Are UBF people and UBF churches humble?

PrideHumilityDo you belong to a proud or a humble church? Are you a proud or a humble person? How can we really tell if we are proud or humble? We might excuse our pride, since pride is a subtle and deceptive sin which surely inflicts us all in varying degrees. But excuses or not, God will hold us accountable and we will reap the fruit of either our pride or our humility.
Pride comes before a fall. I saw this table of contrast in a study of King Uzziah of Judah whose pride became his undoing. 2 Chronicles 26:16 says, “But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall.” I think that clear and distinct contrasts helps us to “easily” search our own hearts as well as the general attitude of our church. As stated above, we are all proud sinners to varying degrees, and thus we all belong to “proud” churches comprised of proud people like ourselves. Yet the Bible repeatedly and strongly warns us of the consequences of pride (Prov 18:12; 29:23) and compels us to be humble (Jas 4:6; 1 Pet 5:8; Prov 22:4). This should also compel our churches to be humble, like our Lord (Mt 11:29).

Fill in the blanks. I think most of them are rather self-evident. The answers are likely a lot easier than putting them into practice. (Sorry, I don’t know how to make a table, but the table and the answer key can be seen here.)

The Proud Person / Church Vs.The Humble Person / Church

The Proud Person / Church The Humble Person / Church
1 It’s all about ___. It’s all about _____ and ________.
2 Get’s joy from promoting ______. Gets joy from promoting _________.
3 Gets ______ and ____________ when confronted. Is ________ and ___________ when confronted.
4 Loves to _______ / _________. Loves to _________ / ________.
5 _______ about what they know. _______ about what they don’t know.
6 _______ others. Takes _____________.
7 Compares self to ________. Compares self to ______.
8 “Lord, change _______.” “Lord, change _____.”
9 _______ ___ sin. ________ ____________ sin.
10 Concerned with _______ / ______________. Concerned with _______ / ____________.


Seeing ourselves as better and others as worse. Perhaps dichotomy is sometimes not often very helpful or practical. We also incline to seeing ourselves (and our churches) in a better or more positive light, and conversely incline to seeing others (and other churches) in a worse or more negative light. (I know that I did this for decades!) Nonetheless, I think this table of contrast is helpful.

What do you think? Are UBF people and UBF churches humble?


  1. forestsfailyou

    Although anyone of these things don’t make a proud person, taking them all together makes it the claim strong.

    – The use and insistent use of titles, especially since these titles have no reasonable purpose beyond letting people know who’s “better”. “Sheep, Shepherd, Pastor, Missionary, Dr.”

    – The fixation on numbers and results oriented thinking, with an explicit and implicit comparison to other churches. I have heard this in sermons, where as encouragement we are told to not be like churches with lukewarm Christians.

    – Pretty much the entirety of A good example was the recent edits to the sermons and messages given at campus night. To not look bad, we have edited anything that looks bad out of it.

    – Comparisons to other churches. During a blizzard nearly all churches closed their doors for the saftey of their members. Not us, half the chapter showed up late and the main message was prefaced with how UBF is open today for God’s glory while all other churches closed.

    – Selecting the absolute most expensive venue in central Illinois for the Summer bible conference, Prairie Capital Convention Center, and the most expensive hotel in the area for Chicago pastors, the Abraham Lincoln Hotel with a cool $100 a night price tag.

    -Testimonies where missionaries “repent” of not fishing all day long. Ignorance of real spiritual problems to save face.

    – A total misconception about what pride it. To the UBF missionaries I have spoken with, many of them believe pride to be “Disagreeing with ‘spiritual’ authority.”

    It’s hard for me, because I am proud- that’s an issue I work on, but I work on it with no help from my ministry because to them pride means something totally different.

    • forestsfailyou

      Ubfriends timed out when I posted this here so I assumed it didn’t go up.

  2. Charles Wilson
    Charles Wilson

    Is the sky blue?

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      Wow. In my mind I read the title of the post and the end question replacing the word “humble” with “proud.” I’ll have to revise my sarcastic response.

      While at UBF I was called out for being proud many times. Some justified and others not. But the moment I called out others or finally the organization on very apparent issues, I was told to not look at others, to be quiet, and just focus on my own repentance and sin, and then work together with the ministry. I don’t think that I and others have been tested in humble, Christ-like ways as fellow brothers and sisters.

