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Date Posted: 11:30:14 01/09/02 Wed
Subject: A Spiritual Caste System?
In reply to:
's message, "January 2001" on 10:32:30 01/09/02 Wed
Subject: A Spiritual Caste System?
Paul says in 1 Corinthians "God is not a God of disorder but of peace." Order is necessary in any Church. But in UBF, I have found the obsession with "Spiritual Order" absurd and destructive. For example, once after I had been in UBF for about a month, I noticed one shepherd desperately looking for a ride to work one cold night during a blizzard. Wanting to help, I said, "I will give you a ride." His face lit up and then suddenly turned dark and he shook his head saying, "No, that would be a violation of spiritual order." So, I think he walked and waited for buses in a snow storm for a couple of hours because he feared upsetting spiritual order.
The point is that the obsession with spiritual order goes to such an extreme that it is actually destructive in UBF. However, in the Bible, we see this obsession does not exist. Look at the book of Galatians. By rights, Paul was the junior Apostle but he says, "When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed to him to his face, because he was clearly in the
wrong...When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not a Jew. How is it then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?" And he also says, "As for those who seemed to be important--whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance--those men added nothing to my message." In UBF, Paul would be regarded as proud and rebellious for upsetting spiritual order. He would have to walk from Bethlehem to Jerusalem in his bare feet so that he could repent! But the truth is that the Bible does not uphold spiritual order at the expense of truth and justice. When leaders are wrong even they must be challenged.
I have been in UBF a while and have felt this oppressive spiritual caste system weigh heavily upon me. At the top is Sam, and then his family who are regarded as better than even senior leaders. Next are senior leaders and directors who are
obedient to Sam, (the ones who are critical go right to the bottom under everyone.) Next are any junior or senior missionaries who are in good standing with the directors that are in good standing with Sam. These even go above American shepherds no matter how long they have been in UBF. Even a brand new missionary is in a higher caste than the most senior American and can order him around. Next come new sheep and growing leaders, and depending on if they are male or female, compliant or rebelious, they will fall into different categories and grades. Then come "second-rate" sheep like African-Americans, Chinese sheep...etc. At the very
bottom are those who question the system....they are the lepers, tax-collectors, prostitutes...etc...the "untouchables." That's where reformers and all others who question things fall. Of course, those in the higher castes cannot associate with them, that would be unthinkable.
Which caste are you in?
This is not Biblical. This is not right. God
establishes his order according to the Holy Spirit and the gifts he has given each of us. We should not be graded like eggs. Instead of tying the hands of the Holy Spirit, let's give him a chance to establish God's spiritual order among us.
Subject: Re: A Spiritual Caste System?
This spiritual caste system which you have mentioned comes directly from the teachings of Confucianism, and is not a Christian philosophy. Because Samuel Lee was raised in Confucianism it still seems to remain with him as a fundamental view of life.
At the core of confucianism are the ideals of harmony and hierarchy. If we obey the hierarchy both in our family, and in society we will achieve a sort of magical harmony within ourselves, society, and the universe. To break this hiearchy we become like a lawless man, and disrupt harmony on many levels.
The "Da Xue" (The Great Learning) explains, "Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy."
Now read Samuel Lee's message on Genisis and see if you can notice the confucianistic philosophy influencing his interpretation.
"3. Spiritual order in the family and
These verses tell about an incident that reveals the weakness of Noah the man of faith. We are tempted to leave this story out, but the Bible writer put it in because it teaches an important truth. Man is a social being; every society must have orderly relationships in order to function properly. The family is the first social unit--the building block of society. The spiritual order which should exist in society and in the family is very precious; it is necessary to man's peaceful and
fruitful life on the earth. This spiritual order was violated by
Noah's youngest son, Ham, in an incident which seems ridiculous and
insignificant--and seems to be Noah's fault. Noah drank too much wine and got drunk. His youngest son saw him uncovered and made fun of his father. The older 2 sons, however, covered their father, showing him great respect--even though he revealed his human weakness. When the basic lines of authority and respect among people break down, the result is moral anarchy
and devastating corruption of society. So this was no small event." UBF message on Genesis 9- http://chicago.ubf.org/Genesis/gen05b.lec
As a side note: Might it be inferred that to Samuel Lee is is proper and right for someone lower in the spiritual hierarchy to cover up his leaders sins?
Here is another quote on confucianism
"Filial piety is the third fundamental principle in Confucianism. Confucius also said that, "Filial piety is the root of all virtue. Of all the actions of man, there are none greater than those of filial piety." At the time of Confucius, filial piety meant for the son to love and revere his parents, aid them in comfort, bring them happiness, keep the family name honored, and and to be a success in life. There was, to some degree, a negative consequence to filial piety. This was the obligation of sons to live after marriage under the same roof with the father and to give him childlike obedience as long as he lived. Also, the will of the parents was superior to the
extent that if the son's wife failed to make them happy, he was under an obligation to divorce her regardless of how he felt. Neither did sons disagree with their father. If they did, the father was to beat the son until blood is shed and the son was not to show any resistence."
All of this begins to explain why the ideals of unquestioning (childlike) obedience to leaders, not breaking spiritual order (harmony), and even beating and disciplining people are held as fundamental truths in UBF. I can now begin to understand that enigma which is Samuel Lee, and the reasons why he believs such practices are not only necessary, but for the good of the whole church. This does not condone his behaivior, but gives us some insight into his inner thinking. Lets hope the new UBF will cast off these non-Biblical principles, and be changed by the renewing of their minds in God.
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1st hand Testimony -- Sarah Rhee, 11:31:29 01/09/02 Wed
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