Times of India: Gospel for Asia Gets Special Deal to Violate Wetlands Ordinance

Today’s Times of India reports that Gospel for Asia/Believers’ Church received special permission to violate Indian law regarding treatment of wetlands.  According to the report, Kerala’s state cabinet overruled objections by revenue officials to the conversion of wetlands for use by the Believers Church Medical College, a project of Gospel for Asia in Thiruvalla. According the TOI, “The cabinet has regularized the group’s land filling, citing it as a “special case” and thereby violating the Kerala Land Utilization Order. “
Please click through the link to read the report. Five points stand out.
1. It doesn’t appear that the Christian nature of the Believers Church Medical College is prompting state persecution of Believers Church or Gospel for Asia as GFA leaders often claim. This appears to be a sweet deal for Believers Church. They can use land the local authorities want for wetlands for their for-profit hospital and medical college. They also avoid the cost of correcting their illegal use of 3.77 acres.
2. According to this report, the local government gave permission for filling the land suitable for building a medical college in 2003. The empire building in India goes back a long way. Donors outside of Indian might well wonder where the funds came from in order fill the lands and construct a state of the art medical college and hospital.
3. If this report is accurate, GFA in India illegally diverted a stream and filled in 3.77 acres of land. This illegal action doesn’t square well with repeated claims by GFA leaders that their actions on the field are legal. It cannot help the overall purpose of Christian missions to conduct affairs illegally and then fail to correct the matter.
4. If I understand the TOI report, this matter may not be over. The TOI reporter makes the case that the state cabinet action violates a ruling of the Supreme Court. Although I am not sure who would lead the charge, there may be a challenge to the cabinet’s decision.
5. GFA in India is said by this report to be under Believers’ Church. Unknown to many donors, the real destination for millions of donor dollars has been Believers’ Church in India with their for profit schools, medical centers and rubber plantation. No doubt the pursuit of this matter involved lawyers and much time and money. It is past time for GFA to come clean about their finances, not just here, but around the world.

Gospel for Asia Issues Threats and Demands Removal of Staff Meeting Audio

Yesterday afternoon, I received word from the management of Patheos that lawyers for Gospel for Asia demanded the removal of posts with audio of the May 14, 2015 staff meeting in Wills Point, TX. They also wanted the picture of David Carroll in priestly garb sprinkling water around the Wills Point building site taken down.
The following posts were targeted by GFA:
Gospel for Asia’s President K.P. Yohannan and Indian Courts Seem to Disagree about His Status with Indian Charities
Believers Church in India Gave Nearly 20 Million to Help Gospel for Asia’s New Office Complex
Gospel for Asia Leaders Tell Staff Cash Carrying is Legal but They Won’t Do It Anymore
What is This Gospel for Asia Priest Doing? (Image replaced with a link to the image – the image was freely available to GFA staff)
All but one of these posts contain audio from the May 14, 2015 staff meeting where GFA leaders (David Carroll, John Beers, Danny Punnoose and K.P. Yohannan) answered questions from staff about various staff concerns and problems. This meeting was supposed to put to rest many of these questions, but in the long run more questions and problems have come up. GFA leaders are willing to pay lawyers to threaten lawsuits but they are not willing to publicly address the concerns and allegations of former staff and former donors.
Patheos management and I decided remove their sail from the wind in that I have now linked to the audio hosted elsewhere. I see no reason for GFA to harass Patheos with frivolous demands when the use of these materials is fair use of material for the purpose of providing commentary on the practices of GFA. I was provided the audio by a former staff member at GFA. The staff meeting was attended by the entire staff of GFA and was supposed to provide answers to public controversies. Now, GFA does not want you to hear their answers. Despite GFA’s heavy handed effort at intimidation, readers can still get the facts by going to these posts and following the links to the audio.
This is an incredible and I think foolish move on the part of GFA leaders. They are now making a direct attempt to cover up their own statements. This information has been in the public ear for weeks. We can hear them making their claims in their own words. When the information is available like this, I cannot be accused of taking material out of context or providing false information. So now, they want to remove these facts from the public consciousness.
Since 100% of donations to GFA are supposed to go to the field, I wonder where the funds come from to pay lawyers to threaten legal action. Perhaps GFA leaders believe attorneys’ fees are where donor funds are most needed.
Gospel for Asia is a non-profit organization. As such, GFA has a responsibility to operate in the public interest. Covering up information which allows donors insight into the actual workings and claims of the organization is the not the action of an organization operating in the public interest. From a religious point of view, they are walking in darkness and want to keep the rest of us in darkness as well.
I do not intend to allow GFA’s threats and intimidation to silence the facts. There is more to come.

Open Letter to Operation Mobilization Founder George Verwer from Terry Jones about Gospel for Asia and K.P. Yohannan

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Terry Jones, George Verwer, Rev. William W. Photo provided by Terry Jones

Gospel for Asia has a long history, having been founded by K.P. Yohannan in 1978. Terrol (Terry) Jones is a missions advocate who served at GFA from 1984 through 1993. Jones recently wrote a letter to George Verwer, an endorser of GFA and the man who has served as a lifelong mentor to GFA founder and director K.P. Yohannan. Verwer is also the founder of Operation Mobilization. In this email which was addressed to Verwer and several others, Jones calls on Verwer to remove his endorsement of GFA. Jones also addressed the letter more widely to the body of Christ.
It is hard to put into perspective how disheartening GFA’s public fall has been to long time mission watchers and leaders. When a person like Terry Jones comes forward with a public call like this, the situation is grave.

