Final Post

As I continue to read Andy Stanley’s book “The Grace of God”, I am finding answers to some big questions: What kind of person do I want to be? What kind of ministry do I want to be part of?

So today I am making my final post to this priestly nation blog. As my new tagline says, this blog is a collection of stories about my old, graceless life spent trying to be a priest. It is true that Christians are a “royal priesthood” and a “holy nation”. Yet I see no evidence to support building such a “nation” by human effort or ambition. Although I often did not believe in such nationalistic and elitist ideals, I have discovered this year that I helped facilitate and support such things.

While I do not reject the idea that I am a priest (in the sense that all believers are priests), I do reject the idea that I should help build a new, supremely pious, religious community around the world. I do not think that is what God (or Peter) had in mind when they wrote 1 Peter chapter 2.

One of the reasons I started this blog this year was to capture the topics I blog about. As you can see in the Tag Cloud of categories, I’ve written most about Bible study, news, truth, freedom and Jesus. It is rather shocking to me now that I see the word “grace” did not even become a category in my writing! A quick review of any respected Christian author or preacher will reveal that the grace of God is central to Christian faith. Yet it is missing entirely from my thoughts.

So my journey of faith takes yet another turn. For those who wonder if I will continue to speak up about issues facing UBF, rest assured that I will. God help me if I remain silent about such matters! I will keep this blog open for comments and as a permanent reminder of the events that transpired in 2011. I will also reply back to those who comment here, as well as continue my ongoing dialogues via email and Facebook. And yes, I will be participating in various internal and external projects related to explaining, examining and exposing the UBF system.

Soon I will also have a new blog where I capture my thoughts and questions on my journey of life. In the past I felt it was burdensome to write a two page testimony every week. But now I write far more than this and spend way more time in dialogues, yet I’m not burdened, but filled with peace, power and joy. 2011 was something like the movie “Monsters, Inc.” for me. I found that joy is 10 times more powerful than fear.

I want to leave my readers with some excellent sermons by two good friends (so far we have only been virtual friends; I really must visit Chicago!).

God Became Weak

Christianity is the End of Religion

God’s Love Brings About Real Change

The grace of God be with you,

6 thoughts on “Final Post

  1. Glad you like the book so far Brian. I thought it was fantastic. At the same time I also read “What is So Amazing About Grace” by Philip Yancey. This was also a great book that I recommend. I realized through both that it was grace that attracted me to Christ, grace that has kept me in Christ, grace that will sustain me eternally. The grace of God through Christ changes people and as Christians, grace should be the chief attribute of our lives. Graceless religion is what the Pharisees practiced and it is characterized by burden and self-righteousness rather than joy and peace.

  2. Thanks Nick! Yes, my reading list is getting quite long. But I am a very, very slow reader of books. Maybe when I get my bi-focals I’ll read more :)

    I’ve been thinking a lot these days about Jesus’ yoke of grace.

  3. Hi, Brian!
    I’m Hannah Blessing from NY UBF.. Reading through your articles, I could feel your truth seeking heart and your honesty to yourself and others. It was also kind of sad to get to know that the UBF environment you’d experience was so draining, instead of refreshing and reviving.. Honestly, I agree with you in some parts, but I think it was too soon to generalize like that because my church atmosphere is quite different from your description. None of things you’ve mentioned in your articles hasn’t happened yet. This does not mean that my church is perfect.. There’re many things to be done by Him, but I do love my church as the body of Christ..(I came to make this decision more firmly after reading “Church, why bother” written by philip yancey..) But I do hope and pray God may lead your steps to the truth and to just the right ministry, through which His name can be glorified..

    In His Grace,
    Hannah Blessing

  4. Hello Hannah and thank you for commenting. I thank God that your experience has been a good one thus far.

    However, I seriously doubt your statement “none of things you’ve mentioned in your articles hasn’t happened yet.” Have you actually read my articles? What things are you referring to?

    There are likely some reasons for your good experience:

    – Perhaps you are in a house church in NY with only a few members?

    – UBF is a network of many independent groups. While the UBF “flavor” is evident in all of them, each group has been given “absolute freedom” to do any kind of ministry they want, as long as a few basic requirements are kept (such as sending money and numbers to the main headquarters and not infringing on someone else’s chapter).

    – NY UBF leaders may have rejected or modified the hardcore UBF heritage. This is entirely possible because I know some of them there and they have made significant progress in becoming a healthy group. One of the leaders in particular has been a good and Godly influence there.

    – Some problems won’t ever be experienced by “second gen” coworkers (I’m guessing you are one?). You are the “hope” of UBF leadership, especially if you are a Korean second gen. You will be given more and more freedom and blessing. UBF leaders have already determined to skip over the American or other native leaders in my generation. Leadership will be handed over to 2nd gens in the coming decade, with perhaps a few native leaders appointed for publicity sake. This is documented in the “blue book”.

    So it is indeed somewhat difficult to generalize UBF characteristics these days. However, some issues are very clear in all UBF:

    1. The official doctrine of UBF as published in the “blue book” is not centered on the grace of God and needs major revamping. If you are in UBF, you need to know what this book says. Perhaps like most, you can just ignore it.

    2. The dictator style leadership structure centered on exclusive Korean leadership is still in place. It is changing but will take many years to become healthy. NY UBF is connected to UBF only by one person officially.

    3. UBF remains a private church. The only way to be a member is to be invited and assigned a shepherd to study with. If you attend a Sunday service in UBF, you won’t last long unless you submit to one-to-one study. Many chapters now have a university outreach with another name, such as your NYUseed. Those ministries really have nothing to do with mainline UBF, other than association by name and a few members attending from UBF.

    4. UBF remains centered on an elitist, ideological foundation: to make 100,000 missionaries in the next 29 years (by 2041) and to make all nations to be UBF nations (i.e. priestly nations). The sacrifice needed to produce 100,000 missionaries out of the 8,000 or so members currently is just unfathomable. If you are in UBF, you are part of this effort.

    So yes, as you experienced, changes are happening, for the better I think (such as The Well), but it will take years to produce fruit, unless a miraculous repentance happens.

  5. Thanks, Brian, for your comments..

    I do not deny your observation on ubf.. Sadly, most of them are true, but personally, I made a decision to stay in this church not because of some pressure from certain group of people, but because it seemed more proper to remain, praying for the work of the Holy Spirit for the purification of this body of Christ. After all, God saved me through the labor of people belonging to this church and I think we, humans are prone to corrupt and become political without unceasing repentance before God.. so not just ubf, but also any other churches too..

  6. Hannah, all I really can say is “amen”. I respect your decision to stay. I hope you can respect my decision to leave. I felt the same as you, but clearly sensed God’s leading to leave in hopes of accomplishing the same thing: praying for the work of the Holy Spirit.

    I have no interest in persuading anyone to leave or to stay in UBF. My prayer is that people think for themselves and seek to re-center their theology on the grace of God and basic Christian doctrine.

    Yes, all churches have problems. But one thing to keep in mind is that not all churches have off-center theology. And in my observation, any Christian church has some way of addressing corruption. Almost no Christian church would allow corruption to continue.