Title: Discipleship Methods within UBF
Purpose of this article: To show the difference between the principles I was taught in the outer layer of UBF which were in many (but not all) ways good except for a lack of objectivity and what I later learned from Samuel lee loyalists in the inner layer of UBF which suppressed the authentic discipleship style I was taught earlier within the same organization! I also wish to make suggestions for how to increase objectivity in Bible study, which might help improve the discipleship process in an area that was lacking.
Disclaimer: It is a problematic oversimplification to put UBF members into two camps but it saves much writing space just keep in mind that people are more complicated than I explain they might behave like Samuel Lee loyalists in one situation but not in another and might be only partly loyal to Samuel Lee rather than completely loyal.
Two contrasting methods of Bible study I witnessed at UBF
First method or stage: Bible discussion with freedom to disagree
This is the better method I was initially exposed to. People discuss Bible passages freely maybe they figure those who have not yet “accepted” UBF or should I say “Jesus” will leave if they are not allowed to disagree at this point. Unfortunately we were taught by word and example to privately interpret (the private interpretation is called “personal application”) the Bible like an inkblot to suit our desires or the desires of our Bible teachers/authority figures, this is “the will of men” but it is called being “led by God.” Being led by the “will of men” is not what is meant in the Bible by being led by God and is not the source of any prophecy such as God revealing who you should marry, etc.
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:20-21 KJV
None the less, I do not consider it to be real Bible study unless we are allowed to consider alternative ideas otherwise nothing new is discovered so this is an improvement over the next method listed. Perhaps this friendly non-objective ink-blot approach in which we emphasize “personal application” without useless head-knowledge helps us lose objectivity in reading the Bible and makes us more susceptible to Samuel Lee’s manipulations in the second method I list or perhaps it is not a different method but another stage of a single over-arching method.
I am going to suggest that if there was a way to add objectivity to the first method UBF could actually be doing something very good for the culture if the second method was avoided. That is when they initially allowed me to disagree in Bible study and did not try to get me to obey authority figures (so heavily) I benefitted from Bible study.
Second method or stage: Copy Samuel Lee
The Sunday Worship Service Message determines what you need to repent of not independent thought and neither examination of conscience nor consideration of external circumstances independent of the message calendar cycles.
This is the method I saw later. The Bible study, testimony writing and message were all on the same passages and strongly linked together. I got rebuked for spending time contemplating the Bible passage and deciding what to repent of on my own (although I did not figure out why this is why my testimonies were disliked until a long time) on the other hand one day I saw someone who was with the organization a longer time than me taking a highlighter and highlighting portions of the Sunday worship service message they told me they were finding what to repent of for testimony writing. I conclude based on years of observation that the person who writes the message determines praise or criticism of testimony writings. How can everyone sincerely have to repent of the same things at the exact time the message is written following a cyclical pattern in which old messages written by Samuel Lee before he died are reused wouldn’t people maybe have to repent of said sins some time other than the very week the message was given like weeks, months or years later rather than spontaneously on that very week? What do I mean by this?
No room for original ideas the Sunday Message is based on Samuel Lee
I noticed that rather than going through the whole Bible there is a pattern of doing the same set of Bible books (and I assume messages) repeatedly this is what I mean by a cycle. Now the part about the messages originating from Samuel Lee I know in multiple ways. 1. I helped the Pastor proofread the messages he was “writing,” he explained, he uses (apparently by “use” he did not mean “read” but “copy” and edit) the messages from censored (I am omitting the name) chapter and adds praise or suggestions for improvement of what people in his current chapter are doing. 2. I downloaded a sermon from Chicago, a message from censored Chapter (my Pastor uses for message writing) and a message from my Pastor’s Chapter (if my memory is correct) in order to look at three different messages to understand the chapter of the Bible I wanted to study really well, but they were so close to being identical I thought I accidentally printed out the same organizational chapter’s message multiple times, only to find out that it was from different organizational chapters but the messages were almost identical except for the part the Pastor edits to praise and criticize his members or other time and location specific details that would apply to his Chapter but not the other messenger’s Chapter 3. The Pastor wanted me to edit one of his messages to do a Sermon when he did not like my message, I agreed to do so but did not plagiarize and instead told people that I edited his message if they complimented me on “my message.” 4. I downloaded one of his really old messages and it was not even an edited copy of Samuel Lee’s message as far as I know it was an exact word for word copy of another message of Samuel Lee I downloaded that or so close I could not tell the difference to an even greater extent than before (not even a separate section for praise and criticism of local members to make it different.) I think there has been more variety in UBF messages as the time after the death of Samuel Lee increased, in some Chapters at least.
