After Peter Chang had categorically denied all negative reports about his leadership in Bonn UBF, and after he had directed Bonn women coworkers, who are totally dependent on him, to write lengthy counter-statements on Korean UBF web pages, Paulus E., another former Korean coworker of Bonn UBF, having experienced the problems himself, felt obliged to comment on the accusations in an Internet letter written to the director of Korea UBF, John Jun. His letter to John Jun written on May 25th, 2001, was published on the ubfnet.com web site in June 2001. Although Paulus E. confirms the truthfulness of the accusations against Peter Chang, he still does not seem to be free of the psychological influence Peter Chang had on him. He still uses the strange UBF language and thinks he has to be thankful to Peter Chang. The main topic to learn for all Bonn UBF members was to be eternally thankful as well as totally dependent on and obedient towards Peter Chang, the leader. Obviously this is successfully instilled in the members. As could be expected from a UBF director, John Jun predictably did not take any measures against Peter Chang after this letter.
Dear Shepherd John Jun,
Independent of my opinion about the reform movement in UBF, I love you and shepherdess Sun-Ji [the wife of John Jun] just like my coworker [wife] M. Grace and respect you very much. [UBF members call their spouses only “coworkers” to show they are not “family centered” which is considered negative in UBF.] You conducted our wedding and blessed our house church [UBF term for married couple in UBF]. You have always been interested in my health and have encouraged me personally when you visited Germany. [Paulus E. obviously was trying to be as nice or diplomatic as possible to get John Jun to consider what he and others have written about Bonn UBF, however it did not help. His letter was ignored as all the others.]
I am writing this letter in order to comment on the Bonn UBF ministry independently.
My personal opinion about the Bonn UBF ministry
My name is Paulus E. I was sent out to Bonn UBF by the Jeon-Ju UBF center as a student missionary in October 1988. From then I was a coworker in Bonn UBF for almost 10 years until August 1998. Because of the relationship problem between M. Peter Chang and my family, my health problem, and because of my studies I was sent out to the Aachen UBF center. During those 10 years the ministry in Bonn grew very much, outwardly. From 1994, I studied for a doctorate at the technical university in Aachen (Aix-la-chapelle) which is located approximately 100 km from Bonn. I stayed in Aachen during the week and came to Bonn on the weekends and served the work of God [UBF is always called “the work of God” no matter how large the grievances are]. In September 1999 my family moved to Berlin, and I finished my doctorate in November 1999. I was looking for a job but did not succeed, so we had to return to Korea in June 2000 because of the visa problem. I am working at the Chang Won university now.
During my mission life in Bonn I cooperated very closely with M. Peter Chang. I received much love and serving from M. Peter Chang’s family, which helped me to overcome all difficulties in the initial mission life. Especially, they comforted me much when we were in great suffering after the death of our second child, Maria [see also the testimony of Andreas P. about that issue]. I cannot forget either that M. Peter took care of my children when I was in Aachen because of school studies and my coworker [wife] had to go to work. [This was easy for Chang because he has no job and is paid by the coworkers, so he had a lot of time to care for the children.] I am a debtor to him for his love both spiritually and humanly, and I am always thankful for that. [Yet he just wrote that his family had a “relationship problem” with Peter Chang. The contradictions caused by life in Bonn UBF are amazing. Paulus seems to be still not free from the “culture of thankfulness” of Bonn UBF towards the leader.] I was in Bonn for 10 years and my coworker [wife] 15 years. Therefore, we have love for and an interest in the Bonn ministry and for the coworkers there. I express my opinion about the work of God not because of my human feelings but due to my conscience of faith, and I have in mind only the missionaries, shepherds and sheep in Bonn, with whom I have worked together.
I worry much about the influence of the Internet, which has been taken advantage of during the reform movement. The Internet has been used as an effective means to spread the opinions of the reform movement, but the mutual slanders have led to negative results, and I worry about that. [The Internet was not only used to spread the opinions of the reform movement, but to reveal serious evils in UBF, and unfortunately, most of what reformers and ex-members wrote was not slander but the ugly truth. UBF members tend to use the term “slander” not for statements which are false, but for statements which are painful to hear.] Therefore, I was somewhat reluctant to write on the Internet. I have read the letter of M. Susanna P. from Siegen UBF on the Internet. I learned on the Internet that M. Peter Chang denied M. Susanna P.’s allegations during the chapter director’s meeting in Germany. M. Josephine, the sister of M. Susanna, wrote a counter-statement on the Internet and said that the letter consists of 100 percent lies from her sister, M. Susanna, invented by Satan. I recently read the report on Bonn UBF written by S. Andreas P. I also heard that M. Evodia of Bonn UBF had denied the facts that S. Andreas had written about in his report when S. John Jun asked her about it.
