This is a commentary of the American Reform movement of 2000-2001 by James J Kim.
Testimony of James Kim February 2001
Missionary James Kim worked as the director of the UBF chapter in Toledo from 1977 to 1990. Because of his criticism concerning the leadership of Samuel Lee expressed for the first time in a letter at the end of 1989, Samuel Lee finally removed him from the leadership and sent him to Houston. When he was there, he was isolated from UBF and defamed, despite the promises to support his building up of a new chapter, and in the year 1994 he was actually excommunicated. Out of frustration about the experiences in UBF and to restore and heal his family, which was almost broken due to UBF, he lived in seclusion in Houston for the following years. Only when he was contacted in February 2001 by the reformers of the recent reform movement, he broke his long silence in this letter and summarized his experiences and injuries which still aren’t healed completely as well as his assessment of the problems of UBF caused by the leadership of Samuel Lee. This document gives a very good insight into the power structures of UBF built up by Samuel Lee and it shows some of the reasons why a reform of the UBF is indispensable. James Kim uses the in UBF usual abbreviations “M.” for “missionary” and “S.” for “shepherd.”
Dear coworkers in the University Bible Fellowship!
“Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.’ and ‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for.” (1 Pet. 2:7,8)
It has been almost seven years since I have been silent to my brothers and sisters in UBF. But recently, some American Reform UBF missionaries invited me to prayer meeting. At first, my heart was not opened to the invitation because of the remembrance of the LeeBF I had known, which I didn’t want anything to do with [by writing “LeeBF” instead of UBF, James Kim wants to express that UBF was totally controlled by and centered around one person, Samuel Lee]. Even though I heard that the letter I sent to S. John Jun [the top leader of UBF Korea] in ’91 was put on a Web site, read by many brothers and sisters in Korea and widely accepted after 10 years, initially, I could not feel much about the reform movement in UBF.
In fact, I didn’t know what to think. I lost the sense of God’s history in UBF and have lived an obscure life the past seven years. Even my memory about ’89 events and the subsequent four years of struggle in Houston UBF remained fuzzy. So I had to search all the letters I wrote during the years of ’89 through ’94, which was lost somewhere in my closet. When I finally found them and read all of them, as well as reading all the articles related with the reform movements of Korean Yushilhup shepherds, God began to open the eyes of my heart. And as I met the old coworkers who suffered together for the Lord, the Lord touched my heart to join the reform movement. Yes, it was the work of the Holy Spirit. I can no longer hide in my obscure life. This is what I was touched with so I want to share this with the brothers and sisters together.
In 1990 February, I was chased out to Houston outwardly as a pioneer, but in truth, as a sinner branded as a rebel, troublemaker even as a Satan because of the letter I wrote to Dd. Samuel Lee. (From now on I will write D. Lee, actually Dd. Lee, which means “Dishonorable doctor,” since that title was bought by the blood shedding offering of UBF brothers and sisters. [James Kim refers to the meanwhile well known fact that Samuel Lee bought both of his titles with offering money.]) For four years I had been so much discredited and my pioneering work was undermined because of Dd. Lee’s every effort to discredit me and break his promise of sending five American shepherds, which he sealed with an oath and the signatures of the board of directors, and Paul Hong’s sneaky collaboration with him. (For instance M. Paul Sung, S. Kevin R. and S. Bruce K. wanted to come to Houston, since they initially believed that pioneering work is the work of God. Then M. Isaac Kim would study the Bible with them, or Paul Hong would counsel them and challenge them whether they were following God or a man, meaning that going to Houston for pioneering work is following a man, and following God is rejecting and denouncing M. James Kim and staying in Toledo.)
By the end of ’94, I was virtually excommunicated from UBF with such unspoken message that my name and the Houston chapter was taken out, and I was not invited to UBF staff meeting. Just before I was rejected, I wrote a letter to all staff shepherds in Korea and all the director missionaries. Apparently, most of my letters were thrown away. Even if some of them read it, they might not have understood it because all the facts were hidden by D. Lee and they just didn’t know what was going on. Besides he was doing his best to divide the coworkers in Houston and tried to diminish my ministry. For instance D. Lee would say to my wife, Rebecca B. Kim, that Filipinos were lazy, so he warned her not to co-work much with Miriam Chung, M. Jacob Chung’s wife. Then he turned around and tried to buy the hearts of M. Miriam Chung and Jacob Chung, treating them kindly and inviting them to the summer conference.
Yes, D. Lee got all he wanted. He was successful. And I was a failure. Yes, he was using all available means and carried out his plan to kick me out to Houston and then, step by step, drive me out of even the Houston UBF chapter. I was naive enough to believe that he had at least the integrity to keep his promise. I just know how I and M. Peter Chang [here and in the following of course not Peter Chang from Bonn is meant] were branded as rebels and Satan in UBF; and how he would have discredited me to brothers and sisters in Toledo through Paul Hong that I would be a fallen angel who left the mission and bore no fruits. After I was kicked out , for about a year, I was harboring in darkness before I overcame myself with the words. I was disillusioned and depressed. I felt such heart pain that I could not swallow food, thinking that I had heart attack. When I checked with a doctor if I had a heart problem, he was telling me that I was as strong as an ox. In the middle of the night, I would wake up and would cry with many tears for no apparent reason. I was like an abused woman by a wicked husband who was divorced as she protested his abuse on her and her children. It was like I almost lost my identity and everything because I had been married to LeeBF. Then I began to examine myself, going through soul search, to understand myself to why I became like this.
When I was a teenager, I was disappointed with the dark side of humanity inherent in Korean society such as sorrow, fatalism, discord and division, betrayal and distrust and the likes. I saw such darkness as distrust even in my parents, who ended up divorced. But one thing that enlightened me and gave me hope was to search for the truth. At that time, I believed that I had to know the principle of universe from which I believed human beings came from. The goal of my life in my high school period was to get a Ph.D. in physics and then get a Ph.D. in philosophy before the age of 30 so that I could obtain substantial knowledge about truth. At that time I believed that I could find the solutions to all human problems if I could find the ultimate human nature, the understanding of which comes from the knowledge of the human origin. That was the main motivation of why I wanted to study physics in college. In Seoul High School, we had a clique of nerds such as Jacob Chong Sung Kim and Kwang Soo Kim and myself who intensely talked about where we came from and where we are going. (Later Kwang Soo Kim led me to UBF and I, I in turn brought M. Jacob Kim, to UBF in the early 1970s.)
I had such passion for truth, and the Seoul National University (SNU) motto, “veritas lux mea,” meaning “the truth is my light” in Latin excited me so much that I studied physics day and night. But I was somewhat disappointed to see that even studying the science of physics would not give me truth and answers to where we came from and where we are going and the source of all-human problems and solutions. Then one of my dear friends, Kwang Soo Kim led me to UBF and I met M. Peter Chang there. And I was so fascinated with the truth of the words of God in the book of Genesis and John’s gospel. I thought I found the truth in Jesus and decided to walk in the path of our Lord Jesus. My life key verse was John 14:6: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” When I thought I found truth in Jesus and the solutions for all human problems, (Koreans and Americans alike) I gave up physics study and committed my life to be a missionary to U.S.
When I first came to Toledo, Ohio, in 1977 as a missionary, I taught John’s gospel to the students of the University of Toledo. Even though I sacrificed everything, including the dream of becoming a great scholar, it was the happiest time of my life because of the truth of the Word of God in Jesus. I had a comparatively pure heart, and I embraced the truth of the gospel whole-heartedly. The UT students must have seen Jesus and many flocked around Jesus in Toledo UBF in spite of my poor English, my immaturity, and in spite of our women missionaries’ teaching the Bible in a small apartment or rented house. It was such a happy time that I also had such a senior and friend like M. Peter Chang who loved the truth of the words of God dearly; he was so close to me in Columbus, Ohio, that we could share the spiritual problems and truth. At first, I firmly believed that M. Samuel Lee was the servant of Jesus who truly loved Jesus and his truth. I deeply respected him, until I came to know him and his true inner person, after everything outside was peeled off.
From the late 1970s and through the 1980s I began to be encountered with darkness and counterfeit truth that is inherent within us as I began to go to Chicago to receive training. Of course there is inherent darkness within me, which was my sinful nature. But it was fairly easy to deal with, because all I needed to do was to repent of my sins and to believe the gospel that I was united with Jesus in his death and resurrection. But the counterfeit truth in D. Lee and UBF that he represented was quite a different problem. At first, I didn’t understand. If any conflict occurred between D. Sam. Lee and myself, I tried to deny myself. I would always think to myself, “He is a great, mature servant of God. And I am young servant of Jesus. He is an anointed servant of Jesus. He cannot be wrong.” But then I finally encountered his true nature and his person. Until I wrote the letter to D. Lee at the end of 1989, and even after that, I was not sure what was the inherent darkness and falsehood within UBF and D. Lee.
At that time, I had no intention to be involved with a reform movement at all. I simply conveyed the conviction of truth to him without suspecting anything. But what sparked me was how he dealt with it; not dealing with me by the truth of Jesus, but by the power of darkness, the counterfeit truth, lies and deception. What hurt me the most and deeply was that I was betrayed when truth was conveyed; and that the organization of UBF, which I once believed was the embodiment of the truth of Jesus in this generation, was nothing but phony, because of its leader and his representation. There was such disillusionment that I dedicated the prime of my youth for nothing. Moreover, my family was totally burned out. My wife had been totally used as a working machine who had to work double overtime to provide for our family while I served the Lord full time.
Before we purchased and remodeled the present huge center (2841 Door St.), we had moved seven times from a house to house, starting from a small rented apartment; because of the growing ministry. For more than ten years our family had lived in the center. We had no family life. Our center was always open, never locked, and the flock of sheep, the UT students, came to the center any time of the day. Many of them would run to my kitchen before their Bible study, open our refrigerator and eat whatever they wanted to eat. (There were many episodes related with that: One time S. Randy W. drank almost one gallon of milk from my refrigerator, which my wife bought for feeding my oldest daughter, Rebecca, then a baby. My daughter cried for a while because she didn’t have anything to eat.) My wife would work hard to provide the food for these and all other expenses because we had not received support for a long time in the name of tent making ministry.
Pioneering time we were absolutely poor. (There was one episode, which I can not forget. In the early 1980’s, we rented one big center, a castle looking like house in three stories. A thief thought that we were very rich by judging from outside. In one snowy winter night about 2 am, a thief walked through our unlocked center house, searching for a valuable thing. At that time we had absolutely nothing; no bed, no TV, no stereo and no furniture except one to one Bible study tables and chairs. Finally he sneaked into my room where I fell fast asleep, snoring loudly, and searched for money or any valuable thing.
Apparently he opened my good looking briefcase, in which he only found bunch of papers scribbled for Sunday message writing. The only valuable thing he could find after long time search was a tape recorder that I used to use for practicing English. Even that was a broken one. In the end he had to run away empty-handed, being chased by me in bare feet in snowy ground, after I heard the scream of my wife who was frightened to see a thief and woke me up.)
I had to give up Ph.D. program after finishing Master’s in physics because of the full-time ministry, although I was the only one who passed the qualifying exam for the doctoral program in my department. And I again (actually was forced to) gave up the full-time physics instructor position in Owens Tech College [in Toledo] in 1986 because of the full time ministry. (My contract with the college 16 years ago was $28,500/9 months. When I tried to give up this job because of the staff meeting and the work of God, the president and the dean almost begged me to stay with the College. But at that time I was so dumb enough to go along with the subtle pressure of D. Lee to give up this job for the UBF ministry.)
After quitting, I only received $800/mon to $1,000/mon support from UBF with which I could not virtually support my family. My wife had been working to death to support the family and the ministry financially while delivering and raising out four children and plus doing the work of God. And yet she was criticized as a humanistic and unspiritual woman because she was not D. Lee’s pet, but very much independent.
When I found the present Toledo center in 1989, (located at 2841 Door St, Toledo Ohio) and purchased with $30,000, our Toledo brothers and sisters raised considerable amount of money very sacrificially. (I believed we raised close to $100,000 from here and there.) And they donated time and labor. (S. Steve R. worked hardest, although everybody, S. Mark G., Bob N., Art B., Bruce K., Don K. worked so hard.) At that time my family sold our car and offer in order to support the remodeling work.
What had Sam Lee (D. Lee) done in response to my sacrificial life in Toledo ministry? He tried to strip me off, as much as he could, whatever I deserved; honor as a pioneer, love relationship with my coworkers and brothers and sisters whom I toiled for, God’s acknowledgement, my position in God’s history and the likes. He wanted to send me away empty-handed and so dishonorably to Houston. He tried to remove any kind of my claim on Toledo UBF materially and spiritually.
When I left Toledo in 1990, I was quickly forced to sign the quit claim deeds, since the center was still on my name. But any kind of material forfeit by him I could tolerate because I can put everything in God’s hand; because God is my great reward (Gen. 15:1). What I couldn’t tolerate was his lying spirit and playing the role of an exact embodiment of Jesus’ image as a true servant of Jesus, while he was a phony and counterfeit servant.
