What is This Gospel for Asia Priest Doing?

I know many Gospel for Asia current and former staff read the blog. Here is an opportunity for a little GFA trivia.
Who is this man and what is he doing?
Believers’ Church Priest
(The original image here was removed due to a demand from Gospel for Asia to remove the image. I received the image from a former GFA staffer and posted it with his permission. However, rather than face a GFA lawsuit, I decided to remove it with the link to the photo hosted on another site. GFA apparently does not want the public to know that they wear the robes and engage in Believers Church rituals here in the U.S. Repeatedly, GFA leaders have said that they engage in high church rituals with K.P. Yohannan as the supreme Metropolitan in India because the government requires it. With this photo, it is clear that such practices occur here as well…and of course we all know that the U.S. government doesn’t require it here.)
 

Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal Headline David Barton's ProFamily Legislative Conference

Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal will headline David Barton’s ProFamily Legislative Conference in early November. Cruz and Jindal are both running for the GOP’s presidential nomination.
In all seriousness, how can this be a good thing when the person sponsoring the conference can’t get his facts straight? Just in the last two days, Barton has made false claims about gender identity in the military and the Obama administration’s record on prosecution of child porn.
Watch this video to see if your state senator or representative endorses the conference.
[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/134212588[/vimeo]
 
 

David Barton Again Says the Obama Administration Hasn't Prosecuted Child Porn; Jared Who?

Again, David Barton can’t get his current events right. Yesterday, it was false statements about pedophiles in the military. Today, it is again the false statement that the Obama administration hasn’t prosecuted child pornography. As I have noted before, Barton is so far off with this claim that it is clear he just makes stuff up rather than actually looking things up.
Right Wing Watch has the story.
What makes this falsehood even more noteworthy is the high profile case of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle. In Indiana, U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler announced yesterday that charges were filed against Fogle for, among other crimes, possession of child porn.

David Barton Doubles Down on His Gender Identity Nonsense

Before you exclaim, “Not another David Barton post!” I want you to remember that at least two men running for the GOP presidential nomination (Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee) take Mr. Barton seriously and encourage others to do the same.
Recently, David Barton said on a Mission Radio podcast that churches had to hire pedophiles to run their nurseries because you can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Nearly everything he said about that topic was incorrect.
Now, Right Wing Watch discovered that Barton is telling evangelicals (click the link for the audio) that the military can’t discharge soldiers for bestiality and/or pedophilia.

“There’s 82 official gender identities now and they all have equal status and protection here,” Barton said, “so we’re talking pedophiles. If you’re a military member and you have an inclination for young children, you can’t be kicked out of the military for that anymore because that is your gender identity. If you are into having sex with animals, bestiality, that is one of the 82 gender identities, you cannot be kicked out for your lack of judgment and your very perverse taste on that.”

If Barton protests that he is only talking about inclinations, then he is making things up just to generate unfocused outrage. You never could be kicked out of somewhere for thinking something unknown to anyone but yourself.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice addresses these matters.
Media covering Cruz and Huckabee: When you have some down time and you are not talking about weighty matters like Iran and abortion, ask the candidates about their praise for a pundit who didn’t know that ENDA hasn’t passed yet and thinks that, by law, churches have to hire pedophiles. Oh, and ask them if the Constitution quotes the Bible verbatim. Ask if violent crime in the nation is going up or down. And how about asking if HIV/AIDS research is a pointless effort since God won’t allow an HIV vaccine.
 

Believers' Church Communion Liturgy: Is This Evangelical?

