(I am) A Light to the Gentiles

gb“We all like sheep have gone astray…” – Isaiah 53:6

Dear spiritual children,

It seems as though the words in my last testimony made you react with so many strong outlashings and bitternesses. I planned to comment and share my spiritual wisdom with you, but this reaction greatly frightened me and thus prevented me from doing so. To be honest, I felt like the Saint Paul when he was lashed forty times plus one from the Jews. But you know, Saint Paul was tended to by Luke the physician, whose gospel we happen to be studying. In the same way, as I read and meditate on his gospel, it is like he is tending to my spiritual wounds as well. I was like Daniel in the lions’ den and God protected me by eventually shutting your mouths after you got all of your garbages out through commenting.

So, when the storm had finally passed and all was quiet, I could gain more insights into why we had a severe clashing. Like Isaiah says, we are all like sheep who have gone astray. And of course, some sheep stray more than others. As the common American expression goes, “we are like two sheeps passing in the night”. Indeed, it is hard for spiritual giants to relate to others some times. So, I think that we may need the great shepherd, Missionary Shepherd Samuel Lee PhD, to give us guidance in this matter. He wrote an introduction to Luke’s gospel, and this will be the content of our lesson today. Gather around children and let us drink in this spiritual wisdom together.

Our great shepherd begins,

“It is impossible to write an introduction to the gospel according to St. Luke, because there is a danger that the introduction will be longer than the text. So it is summarized with a brief preface.”

Again, there is a danger. Whether it is good or bad, I will let you be the judge this time. I remember as a young boy, I would roam the Korean country side, looking at all of the beautiful mountains, the flowers and the vast East Korean Sea. I could write about everything, or so I thought. But the danger was that all of the paper and ink in the world may have been exhausted by writing about such majesty and beauty. Then no school children would be able to finish their studies. And tragically, the modern society would become uneducated and eventually collapse and fall apart. This is what it is like to attempt to comment on something that only a spiritual giant would dare to do. Who can capture these kinds of majesties with only a pen and paper and at the same time avoid destroying oneself and the society? Only Samuel Lee can record the deep things of mysterious grandeur and summarize them for us. Then he will feed us like baby sheep suckling from the mother lamb. So let us begin.

First, Luke, the Author

SL states about Luke,

“Luke is known as a Gentile and a historian because of his universal point of view. But when we study the Bible broadly, we don’t find any hint that Luke was a Gentile. Still, people call him a Gentile. Maybe it is because his gospel is universal: He included Gentile people for their salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord as much as Jewish people.”

Have you ever thought of why we refer to Luke as a Gentile? I never gave it much thought, but only accepted it at face value. But SL is right to point out that the Bible never says with certainty that he is either a Jew or a Gentile. Luke’s gospel is universal, showing that God even loved the untouchable Gentiles. When I became a Christian, in my college days in Korea, I had the vision to go to America. When I arrived here, I encountered many students who seemed so outwardly noble, like Jews. But inwardly, they were very much like Gentiles in terms of inner desires. But I realized that God so loved these Gentile-like Americans and so I could be a light to them, teaching them the Bible with all of my heart. I could begin to relate to them by watching many American movies on my VHS system, such as Ghostbusters, Good Fellas, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and National Lampoons. Various movies gave me insight into the minds of my sheep. Mainly, I learned that Americans are preoccupied with the occult, gangster activity and navigating the difficulties of vacationing. SL continues,

“Humanly speaking, for Luke to remain as a medical doctor was very reasonable. But since he was converted to Christianity, his priority was changed to Jesus first, and to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus to the whole world.”

