Finding Freedom by Leaving Gospel for Asia

November is National Adoption Month.
The story I want to bring to you has adoption at the center of the story but is also about mind control followed by entrance into the freedom meant for followers of Christ.
Tom and Sara Sluberski once labored at Gospel for Asia. They had adopted two children and wanted to adopt another when their CEO and the Metropolitan of the Believers’ Church K.P. Yohannan threw cold water on their warm desire to bring another child into their family.
Tom describes the day when Yohannan questioned their decision to pursue adoption one more time.

KP started off by saying something like “I heard a rumor you were adopting again”. I responded in my head “well, this really isn’t a rumor as I’ve pretty much kept leadership in loop, even though I didn’t really have to.” KP went on to say stuff like, “I really can’t tell you what to do, but I don’t think adopting is a good idea for you.” It was cacophonous chatter and I really was taken off guard, here I just helped someone unload a truck with all their house stuff and KP is warning me of the dangers of adoption. I tried to respond by saying we had prayed about this for close to three years and I also mentioned what a blessing our China daughter was, in that she really invigorated our family and she became a part of the ministry. Even at her young age she helped in the kitchen and I know she brought joy to many on staff. But I think it all fell on deaf ears. KP’s demeanor was dour, not the happy hamburger and fries guy that he sometimes appears to be. I was rather shocked, you have to realize that this is the president of Gospel for Asia, KP is also the  Metropolitan of Believers Church in India, overseeing two million believers in Asia and also overseeing the GFA USA office and sitting on the boards of the US office, and apparently other boards around the globe. It was a big deal to me when this person in this position that you served with for 12 years says something like this to you.

Yohannan’s insensitive exhortation threw the Sluberski’s into a daze. In cohesive groups, especially those with a strong controlling leader, deviating from instructions can create feelings of fear and sadness. Whether GFA intended it or not, many former staffers report feeling controlled in mind and behavior. Yohannan inserted himself into this situation as if he had veto power over their most personal of decisions.
Eventually, the Sluberskis emerged from the GFA bubble and are finding freedom of mind, subject only to God.

We realized that senior leadership, after being under KP for 20+ years, had forgotten how to make their own decisions and opted for KP to in essence, think for them. We did not want that to happen to us. We announced our departure in June 2015, and interestingly enough we moved out on July 4th weekend, one year after we had moved in.

 
 
 

Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee and the Alternative Reality Conference

Kevin Swanson appears to be a tortured soul. It is beyond ridiculous that Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee spoke at a conference organized by this fellow.
During the conference Christian reconstructionist minister Phil Kayser distributed a publication calling for the death penalty for gays and others who violate Mosaic law. I brought Kayser’s views forward four years ago when he endorsed Ron Paul. Paul initially was thrilled to get Kayser’s endorsement until I pointed out Kayser’s views on gays.
One speaker at the conference said the movie “Frozen” was satanic.
Here is Swanson saying gays need more time to repent.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgZU6pGKgRk[/youtube]
Religious liberty is a cherished right. However, the right to impose one’s religious views on a minority is not a right and should be resisted by followers of Christ.
Cruz, Jindal, and Huckabee have offered a legitimacy to Christian reconstructionism that is frightening. Even Ron Paul distanced himself from Kayser and his reconstructionist views 4 years ago. It is appalling that these three went anywhere near that conference.

Politico's Story About Ben Carson's West Point Claims Ignite Allegations of Media Bias

UPDATE: Earlier I titled this post, “Ben Carson Admits Fabrication in Bio.” I have changed the title because Carson now says he didn’t admit a fabrication. Politico has now changed their title to reflect the specific nature of the claims regarding a “full scholarship” to West Point.
I have significantly updated my post to address criticisms in the comments section.
————–
According to Politico, on more than one occasion, Ben Carson claimed he was offered a full scholarship to West Point. Politico has evidence that he was not offered a full scholarship in an official manner and never even sought admission there.
Carson and others are accusing Politico of biased reporting against Carson. According to Politico, Carson told Bill O’Reilly that perhaps he could have been clearer in his descriptions.
I agree. Here is the section from the 2008 book, Gifted Hands.
CarsonWestPoint
 