When I wanted to pioneer new campus in 1989, at the height of the successful ministry was because I wanted to live like St. Paul, the pioneer of Gentile churches in Roman world and thus show an example in UBF. But D. Lee turned around and used this opportunity to cut me off from God’s history. It was all because I exposed his darkness and thus humiliated him unwittingly. He tried to send the support to me down in Houston from Toledo UBF only to use it for the propaganda that he treated me so kindly and supported me everyway he could. That’s the reason why I wrote to Paul Hong [who had been appointed the director in Toledo instead of James Kim] in 1991 to stop sending the material support. But behind the back, D. Lee tried so hard to erase my name from the history of Toledo ministry.
I know how D. Lee has tried so hard to picture me in Toledo UBF with the collaboration of Paul Hong that James Kim as not honorable pioneer, but a rebel, interrupter of God’s work. I am sure D. Lee and Paul Hong must have persuaded God’s people in Toledo time and time again that D. Lee had shown God’s love to James Kim so much as a father does to his son, but James rejected God’s love and his training because of his human thinking. Anybody who tried to write a letter to me, or contact me from Toledo, would have been severely reprimanded.
When we were kicked out, the wounds within my wife were no less than mine. I had only one direction in my mind when I was kicked out of UBF: restoration of my wife and family and then restoring myself. Before I become a great servant of the Lord or do any external great work of God, I had to be a true Christian, true to my Lord Jesus Christ and to my family first. And then I can do the work of the Lord in his due time when he calls me again. The Lord began to restore my heart as I began to understand the true meaning of freedom in Christ and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. “It is freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1) “Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” (Gal. 6:17) Yes, I had been a slave of an organization.
My relationship with the Lord depended upon the position in UBF, I too had such pride that UBF was the only work of God and the work of God in other styles and churches were outside of God’s history. Why was I so disillusioned? Why was I so hurt? Why did I feel I lost the sense of identity? Isn’t that because I was a slave of an organization and man? It is enough for me to have Jesus in me. But even if I was kicked out from UBF, Jesus was in my heart. Even if the world forsakes me, my Lord Jesus never forsakes me. Yes, the mark of Christ is in my heart, his death and resurrection in my heart, the Holy Spirit he pours upon me is in my heart. He is still my King, my Lord and my Savior. I had been like a sheep-feeding machine. Even when I came down to Houston, I tried so hard to have as many one-to-one Bible studies as I could. In the process, I neglected my basic responsibility as a father and a husband. In the name of feeding sheep, I neglected my family to the point of becoming a broken family. My wife has been suffering endlessly carrying the heavy yoke of working overtime to support the family. I was justified in doing the work of God, but I heavily relied on my wife’s income.
The next five years, I struggled like Jacob in Genesis who worked like a few days for seven years to get his wife Rachel. I worked hard so that I could be a major bread earner in my family and thus relieve my wife and restore her both in body and mind. In fact, I committed a grave sin against her because I criticized in my mind and persecuted her together with D. Lee when I was ignorant and followed his judgment that she was unspiritual and humanistic. To me, restoring her was very important. I opened a Tae Kwon Do school in 1994 and begin to build a successful school and fruitful Tae Kwon Do disciple training within several years.
Training youngsters with Tae Kwon Do seems to be much more useful and constructive than bringing young people to UBF under the leadership of D. Lee. Since I quit the SNU captain position and Tae Kwon Do top competitor’s life in 1973 in order to join UBF, I had not trained seriously with Tae Kwon Do. I began to seriously train with Tae Kwon Do until recently I met my old master and became certified to 8th degree black belt [second highest master degree] in Tae Kwon Do. The Lord strengthened me both in mind and body and spirit.
My health was restored like I was in my 20s so that I could do his work with great health, without hindrance when he calls me again. I raised about 50 black belts [master degrees] for the past seven years. The Lord provided me a full-time math instructor position in a small Junior college.
I wrote numerous poems to the point that I could publish a poetry book soon. I would like to share one of them with you.
Truth was betrayed
As it was conveyed.
Where is the true face,
As we see the fallen race?
Can hypocrisy be unveiled,
In a world counterfeit prevailed?
How long will injustice run its race,
In an arena gladiators garlanded with lace?
To heaven its reach delayed
As bravado of lone soldiers relayed.
Where is heavenly deliverance,
As clamors of the groaning exhausted forbearance.
Can the Morning Star break the night,
On earth confusion armors the knight?
How long will disillusionment run its course,
In a circuit a brave soldier gallops his horse?
Enlightenment will enliven the suppressed
As the Son of Righteousness free the oppressed.
The Lord helped me to almost finish doctoral work in kinesiology [a mixture of traditional far eastern with modern medicine] with statistical analysis. He also blessed me to learn about acupuncture and moxibustion [two methods of Chinese medicine]. The Lord enabled me to help numerous suffering people from herniated disk diseases and frozen shoulders and carpal tunnel syndromes. He opened the door for me to international business. I was praying in my heart that the Lord bless me with material wealth that I might serve the Lord freely with that material blessing and never become corrupted like D. Lee. He blessed me in every way and healed my coworker wife and my four children. Our family begins to feel joy and the happiness of the Lord poured upon us. As the Lord restored my wife and I became the major bread earner in my family, I searched for the way I could serve the Lord. I studied in the Quaker theology school and tried to do the work of God through the Baptist church, after receiving approval from the Baptist Union. But strangely, nothing came to fruition for me. Still serving the Lord in true way was still unsolved problem in my heart.
So I wanted to wait for God’s calling, only preparing myself for that in the future. Still, UBF was a thing in the past. I was really happy not seeing the ugliness of LeeBF and never intended to see it again. Although I know there are so many truly God-loving servants in UBF, my heart was so much burned with D. Lee and everything of UBF that he represented. UBF gradually slipped from my mind. I even forgot all the darkness of lying, backstabbing and betrayal from those whom I thought were my friends along with D. Lee. They no longer bothered me. I had sympathy for some of those living as slaves of a man and an organization.
Then I heard about the reform UBF work from M. Peter Chang last year September. It was interesting. But still my heart was very closed. But then I came to read the confession and declaration of the reformed UBF Homepage (reformubf.org), 15 questions to D. Lee as well as the writings related with ’76 events. I came to understand the true hearts of the Korean reformed shepherds as well as American reform missionaries. The Lord touched my heart and opened my eyes again. Here is my recent enlightenment that I want to share with my brothers and sisters in UBF who still love Jesus and his truth.
The reading reminded me of the way of God’s working. Ten years ago, LeeBF rejected me. Now, brothers and sisters of the Reformed UBF accepted me. Within 40 years of short history of UBF, I also could see the repeated pattern of the history of God. “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.” Who are the builders? The Israelites were the chosen people and priestly nation. God chose them out of all nations to carry out his administration, the work of salvation (Exodus 19:5,6). He raised Abraham, David, and Jesus, the Son of God, who would become the cornerstone upon which He built the kingdom of God. But when the Son of God, the promised Messiah prophesied through the prophets of long ago, came to the house of God, the Pharisees and religious leaders rejected him and crucified him on the cross and threw him outside the city gate (Heb. 13:12). They thought that God only dwelt in the temple of God where they served the God of Israel so diligently day in and day out.
However, God does not live in houses made by men nor in the hearts of the Pharisees and religious leaders (Acts 7:48). Why? It was because of their stubbornness and uncircumcised heart, as Stephen challenged them (Acts 7:51). It was their unrepentant hearts that blinded them not to see the Son of God and his holy work of God, the work of the Holy Spirit. They rejected Him and crucified Jesus, but God lifted Jesus up and made him the capstone of the salvation work. They had never seen the Messiah as long as they did not repent. Even to this day the Jewish people do not see Him as the Messiah, looking for another messiah because of their uncircumcised heart.
But anyone who repents and believes the Lord opens the eyes of his/her heart. Saul thought that the sect of Jesus of Nazareth stumbled the work of God. So he persecuted the church of God with all his might (Acts 9:1,2). But the kingdom of God could come to him when he repented and believed the Lord Jesus, as the risen Lord appeared to him (Acts 9:4-18). Even though he was a Pharisee of Pharisees who crucified Jesus, all his sins were forgiven and he became truly a servant of God; as he repented his sins and believed the gospel.
In the same way, the Israelites and the Romans alike rejected the apostles, but the Lord God lifted them up and raised them to be the cornerstone of the first church. It was true to the apostolic fathers in the second, and third centuries. Most of them were rejected by the builders of the Roman world and became martyrs. But the Lord Jesus built the Universal Church (later called Catholic Church) upon them so they became its capstone. As the time passed, the builders of Catholic Church again became like the people of Israel who burdened the Lord God with the multitude of their sacrifices (Is. 1:11a). Catholic Church leaders trampled God’s church when they focused their eyes on beautiful cathedrals, churches, Vatican City temple, and the power and authority over a multitude of Catholic people.
The true sacrifice the Lord God wanted from them was a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17). When the reformers like Martin Luther or Calvin arose, they rejected them and not only excommunicated them, but also they wanted to kill them, just as the Pharisees did to Jesus. But what happened? Luther became the capstone of the Reformation as well as the capstone of the Lutheran church, Calvin, the founder of Presbyterian Church.
The principle of the history of God applies to UBF history. From the early 1960s and 1970s, the Lord’s great commission in Acts 1:8 was indeed the voice of God to the fatalistic Korean young people. Yes, the slogan of “The Bible Korea and World Mission” was not D. Lee’s or M. Sarah Barry’s idea but from the Lord Jesus who touched their hearts. Many intellectual young people all around the Korean campuses responded to the Lord’s call in the 20th century. Many students in Kwang Ju, Dae Jun, Chung Ju, Busan, Tae Gu, Seoul and other provinces gave up their future dream and dedicated themselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).
Many became full-time staff shepherds in UBF; some are dubbed by D. Lee as senior shepherds (in ‘60s) such as Shepherds B. Ahn, S. Sohn, S. Lee, John Jun, Peter Suh, John Kim, Samuel H. Lee, James Lee, Isaac Koh, Moses Kim, Bona Hong, Caleb Chung,… and others, junior shepherds (in ‘60s and ’70s) such as Shepherds, Paul Rhee, James H. Kim, Mark Yang, David Kim, Peter Chang, … and the list goes on. These servants became the backbone of Korean UBF and the directors of missionary sending chapters in Korea.
Many nurses and nursing students and medical students gave up their dreams and even their families and obeyed the Lord’s command of world mission. I myself was one of them. When M. Peter Chang visited me in my home in 1973 and gave me Mark 1:17, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” I responded to it. I gave up the dream of becoming a great scholar and obeyed the Lord’s world mission command. In 1970s, nurse missionaries in Germany gave 100% their offering to the Lord.
Many Korean young people from all over the country gave up their career and their dreams, and volunteered to be full time shepherds and missionaries. Yes, what they offered to the Lord was true repentance, that is, turning their hearts and lives to the Lord from themselves and the world. Yes, that was indeed the true dynamic and explosive work of the Holy Spirit, and D. Lee and M. Sarah Barry were great builders. But D. Lee’s spiritual pride began to spring forth, as he saw such a great work of the Lord. He was gradually falling into deep-seeded spiritual pride in his heart. Perhaps these kinds of thought must have gone through his mind; “Look, how great the work of UBF is! We achieved what other churches could not do. This is the fruit of the hand of my hard work. All the shepherds are my spiritual sons and I am their spiritual Father. Yes, UBF is mine, because I am the builder. How gorgeous and obedient a servant of God I am. Indeed I represent the Lord Jesus to them. If people want to obey invisible Jesus, they have to obey me, the visible servant of God, the genius and obedient one.”
I believe that he began to be confused the Lord’s money when he diverted the most of UBF offerings to one account in the Benoit bank of Mississippi, in his own name, in M. Sarah Barry’s hometown. At that time, he justified himself to us indicating that he was saving the money for the pioneering work of UBF USA. (And yet he could use this money like his own private money because he was the only one who could have access to this account.)
As he became proud and built up his own confidence, he more and more relied on his human zeal and human ingenuity in training God’s servants. His training went beyond what humans could give, violating all kinds of human right, and not even hesitating to use violence (Refer to the letters in 1976). The voice raised in 1976 through the senior shepherds was that of the Lord that demands repentance from D. Lee. But what did he do? He was like the tenants in Mark 12:2,3. “At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruits of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed.”
What the Lord Jesus wanted from D. Lee was to give some of the fruits of the vineyard of UBF to the Lord; namely, giving glory and honor to Him, acknowledging that Jesus is the true owner of the UBF vineyard, not he; and bear fruit of humility by serving his servants with humility, not suppressing them in the name of training. (I witnessed and still remember vividly how staff shepherds in Korea were totally intimidated and trembled in the terror of training, every time I attended the staff meeting as an intern shepherd in 1975. It was horrible to witness, in one snowy day of in the winter of 1975-76, how senior shepherds had to smack each other’s cheeks until bleeding. One of them, S. S. Sohn had his eardrum burst. The training was for punishment because they arrived late at the Monday staff meeting due to a traffic jam caused by heavy snow.)
