Glenn Beck Does Double Take as David Barton Says Third Great Awakening Has Started

According to David Barton, the Third Great Awakening has started.
At Glenn Beck’s website, we learn that Beck and Barton talked after Glenn Beck’s Restoring Unity Rally on Saturday about the GA3.

GLENN: I think this is — I think we’re at the beginning. I flew back with David Barton yesterday. And David said, just matter-of-factly, he said, we’re in the awakening. And I said, I leaned up and I said, hold on. What did you just say. And he said, we’re in the awakening. And I said, the third great awakening? And he said, oh, yeah. I truly believe it’s happening now. That’s great that’s great. He’s the one that told me about the great awakening. He’s like, we need the great awakening to happen. And we had people of all different faiths walking together.

I am not a Great Awakening scholar but I am pretty sure you don’t get to declare the beginning of a great historical movement like that.
I am also pretty sure David Barton’s declaration that GA3 is here is a good sign it isn’t.
 
 
 
 

Question for Gospel for Asia: How Many Indian Churches Would $45 Million Build?

In Revolution in World Missions, K,P. Yohannan says the money needed by the rest of the world’s churches is held by North American Christians. Because he believes this, he has strong words for church leaders who construct expensive churches:

Is it God’s fault that men like Brother Paulose are going hungry? I do not think so. God has provided more than enough money to meet Paulose’s needs and all the needs of the TwoThirds World. The needed money is in the highly developed nations of the West. North American Christians alone, without much sacrifice, can meet all the needs of the churches in the Two-Thirds World.
A friend in Dallas recently pointed out a new church building that cost $74 million. While this thought was still exploding in my mind, he pointed out another $7 million church building going up less than a minute away.
These extravagant buildings are insanity from a Two-Thirds World perspective. The $74 million spent on one new building in the United States could build thousands of average-sized churches in South Asia. The same $74 million would be enough to guarantee that the Good News of Jesus Christ could be proclaimed to a whole Indian state—or even some of the smaller countries of Asia.
But I rarely spoke out on these subjects. I realized I was a guest. The Americans who had built these buildings had also built the school I was now attending, and they were paying my tuition to attend. It amazed me, though, that these buildings had been constructed to worship Jesus, who said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).
In Asia today, Christ is still wandering homeless. He is looking for a place to lay His head, but in temples “not made with human hands.” Until they can build a facility of their own, our newborn Christians usually meet in their homes. In nonChristian communities, it is often impossible to rent church facilities.
There is such an emphasis on church buildings in the United States that we sometimes forget that the Church is the people— not the place where the people meet.
But God has not called me to fight against church building programs—we try to provide adequate church buildings for the small but growing Asian churches whenever possible. What troubles me much more than the waste is that these efforts often represent a worldly mindset. Why can’t we at least earmark 10 percent of our Christian giving for the cause of world evangelism? If Christians in the United States alone had made this commitment in 2000, there would have been nearly $10 billion available for Gospel outreach! (Revolution in World Missions, pp 47-48.)

I am not drawn toward large churches or extravagance so I can relate to Yohannan’s negative reaction. Some of my interest in the Global Fund story at Mars Hill Church was driven by my curiosity about what Mars Hill did with the funds given for missions. As it turns out, much of the money (“the preponderance”) was spent on U.S. expansion rather than supporting the basic needs of mission pastors.
In my interviews with former GFA staff, a recurring topic is the discrepancy between the rhetoric of moderation and the reality of excess. A case in point is the relocation and building of the new GFA compound at Wills Point, TX. The project cost around $45 million. Staff were told that the project would save money. Former staff I have talked to indicate that they had to spend more money to live when they moved to Wills Point than before the move. More about that in the days to come.
Below is a picture of Gospel for Asia’s headquarters completed recently. There is a gallery of the GFA campus posted (for now) at HH Architects website.
HHArchitectsGFA
GFA HQ Front
 
GFA HQ inside
Here is the multimillion dollar chapel.
Wills Point GFA Chapel
I realize things cost money and GFA needs a headquarters. However, this project required nearly $20 million from “the field” to complete. Believers’ Church in India had to borrow $20 million for GFA’s American offices.* I am trying to reconcile this what I read in Revolution in World Missions.
 
*I need to add that the project included staff housing, including for K.P. Yohannan. Numerous homes were built along with the HQ.
 
