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Thursday, December 19, 2013

UBF Seminary

Front note - 

Exodus 25:40 NIV
[40] See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.

online dictionary defines the word seminary to meannoun, plural sem·i·nar·ies.
  1. a special school providing education in theology, religious history, etc., primarily to prepare students for the priesthood, ministry, or rabbinate.
  2. a school, especially one of higher grade.
  3. a school of secondary or higher level for young women.
  4. seminar (def 1).
  5. a place of origin and propagation: a seminary of discontent.
Related forms
sem·i·nar·i·al, adjective 
pre·sem·i·nar·y, adjective, noun, pluralpre·sem·i·nar·ies.

A fee minutes ago while I was at the Washington Dullas Airport in transition to Albany New York, Missionary Paul Chung sent me a book report. His report underscores the need to build UBF Seminary. Please read his report and pray that the Lord would grant us a leadership training institute.
Here is the report: 
 For the last year, I began to read a series of books on Roman history (15 books, average 400 pages) written by a Japanese author, Nanami Shiono. In the past, I had read about the rise and fall of ancient Rome written by Gibson and a few other authors. But I was so overwhelmed by the many events and stories that I finished each book without a deep understanding of the history of ancient Rome. However, Nanami writes in such a way that I could picture ancient Rome’s history chronologically and could describe almost every event even after reading about it for the first time. Furthermore, when I studied early Christian history in my theology studies, I had a hard time understanding it because I did not know the historical background. After reading the series by Shiomi for the second time, however, I could connect each event in Roman history to the way Christian history was shaped.
Anyone who reads these books, would gain more insight and knowledge than me. But I would like to talk about what I learned through the history of the Roman Empire which lasted more than 1,200 years. As you know, Rome was born as one of the city states in B.C. 753.  At that time, there were hundreds of city states established by the Greeks, Etruria (early central and northern Italy) and Carthage.  Although the Greeks established hundreds of city states in the southern part of Italy, Asia Minor (presently day Turkey) and France, neither the Greeks nor Etruria or even Carthage were interested in Rome because of its surrounding terrain – Rome had neither sea to become a port city or high mountains to provide protection. However, this small city became the largest city state and later on, an Empire that lasted 1,229 years (BC 753--AD476) while the other “better” city states dwindled and then disappeared.
According to legends, Romulus and Remus founded Rome in B. C. 753. Initially, Rome was monarchic until B.C. 509. One of the Senators, Lucius Junius Brutus cast out King Tarqunius and made Rome into a Republic until Caesar Augustine became the first Emperor of Rome in B.C. 28. I want to point out that this Lucius Junius Brutus is not the man who killed Julius Caesar.  After establishing the Republic, Rome chose three senators to send to Greece for a full year in B.C. 503. There were about 150 city states in Greece alone and these three senators visited almost all of them including the best city states such as Athens and Spartacus. After visiting many of these city states, they get together with the other senators and made the Twelve Tables, which described how to rule the state. Interestingly, although Rome adopted the merits of the Greek city states, the Senators of Rome decided not to adopt the specific merits of Athens or Spartacus. The issue was not that they despised Greek culture or thought less of those cities. The Senators knew that Greece bore many historically famous people such as Thales, the father of philosophy, Herodotus, the father of history, and Hippocrates, the father of medicine. They also witnessed how Greece had pioneered and conquered many city states and accumulated great wealth. The main issue that the Senators of Rome had was that Greece, particularly Athens and Spartacus, was very exclusive. Even though Athens was a republic, the city state used such practices as ostracism and denying citizenship to anyone who only had one parent as an Athenian citizen. In addition, citizenship was never given to any foreigners, not even Aristotle. These practices were similar in nature in Spartacus. These may seem like small matters but eventually, the Athenian practice of citizenship became so serious that it caused the nation to crumble. Among the Athenians, there were about 30,000 to 40,000 male adult citizens who could go to war. Spartacus had about 10,000. In contrast, Rome had 260,000 war-capable adult male citizens before the first Punic War in the first century B.C. because she was very generous in giving citizenship to foreigners. Even slaves could get citizenship if certain conditions were met. With such a large population and potential army, Rome could offer citizens safety and economic stability fulfilling “Pax Romana.” 
However, the true strength and power of Rome did not only come from the large population. There were many other factors that I will describe very, very briefly here.