Luke probably could have made a lot of money during his lifetime as a medical doctor. He also enjoyed the prestige and recognition that came with such a position. But in private, he must have been very sorrowful because he had no purpose of life. He began to make many misdiagnoses because of his meaninglessness. Then, when he met Jesus, he became so happy because he found the forgiveness of sins and meaning of life through him. He left his medical practice and began to follow the number two of Christianity, Saint Paul, serving as his personal physician. From Luke’s life direction, I could gain wisdom about how to teach my Bible students to value following Jesus more than the worldly success. Many students want to spend much time studying, getting into the best universities so that they can secure a good future for themselves. But I explain to them that eventually, they will find that the world is meaningless and that they will not be happy no matter how much they study. I instead encourage them to put the Bible study first, even if it means they will lose school study time. In this way, they can grow to be truly spiritual disciples of Jesus. By the way, I am so proud of my children who all got into the Ivy League universities and have become doctors and got good jobs. They don’t teach the Bible or go fishing, but instead Jesus has a special plan for them to be exceptional disciples who can contribute to the society for his glory. But among my bible students, it is crystal clear that God called them to be bible teachers first and foremost. Why else would God call them to UBF if this was not his intention for them? They should strive to be like Luke, who gave up his worldly ambition to serve God’s servants. Amen.

Second, Luke Gives a Special Position to Women

“In Palestine, the place of women was not regarded. For example, when Jesus was carrying out the Messianic ministry around the Galilean district, many people, around 5,000 men, gathered (Lk 9:14). They did not include women and children in the count, because at that time women’s human dignity and equality were not appreciated. Children were also not numbered because the bigoted Jewish people were all money lovers. So children who had no labor power or could not earn money were unimportant.”

Luke was so keen to notice how Jesus included women into God’s world salvation plan. I was surprised to learn from SL that the Jews were bigoted money lovers. I suppose this makes sense and is factually correct seeing as how they did not care for those who couldn’t earn money, like children. However, this is a natural tendency for all of mankind. Sometimes, I would look at my small children and only see them as mouths to feed or nuisances who interrupted my Bible studies with college students. But SL newly opened my eyes that from the Bible’s point of view perhaps we should give them equal status with everyone else. Maybe, maybe not, only God knows in the end. SL continues,

“In Luke chapters 1-2, there appear Elizabeth and Anna. Humanly speaking, they were useless. They were no more than senior citizens who deserved food stamps. But Luke saw with spiritual eyes and recognized them as the lamp of God. They were old and useless. But in the sight of God they were praying women.”

Through SL, a repeated lesson that I have learned from him is that people are either useless or useful. It is very simple, if God does not call you into his service, then you are like chaff that the wind will blow away. You are like a hammer with no handle or a toilet that won’t flush. But when God calls you, even though you have many weaknesses, you can be a useful tool to him, like a pot used for a noble purpose.

SL gives many beautiful examples of useful women, such as those who financed Jesus’ ministry, the merchant, Lydia, Mary the mother of Jesus and others. We can put Mother Barry on equal footing with these spiritual pioneering women. She was once a southern belle in Mississippi who enjoyed her large book collection and even her own horse. But when she went to South Korea, she met Chang Woo Lee, and then suddenly the scales fell from her eyes to co-create UBF ministry and care for college students who suffered from deep meaninglessness. In this way, she could inspire many more strong women, such as my precious co-worker shepherdess Sincere, to be a good influence in the ministry and become world changers. Amen!

Third, the Outstanding Universality of Luke’s Gospel

SL relates a breath-taking story,

“Once an English novelist was convinced that he could write a better parable than Luke’s gospel chapter 15. So the English government gave him five years of time and he tried to write a better parable of the prodigal son. The government was supposed to reward him with one million pounds. When the day came to hand in his parable, he pleaded with the government officials to give him three years more to write the parable, and after three years, another two years. Finally he surrendered himself to Luke’s gospel chapter 15.”

SL didn’t list any sources for this story and I’ve never heard it before now, but anyway it probably happened. It is totally believable because the Bible is God’s own literature which surpasses anything that could ever be written in the history of mankind. The word of God has power to change people. The Bibles in our hands are powerful tools to drive away the dark forces of Satan and bring people to God. SL relates one of these most life-changing stories to us,

“The parable of the good Samaritan is a very familiar story to our ears. The characters are an orthodox Jew, a religious Levite, and a vigorous merchant. They saw a man badly wounded by gangsters. But the orthodox Jew turned around and ran away with an excuse that he must keep his worship service time. The religious Levite knew he should take care of the wounded man. But in order not to miss singing in the vocal team, he ran away with full speed. But the Samaritan, a Gentile, ruined his business and gave all his money and saved this man’s life. This story is not at all dogmatic. But it reveals the universal love of God. Who could have been the most happy?”