It appears Carson brought together two events (the Memorial Day parade and a later dinner where Medal of Honor winners were present) in his book (see the Politico article for their fact checking on that aspect of the story). Carson says he met with Westmoreland and then “later” was offered a “full scholarship to West Point.” The use of the word “later” makes it seem that West Point actually offered him something. As the story is being told now, Carson was encouraged to apply because his chances of getting in were good. This, however, is not the same as the offer of a full scholarship. To have such an offer, a young person much be recommended and apply. Perhaps Carson didn’t understand the difference between being a good candidate for application and being officially offered a slot at West Point (as his book says).
On analysis, this isn’t as serious as Brian Williams or David Barton. However, I am surprised that Carson didn’t know the difference between being a worthy applicant for West Point and getting an official invitation to attend. It is possible that there was an intent to embellish the story but it is also possible that Carson didn’t understand the difference between informal encouragement and a formal scholarship offer. People who support him will probably lean toward the latter possibility and people who don’t might go for the embellishment narrative.
UPDATE – The Wall Street Journal raises even more questions about Carson’s descriptions of his own history.
 

Gospel for Asia's Board of Directors and Fiduciary Responsibility

During the late 1990s, I served on the board of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. One of the first things we learned as new board members was the concept of fiduciary responsibility. I learned that our organization was formed to serve the interests of our constituents and more broadly the public interest. I also learned that I was responsible to ensure that the organization functioned within the law and in accord with rules we set for ourselves (e.g., by-laws). Furthermore, I had a duty to exercise oversight of staff and the operations of the association.
In light of recent resignations from Gospel for Asia’s board and the secrecy surrounding current board members, it seems appropriate to consider the duties and responsibilities of board members. In my view, GFA’s board shares responsibility with current leadership for the many questions raised over the past two years. Below are quotes from various authorities on the fiduciary responsibility of nonprofit board members.

Boards of nonprofits are legally responsible for overseeing the organization’s financial management. Since nonprofits receive tax-exempt status by state and federal agencies to fulfill public needs, the board’s obligations go well beyond its organization’s members, constituents, beneficiaries or clients.
An important part of serving the public trust is fulfilling the important stewardship roles of protecting financial and nonfinancial assets, and managing current income properly to fulfill exempt purposes. Although a ministry’s management has the primary responsibility for the organization’s financial management and reporting, the board of directors is ultimately responsible for the process. Outside auditors also play an important role as well. – Dan Busby, Quality Financial Reporting: What is the board’s responsibility?

Speaking of outside auditors, GFA’s auditor Bland Garvey recently resigned according to former board member Gayle Erwin.
GFA’s leaders have maintained an unseemly silence in the face of poor relationships with staff, unaccounted for funds, allegations of mismanagement, and other financial irregularities. The responses from David Carroll and K.P. Yohannan have not been specific and have not addressed certain issues at all. My Calvary Chapel survey results thus far find that former donors and supporting pastors are unsatisfied with the answers given by GFA leaders. At this point, GFA directors have a responsibility to speak to the allegations and transparently disclose what is being done to correct any violations of the public trust. So far, outside of comments from former board member Gayle Erwin, all we have heard is crickets.
Since GFA is expected to maintain discretion and control over funds sent to Asia, board members need to have knowledge of how those funds are spent and audited. According to Erwin, the GFA board was not given such information. Recently, Erwin told me, “Once the monetary figures went beyond the local, we board members had no knowledge of it. I am embarrassed by how little we knew.” According to Erwin, the board’s information came from K.P. Yohannan and was not contested by other senior leaders who in Erwin’s words, have to do “what K.P. says.”

Because the board of directors is ultimately responsible for the activities of an organization, it can become the target for criticism or legal action when things go wrong, and failure to live up to fiduciary responsibility is a serious charge.

As trustees of the organization’s assets, board members must be able to demonstrate that due diligence has been employed in decision making, particularly with regard to the oversight of financial matters. While individual board members are responsible for their own actions, the full board is responsible for the board’s decisions. This means that board members must hold each other as accountable.

