Several people have told me the quality of Sunday messages in Toledo UBF has gone down in the past couple years. As I look back, it started much earlier than that. How do I know? I wrote some of those messages! For example, consider the following critique of my message in 2006:
The Toledo UBF messenger does not discuss Jesus’ love and sacrifice to give his people spiritual rest from the heavy burdens of this world. The Toledo UBF messenger does not even discuss Jesus giving us rest for our souls through his death of the cross for our sins and resurrection from the grave. In fact, the messenger’s focus is that people must find spiritual rest through works rather than Jesus. The messenger writes “Practically, we can find rest through Christian fellowship that reflect the real presence of Christ Jesus.”
It seems that the Toledo author uses the Bible passage just to pick an idea to get his/her thinking rolling. In this case, the Toledo author picks “rest”. But after s/he picks an idea, “rest”, his/her thinkig takes off like an unrestrained wild roller-coaster ride. Once s/he picks the idea of “rest” from the passage, the rest of his/her thinking or analysis of “rest” has nothing to do with the Bible passage. The Toledo author is thinking very hard about “rest” but his/her thinking lacks biblical foundation.
I actually taught that rest in Jesus is to do more work! I even implied that the more “spiritual” you are, the more work you will do, and thus the more rest you will find.
For this I am deeply sorry. I publicly repent of such horrid teachings. I am so thankful for those who were willing to speak honest words regarding what I was doing.
The original critique of my message from 2006 is here: http://rsqubf.livejournal.com/86003.html
And here are some honest observations that someone made after reading my message:
Here are some examples of UBF’s “true rest” and its “therapeutic” effects from a previous discussion:
* Andrew and his elder brother Ivan were down with influenza and temperature above 39C. Yet, they were commanded to attend a meeting. Ivan did not attend the meeting, therefore his wedding was postponed. Andrew – being younger and not so courageous to decline – attended the meeting that lasted after midnight when there was scarce public transport. After that, he got a sever pneumonia and later bronchitis, which healed completely only after leaving UBF, because in UBF he had never enough time to rest and recover.
* Before conferences, they had 15 different meetings a week in Kiev (in Heidelberg, it was similar, by the way) where they had to come to the center
* Those who wanted to visit their parents in the summer holidays were publicly dispraised
* Those members who attended other churches in Kiev were considered “lost sheep” [must not be “true rest” if you “keep the Sabbath holy” in a different church]
* You could not be in a good standing with UBF without attending *all* meetings
* One shepherdess was told to come to a meeting, although she had fever and her infant at home
* When the wife of the leader left the hospital in order to attend a UBF meeting, though she was on a drip, this was presented as exemplary behavior
* If you leave Kiev and visit another church in another town, you are denounced by the leader [Again, the “true Sabbath rest” must only be in UBF.]
Only after you leave UBF do you learn that “rest” in the Bible may actually means rest and “freedom” may actually mean freedom.
A reputable teacher knows and teaches that Jesus himself is a Christians’ true Sabbath rest. But in UBF, with the holy importance given to the Sunday meeting(s) and equating it (and only it) with “keeping the Sabbath holy,” I did not once hear that Jesus is our true Sabbath rest, in my decades spent there. UBF effectively turned Jesus’ teaching on its head and made Sunday my least favorite day: Man was made for the Sabbath, not the Sabbath for Man.