May God’s servant not be angry with me, but I was severely confused by this commentary. On the one hand, I understand that the Gentile was happier than the money-loving Jews who would not spend a dime to help the injured man. But on the other hand, wouldn’t the Levite and priest be the most happy by loving God through attending the worship service and singing on the vocal team? I am getting mixed messages here. I need to meditate on this commentary more deeply.

SL explains probably one of the most important spiritual lessons through the story of the ten lepers,

“When they were healed, the nine Jewish lepers went to their mommies, or went around claiming that they healed their leprosy by their own effort. Jesus was very sorry that they did not come back to thank Jesus for the healing. Only one man came and thanked Jesus for his healing. He was a Samaritan, a Gentile. Jesus was very sorry that God’s chosen people all forgot God’s grace; they were saved from their leprosy, but they did not have a thankful mind. Jesus was very sorry, because they were supposed to be shepherds and Bible teachers and a blessing to the Gentile people. But they were really unthankful. Their root was totally corrupted because they did not thank God. Unthankfullness is the root of sin. Jesus was very sorry, because there were so many people who should study the Bible with his chosen people, but his people were worse than the lepers.”

Here I learned that the root of sin is unthankfulness. When Jesus heals us, if we do not become shepherds and bible teachers but only enjoy our healing, we are worse off than before we were saved. Some of my Bible students went to other churches after meeting Jesus through Bible study. They did not stay to become shepherds, something which has surely broken God’s heart. They have become like the useless Jews who were unthankful. Nevertheless, God will raise up other students in their places who will show their gratitude by becoming shepherds and Bible teachers. Amen!

Fourth, the Kingdom of God

On the kingdom of God in Luke’s gospel, SL states,

“But Luke’s gospel’s teaching of the kingdom of God is far superior to Matthew’s gospel in planting the kingdom of God in the hearts of vulgar people who are suffering under Satan’s rule.”

Indeed, those who do not know God are simply vile and vulgar people. In contrast, we who have the kingdom of God in our hearts are like those who have precious feet and faces like angels which shine light into the darkened hearts of men. When God rules over us, we are much better than those in the modern, secular society.

Fifth, Luke’s View of Discipleship Training

SL explains the mindset of the disciples when faced with Jesus’ main teaching,

“According to Luke’s account Jesus emphasized to his disciples that he should suffer and be handed over to the Gentiles and should die on the cross and rise again on the third day. Whenever Luke emphasized this, he related that Jesus’ suffering and death is to fulfill the will of God and the will of God is that he would become the Lamb of God for the sin of the world. The disciples, who had been clumps of desires, were not willing to understand the way of the cross.

I have found this lesson to be true as well. Before my Bible students meet Jesus, they are like useless clumps of sinful desires. They do not understand the way of self-denial and taking up the cross. In fact, before I knew Jesus, I was a useless and dishonest creature, a mere worm in fact. But when I began to deny myself and take up the crosses of world mission, bible study, shepherding and school studies I could find true happiness in Jesus. I went from a clump of dirt to a happy disciple of Jesus.

SL closes his preface to Luke’s gospel with the precious example of the risen Jesus, who taught the Bible as of first importance (Lk 24),

“May God raise us as Bible teachers like Jesus. May God open our spiritual eyes to see the Risen Jesus. May God help us study the Bible truth, and believe in our hearts, and see from God’s point of view with universal eyes so that we can really understand God is like the Father in the parable of the prodigal son in chapter 15. May God give us universal love, so that we can embrace all kinds of sheep without any prejudice like Luke, a servant of God.”