BCliturgy2012I recently obtained a copy of the Believers’ Church book of liturgy (part one, part two). Recall that Gospel for Asia sent nearly $20 million to Believers’ Church in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. GFA’s president and founder, K.P. Yohannan, is the chair of the Believer’s Church trust and serves as the church’s Metropolitan Bishop.
According to former GFA staff, this book guides the priests during the church service and taking of communion. Although I am no expert on Roman Catholic doctrine, the practices seem quite consistent with Catholic (or perhaps Orthodox) teaching and practice. I am posting it to allow readers to decide and evaluate for themselves.
In particular, I was drawn to the liturgy and practices of communion. In the liturgy, the bread and wine are referred to as becoming the body and blood of Christ. The terminology seems much less evangelical and much more Catholic (or Orthodox), appearing to communicate a belief that the elements become the body and blood of Christ. Here are the portions of interest beginning on page 26.
BCLiturgyCommunion1
BCLiturgyCommunion2
BCLiturgyCommunion3
Even though Gospel for Asia and the Believers’ Church claim to be evangelical, this approach to communion seems quite un-evangelical. In addition to the declaration that the bread is the body and the wine is the blood, the priest crosses himself numerous times and the communion is served to the congregation by the priest in a format very unlike evangelical churches. Without passing judgment on the religious merit of this approach to communion, I suspect this narrative and methodology will be a surprise to most evangelicals.
Additional information:
Compare the Catholic prayer regarding the Body and Blood of Christ to the Believers’ Church liturgy. First, from the Roman Missal Eucharistic Prayer 2:
MissalPrayerEucharistCatholic
Now the comparable portion from the Believers’ Church liturgy:
BCLiturgyCommunion1
According to Richard Willmer, the elements becoming the Body and Blood of Christ “for us” rather than “to us” is a distinctly Catholic formulation as opposed to the Anglican view.  The Believers’ Church wording is very close to the Roman prayer.
 
 
 

Citing Mid-Life Crisis and New Focus from God, Robert Morris Will Cut Back Preaching at Gateway Church

Poor Robert Morris. He is getting old and has a hard time preaching the same 35 minute sermon three times in a weekend. Guess we should rename Saturday and Sunday “the weakend.”
Morris began his sermon at the 12:30 Sunday service by confiding with the crowd that he and the elders decided to leave it up to Morris if he will preach at just the 4pm Saturday service and one other or just at 4pm on Saturday. Later in the sermon he confided more that one reason he might not be able to preach on Sunday is because he may be out somewhere else ministering to the Body of Christ. Watch:

 
Transcript:

I uh, actually,  had them, uh not send this service to the other campuses, so I could talk just to  you here at Southlake, for just a few minutes at the 12:30 service.  And the reason I did is because I wanted to explain to you, uh that uh why you’re not seeing me as much in person.  Because I don’t want you to get offended.  Alright, or you’re feelings hurt or feel like uh I, uh Pastor Robert just doesn’t love the 12:30 service, anymore.  He du..  we never see him.  We never see him.  ‘Cept at Walmart ya know, so.  (laughter).
But, uh, as as I’ve gotten older it seems more difficult to do the same message three times a weekend with the same passion, and burden and intensity that I deliver it with the first or second time.  And so I’ve talked with the elders about it.  And there are times when I feel like I at the 4 o’clock service that I uh I don’t mean this in the wrong way but that I hit it out of the park or  I’m clicking on all cylinders.   Ya know, the anointing is strong and God’s saying what He wants to say.  And then I come back to speak again at another service and I just think man, I did a terrible job, I just, ya know,  it wasn’t as good and I wish they had heard the 4 o’clock message because I feel like the anointing was stronger, I feel like God spoke, I feel like I made it more clear; the principles I was trying to impart.  And so the elders and I have talked about it and we decided , ya know uh, we have 24 services a weekend.  Twenty-four at five different campuses.  And I was doing three live at Southlake, um, and so 21 though, would not be live.  I would be on the screen.   And it works for 21 of them.  Ya know.  So we thought, well will it work for 22?  Or 23?  Well, yes, God can still speak and I think you’ve seen that.   And so I kind of make that call every weekend, as to what my schedule is.  If I’m gonna be traveling, speaking to pastors at a conference or something like that.  And, if I feel like, that by using that 4 o’clock service, you’re actually going to get a better  understanding of what the Lord is saying then for me to come back and do it again.   Then I make that call.  So that’s why I wanted you to know.  In other words, you’re not seeing me as much, not because I don’t love you.  But because I do love you.   You understand what I’m saying?  So I’m trying to make the right call.  So uh, please, please, I just wanted to come I said don’t send this one to the other campuses.  Let me speak specifically to the 12:30 service. And I’m gonna do this in ALL of the other services.  Like the 5:45, the 9:00 and the 10:45.  Uh, because it’s the same for all the services at at Gateway.  
We feel like that we’re making a decision that causes, allows me, to continue to do what God has called me to the Body of Christ, but also allows me to continue to serve as the pastor here.  So, that’s that’s why.  Does that make sense to everyone?   So, okay.  So I’m gonna preach live today, but if it’s not as good as yesterday, well y’all just pretend like it is okay?  Like if I say something that’s like remotely funny, just laugh.  Just AHAHAHAHAHAH ya know, so okay?  Make me feel good okay?” 