But nothing absolves the board from its single most important responsibility as a fiscally accountable body of trustees – that of acknowledging the responsibilities that come with being a beneficiary of the public trust. Generally speaking, nonprofits are deemed to be holding assets, including investment funds, in trust for the benefit of their constituencies and the charitable purposes for which the organization was formed. Linda Compton, Painful Lesson in Board Investment Policy Making, Boardsource, retrieved from ECFA

Although the primary topic of Compton’s article is about board oversight of retirement funds, the principles that apply to oversight of those funds also apply to all other activities of an organization. Boards can’t merely blame staff when concerns are raised by the public and constituents of the nonprofit. As it is now, GFA lost ECFA membership, is losing donors, and has not resolved the concerns of well over 100 former staff. Three board members have resigned over these issues. The remaining board members have a duty to God and the public to step in and right the ship. Remaining silent doesn’t remove their responsibility.

Although GFA is secretive about their board members, evidence is strong that current board members are K.P. Yohannan (chair), Gisela Punnoose (KP’s wife), Danny Punnoose (his son), Chuck Zink (has a child on staff), Robert Felder, Francis Chan, and David Mains. According to K.P. Yohannan, there is at least one more member but the identity of that member isn’t clear. Looking at the board members, it would take every non-Yohannan family member to take action. One of the requirements to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign is a board made up of independent members. However, it is plain to see GFA does not meet that standard.

Difficult or not, board members have a duty to the public. Christian board members have a duty beyond that. Only time will tell if GFA’s board will rise to the occasion.

Additional resources:

Fiduciary Responsibilities of Nonprofit Directors

A Nonprofit Board’s Fiduciary Responsibility

Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa's Radio Station KWVE Drops K.P. Yohannan's Road to Reality Show

YohannanFeb2015Although I don’t know why yet, I can report that KWVE, a radio station owned by Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, has stopped carrying K.P. Yohannan’s Road to Reality radio show. Yohannan is the CEO and International Director of Gospel for Asia.
In September, KWVE’s Saturday schedule carried the program, but the current schedule now features Christian music at that time. The show hasn’t been moved to another time.
Another Christian radio network, CSN International Radio, recently pulled the program from the schedule as well. In that case, a network representative told me Yohannan’s program was dropped because GFA was terminated from membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
My emails to KWVE and K.P. Yohannan over the past couple of days have not been returned. I learned in a conversation with a station employee today that staff (at least that one) are not aware of the reasons.
 

Another Call for Participation in the Calvary Chapel – Gospel for Asia Survey

So far 64 people have participated in the survey of those affiliated with Calvary Chapel ministries regarding attitudes toward Gospel for Asia. I am leaving the survey open for awhile longer with the hope of gaining more participants.
Click here to go to the survey.
Twenty-four lead pastors have participated. Of the 24, only one respondent said his church supports GFA and has no plans to stop. Eleven said GFA was never supported, nine said support for GFA had ceased due to the recent revelations, three pastors said support stopped before the recent wave of problems surfaced. Those pastors indicated that they perceived problems prior to the recent set of disclosures and new stories. One pastor said support for GFA was being reconsidered and would probably cease.
Various reasons were given for stopping support. One response summarize the others:

Lack of GFA financial accountability including donated money not being accounted for; GFA not being truthful about how money is spent, who is in charge of money once it reaches India and how much actually goes to the field; GFA having students and others carry cash to India; how GFA staff and ex-staff have been and are being treated; that Believers Church runs GFA in India; that KP Yohannan is in charge of an Episcopal-style denomination that controls GFA India and that they are not up front about that.

Six of seven pastors who reached out to GFA for answers to questions said they were not satisfied with the answers received. One said GFA seemed open in response but the conclusions were at odds with the ECFA board’s action to vote GFA out of the organization.
 

Interview with Mark Yarhouse on SAMHSA Report Calling for an End to Sexual Orientation Change Efforts for Minors

On October 15, I linked to a report published by SAMHSA which called for an end to sexual orientation change efforts for LGBT minors. At the time, I wrote:

Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth was released today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The report recommends the end of change therapies for minors via professional advocacy and legal strategies.

Mark Yarhouse, co-author with me of the Sexual Identity Therapy framework and professor at Regent University, was an evangelical presence on the panel of experts who produced the consensus statements.