 
 

Marco Rubio Leads in Poll of Evangelicals; Donald Trump Ties with Hillary Clinton

World magazine is regularly polling 103 leaders/insiders regarding their views of the 2016 presidential contenders. This month Marco Rubio and  Carly Fiorina gained ground among the poll participants.
Rubio was considered first choice by 34.5% of the participants while Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Fiorina and John Kasich round out the top five. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each got two votes to tie with 2.3% of the participants. Eighty-one percent said they would not vote for Trump, tops among GOP candidates.
Clearly, this group of evangelicals aren’t in sync with GOP voters being polled now. Trump leads the field with 23.5% in Real Clear Politics’ average of tracking polls.
See the World survey results here.
 

Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability Reviewing Gospel for Asia

This morning Christian Today’s Mark Woods reports that the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is reviewing Gospel for Asia.
Woods takes note of the controversy surrounding GFA and says that the review is expected to last until October. At that time, GFA will provide answers to “outstanding questions.”
Woods and Christian Today have provided some good coverage of this matter while everybody else appears to be sitting on their hands. Perhaps they are waiting for the review results as well.
Waiting for the completion of a review to answer basic questions is puzzling and troubling. One basic question relates to the claim that $58.5 million dollars was sent to Gospel for Asia in India during the calendar year 2013. However, during that same span of time, GFA in India only reported receiving around $6 million from GFA in the U.S.  I cannot understand why GFA must wait until ECFA completes a review to address that discrepancy.
Furthermore, the 2013 audit says does not tell donors about the funds sent to Believers’ Church and two other Indian NGOs. Why not? And then there is the 2013 Canadian funds ($15 million CAD) which are not listed as being received in India despite the fact that GFA in Canada told the Canadian government those donations were being sent to India. Why does GFA need to wait until October to answer donor questions such as those asked by long-time supporter Pastor Bruce Morrison?
GFA president says he doesn’t sit on the Indian boards of GFA and Believers’ Church. Legal documents filed by GFA and BC in India say he does. Why do we need to wait until October for K.P. Yohannan to explain that discrepancy? Will Indian documents change by October?
Back room discussions continue…
 
 

This Day in History: First Televised Major League Baseball Game

This item caught my eye…

These days I enjoy watching the Pirates play and enjoyed playing baseball as a younger man. As a catcher, I idolized Johnny Bench (and the rest of the Big Red Machine). My baseball dream died in the second year of college when music and my wife seemed more interesting.
 
 

Complaint Filed Against Gospel For Asia Australia Over Funds Sent to India

Australia blogger Ted Sherwood has filed a complaint with the Australian Charities and Not-for Profits Commission regarding Gospel for Asia Australia’s contributions to India. Money GFAA claimed went to GFA in India also went to Believers’ Church.  Sherwood’s disclosure is in a footnote to a detailed analysis of GFAA’s financial reports.
In the analysis, Sherwood says:

I have confirmed, from Indian government records (go here and select the year and Kerala), that approximately $2.1 m arrived in India.

  • The expense recorded below is $2.2 m, but without the exact transfer dates and translation rates, I cannot be more accurate.
  • But, equally as important, the same records show that not all this $2.1 m was sent to Gospel for Asia as Monica says here – 52% went to Believers Church[x]

This is a similar issue in the American audit. GFA-US said they sent $58.5 million to GFA-India in 2013 but only $6 million showed up on records filed by GFA-India. Another $22.5 was sent to Believers’ Church and two other NGOs affiliated with BC.RelatedPartyGFAAudit2013
 
In his analysis, Sherwood raises many questions about the use of funds in India and how Australian donors can trust that their funds are being spent as intended. For instance, Australian donors aren’t told that a substantial portion of funds are being sent to Believers’ Church. Rather, GFAA says:
AuditPromiseAust
As with the U.S. audit, GFA doesn’t tell donors that the lion’s share of the donations actually go Believers’ Church. In India, GFA says it is “a community development arm of Believers’ Church.” Why is the role of Believers’ Church obscured?
There may be good reason to wonder if BC or GFA-India will spend funds as intended. BC and GFAI have faced scrutiny in India over use of funds with one Indian court asserting that 

It is not in dispute that substantial income of the assessee trust was not used by both the assessees for the purposes for which they were formed.

It is a huge red flag when audits and organization documents fail to include material information and when a court says an organization isn’t spending donation for the intended purpose. It is even more troubling when an organization refuses to comment or clear up what appears to be discrepancies in public records and their claims.
 