I don’t understand how that anointing thing works. Some days God zaps you with more and some days less? This sounds like a rationale for wanting to preach less at Gateway and travel more. As he discloses later in the sermon, Morris is having a mid-life crisis. Watch:

Transcript:

“Um, I went through another mid-life crisis.  And uh you know how I am, I’m just very open with you.  In the last few years.  Because I knew that God said to me three major things, to, to, try to help the world. Change the world.  One was to build a very strong, large Apostolic influential church in the world.  That would change the world.  And I know God builds the church but He uses people.  And so from my part, whatever I was to do.  Uh, the other was to be very successful through presenting the Word on television.   And of course, Gateway Church is a very large and Apostolic influence in the Church in the world.  In the whole world.  And our television ministry is, has become very successful and very influential in the Kingdom.  The third, was to write best-selling books.   And it was specifically to write best-selling books because, ya know, if you write a book and, ya know, four people read it, ya know, then you didn’t really change the world.  Let your wife and your kids read it.  So, and I was not and there’s nothing in me that wanted to write best-selling books for the financials.  There was nothing.  Many of you know that I gave away all the royalties to my best book,  uh which has literally been millions of dollars that I’ve never touched.  I never seen.  I’ve given it to the Kingdom.   So, that was never my motivation still not my motivation today when I write books.  My motivation is to change the world.”
“So, I’ve been saying, for the last few years, ‘God (pause) what I do?’  I mean, Gateway is an Apostolic influence in the world.  The television ministry, the books.  What I do?’   And on this sabbatical He spoke.  That’s how fresh this is, what I’m telling you.   He said to me, ‘Son, you have confused goals, with purpose. Yes, you have reached some goals,  but you have not fulfilled your purpose’  And He reminded me years ago, He gave me a statement that I wrote down that was my purpose, here’s,  here’s  my purpose I,  just so you can see it.  It’s to ‘help people to develop an intimate relationship with God’ Now I know that sounds simple but it has to be simple for me to understand it, okay?
But, that’s what gives me joy.  Helping people develop an intimate, not just a relationship with God but an intimate relationship with God.  Because I am just as burdened about the believer in bondage as  I am about the non-believer.  So helping people develop an intimate relationship.  And The Lord said, ‘I wanna give you your focus for the next ten to fifteen years.  I wanna give you your three focuses, like you have your focuses before,  I’m gonna give your focuses.’  Here’s what He told me and I wrote ‘em down, Preaching and teaching God’s Word’ to continue preaching and teaching God’s Word.  I love to preach and teach His Word.  ‘Two, Inspiring pastors and leaders’.  I love to inspire pastor and leaders.   I do lots of pastors’ conferences and things like that.  Uh, that’s that, um,  floats my boat.  Or, um, downloads my app, whatever your  language is (laughter) I don’t even know what that means.  But, um, hopefully that’s not something dirty so I uh just, ‘kay, uh and ‘number three, mentoring the next generation’.   And The Lord has said to me, ‘You ree.. you have the influence now to really mentor and you, you, you got to be a part what I’ve imparted  you to the next generation.   In the next fifteen years this is the focus for you.  Mentoring the next generation.’ “
“Now, so I’ve written down my purpose, and how God wants me to accomplish it in this season.  Again, seasons has can change.  But my purpose….”

Along with the rest of the message, a picture emerges here of a change of expectations at Gateway. It sounds like Morris is going to preach live on Saturdays at 4pm when he is in town. On Sundays, he will be free to travel to other churches and be an elder statesman. He wants to be a pastor to pastors (does that sounds like a former Seattle pastor to anyone?). By making these changes, he will retain the title of pastor (and presumably his salary and benefits) at Gateway but get to expand his horizons as well.
Morris has made a lot of money preaching out of town in addition to whatever he makes at Gateway and at The King’s University. According to the 990 filed by his evangelistic association, he made $324,575 during calendar year 2013. Being more available to the Body of Christ might up that amount. He also gets to use the retreat center whenever he wants.

New Website is "One-Stop Resource" on Mars Hill Church RICO Lawsuit, Global Fund and Result Source

Marshilllawsuit.com bills itself as a “one-stop resource” for information relating to the planned RICO lawsuit involving Mars Hill Church leaders.
While fund raising is slow going, this site brings together various issues which should help anyone trying to understand why the potential plaintiffs want to bring suit. In addition to the value the site has to those interested in the lawsuit, it summarizes two of the larger controversies (Global Fund and Result Source).
Although these issues have largely faded from public conversation, they are unfinished in that Mars Hill’s major players have been silent on specifics.
Mark Driscoll is now in Phoenix along some former Mars Hill people who are helping with the technical aspects of his website and perhaps to help start a church.