I also said I hoped to have commentary from Mark. Today, I have an interview with him on his committee experience and his views of the consensus. Mark is professor of psychology at Regent University and Director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity. He is co-author with me of the Sexual Identity Therapy Framework, which is a model for ethically and effectively helping clients with distress surrounding their sexual orientation and religious beliefs. For more on SITF, see the website which supports the framework. This will be cross–posted there.
This interview comes amid a bit of a controversy involving Mark and a speaking engagement in Canada. I hope those who assume they know Mark’s views will also read this and the SITF.

Warren Throckmorton: In general, what was your experience like being on the consensus committee? Did you feel the rest of the committee members took religious concerns seriously?
Mark Yarhouse: Overall, it was a good experience. I am always grateful for the opportunity to engage with others around complex issues, to learn from other experts, and to share from my own lines of research. We reviewed existing research and past policy statements, as well as shared from our professional experience working with children, adolescents, and families. In answer to your question about religious concerns, I think committee members wanted to take religious concerns seriously, although the primary focus was the well-being of minors who are navigating sexual identity and gender identity. As you know all too well, the beliefs and values of religious families are important considerations when working with families whose teen may be navigating gender identity or sexual identity concerns. In any case, my experience was that other committee members were interested in the experiences I’ve had – and others had – working with conventionally religious families.
WT: Even though the sexual identity therapy framework (SITF) wasn’t mentioned or cited, do you feel the report is supportive of the approach we take in the framework?
MY: Yes, I think so. We had the opportunity to review many documents, including the SITF and the 2009 APA task force report on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation, which, as you know, cited the SITF favorably. The kind of practice we saw as helpful would emphasize identity exploration without an a priori fixed outcome. I think the framework does that in the area of sexual identity. However, the framework does not address in much detail working with minors, and that may be something we consider if we offer a revision in the future.
WT: Do you have any comments, reservations about the consensus reported in the paper?
MY: As the SAMHSA report notes, we decided at the outset that we would define consensus as a reasonably high percentage of agreement rather than unanimous consensus. We all agreed to that, but that meant that what counted as consensus in at least a few occasions was not reflecting unanimity. We worked hard for unanimity in all cases, but that did not always happen. I at times found myself in disagreement with some of the wording, for example, but the threshold for consensus was met in those instances, and I understood and respected that process.
WT:It seems to me that the consensus surrounding sexual orientation is more settled than gender identity. How do you see that?
MY: There are fewer professional debates about sexual orientation, which likely reflects the consensus you are referring to. There seem to be more professional discussions about a range of clinical options with gender dysphoria. However, I was impressed by how little research is published on minors – particularly efforts to achieve congruence between gender identity and biological sex.  I was under the impression that more studies of higher quality had been published in some areas, and as the committee looked at them together, we found them lacking. Also, while research was one consideration, we drew on other sources, too, such as committee members’ professional experience and prior reports. In any case, I would have preferred to frame and word various aspects of the consensus report differently, but again that in some cases goes back to what counted as consensus. Without going into too much detail, you could imagine someone favoring the language of  ‘insufficient evidence’ in discussions of effectiveness and harm, to reflect how little published research is available in a given area of inquiry. Other topics, such as how to conceptualize sexual and gender identities and expressions in a diverse and pluralistic culture raise important philosophical and theological questions that were beyond the scope of the discussion.
WT: In general, do you support the recommendations of the paper (or asked another way). Is there anything in the recommendations you have concerns about?
MY: It is important to distinguish the consensus statement from the SAMHSA report. I did provide feedback on portions of the SAMHSA report, especially around family, community, and religious considerations, but it was written by designated persons from that agency. I think it reflects a little more regard for conventionally religious persons and families and provides for more resources than otherwise may have been available. But many committee members provided input and suggestions, and I imagine the author of the report had to balance various considerations in putting together the final document.
As far as concerns, I indicated at the outset that I did not think the government should be involved in legislating around the complexities of clinical practice in these two areas. I prefer to see government support the regulatory bodies that provide oversight to mental health professions in a given jurisdiction. I shared more of my thoughts on that in an interview with First Things. My opinion has not changed on that matter.

World Net Daily to Publish New Edition of David Barton's The Jefferson Lies

wndb-Barton-Jefferson-Lies-COVERFirst, he said Simon & Schuster was going to publish it. They declined.
Today, World Net Daily announced plans to publish a new edition in 2016.
I am looking forward to learning the identity of the “academic endorsements.” Why not just post them now on the WND page promoting the book?
Michael and I are up for another round. We have a few academic endorsements of our own.
 