I intend to tell M. Peter Chang my personal opinion about some points in Bonn UBF that I regard as problematic from a spiritual point of view. My family was mentioned in S. Andreas’ report. M. Evodia is the coworker [wife] of S. Josef with whom I had one-to-one Bible study. I came to the conclusion that the time has now come to personally comment on the problem in Bonn UBF.
Since I have returned to Korea I have been asked by many coworkers whether the letter written by M. Susanna about Bonn UBF accurately depicts the reality of Bonn UBF. Without consideration of whether the incidents reported by M. Susanna and S. Andreas in their letters should to be judged as right or wrong, I can answer that the reports about the Bonn UBF incidents are 100 percent factual. There are some events which occurred after I moved away from Bonn. But I can say that M. Susanna’s reports are not lies because I saw all of it happening in my 10-year mission life there, and M. Susanna and S. Andreas, whom I both personally know, do not lie. By this I mean that their statements are neither exaggerated stories nor lies brought forward with the intention to spread evil gossip about M. Peter Chang. I worked in Bonn together with M. Markus and Susanna P. in the same period of time and experienced all the events together with them, as S. Andreas explained. If I was to recount all the incidents in Bonn UBF once again, they would become even more concrete and greater in number.
The problem is that M. Peter Chang and M. Josephine and M. Evodia (perhaps all coworkers in Bonn) deny the facts, although all these are really facts, and how they view those same facts is so different.
First: They believe that M. Peter Chang is doing everything he does out of faith with a shepherd heart and for the spiritual love relationship, for the ministry of raising up disciples and the world mission. This means they think everything comes out of good motives and that God himself is bearing all the weaknesses and faults of the servant of God (M. Peter Chang explains it often that way). [This is not restricted to Bonn UBF only, it is how all UBF members view the “excessive actions” or “weaknesses” or “imperfections” of the “servants of God.” In the same way all atrocities done by Samuel Lee had been tolerated. To lower the ethical standards for church leaders is a reversal of biblical teachings such as James 3:1.] They also think that the true problem lies in the person who does not accept God’s training. Therefore, they can regard M. Susanna and S. Andreas as those who do not understand the shepherd heart of M. Peter Chang and are ungrateful. They regard their reports as Satan’s attack which is not worth being mentioned.
Second: M. Peter Chang helps the coworkers to serve his own ends. To achieve this, he tries to develop his relationship with every single coworker deeply, but he cuts off the relationship to the center in Korea from which they are sent out and also to other chapters in Germany. They may deny it, but in my opinion, the missionaries and shepherds in Bonn are not mature enough in their personal relationship with God. (I couldn’t grow spiritually in Bonn, too. Saying this I do not deny that the Bonn coworkers are dedicated. I also have a personal love relationship with most missionaries and shepherds).
I do not believe that M. Josephine wrote such a letter with a clear conscience of faith, slandering her own sister and her brother-in-law. Although she may have written or typed the letter herself, you can conclude from her statements in her second letter that somebody certainly dictated the contents to her. Even though M. Josephine may be appreciated momentarily as a courageous woman of faith by the Bonn coworkers and by M. Peter Chang for such an “act of faith,” she will certainly have to suffer from her guilty conscience when she gets older and more mature in faith. When I think about this, it hurts me very much. M. Evodia, who recently visited Korea, is a missionary from the Myeonryun UBF. She respects S. John Kim [the director of that chapter] very much. Although she came to Korea after 9 years of mission life and loves the coworkers in the Myeonryun UBF and S. John Kim very much, she was made to return to Germany without meeting them even once. In the past, when M. Stephanus Park, M. Abraham Ju and M. Ruth Ju came back to Korea, they were not permitted to to visit the Sunday worship service in the Myeonryun UBF although they were from that center, but they had to attend the service in the Daegu UBF instead and return to Germany. Although M. Peter Chang thinks that through this he would help his coworkers to become uncompromising men and women of faith, I believe that there are areas in a person’s life of faith that no other person should be allowed to control.
The reason that the Bonn coworkers are severely handicapped, hardly growing in a personal relationship with God, lies in the fact that M. Peter Chang is in the middle of the spiritual life of all coworkers. In the name of the “love relationship,” M. Peter Chang is standing between God and me, between my wife and me, between my children and me, between my coworkers and me, and between my sheep and me. In Bonn UBF an environment is prevailing where the faith of a coworker is measured by their good relationship with M. Peter Chang or loyalty toward him. In such an environment, which is furthermore an environment which is completely insulated from the outside world, people cannot be expected to write anything other than what M. Josephine wrote or speak anything other than what M. Evodia spoke.