When the senior shepherds’ event finally broke out in the Easter period of 1976, D. Lee hardened his heart, instead of repenting. To suppress the truth, he lied and tried to distort the truth and even used violence like the tenants in the parable of the vineyard. (It was fitting that the ’76 event occurred during Easter because it was like the returning of the risen Lord. But D. Lee told us that Satan worked so strongly at the time of Easter. In 1976, I was still an intern shepherd in Kwan Ak, since I graduated in 1975.) At that time most of the junior shepherds, including myself, became collaborators with D. Lee, for we were like a blind loyal dog. We memorized 1 Corinthians chapter 15 by D. Lee’s order and recited it like a parakeet, but we didn’t have spiritual eyes to see the risen Jesus behind the event. I was one of the junior shepherds who wrote a letter to German missionaries denouncing senior shepherds as Satan’s agents, without knowing the whole story. Even to this day it hurts to think that I was used as an instrument of unrighteousness at that time; I repented my sins many times and ask forgiveness from senior shepherds.
Outwardly, D. Lee tried to give the impression that he obeyed the world mission command when he came to Chicago in July 1977. But in truth he was running away from the pain of repenting his sin and running away from the Lord Jesus. His uncircumcised heart seemed to block his spirit further. I came to Toledo, in May 1977. The Lord gave me the fire of the Spirit. I was spiritually young, inexperienced and my English was very poor. I was only 25 years. Humanly speaking, I was not fit for such a great work. But the Spirit of the Lord was on me and touched hearts of many young students in the University of Toledo. It was really strange how the Lord blessed us and sent so many English speaking American students. Bob N. was the symbol of the ancestor in Toledo like Jordan G. in Chicago.
When M. Rebecca Hee Soon Kim [not to be confused with Rebecca B. Kim, the wife of James Kim] invited him, from a Christian group, to our Sunday worship service in a small basement apartment, he accepted it immediately. Since then he became a permanent fixture in Toledo UBF. Repenting his hopeless life in a car factory, he invited many UT students to our one-on-one Bible studies starting from Christy T. in Chicago. Christy, who had been spiritually thirsty, brought many nice girls to our Bible study, including Susan A., who was later brought to Chicago for marriage to one shepherd; Kathy V., who went to Columbus for study and then later was sent to Chicago from the Columbus UBF to get married to S. Mark V. Rob L., the talented piano major student in UT, brought many artistic and intellectual students to the Toledo ministry after repenting his sin smoking marijuana. He brought Joan G., Randy W., Jerry K. and Tony C. I lost both Rob L. and Jerry K. (who liked each other) because D. Lee forced her to get married to one spiritually young shepherd in Chicago, (I only remember him by his first name, Doug.)
Many coworker missionaries in the USA were inspired to see the work of God in Toledo. Many missionaries gained confidence thinking, “If a person like James Kim, who was very young, immature, naive and poor in English, and ignorant (just a little bit brave) can help American students, I can do it, too.” But in truth it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The work of God spread like a wild fire in the campuses around the US: OSU in Columbus, North Western., University of Illinois, North Eastern, Oakton College in Chicago, UC in Cincinnati, MU in Washington, in N.Y., around the late 1970s and 1980s and later campuses in Milwaukee, LA and Madison, Pittsburgh and so on.
As long as the Word of the Lord was there, the flocks of sheep were growing in the gospel of repentance and belief in Jesus. I was growing together with them, and the kingdom of God was within us. But as soon as D. Lee began to touch and interfere with Toledo in order to put his stronghold trouble started. He used strategies such as on informant system and forced marriages.
As D. Lee scouted M. Rebecca Hee Soon Kim as his informant and so-called “hidden director” and implemented her in the leader’s training for crediting D. Lee and discrediting me, the work of the Holy Spirit began to chill out. Human discord, doubts and grumbling arose among growing leaders. Lee’s use of Rebecca H. Kim to split my relationship by planting doubts in the hearts of UT students and discrediting me almost made it impossible for me to train and raise up Rob L. and his band of intellectuals.
And yet, at that time, I was so naïve and I had absolutely no idea about D. Lee doing such shrewd, crooked things behind the scenes. I was struggling so much when the leaders were scattered. Although it had a lot to do with D. Lee’s scheme, I finally got blamed for everything and accepted D. Lee’s prescription of receiving message training. From that time on D. Lee’s propaganda through Isaac and Rebecca H. Kim began: “Well, Sunday worship service number of Toledo increased only when he received message training in Chicago, and the number decreased when James Kim skipped training in Chicago.” But the truth was the opposite.
After many years of message training in Chicago, I finally realized the effect of D. Lee’s message training on me. It was becoming one of his copycats. If I dug out the words of God independently and received so much grace from the Holy Spirit, I was severely criticized as a humanistic person who did not follow the Word of God. But if I copied his manuscript, I was praised as a spiritual servant who understood the meaning of the scripture. How could the kingdom of God grow in my heart when I could not receive the grace and inspiration from the Lord by just copying someone else’s message? And yet I had to become hypocritical, in order to have harmony with him and avoid conflict with D. Lee. Later on I would only bring the copy of his manuscript, glue and scissors if I had to receive message training. All I needed to do was just cut some applicable portion of his manuscript and glue it on a new paper, and wrote a few applications for that. Then I received high marks in his training. Because I was slow, it took a long time for me to learn all these tactics.
In the meantime M. Peter Chang was sent to Columbus, Ohio, for OSU pioneering in October 1978. His endless struggle to dig the words of the Lord inspired him to understand the OSU students and the power of the gospel. Because of his learning Jesus, he became a good shepherd. Within two to three years already Columbus UBF could purchase the present big center (365 E. 13th Av., Columbus, Ohio), and many spiritually thirsty OSU students flocked around the words of God and the shepherd who could feed them with the Word of God. Grace C., who later was married to Cincinnati shepherd John M., was the first one who came to the Bible study. And then, S. Bill and Carmen R. found true hope in Jesus, and became good shepherds to many simple and truth-seeking young people. S. Jerry K., the talented art student, and Laura K., who helped S. Bob B. were raised up enough to minister to the Columbus UBF as a servant of the Word of God. Capable Teddy H. and his wife Liz, Dr. S.‘s whole family and many prominent [in UBF] believers came to Columbus UBF to hear the Word of the Lord every Sunday. A great work of the Lord arose there. In the middle of 1980’s Columbus UBF became already the leading ministry in USA UBF. Reaching almost more than 100 American students attending the Sunday worship service each week, it became the major support chapter of Chicago UBF.
Then again M. Peter’s conflict and struggle began as D. Lee tried to gain foothold and strong control in Columbus. Fortunately, the informant system could not work in Columbus, because M. Peter was not as naive as I was. So D. Lee turned his direction to bringing leaders to Chicago UBF from Columbus UBF. It appeared that Columbus UBF sent the wives of key American staff shepherds in Chicago such as Kathy V. and Deborah W. as well as Vickie S., the wife of S. Bill S., who left because of D. Lee’s spiritual abuse. And Teddy and Liz H. were sent to Chicago to pioneer Oakton College. D. Lee always thought that all UBF chapters are his, so he could bring anyone he likes to Chicago. For instance, he liked Bob M. from Washington, so he brought him to Chicago from Washington UBF. But the problem is that he always discredits the chapter shepherd at that time.
Another instance, D. Lee would often say, “Hell was growing in Teddy’s heart when he was in Columbus UBF, while the kingdom of God was growing in his heart now in Chicago.”[Remark of an observer: Obviously, it was exactly the other way round. In Chicago Teddy became a little power abuser just like Samuel Lee.] When M. Peter would politely reject D. Lee’s forceful attempt to bring leaders to Chicago without understanding the situation, he made such propaganda like this; “Peter Chang and Columbus UBF fell into Judaism.” M. Peter too had to suffer endlessly with D. Lee, who was not pleased with his studying the Word of God independently.
D. Lee was trying very hard to cut the horizontal love relationship among coworkers in UBF USA and expected to only establish the vertical relationship with him. For instance, he would try hard to make us compete with each other. But M. Peter and I would share the problems together, and eventually came to grip on the spiritual problems of UBF.
It was M. Gus Park (now Pastor Gus Park) who became a harbinger in the second reform movement of UBF. He had such a strong sense of the problems over D. Lee’s meaningless, humanistic training and resigned the staff missionary position from the Milwaukee chapter in 1987. But he could not be heard by other coworkers because D. Lee controlled consensus by discrediting him as one of the laziest missionaries and as the one who left the mission because of that.
So when I wrote the letter to D. Lee at the end of ’89, I first visited M. Gus Park in Austin and heard from him about all the problems he had. M. Peter and I conferred with each other. Around this time, M. John Shin, the director of the N.Y. chapter, was seriously considering reigning from the N.Y. directorship. We also conferred with M. John Shin about the way D. Lee was treating his family and others. (M. John had long given us the image of a saint because of his long patience and kind, gentle, humble love over people. But he suffered enough when D. Lee played with his very existence by setting his salary at $100 per weekly Bible study. He was a SNU business degree graduate who used to make $3,000 to $4,000/month in a bank. D. Lee pushed him to resign. But serving the N.Y. UBF ministry, he was only supported on an average of $1,000/month while his apartment rent in NY was almost $1,000/month.) And I also called M. Jimmy Rhee to confirm the facts I wrote in my letter. After I wrote the letter, I showed it to Paul Hong and he strongly agreed about the spiritual problems in UBF and said he would be on the side of reform too. M. Peter encouraged me since he shared the same problems. M. Peter too was excommunicated from UBF because of that.
When I wrote the letter to convey the truth to D. Lee at the end of 1989, the end result was that I was totally stripped. It was like Mark 12:4: “Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully.” I thought I lost everything. I thought I was a failure in the reform movement. I thought I made too many mistakes. But did God fail? Did God make a mistake? By no means! These are the characteristics of the history of God and of the kingdom of God.
We are only a part of his history. He is the one who carries out and fulfills his administration and builds his own kingdom. We are only one cornerstone in his house. When men reject God’s call of repentance through his servants, he uses the rejected servants as the capstone of His salvation work. The third reform movement in 2000 is the Lord’s sending his servants a third time for D. Lee to repent. After seven years God was using me, M. Peter Chang, John Shin, Gus Park as one of the corner stones of the reform movement. It was not something I wanted to do. When the Lord Jesus sends his servants third time, D. Lee has only one choice left: to repent or perish.
The Korean reform shepherds, American reform missionaries, and all reformers would be surely treated shamefully by D. Lee and be rejected if he does not repent. But God is using them as the capstone of the reform movement for the salvation work through the reform UBF. God’s work always prospers through the remnants even if his chosen people reject the true will of the Lord. (Is. 6:13, 7:30-32).
John the Baptist began his ministry by preaching, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mk 1:15b) Peter also exhorted the crowds at the Day of Pentecost. “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to those who repent and believe the good news that all their sins are wiped out on the cross and they are raised with the risen Lord. (Rom. 6:4-6) From that time on they lead spirit-filled lives (Rom. 8:6-9) and the kingdom of God opens in their hearts. On the other hand, Jesus warned that the world cannot receive the Spirit of truth, because “it neither sees him, nor knows him” (Jn. 14:17).
The world represents unrepentant hearts, the hearts that rebel against the Lord, and the hearts that set their minds on sinful things. As we are led by the Holy Spirit, that is, the Spirit of truth (Jn. 14:16,17), and the Spirit of the Risen Lord (Rom. 8), we bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The work we do for the Lord is not offering bulls and rams or endless meaningless sacrifices, but offering ourselves as living sacrifices. (Rom. 12:1)
Our lives themselves will be the fragrance to the Lord. Wherever we live, whatever we do, people around us will see and witness the glimpse of the image of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul said about these fruits: “but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22,23a) As we are led by the Spirit of Christ, we become salt and the light of the world. On the other hand, we bear wild fruits of thorns and thistles (Heb. 6:8) if we keep rebelling against the Lord.
The thorns and thistles are exchanging the truth of God for a lie (Rom. 1:25a, Jn. 8:44), jealousy, selfish-ambition, dissention, envy, deceit, evil, greed, senselessness, heartlessness, ruthless and the like. (Rom. 1:25, 29-31) We can see clearly here, that the fruits of God are not measured by external quality without considering internal quality; rather, by internal quality exhibited externally in one’s own life, society and community.
