Make it clear. Those are the words that keep coming back to my mind each morning, for many weeks now. I believe they are a prompt from the Spirit of God. Having given 24 years of my life to service in God’s kingdom through the mission context of University Bible Fellowship, I now make my reasons clear for why I and my family have left that ministry.
My leaving has been an 8 year process, one that began in Toledo and ended in Detroit. A process that began with my wholehearted defense of the ministry and absolute obedience to everything required of me from the ministry. I spent several years defending UBF against many kinds of criticism, starting in 2003. Through that process, God revealed to me that some of the critics were indeed correct. And some even had a good and Godly spirit.
Here then, is my reason for leaving UBF in 2011, after having began in 1987: I am leaving in order to promote unity in the body of Christ.
Some may say, “But your leaving caused division. You spoke so many negative words. How can you arrogantly say you want to promote unity by your leaving? You are nothing but an ungrateful fool!”
Before I explain my reasoning in detail, I cite 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 as the Scriptural basis for my decision.
“12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 (NIV)
I want to make it clear that I have made every effort (though not perfect effort) to avoid Scripture’s warnings of being deceitful, bitter, mocking or angry. I do not enjoy conflict, like the one mentioned in Proverbs 26:18-19: “18 Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death 19 is one who deceives their neighbor and says, ‘I was only joking!'”
I do not enjoy meaningless talk and rarely speak at all unless I am certain of what I say or write. I have not departed from the love of God, a pure heart, a good conscience nor a sincere faith, as in 1 Timothy 1:5-7: “5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”
Nor am I deserting Jesus. Nor am I giving up following Jesus, like in John 6:66-68: “66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “67 ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'”
I am leaving in order to advance the Apostolic unity Paul demanded in 1 Corinthians 12 and in other Scripture. In further posts I will explain the reasons why I think that my family’s leaving UBF is for the sake of unity in the body of Christ.
This is not something new that I just thought of in the past couple months. I have been contemplating these things for the past 8 years, storing them up in my heart like Mary in Luke 2:19.