The coworker [wife] of S. Andreas is S. Andrea, a German UBF shepherdess. At present, M. Peter Chang seems to use S. Andrea as a means to train S. Andreas. We heard that she told S. Andreas that he was not allowed to come home or sleep with her until he repented. S. Andrea came to the Cologne UBF together with M. Stephanus Park and said that everything is only S. Andreas’ problem of faith. How convenient it would be if you could solve spiritual problems by such artificial methods! In this hour I think about it once again: I know the efforts of M. Peter Chang – like a mother giving birth – for the shepherd family of S. Andreas [Paulus E. falls back to Bonn UBF language again]. Therefore, M. Peter surely knows their prayer topics better than all the others [a person’s “prayer topic” means a person’s “problem” in UBF language]. However, by such interference [by Peter Chang], the spiritual order in a family and the love relationship of a married couple is ignored. S. Andrea, who has formed a house church together with S. Andreas [in other words, they are married], has first the obligation to be the wife of S. Andreas before she is obliged to be a coworker of M. Peter Chang. Since the foundation of their house church [their marriage], 10 years have already passed. Even if a house church is unsatisfactory, one should help them in a way that the married couple can solve problems with one heart and grow to become an independent house church. However, when such inhumane methods are repeated used, to try to solve family problems or to serve the work of God, how can a house church arise which is God-centered and independent? The reason why I talk so much about the house church of S. Andreas is not to enlarge the events but to say that all house churches in Bonn UBF are treated like this: The respective spouses who are closer to M. Peter Chang [mostly the wives] are the central figures in the Bonn ministry and everything runs according to the pretext of the “God- and mission-centered house churches.” Therefore, the program during the day and throughout the week is set up in such a way that the married couples do not have time at all from morning until evening to be together as a family.
Third: The sanctification of the position as “the servant of God.” In Bonn UBF an equality exists, which is that a visible servant of God is equal to the invisible God and that the word or direction of the servant of God equals the word or direction of God. No single person is allowed to say anything contrary to the opinion of M. Peter Chang. If communication with the outside world through the eyes and ears of the coworkers is consciously and unconsciously controlled and their mouths are manipulated according to the will of the director, then the director will be the one who is later criticized the most. M. Peter Chang is a man with zeal who has given his life for the world mission. I personally respected him highly and wanted to become such a leader like him. You can always err if you are doing something. However, what is happening in Bonn UBF are neither problems of small human errors nor of misunderstandings. They are rather fundamental problems. In the environment of Bonn UBF all missionaries and shepherds in their prayers or weekly testimonies call M. Peter publicly “God’s servant missionary doctor Peter Chang.” You can hear it frequently when praying together with Bonn coworkers. I do not say that using such a title is bad. But such a method of separating himself from the other coworkers as someone special, and trying to maintain his authority and spiritual order, hinders the development of a trusting and love relationship with the coworkers. M. Peter Chang should avoid this practice and take care that the coworkers are not thanking and praising him for his dedication and his spiritual struggle in such a fixed form in each of their testimonies.
When I meet my friends’ parents in my native country [S. Korea], I call them “father” or “mother” as I call my own parents, and I say “grandfather” or “grandmother” to the older ones. Then I am happy. When we were living in Bonn my son asked me: “Daddy, we have our grandfather and our grandmother in Korea. Why then do I have to address M. Peter Chang as ‘grandfather’ and M. Sarah Chang as ‘grandmother’?” I could only give this short answer as his father: “Because all the other children call him that.” If his son, Petrus, gets married and his grandchildren call him “grandfather” and M Sarah “grandmother” it would not be the slightest problem. But making himself to be called “grandfather” by the teenagers in the Bonn UBF and manipulating the spiritual relationships in the ministry in such a way with no biblical basis for doing so is not commendable at all. While I was in Bonn I never saw him writing Daily Bread, and he actually appeared for the early morning prayer only a couple of times, although he stressed the early morning prayer and Daily Bread to the other coworkers again and again. [Writing a short testimony based on “Daily Bread,” a devotional published by UBF, is actually supposed to be a compulsory morning exercise for all UBF members.] On such rare occasions when he attended the early morning prayer hour, he behaved like a king who has pity on his people and extends them great mercy [by his mere presence]. He should stop such a behavior as quickly as possible. On the pretext of wanting to cement a [“spiritual”] love relationship with the married women missionaries he would be massaged by them and have his toes treated by them. [It is reported that one shepherdess even had to undergo a training in foot care to treat his athlete’s foot]. He should also stop this practice. If he would let male coworkers do such things, it might be permitted. But if he needs do such things late in the evening behind a closed door, he should stop doing it immediately for his own conscience and for the conscience of the women missionaries and their husbands, and he should let his wife, M. Sarah, who is a nurse, do such things. As he always preaches that we should be on guard against bad influences, otherwise many others might be tempted, he should live according to his own preaching.