Today, I lament for D. Lee and people who exalt him because they bore wild fruits of thorns and thistles. For the past two decades, they have not been bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord desires the fruits it once bore 30 some years ago. And I dare challenge them on the basis of the overwhelming evidence clearly exhibited through many events, which are the tip of icebergs. And I bring these charges before the Lord’s court. Our Lord Jesus said, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn-bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:43-45)
I read in a web site a letter by a former young missionary in Chicago UBF to inform Korea UBF about two shocking events he experienced in Chicago, which both revealed the heartless character of D. Lee to him. [These incidents were the suicide of a young Korean UBF member and the destruction of a family of Korean UBF members which both happened in Chicago UBF under the leadership of D. Lee. The young missionary later did not want his name and full letter to be published to not hurt the feelings of the families involved and to protect his family from the hostility of UBF members. That’s why his letter has been removed from this web site and others. However, the problem are not only hurt feelings, but that such things will happen again and again when they are always covered up for whatever good or bad reasons. As that young missionary wrote: “I lamented over Chicago UBF where nobody could speak out the truth. But I was one of them. That’s because nobody could stay in Chicago UBF, speaking out the truth. So, eventually, my family left Chicago UBF finally and inevitably with a painful heart and deep agony where we devoted our youth and time. And I am writing this in order to speak out the truth even a little bit. My desire is: Please let people know the true picture of Chicago UBF. And please try to make efforts that the young missionaries should not be victimized by the kingdom of Samuel Lee, coming to Chicago UBF without knowing anything about the situation here like me.” Considering that, the following passage has not been removed from James Kim’s letter.] His letter showed how he was brokenhearted to witness the way D. Lee and Chicago UBF dealt with Little Sam Choi while he was alive, and how D. Lee behaved after L. Sam Choi was deceased and why he could not but leave Chicago UBF. I also read about some Chicago missionary who tried to discredit that young missionary and tried to give his own version of the facts. But the problem is that this kind of event is not an isolated event but the sequel of many events that disclose the heartlessness of D. Lee. Here was one young man whom his mom had to tell to return to Korea if things become difficult in the U.S., instead of attempting to do negative things in time of despair.
Surely somebody must have told D. Lee about him concerning this. (D. Lee and Chicago people said that he was suicidal in Korea and that his mom encouraged him not to do such a thing in the U.S. at the time of despair and frustration and come back to Korea. I am not sure whether it is a true fact or he just trying to emphasize it in order to avoid his responsibility and blame everything on L. Sam Choi and his parents for the event.) There he was so frustrated with language problem while studying English first in Illinois State University, and then in Loyola University.
When D. Lee saw his despair and frustration in language, what was his response? He took L. Sam’s passport and subjected him to some kind of weird training letting him sweep the fallen leaves around the Chicago center. From a normal person’s perspective, this kind of response seemed to be insane. And yet this could be D. Lee’s perspective and understanding on this young man: “He is weak. The reason why he is so weak is because his mom and dad overprotected him. In order for him to overcome his weakness he must fight to overcome himself like a good soldier of Christ. I must help him to be strong.” Perhaps his rationale of taking away his passport from him was that Little Sam Choi would go to God and depend on God if there is no outlet of escape left for him to come out of the despairing and hopeless situation. And D. Lee’s prescription for helping his weakness was giving him the training of sweeping the fallen leaves around the Chicago center or giving whatever Spartan training necessary. But for him there is no outlet except choosing the permanent escape – suicide.
There are so many things that can be learned from this one big event – seemingly one insignificant event in the eyes of D. Lee. First of all, it is the total failure of D. Lee’s understanding of human problems and of the power of the Holy Spirit, no matter how much he tried to cover up and tell us lies. Any human being can become hopeless and weak and is tempted to escape from the bleak and dark reality. That is instinctive human nature. That itself is not evil. God never denounced this. In fact, he is very sympathetic toward this kind of human nature.
That is the reason why the Lord God of Israel sent Moses to the burdened slave people of Israel who were in despair (Exodus 3-10). Because God is the God of love, he bestowed Moses with the power of the Almighty God again and again. Why did God perform so many miracles through Moses for the slave people without hope? Isn’t that because God is the God of love and the God of hope? I have to say through this event that he is one 70-year old man who doesn’t have the slightest clue about the way of thinking and of the agony, despair, weakness and strength of this young generation. And he does not believe in the power of the God of hope, either. What kind of garbage mind takes away the passport and cuts off the hope completely from this young man?
This is a spiritual junky we are talking about. If he were the true servant of the Lord, he would have prayed that the word of the Lord touched him and that he may be strengthened with the almighty power of God through his Spirit and be rooted in his deep love (Eph. 3:15-19). What kind of unbelieving trash training is taking away his passport and making him sweep the fallen leaves instead of making an environment that the Lord may touch his heart with the love of God? No, it’s not just his one-time failure. He is doing the very same thing over and over again, only in different forms, because he does not change his way.
It’s not that D. Lee doesn’t want to believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s just that he believes in his confidence in his past success of training and relies on his own ingenuity too heavily. (Many times it was failure but he forces himself to believe that they are a success, because, indeed, he helped many Korean young people in the ‘60s and ’70s through his training). As a result, he has been giving numerous senseless, heartless and meaningless training to the children of God, which only injures them and hurts them and, many times, leaves permanent scars within them.
What was the response of those in Chicago center that saw L. Sam Choi, who while sweeping fallen leaves around the Chicago center, whispered to himself, without focus in his eyes, that somebody took his passport? They might have felt so bad for this helpless young man. But they also are helpless and powerless to do anything in helping this one fragile young man. They are too busy to meet their own quota of one-to-one Bible study, going to campus to fish students, Sogam writing and a heavy schedule of participating in prayer meeting and coworker meetings. Besides, who would challenge the discernment and refute the prescription of the Great Servant of God? If you do, your fate too would become like that of the young missionary who could not go along with that kind of incidents and had to finally leave UBF with a painful heart and deep agony.
What should have been the response of D. Lee as he heard that Little Sam Choi committed suicide? He should have repented with a contrite and broken heart and with many tears that he relied on his past experience and his own confidence and they totally failed in helping him. He should have asked the forgiveness of his own sin before the cross of Jesus and remember the heart of our Lord Jesus who regarded the life of one lost sheep more than this universe. How many times we have studied about Jesus in Mark 5:1-20 who sacrificed a quiet night’s sleep and 2,000 pigs in order to help one seemingly insignificant soul such as the Gerasene demoniac? How many times did we study the fatherly love of God well expressed in Luke 15:11-31? How many times and how many years have these messages been delivered in the MSU Summer Conferences? Why do we still fail to practice this?
We can well understand the answer as we think about D. Lee’s way of dealing with this event. How was his response to this event? The first thing he did was that he got rid of any evidence that might show that he was responsible for this or related with this so that he might not be subject to a criminal investigation or at least to denouncement and blame from God’s people. It is most probable that one leaves some kind of memo for the reason for such dramatic action as suicide, at least some kind of appeal to his dear parents. D. Lee ordered missionaries and hurriedly got rid of things in Little Sam Choi’s room. And then he hurriedly cremated him while deterring his parents to come to his funeral so that nobody might have any grounds to charge him. Again it was L. Sam Choi’s sin and he was the only responsible one. And D. Lee had done nothing wrong again.
Humanly speaking, yes, he was clever, and his criminal act was perfect and no human court can prosecute him for this matter. (I am not sure of this.) Yes, he fooled everybody and successfully covered up his criminal type of behavior. But does the Lord overlook this and cover up his crime? Was the Lord God pleased with his suppressing the truth? By no means! As I was writing this, many tears came down from my eyes. I had never seen this young man and do not know this young man. I only remember his dad, S. Samuel Choi, his sincere face, and his mom, Yoon Sook Choi, her gentle smile. There’s no doubt that they loved him dearly as I and my wife dearly loves our only son. D. Lee’s crime is not only human or social. More deeply, it is spiritual, that is, never repenting before the Lord God in spite of overwhelming events like this event. Did D. Lee really take care of this little one with tender love as he took care of his own son and daughter? You might say that this kind of unfortunate event can happen anywhere and can happen beyond our human reach. Then how could the same kind of event repeat itself in the midst of helping that person? And how could he get away from the responsibility from his sin each time? Isn’t that because of the people like you who try to cover his sin as you cover the rotten stench of garbage with a blanket? Didn’t it occur to you at least one time that the young man could have lived and got out of the hump of his life and would have, someday, helped out other young person in that matter, had he not come to Chicago?
This is no new news to me. It’s actually a déjà vu of the visit of the angel of death to Chicago UBF. (Perhaps there could be more that I personally don’t know about.) The same event by nature occurred a long time ago in Chicago to a female missionary named Shim Jin Soon, as many of you may already know. This particular event happened almost two decades ago. Originally, she was a missionary in Atlanta, Georgia.
She came to Chicago for marriage training. We were told that she had loved one American shepherd in Georgia. (I believe his name was Ryle S.) Perhaps she was expecting D. Lee to help her marriage problem because she got every indication of promise from him that he would help her. But he gave her endless, meaningless training, which blocked every passageway of hope for her. Again, the only outlet left for her was to commit suicide. She indeed attempted to do so by jumping into Lake Michigan. She was rescued by some people. What shocked me at that time was D. Lee’s response right after her attempt to commit suicide.
D. Lee announced in one of the Chicago meetings that missionary J. Shim was demonstrating to him so that she could pressure him to solve her marriage problem. He boasted that he would not barge even one inch by such an act. His attitude was almost scoffing at her. How can one individual scoff at another when one was struggling with the matter of hope and despair related with one’s life and death? Just before her suicide, she met with D. Lee and had a big argument with him. People could hear her yelling from the outside of the office of D. Lee on the top of her voice like this: “You are the one who ruined my life.” When she finally committed suicide, how was his response? Again it was 100% M. J. Shim’s sin and only the Great Shepherd, D. Lee suffered endlessly in helping this stubborn and sinful woman. Because Chicago UBF refused to serve her funeral, a Korean church performed the ceremony. I don’t see any mercy of God here, but heartlessness and escaping the responsibility of a fallen man.
Didn’t our Lord Jesus teach us the importance of taking care of one seemingly unimportant little one and its spiritual nature? Didn’t he teach us about the seriousness of the sense of responsibility of the Lord’s servants by saying this: “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Mt. 18:5,6) This kind of attitude and act must be thoroughly denounced among us so that it may never, never happen again in the house of the Lord.
Out of 15 Public Questions to D. Lee, raised by Korean reform staff shepherds in October 2000 (henceforth called 15 P.Q. or just P.Q.), the number one in the list gives the account of D. Lee’s closing the Korean Newsletter in spring of 1999 by force without agreement with S. John Jun and, apparently, in spite of strong objection from the majority of missionaries and of Korean shepherds. It sounds too familiar to the way he practiced consistently over the past 30 years. To him it doesn’t matter whether 1,500 UBF missionaries in 87 countries are familiar with English or not; it doesn’t matter whether or not they cannot receive encouragement from reading the English newsletter published from Chicago. What mattered to him was that many more missionaries read and paid more attention to Korean newsletters published by Korean UBF and didn’t pay much attention to the English newsletter that Chicago UBF published and which is filled with praise of D. Lee. Of course, this kind of motive is always masqueraded with something else.
It’s just as the reformer shepherds described in article 8 of the 15 P.Q.: D. Lee invited to the ’99 MSU International Conference only those students in Korea who wrote letters to him, totally ignoring the 100 students’ list that Korean staff shepherds recommended from each chapter. It doesn’t matter that those who were actually invited already left UBF after writing a letter to him or that many were young in faith so that they could not be the representatives of each center. What mattered was that those invited by him pleased D. Lee one way or the other.
Those who were recommended by the chapter directors were the ones who actually contributed the work of God in the hidden corners and deserved the Lord’s recognition. Their being invited to the international conference would encourage them so much and thus his action could have contributed to the work of God further. But the chapter directors and those recommended by them were so insignificant, perhaps like ants on the dish that could be wiped away by anyone’s whim. No, he is just too jealous to accept the recommendation of the chapter directors and make them part of the international conference.
This is something I personally experienced. We had the First American Student Winter Conference in Toledo at the end of December of 1977, the year M. Peter Chang, D. Lee and myself came to USA. Toledo UBF brought more than 20 American students, while Chicago had a few American students. It seems to be insignificant from the present standpoint. It was only within one-year period since we came to the U.S. So the students who were invited were not really reformed in the Lord yet. And yet, at the initial pioneering stage, it was the great work of God. It was a great beginning point of the pioneering of American campuses, which enabled us to see and believe that the American campus pioneering was possible.
There were hundreds of missionaries in Chicago at that time. But it was the time when many of them were struggling so much for the ground-breaking work of establishing themselves as lay-missionaries, overcoming English and American culture, getting a proper job to support their family and talk to American student without being rejected as a foreigner and so on and so forth. Even D. Lee himself felt so much pressure to prove him to Korean brothers and sisters. He had to show something to them and yet he encountered so many insurmountable problems in Chicago. It was the time when a Korean missionary would be treated like a hero or heroine of faith if he or she brought one white American student to the Chicago Sunday worship service. Many of them were not even sure if it was really possible for Korean missionaries to do American campus evangelism.
When D. Lee came to the First Toledo Winter Conference, he was amazed to see so many white students. He praised God for a short time, but soon the spirit of envy overtook D. Lee. He felt so embarrassed that such a young servant like me could do what he couldn’t do. For the next several years, he had one goal in his mind: surpassing Toledo UBF and putting me under him. The sense of good competition might not be so harmful. But his spirit was quite different. His main way of surpassing Toledo UBF, later Columbus UBF, was two-fold: The first was bringing American shepherdesses or shepherds to Chicago from Toledo and Columbus; the second was to use informants at the expense of Toledo work and thus eventually bring me to Chicago regularly for message training.