 
 
 

Believers' Church India Gave Nearly $20 Million to Help Build Gospel for Asia's New Office Complex

Daily, Gospel for Asia affiliates all over the world solicit donations to help support children and mission activities in Asia. GFA affiliates in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand collect money from donors and funnel it to various non-government organizations affiliated with GFA in several Asian nations, most notably India, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.*
I have recently learned that on at least one occasion the flow of funds was reversed. In May, David Carroll and K.P. Yohannan revealed to GFA’s staff that in 2013 Believers’ Church (GFA in India is an arm of BC) gave nearly $20 million to GFA in the United States toward the construction of a new compound in Wills Point, TX. The compound serves as GFA’s headquarters and the location of GFA’s School of Discipleship. I am getting figures together but my estimates of the costs of the compound were between $30-45 million.
Several staff speaking anonymously due to fears of retaliation told me that staff were told by GFA leaders that an anonymous donor gave the large gift to help complete the project. The 2012 and 2013 audits done by Bland Garvey refer to an anonymous donor as well.
GFAGiftIndiaBC
The sentence outlined in red above discloses that GFA received nearly $20 million “from an anonymous donor.” Former staff told me that the impression they had was that a single donor provided the gift and they had no idea that it came “from the field.”
Listen to David Carroll and K.P. Yohannan describe the gift. (Author’s note: When this post was first published I had audio from the staff meeting embedded. On November 13, 2015, I was notified by the management of Patheos that GFA had an attorney demand that Patheos remove the audio. Rather than engage in a costly lawsuit with GFA, management and I decided to remove the embedded audio. Instead, readers may click the link to hear the relevant portion of the staff meeting).
May 14, 2o15 staff meeting.
UPDATE on November 25, 2015: A transcript of the audio can now be read at this link. Not only did GFA demand removal of the audio but they demanded that the transcript be removed as well. I do not agree with this demand and am only doing it until I can determine a better course of action. I will leave some of the significant statements up but for now go to this link to read the entire transcript.
Below is a summary of the audio:
David Carroll told staff that there had been a story about a $19 million dollar anonymous gift for the campus construction. He said he wanted to clear up what happened.  He said in April of 2013, GFA leaders went to City Bank of Texas for a loan since GFA was running low on funds for campus construction. He said they were about to get the loan when “Brother KP mentioned it to some of the folks in Asia and mentioned that we were not able to do any better than that. We couldn’t, we would loved to have borrowed money from one of the Asian banks cause actually it’s much better terms, it would be much less costly, we weren’t able to do that being a foreign corporation.”
Carroll then said a board under Believers’ Church sent the nearly $20 million dollars because they thought it would be a good investment. Carroll then asked, “Was it field funds that should have gone to Nepal for earthquake victims or…” and then he was interrupted by K.P. Yohannan. Carroll told Yohannan he was getting to Yohannan’s point. Then Carroll said the board on the mission field “actually took a loan from one of their sources to replace that money so they could use it for the purpose it had been designated for there. So in essence, they got our loan.” He added, “They made that decision to give us that money and they wanted it to be anonymous. And I’m a little sad that it’s not anonymous, but I did want to explain to you where it came from, and the reasons behind it, and so, in their minds it was an investment.”
At that point, KP Yohannan chimed in and said, “It’s legal.”
Carroll added, “It’s completely legal, thank you.”
Carroll then claimed that the transaction was not a related party transaction. He said, “It is not a related party transaction because the board members here, they’re not the same board members as there. In other words, the leadership here did not influence that decision there. Brother KP mentioned it but it was not his decision. He had to get permission…”
KP Yohannan interrupted Carroll to claim that he is only a spiritual father in the Believers’ Church and that he does not “have any legal say or decision about legal matters. My role is a spiritual leadership.” He claimed that he doesn’t sit on any of the trusts in “these countries.”
For the entire transcript, go here.
This narrative raises so many more questions than it answers.
First, the gift
According to the Bland Garvey audit, nearly $19.8 million was given to GFA from the “anonymous donor” which we now know to be an entity of Believers’ Church. According to Carroll, the $19.8 million came from “a board under the Believers’ Church umbrella.” It sounds as though the entity took money given for field work and then replaced it with funds from another source. Carroll said:

But what they did on the mission field is they actually took a loan from one of their sources to replace that money so they could use it for the purpose it had been designated for there. So in essence, they got our loan. There are several income producing entities in Asia. That’s why partly why we have 35% of our church is self-sustaining, by God’s grace now in Asia. And they felt they could pay that loan off very very quickly.

