Among the many Apologetics Index entries in need of updating is the one on University Bible Fellowship (UBF) — an international evangelical student organization with emphasis on world mission
Updating the entry is on our lengthy to-do list, which essentially means we do not know when we will actually have time to get around to it.
That said, the primary update of note is that on March 18, 2008, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) voted to re-admit the UBF as a member — some 4 years after its membership had been revoked in April, 2004.
Since early May, 2008, we have received emails from a number of UBF members pointing out this fact. Some also point to a handful of endorsements the UBF has received, as well as to its membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Most of the emails make clear that membership in the NAE — and, to a lesser extend, in the ECFA — is seen as a stamp of approval for the UBF.
We do take such memberships into consideration, but they do not weigh heavily in our evaluations of groups. Many organizations are ill-equipped to deal with issues surrounding high-demand organizations and cult-like groups. They tend to base their determinations almost entirely on whether or not a movement’s Statement of Faith passes their standard of orthodoxy.
Unfortunately, often a group’s Statement of Faith does not quite describe what it actually teaches in word and/or in practice. In other words, a church, movement or organization can have a Statement of Faith that is theologically sound — and yet teach doctrines ranging from aberrant to heretical and/or engage in practices that are sociologically and/or spiritually abusive.
Therefore when it comes to University Bible Fellowship, our concerns regarding the organization have not been diminished as a result of the movement’s re-acceptance by the NAE.
In fact, we consider UBF’s authoritarian, high-demand nature to be evidence of a faulty understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ — and of the Bible’s teachings regarding disciples of Jesus.
We do not accept the notion that much of the University Bible Fellowship’s cult-like ideas regarding authority, submission, obedience and discipline can simply be explained by the group’s Korean influences. It is not Korean culture that should influence a Christian’s walk with Jesus. Rather, it should be the other way around.
In short, we have seen nothing that suggests University Bible Fellowship’s teachings and practices should not — at the very least — be cause of concern for Christians. In our opinion, the UBF is an unhealthy organization whose teachings and practices provide a breeding ground for spiritual elitism and spiritual abuse.
Theologically, we consider the University Bible Fellowship to be at best an aberrant movement. In Christian theology, aberrant means, “Off-center or in error in some important way, such that the doctrine or practice should be rejected and those who accept it held to be sinning, even though they may very well be Christian.” [source]
Our advice to Christians is not to get involved with the University Bible Fellowship.