How to avoid listening to Satan’s or perhaps God’s voice by 12 one to one cloning sessions per week
Once I was concerned about being tempted by sin so I told an authority figure at UBF and this person said I should spend time teaching Bible students so I should not be tempted like King David did when he would not go to war (raising Bible students is not the same as killing people in war and this is clearly a private interpretation of scripture not a logical one but perhaps he meant to spiritually raze Bible students which is not a good interpretation but a humorous war pun.)
I wish to suggest that the many busy activities we are told to do prevent people from listening to important information God would desire them to receive but they mistake avoiding “empty head knowledge” as blocking out Satan’s voice. I used to wonder how they could have time to teach twelve one to one Bible studies but I now realize it is not teaching at all but merely using the “copy and paste” method which might make it a more attainable but less spiritually beneficial goal. Below is a compilation of my understanding of how an ideal shepherd would spend their time listed in order of importance with actually reading the Bible on your own near the bottom. I would also point out that the fact that this authority figure not wanting to help me with my sin problem but instead to get me to raise more disciples showed he was making disciples of disciple-making but not disciples of Christ.
My overall view of the two camps within UBF (see disclaimer at the beginning)
The graph and table below although an oversimplification (see Disclaimer) represent my overall view of UBF. I wish to suggest that the outer teachings in the table below are good but the inner teachings are bad. Some people on the outer layer following the outer teachings construct positively to society in some ways, but later they are exposed to the inner layer teachings and they either stay because they approved of the outer layer teachings and may still be helpful or embrace the inner layer teachings and harm society in certain ways or leave UBF. UBF is not a lay ministry movement if the “lay ministers” cannot teach Bible study on their own but must copy from Samuel Lee. Regarding the doctrine of the Universal Church-UBF was not non-denominational or interdenominational as I have been told at different times as I was discouraged many times (although not 100% of the time) from associating with other Christian groups. The Samuel Lee loyalists on the graph below support the dangerous inner layers of teachings promoted by Samuel Lee. I would suggest that if those who currently label themselves as part of UBF choose to live according to the outer layer they were originally presented with on the table below rather than the inner layer they were later presented with it would help society (although maybe Koreans are told the inner layer up front or more quickly because the inner layer in my opinion is the tenants of Confucianism (obey the bureaucracy) they were already taught by their society)
Non-exhaustive suggestions for a starting point at better Bible interpretation
This is only a starting point but I wish to address 5 points
- In addition to using information within the Bible we should use information outside the Bible to interpret the Bible and determine the Canon of scripture. By saying this I am not proposing a bureaucracy to canonize scripture as the Roman Catholic and “orthodox” Churches have voted on the Canon and voted on interpretations but instead I propose using logic, reason and historical methods to show fulfillment of prophecy to determine the Canon and to interpret scripture.
Jesus did not physically write the New Testament he gave a deposit of faith through teaching individuals, who later wrote what he did and said and this deposit of faith included more information than the text that was physically written in the new testament. We should to try to get a better idea what the early deposit of faith was understood to be by various different individuals close to the time different revelations were given to Jesus and other alleged (see Deuteronomy 18) prophets using historical methods looking at texts outside the Bible. Additionally we should keep in mind archeology, geography and studies on cult psychology when we interpret the Bible and the deposit of faith and try to determine what the early deposit of faith was.
We should not forbid alternate ideas although we can disagree with them upon careful examination. If we are not allowed to even examine alternate ideas it is not really Bible study. It is critically important to understand that when UBF people are claiming God is leading them to knowledge in answer to prayer about who someone should marry or whatever this is extra biblical revelation and therefore contrary to their common claim of going by “scripture alone,” or one must understand that Martin Luther might not have meant what people sometimes claim he meant by “Sola Scriptura,” that is that perhaps what Martin Luther originally meant by Sola Scriptura has been misunderstood if he ever taught that. Martin Luther supposedly frequently quoted the “Church Fathers” rather than going by “the Bible alone,” if that is true perhaps he thought information from sources outside the Bible was important.