Setting the Record Straight
on Thomas Jefferson
Historian David Barton responds to his critics head-on
in this new edition of 
The Jefferson Lies

WASHINGTON — America, in so many ways, has forgotten its past. Its roots, its purpose, its identity all have become shrouded behind a veil of political correctness bent on twisting the nation’s founding, and its Founders, to fit within a misshapen modern world.

The time has come to remember again. 


In 2012 prominent historian David Barton set out to correct the distorted image of the once-beloved Founding Father Thomas Jefferson in the best-selling book 
The Jefferson Lies. Despite the wildly popular success of the original hardcover edition, a few dedicated liberal individuals and academics campaigned to discredit Barton’s scholarship and credibility, but to no avail.
Barton responds to his critics in a lengthy preface to this new paperback edition in which he takes to task his former publisher and directly answers with thorough documentation the main issues his detractors registered, while also providing numerous academic endorsements of his work. This paperback version, to be released by WND Books on January 12, 2016, certifies that Barton’s research is sound and his premises are true as he tackles seven myths about Thomas Jefferson head-on and answers pressing questions about this incredible statesman including:
•   Did Thomas Jefferson really have a child by his young slave girl, Sally Hemings?

•   Did he write his own Bible, excluding the parts of Christianity with which he disagreed?


•   Was he a racist who opposed civil rights and equality for black Americans?


•   Did he, in his pursuit of separation of church and state, advocate the secularizing of public life?

Through Jefferson’s own words and the eyewitness testimony of contemporaries, Barton repaints a portrait of the man from Monticello as a visionary, an innovator, a man who revered Jesus, a classical Renaissance man, and a man whose pioneering stand for liberty and God-given inalienable rights fostered a better world for this nation and its posterity. For America, the time to remember these truths again is now. 


David Barton is the founder and president of WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization that presents America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious, and constitutional heritage. He is the author of many best-selling books, including Original Intent, The Bulletproof George Washington, American History in Black and White, and The Question of Freemasonry and the Founding Fathers. He addresses more than four hundred groups each year. Barton was named by Timemagazine as one of America’s twenty-five most influential evangelicals, and he has received numerous national and international awards, including Who’s Who in Education and Daughters of the American Revolution’s highest award, the Medal of Honor. David and his wife, Cheryl, have three grown children. 

The Jefferson Lies will be in bookstores nationwide on January 12, 2016. 

Sign Up Now for It's All About Jesus! Daily Devotionals with Mark Driscoll

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then what does a little daily Driscoll keep away?
You can find out by signing up for the catchy sounding “It’s all about Jesus! Daily Devotionals with Mark Driscoll.” MD Ministries proclaims:

The plan at present is to launch Daily Devotionals very soon. Thank you to everyone who sent in some good ideas for what to name this. It is something that I hope to continue doing for a long time and here is the plan:

It’s All About Jesus! Daily Devotionals with Mark Driscoll 

If you register here we will send you a free email once a day, Monday through Friday. It will contain Jesus-centered Bible teaching that you can read in a few minutes.

Driscoll is still liking his new Phoenix home. Word is he working toward a church plant in a northern suburb of Phoenix. His non-profit (Mark Driscoll Ministries) is now safely moved to that area.

MarkDriscollAZ

The address is an UPS store in a mall in northeast Phoenix.

Calvary Chapel Olympia to Update Congregation on Gospel for Asia; Preliminary Survey Results Show Calvary Chapels Dropping GFA Support

According to the CC Olympia website, this morning the church plans to host a Gospel for Asia update meeting.
Calvary Chapel watchers tell me that CC Olympia is the home church of Pat Emerick, Director of GFA-Canada and ordained Believers’ Church priest.
My survey of Calvary Chapel pastors and attenders has not generated enough participants to allow certainty about trends among CCs. I hope to get more pastors to participate in the coming week. For now, out of 21 CC pastors who have taken the survey, one has no plans to drop support, one is reconsidering support, while seven have dropped support recently over matters of financial integrity and staff relations. Two CCs stopped supporting before the scandal broke but over similar concerns and ten never supported GFA ever.
Click this link to take the survey.
Readers who attend CCO, let me know how the meeting goes.