As I read through the “2011 UBF Shepherd Missionary Seminar: spirit, ministry, vision”, I am more and more disheartened. Almost all of the concerns my friends and I had are documented and explained. The book is a collection of lectures roughly following the 50th Anniversary Mission Statement. Although not everything is explained concretely, there is an amazing amount of detail.
For example, there is a lecture entitled “Independent Mindset”, which explains some reasons why UBF kept separated from mainline churches (and apparently will continue to do so). That lecture also documents the creation of a “culture of mature actions”, which includes actions such as “marriage by faith”. The “mature actions” are not defined, just documented partially.
Back to my original reason for today’s post: more quotes from the concluding lecture of this book. As I read this lecture several times, I just could not believe what I was reading. I had heard the criticisms against UBF for many years. But I always dismissed one of the biggest criticisms: replacing grace with works in regard to salvation. I thought, even up to yesterday, that this criticism had no basis. Well, we can now judge for ourselves whether this criticism has any merit.
“From the 1990s, we made every effort to find better ways and alternatives to serve this generation.”
Every effort? I was there. I saw no effort, other than a few appeasing actions, such as allowing some modern songs instead of demanding only hymn songs at Sunday worship service.
“However, we have not found alternatives better than one-to-one Bible study, Daily Bread, testimony writing, a life giving spirit with five loaves and two fish, a pioneering spirit, a community spirit, and a self-supporting spirit that we have had from the beginning of UBF history. Nobody can deny that those works are the best ways to raise disciples and missionaries who can preach the gospel.”
Nobody can deny this? So the mass exodus in various major chapters around the world this year is because these “best ways” worked so well? Oh wait, they are the people mentioned in part 1 of this lecture: “Co-workers who were once great in their faith fall into the temptations of sin. Some became tempters to knock down the faith of others.”
The lecture goes on to bind the works of UBF to God’s work. Then, after tying these “best ways” to “the eternal truth of God’s words”, we have this rather amazing statement:
“When we continue to stand firm on the truth of the Bible without being swayed in this changing generation, what great hope and blessing will be given to us through the Bible? First, the holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation. Look at verse 15 “…and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Wisdom for salvation!”
Do you see the binding going on? Surely, the Scriptures do make us wise for salvation. But how does UBF say we should find such wisdom? It is through the “best ways” described above. According to UBF, we are to be bound to their “best ways” because the “best ways” are bound to the Holy Scriptures. And in fact, there is no alternative since UBF leaders have not found anything better. Well, in one Bible study at my new church, I found something better: the grace of God.
To make this plain and simple, and to remove all the Christianized wordings: UBF teaches salvation by works. The blue book is proof.