Archive for October, 2004

Moral relativism

October 25, 2004

(Quoted from a now dead link) “Moral relativism asserts that nothing can be truly wrong (in every circumstance, in every culture); the answer to the ‘is it wrong?’ question is always, ‘it depends.’ Moral relativism cringes at the word ‘evil’, because in a world without true right and wrong, evil is too strong a term. For example, a terrorist to one person, is a freedom fighter to another: so says the relativist. This line of thinking diminishes terrorism.”

One of my sisters has observed, and I have to concur, that moral relativism and moral fudging is rampant in UBF. Early on in UBF, defending the inexcusable actions of someone like Sam Lee became more important than the truth. Very recent [2003-2004] examples of a very modern form of moral relativism have been found in UBF leaders. For example, in answer to a question about abortion put to her in August of this year, Sarah Barry seems to channel many a modern liberal politician:

Date Posted: 18:09:43 08/19/04 Thu
Author: Joe
Subject: Barry and reverse indoctrination
In reply to: Amy’s message, “Re: Talk w/ Sarah Barry” on 23:03:11 08/04/04 Wed

>Amy: It’s [Harvest Bible Chapel]
>really great. The teaching is so bold and
>powerful. Now I would like to ask you some questions.
>What do you think about abortion?
>
>Sarah: Well, in my opinion it’s wrong; I’m against it.
>But you know me; I never got married. I never had the
>chance. [Here she promotes the mythological image that Sam Lee built of her. She must believe her own myth.]

[The above conversation took place at the 2004 UBF international conference at Michigan State University. Kudos to Amy for her courage.]

Indoctrination is a 2 way street. The cult leader–whether a religious cult or system like N. Korea–indoctrinates the cult members to see the leader as having amazing qualities that put that leader on a higher plane. The cult members, in turn, through endless over-the-top praise, indoctrinate the cult leader to live in their fantasy.

UBF members have heaped so much over-the-top praise for Barry so many times for so many years, mentioning her “decision” not to get married as if that qualifies her for some kind of sainthood (“Her Holiness”, “Reverend Mother”), that it seems to have gone to Barry’s head in some sort of reverse indoctrination. For no good reason, Barry brings up her unmarried state in conversation with someone (Amy) who already knows, when it has nothing to do with the topic being discussed, abortion. What does Barry think? That, as a rule, every woman who gets married contemplates getting an abortion?

The first part of her answer to Amy’s question is also quite telling. “Well, in my opinion it’s wrong; I’m against it. But…” This is precisely an example of the modern relativism, applied to the issue of abortion, that people such as Francis Schaeffer and Chuck Colson have warned Christians against. It’s a sign that Barry’s understanding of and respect for objective truth has been fundamentally obliterated. Perhaps years of defending UBF-ordered abortions in the USA and Korea has resulted in this “evolution” of Barry’s view of abortion toward modern moral relativism. Perhaps it’s the influence of a number of “pro-choice” medical doctors on the UBF Board of Directors, who themselves may have turned to moral relativism as a result of years of defending Sam Lee.

Then there was the following astounding comment about abortion in 2003 by Kevin Albright:

Date Posted: 22:18:38 02/02/04 Mon
Author: Amy Young
Subject: Re: The UBF response
In reply to: Chris ‘s message, “The UBF response” on 16:55:43 02/02/04 Mon

Last summer at UBF’s conference at Wheaton College I asked Kevin Albright (Fellowship leader at Northwestern Univ [and a UBF staff member])- what he thought about Samuel Lee making Rebekah Yoon get an abortion. He said the word “abortion” is not in the Bible and that in his opinion abortion is wrong, but that’s just one person’s opinion. I told him, “Neither is the word “Trinity” in the Bible, but you believe in that don’t you?”

Interesting that Albright would utter his textbook morally relativistic position on the campus of conservative, evangelical Wheaton College. One wonders what kind of reaction he would get from the vast majority of Wheaton College students, faculty and staff [in 2004]? A poll of UBF’s leadership including people like Albright would yield similar modern relativistic positions on abortion, a symptom of the relativism that is common in the upper echelons of “Bible-believing” UBF.

How many hits?

October 21, 2004

(originally posted THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2004)

I know I probably shouldn’t care about this, but I do track how many times this blog has been viewed. By my rather unscientific method of counting, I estimate that this blog has been viewed 2,800 times since it was begun in late November of 2003.

How not to defend UBF

October 20, 2004

I would say that most attempts to defend UBF reveal several unflattering things about UBF: willingness to twist scripture and take scripture out of context, unwillingness to answer uncomfortable questions, lack of care for and even hatred toward people who were abused. But some UBF defenders really take it over the top when they try to portray themselves as somehow part of a Christian mainstream (what chutzpah!) and condemn UBF detractors as “heretics” because they disagree with UBF’s condoning child neglect, or condemn UBF detractors as “anarchists” because they disagree with UBF’s emphasis on absolutely obeying one’s leaders.

An interesting thing about the hardcore UBF defenders I’ve encountered is that they will never say that “UBF has changed”. Since, as they believe, UBF has no real serious problems at all, there is no need for UBF to fundamentally change.

A humble suggestion

October 14, 2004

If you have belonged to a church for a good period of time, and in the course of discussions about said church and its leadership, you find that you cannot answer questions of morality that a 9 year old could answer, it may be time to evaluate your continued involvement in said church.

Drowning out the gospel

October 9, 2004

I grew up in Chicago UBF, but it was in the local Baptist church (Edgewater Baptist (*) on Chicago’s north side) where I first heard and believed the gospel as a teenager. If UBF did teach me the gospel, I don’t remember it. Maybe it was drowned out by the gospel of mission, where I first have to become “a normal human being,” get all “A’s”, “have great vision” for my country and for myself, “win the victory over many adverse situations”, and “do many great things” for God. In the Baptist church I heard the gospel of God’s grace; in UBF I heard the gospel of man’s mission. When my parents saw that I loved the Baptist church, they gave me an ultimatum and tore me away from genuine Christian fellowship that was based on the gospel, and they told me to have “gospel faith” without even knowing what the gospel was. Even at UBF Easter conferences I did not hear the gospel. The automaton conference messengers would say many dramatic words about the blood and the cross, and sometimes they would pretend to cry or even genuinely cry, but they did not dare to mention the finished work of Christ on the cross. The gospel they were preaching was meant to “motivate” me to “finish” the work that was already completed.

(*) Erwin Lutzer, now pastor at the Moody Church, was the pastor at Edgewater from 1971-1977.