"Sheep is God to a Shepherd, and Shepherd is God to a sheep."

“Sheep is God to a Shepherd, and Shepherd is God to a sheep.” This seems to be how some in North American UBF try to mask UBF’s hierarchical authoritarianism, which begins, at its lowest level, with the one-to-one, shepherd-to-sheep relationship. The Hong brothers, the late Daniel Hong and now Paul Hong, seem to espouse this model for the relationship between “shepherds” and “sheep” in UBF. (Interesting that Paul Hong would be preaching this “sheep=God, shepherd=God” message. The stories of former Toledo UBFers would indicate that he most emphasizes the “Shepherd=God” portion, where “Shepherd=himself.”) Their biblical justification for this comes almost entirely from the Old Testament and focuses mainly on Moses “who spoke for God.” Any reputable Christian teacher or student of the Bible would look at a statement like “Sheep is God to a Shepherd, and Shepherd is God to a sheep” and reject it at face value as a dangerous teaching and would probably consider its source to be most likely a cult.

There are other problems. If “Sheep is God to a Shepherd, and Shepherd is God to a sheep,” then by necessity, Sheep must be a “lesser God” than Shepherd in UBF. If Sheep=God wants to do A and Shepherd=God wants Sheep=God to do B, don’t you have quite a conundrum? After all, they are both “God” to each other. It’s even worse if Sheep=God wants to do A and Shepherd=God wants to do not-A, the opposite. Then what happens? We have “God” opposing “God.” Of course, then UBF “spiritual order” takes effect, and “Sheep is god to a Shepherd, but Shepherd is G-O-D to a sheep.” And if Sheep doesn’t meekly accept it, then “Sheep can just leave!” said the Shepherd. Why not just be honest and admit that the equality implied by “Sheep is God to a Shepherd, and Shepherd is God to a sheep” simply does not exist in UBF?

Another point: “Sheep is God to a Shepherd, and Shepherd is God to a sheep” is something that I can’t remember Samuel Lee or Sarah Barry ever saying. In fact, it was more common for Lee to say condescending things like “Sheep are sheep. They only like to eat, graze and mate. They never say thank you.” At least Lee/Barry never gave the illusion that a UBF sheep is “God to a shepherd” or to anyone else. The next generation of UBF leaders like Paul Hong may be even more gifted in the art of doublespeak than Lee/Barry.

See this archived RsqUBF discussion thread for an idea of how the UBF “Shepherd-Sheep” relationship works in reality.

Also see Joachim D.’s account of life in Bonn UBF at http://ubf-info.de/int/bonn/joachimd200105.en.htm, in which we see the “Sheep is God to a Shepherd, and Shepherd is God to a sheep” principle taken to its ugly conclusion:

Once he (Peter Chang, Bonn UBF head) literally said at the announcements at the end of a meeting: “I am God.” He did not say that he was like God, or that he was God’s servant or God’s representative, but he said, he was God. That was not a slip of the tongue or attribute to his poor German, because right after this statement he deliberately paused, after which he let us decide either to accept this or “go out through the open door now”. At that time no one said a word; all was silent and just stared straight ahead, I did too. In my heart I was shocked and at the same time ashamed to be in a fellowship where the leaders magnifies himself so.

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