Posts Tagged ‘decision control’

Jerry King’s advise

December 10, 2004

The following is a post from June that contains what could be considered constructive criticism of UBF from a former member, though the advise is directed toward the CMI (formerly the Reformed UBF). As with any criticism, constructive or otherwise, UBF’s habit is to totally ignore it.

Date Posted: 14:27:58 06/03/04 Thu
Author: Joe Chung
Subject: Jerry King’s advise to the CMI

It looks like the CMI web site is back with a new name,, and the same look. One thing I found interesting on their free discussion board is advise from Jerry King, who, if you are veteran enough to remember, was a “shepherd” in the Columbus UBF. After Peter Chang’s resignation, I guess he and others left UBF and formed something called the Living Hope Fellowship in Columbus. I believe Jerry is an ordained pastor now.

The following from Jerry does not necessarily reflect my own views of UBF in so many ways, but some of his insights I do find valuable. [It should be noted that Jerry was recruited into a UBF chapter (Columbus) that eventually left UBF after the 1989-1990 events.]

Some Observations on UBF Past. Present and Future

1. For these things that God gave to me through UBF I am very grateful:

• Profound, life-changing Bible study

• Real-life discipleship – “Holiness counts!”

• Wide-open accessibility into your lives/homes

• Seeing and experiencing what hospitality really is

• High hopes/expectations/vision of what’s possible

• Helpful distinguishing of what is essential gospel/what is American Christianity’s forms

• Appreciation of hymns

• 45 min. sermons are ok!

• Regular, sincere intense prayer

• 1 to 1 format

• Perseverance against sometimes overwhelming odds

• Learning how to deal well with authority in my life/that obedience doesn’t kill you

• Overcoming the fear of cold-contact evangelism

• ”Bury-my-bones” commitment to mission

• Appreciation for missions globally and historically

• Demonstration of what sacrifice looks like

• Learned genuine confession and repentance

• The importance of one soul

• Living proof that the Great Commission is not something reserved for Americans/Westerners

• The most potent experience of Christian community I’ve ever tasted (though we never used the term!)

• A solid, wide-angle Genesis to Revelation view of Scripture

• The value of writing testimonies of God’s grace

• Holy days (holidays) warrant a real celebration

• Sense of history – personal, national, spiritual, Biblical

2. The following observations and recommendations do come from my own experience in UBF, but I have endeavored to set aside the purely personal and speak more representatively concerning things that affected many of us.


– Though your own calling is legitimate, it is not original; God did not first show up on a campus/in a city or country when you arrived to “pioneer”

• Respect His prior presence; investigate and appreciate where and with who He is already working; then search out (together!) why He is bringing you here. Where is your niche? Can you do it with the blessing of other Kingdom servants?

– Your work is not the only show in town, nor. necessarily the “best”: appreciate how else God is at work: model and teach this humility/graciousness in relationships/cooperation without fear of being “infected” with compromise by other Christians. Remember: Jesus Himself said that this is the most potent evidence to a watching world of who He is: how His followers love each other/ or not! (Jn. 13:34,35; 17:20,21). The world expects to see division/ competition/ despising/ ignoring. Let’s show them something better.

– Demonstrate the strength of humility to those learning from you

Apologies – make them quick and generous

• Not lording authority over “the sheep”

o Not a case of “either/or”: “Always be right or they won’t respect you.” Not true. Genuineness can engender respect. Americans can smell posing a mile away; we know it’s fake. We will watch for the inevitable manifesting of your “feet of clay” or – Worse! – Naively think you really .are perfect, only to be disillusioned someday when you do mess up; then we will despair not only of you but also of ourselves

• Be more transparent about your own struggles, questions, and failures – sooner!

• Be willing to hear from (even critically), receive input and even help from growing disciples.

o Younger watching ones are especially valuable in pointing out any disconnect between professed belief and practice; very hard to hear / face this, but necessary for real respect and credibility.

o Dismantle the fierce hierarchy within the organization. We often looked to local leaders with a near absolute respect, only to watch his/her “emasculation” / reduction to child status when in the presence of a top leader. We saw grown men treated like – even acting like – idiots. Did not communicate to us genuine respect but bizarre oppression. From that we received the message that we ourselves would never grow up.

o Waited to see if a “Paul rebuking Peter” kind of collegiality would ever form. (Gal. 2:11-14)

Practical Theology

A) Trust the Spirit of God more to work in a person’s life

1) Widen and simplify your expectations of marks of real transformation (in individuals and in groups); shed more culturally bound expectations.

