horrible theology that implicitly says, suggests or implies that if someone is “important” (or older) in the church, then we let his sin slide. Really?? Furthermore, what does “importance” (or age) in the church have anything to do with what is right or wrong?

Why do such shocking things happen in the holy church of God? My contention is that our theology (Bible study) always informs our Christian life. As I am studying Romans slowly and deliberately, I am positing a grossly inadequate understanding of sin as to why sin continues to thrive even in the church and often dealt with rather poorly. Continue reading →

What Samuel Lee Taught – Part 2

fr“You are free from one man’s teachings.” I will forever remember those words. Those were the words spoken to me by Pastor Wayne, just before he dunked me under the baptism water in the full-immersion baptismal on April 29th, 2012. He was referring, of course, to Samuel Lee’s teachings. I had explained my ubf experience, both good and bad, to him and other Christian pastors. Their advice was of utmost value to my recovery from the undue religious influence I encountered at ubf. Pastor Wayne identified SL’s teachings as a binding force on my life. I believe he spoke those words to me by the inspiration of the Spirit, based on our coffee shop discussions. So here is another perspective about SL, the co-founder of ubf.

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What Samuel Lee Taught

After his passing in 2002, Lee is credited with 8 to 12 legacies that are being used as “core values” to define UBF throughout the world. But I’m wondering if these distinctives are the best descriptives of his legacy and teachings.

From 1980 (when I became a Christian and joined Chicago UBF) to 2002 (when Lee died), I witnessed firsthand what Lee said and taught. For the last 22 years of his life I listened to Lee’s preaching in Chicago UBF, and heard his prayer topics and announcements every week. He would be the final word at the Mon fellowship leader’s meeting, the Tue elder’s meeting, the Fri student leader’s meeting, on Sat when we met for prayer for the Sunday worship service, and also on Sun after the sermon.

There have been many negative accounts about Lee (which are credible accounts from credible people). But there are also Lee’s positive teachings, which I regard as the gist of his primary teachings and main emphasis for 22 years under his leadership. Many might insist that he did not practice what he preached. Nonetheless, this is what he said and emphasized repeatedly for the last 22 years of his life. Continue reading →

The Law Makes You Worse

abcDo’s and don’ts. Don’t flirt. Don’t lust. Don’t watch porno. Don’t date…until you’re ready to marry by faith. Don’t be lazy. Work hard. Prepare for Bible study. Write your repentant testimony. Feed sheep (five a week, or at least one). Don’t complain. Be thankful. Be faithful. Just obey.

It doesn’t work. Though not entirely, yet as a Christian I generally don’t disagree in theory and principle with the above imperatives. The problem is that it doesn’t work! Sooner or later it produces despair and despondency (because I just can’t stop flirting!). Or it produces varying degrees of pride and self-righteousnes (What’s wrong with those rebellious, complaining, disobedient, immature, proud people!). Continue reading →

Ten Works of Satan

a1I’ve heard rumors that some at ubf ministry think I am doing the work of Satan or that I’m even Satan himself. Forests also reported hearing such things in a recent comment. And as MJ pointed out, quite a few people at ubf think that Ben and I are a bad influence. So then, let’s examine Satan’s work. What does the bible have to say about the schemes, works and methods of Satan? Whether you believe there is an actual being called Satan out there (I do) or not is not the point of this article. In any case, we should be able to see that the following ten things pointed out in the bible as being works of Satan are not good ways of interacting with our fellow human beings.

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No More Excuses—an essay

111I have to admit that the mention of UBF elicits several mixed reactions. On one hand, I personally received the grace of God’s love and salvation through Bible study. I heard God calling me no longer to live for myself but to live for him in service to others. I admired the sincerity and zeal of those who truly wanted to live for Jesus. I also admired the relentless outreach when it would have been easier to stay at home.

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Do (not) Read Ubfriends

222If I had a nickel for every time someone told me not to read this site or talk to BrianK or Ben Toh, I’d probably be a dollar richer. Unfortunately, for the naysayers, my personality is the type that if I am told not to do something, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. (My mom has figured out that trick and now she uses reverse psychology. She tells me not to do things i.e. don’t get married, don’t have kids and I can never tell if she is genuine or not telling me to do those things because she knows the moment she tells me to do them I disobey. My mom has realized the best thing is simply not to tell me what to do, but pray. Our relationship is complicated:))

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Question Everything

11 Thessalonians 5:21
“but test everything; hold fast what is good.”

This is the 11th week of Seminary. The academic challenge I am getting here is very restorative to my faith. There are two classes in particular that are changing the way I view life: Introduction to Theological Research and Hermeneutics (interpretation of the Bible). These are the two first classes for any seminary student.
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Methods and Aims

23And there is this difference between the matter of aims and the matter of methods…”- Gk Chesterton, Heretics

I recall a childhood story about a girl from India. She was arranged to marry someone from birth. The girl grew up and fell in love with another man and when the time came for her to marry she told her family no. “But this is how it has always been. You marry the man that has been decided.” But the girl, now woman said “But why does it have to be how it has always been? I will still marry.” This is very much the story of a person trying to change the methods while preserving the ideal. In one sense our task as Christians in judging the aims and means is very easy. For most of us the aim is quite easy to judge. A confusion of methodologies and ideologies is a constant source of problem across many different disciplines and institutions. It is very much the story of a person attempting to break tradition.

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