He called one woman missionary in Toledo UBF and captured her heart by telling her that she was the most spiritual one in Toledo; and that she was indeed “hidden director” so she had to report everything to him. His plan was carried out one by one and indeed successfully. My wife sensed the spirit of envy from D. Lee and warned me many times. But I was very naive and blind. I never dreamt that such a great servant of God like D. Lee would have such ulterior motives. So I severely scolded her as D. Lee discredited her and she suffered so much. We had been deceived for so long but the truth revealed itself as time went on.
As I had observed D. Lee the past two and a half decades, I saw that the spirit of envy is almost a driving force of his doing the work of God. D. Lee published the review of 30 years of God’s work through UBF people in October ’91. There D. Lee mentioned about M. Sarah Barry and himself in the pioneering period in the ‘60s. He mentioned that he had to swallow humiliation every time people considered M. Sarah Barry the boss and him a secretary. So he said to himself, “In 10 years, I am going to make you my secretary.” He boasted it had been done in exactly 10 years.
Indeed he pulled down M. Sarah Barry from the cofounder of UBF to his own secretary. (Even now I feel so sorry to see that M. Sarah Barry, the cofounder of UBF, who sacrificed so much for the Lord’s work including her marriage, had to be governed by the mercy of D. Lee.) It is amazing to see his patience and self-discipline. (In Korea, we call such patience and self-discipline, ‘Wa Shin Sang Dam,’ which means enduring any kind of humility and hardship to achieve one’s own goal of vindicating oneself by revenge against one’s enemy.) But it is also surprising to see that such discipline did not come from seeking the glory of God. Rather it came from intense envy and jealousy which looks after number one for him. This kind of spirit is well displayed in his basic attitude that he is not happy when the chapter directors make close relationships with other coworkers or missionaries and local shepherds instead of the vertical love relationship with.
This became virtually his unspoken policy of intramural relations among USA chapters. P.Q. #6 also puts the finger on this point; Korean staff shepherds disclosed that D. Lee even prohibited them from visiting the missionaries who were sent from their own chapters right after the MSU Summer Conference. They were wondering and asking a question in dismay; “By the way, why do you prevent the Korean staff shepherds from visiting each USA chapter these days?” D. Lee knows why. But he just cannot answer or explain his actions because they are dark deeds (John 3:20,21). He also encourages God’s people in UBF compete each other out of jealousy, envy and selfish ambition. I know D. Lee tried so hard to put rivalry between M. Peter Chang and myself, but he failed.
He used our becoming his successor as baiting some kind of rivalry. But we were not simply interested in that. Sure, Apostle Paul also condoned it by saying that he rejoices if Christ is preached whether from false motive of selfish ambition of envy and rivalry or true motive (Phil. 1:15-18). But he did not take the initiative in stirring them up to be envious or jealous. There were some who wanted to stir up trouble for Paul in chains at Rome and preached the gospel for that very reason. He just said he rejoiced because Christ was preached by some envious people even when he could not preach the gospel positively because of his chain. He did not go out of his way to make it as some kind of his policy of the gospel work. Nor did he promote envy and rivalry as a motivating force. He didn’t require more one-to-one Bible studies or bringing more sheep to Sunday worship service or carrying out any other gospel work. No! A thousand times no!
Ultimately, envy and jealousy comes from seeking self-glory rather than the glory of God. I had never seen D. Lee repent on these, but he forced the rest of the people in UBF to repent.
One of the constant deeds of D. Lee is suppressing truth with lies. I still remember how he jokingly stated in many of his announcements something like this: “You know, if you want to lie, you have to lie with absolute confidence. Then everybody believes you.” Yes, he really believes this with all his heart. In 1976, and 1989-94, the Lord warned him and exposed all his lies of darkness to the light.
He lied that he was the true servant of God suffering for the righteousness of God and the senior shepherds, politically ambitious people; and that M. Peter Chang, M. Gus Park, M. John Shin, myself were SNU rebels. In his new year’s letter of 2001, he calls the Korean Reform Shepherds those whose conscience have been seared as with a hot iron, because they challenge his shady dealings with offering money plus they disclosed his darkness on the basis of the undeniable facts. Only some events were written through the 15 public questions that he could not answer. How did he twist the truth into lies?
In his letter to M. Matthew Ahn in Peking, D. Lee wrote, “Caleb Chung of Taegu has been playing a political game. He made a big group and has been trying to separate Korean UBF into two. However, I do not worry about political things. I have never been involved in political fighting even a single time. … I demand you to be the servant of God in China and have a more close relationship with me. If it’s not, God will not bless you … I pray you may discern whether you become one of Caleb Chung’s agents or the servant of God. May God be with you.”
First of all, D. Lee has no spiritual eyes to see what God is doing behind the Korean reform shepherds. This time, the hand of God is very severe against him. God’s message to him this time is, “Repent or perish.” (To the Lord, the third time could be a strike out for him if he does not repent). But he still exchanges the living message of God into a political game. “I have never been involved in political fighting even a single time”? This is such a ridiculous statement that it’s not even worthy of to comment. However, I have to say one thing that D. Lee does not understand the meaning of the English word “political game.” The best illustration of political game is what D. Lee is doing right now. When you are involved in a political game, you consider your opponent as your enemy and divide your enemy’s group into as many sects as possible and conquer them after they are weakened. I believe this kind of political game strategy is called “Divide and conquer.” That is one of D. Lee’s most favorite strategies in controlling all the chapters in UBF international.
This was exactly what he was doing when he wrote a letter to M. Matthew Ahn in Peking. Did S. Caleb Chung and Korean Reform shepherds write this kind of sneaky letter to D. Lee’s close loyalists behind his back in an effort to divide the UBF? Didn’t they write the 15 questionnaires directly to him in an effort to appeal truth to him? Was he interested in the truth of God behind all these events stated in 15 P.Q? Wasn’t he the one who was only interested in grouping, as he stated “He made a big group”? (Perhaps he thought, “Wow, Caleb Chung made a big group. This time the group is much bigger than those at the time of the ’76 event and of the ’89 event.”) Wasn’t he the one to return the letter of 15 P.Q. back to them, while trying to give an impression that he did not even read it? (And yet, in reality, he read all of them and decided to harden his heart and attack them one by one.)
His first two silent answers to this letter were attacking S. Caleb Chung and S. James Lee in Busan. He must have spun his mind night after night to squeeze the scheme of how to strike S. Caleb Chung and the Korean Reform shepherds. He genuinely thought out M. Matthew Ahn in Peking, thinking that he would fall for him when he falsely borrows the name of God. His underlined twisted statement is, that it is the way to become the true servant of God, if M. Mathew Ahn breaks the love relation with S. Caleb Chung (thus betraying him and the truth of the reform movement) by making a close relationship with D. Lee.
According to D. Lee, maintaining the love relationship with S. Caleb Chung and standing on the side of truth is the way of becoming one of Caleb Chung’s agents. Actually, M. Ahn’s staying in the side of truth by staying in the side of reform meant the risk of losing so much for the sake of truth. D. Lee already threatened him, “If it is not, God will not bless you.” It means D. Lee will not bless him, rather curse him to the point of excommunicating him if he does not follow his political game. What a courageous man of God M. Mathew Ahn was! He surely knew what it meant to stand in the side of truth and went against the lie of D. Lee.
(b) The illustration in P.Q. #11 shows how D. Lee uses the informant system effectively.
Everywhere in UBF he heavily relies on an informant to watch and control the chapter directors. (As you know this is not an isolated incident, but is consistent with D. Lee’s administrative policy of running UBF international.) In this case, D. Lee turned that shepherdess from Busan into his agent in a political game. She successfully (secretly) copied the pocket book of S. James Lee. (I believe that this kind of work is not heard from a church guided by the Holy Spirit, but only from stories like those in 007 series movies.)
And then he instigated 20 some sheep through her and started an illegitimate chapter center almost in front of the present Busan center. He also let S. Mark Yang secretively meet her to mandate the illegitimate chapter and provide the political fund, $32,000 and support monthly rent. (This is the same Mark Yang who gave a $3,000 scholarship and other perks to M. David Chung a long time ago so that he could go to Chicago by moving out of Houston. He had no interest in his spiritual welfare.)
Did D. Lee open this illegitimate center for the purpose of doing the work of God? He had only one purpose in his mind: to divide the house of God and conquer them for his own scheme. His method was antagonizing S. James Lee and bringing him endless pain, by letting her betray her own director shepherd and thus discourage him to do what is right before the Lord, doing the work of the Holy Spirit. D. Lee was not interested in the soul of this one woman and 20 some sheep, nor their ultimate spiritual welfare. They are useful as long as they are carrying out D. Lee’s political game. He can close that illegitimate chapter tomorrow if that chapter is no longer useful to him. (However, that shepherdess who turned into D. Lee’s agent will be a shiny rising star and a heroine for a short time in LeeBF, only during the time of D. Lee’s political game.)
D. Lee’s urge to M. Mathew Ahn was almost the same as when he called and talked to Paul Hong in January 1990 (while D. Lee invited me to Chicago for discussing pioneer work). He called and urged Paul Hong that he would become an agent of James Kim if he stood in the side of reform and maintained the friendship and love relationship with James Kim. Of course, it was an easy choice. D. Lee has all kinds of power and authority and money, which guaranteed all kinds of blessings. I was powerless. I had nothing. The only thing I had was the truth and the love relationship and friendship we built.
Initially, Paul Hong agreed with all the issues in my letter and even denounced D. Lee in front of me. But what good is truth? That didn’t guarantee him anything. He would rather be branded as a rebel and lose everything. D. Lee would say, “You didn’t even graduate SNU. Are you that stupid to the point of joining the SNU rebels as a non-SNU graduate?” This one phone call was more than enough to change Paul Hong overnight. I could understand his weakness. Any ordinary man would do the same thing as he did. So I was not so harsh on him about his betrayal and his collaboration with D. Lee.
However, history is very harsh on his choice. Because of his choice he had to carry out D. Lee’s wish as his agent, whether it was good or evil. He would go down in history as the one who successfully collaborated with D. Lee in chasing James Kim out from Toledo like a dog and subsequently discrediting him and picturing him as a rebel and self-centered man, Satan or whatever D. Lee wanted to depict James Kim as. I still vividly remember how he persuaded Toledo brothers to break into my 1824 Kensington home on one cold winter day of February of 1990 in Toledo in order to carry everything we owned into an 18-wheeler truck.
The driver of the truck was Paul Hong’s sheep, Alex, a Middle Eastern man. At that time, my family was down to Houston to look for a rented house. The original agreement with D. Lee after almost a month-long battle was like this: D. Lee would honor the pioneering of Houston as the work of God and would fully support it by sending five American shepherds and providing some financial support for a while.
Since I couldn’t believe D. Lee’s integrity, he would show good faith of keeping his promises by signing it with all the board of directors. And our family would visit Houston and find a rental house and then come back to Toledo to make an arrangement of disposing my house and then moving down to Houston. But in the process, D. Lee broke every single one of the promises he made with me before God beginning with this.
When I accidentally returned to Toledo, to bring my transcript, I was shocked to see the window of my house was broken, one door was flung open and the heater was running crazy in that cold day as the temperature was close to zero. The house was empty and soiled with newspapers and some garbage here and there. And all our things were already stuffed in a huge truck, which was broken and grounded for an unknown reason. (Perhaps God could not bear to see such lies of D. Lee and broke that truck temporarily.) He lied to Toledo UBF people through Paul Hong that our family was trembling in cold weather in Houston without clothes and couldn’t cook and eat properly because we didn’t have pots and pans.
Therefore, they had to carry all our stuff and bring them down to Houston as soon as possible. Of course, it was all lies because Houston was very warm and we had a rice cooker and everything. I felt so violated, betrayed and once again deeply hurt. I had to pray so hard that day to the Lord so that he could take away the hurt feelings inside me and my boiling wrath against D. Lee, who had no respect to keep his own promise and absolutely no integrity at all. He had to chase me out like a dog so that he could sleep peacefully at night.
Humanly speaking, my worst fault at that time was that I was too naive to be political like D. Lee. At that time, I had a choice to stay in Toledo and once again declare a war with D. Lee. I too could have broken my promise of going to Houston. I could have confronted and kicked out Paul Hong, who betrayed me. But I prayed very hard and Lord provided me with such self-control and helped me to keep my integrity to the end, protecting the flock of sheep in Toledo to the end and not sweeping them into the torrent of the battle. From time to time, I wondered if my decision was right before God or I was really stupid.
As I looked back, I had no regret that I didn’t become political and lose my integrity. As a result I lost everything, D. Lee gained everything and Paul Hong became a rising star in UBF as a reward for his betrayal. D. Lee seemed to have won humanly and politically. Did he really win? By no means. He lost everything of God, all the spiritual things: trust of the Lord’s people, the truth and righteousness of God, and most importantly, the integrity as a true spiritual leader. What is integrity? It is doing what one says he would do. It is the agreement between one’s word and action. If one has integrity, he has no hidden agenda, no ulterior motives behind his words. This is one of the most important qualities of the servants of God.
