A summary of some of UBF’s biblical/doctrinal errors

The following was actually sent in a letter prior to my personal story:

A summary of some of UBF’s biblical/doctrinal errors

One of the biblical passages often used to justify UBF’s much-criticized practice of leader-ordered and leader-arranged marriages is the Genesis 24 account of Rebekah and her marriage to Isaac. Rebekah is seen as exemplary because she made a choice to marry a man “sight unseen.” An unmarried female member of UBF is seen as “obedient like Rebekah” if she can declare that she will marry anyone, any time, anywhere in obedience to the “servants of God” (her leaders). Indeed, UBF members have been notified by leaders that they will get married, whom they would marry, when they would marry and where they would marry just one week or less prior to the marriage date set by the leaders. [Unlike the Genesis account of Isaac and Rebekah in which their parents played a large part in the choice of marriage partner, in UBF the role of the “marriage candidate” recruit’s parents in the marriage decision is usurped by the recruit’s “shepherd” and ultimately by the top leaders of UBF.]

The neglect of children and family, a practice that UBF has been accused of in the USA and Germany, is often justified by comparing one’s family and children with Isaac, whom Abraham chose to sacrifice in Genesis 22. A UBF member’s commitment to the group is seen as exemplary when they can “give up their Isaac,” that is, when they are willing to neglect family life and even the care of their children to participate with full zeal in the UBF ministry.

Samuel Lee, the late director of UBF, was often given status akin to Moses, a “visible” representative of God, who knew God’s will at a much greater level than anyone else in the group. It followed then that UBF members who tried to challenge the abusive and cultic elements of UBF under Lee’s leadership were compared to Korah and his followers (Numbers 16) or Aaron and Miriam (Numbers 12) and were said to be “rebelling” against “God’s chosen servant.”

Romans 1:5 is often quoted by UBF leaders to equate grace and apostleship, such that a person’s acceptance of God’s saving grace is constantly called into question if they are not participating in the group’s main mission of recruitment. Apostleship, as UBF defines it, is the only fruit of grace that UBF recognizes, contrary to what Paul writes in Romans 12:6-8. As Samuel Lee often stated, “Those who have no mission (UBF apostleship) have nothing to do with God!”

Jesus’ pre-ascension command to Peter to “feed his sheep” (John 21:15-18) is interpreted into the demand on all UBF members to perform constant UBF-style evangelism, which is called, not surprisingly, “feeding sheep.” UBF-style evangelism is an activity in which UBF shepherds “feed” the sheep (recruits). The result is that a person who is successfully recruited tends to become assimilated into UBF’s pyramidal authoritarian structure, a structure in which a sheep remains a sheep to his shepherd and his shepherd’s shepherds, regardless of how long he remains and serves in the organization.

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