2) Respect the new disciple’s will; this is the domain where a person and the Spirit of God meet (holy ground).

a) Respect the point of conversion more

b) More importance of chosen marks of identification undertaken by the individual: e.g. baptism & communion

c) Lead disciples into prayerful, advised, Biblically-rooted and real decision making.

d) Be ready for mess, immaturity, false starts; no surprise!

e) God respects human decisions: (see Gen 2:19 “Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.”)

3) Expect and watch for unique giftings — calling for the individual (one size does not fit all)

a) God’s design for His church: individual diversity in gifts and functioning: wide and varied.

b) A narrow view ruins individuals who don’t fit your scheme/ template resulting in 2 tiers of “members”

c) Dignity and importance of non-ministry vocation/ work. Teach it /show it

4) The Gospel is true in you; this confidence produces real hope, power to lean into new identity; to mature into godly manhood/ womanhood. Not deeply believing this speaks: “You are a contained monster, always a kid, still just a poor sinner.: Consequently, hard to grow up in Christ well.

B) Ecclesiology – have to clean up this understanding – really!

1) No more “halfway hybrid”

2) God’s design: churches: local, committed, diverse, all functioning in service reproducing. Yes, church is slow, messy; but don’t try to clean it up, streamline by “improving” on it.

a) Yes, there are and will be specialized ministry arms, but always connected to church.

(1) E.g. missions, seminaries, campus groups, publishing houses, media etc

b) If you are doing whole picture evangelizing work, then you are either doing church planting or you are doing conversions then tying people into a context of church right away.a) Respect the point of conversion more

(1) Danger: young believers will grow with a warped, partial experience and understanding of church life if this is not resolved.

3) We all need to learn to do life with a range of ages, gift variety, occupations/ministries, educational levels, the poor and needy etc.

C) Issue of time’s passages

1) Don’t fight it by idolizing one stage of life as ideal (e.g. young, single student)

2) Impossible to maintain perpetually anyone phase of life.

3) Resisting this spawned much guilt/frustration / shame – in you and in us!

4) Produced some bad attitudes toward marriage/ family/ aging

5) We need to see peaceful, gracious maturing under God’s sovereignty. Gray hair is to be admired!

D) Gifts of Holy Spirit – be honest, be complete, biblical, courageous

3. Culture

1) Perennial missionary challenge

2) Sanctifying opportunity for missionaries: incarnational presence:

a) “good chance” to be exposed – your culture distinguished from gospel by submersion in another culture

b) No such thing as “culture-free” gospel!

(1) But it’s a brutal process – because culture is not abstract; it is “me”; it is “us”!

c) Most find it too threatening or difficult and back off – don’t really enter a new culture (as if Jesus came to earth but hovered 10 feet above the ground) here, but not really accessible

d) We need to decide to develop this mindset: “I choose to enter fully into this new culture”

e) Learn

(1) Language – continually: goal is not perfect fluency, but persistence in trying; tells us that you really want to be here and are about us.

(2) Search out the “hot button” issues in our culture, then don’t naively run rough-shod over them or act shocked if you get a strong reaction. (e.g. marriage customs, family holidays)

(3) Observe details of life – it’s where we really live!

(4) Let your second- generation kids help you learn in this.

f) Appreciate as much as you can without condemning first

g) Expect the workings of God to be new and different-looking in this new context; Don’t default to the much easier reproducing of forms you have known from before / elsewhere

h) Lose the strong Korean flavor; don’t be so afraid of syncretism and compromise.

3. Offer cultural critiques to us but receive it as well.

a) We can see your blind spots too, better than you can, for example. . .

(1) Moral relativity in some situations

(2) “Face-saving” instead of simpler honesty

(3) Idolatry of education; the ambition of living through your children

(4) Watch for the emergence of the “third culture”, Neither A nor B; not even A & B together, but hints of “C”! a new human / kingdom culture. Though slippery and often fragile, it’s worth the effort, even in foretaste.

"Systematic Obedience (to people) Training"

November 23, 2004

The following is an insightful post about how a person’s independent decision making, even if led by the Holy Spirit, is anathema in UBF. Notice during the narrative how a human leader subtly takes the place of God.

Date Posted: 21:11:16 10/14/04 Thu

Author: PECAS

Subject: Systematic Obedience Training

Systematic Obedience Training

I am a member of UBF who left this year. I have read much of the posting and testimonies on this site. This is my first post on the rsqubf forum. I was not certain whether this post should be a new thread or a reply. I decided to post as a new thread because I want to discuss a point that I do not recall reading on any recent or archived posts. Please forgive the length, but I wanted to be as clear as possible in discussing systematic obedience training.