When a servant of the Lord loses integrity, he loses trust of his people. When he loses trust of his people, he loses leadership. As a spiritual leader, he loses everything. Did I lose everything? Although I lost all the visible things, I gained all the spiritual things the Lord poured upon me; strength to keep truth at any cost, conscience of my faith, the freedom in Christ, and integrity. Did Paul Hong gain everything? Outwardly he appeared to. Unfortunately, he became an opportunist. He lost truth, choosing to be an agent of D. Lee.
It appeared that he was becoming a little Samuel Lee who exercises such power and authority over coworkers and sheep that they became disgusted with him. Outwardly, it appeared that many Toledo coworkers and the shepherds went out to pioneer. But in reality many of them seemed to be disgusted with his spiritual pride. He would choose to obey D. Lee, not saving the sheep when D. Lee’s direction crosses the welfare of the sheep. On that day the flock of sheep would know what kind of person he is. For this reason, I lament for the flock of sheep in Toledo and Paul Hong who would not protect them.
(d-1) D. Lee’s handling of S. Mark Yang’s scandal: P.Q. #10 states how S. Mark Yang had a shameful affair with one intern shepherdess for four and half years while serving the An Am center, one of the biggest chapters in Korea, as the supposedly most spiritual servant in there and as one of the Leading Director’s Group in Korean UBF. The way the true story goes is that S. Mark Yang was disguising his sexual harassment as a spiritual father showing the love of God upon his spiritual daughter. His sin was most grave because several hundred young servants of Jesus in An Am center and many missionaries from An Am center look up to him as their spiritual father and their role model. I believe that we, as Christians, should resist and struggle against sin to the point of shedding blood. Those who are in the position of leadership should do this more so. (Heb. 12:4; 1 John 2:1)
Because of our fallibility, however, even God’s servants commonly fall into this kind of sin. In America many of God’s servants, pastors and priests alike ruined their careers and their ministries because of these kinds of sins of lust. Nobody is immune from the infections of sins. So Jesus also rebuked the Pharisees when they accused the woman caught in adultery, by saying, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7b)
But what I have a problem is with the leadership of LeeBF not following the truth of God when their sins are exposed in the daylight. To the Lord it is more important that we come to the Lord when we fall into sin, not that we sin. Apostle John encouraged us, “But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1b) He further says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) How many times have we studied this truth through so many Bible studies? And yet, why does the leadership of UBF, starting from D. Lee fail in this truth? Look at the practice of UBF leadership, contrary to all they have said and taught. S. Anna Yang offered money to silence the shepherdess related with this event. S. John Jun offered her $27,000 of offering money to cover up S. Mark Yang’s affair. Do you believe that this was done by S. Anna Yang’s own initiative or S. John Jun’s own decision? Of course, they will joyfully take the blame for that. But the fact is that everybody in UBF knows in an unspoken way that this kind of thing is never done without D. Lee’s clear direction and instruction behind the scene. I believe that this kind of practice comes from unbelief. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Yes, the truth of repenting our sins and believing the forgiveness of our sins are forcefully applied to the growing servants of Jesus and most of the servants of Jesus but not to the top level leaders such as D. Lee and his family members and some of his cronies like S. Mark Yang.
(d-2) D. Lee’s handling of Little Sarah’s extra-marital affair: P.Q. #15 shows how D. Lee responded to the shameful affair of L. Sarah (D. Lee’s second daughter) with S. Damon for the considerable period around 1998. It is the fact that his wife Hazel pleaded with Little Sarah that she no longer meet with her husband Damon, after finding out her sinful affair with Damon. But Little Sarah ignored her and continued to meet with him and maintained the scandalous affair with him. It eventually caused this family to break. Amy Young, who had been the Bible teacher of Hazel, wrote the letter concerning this matter in a web site twice as a witness of the facts. She was broken-hearted to see how the religious organization that should have done justice and righteousness of God only hurt His children and thus dishonor Jesus by condoning evil. D. Lee not only condoned Little Sarah’s sin but also he had threatened Amy Young through Ron Ward. It is told that S. Damon denies the facts and wants to sue Amy Young for defamation. Further, Ron Ward called Amy Young to say that she had to apologize to D. Lee and Little Sarah for her wrong accusation, otherwise Damon would take her to court and she would lose because she does not have money to maintain the court battle.
It is apparent that all these threats were orchestrated by D. Lee behind the scene. Is he so confident that Little Sarah is so innocent and Amy Young and Hazel are wrongly accusing her and Damon? Please go ahead and make my day. I am willing to raise funds personally for Amy Young for the battle. Do I have anything to do with it? No. But reading the letter of Amy Young’s testimony I can objectively see that she was not falsely accusing anybody nor made up the story. There is no reason for it. If she has to go to court, she must swear before the court that she tells the truth, nothing but the truth. Damon too must swear the same thing. Amy’s attorney can bring Ron Ward and all others to the witness stand in the Illinois court with the subpoenaed court order, if necessary D. Lee as well.
At that time, their lies will be fully exposed in the daylight before men’s court if the eyewitnesses testify to the truth of Little Sarah’s scandalous affair. One thing I want to see: the covering up of D. Lee might be clearly exposed in the daylight and that he might not be able to make any more lies publicly. Yes, on that day there are so many counter-suits the victimized children of God could make by bringing charges against D. Lee’s wicked acts and corruption related with them if he started to make a lawsuit against Amy Young. So make my day. He can bring his charges against his own head if he wants to realize his threat to Amy Young. My point is that he should stop suppressing truth and persecuting the children of God in this way. His loyalists must come back to their senses and should no longer be deceived by thinking that they do the will of God while, in truth, they are used as an instrument of unrighteousness as collaborators.
In this case, D. Lee’s effort is worse than Eli in the Old Testament. Eli at least rebuked his sons who slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting when he heard the story of his sons’ sins. (1 Sam. 1:22-25) The Lord brought judgment on the house of Eli, the top religious leader of Samuel’s time, when his sons did not repent (1 Sam 3:11-14, 4:12-22). How much more will the Lord’s anger come upon D. Lee if he tries to cover up the sins of his daughter?
(a) P.Q. #2 states the fabrication in the photo of the 1999 MSU summer conference.
The photo of the two stories with audience was fabricated into three stories. The Korean reform shepherds charged that this is an immoral act that cannot be accepted in society. In fact, this kind of practice started in the 1980s. In the 1980s, he fabricated MSU summer conference photos for many years and thus put great stumbling blocks on the faith of many Columbus brothers and sisters, which seriously questions the integrity of D. Lee and UBF Christianity. He had been practicing this phony picture making more than one and a half decades without any conviction of conscience of faith. Why did he do that? Why was it more important that he should glorify the great business power of UBF and boast the faked external fruits to God’s people scattered all over the world? Why was it so important that he had to do this, causing many in Korean UBF and UBF international to fall into trials and backsliding as well as bringing distrust on his faith and personality?
I have tried to understand him and his devious behavior on this. Two things I came up with. First, his value on the history of God was transformed from one-on-one manger ministry to successful gospel business in mass. Initially, UBF ministry started with the clear direction of one-on-one Bible study ministry. We had been repeatedly taught the importance of one soul and how so many flocks of sheep crowded around Jesus when he helped one man (Mark 1:21-28, 32; 3:3-8). At first we had kept this ministry. But then at a certain point of time, D. Lee begin to envy the mass-evangelization such as that of Paul Yong Ki Cho in the full gospel church ministry in Seoul, Korea, and other big ministries. We contradicted ourselves by trying to reach to the multitude with one-on-one Bible study. He began to push God’s people to have as many one-on-one Bible studies as other churches.
One-on-one Bible studies are designed to help one soul over the long term and then the crowds come to us because of its influence. It is supposed to be slow and we were not supposed to be so engrossed with numbers. But we try to fill the numbers with the multitude of one-on-one Bible study, which could never happen. As a result, his success-driven desire blinded him to fabricate the picture.
In each decade, D. Lee publishes his own version of God’s history through UBF. In October 1991, Chicago published the newsletter titled “The Celebration of 30 years of God’s work through UBF people”. It was the account of 30 years of UBF history written in 36 pages. And around Christmas time in 2000 he reviewed 40 years of God’s history through UBF people in 13 pages. In both reviews, the history of God was distorted by his self-centered view rather than by God’s view and unfolds on the basis of exaggeration of D. Lee himself and of the people who are loyal to him.
I don’t have time to illustrate all of them. I have to write a book to do this. So I want to illustrate just one article from each of his reviews to tell you how D. Lee distorts the truth and paint the picture of each person and facts according to his beliefs. In the former he introduced Professor Paul Hong like this on page 16: “I have never seen such a humble man in the world. Once, Toledo ministry was on the bottom line. And all the coworkers in Toledo did not recognize James Kim as a spiritual man, including his wife. But I had a desire to establish Toledo, because I made a vow to God. So I asked Professor Paul Hong, ‘Can you give up Bowling Green ministry and merge with the Toledo chapter?’ He did not hesitate even a minute. He said, ‘Yes.’ He immediately moved back to Toledo. Even though he was a high school senior to and older than James Kim, he absolutely listened to him and wanted to please God. In the end, Toledo came under his care. Here we learn that God exalts the humble and opposes the proud.” Well, everything is lies here, except P. Paul Hong was a high school senior. He was a senior in Seoul High School, but less than 10 months older than I am. But in American society and in a working environment, how can that be an issue of humbleness?
These are the hidden facts that D. Lee distorted: First of all, it was a lie that D. Lee had never seen such a humble man in the world like P. Paul Hong. D. Lee had been calling M. Paul Hong as no-leadership material for many years publicly in almost every staff meeting. Paul Hong used to be in Atlanta, Georgia, as a coworker of M. Isaac Moon in the late ’70s. At that time, M. Isaac Moon was very independent and it was hard for D. Lee to control him. So he wrote a letter to Paul Hong to take over the Atlanta UBF chapter by driving out M. Isaac Moon. But M. Isaac Moon found out about that and strongly warned M. Paul Hong even by flogging his rear with a baseball bat.
At that time in the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s, we had a good-sized ministry in Bowling Green State University (BGSU), 30 miles from Toledo. Our coworkers in Toledo had been praying to pioneer Bowling Green for a while. We prayed that God might send one ancestor of faith in Bowling Green. God sent Tony and Lynda who used be hippies in ‘60s. Tony C., whom Rob L. introduced to me, was a very faithful Bible student. He really enjoyed studying the gospel of John with me. Every time I drove to his house in Pemberville, near Bowling Green, he would wait for me, after solving all the Bible questions. He began to accept campus mission. He brought S. Mark G. to UBF. Then Emma and Catharina Lee, sisters who had been studying the Bible with my wife, went to BGSU to join the pioneering ministry. Later, M. Martha Moon joined the BGSU chapter and then M. Hanna K. after that. D. Lee wanted to pull M. Paul Hong out of Atlanta and appoint him to be the director of the Bowling Green UBF chapter.
We prayed and blessed M. Paul Hong with all our hearts. What did he do? He lost most of these pioneering coworkers because of his attitude of exercising authority over them. Many of them bitterly complained about M. Paul Hong’s attitude of loading it over them rather them serving them with humility. Eventually, they became hard, because I told them that they should co-work with M. Paul Hong and make a spiritual vessel with him, instead of coming to me and complained about him. At that time, I believed that it was truth for me to help them that way. But to this day I feel hurt to think about them and wonder if I did right thing before God or not. I feel I shouldn’t have sacrificed them like that to establish Paul Hong’s leadership there. Eventually M. Paul Hong lost most of the coworkers we sent except S. Mark G. and S. Don K. (the only one whom he and S. Mark G. met at the BGSU.)
From my point, they were truly humble people because they bore M. Paul Hong’s proud attitude. (To this day, I have such great respect for S. Mark G. and Don K. for their patience and humility.) The BGSU Sunday worship service number dropped so much that D. Lee had to close the BGSU chapter and ordered him to join Toledo UBF. It was a white lie that he asked Paul Hong to give up the Bowling Green ministry purely to help James Kim and the Toledo ministry. D. Lee bragged publicly that he helped the Toledo ministry by closing down BGSU. He closes down small chapter that didn’t seem to bear fruit. He once again called Paul Hong no-leadership material until he sold me out to him. That was not sacrificing. M. Paul Hong’s ministry has reduced for many years. When he joined the Toledo ministry, I was amazed to see how M. Paul Hong had been treating his only two coworkers, S. Mark G. and S. Don K., like his personal servants. I saw they were serving Paul Hong’s family and the oldest daughter, Sarah Hong, any time M. Paul ordered them to; just as D. Lee would do. He became a Toledo director not because he was humble before God, but because he betrayed the truth and collaborated with D. Lee.
Not only that, even S. Don and M. Hannah K. felt very much hurt about Paul Hong’s commanding attitude. They left for South American on very bitter terms because M. Paul wanted to rule over them absolutely and control them. Whenever S. Don and M. Hannah challenged his proud attitude he would not accept it, rather he thought they should always submit absolutely to him. It is true that the Toledo director regards coworkers and sheep as personal servants to run and do his bidding at a moments notice. When new sheep came he always liked to find out if they were good at house remodeling, electrical wiring, carpentry, car repair and other services so that he could immediately put them to work on his house or car. Of course sheep did not want to be paid, but gradually realized they were being used and ran away. Anyway, he is not shy about asking people to do all kinds of personal favors and services for him without payment.