Gospel for Asia's President K.P. Yohannan and Indian Courts Seem to Disagree About His Status With Indian Charities

Listening to the May 14, 2015 Gospel for Asia staff meeting, I heard K.P. Yohannan say he doesn’t have control or sit on any boards of GFA organizations in other countries. Listen:
Click this link: K.P. Yohannan tells staff he is not on any boards in India
Transcript:

And by the way, just so you know, 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, I am completely legally…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 and therefore we send the funds and it is immediately under the government watch care and the government of India is responsible and investigative agencies and tax divisions to make sure  that is carried out within the time frame or whatever they do, that is a public thing.

I found this to be an odd declaration since the 2013 financial audit seems to point to a common board member of GFA in the United States and GFA affiliates in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. From the 2013 audit:
RelatedPartyGFAAudit2013
If this board member isn’t K.P. Yohannan, then who is it? No matter who it is, by Yohannan’s reasoning, being on both boards would be unethical since Yohannan says having an American board member on the board of an Indian charity which allocates American funds is a conflict of interest.
However, it certainly seems as though it is Yohannan. For instance, Yohannan is referred to as a plaintiff in a court case brought by Gospel for Asia in India (click the link to read the case notes). He is also described as the “managing trustee and president” of Gospel for Asia based in Kerala. From the Indian website:
YohannanPresidentGFAI
This document is dated February of 2015, just three months before Yohannan told his staff he wasn’t on any boards. There are many other court cases which list him as “mananging trustee and president” of Gospel of Asia (link, link, link, link).
In another lawsuit, Yohannan is listed as the managing trustee of the Carmel Education Trust of the Believers’ Church.

3. Caarmel Education Trust, (Believer’s Church Trust) Represented by its Managing Trustee, Dr.K.P.Yohannan, Caarmel Engineering College, Perunadu,Pin – 689711 (R1 by Adv.K.Venugopalan Nair) (R2 & R3 by Adv.Anilkumar.A.S)   APPEAL No.897/2012

In this publication by the state of Kerala in India, Yohannan is referred to as the “Managing Trustee” of the Believers’ Church.

G . O. (Rt.) No. 448/2011/LBR. Thiruvananthapuram, 17th March 2011. Whereas, the Government are of opinion that an industrial dispute exists between Dr. K. P. Yohannan, Managing Trustee, Believers Church India (B. C. I.), Thottabhagam P. O., Thiruvalla and the workman of the above referred establishment Shri Joseph Kizhakkedathu, Manipara P. O., via Uliyikkal, Kannur District-670 705 in respect of matters mentioned in the annexure to this order ; And whereas, in the opinion of Government it is necessary to refer the said industrial dispute for adjudication…(emphasis added)

Yohannan is listed as the patron of the Believers’ Church Medical Cente, the Residential School and the Mahatma School. Why would he be listed as patron if he has nothing to do with determining their funding?
It seems clear that the legal system in India believes that K.P. Yohannan is on the boards and has responsibility for these entities.
Additional Information:
An alert reader posted a link in the comments that K.P. Yohannan is listed as the chairman of the Believers’ Church trust on a page of one of BC’s schools; and of course he is the Metropolitan Bishop of the church. He is president of GFA-US, a group which sent nearly $20 million to Believers’ Church in the FY ending in March 2014. In addition to K.P. Yohannan, Yohannan’s son Daniel sits on both boards (GFA-U.S. and Believers’ Church).
YohannanBCTrustChairman
Thanks to another alert reader, we can see that Yohannan and his son are listed as board members of the Believers’ Church Seminary, with K.P. Yohannan being listed as president of the Governing Board.  Yohannan is also listed on the Caarmel Engineering School as the chairman of the Believers’ Church trust.
YohannanCaarmelEngTrust
All of these listings are current.
 

Gospel for Asia's 2014 Audit is Late

Member organizations with of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability with are supposed to file renewal documents each year. When those documents are due depends on when the fiscal year ends.

The renewal information is due by January 31 if your fiscal year ended on April 1 through September 30.
The renewal information is due by July 31 if your fiscal year ended on October 1 through March 31.