I believe that UBF engages in what I call systematic obedience training towards growing sheep and young shepherds. If a growing sheep or young shepherd had some personal decision regarding their life, even if it would be acceptable to UBF, their shepherd woud automatically respond that this was ‘your own idea’ or ‘human thinking’. The shepherd would respond this way because the shepherd does not want the sheep to think that he or she came make personal decisions by simply praying to God and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If the shepherd encourages the sheep that their personal decision is correct, then the sheep would develop a habit of personally praying/struggling with God rather than obeying the direction of their shepherd, fellowship leader, and chapter director. Thus, UBF shepherds would not be able to manipulate the sheep to absolutely obey their direction. One of the UBF heritages from Samuel Lee is spiritual order. The shepherd, fellowship director,and/or chapter director must give the direction and the sheep follows.

Therefore, I am arguing that in order to foster an environment in which sheep learn to absolutely obey their shepherds or follow the spiritual order, the shepherd will systematically rebuff any desire that sheep have regarding their life be it mission, family, career, or otherwise. The shepherd will then give their own direction and tell the sheep to deny his or her personal conviction as his or her ‘own idea.’ The next step is to follow this direction as God’s will by making a decision of faith.

Let me clarify this point with an example:

Let’s say there is a shepherd named Peter and a sheep named Bill. Also assume Shepherd Peter is the chapter director.

Bill begins Bible study with a Christian background. Bill tells Shepherd Peter that he wants to be an English teacher in China to serve as a short-term missionary after he leaves college, then come back to the USA to get a PhD and and then pray about whether he should be a long-term missionary. Bill would like to devote his life to mission, so he does not plan to marry. When Bill begins to share testimonies every week, Bill talks a lot about his prayer to be an English teacher in China and desire to get a PhD that God will use for long-term mission.

UBF wants to raise missionaries and PhD shepherds so Shepherd Peter, should be overjoyed about Bill’s future vision. However, there is one problem. As Bill continues to grow in UBF, he needs to be trained to absolutely obey his shepherds and follow spiritual order. The spiritual order dictates that Bill follow the direction of his shepherd. If Bill would follow this path, Bill would think that he can make decisions through the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer without following the direction of Peter. Bill might think that he can personal pray about whom to marry or where to live when he returns from China. Bill might pray and through the Holy Spirit decide to serve in another ministry.

In order to be raised as a good UBF shepherd, Bill cannot be allowed to follow through with his own personal decisions regarding his life. Therefore, Shepherd Peter will give a new direction for Bill. Instead of China, Peter will direct Bill to spend one year in Korea UBF to receive mission training. Peter will tell Bill that going to China was his own idea. To be a fruitful or great man of God, he must deny his own ideas and obey God through Peter’s direction. Bill accepts the direction and spends one year in Korea. Bill stills intends to come back to the USA to earn a PhD. However, when Bill returns from his one year mission training, Shepherd Peter directs Bill to deny his human ambition to acquire a PhD and marry by faith one of the Korean missionaries he met in Korea and then establish a house church. Bill would be directed to serve the thirsty harvest field at which he is located by coworking with Peter. Shepherd Peter will direct Bill to find a job to support his new family of mission rather than selfishly seeking a PhD. Bill repents of his ‘human idea’ of getting a PhD and not thinking of the thirsty sheep at his own university. Perhaps, Shepherd Peter reminds Bill of how Peter and other coworkers bore with his long self-centered testimonies about his own idea of going to China and then receiving a PhD.

Now, Bill is conditioned to obey Shepherd Peter’s direction for his life. When through personal prayer, Bill receives a direction regarding his life, Bill will reject it as ‘his own himan idea.’ Bill will only follow the direction of Shepherd Peter. Further, when Bill thinks that maybe Shepherd Peter’s direction is wrong, Bill will dismiss that as his own idea.

To me, UBF leaders make a conscience effort in the manner described above to manipulate sheep into obeying their shepherd. UBF leaders do this intentionally and engrain the disciples they raise to particpate in systematic obedience training as well. Any desires sheep display will be dismissed as ‘their own idea’ to foster an absolute obedience toward their shepherd. It does not matter what the sheep thinks, desires, prays about, or has as a future vision. The shepherd will manipulate the sheep by rebuffing them and providing a new direction.

Does anyone have an example of systematic obedience training such as this from their UBF experience or not?

Thank you for the opportunity to post about UBF on this forum.

In Christ,



Here’s part of my response:


Date Posted: 22:05:53 10/14/04 Thu

Author: Joe

Subject: Re: Systematic Obedience Training

In reply to: PECAS ‘s message, “Systematic Obedience Training” on 21:11:16 10/14/04 Thu

In my case, as a 2ndgen, the main factors that kept me in the systematic obedience training (SOT) program had to do with my parents, my innate desire to have at least a “harmonious” relationship with them.