The Toledo director’s messages are also very sad to hear because he can go for months without mentioning Jesus or the Gospel. Rather, he will focus his messages on instructing people to obey God’s servants, respect God’s servants, and honor God’s servants, meaning himself. During worship service many sheep could only be bored to tears at his monotone voice with no word of God so they quit coming. There is clearly no word of God or Holy Spirit in his message but only humanism and some Buddhism or Confucianism here and there. His conclusion is that young people are not disciplined enough to hear his message, when in reality it is like a kind of torture because it is so lacking in spirit and the word of God or joy. Mostly, old coworkers can endure it because they can sleep well during it.
When young sheep questioned him about Samuel Lee’s activities he announced publicly that it was all lies and there was no truth whatsoever in the charges. Rather these people were tools of Satan.
It is true so many coworkers left from Toledo on very bad terms because of the director’s proud and arrogant attitude. The director says they “pioneered.” But in reality they were wanted to escape from his oppressive spirit. So many left and continue to leave.
It is so sad because it is not the work of God, but the work of men.]
In the letter reviewing 40 years, D. Lee wrote about senior shepherds and the ’76 event on page 16. Again, I just don’t have time to disclose all his lies. He called the senior shepherds seven rebels. He knew why they attempted the first reform movement. But he never mentioned any issue senior shepherds raised. Instead he claimed, that they ruined the work of God by accusing D. Lee that he solved the marriage problems of missionaries to the U.S. while despising the missionaries to Germany. He also claimed that they acknowledged that they were rebels like Absalom and their motive was to take D. Lee’s supreme position of UBF. This was totally ridiculous and out of context. But the saddest thing is that many of his loyalists and anti-reformers would like to believe whatever he says. D. Lee is also fed by such conditioned people and keeps on lying.
I wonder how D. Lee lies so consistently without feeling convicted even once, in spite of such overwhelming evidence of his sins before the Lord. I now can understand the words: “Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose conscience have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1 Tim. 4:2) The word he quoted exactly applies to him. Because of his desperate effort of justifying himself with such an unrepentant heart through many decades, his conscience has been seared with a hot iron and he has become a full-fledged hypocritical and pathological liar. It is so sad. There is no greater tragedy among us than the once spiritual leader whom we used to love dearly and followed whole-heartedly, becoming gradually transformed into a fake, counterfeit servant of the Lord. That is the main reason I lament for him and for the Chicago UBF today.
Many Korean young missionaries eagerly want to go to Chicago because they think that it is their great honor to learn from a great servant of God, D. Lee, closely and have an opportunity to serve the Lord there. (In many times, pro-D. Lee chapter staff shepherds repeatedly educate them because that is one of the most important missionary education topics.) But when they actually come to Chicago and see the work in Chicago and see D. Lee closely, they get surprised to see that the reality is quite different from what they heard. There are numerous examples, but let me give you one example.
M. Joseph Park is from An Am center, the staff shepherd of which is S. Mark Yang, the loyal protégé of D. Lee. Because S. Mark Yang so much talked about how great a servant of God D. Lee is, M. Joseph felt like he was dreaming when he actually came to Chicago as a missionary in 1995. He was soon chosen as a full-time member staff in Chicago (because he brought many sheep), receiving all kinds of privileges such as receiving $1,300/month salary and living in a residential house next door to the Chicago center. He willingly wanted to be a personal servant of D. Lee’s household, mowing the lawn, cleaning D. Lee’s office and doing any necessary chores at D. Lee’s house. He did all this works because he thought he could learn the mind of God and spiritual truth from D. Lee.
But he gradually began to doubt D. Lee’s spirituality as he came to know more about him. And he began to see that there were too many stumbling blocks for the Holy Spirit to work in Chicago center; he saw how Chicago missionaries sacrifice so much and work to death for the Lord, and yet, there were, most of the time, intense human efforts rather than reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit. As a result, they had no joy in their hearts and were loaded with heavy burdens. They were very much tired both in body and spirit, and he saw how top American leaders struggle with the same inner problems year after year. M. Joseph had the same agonies. In spite of his hard work, he could not experience the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit within him nor within God’s people around him. He could not understand why the spiritual maturity and greatness of missionaries and American shepherds had to be rated by the number of sheep rather than the work of God inside them. He felt that there was no true worship service in Chicago even though there were many worship services, including a supplementary worship service, which was held during weekdays when missionaries did not bring enough sheep to the Sunday worship service. It appeared that the Sunday worship service was not for worshipping the Lord God and for Sabbath rest for his servants, rather it was used to bring more sheep, thus it degenerated into a tool for the sheep-bringing business.
To make it worse, Ron Ward just delivered D. Lee’s message without any of God’s inspiration, just like a parrot. It seemed that D. Lee was greatly satisfied and was enjoying himself so much with the fact that his own message was repeatedly delivered. He didn’t seem to care about the revival work of the Holy Spirit by the power of the word of God. Ron was delivering the Sunday message week after week like a message-delivering machine. He was obeying D. Lee out of fear of punishment rather than being moved and touched by the Holy Spirit. (Indeed the scene of the Chicago center was the exact epitome of the spiritual condition of the Israelites in Isaiah’s time: “The multitude of your sacrifices – what are they to me?’ says the Lord. ‘I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; …” (Is. 1:11)
According to the independent Bible study, M. Joseph realized that mission is not the ultimate goal of the Church but worship is (Mark 12:30,31; John 4:23,24; Heb. 8:10). Worship is the ultimate goal of our conversion, not mission, because God is the ultimate object of worship, not man’s or a church organization’s gospel business. Mission comes naturally as a result of conversion and of the coming of the Holy Spirit, rather than being forced by man (Romans 6:11-13; Acts 1:8). He began to be spiritually thirsty and hungry, and he was eager to seek God’s presence because he found that worship is the fuel for missions. Passion for God in worship takes priority over fishing for students on campus, one-to-one Bible study, and how many sheep we must bring to Sunday worship service, on and on and on.
Above all, M. Joseph found that Samuel Lee did not understand American young students. For example, he would bring D. Lee some of his student sheep for counseling when he had a difficult time helping them. D. Lee would give totally irrelevant direction to them and thus made them lost. It was obvious that he had no understanding of the spiritual problems of young people in this generation. Rather, he was demanding they fit into D. Lee’s own perspectives of their problems. Besides, he had no words of God in his heart that could touch the hearts of the flock of sheep. Leaders in Chicago could adjust to whatever D. Lee wanted because they were long conditioned in that way. But there was no way for the sheep to be fitted or tailored into D. Lee’s way. Since then he began to suspect that D. Lee didn’t really understood the spiritual reality. He did not say, but he secretly determined that he would not bring sheep to him. Having a sense of problems of worship in Chicago center and D. Lee’s spiritual ignorance and blindness, he began to search for the presence of God by studying the Scriptures independently, reading books and praying in the Spirit. He did not use Samuel Lee’s manuscripts at all for the Bible study with students.
When he had one-to-one Bible studies, he worshiped with his students, singing, honoring and praising. And he shared just what the Scripture said. He was so sorry for his students to attend Sunday worship service because they received no life, rather they were so burdened. So he had his own worship service in his home after the Chicago Sunday worship service. Later, some students came to his home worship service even though they did not attend the main worship service. When he pursued God’s presence, God blessed his ministry. Once D. Lee sensed the change in M. Joseph, he began to be alert and warned him. One day in a staff meeting he shared a Sogam, which did not follow D. Lee’s lecture faithfully. Rather, he exhibited his own scriptural expounding.
Later, D. Lee sent Henry Park, who is a crony of Samuel Lee, to scold M. Joseph, saying that in his Sogam the words of “the Holy Spirit” were repeated 26 times and that he had to repent and change the word, the Holy Spirit, into Jesus. (According to the Scripture, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus that dwells within us, as in Romans 8:1-9. But to D. Lee, perhaps, Jesus meant himself because he was sitting at the seat of Jesus.)
Around this time, S. Daniel Kim and M. Augustine Song’s event occurred. Apparently, S. Daniel Kim, who is also from An Am center, pioneering Kwan Ak III center and the revival work among SNU students, brought the fresh wind to Korean UBF. Kwan Ak I and II chapters struggled to reach 50, 60 students in Sunday worship services altogether but Kwan Ak III chapter reached 100 students within a short time. It was largely because S. Daniel Kim tried to do the work of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. He began to read books about the Holy Spirit and to pray loudly and sometimes took the leaders to a prayer house in the mountain as Jesus did. But one senior shepherdess from Kwan Ak sent a fax to D. Lee, giving a report about S. Daniel Kim. He was immediately summoned to Chicago to receive training from August 1998 though November 1999 (I can just imagine what the focus of his training was: not depending on the work of the Holy Spirit, but depending on D. Lee’s manuscripts.) Apparently S. Daniel Kim, eventually, came to know D. Lee’s spiritual content and the content of his training and was quite disappointed. He struggled to figure out what God was doing in Chicago.
Especially, because of Little Samuel Choi’s suicide, he was convicted to talk to D. Lee about all the unspiritual and unrighteous matters that had been happening in Chicago. He realized that he had to keep the conscience of his faith before God even at the risk of losing his staff shepherd position in UBF. But S. Mark Yang intervened and advised him not to talk to D. Lee. S. Mark Yang negotiated with S. John Jun. S. John Jun asked D. Lee to allow him to come back to Korea. He in turn promised S. Daniel Kim that Korean UBF would support him. However, all the situations were quite different when he came back to Korea. Seeing that even Korean top shepherds were just loyalists of D. Lee, he was convinced that God encouraged him to leave UBF and study in the seminary for the future of God’s ministry. He resigned his staff position. (Now he is studying in a seminary in Korea.)
Around this time, M. Augustine Song, the director of CIS and the Moscow UBF chapter, was summoned to Chicago for training. Two days after his arrival, one missionary (she was sent from Younhee center) from Moscow sent a long letter to S. David Kim that reported that M. Augustine Song openly said that UBF should not limit the work of the Holy Spirit by rejecting full-gospel work such as healing the sick through prayer and casting out demoniac power. Above all, he pointed out that for the sake of God’s ministry in UBF, Samuel Lee should resign his position.
As soon as D. Lee received this report from S. David Kim, he ordered Ron Ward and others to pull out the intravenous drip from his arms (at that time M. Augustine Song was very sick) and sent him to the airport right away. Immediately, he was dismissed from the directorship of CIS and the Moscow chapter that day without any consultation with the board members or Korean shepherds. M. Augustine Song served God sacrificially as the UBF director of one country. He wanted to talk to D. Lee, but D. Lee refused.
How could D. Lee dismiss the UBF director of the one country on the basis of one person’s biased report? It was obvious that he no longer had the ground of truth on which he stood. He was totally governed by egotistic whim. All he cared about was his proud ego. When the feeling of his proud ego was hurt, he just acted emotionally like a thug or a hoodlum rather than as an objective servant of God. He was worse than political dictators who heavily rely on informants in establishing his strong iron-fist policy. This kind of thing should not happen in a God-fearing church. M. Augustine Song had to go back to Korea with unimaginable wounds in his heart and with a very sick body. This happened about December ’99 just before the Christmas worship service in Chicago.
At that time, D. Lee specifically instructed Ron Ward that M. Joseph give M. Augustine Song a ride to the airport as a further warning. M. Joseph could not believe what he had seen. The next day, M. Joseph Park was ordered to write a Sogam on the basis of the long report that caused the dismissal of M. Augustine Song. D. Lee wanted Joseph to repent of his desires seeking the work of the Holy Spirit and show his true colors. M. Joseph told S. Mark Yang (who was in Chicago at that time to receive training for other reasons) that he could not accept such kind of training like that of communists and would meet D. Lee and tell him that he would no longer acknowledge D. Lee as God’s servant and his ministry in Chicago not as the work of God and would leave Chicago UBF.
M. Joseph Park asked Mark Yang not yet to tell Samuel Lee because he did not want to make any trouble before the Christmas worship service. He promised him to do so. Then S. Yang turned around and reported that to D. Lee. (Through that M. Joseph Park saw the true face of S. Mark Yang, who cared about what D. Lee would punish or reward more than the life of sheep.) Then D. Lee was very upset and ordered missionaries to nail the door of M. Joseph’s house with plywood. (What he didn’t know was that he crucified Jesus all over again when he put the nail on the door of one young servant of Jesus who was seeking the presence of the Lord.)
That night, when Joseph and his wife came back home, Mark Yang was so much embarrassed because he clearly saw with his own eyes, D. Lee’s sins demonstrated through his criminal type of act. (Maybe because of the conviction of his conscience? Or maybe because of D. Lee’s instruction?) S. Mark Yang asked M. Joseph to leave the Chicago UBF, packing several important things such as his passport. (Mark Yang told Joseph that D. Lee asked him to take his passport as well as his wife’s.) M. Lucy, M. Joseph’s wife, was so hurt because she became homeless overnight by such an illegal, criminal act done by so-called servants of God. She could not believe that such acts could be done within an organization, the members of which proudly call themselves servants of the Lord doing the will of God. What have they done to deserve such treatment? Was it such a grave sin that one refused to write something that was totally wrong according to his conviction of conscience and tried to reason with D. Lee?
