Completely Missing the Point

After writing such horrible messages myself, I did not think I could hear a Bible message worse than my own. I was wrong.

This is perhaps the worst Romans 6 message ever: By No Means! However, this message does indeed capture the essence of UBF teaching. UBF shepherds and/or missionaries who helped this messenger apparently did not care about what the Bible actually says or what the gospel is. They certainly must have been salivating over this person’s obedience however.

My Critique

“There are millions of Christians. However not all of them are true witnesses of Jesus.”

This is the standard “we are better than they are” message.

Look at verse 2. May we read together. “Byno means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Paul strongly declares, “By no means!” “No!”, “Never – ever!”, “Nedda”, “Abadan”, “Hapana!”, “, Jeol dae An doe!” (Now, I have spoken to everyone in this conference for Paul!) Did you get it? Never to sin if you are a true Christian! Why? It is because we died to sin!

This is what I call the gospel of condemnation. It is the standard teaching of trying to obtain righteousness by your own strength to stop sinning. Just keep saying “Nedda” over and over…

Then, what is the problem of sinning again and again? Look at verses 8-9, “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”  Here Paul’s point is that Jesus’ death for our sins is once and for all! IT IS DONE! In other words, if we still sin after confessing that Jesus died for our sins once for all, it means we are crucifying Jesus to the cross over and over.

I’ll overlook the author’s disregard for the text and lack of coherency obtained by disconnecting these verses from the book of Romans. The author’s point here is what I call the gospel of “get out of jail free”. Without realizing it, he is promoting freedom that has no consequences.

When he finds he does sin, now he must go back to the gospel of condemnation he presented earlier. In effect, he condemns himself and all his hearers.

Even if you say you are a born again Christian by confession, if you continue sinning, it means that you don’t have Jesus and his grace deep inside you. In fact, you are not born-again in a genuine sense!  You are not a true Christian!

Now the author proposes a huge dilemma. But is it the dilemma proposed by the author of Romans?

Then, how can we proactively overcome this Christian dilemma? Let’s read verses 12-13. “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” Here, we learn that when we came to confess that Jesus is our saviour, we became his instrument of righteousness not wickedness. Before we knew Christ, we were dead and powerless instruments. We lived under sin, gratifying the wicked desires of our flesh. However, with Jesus, we are given a new life and a new identity. We live to glorify God, devoting all our body and life to God’s gospel mission! Amen! According to Paul, the most proactive way to live for Christ is to offer every part of our body as instruments of righteousness. For us now, it means that we must live as powerful and active witnesses of Jesus!

What is this author’s solution to the sin dilemma? How does he reconcile what Apostle Paul calls the offense of the cross? The great secret is: Do UBF evangelism!

I was no different from the Nigerian robbers in my story. Born and brought up in a Christian family, I was a nominal Christian. When I joined UBF, I struggled hard to please missionaries and God by my human righteousness.

Yes, you must please the missionaries if you are to remain in UBF.

God blessed me to lead a fellowship and to feed several faithful sheep. However, I had developed the dreaded ‘triple S P syndrome’ – ‘a Serious Secret Spiritual Problem’.

Here it is, the great blessing of UBF bestowed upon a young person yet again. The author has also developed the habit of creating new language to hide his real feelings and situation, i.e. “triple S P syndrome”. What is that?!?

I had been involved in a relationship with a sister in the fellowship. Ignoring God’s call to purity, I got indulged with her in fornication. Due to a heavy burden of sin, I confessed the issue during one of our Bible conferences. I thought it would help me to overcome it. However, like a dog returning to its vomit, I went on committing the same sin again. Having misused the grace of God to live in sexual sin, I felt filthy and unworthy to continue serving as a shepherd.

Sinning in secret. That is how you must end up resolving the “gospel of condemnation” with the “gospel of get-out-of-jail-free”! You become a white-washed tomb. This person will be in this same boat after this message because he has failed to grasp the gospel of grace and peace that is Apostle Paul’s gospel. Romans 6 has the very life-giving words to set him free, but he misses the point completely! Instead of declaring the freedom of the gospel, he condemns himself. Yes he has new resolve to fight sin with his own will-power after this message. And yes he will have the new company of a UBF common life house. But he will find himself still on the hamster wheel of sin/repent/sin/repent.

Because of shame and guilt, I contemplated running away from the ministry.

Shame and guilt are actually why this person stays in UBF.

However, during our last Easter Bible Conference, God touched my heart deeply based on the book of Joel 2, “Return to me with all your heart!” I repented before God with tears and made a small decision of faith never to return to the same sin.

The binding of this person’s conscience is deep. His thoughts of God are deeply entwined with UBF. In his mind, if he returns to God, he must return to UBF.

When God gave me the chance to share this message, I felt I am not worthy for such a great privilege.

No, it was your UBF shepherd who gave you the great privilege.

But while I was meditating on the passage, I realized that the reason I continued sinning was because I had lost the fear of God.

No, you continued to sin (and will continue to sin) because you don’t know the grace of God or the work of the cross or the Holy Spirit.

Through this message, God gives me a new direction: Otieno, offer parts of your body to God as instruments of righteousness! I admit that I obeyed my own desires and justified my continued life in sin rather than fearing God and offering him my body for righteousness. Now, with a new understanding of God’s grace, I want to live a New Life in Christ! Amen.

No, UBF gives you the same direction.

Before I came to this conference, I was given a direction to join a common life near campus, since my staying alone actually created a good environment for me to fall into sin freely. I want to obey this direction fully so that I may be protected from free sin by proactive fellowship with other shepherds in the common life! Please pray for me that I may overcome my sin problem and grow to be a powerful and fruitful witness of Jesus. Pray for me also to establish a healthy and pure house church in God’s time! Amen!

Such blessing bestowed on you! (You must be so thankful to your UBF shepherd for blessing you…) Protected from sin by living together with other UBF people? You are actually building a secluded life separated from the world in disobedience to what Jesus would have you do.

And the pattern of raising up UBF drones continues…




2 thoughts on “Completely Missing the Point

  1. I am brokenhearted for this person and the clear mishandling of God’s Word in this message. If there is one thing God has opened my eyes to, it is the freedom we are granted through the grace of Christ Jesus. “Living in sin” and “sinning” are two different things…

    However, I felt at some points that you were being critical without knowing where the author was coming from. I don’t think it is reasonable to say that a personal testimony is false; that is one thing that someone cannot take away from you, because it is your experience alone. (I do think people can put words in your mouth– I have had this happen to me on a number of testimonies. But you cannot say for sure that this has happened.) There is a difference between critique and bitter snarkiness.

    In any case, thanks for posting. I am increasingly saddened by the state of UBF in general. There is a lot of brokenness, terrible theology, and distinct lack of Biblical scholarship within the ministry. Please continue to share your thoughts and to point out things that need to be improved. UBF is in this mess in the first place because no one will listen to such things.

    • Good points, and thanks for sharing Courtney. I do see I get a bit “snarky”…it’s hard not to sometimes.

      If this were just a personal reflection or something, I would overlook it. But it is presented as a “2012 North Eastern African Regional Conference Message” publicly.

      Some are starting to listen, but it will take decades to untwist things. I wish I could attend every UBF messenger meeting and share my thoughts. I’m not saying I know everything; there is much to learn.