Posts Tagged ‘reform’

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.

Voluntarism and Victimization

December 16, 2003

The enigmatic FlowerRootPearl chimed in with a RsqUBF discussion board post with Subject: “Voluntarism v. Victimization.” This was my response:

Date Posted: 13:35:31 12/16/03 Tue

Author: Joe

Subject: Re: Voluntarism and Victimization

In reply to: FlowerRootPearl ‘s message, “Voluntarism v. Victimization” on 09:42:14 12/16/03 Tue

>It is the job of parents to shape the beliefs of their

>children. In American culture, as children become

>adults they then make their own decisions. Whether

>in UBF or not, unhealthy oppression of children by

>parents is not uncommon. UBF is not unique in this

>regarding second-generation Korean children, when it


This is an interesting topic that you begin with, and it makes me curious why you make it your leading point.

I just want to point out that the unhealthy oppression of children in UBF isn’t like the phenomenon of over-ambitious parents who might oppress their children to perform well in school or music or sports. The problem in UBF is that “spiritual order” creeps into the relationship of parents to children, and the net effect is that the “Servant of God” is the real head of the household, not the man of the house. This was a reality in my household and is a reality in Bonn UBF and perhaps other UBFs that I don’t know about. And this contributed greatly to the tragic death of my young brother-in-law.

As a former UBF “2nd generation missionary” I oppose UBF not so much because I resented the “strictness” of my upbringing, but much more because of what I talked about, the dangerous abdication of parental responsibility to a “Servant of God.” That sort of abdication of responsibility is not at all common in normal, healthy churches, Korean or non-Korean. But it is common in cultic groups.

>As for adults, UBF is a voluntary organization in the

>last analysis. Adults who give their lives in the

>membership of UBF must realize that it is a choice

>made by them to have done so. Unfortunately, when

>that decision was made, “UBF gave and UBF taketh away”

>in many devastating examples. But the original

>decision to belong was nonetheless voluntary. The

>benefit which comes is the freedom to leave, both

>physically and psychologically.

I’m not sure you can take this as an absolute. Can a college freshman, barely 18 years old (sometimes younger) and far from home and having difficulty adjusting, be considered adult enough to have made a “voluntary” decision to not just join UBF, but to get sucked deeper and deeper into UBF through the process of staged commitment? In some parts, the “decision” to join and stay may be voluntary, but you can’t discount the deception and thought reform (mind control, etc) techniques that are used to bring in and keep people.

>The real path to freedom is in Christ and realizing

>this freedom of choice.

The path to freedom also includes realizing that there is life beyond UBF, that leaving UBF will not result in eternal damnation or various punishments, that leaving UBF is not the same as leaving God or “God’s mission,” that there are healthier alternatives to UBF.

But the decision to leave UBF is usually a torturous one, which is the way it is with most people trying to leave a cultic group. I’ve had people tell me that they couldn’t leave in spite of harrowing experiences of abuse over many years because they “invested their whole lives in UBF.” But what do they really stand to lose if they leave? Friends? The same “friends” who will shun them and trash them if they leave UBF? Money? As if they’re ever going to see again the large amounts of money they forked over to UBF on command? I guess what they’re really afraid of losing if they left is some kind of status, power and identity that UBF gives them, as pathetic as that may seem. I guess they’re an example of people who don’t have the freedom and identity in Christ needed to leave UBF.

>UBF is not a monolithic

>structure which is absolutley good or absolutely evil.

> There are individuals in UBF who must repent or

>apologize or make restitution. They require our

>prayers. But God is using UBF for the good, too.

Sure, God produces good, genuine Christian men and women of conscience in UBF and those with the potential to be. Otherwise, nobody would be able to make the difficult decision to try to reform it or to leave.