Will the real K.P. Yohannan please stand up?
In his first book Revolution in World Missions, K.P. Yohannan (through ghostwriter Bill Bray) criticized social programs such as hospitals and schools. However, Yohannan has directed massive amounts of donor money to build and purchase hospitals and schools in India. In the book RWM, Yohannan claims:
One issue involved one of the most far-reaching policy decisions I ever would make. For some years I had suffered deep pain over what appeared to be massive imbalance between our busyness with maintaining Christian institutions, like hospitals and schools, and the proclamation of the Gospel. Both in India and in my travels around Western countries, I constantly uncovered a preoccupation with so-called “ministry” activities operated by Christian workers, financed by church monies, but with little else to distinguish them as Christian.
Far too much of the resources of North American missions is spent on things not related to the primary goal of church planting.(p. 104-105, 2015 edition)
In contrast, Yohannan controls a massive empire of for profit businesses on behalf of himself and the church he runs, Believers’ Church. Twelve schools are listed on The Believers’ Church website, including a medical college and an engineering school. The flagship healthcare institution is his Believers’ Church Medical College and Hospital in the state of Kerala. In recent years, much donor money appears to have gone into the building or purchase of these institutions without the knowledge of American donors.
K.P. Yohannan – Patron
On the Believers’ Church Medical College and Hospital and the Caarmel Engineering School websites, K.P. Yohannan is described as the patron of these institutions.
The engineering school website proclaims Yohannan’s leadership:
Believers Church Caarmel Engineering College, established in 2002, is a leading self-financing private co-educational institution under the Caarmel Educational Trust owned and managed by the Believers Church headquartered at Thiruvalla, Kerala. Dr. K. P. Yohannan, Metropolitan, Believers Church, is the Chairman and Patron of the College. Fr. C. B. Williams is the Manager and Dr. Paul A. J is the Principal of the College.
In contrast to Yohannan’s claim that he doesn’t sit on the boards of any of the trusts in India, he is described as the Chairman and Patron on the school website. The school appears to be quite elaborate with excellent facilities. You can take a virtual tour of the campus online (link).
The Medical College and Hospital are quite new with the medical college just opening this year. Again, Yohannan is described as the patron:
Believers Church Medical College Hospital is a healthcare project of Believers Church. The Church is dynamically involved in various nation-building social and educational projects, healthcare initiatives, charitable activities, community development programs, rehabilitation projects and relief works. Dr. K.P. Yohannan, Metropolitan of Believers Church is the patron of the hospital and Dr. George Chandy is leading the project.
The facilities are extraordinary.
In his RWM book, Yohannan decries such “nation building” programs as causing him “deep pain.” He spends several pages indicating that his ministry will not focus on “social concerns.”
Because of this teaching, many churches and mission societies now are redirecting their limited outreach funds and personnel away from evangelism to something vaguely called “social concern.” Today the majority of Christian missionaries find themselves primarily involved in feeding the hungry, caring for the sick through hospitals, housing the homeless or other kinds of relief and development work. In extreme cases, among nonevangelicals, the logical direction of this thinking can lead to organizing guerrilla forces, planting terrorist bombs or less extreme activities like sponsoring dance and aerobic exercise classes. This is done in the name of Jesus and supposedly is based on His command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. The mission of the Church, as defined by these humanists, can be almost anything except winning people to Christ and discipling them.
History already has taught us that this gospel—without the blood of Christ, conversion and the cross—is a total failure. In China and India we have had seven generations of this teaching, brought to us by the British missionaries in a slightly different form in the middle of the 19th-century. My people have watched the English hospitals and schools come and go without any noticeable effect on either our churches or society. (p. 109-110, 2015 edition)
I don’t know if GFA hosts dance and aerobics, but the group does sponsor a soccer team in Myanmar.
I have written before about GFA’s rubber plantation, but there are many more real estate holdings, according to Narada News in India. Then there is the matter of many tuition-funded residential schools which take in children of all faiths (e.g., the posh Believers Church Residential School).
In his book, Yohannan criticizes British missionaries but he has recreated the same infrastructure using donations from his affiliates around the world. Let me add that I personally have no problem with the work being done in these institutions. The problem is the deception of donors who read RWM and want to get behind a ministry which puts into practice what Yohannan preaches. For this and many reasons, donors should beware and be wise.