      I like Michael’s and Joe’s responses from that Facebook link.

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      * treated (not “tested”)

    • “Is the sky blue?”

      Lol Charles, yea I think from your perspective you meant to say “Has hell frozen over?”

      However this highlights a communication issue (one of the layers of burden at ubf is this Korean cultural layer that you have to navigate). This is the easiest layer, at least from my experience, to figure out.

      Are ubf people humble? They would typically say “of course!” Former members might say “of course not!”.

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      Brian, the pride of / in UBF certainly bothered me while I was still a member. I’d come across a passage such as Colossians 2:16-23 and feel as though it had been written specifically for us.

      As a former member, I feel the sting of the pride of the organization in its falseness, particularly its false humility. Since leaving I’ve met with current members, including the current director of the LA chapter a few times over meals. I had considered them my friends for a long time. I even tried to avoid talking about UBF because it brings out an unpleasantness. Kind words and an air of friendliness are there, but ultimately nothing is done–issues aren’t taken seriously and no action is taken, even to investigate further. To me that stings of pride. The glorious image of the organization is still most important and members aren’t able to humbly consider the harm being done and those who have already been harmed. The connection to people in a loving way is absent, and instead are defenses and excuses for practices and ideologies.

      Over one such meal I was told that someone from my old fellowship was unhappy about how the relationship ended. I’m still alive. If someone is unhappy with how my leaving went down, you can call me anytime. I used to get calls all the time to do stuff or to get rebuked. But now it’s like I’m dead. Yes, I stopped participating in the organization and attending. But I didn’t personally cut off ties with anyone or say that anyone was dead to me.

    • “But now it’s like I’m dead.”

      Yea Charles, I know the feeling. It was bad enough for missionaries to talk about me as possibly demon-possessed. Then they began speaking about me as if I was dead.

      This is the shunning process that ubf still employs today. We all just witnessed yellowblossom experience the painful exit process from ubf.

      Last year I was prompted to share this article. In a real sense, I did die when I left ubf, and that is a good thing. My cult self died. I found my authentic self again:

      Shepherd Brian is dead

  3. Ben,

    I don’t know what prompted this article (not sure how your mind works!) but if you want to talk about pride/humility then I think we are talking about legitimate inter-cultural issues. This seems related somewhat to MJ’s article.

    So in the West, this is the definition set we use:

    pride: a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements

    humility: a modest or low view of one’s own importance

    In this basic sense, neither pride nor humility has any special value or demeaning quality. It is good to have satisfaction from achievement. We need that from time to time. My mistake in the past was to attribute the “work of the Holy Spirit” to the pride in my own achievements.

    The bottom line is that we ought to have a self-worth balanced by numerous perspectives and based on the fact that each human being is created with the full image of God and are children of God in the creation sense. I know this is a tangent, but I do not believe the image of God is split between “male” and “female”. Marriage does not restore the image of God, because each person already has the image of God fully.

    But in the East, here is the definition set:

    pride: making your own decision apart from authority or showing sings of rebellion

    humility: a demonstrable submission to authority through obedience

    In this paradigm, the Eastern thought person operates from shame/honor perspectives. It is important to show humility as obedience in order to have any kind of relationship with an Eastern thought person.

    All this communication confusion and cultural stuff can be easily navigated once you figure it out. I figured out this paradigm back in 1989 or so. After just a couple years of interacting with Eastern thought people, I knew how to navigate this East/West cultural difference of pride amd humility.

    From a Scriptural point of view, the words “proud” and “humble” take on new meaning, meaning above and beyond what the West or the East has to offer. We need to consider Older brother sins for example. And we need to learn from Jesus who is the Door.

    • I wrote this article because each of the 10 point contrast makes a simple distinction as to whether a person or their church is proud or humble.

      For instance #2 asks whether you primarily promote, or highlight, or emphasize, or magnify yourself/your own church/your Bible study/your discipleship methods, etc, or that of others / other churches.

      Or #6 do you mainly blame others, or take responsibility.

      Or #10 about whether you are mainly concerned with your own image and reputation, or about honesty and truth.

      Similarly, I thought each of the 10 points make rather clear distinctions.

  4. Hi Brian, I am wondering if you might be able to make a table like this for this main article for easier viewing: