In the discussion following my last article, a reader who goes by the name ”vmi” asked a good question.
I just want to ask Joe if you have tried the second step enough.
Have you confronted this issue with two or three more people? especially with witnesses?
I know you have already brought this before the church.
But if you haven’t done the second step, you may follow Jesus’ instruction, which is to go as a group rather than only you.
In Matthew 18:15-17, it appears that Jesus was instructing his disciples on how to deal with interpersonal conflicts. It doesn’t give us a step-by-step guide for how to handle systemic problems in the church. Yet I believe we can generalize Jesus’ teaching to community-wide situations. For dealing with corporal sins, a reasonable implementation would be:
- Step 1. Bring up the matters as privately and gently as possible with community leaders who are in a position to do something about them. If they do not listen, then proceed to…
- Step 2. Involve some more people (witnesses) who can back up your claims and testify that what you are saying is credible. Give the leaders hard evidence. Offer to work with them toward reasonable solutions. Do so patiently and persistently. If after repeated attempts they still do not listen, after you have exhausted all the reasonable alternatives, then proceed to…
- Step 3. Tell it to the church.
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
When “shepherding sheep,” the shepherd should repeatedly and primarily employ persuasion, reason and gentle appeals. The shepherd should never resort to coercion, intimidation, shame, threats, guilt-tripping, punishment, humiliation, retribution, silence treatment, etc. Why not? The sheep/junior will feel that they have no choice but to “just obey” their shepherd—or face consequences. This is spiritually abusive. It is control and manipulation. Primarily, it miscommunicates the gospel which gives freedom (2 Cor 3:17; Gal 5:1; Jn 8:32). Continue reading →
A repeatedly expressed sentiment is that authoritarianism causes so many to leave UBF even after decades of being committed members. Many regard this as a core ongoing problem. But perhaps, addressing authoritarianism may not work with an authoritarian church! All previous reform attempts since 1976 in Korea have failed. They have only led to bitter splitting and divisions in UBF, first among Korean nationals, and now between native people and missionaries (as clearly pointed out by Chris and others).
Perhaps a major reason for problems in UBF have to do with a misunderstanding of grace, which has led to unchecked authoritarianism in UBF for the last 50 years and counting. What do I mean? Continue reading →
[Admin note: Don't like talking about UBF so much? Then let's talk about the gospel! Here is another article submitted to us regarding Christian life and how the gospel of Jesus impacts our life.] I entered UBF when I was seventeen years old. I had just finished a disastrous break-up with a high school girlfriend that had left me with overwhelming guilt and shame because of the impurity of our relationship. I was disgusted with my life-dominating sin problems, and I earnestly prayed for God’s help to change.
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[Admin Note: Here is another article submitted to us. As various conversations continue here, we hope to remember Jesus and take some time to reflect on honoring Him.] At the last supper, the disciples disputed about who was greatest, but Jesus taught them the spiritual way: Luke 22:25-26 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”
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I just “love” to talk about marriage, especially with singles. Teasing singles about their marriage with levity is just so much fun and cute. I have already written on marriage several times: Marriage Is Covenant Keeping, Marriage By Faith (Should No Dating Be A Church Policy?), If Not For UBF I Would Not Be Married. They have generated 346 comments. Sadly, many of the comments were of unpleasant “marriage by faith” experiences, which needs to be addressed and corrected. Instead of repeatedly insisting that there are many happy marriages in UBF (of which I am one), there are nonetheless serious issues that do not please God. Continue reading →
After losing one million USD to a conman in 2004, I said to my wife, “I’m sorry.” Perhaps, I never felt worse in my life because I knew how much I had hurt the person who loved me, and whom I love. It was not primarily the loss of the money, but the fact that I refused to listen to her pleading with me and to her better judgment, because I thought I was investing the hard earned money that she had saved for over 20 years. Then it was all gone in a moment! Plus we went into massive debt. Entirely by God’s mercy and grace alone, God helped us to come out of our financial (and emotional) crisis. Since then we have been enjoying many honeymoons, which is also nothing but the grace of God. Of course, I still annoy her (sometimes intentionally!), and still have to often say, “I’m sorry, dearest.” Continue reading →
There is a communication term called “radio silence“. This term refers to a “status in which all fixed or mobile radio stations in an area are asked to stop transmitting for safety or security reasons”.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve sensed a growing push from the Spirit to remove the online presence from my life for a time. So I’ve decided to go “radio silent” starting tonight.
Recent events have shown me the need for this time to be off-line from blogs, Facebook and to some extent, email as well. I will continue to be reachable by email, but will not be responding so quickly. I realized through Jesus’ prayer in John 17 that I have had a “savior complex” and proudly thought I myself had no wounds. So I will be taking time to process this.
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I would like to share with you about a book written by Timothy Keller. He talks about three parts; The natural condition of the human ego, the transformed view of self and how to get the transformed view of self. [Here is a link to the book "The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness".]