- We should view historical events in scripture in which God gives no moral commands and makes no statements as to the actions which occurred as being morally right or wrong as having no direct moral teaching but being historically accurate and potentially useful for determining the canon of scripture through fulfilled prophecy. Although the historical event does not contain direct moral teachings it may strengthen the case of which texts should be considered canonical by revealing fulfillment of prophecy through historical methods and by strengthening the case of canonicity of scripture it may reveal the legitimacy of other portions of scripture in which God actually gives moral commands or makes statements about specific events being morally right or wrong. A useful but non-exhaustively complete way to decide if the historical event might contains a moral command is to see if it contains phrases such as God said, “……”, if it does one should next distinguish between God talking prophetically about history or actually making moral statements or making some other sort of statements, finally if it is a moral statement we should use logic to see if it even applies to us in our current decision before deciding it has personal application as opposed to the standard UBF method of private interpretation in which we assume everything has personal application and the passage means we are led by God to __________ (insert your desire or your authority figure’s desire here) [Remember 2 Peter 1:20-21.]
- We should be careful with metaphors to avoid loading the language to fit a private interpretation of scripture in order to fit men’s will rather than God’s intended meaning (when those two are in conflict.) We should avoid quickly accepting metaphorical meanings of scripture which are neither from where one part of scripture teaches another part of scripture to mean the alleged metaphor nor where the alleged metaphor would be a common meaning to those cultures or individuals to which the portion of revelation containing the alleged metaphor would have first read or heard it as opposed to a metaphorical interpretation made up at a much later time or in (a) distant culture(s) which would not be understood by those in the original culture(s) at the original time frame the message was given.
- Be careful of considering the time in which a revelation was given in regards to moral things in some cases the moral teachings were only meant to apply to certain time periods, locations, nations etc.
- Use of set theory and logic in general to decide if a command could apply to your circumstance by understanding which moral commands over-ride (rather than contradict) other moral commands and which moral commands apply to who in what circumstances as opposed to assuming all portions of scripture are to be used for personal application in all circumstances in a manner similar to reading an inkblot. Below are some figures that will be used to explain how to do this further. These figures were drawn by me on a computer accept for the three pictures in figure 1 which I copied from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venn_diagram and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Set_theory
Definition of Symbols
U “union” often indicated by the word “or”
“intersection” often indicated by the word “and”
X→Y If X then Y this is not the same meaning as Y→X
X↔Y Biconditional if means both X→Y and Y→X
X→Y = T means if X is true than Y is true
X↔Y = T means X→Y = T and Y→X = T
Explanation of use of diagrams and symbols for Biblical interpretation
The purpose of these diagrams is to explain a method to help understand how to apply Bible verses when it looks like two moral commands appear to contradict each other or to show how some moral commands might not even apply at all in certain situations and also to explain the limitations of this method.
Regarding Figure 1
The purpose of the top two pictures in figure 1 are two show the meaning of “intersection” and “union” a “union” often being indicated by the word “or” and an intersection often being indicated by the word “and.” The bottom of the three pictures shows a case in which A intersects B. If there is one command that teaches to do a specific action in circumstance A and another command teaches not to do the same action in circumstance B such that there appears to be a contradiction where A and B overlap one cannot use the method I am describing here to resolve the alleged contradiction at A intersection B and should use some other method to determine what action to take or not take when the circumstances described in A and B overlap in such a way that some parts of B do not overlap with A and some parts of A do not overlap with B as in figure 1.
Regarding Figure 2
If there is a command to take a specific action in circumstance C then one does not know from that command anything at all about whether or not the same action should be done in circumstances that are not within C and one would need information from elsewhere to make that determination. Likewise if there is a command not to take a specific action in circumstance C then one does not know from that command anything about whether or not the same action should be refrained from under circumstances that are not within C.
Regarding figure 2 and point 2 (earlier) about morality and historical events
If the Bible said that what someone did in a specific historical event was good one cannot generalize it to all situations because they only did it in the circumstances they did it in likewise if the Bible said that what someone did in specific circumstances was bad one cannot generalize it to all situations either based on the same reasoning. If the Bible simply mentions that someone did something without stating it was good or bad it is not stating that what they did is either is good or bad at all and UBF should stop using these historical examples to tell people what to do or not do. It is also problematic to paint someone as a villain or a hero and use that to claim specific actions they did were good or bad because they are a villain or hero and then generalize those actions as good or bad for people to do today.