Even an unbelieving landlord would not do such a thing to his or her tenant simply because he was upset! Out of anger, M. Joseph could have called the authorities and pressed charges against Samuel Lee (so-called Dd. Lee) to the court, and it could have made a big story in local newspapers in Chicago. (Perhaps with such a title as ‘A religious leader nails the door of his tenant’s house with board on a cold winter night.’) But they didn’t do that. That night they went to a motel, packing several things. While staying in a motel for four days, M. Joseph’s family found their new apartment and asked D. Lee to open his residential house to take all his stuff. When M. Joseph called Samuel Lee, he tried to persuade Joseph, suggesting many things such as supporting him to study at the seminary school and buying a house instead of apologizing for his sins to Joseph. Perhaps he was doing this as a gesture of appeasing him because of fear that M. Joseph might do something drastic because of his illegal act. But in the end he seemed to be relieved that M. Joseph was leaving Chicago UBF without making any trouble. Besides, he was happy that M. Joseph was leaving without asking for the CD money that have been put in his name at $400 per month and had accumulated more than $10,000 by then. He had been swallowing such CD money from staff missionaries who left like M. Joseph.
You can imagine how M. Joseph was deeply hurt by the wicked act. These events sound familiar to me. He did the same thing to M. Rebecca Yoon’s family 15, 16 some years ago. When M. Rebecca Yoon did not listen to him, he nailed the door of her apartment and crucified the gentle violinist’s heart. Before that, D. Lee ordered young missionaries to beat her ex-husband, Jose Park from An Am center, circling around him like hoodlums. This event caused Jose Park hospitalized for three weeks. (My heart aches and laments for my dear friend M. Mark Yoon every time I think about him through the two facts; first he took M. Rebecca Yoon to the abortion clinic by D. Lee’s order. Second, he was there with the young missionaries who beat M. Jose Park like hoodlums. M. Mark Yoon had been my dear friend all through junior high and high school and college. I was the one who introduced UBF to him. I still remember him as a man of good conscience who would try to do anything to follow the truth. Now what had he become? What did D. Lee make him out of? He was such a gentleman who never knew violence, nor couldn’t do any such wicked thing because of his good conscience and the love of truth. Now his conscience of faith is deadened and he is deceived that he is doing the will of God when he is doing evil. He is conditioned to be confused. He became a collaborator with D. Lee, while he thinks that he made his own decision. He got his feet too wet in the river of LeeBF.) (D. Lee has gone too long without being punished by God for these kinds of criminal acts only because our Lord is a long-enduring and long-suffering, waiting for him to return to Him with a repentant heart. But for more than two decades, he has never publicly admitted his sins associated with criminal acts and repented.)
It is apparent that D. Lee is no longer controlled by the Holy Spirit, rather he is tormented and driven by the evil spirit, as he sees the work of the Holy Spirit. It appeared that he couldn’t tolerate to see the work of the Holy Spirit because it makes his people open their spiritual eyes, which eventually causes a challenge to him and his unspiritual life. He became like the tenants in the parable: “He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. … But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” (Mark 12:5,7) “What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? … The vineyard of the Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.” (Isaiah 5:4,7)
Many brothers and sisters in UBF wonder what’s happening as they see the reform movement within UBF. They question if the Korean reform shepherds are trying to divide the UBF into two, as D. Lee charges. Are they? By no means! It is obvious by the reform confession that Korean reform shepherds want to uphold Jesus as the Lord and King of UBF.
They truly want to be one body in Christ, in which the head is Christ, not any human being (Eph. 4:15). From a humanistic point of view, the reform movement appears to be a movement to break the UBF with schism. But from the point of the Lord, it is the movement to bring the vineyard of UBF back to the rightful owner, our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the movement of the Holy Spirit. It is the movement of revival from top to bottom. The Lord Jesus had so blessed the ministry of UBF in the past 40 years in spite of such darkness within us. But each of us must deeply acknowledge that we had been so stagnant, inefficient, bringing thistles and thorns instead of the fruits the Lord desires. It is time that UBF can be an organization the Lord Jesus grows. It is what the Lord God wants.
It is the Lord Jesus who wants to purge the darkness from the group of the children of light. As you know I had no intention to participate in the reform movement 10 years ago. All I wanted to do was to appeal to D. Lee by suggesting what we should do in order to grow ourselves. But it is the Lord Jesus who brought me to a corner to be a spark for the second reform attempt. I didn’t intend to join the third UBF reform movement even three weeks ago – before attending the prayer meeting of UBF reformers. But the Spirit of the Lord didn’t leave me alone.
A month ago, I shared my fear with M. Peter Chang that I didn’t want to be dragged to UBF all over again. But night after night, day after day, the Lord did not leave me alone. He reminded me of everything and put the words in my mind so that I could write this long letter. I am very sorry to write such a long letter and burden many of you. It is one of my worst faults.
Am I so righteous that I can freely expose unrighteousness of others while I remain as a righteous man? By no means! I have spoken not because I was better than D. Lee and any others whose darkness I pointed out. I will admit that I could be a worse sinner than they are. But I have spoken believing the righteousness that is in the forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ. The time is ripe. I am compelled to speak out what is right before the Lord in the God’s chosen organization at this point of time when the reform work must be truly carried out. I had been silent for seven years. I enjoyed my peaceful, civilian family life. Before I wrote this long letter I had to repent my selfish and obscure life. Will that be a fire and torrent all over again? It is endless suffering to live for the righteousness of the Lord.
The four years I went through, from the end of 1989 through 1994, was like a bad dream or nightmare, which I didn’t want to go through or remember. I thought it was enough for me to have spoken what was right four years ago. I thought I had fulfilled my prophetic obligation to the Lord. As a result, I lost everything and almost died. But it seems that the Lord calls me again for the reform work so that his work may be complete. In fact, the Lord’s work never ended. It has just begun. He called me back to join the reformers of UBF and complete his work.
I know what it entails. I know what kinds of sacrifice the Korean reform shepherds and American reform missionaries have to go through. Already American reform missionaries are on the verge of being excommunicated by D. Lee from LeeBF. His not inviting them to a staff meeting is the first step to kicking them out. In the Old Testament time only Nathan had a good happy ending. Most of the prophets suffered endlessly. Elijah had to live for a while being fed by a raven and by a widow. Prophet Jeremiah was thrown into the cistern. He wept endlessly. The legend tells us that prophet Isaiah was sawed into two. Why? Isn’t that because they all have spoken what was right before the Lord against the people in power?
Yes, true unity will naturally come as each of us accept our Lord Jesus as our King and Lord, repenting all our sins and believing the gospel. I saw how the Korean reform shepherds started the reform movement with the repentance in their confession of faith. We cannot reach unity in any other way except in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God and growth to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). Our Lord God said, “Come now, let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet. They shall be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Is. 1:18)
Is the UBF reform movement the attempt of collapsing the existing UBF organizational structure? D. Lee thinks so. So he said on January 14, 2001 to one reform missionary who visited him on the Chicago Sunday meeting: “Now our philosophies and thoughts are much different. The best thing is to be separated. I will help this separation to be done peacefully.” Even if we may want to be divided peacefully, the Lord would not allow us. It is clear that D. Lee does not see this movement as the message from the Lord.
True reform does not start from external change such as organizational change. It should start from the reform within us. From the top to the bottom we must all repent before the Lord in order for us to be forgiven by the Lord. Up until now, everybody in UBF had been challenged to repent and we all have responded. That is the reason why the Lord had preserved this organization of UBF thus far and still using it as the instrument of salvation in the hidden corners of 87 counties. But the top leader, D. Lee, has not.
We must pray that God open his spiritual eyes to see how he had taken the vineyard of UBF and only sought his self-glory and persecuted the servants of Jesus. No one can make him repent nor could he repent, unless the Spirit of the Lord move his hardened heart. But I don’t want to hear just words of repentance from him if in fact he mentions his repentance.
Evidence of the fruits of repentance must accompany his words. These things must happen:
First, he must issue a letter of apology to all the servants of God and children of God whom he persecuted as Saul did to the church of God (Acts 9:1,2).
Second, he must return all the Lord’s money of UBF back to the Lord. In other words, there should be no more gimmicks of having the form of offering in UBF’s name and yet controlling it with full power with his loyalists. Rather, he must open the full account with a proper audit and the newly elected treasurers (in fair and proper procedure, not handpicked) and auditors must take over. In that way, the accumulated offering fund may be purely used for the work of salvation, fostering the salvation work in 87 countries and truly supporting and raising 1,500 missionaries scattered in the world with proper missionary education and raising up and supporting numerous qualified staff missionaries. The funds should no longer be used for one man’s whimsical power or for preserving his own power structure, which gravely displeases our Lord Jesus Christ.
Third, he must resign from the general secretary and general director’s position while the international board of directors is newly elected. They in turn elect the general director of UBF international. Please, no more unqualified successor who has not been tested and proven to be the servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. [Remark by an ex-member: It is extremely questionable whether UBF shall use “general directors” and worldly power structures like that at all and shall further on be organized like a Korean large business corporate group. Jesus has clearly declined such hierarchical leadership structures by all means (Mt 23:6-11; Mk 10:42-44). James Kim is right in so far, that reform first of all means repentance. But the false and spiritually dangerous organizational structures must be challenged and changed as well.]
Fourth, it’s time for him to retire with honorable retirement. First, because he can no longer execute the salvation work in UBF with proper and sound judgment as the Lord Jesus wants and second, because of his age. If he retires now, it can still be an honorable one. Otherwise, it will be a really ugly, dishonorable one if he tries to hold the power and money in his hands to the end. Yes, we have lost too many good people who truly love Jesus and the truth of His words. I ask nothing less than this for the third reform movement of UBF. But remembering his early contribution to UBF salvation ministry as a cofounder with M. Sarah Barry, we must open the way for D. Lee to receive proper treatment for his retirement if he repents.
Yes, we have had many great assets of His people who could have been Christian leaders in every aspect of society in the 157 countries. But it’s not too late if we reform and steer this organization of UBF in the right direction, no longer veering off from the right trail. Many prominent spiritual leaders, Bible scholars, theologians and Christian leaders in every rank and file can be raised up and we can truly become salt and light of our Lord Jesus Christ in this 21st century if we act now.
If we don’t pay attention to the voice of truth now, because of our fear of the tight power of darkness, we will be subject to history’s judgment as the ones who disobeyed the Lord’s call. I believe that Korean reform shepherds and American reformers presented the full vision of the Reformed UBF through the blue print of the Reform UBF, which is already edited and published.
Our Lord Jesus said, “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.” (Luke 5:36) Yes, unity is very important. But to the Lord there is no unity that can be accomplished by tailoring the reform movement to fit into D. Lee’s old system of a pyramid-style structure in which the leader never repents and everyone else always repents. This creates a double standard. Should we compromise for the sake of unity?
Even if we want to do it, it cannot be done because of the characteristics of the kingdom of God. It is like tearing a patch from a new garment and sewing it on an old one. Again our Lord Jesus said, “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’” (Luke 5:37-39)
It is so sad that we have to undergo such pain and insecurity because the ministry we relied on as a part of ourselves has been shipwrecked. And I am sorry that I am one of the reformers who had to shake up and challenge the old system of UBF, which became like the old sweet wine in inflexible old wineskins. But I cannot curve the truth of the Scripture. The dynamic gospel work that is going on now must be put in the new frame of the gospel work in order to be fully fomented.
On the other hand, I don’t want people to misunderstand in such a way that we deny all the good work of the Holy Spirit in UBF simply because we reject the darkness of D. Lee deeply embedded in LeeBF. We never deny the goodness of one-to-one Bible study methodology, of Christian training; nor give any hint of discrediting the great mission work of salvation through Bible Korea and world mission. The purpose of my letter is to disclose how much LeeBF has been off from the original purpose of the aforementioned spiritual directions of the Holy Spirit. Just as the reform confession indicated, the resource and power of serving Bible Korea and world mission must come from the grace of our Lord Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. As we realize the falsehood deeply embedded among us, we wholeheartedly return to the original purpose of our Lord’s will upon one-to-one Bible study and upon training and the world mission and Bible Korea. Therefore the UBF reform movement is not the work of division, but the work of restoration, returning to the true teaching of the Scripture and true rejuvenation in the Lord.
Thank you very much for paying attention to this long letter. Please correct me if I am wrong. I am sure there are many, although I would not and cannot recant over the very important biblical principles and issues I raise. And I also want you to know that I am in the salvation work through UBF, starting with writing this letter and joining the reform movement and repenting from my selfish obscure life. The Lord will show me what I need to do next to participate in his salvation work and I will wholeheartedly carry it out no matter who says I cannot. May God give you grace and peace in the midst of this spiritual battle.
James J. Kim