Bible study and teaching are central parts of our spiritual lives that we cannot neglect. It is the only way in which people can have their eyes opened to know God and inherit eternal life. If we do not teach the Bible, then many students will tragically perish in their sins. We must see them as the prodigal son from Luke 15 who despaired after visiting prostitutes and eating with pigs. We must be good older brothers who will teach them the truth from the Bible and guide them to carry many crosses. When they are truly thankful for their salvation, then it will show in how much they teach the Bible and shepherd others. Instead of enjoying the worldly pleasures, they will become spiritual world changers and gospel workers.

Thank God for this Luke’s gospel study! I hope that SL’s condensed summary has shown like beautiful sunlight into your hearts. I long to bring you under my spiritual wing so that we can continue to enjoy these precious meditations together! From this point forward, in this Ubfriends community, let’s start a new history together. Amen!


  1. Dear Missionary HonestRhee, this is leally leally classy, berry berry honest, and leally mealingful:

    “I am so proud of my children who all got into the Ivy League universities and have become doctors and got good jobs. They don’t teach the Bible or go fishing, but instead Jesus has a special plan for them to be exceptional disciples who can contribute to the society for his glory. But among my bible students, it is crystal clear that God called them to be bible teachers first and foremost. Why else would God call them to UBF if this was not his intention for them?”

    • Ben toh, of course my words are classy and meaningful, why do you state the obvious? Anyway, I had so much anguish of heart when my youngest daughter got wait-listed for Northwestern University. When she finally got in, we celebrated with so many happy tears of joy. This is God’s blessing for my faithful testimony writing. My sheep want to do the same, but then i tell them to stop thinking so worldly things. Be a bible teacher instead you knuckleheads. And then i laugh at them. Because it is funny.

  2. Joe Schafer

    One famous scholar boasted that he could write a better introduction to Luke’s gospel than God’s servant Dr. Samuel Lee. He read every commentary and struggled in writing for eleven years, experiencing deep anguish of heart. His wife developed stomach ulcers and all his children became useless, like unbelieving mental patients. Finally he surrendered to accept the deep wisdom of Dr. Lee’s Bible study materials. But it was too late. He can no longer eat deliciously. Now he sips liquid food through a straw and only his head is still alive.

    • I know this former missionary. I go to visit his head from time to time and his only joy of life is to drink the imitation pina colada through a straw, not even the real stuff. Such a sad tragedy.

  3. I hope that readers are not offended by our “sense of humor.” It is not to make light of pertinent matters, but to not allow perturbing matters to dissuade us from pursuing the light.

    For over 20 years I read those manuscripts cover to cover, made (wrote and then typed) detailed and extensive notes, made dozens and dozens of Bible study binders, taught them to countless others every single week without fail, and found absolutely nothing wrong with them whatsoever.

  4. Dear admin, thank you for the picture of the Ghostbusters for this article. One of the greatest motion pictures of all time. I really love the character Slimer, who is so cute, but so full of hedonistic desires. And we are like the spiritual Ghostbusters, driving the demons out of american students hearts. I recently heard that they are doing a remake of this movie with an all-female cast. This is so tragic because it reminds me of the wicked witch of Endor who enticed God’s servant Saul and bothered the spirit of the prophet Samuel. Hollywood is unknowingly inviting God’s wrath to America by persuading many foxy women to become shamans instead if bible teachers.

  5. People in my office must have been wondering why I was laughing so hard–the comment that Honest Rhee goes to visit the head of the former missionary from time to time is priceless. This is, honestrhee, one of my favorite pieces I have read on here. The beauty of this is not only the humor, but the implicit call for change on so many fronts. Brilliant!

    • Dear Nick, I find it odd that you would take this as a joke. There is nothing funny about a man and his head, which is the only thing alive. When he drinks the imitation pina colada, he must imagine that he is at the vacation resort dancing with all of his might in the conga line. Then he wakes up and realizes that he is actually in a real-life purgatory for his sins against God’s servants. The only thing we should do for this man is to celebrate his living head and mourn his dead body.