I don’t think I was ever fully conditioned. Many formative years of observing what kinds of behaviors and directions and desires were acceptable in UBF gave me an ability to steer clear of any potential conflicts with my parents and shepherds. I knew how to act like a good and obedient UBF member. So I guess I was able to avoid most of the “electric shocks” of the SOT program that the willing fresh recruit would be given to bring about compliance. But the effect on my life was the same as if I had gone through the SOT program; I was obedient to a fault, I “bore with” abuses, certain personal ambitions and goals were off limits, the thought of living and working anywhere but in Chicago was off limits, the thought of being in any other church was off limits, even expressing certain emotions in the performance of music was off limits.

Heavy lifting on "marriage by faith" II

November 17, 2004

A former female member of UBF wrote a detailed followup to the previously mentioned article on UBF “marriage by faith.” In her followup she describes in practical terms the harm that is routinely done by the “marriage by faith” system and dysfunctional marriage-obsessed culture of UBF. She also describes the process by which the UBF pressure to marry “by faith” gradually wears down a recruit’s defenses. Here’s an excerpt:

And finally my engagement with my spouse was almost canceled because the shepherds wanted to manipulate us to obey their very command as long as they could. I was constantly told that if I liked the guy I was spoiling the whole marriage by faith and was marrying not by faith. I was also counseled to prepare to marry someone not favorable or possibly not the best humanly, but had potential to be great in the future if I took care of him correctly. I was counseled to be ready, whenever, wherever, however, with whomever. I went from saying NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. To maybe it’s me, I shouldn’t say no, to OK I’ll marry by faith as long as God is really the underlying marriage arranger, to Yes. Ironically, each marriage arrangement brought me closer to the Yes. You would think that it would bring me closer to believing UBF was a cult. But their counsel and the fact that I had no one else to talk to about it was the turning point. Also I found I had to defend UBF ways to family and friends. To my family, who had to cancel a wedding, they really thought I was crazy. To friends, after the wedding cancellation I stopped telling them about my engagements until my real wedding came. One friend who did not realize the first wedding was canceled, thought I just postponed but later wondered why the name of the groom was different. Many times I covered up the problems of UBF, out of my own pride to believe UBF was in the right. But how harmful that was too me and others.

So, what is an asian blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery)?

May 8, 2004

Some sample before and after photos of the grotesquery known as asian cosmetic eyelid surgery can be found here. The procedure has to be performed under general anesthesia (they put you to sleep since they have to slice into your eyelids, obviously). I can remember vomiting during the drive back due to the effects of the anesthesia (I wasn’t driving). I had to go back to the “doctor’s” office a week later to have the stitches removed. [after a week of jury duty] And then I had to endure the wacked compliments of UBF members telling me how much “better” I looked. I had looked just fine the way I was, thank you; It’s called self confidence, good self esteem. One of the first things UBF teaches you is Genesis 1:31, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” But they could force me and many others into such a petty and unnecessary thing as eyelid surgery because, apparently, what God saw as very good wasn’t good enough for Samuel Lee.

I remember that Samuel Lee’s youngest daughter was among the first to get eyelid surgery done. I remember the excuse given for her undergoing this petty and unnecessary procedure: Her eyelashes were bothering her eyes.

Update: More excerpts from “Utter Biblestudying Futility”:

– Koreans are apt to notice my double eyelids. These are apparently a desirable physical trait to them. Probably millions of Korean women have undergone cosmetic surgery to get them. How weird and stupid. What they don’t know is how I, a Korean male, got this “desirable physical trait.” It was Samuel Lee’s idea one day to give me double eyelids. And my parents didn’t leave me alone until I “obeyed his direction,” even if it meant that they would be paying for this expensive, unnecessary and stupid surgery (with virtually no income as a grad student, I certainly wasn’t going to pay for it). I gave in to them (and in effect, to Samuel Lee) out of a misplaced desire to be a good son. On the day of the surgery in Northwest Indiana, my mother and David Choi drove me to the doctor’s office. I don’t know if my mother was capable of driving on the expressway at that time or not, but I suspect that David Choi’s presence served a double purpose: 1) To drive us out there to the doctor’s office and 2) to make sure I obeyed “God’s servant’s direction” in case I got cold feet at the last second. I was (and continue to be) ticked off about this absurdity, this “mark of the beast” etched on my eyelids, this sign that Samuel Lee’s control of UBF members’ lives extended even to their bodies. (Ask me about the circumcisions and abortions he ordered.) When I expressed my displeasure to my mother, she would say that I looked “better.” She would even go so far as to say that my “new and improved” look would improve my job prospects, as if any American employer would even notice or pay attention to double eyelids. I can say without a doubt that obtaining a Ph.D. and two jobs after that were not helped in any way by these stupid double eyelids. My parents can’t understand what an affront this surgery was to my life, these parents who were taught from the beginnings of their involvement in UBF that “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”