Reconciliation without compromise

(Related: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

This was posted elsewhere:

I’ll post this as a response to the question posed here: Is reconciliation with UBF possible? Is it desirable? Though I’m borrowing other peoples’ observations, I can hardly speak for everybody, so this is posted as my opinion.

My definition of reconciliation is this: “From my point of view, reconciliation might be being able to acknowledge at some point that UBF can be considered a legitimate Christian church, a part of the Body of Christ. That doesn’t mean that even at that point I would consider joining UBF again; I don’t see that happening ever again.”

In light of that definition, I would have to say that reconciliation with UBF is not possible at this time because it would require me to compromise with grave sins within the UBF system. I do not consider biblical the concept of reconciliation that requires compromise with what are clearly grave sins, a concept of reconciliation in which I promise to be silent about these sins and stop caring about future victims of these sins.

The following are present-day sins in UBF (or major issues or significant problems) as I and others see them:

1. UBF will not acknowledge the sins of Samuel Lee, his clear abuses. In fact, they continue to publicly venerate him during “Founders Day“, in sermons, in symposiums, in Korean newspaper articles, etc. This one man’s theology and personal opinions are still dogmatically adhered to, forming the basis for most of UBF teaching.

2. They continue to coddle another known abuser, Peter Chang, of the Bonn UBF, whose abuses have been acknowledged even by other German UBF leaders and members. (Not only have they coddled him, but they have also recently made him the Director of their European operation. This is a perversion of justice, a corruption of the worst kind, detestable to God. And it is inherent in the current leadership of UBF.)

3. They have made no sincere apology nor compensated for the damage that has been wrought in peoples’ lives during their stay in UBF. Furthermore, in spite of their well-earned negative reputation, they have not made any public acknowledgment of any wrong-doing. UBF continues to point a finger of blame at those who leave UBF on bad terms. A member’s developing concerns about UBF teaching and practice continues to be seen and referred to as “the work of Satan” or “demons,” never as legitimate concerns. Leaving UBF on good terms continues to be a rarity. Leaving UBF continues to be a traumatic experience for many since they are taught and conditioned to equate leaving UBF with leaving God and “mission.”

4. They continue the practice of “marriage by faith,” denying that it amounts to leader-arranged marriage, while they continue to twist scripture to try to justify it. Among married couples, UBF continues to encourage a greater commitment to UBF and its work than a commitment to one’s own spouse, resulting in painful-to-devastating consequences for the marriage when one partner in the marriage reduces his/her commitment to UBF or desires to leave UBF.

5. They continue a system of authoritarian shepherding, stressing strict obedience to human leaders in the areas of one’s time, one’s money, where one lives, one’s relationships, what one does after graduation, one’s marriage partner, etc. The specific, practical limits of what is allowed in UBF’s “training” programs–i.e., how far a “shepherd” can intrude into a “sheep’s” life–are still not mentioned, discussed or taught in UBF. As has been their decades-long habit, they continue to disparage any notion of human rights, rights which might restrict or moderate the totalist nature of UBF “training.” The concerned relatives and friends of people who have been recruited into UBF continue to make themselves known because they notice negative personality changes in these UBF recruits, negative changes brought about largely because of UBF’s strict authoritarian control over their loved ones’ lives.

6. They continue in their patently false teaching of “spiritual order” which brought about leaders like Samuel Lee and Peter Chang, a teaching which rejects leadership accountability, does not permit any sort of dissent, and allows a leader to claim authority to do virtually anything, even going against the Bible’s teaching, in the name of serving “world mission.” The ends-justify-the-means philosophy is alive and well. The specific, practical limits of a leader’s authority are still not mentioned, discussed or taught in UBF. There is apparently still no code of discipline for leaders who abuse their authority. UBF is still controlled by a core group of leaders who are not accountable to core members; there is no concept of democracy.

7. They continue to be a ministry and culture intensely focused on the glorification of man and the organization. UBF’s language in reports, sermons and announcements continues to brim with pride and triumphalism, pride and triumphalism that not only run counter to the spirit of Christ but that also have little basis in reality, since to date, UBF has been largely a failure in its major “mission fields,” North America and Europe. These continued failures do not result in self examination but more of the constant, ridiculous, dispiriting numeric goals that are UBF’s trademark. It follows from their pride and elitism that they continue their exclusivism, internally expressing disdain for mainline churches and Christian groups and also discouraging the pursuit of systematic theological education.

8. They have given no account for what was done with past special offering collections for causes such as the purchase of “Bible houses.” Like many aspects of life in UBF, offering and tithing continues to be compulsory. Yet finances continue to be opaque to most members. UBF continues to place a higher priority on using its fortunes to purchase land and properties than in helping the poor and needy.

9. Based on reports from concerned parents, relatives, friends and current members, UBF continues to exhibit the characteristics of a “high pressure group” or “destructive religious group” or “unhealthy group” which many universities and their campus ministries have warned their students about, characteristics including deceptive recruiting, “staged commitment” leading to ever-increasing pressure, isolation from family and friends, eventual control over a recruit’s life and decisions, focus on guilt and shame, etc. From a Christian perspective, UBF remains, at best, a TACO.

This list is not meant to be seen as complete but as the major unresolved issues that I see as standing in the way of reconciliation as I have defined it. The evidence of other aberrant and false teachings continues to be found in UBF sermons and “mission reports.”

Also see this comment.

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