This is a letter from a grandmother in 2013 whose grandson was participating in UBF as a sheep. Her grandson left the ministry soon after this letter. She summarizes the problems as she sees them:
UBF seems to teach their people that salvation and righteousness is by works and can be lost if the Shepherd is disobeyed. Eternal salvation also seems to depend on leadership approval and some are kept in constant doubt of theirs. There even seems to be the thought that no one outside of UBF is saved. How can anyone who knows the Bible believe any of this? Eph. 2:9 says “Not of works last any man should boast.” In John 10:28 Jesus said “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
2. THE GREAT COMMISSION
UBF seems to believe that this is the highest command of God. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love one another. Additionally, the Great Commission also includes water baptism (Matthew 28:19), to which UBF gives little emphasis. How can you obey half of Jesus’s command and thumb your nose at the second part?
3. HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit seems to be given little emphasis and takes second place to UBF leadership commands (human dictates). This leaves no room for the leading of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. For example, Missionary appointments are by the organization and not dependent upon the call of God. How can anyone who knows the Scripture leave out the work of the third person of the Trinity in their life or the lives of their members? You might want to do some Biblical research on just what the role of the Holy Spirit is in our lives.
Jesus instituted the ordinances of Water Baptism and Communion (The Lord’s Supper). In fact, he commanded them. How can you just ignore Jesus’s commands and neither teach nor practice them except on rare occasion?
Shepherding seems to be a fulcrum of UBF teaching. This practice is not taught in Scripture and leads to abuse and excessive leadership control. In fact, the originators of the shepherding movement (not UBF) have renounced it as a mistake and apologized for their part in it? Why would you want to be a part of an organization that is so caught up in this misguided practice?
Testimonies are wonderful but what is the reason for asking people to share sins of which “they need to repent?” It is the Holy Spirit’s ministry to convict of sin, not man’s. Repentance is a personal action between ones self and God, not with an added “father confessor.” Why would you want to participant in an activity In which man attempts to usurp the Holy Spirit’s role?
Dating seems to be looked upon as sin and members are highly discouraged from having any romantic relationships. Why would you want to promote this since it’s not Biblical (read Song of Solomon and the book of Ruth)? Additionally, God made young men and women to be attracted to each other. Why would you want to take something beautiful that God made and condemn it?
8. ARRANGED MARRIAGES
Without getting into details, this is utter nonsense. We live in America, not some other country that still practices arranged marriages. Isaac and Rebekah’s arranged marriage was a special circumstance and has nothing to do with God’s direction for today. How could anyone support such a nonsensical practice that is far from Biblical?
9. DICTATORIAL TACTICS/ DOMINATION OF TIME
There’s a lot that could be said about how UBF uses guilt, authoritarianism and compulsion to control the lives of their members and gradually takes more and more of their time until UBF is the only thing that’s important. How can you sanction using these practices on young people that are trying to get an education and prepare for the future? Do you think God is pleased with this?
10. NEGLECT OF FAMILY DUTIES
UBF has a history of pressing their married members to the point where they neglect their children. There are documented cases of local authorities being notified of parental neglect by UBF parents. How could you be a part of an organization that would so dominate their members as to push them to such non-Christian actions? Do you think God is pleased with this?
11. INTERACTION WITH OTHER CHURCHES
The Bible teaches that His family should not isolate themselves from other Christians yet UBF tries to avoid contact and cooperation with other churches or ministries. You might ask yourself “is there something they are afraid of?” Do you really believe that UBFers are the only ones going to heaven?
12. EXIT STRATEGY
Just one question here: How could you feel good about being a part of an organization that uses threats, fear and intimidation to keep members from leaving. This isn’t exactly the approach the Bible teaches.
There seems to have been no supervision or control over finances in the past so members didn’t know anything about how much money the organization had or how it used it. How could anyone be expected to support an organization that is so secretive and is not accountable to the people that contribute? Again, not what the Bible teaches.
14. THE BLUE BOOK
Do you have a “blue book” from the 50th Anniversary Missionary/Shepherd Seminar in Korea? If so, are you comfortable with what it says and what’s going to be expected of you over the next 50 years?