 First, the leaders of Rome had a healthy common sense. They did not blindly oppose each other for the sake of fighting their opponents. 
Second, the Romans had a spirit of community. Rome governed 18 states (nations) in the time of Julius Caesar(100-44B.C) and 32 states (nations) in Marcus Aurelius(121-180A.D)  but they did not think of each state as separate entities. They thought that all the people of Rome were one family permeated in the minds’ of each citizen. 
Third, Romans in general were excellent adaptors and learned from other people constantly. 
Fourth, as a constitutional state, Romans were governed by the principle of working hard. Most emperors until fourth century A.D. died with fatigue because of their overworking.  
Fifth, Romans were studious historians. Whenever a new emperor came into power, the emperor read and studied the entire Roman history and found his ruling direction based on this history. They say that the wise learned from history, but the foolish learned from experience. 
Sixth, they had a deep relation with other. They called it “clients.”  With this relationship, they helped, protected and supported each other. 
Seventh, Romans had assurance of their future. In exchange for a citizen’s “sacrifice,” they would receive “reward” and “care”. Julius Caesar gave all Roman soldiers excellent salaries with retirement funds. Citizens had no problem to sacrifice to the state because the government cared for their future.  
Eighth, even if they lost wars, they learned something from those wars. Therefore, they never punished the commanders who had lost the war. 
Ninth, the Concordia. Romans seemed to like war but on the contrary, they loved harmony and reconciliation. So after war, they always visited “Aedes Concordiae” temple in the Rome and gave hermitage. 
Tenth, the Romans thought of “public interest” or Rex republica as very important and shared the common view of sacrificing for common needs. In return, leaders were devoted in taking care of their citizens.
Most importantly, the ruling group in the Senator included young people and junior leaders who could be trained to be capable leaders in the next generation. When young potentials were chosen, they were put in public services. Then they were raised up step by step. First they became a commissioner of audit, then finance inspector, praetor and finally a consul. After becoming a consul, they were granted the position of governor of a state for a year. Through these training, they were equipped with civil and military functionaries.  When an emperor gave a speech to the Senate, he always started his speech, “Fathers and rookies (new members)” because there were many new members in the Senate. In essence, young blood was continuously supplied and circulated in leadership positions throughout the nation. Because of this, there were numerous able leaders were raised and the Roman Empire lasted more than twelve thousand years.
The famous Christian historian and professor at Emory Justo Gonzalez  says, “Without understanding [the] past, we are unable to understand ourselves, for in a sense the past still lives in us and influences who we are and how we live…” God has been with UBF and blessed world mission ministry. What God has done within us is beyond our imagination. We are so proud of being members of UBF. We live and sacrifice for expanding God’s kingdom.
When we look at present UBF, however there is something that we can improve. Many coworkers say that there are a majority of seniors and young people, but a lack of junior leadership and hardly given leadership tasks to junior. If we think about the future of UBF, we should think about how we can raise and circulate junior leaders to gain the experience and training necessary to take on leadership roles. Without them, I believe that we will face difficulties in the future.  If we are serious about the future of UBF, we should consider carefully raising leaders in every age. 
In the last 2,000 years, many historians have come to their own conclusion about the fall of Roman Empire. Some historians say that it was because of the invasion by the barbarian Germanic people and the Hun tribe. Some say that it was because of tolerance and intolerance, especially the author of the Day of Empire, Amy Chua. (She is a law-professor at Yale.) I have heard even some UBF people say that it was because of immorality. But in my opinion, I believe that the fall of Rome was caused by the broken community spirit.
Romans saw Rome and other states as a family. They knew how to sacrifice for their community. Rich people offered their wealth to build the infrastructure. Even the Empire gave huge amounts of his personal money to the states for his people and soldiers as bonuses. But from the middle of 4th century, the sense of community spirit became weakened and interest toward the state and individual was broken.  When the Hun, Goths, and Vandals invaded the Romans could not fight against them because there was no community spirit.
From England to the boarder of Persia to Northern Africa, Iberia Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), Gaul (France and Western Germany), Balkan Peninsula, Asia Minor (Turkey), Syria and Egypt, all peoples wanted to be Roman citizens. But when the community spirit was broken, Rome was defeated at the hands of barbarians and wane the beautiful empire.
 Have wonderful Christmas Season!

Love in Christ,
Paul Chung 

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