Even if bad things happen to someone when they did something (in the Bible) it does not always mean the type of action they did is a sin, read the book of Job or read about Jesus suffering and you will see at least one example in which someone can have bad things happen to them for reasons other than having committed a specific sin one should also consider the passage, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Mathew 5:10 KJV likewise good things have happened to people even though they sinned, “ For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” Psalm 73:3 KJV and good things happening to people does not mean an action they did was not a sin and cannot let us know that a type of action someone did in the Bible is not a sin.
However if one already knows that murder is wrong and understands based on observation of historical events through the scientific method that an action would cause death one can understand that it would be wrong to do that action if it is morally wrong to cause that death but this is a different issue, yet nonetheless important to mention to prevent misunderstanding.
Regarding Figure 3
If circumstance E is within circumstance D such that circumstance E does not occur unless circumstance D also occurs but moral commands appear to have a contradiction such that people are told (or given permission) to do a specific action in circumstance E but forbidden from doing the same action in circumstance D then the permission or order to do that action in circumstance E over-rides the command not to do that action in circumstance D, we can know this because if it was the other way around and not doing the action in D over-rided doing the action in E then being told you can do the action in E would be meaningless since the possibility of doing the action would never occur. Likewise if you are forbidden from doing a specific action in circumstance E but allowed or required to do the action in circumstance D then forbidding the action in circumstance D over-rides allowing or requiring the action in circumstance D for similar reasons. In short if the directions for E conflicts with D you follow the directions for when you are in circumstance E for circumstance E but only follow the directions for circumstance D when you are in circumstance D and not in circumstance E.
This type of reasoning can work for figure 3 but can not work for figure 1 as I already mentioned. If two contradictory commands both share areas where they do not overlap as in figure 1 this reasoning does not work, but if one command is always included within the other command it contradicts and the other command includes some area which does not overlap then this reasoning can be used.
Regarding figure 3 in regards to historical events
Although one should not make blanket statements that something is right or wrong based on an action of an individual being described as right or wrong in a specific event one can still get hints to look for exceptions to general rules. For example if one would think what someone did was wrong based on a general rule but their action is described as morally right this might be a hint to look for other rules that are exceptions to that general rule elsewhere. Likewise if one would think what someone did was good based on a general rule but their action is described as morally wrong this might be a hint to look for other rules that are exceptions to that general rule elsewhere. These exceptions of course would not over-ride the general rule in all cases although it is possible that someone misunderstood the general rule altogether and it is not a matter of finding other rules that are exceptions but re-understanding the general rule altogether.
Some additional information about logic
A fallacy is something that is not true 100% of the time that people tend to assume is true
Sometimes a fallacy maybe true, in fact one reason people fall into fallacies so easily is because many fallacies are often true but not true 100% of the time. I will talk about two common fallacies that are not true and one type of reasoning that is true involving contrapositions.
- Fallacy of affirming the consequent
Incorrectly assuming X→Y = T always means Y→X = T
Bill Gates is rich.
Therefore, Bill Gates owns Fort Knox.
Accessed online on 2018 February 4
- Fallacy of denying the antecedent
Incorrectly assuming X -> Y =T always means ~X -> ~Y = T
If you are a ski instructor, then you have a job.
You are not a ski instructor
Therefore, you have no job[
Accessed online on 2018 February 4
Example of fallacy denying the antecedent in Mark 16:16
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Mark 16:16 New International Version
Accessed online on 2018 February 4
i. If someone believes and is baptized then they will be saved is true
ii. The fallacy of denying the antecedent would be to assume if someone does not meet the requirement of both believing and being baptized they will not be saved.
iii. Actually someone could believe and not be baptized and potentially be saved without contradicting Mark 16:16
- Contrapositive statements
X→Y = T ↔ ~Y→~X=T always is true
For example if a animal is a dog it is a mammal is true
Then if a animal is not a mammal then it is not a dog is also true
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contraposition for additional information
Switching the hypothesis and conclusion of a conditional statement and negating both. For example, the contrapositive of “If it is raining then the grass is wet” is “If the grass is not wet then it is not raining.”
Note: As in the example, the contrapositive of any true proposition is also true.
Accessed online on 2018 February 4
End of article
This article might have been written first in May 2015 since it was last edited in May 28 of 2015 and has not been edited and expanded again until February of 2018. I am leaving it unfinished as I do not remember how I was going to end it. I hopefully will have opportunities to give examples of misinterpretations and how to spot them using the method I outlined here in other future articles.