If the position of a leader in a church is protected as if it was something sacred, then the members who are following him cannot be allowed to stand against his ideas and his actions in anything. Therefore, the reaction of the Bonn UBF members is understandable, that they deny all these facts, as is the case with M. Josephine and M. Evodia.
Now I would like to say something about the financial problems that S. Andreas mentioned in his testimony. At that time I was managing the purchase of the first prayer house (at present the apartment of M. Peter Chang). After we left Bonn I heard that two more houses had been purchased and registered under the name of M. Peter Chang. M. Peter Chang often said during the meeting announcements [the informal statements made at the end of UBF meetings] that God blessed him so richly because he had faith regarding the provision of material things. In reality it was the poor student missionaries and women missionaries who earned and sacrificed their money by working as cleaning ladies, and the shepherds and shepherdesses who borrowed money in spite of their poverty and sacrificed it to God. This should be clarified as well before it becomes too late. Our life of faith and our overall life is no theory. [Practical aspects of life such as study or livelihood or child education may not be neglected in a church by a the leader who is simply demanding “you shall live out of faith” and not allowing time to care for those practical aspects, as in Bonn UBF.] If the monthly income and expenditure and the bank balance of every missionary family and every shepherd family is checked accurately, then it will become clear what kind of situation the Bonn coworkers are in. The fact which S. Andreas mentioned in his testimony, that he had no more money for daily life two weeks before his next monthly paycheck, also applied to us [our family] in Bonn. Since the coworkers’ borrowing money from a bank is strongly encouraged by M. Peter Chang as an act of faith, and coworkers very often have to bring special sacrifices [offerings] exceeding their financial limits, they are losing the possibility of bringing offerings to God with a grateful heart. This should be changed, too.
I have heard that all chapter directors in Germany, independent of whether they are for reform or not, want to solve this problem. [This was actually true. However, the non-reformers later backslid and worked together with Peter Chang again, according to the direction of Samuel Lee.] This clearly shows the animosity of M. Peter Chang towards the coworkers in other chapters. Bonn UBF needs to stop striving for outward growth in order to appear better [than other German chapters], and they need to put behind them the fixed way of thinking that all disgraceful news about Bonn UBF is just malicious gossip caused by others’ jealousy over the Bonn ministry and M. Peter Chang. The unbiblical factors which are behind the uniformity of the Bonn coworkers, which are apparent during every European Summer Bible Conference, should be recognized by the Bonn coworkers themselves.
With the present visible fruit [in Bonn UBF], M. Peter Chang has the illusion that his faith and the Bonn ministry are exemplary and the top ministry in raising up disciples and world mission. He should wake up from this one-sided delusion. Those who have a different opinion than M. Peter Chang or had a conversation with him on some matter have noticed that he always says something like this: “This is a misunderstanding. This is the work of Satan which always appears where the work of God is done.” If he continues to regard the advice of the people around him as misunderstandings or the envy of Satan which is not worth any consideration and keeps identifying himself as a prophet suffering because of the accusations of Satan, then in the course of the time Bonn UBF will be isolated regardless of the present visible fruit and become a lifeless ministry, like stale bread, centered around M. Peter Chang and then finally perish.
Dear S. John Jun, so far I have written to you of my opinion on the situation of Bonn UBF. Since the situation of Bonn UBF is reported in greater detail by M. Susanna P. and by S. Andreas, I have tried to write down my opinion about it and tried to explain why the testimonies of several witnesses about the same events can be so different from each other. I hope that my letter can help you to understand better the situation in Bonn UBF and the rising problems among the chapter directors in Germany and help you in solving the problem of Bonn UBF in a way pleasing to God.
I thank God that he has done a great work of salvation in Korea and in other countries in the last 40 years [UBF members like to overvalue their ministry and neglect all others in such a way] and has used us for his work preciously. I thank God that he has used M. Samuel lee, M. Sarah Barry, M. John Jun and innumerable servants of God and coworkers and their dedication preciously in this work. May God have mercy on this work and continue to work among us so that our ministry can be used as a vessel for Korea and world mission in the 21st century as well. Thank you for reading my unsatisfactory letter to the end.
A debtor to your mercy,
A debtor to your mercy,