    • “What happens after you leave UBF? If you believe what the late Samuel Lee and numerous other leaders preached, terrible tragedy awaits if you leave UBF. Leaving the ministry is equated with leaving your mission from God. Lee told tall tales of cancer, injury and death—all supposedly awaiting those who “ran away” from God. I share only one prime example of this teaching here. I share many more in the online companion to this book, on restunleashed.org.”

      Identity Snatchers: Exposing a Korean Campus Bible Cult, pg.109

    • “What really happens when you leave UBF? Well, nothing actually. There is no great tragedy waiting for you after you leave. There is no car accident or grand punishment as your shepherd might have feared. Leaving does not incur the wrath of God. However, leaving does not automatically heal you. After going through the painful exit process, there are indeed many situations to deal with after leaving. Leaving the group is not the end-all solution, but merely a door to one of several solutions. Leaving the group is like breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Or if your shepherd/sheep relationship was stronger, then leaving feels like a divorce. This testifies to the bondage that goes on when shepherding ideology is preached, and contrasts the normal, healthy Christian model of discipleship.”

      Identity Snatchers: Exposing a Korean Campus Bible Cult, pg.110

    • Hmmm, what is this identity snatchers? Is it anything like the cult classic invasion of the body snatchers?

    • Yes indeed, M. Rhee, the movie/book “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” explains my book about UBFism quite well:

      “In deep space, a race of gelatinous creatures abandon their dying world. Pushed through space by the solar wind, they make their way to Earth and land in San Francisco. Some fall on plant leaves, assimilating them and forming small pods with pink flowers. Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams), an employee at the San Francisco Health Department, is one of several people who bring the flowers home. The next morning, Elizabeth’s boyfriend, Geoffrey Howell, DDS (Art Hindle), suddenly becomes distant, and she senses that something is wrong.”
      film quote

      As I say in my book:

      “No longer will the student be known as Bob or Sue. They will be known as “Shepherd Abraham” or “Shepherdess Sarah”. Some received training names like “Shepherd Workhard” or “Shepherd Vision”. The training in the system breaks you down. Then a new identity can be sculpted by the shepherds. This new identity is far from unique. In fact, the new identity UBF wants to rebuild you into is a rubber-stamp version of the ideal UBF man, Samuel Lee or the ideal woman, Sarah Barry. Of course such ideals are fraught with contradictions. Most notably, the ideal woman Sarah Barry never married and yet the women students are taught they must marry in order to serve God.

      This new identity is sculpted in stages, which are repeated ad-nauseam throughout the students’ life, like some sort of hellish hamster wheel. In spite of the many promises by the shepherds, the student never really accomplishes anything they wanted. Instead, the students become clones in the system. And like the plot of the 1973 movie Soylent Green, the UBF system only works if new students who don’t know the dark history are fed into the system.”

      Identity Snatchers: Exposing a Korean Campus Bible Cult, pg.76-77

    • Interesting indeed. But my new identity saved me from such a depressing life and gave me so much purpose and direction. It made me feel alive as I met Jesus personally and began to desire good things. So how is a new identity a bad thing?

    • Indeed, having a new identity in Christ is a good thing. Surely we must be born again. The Christian identity is about the transformation that comes from love, from within. The mystery is Christ in you (Colossians 1:27). And our new identity in Christ means we do not need any Bible teacher watching over our day to day lives. We now surrender to the Holy Spirit and learn to discern the voice of God, not needing any missionaries’ voice to approve our decisions. If that is what you mean,M. Rhee, then amen!

      In contrast, UBFism says you wear a mask and stare at the mirror of self-examination, pruning your life endlessly, as Kevin rightly pointed out here recently. UBFism gives you a new Shepherd identity to conform your life into.

      What about the process you went through to gain that new UBF identity M.Rhee? If it indeed worked for you, what says everyone must conform to that process? What if God does not intend to give everyone a UBF shepherd identity? If you see evidence that your process of gaining a new identity harms people, would you be willing to modify your process?