What source has nearly $20 million dollars which can replace money given by donors for designated purposes? So Believers’ Church borrowed $19.8 million from “one of their sources” in order to replace money given for other purposes but given instead as a gift to GFA in the United States. I am not sure about the legality of sending donor money back to GFA when an Indian NGO borrows it from another part of their operation.
I also wonder why the Indian NGO needs donations from GFA affiliates if it can “very very quickly” repay a $19.8 million loan. GFA said they sent $58.5 million to India in 2013 while Indian government reports say only $28.5 million came in. This is one of the big discrepancies GFA refuses to address. For now my purpose is to show how the $19.8 million gift compares to what GFA sends Indian NGOs per year, and as one can see, the $19.8 million gift is a substantial portion in comparison to what they receive each year.
K.P. Yohannan, his board memberships and related party transactions
As I showed in two prior posts, that K.P. Yohannan is referred to in India as the “managing trustee of Believers’ Church.”  However, in this staff meeting, Yohannan again says, along with David Carroll, that he is not on any boards and has no legal standing. While it is possible that he might not be on boards at this moment, he was “managing trustee” up until February 2015. He would have been in management at the time these gifts were given. For GFA leaders to have any credibility on this matter, they need to explain the discrepancy between what Yohannan told the staff in May and what their own websites and legal documents filed in India say. They refer to K.P. Yohannan as managing trustee of Believers’ Church.
Furthermore, Yohannan is also the Metropolitan Bishop of the Believers’ Church. Bishops pledge their allegiance and obedience to him.  He sits on the boards of GFA (UK) and GFA NZ. He also sits on the interagency council involving Canada, US and Germany. The gifts were given in order to enhance GFA International which Yohannan leads. Carroll said Yohannan “mentioned it.” Why did he mention it if he has no power? In contrast to what David Carroll said, it is hard not to see this as a related party transaction.
This gift was reported by Bland Garvey but not as a related party transaction. It is oddly posted under “Concentration of Credit Risk.”
Many more questions
I will let readers suggest more questions, but here is one. Why did GFA find itself in so much trouble that a gift from the field was necessary? Did they not anticipate that a $40 million project would require funds? According to the records I have seen, GFA only took in a little over $20 million for the building in 2013. In other words, GFA was in the middle of a building project with no funds and no fund raising campaign. They were bailed out by the funds which came from Believers’ Church which is led by the CEO of Gospel for Asia. What builder would undertake a project of that magnitude without knowing something about the funding? What responsible board would start a $40 million project with no idea where the money would come from?
 
*These are the major donor nations and recipient NGO locations. There may be more donor nations and there are most certainly additional recipient nations but GFA has not provided specific information on the flow of funds to these nations and public records aren’t readily available.
 

Information Missing from Gospel for Asia Websites After Report on K.P. Yohannan's Board Memberships in India

On August 14, I posted an excerpt from a May 14 Gospel for Asia meeting where K.P. Yohannan told GFA staff that he was not on any organization boards in India. Yohannan said:

I am not legally on any boards, any trusts, anything in any of these countries. I have no powers to make decisions or sign money, or release money, or make decisions…why? Because anybody who work in the United States or overseas countries have a board membership or have legal membership should not be part of their legal entities in India. It’s a conflict of interest… 

However, documents from Indian courts, the Indian state of Kerala, and a few of his own schools say otherwise. Yohannan is listed as the managing trustee and president of Gospel for Asia in India. He is also listed as managing trustee and lead Bishop (Metropolitan) for Believers’ Church. GFA in India is billed as a nation building arm of BC.
In that post, I have links to five court cases (there are many) and a state document where Yohannan is listed as a managing trustee of GFA and/or BC. I also have links and screen captures to Believers’ Church websites which describe Yohannan as chair of two boards within the church. However, those links now do not work or go to a “maintenance” page.
If you click the link to a Believers’ Church Residential School page which is supposed to contain “mandatory information” for schools in Delhi, it now looks like this:
BCMandatoryInfoChanged
Ten days ago, it looked like this (see also Google’s cache image):
YohannanBCTrustChairman
Yohannan’s son also serves on this managing committee and he is referred to as the V.P. of GFA and member of the trust.
BCRSSchoolcommittee
 
