The 1976 reform movement in Korea UBF, led by Korean staff shepherds, is nothing short of a miracle. What happened? Seven Koreans; Koreans who obeyed absolutely for more than 10 years. Koreans who grew up in the same war-torn environment that Samuel Lee did. Koreans who showed no signs of violence. Koreans who claimed that they found salvation in Jesus and God’s purpose for their lives in their early days in UBF during the 1960’s. Koreans who would NOT DARE to speak a word of criticism or even a HINT of malice toward any leader or anyone even one day older than them. THESE Koreans wrote a stinging letter of utmost rebuke to the supreme UBF leader.
As I read the letter of these seven courageous Korean UBF staff shepherds, I marvel at the God-induced, Spirit-led, Bible-based guts these Korean men displayed! If I even had an ounce of their bravado, I would be thankful.
1976 Allegation #3 – Illegal Activity
CLAIM: The 1976 claim was that Samuel Lee ordered people to steal the passports of missionary candidates and also stole a working permit of another missionary, for the sake of training. The victims are listed by name.
FACTS: The claim of stealing passports for the sake of training is substantiated in this report.
COMMENT: Samuel Lee’s anti-ethics philosophy has permeated UBF thought. The 1976 letter comments: “Christianity never ignored ethics and morals in society (Matthew 5:20). You, however, said that the contradiction of ethical morals should be overcome. This non-biblical philosophy has justified many illegal activities.”
CLAIM: The 1976 claim was that UBF used a fake name, “City Evangelism” and formed a fake committee to deceive a Korean court into changing the status of the Kwan-Ak center building in 1975, in order to avoid paying higher taxes.
FACTS: UBF has used many different names, as stated in its own history document and in the 50th Anniversary book: “University Bible Research Society was the first name of UBF. But after a while we realized that the Bible is the absolute word of God, not the object of research. Therefore, instead of doing research, we need to read the Bible, accept it and obey it. So we changed the name into “University Bible Reading Society.” In 1976, a few shepherds caused a division and left our ministry. The next year Dr. Lee was sent to America as a missionary. We had time to reconsider the identity of our ministry and changed the name of our ministry into “University Bible Fellowship.” Even though we changed the name of our ministry several times, in all of our names, “The Bible” was always included.”
COMMENT: Why change the name so many times? The names seem to indicate similar meanings. The timing of the name changes corresponds to the allegations of changing the names for the sake of tax evasion. Is this just coincidence? UBF in the United States narrowly escaped a tax evasion fiasco sometime around 2007 and the years prior to that. The IRS was ready to issue a rather substantial fine for ignoring the US non-profit laws. In general, UBF leaders ignore the “laws of the land”, even in America. For example, in 1990, several UBF people broke into a house of a UBF director and removed all his belongings in the middle of winter. In 2012, the DuPage UBF chapter was found to have ignored the municipal regulations regarding places of worship. The village board voted unanomously to ask the UBF chapter to leave their “Bible center” because it was a house in a residential zone.
Destruction of family
CLAIM: The 1976 claim was that Samuel Lee destroyed the family life of numerous shepherds in Korea, ignoring the Christian teaching that the family unit is a foundational unit of society. The claim was that Samuel Lee intervened into family life to the point of harrassment, even ordering divorces. They further claimed that Lee ordered married men to sleep in separate buildings from their wives for up to one year at a time.
FACTS: The obsessive intervention into family life through the UBF teaching of “marriage by faith”, through ordering divorces and through directing the personal lives’ of UBF shepherds and missionaries is well-known and well-documented.
COMMENT: Samuel Lee is dead. But the practice of destroying family life flourished during and after his death because UBF strongly believes and teaches the UBF people are the true family members (page 2 of this document states “Bible teacher is not just a teacher. He’s a parent”.) These teachings often cause UBF actions to lead to destruction of human families. UBF asks people this question: Which is more important, children or mission? Their “active integration strategy” on this page states: “Priority: Have clear priority whether children or mission come first.”
2012 Allegation #3 – Illegal Activity
Ignoring the law of the land
I have seen enough first-hand events and have understood the UBF teachings enough to claim that UBF continues to ignore the “law of the land”, no matter which country they go to as missionaries. When I discussed my illegal breaking-and-entering in 1990 with UBF Korean missionaries, they could not decide whether such activity was lawful or unlawful. Their minds are still bound to doing anything and everything for God’s glory, upholding the name of God by illegal means if necessary. This directly contradicts the behavior admonished by Scripture.
Destruction of Family
I claim that UBF continues to destroy human families in order to bind people to the “UBF family”. One young woman was asked by her UBF shepherd to choose between her parents who left UBF, or the UBF fellowship members as her family. The list of evidences to support my claim are far too many to list here. Any young person who studies the Bible in UBF will eventually discover this most deeply rooted problem in UBF.