Heavy lifting on "marriage by faith" I

Chris Z., formerly of a German UBF chapter, did some heavy lifting in September of 2003 on the UBF practice of “marriage by faith.” Of particular interest to me is his description of the upside down concept of doing things “by faith” in UBF:

Second, I want to point out that “marriage by faith” is, of course, a euphemism, a terrible misnomer. For what has UBF “marriage by faith” to do with faith? Or let us ask differently: What kind of faith is meant here? In the Bible, the word “faith” has a well defined meaning. It has to do with righteousness, with forgiveness of sin, with resurrection, with trusting in God the creator. But nowhere it is mentioned in connection with marriage. There are similar misconceptions in UBF, like “examination by faith.” When I was a sheep, a UBFer told me that someone made his diploma “by faith.” What’s that? I really was stunned. I always thought that if you study hard, using your God-given capabilities, you will pass your examination. But they believed that you don’t need to learn and study hard, but instead give your time for mission, and then you will be blessed by passing the exam. I think that’s a misconception. The diploma is a recognition of your knowledge in a certain area. If you don’t have that knowledge, I think you don’t deserve to get that diploma, regardless how much you worked for mission or spend your time doing other good deeds. I think it is OK and even virtuous if somebody voluntarily and consciously offers a part of his time for studies for mission or other good deeds. But he or she should not expect to get the same degrees or degree as if he had worked only for his or her study. He or she should instead voluntarily and consciously take the loss of getting only a Bachelor instead of a Master or only being a B-student instead of an A-student. That’s a real Christian attitude. Losing instead of winning, but consciously, for the sake of God. Let us take an example where this will be very obvious: Someone is studying medicine. Now, during his time as a medicine student, he spends nearly all of his time for UBF activities, instead of learning the various diseases and medical science (Don’t tell me you can do both at the same time – you always have to cut back: You study will always suffer if you devote your time to UBF.) At the end of his study, this student expects God to pass the exam with the best degree by faith (though he has not learned so much as other students who devoted their full time for medicine study). Would this be just? Also, would it be responsible? Assume that student gets a job as a head physician, having passed his excellent exam “by faith” – but without real medical knowledge. Would you like to get operated by him? How could he do his job well and with responsibility? Again by faith? Just praying before every operation without actually knowing what to do? I think you see that “exam by faith” is a misconception, too. You can pray that you get the grades you deserve (not less) and be thankful for the talents that God gave to you, but you should not expect him to give you degrees which you do not deserve. However this is obviously the idea of UBF behind the concept of “examination by faith.” I think it is wrong. Hebr 11:24 says “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” He could not have both – a title, recognition and honor – and serve the people of God. So he deliberately suffered loss, he deliberately gave up his position as a prince. I think that’s the Christian way. On the other hand, if you think you got the talent by God to be a good physician, and help many people, then you should focus on that God-given gift, and take it serious, and not concentrate on UBF-style mission (you can be a good witness in your doctor’s practice instead). I am digressing, but I just want you to challenge you to question the (ab)use of the word “faith” in UBF, not only in the expression “marriage by faith.”

Take a few minutes to read the whole thing.

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