      Also, if UBFism says everyone’s new identity is to be a Bible teacher, how do you reconcile that with several Bible passages, such as James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” ESV

  6. What’s “outlashings,” precious?

    • It’s what others do to hurt a poor, defenseless missionary such as myself. And is ‘precious’ some kind of silky smooth southern colloquialism or do you have the Gollum complex? Americans never cease to amaze me in their strangeness…

  7. Gajanan Nial
    Gajanan Nial

    Classic piece!! God bless you M. Rhee with 120 disciples of Jesus, most of them possibly professor shepherds. You are truly a light to the gentiles.
    Had I met you earlier, I would not have left UBF.

    • Gajanan Nial
      Gajanan Nial

      You, Dear Msnry. Honest Rhee, made me return to ubfriends at a time when I was losing interest to come back as I felt ubfriends also becoming predictable. Pls keep writing and publishing here to keep my faith and hope for UBF alive. One word: Dont give up!

    • Thank you for the encouragement. By God’s strength, we will subdue the Americans like Israel did to the Philistines! We will overcome this nation with the fighting spirit!

  8. National Park
    National Park

    This testimony is precious truth. Like the historian Dr Luke we must see with the universal point of view. My name used to be Jeremiad Park. I selfishly cared only about my own sheep and fellowship. But the servant of God Missionary Dr Samuel Lee rebuked my limited vision to see on world scale. If I could not have world scale then I at least should have national or state or city scale. To enlarge my vision the servant of God changed my name to City Park. When I pioneered state university I became State Park, and last year by God’s grace I was promoted to National Park. Praise Jesus! May God raise 100,000 medical doctor historian Bible teachers like Dr Luke who see from the universal objective point of view.

    • Hi msn. National Park! I remember our days at SNU together, especially how I got slightly better marks than you. Say, seeing as how we will most likely have co-working issues, how about we completely avoid the potential for conflict by splitting into a ubfriends1 and a ubfriends2? Of course I will take #1 because I am your senior by a few months. Anyway, God bless your ministry to these godless gentiles, who we have absolutely nothing to learn from, abundantly!

    • National Park
      National Park

      If we divide, we will grow. In the biblical equation, division equals multiplication. Please go out and pioneer a new website as soon as possible.

  9. Absolute ServantOfGod

    Dear Great Servants of God! Missionary HonestRhee and missionary National Park! It is so wonderful that you honestly share your true and the very honest feelings publicly and without fear of angry and the bitter god-haters attacking and criticizing you severely. Praise God!

    This is surely sign that the Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and the Earth, will defeat all the God’s enemies. They will become like all those who left the UBF and became severely injured and died from terrible and the horrible accidents, that surely came from the God.

    Like you, the missionary HonestRhee and the missionary National Park, I hope the other missionaries also may overcome the fear of ubfriends and talk openly and publicly, and boldly and very courageously without fear.

    As you know we hide nothing, we fear the nothing, for we only care the campus mission of world wide the pioneering of whole world campus students.

    Soon, who knows, even ubfriends may begin the great prayer topic to Make American a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation!!!!!

  10. Hmmm, this is an interesting development. Absolute and National, I would say that the best course of action would be to establish three new websites, ubfriends1, ubfriends2 and ubfriends3. But I realize that since we are in the minority, perhaps it would be best to huddle together here in our own little conclave, even speaking Korean from time to time just so that we feel comfortable. And if we should encounter an co-working issues, we can simply show our solidarity and undying commitment to one another through deafening silence and a resolute pact to never display our conflicts in public. Otherwise, we can continue along with over-the-top shows of false modesty and self deprecation as well as our usual patronizing remarks coupled with backhanded compliments. You two guys are number one in my book! (Of course that’s number one behind me, so really you are number two’s.)

  11. National Park
    National Park

    Yes there is no need to pioneer new websites now. We are concerned about quality not quantity. May God use us to raise 561 websites and 10,000 admins until internet becomes a kingdom of priests and holy nation.