(Editorial Comment: This is Wesley’s detailed and lively unedited response to Ben’s sermon on “Shepherding Sheep” last Sun, May 26, 2013, at West Loop.)
Ben, I enjoyed your sermon. It’s really good. I find it worth reading more than once, carefully looking up all the Bible quotations. A theme that stands out is warning against “hierarchical leadership,” that is “the leadership style built on a chain-of-command social structure.” This warning can never be overstated. One of the main reasons I had hard time with my three sons growing up was that I exercised hierarchical leadership. Here is a Korean father, imbued with Confucianism, trying to raise three all-American boys. I only thank God for the relationship we have right now. It could have been much worse, even disastrous.
One of the topics that keeps surfacing here on this blog is spiritual abuse. This is a topic that has garnered growing attention in recent years among American churches. In fact, many recently took time to acknowledge the problem with “Spiritual Abuse Awareness Week“, complete with a Twitter tag #ChurchSurvivors. One of my friends pointed this out to me and asked that we discuss this here on ubfriends. This article introduces the topic by reviewing two excellent blog articles about spiritual abuse and how to identify it.
[Here are some thoughts by the President of UBF on Peter Scazzero’s book, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality“. I suggest listening to Peter’s introduction to his book.] I would like to share with you about Peter Scazzero’s book, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality”. Often times seemingly good Christians can have deficiency in emotional maturity. Scazzero deals with this problem very well in this book. Before I thought “emotional” means immaturity and something to be avoided if possible. But the author said the emotions of anger, sadness and fear are just one component of many parts of our whole human being.
Have you heard of the Shepherding Movement? It was a phenomena that occurred in America mainly in the 1970’s. The Shepherding Movement, which had roots in the 1960’s cultural revolution, grew quickly and seemed to disappear just as quickly. Are there any similarities between this movement and the UBF ministry?
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In 2013, the current UBF General Director, changed parts of his New Year’s address based on comments he received from several UBF people. He was told that the content of his overall message was very good. But some of his comments and application were insensitive, especially toward those who have experienced spiritual abuse at the hands of UBF chapter directors and Korean missionaries in various parts of the world, including the U.S. and Canada. Truth be told, he did not realize and never intended to be offensive or insensitive. Also, he graciously welcomed the comments without being defensive. Then he removed the offensive parts of his message. This was greatly encouraging to me and to many others. His message, without the offensive elements, was well received by the UBF staff and leaders.
This, I believe, is an excellent praiseworthy model of a Christian leader–one who is able to receive unfavorable comments and critique without being personally offended, and then humbly making the necessary corrections. I believe that our current general director is a humble man of God who loves Jesus: he wants to do what is right before God and for the good of the future of the people of God in UBF. That is why I respect him.
Earlier Ben shared an article expressing his concerns for the upcoming UBF ISBC (International Summer Bible Conference) to be held in Pennsylvania. The article quickly became our #2 most-commented article ever. But I read almost no response regarding Ben’s concerns directly. For those who responded to Ben, thank you. Here is a second chance for people to comment about Ben’s concerns.
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Over the years I have heard this expressed by some UBF leaders: “Since God ‘blessed’ UBF, then UBF must be OK. For if God was not pleased with UBF, God would not have blessed UBF so abundantly over the last 50 years.” Are such statements and reasoning biblically sound?
My short answer is NO! This post addresses what I believe is bad Bible study, wrong Bible interpretation, and horrible theology. It is NOT what the Bible teaches. It is a butchering of Gen 50:20. It goes something like this: “Because good resulted from evil, therefore the evil is OK or not that bad. Since God allowed the evil to fulfill God’s good will and blessed people anyway, then the evil is acceptable.” Such a Bible teaching says that a good result justifies a bad means. I do not believe that the Bible ever teaches that the ends justifies the means. The Bible teaches clearly that evil is evil, even if good resulted from evil. (Read J.I Packer’s excellent short book: Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.)
My good friend Ben recently posted an article where he shared his concerns about the upcoming ubf summer bible conference (ISBC). Ben has become a friend who fits the “best friend” category. I am so grateful for his voice of reason and sound theology in the midst of the ubf crisis. Today I am compelled to explain my biggest concern for the conference: the lectures. All of Ben’s concerns are valid and deserve a response from ubf. But in my mind the root cause of those concerns is twisted theology. ubf theology has glaring holes in it. This ISBC highlights one of those holes like never before.
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From time to time, as the technical admin here, I review our website statistics from Google Analytics. We may wonder who is reading this stuff. According to the stats, Malaysia, Ukraine and South Korea spend the most time here. Here are some more 2013 stats. Enjoy.
Why is Brian Karcher so bitter? How could Ben and Joe forget God’s grace and start bashing UBF so shamelessly on a public website? Why can’t Chris and Vitaly stop posting inflammatory comments that build up no one and only tear down? And why are so many allowing Satan to gain a foothold in their hearts instead of doing something positive to bless the upcoming International Summer Bible Conference?
Language is a powerful thing. It shapes the way communities think and act. Questions like these, which are being whispered in the corners at UBF chapters all over the world, are not value-free. They are so fraught with hidden assumptions and judgments that merely asking them, one is (knowingly or not) defending the status quo and deflecting attention from very serious problems that affect everyone in the UBF community.