Kyle Fisk Executive Administrator and official spokesperson for the NAE told CultNews today that the NAE, which includes 30 million members, has tossed UBF out of the 60-year old organization.
Fisk said that the NAE remains in open dialog with UBF, but it is doubtful that UBF would be readmitted as an NAE member.
The NAE has not yet released an official announcement, its spokesperson said.
Given UBF’s troubled and much publicized history of abuse allegations and “cult-like” behavior, it seems fair to ask how the group was admitted in 1995 to the NAE on any level in the first place?
UBF was founded by (Samuel) Chang Woo Lee in the small town of Kwangju, South Korea during 1960-61. Lee died in 2002, but the organization he once ruled over much like a tyrant, grew to include centers around the world.
Chicago is now the location of UBF headquarters.
UBF has historically targeted college students in ongoing recruitment efforts, but was banned at some campuses.
The group is known for its rigid system of “shepherding,” a highly authoritarian pyramid structure of accountability and discipleship training.
Over the years UBF had its critics.
Evangelical sociologist Ronald Enroth devoted an entire chapter to the group in his book “Churches That Abuse” (Zondervan, 1992).
In Germany a cult commissioner for the Protestant Church in the Rhineland described UBF as “cult-like” and labeled them “soul catchers” in a book.
Wellspring Retreat, a licensed mental health facility that offers rehabilitation for former cult members, has acknowledged treating former members of UBF.
In 2001 a newspaper at John Hopkins University specifically warned students about UBF, which it described as a “cult-like evangelist group.”
UBF apparently used NAE membership to strengthen its credibility.
NAE membership was displayed by UBF on the Internet.
However, the NAE imprimatur is no longer visible at a UBF website, subsequent to its historic expulsion from the organization.
A petition drive was initiated some time ago specifically calling upon the NAE to drop UBF from its rolls.
Former members of UBF have publicly recounted how difficult life was for them within the group, controlled by their “shepherds” through manipulative and coercive tactics and allegedly abused.
UBF will no longer be able to use the name of the NAE for credibility, nor as a tool to further its agenda.
Note: UBF’s NAE membership was terminated, but then later reinstated, despite its long history of serious problems, bad press and complaints.