The Blue Book – Part 2

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.

12 thoughts on “The Blue Book – Part 2

  1. The problem: legalism and elitism. Thoughts to consider in light of this “blue book” teachings:

    Is there a demand for purity that divides the world into two classes of people?

    “The world becomes sharply divided into the pure and the impure, the absolutely good (the group/ideology) and the absolutely evil (everything outside the group) one must continually change or conform to the group “norm”; tendencies towards guilt and shame are used as emotional levers for the group’s controlling and manipulative influences.”

    Is there a sacred method/science for living?

    “The totalist milieu maintains an aura of sacredness around its basic doctrine or ideology, holding it as an ultimate moral vision for the ordering of human existence. Questioning or criticizing those basic assumptions is prohibited. A reverence is demanded for the ideology/doctrine and the originators of the ideology/doctrine. The present bearers of the ideology/doctrine offer considerable security to young people because it greatly simplifies the world and answers a contemporary need to combine a sacred set of dogmatic principles with a claim to a science embodying the truth about human behavior and human psychology.”


  2. Is doctrine valued more highly than people?

    “If one questions the beliefs of the group or the leaders of the group, one is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to even question — it is always “turned around” on them and the questioner/criticizer is questioned rather than the questions answered directly. The underlying assumption is that doctrine/ideology is ultimately more valid, true and real than any aspect of actual human character or human experience and one must subject one’s experience to that “truth”. The experience of contradiction can be immediately associated with the guilt one is made to feel and that doubts are reflections of one’s own evil. When doubt arises, conflicts become intense.”

    How are those who left the group viewed?

    “Since the group has an absolute or totalist vision of truth, those who are not in the group are bound up in evil, are not enlightened, are not saved, and do not have the right to exist; impediments to legitimate being must be pushed away or destroyed. One outside the group may always receive their right of existence by joining the group; fear manipulation — if one leaves this group, one leaves God or loses their salvation/transformation, or something bad will happen to them; the group is the “elite”, outsiders are “of the world”, “evil”, “unenlightened”, etc.”


  3. “Nobody can deny” … any longer that UBF shows many traits of a cult, right?

    Btw, does the “Blue Book” also talk about “business mission”, something Peter Chang from Bonn pursues and propagates since several years?

    How pretty audacious of these chief ideologists to proclaim “self-supporting spirit”, while most top-ranking people in UBF get salaries or pensions. I know this from my chapter leader, we paid him a salary and he also got “extra vacation payment”.

    You raise some very good points. Thanks a lot for publishing this.

  4. No there is not a lot of detail about the specific businesses that UBF people have set up (like the orchestra group, the medical hospital, the Ximeta technology, the tutoring business, etc.).

    The section called “Social Responsibility in Action” briefly mentions the medical mission in Africa, as well as suggesting a new “seed bank account” business.

    There is a lot of talk about “self-supporting” business, and a lot of talk about Apostle Paul’s tent-making business. There is a comment about utilizing US immigration law to send missionaries. And of course many examples of nurses going to Germany, etc.

    Wow, I just can’t believe some of the statements in this book… I really need to put it down for a while!

  5. So a Korean culture is now replaced with a “culture of mature” actions…a twist of words to hide their “absolute” practices.

  6. Regarding those who left UBF: All these people are living by faith until they die. They did not receive the things promiesd, they only see them and welcome them from a distance. And they admit that they are aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead they are longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

  7. Why did the writers of the blue book become the judge and jury of those who left?

  8. Those who left UBF can say:
    We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!
    To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up t this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. (1C0r 4)

  9. CC, thank you for the reminders! All I can say in response is: Amen.

  10. CC,

    You asked: “Why did the writers of the blue book become the judge and jury of those who left?”

    My thinking is that the “blue book” is the natural progression of a ministry that lacks leadership accountability (and at the same time gives life-long, absolute power to leaders).

    It was rather shocking to read the blue book lectures because it codifies some of the things former members have been saying for more than 30 years.

    For me, the blue book teachings (along with the 50th anniversary celebrations) solidified my desire to never return to UBF. My conscience as a Christian, as an American and as a human being simply won’t allow it.

  11. Hey Brian,

    Those are some really good thoughts. The other thing I should add is that UBF 1-to-1 Bible Study is inherently unbiblical. For true, Spirit-led Bible Study to occur between two (or more) people, there needs to be two additional factors: 100% Confidentiality and Mutual Accountability. This is in line with Jesus’ command to His disciples that “the first shall be last and the last first” and that “they shall know us by our love for each other”. With the paradigm of UBF Spiritual Authority, there is no work of the Holy Spirit. How can the Spirit do its job when the “Shepherd” is doing all the work? We already have a High Priest interceding for us; we don’t need a “Shepherd”. Friends and brothers to help us in our struggle and knowledge is what we need. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As Iron sharpens Iron, so does one man sharpen another,” NOT “As High-Tensile Tool Steel sharpens Iron, so does one man wear away at the other with self-righteous judgmentalism.” (I made a funny–Ha!) UBF 1-to-1 Bible Study becomes a work of the Shepherd’s spirit and not the Holy Spirit. It is not up to us to judge or lord over others, but to demonstrate Christ’s unrelenting love.

  12. Hello Tom! I am really glad to connect with you finally. I publicly apologize for any malice I showed toward you on the old Voy forums.

    Your words demonstrate to me your faith and good conscience, and love. I was told that you are “dangerous”, “crazy”, “bitter” and “very wounded.” So I was always fearful when your name came up from time to time! But I see that you are none of those… well ok maybe a bit crazy :)

    I have found that I am much happier submitting to the Holy Spirit and His rule in my life. Who guides us into all truth? The Spirit, the Third Person of God.

    I like your last words above: “to demonstrate Christ’s unrelenting love.” That is our one goal, as in 1 Timothy 1:5 “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”