Gospel for Asia in the U.S. operates on a calendar year schedule so their renewal was due July 31. As a part of the renewal, an audited financial statement is required. However, I have learned that GFA’s audited statement for 2014 is not complete. Those who inquire about the 2014 audited statement are getting this reply:

Currently, we do not have 2014 finance reports ready yet, as our auditors are in the process of auditing GFA’s 2014 year.

This means that GFA’s renewal is incomplete. However, not to worry, the ECFA gives member organizations an automatic two-month extension.

Financial Statements Policy

Current members should submit financial statements with the Annual Membership Renewal (AMR) by the due date. However, occasionally members are unable to supply the financial statements on a timely basis for a variety of reasons. ECFA will evaluate the reason for the delay, balancing a desire to help an organization through a possibly difficult situation not of its own making, and the necessity of maintaining standards to protect the integrity of ECFA, through the timely submission of information.
Policy

  1. Financial statements.Financial statements should accompany the AMR when it is due. (This provides the member a minimum of four months from the end of their fiscal year end to obtain the required financial statements.)
  2. Two-month extension.If all other AMR materials are submitted on time, an automatic two-month extension to submit the financial statements will be granted.
  3. Additional extensions.Members unable to meet the two-month extended deadline will generally be granted an additional two-month extension if the extension does not exceed 12 months from the end of the fiscal year. A request for this extension must include an explanation of the status of the audit, the reason for the delay, and the expected date of completion.

However, renewals can still be processed and that seal can still be displayed as long as the fees are paid.

Our financial statements are not complete. What should we do? Although your financial statements are due along with your renewal formif they are not available,  complete the renewal form without them (we understand the financial section of the renewal form will be incomplete). You will be asked to provide an approximate date the financials will be available and also to estimate your total cash contribution in order to estimate your membership fee. Once financials are finalized, please forward a copy to ECFA or to href=”mailto:AMR@ecfa.org”>renewal@ecfa.org. We will complete the financial section and refund or invoice for any payment difference. If the financials are complete but the Form 990 is not, please submit the renewal form and financials and send the Form 990 when complete.

Last year, the audited statement was dated June 13, 2014.
Regular readers can probably guess about why the audit is late.
While I appreciate that the ECFA’s audit requirement puts some pressure on an organization to disclose important information, at the same time, I believe the ECFA should flag those organizations which have not turned in the documentation. If donors rely on ECFA, they won’t know that after months of not answering legitimate questions, GFA hasn’t turned in an audited statement of their 2014 finances, even though GFA has had over 7 months to do so.

Gospel for Asia Canada Gets C- From Canadian Charity Watchdog Organization

Charity watchdog Charity Intelligence Canada has given Gospel for Asia Canada a C-based on the charity’s public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.” Beginning in 2012, CIC rated 453 charities operating in Canada on the following dimensions:

Charity Intelligence scored charities on answers to 26 questions covering strategy, activities, outputs, outcomes, and learning. We modeled the scorecard on charity sector resources developed by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, New Philanthropy Capital in the UK, Global Reporting Initiative, and Queen’s University Centre for Governance.
Charity Intelligence used a matrix of questions focusing on how well a charity reported:
1. The problem it addresses (Problem/Need)
2. The programs and services it provides to fix the need (Activities)
3. Quantifying its programs and services (Outputs)
4. The results it achieves (Outcomes)
5. The reliability and clarity of reporting (Quality)
6. The learning and changes made (Learning)
Ci scored charities in these six areas and covered seven indicators: timeliness, balance, consistency, clarity, reliability, forward-looking, and accuracy. The final score is a measure of the charity’s social reporting. This scoring does not assess the strategy, the quality of activities, the level of outputs or the impressiveness of outcomes. All it does is assess if enough information has been disclosed, such that any reader would have the opportunity to make those assessments.

I have been asserting since May of this year that Gospel for Asia has refused to disclose basic information regarding their operations and financial dealings. As this rating demonstrates, GFA doesn’t rate well on providing donors with sufficient information to assess the accuracy of GFA’s claims.
According to CIC, the C- rating puts GFA in the bottom 20% of organizations rated (for the sake of comparison, World Vision gets a B+).
CharityIntelCAratings
 
 
Weeks have gone by and no one from Gospel for Asia has explained why GFA India auditors have not disclosed Canadian donations on government reports. In Canadian reports, GFA Canada disclosed that it sent $15 million dollars (CAD) to India but this is not disclosed as required on Indian reports. Donations from other countries (e.g., United States, Germany, Australia, etc.) are disclosed but the funds sent from Canada are not.