Siny Punnoose is a member of Yohannan’s family (niece I believe) and Daniel Johnson is his son-in-law. Rev. Daniel Punnoose is Yohannan’s son and serves on both the Trust* and as Vice President of GFA. Yohannan told his staff that such a dual membership was a conflict of interest.
The website for the Caarmel Engineering College also comes up blank. On August 14, Yohannan was listed as Chairman of the Trust (here I assume this means the Caarmel Educational Trust) and Metropolitan of the Believers’ Church, clearly a leadership position which makes him the leader of the denomination.
YohannanCaarmelEngTrust
The information page for the Believers’ Church Seminary’s administration continues to be live and shows Yohannan as president and his son as a board member.
In another post, I plan to post another denial by Yohannan of being on any board. This comes in context of a revelation in May to staff that an entity related to Believers’ Church in India gave $19 million to help pay for the construction of new headquarters and compound in Wills Point, TX.
More to come…
 
*I am not completely certain that this “Trust” is the Believers Church board. It may refer only to the school trust. Given the information on the rest of the page, it appears that Yohannan and his son are trustees of the Believers’ Church. According to documents filed by Believers’ Church lawyers, Yohannan is the managing trustee, yet another reason to believe that Yohannan has governing authority in Believers’ Church.
 
 
 

Salon Article on David Barton

Julie Ingersoll posted on David Barton’s historical misadventures today at Salon. The article is a lengthy section from her book Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism.
Julie’s article brings together several strands of thinking which have influenced Barton and is a good introduction for those wanting some background on the collector of historical documents. It is a plus that she includes a mention of Getting Jefferson Right (one correction, we published our book in 2012, not long after The Jefferson Lies by Barton came out).

Barton’s work has been the subject of extensive critique by bloggers, reporters, and other critics, some of whom are scholars publishing peer-reviewed critiques, but, for the most part, scholars have not devoted a lot of attention to debunking his claims. Beginning in about 2011, two conservative Christian professors from Grove City College, Warren Throckmorton, professor of psychology, and Michael Coulter, professor of humanities and political science, published a critique of Barton’s The Jefferson Lies entitled Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President. The book was received well by scholars, and the authors’ credentials as conservative Christians undermined Barton’s defense that criticism of his work was ideological rather than factual. The Jefferson Lies was withdrawn by its publisher. One might expect under the weight of such resounding rejection, Barton would disappear into obscurity. Yet Barton’s supporters remain as devoted as before. Criticism from scholars (whether Christian or not) is dismissed as liberal, socialist, and even pagan. Discredited in the larger culture, Barton remains influential in the conservative Christian subculture.

Go read the rest at Salon.

Note to David Barton: The Obama Admin's Justice Dept Has Prosecuted 12,859 Defendants for Child Porn Related Crimes Since FY 2009

Yesterday, David Barton told his Wallbuilders’ Live audience that the Obama administration has not prosecuted a single case of child pornography. He said, “there has not been a single prosecution of child pornography under this administration. There were many under previous administrations; this administration just shut it down.”
I also pointed out that Barton has made this claim beforeA quick review of the press releases for the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the DOJ’s website reveals numerous actions by the Obama administration to prosecute crimes involving children (see 20092010,201120122013 and 2014).
Today, I asked the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs for the number of prosecutions during the Obama administration. Spokesman Peter Carr sent the figures for years 2009-2014 . The number of defendants per fiscal year are as follows:
2009 – 2,075
2010 – 2,058
2011 – 2,254
2012 – 2,012
2013 – 2,331
2014 – 2,129
The crimes involved are described by the Justice Department as:
18 U.S.C. § 2251- Sexual Exploitation of Children (Production of child pornography)
18 U.S.C. § 2251A- Selling and Buying of Children
18 U.S.C. § 2252- Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors (Possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography)
18 U.S.C. § 2252A- certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography
18 U.S.C. § 2260- Production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States
Mr. Carr didn’t have figures for previous years but I did find this article also citing Mr. Carr in 2007. According to an article in the Washington Post, defendants prosecuted for child porn increased from 594 during President Clinton final year to 1,549 in FY 2006. I wasn’t able to quickly find how many prosecutions took place in 2007 and 2008, but I think the picture is plain enough.
One must try very hard to be as wrong as Barton is here. Barton says the Obama administration hasn’t prosecuted a single case; the Justice department says that nearly 13,000 cases have been prosecuted.
I believe Mr. Barton owes his audience and the hard working law enforcement professionals an apology.