November 8, 2015
To George Verwer and the Body of Christ:
Thank you George for receiving me and my Sri Lankan ministry friends into your personal cabin and then for the privilege of sitting with you up front. Thank you also for the gift of your new book, More Drops.  I have read the last part three times- Messiology.  Thanks again for writing the Foreword to my book.
Having lived a composite of 9 years in India and Sri Lanka which includes innumerable ministry trips of up to three months and the wonderful experience of having our two sons born in Sri Lanka, I am very aware of the “messy” situations in missions.  Still the Lord is doing some wonderful things in South Asia. I certainly do not have an “idealistic view” as you mentioned in your book nor an inclination for perfectionism.  We need “radical grace” as you say, but that must not give way to “cheap grace”.Your message on the Logos hit home.  It was a privilege to see my former student at Lanka Bible College interpret your words into Sinhala. What a joy also to see many of my ministry friends sitting right on the front row.  You do not mince words and you are transparent about your own struggles.  We are all miracles in the making, becoming more Christ-like from one degree of glory to another.
I videoed part of your message and intend to get the entire series which you delivered at the Pastors and Leaders Conference on Logos-Hope ship.  Your statement about integrity in finances especially stuck in my mind: “If you have received money to buy three chickens and spent it on something else, then confess it to the donor and get yourself right.”  Make amends!
Unfortunately, when it comes to K P Yohannan and GFA/Believers Church it is a matter of mega millions of dollars, a massive difference.  I worked with K P for 9 years as Church Coordinator developing relationships with churches from 84-93.  I traveled with him to California and met with Chuck Smith. He sent me to places like Alaska to spread the word of native missions. The initial copy of Revolution in Missions includes a photo of our small staff including me.  I think we had only four or five full-time staff at that time.
In 1993 while still with GFA I returned to India with my family to see how we were doing.  What I discovered caused me to resign.  KP decided that the “work was not being done” as he thought it should be.  Instead of supporting, encouraging, equipping and training missionary/church planters, he would start his own church. The wonderful testimonies of brother and sisters we used to publicize GFA and create a high degree of integrity, these people would now be discarded. This radical change went almost unnoticed by western constituency.  However it caused great confusion and division on the field.  I saw the results first hand.
In Bihar I spoke at the GFA training center. There were about 50 students.  I asked how many were converted to Christ through a GFA evangelistic team. Two or three raised their hand. The rest were sent in good faith for training by their home church, Assemblies of God etc.  I later got a report from Lalachen, one of KP’s Kerala friends, reporting that all 50 students were being sent out to start KP’s new Believers Churches.
I visited our friend in Nagaland, the late Vito Chu.  He founded Christ For the Nations of Nagaland connected with CFNI in Dallas, Texas.  KP asked him to change the name of his school to GFA training school and he would continue to support the work.  He refused and GFA went 7 km down the road and started his own school.  This I am told folded after sometime.  Not sure if GFA still owns land there or just rented.  This happened all over India at this time.
In Sri Lanka I helped GFA connect to groups who were doing pioneer church planting.  KP assured pastors that he had no intention of starting his churches, just extend the kingdom of God. He lied!  The GFA Bible training school took students from anyone and every where and shifted them to start Believer’s Churches.   Lal Vanderwal used to teach at Lanka Bible College but KP made him a Bishop and now receives a good salary but, of course, not at all comparable to the huge amount paid to His Imminence with all expenses paid, reported to be $120,000 in 2007 according to one of his staff.  Does his wife Gisela receive a big salary also?  His son Danny also? The common BC priest gets a comparable pittance.
When I returned to the States I met personally with KP in his office and told him he was in danger of self deception. He said, “If you have the money you have the power.”  He was completely defiant and determined to continue in deception.  What he was projecting in the States and the West was not the reality of things in South Asia.  He was apprehensive that I would speak negatively to his growing staff but we decided to leave quietly and return to Sri Lanka where I taught at Lanka Bible College. He rejected my observations and, I assumed, that the Board also rejected my accusation of “deliberate deception”.
Instead of receiving correction, KP expanded his deception and took on more and more staff.  He had found his groove as a missionary entrepreneur.  Was God blessing his deception?  Money was certainly flowing in.  Many good, loving, dedicated and committed people joined the staff thinking they were serving the benevolent image KP had created. But it was a mirage.
The GFA Diaspora, former staff, must understand now that they worked in good faith for the Lord, not KP’s Kerala Kingdom of which he is the King.
George,  must we wait for a secular court to prove that KP has deliberately deceived people out of millions of dollars? Board members, whom I personally know, have resigned because they know KP has deliberately deceived people encouraging them to give for various benevolent causes while lining the Believers Church coffers with mega millions.  Nearly $20 million was sent back to build his headquarters in Wills Point, Texas. The deception is so massive that one could say “you can not see the trees for the forest.”
George, I strongly urge you to withdraw your endorsement of KP and GFA/Believers Church if, indeed, you still publicly endorse him.  Money given for three chickens is minuscule in comparison to this massive deliberate deception.  Others have withdrawn their endorsement including former board member Skip Heitzig.  Radical grace must not become cheap grace!
Following Matthew 18, I went to KP personally in 1993.  He was obstinate and even became more deceptive.  A few years later I called for KP to come to Secunderabad to meet with me, Ray Eicher, Divakaran and another brother from OM.  He came. We met at the OM center and tried to show KP that he was deceptive but we were loving, not condemning.  He was unmoved. Intransigent!! Now, I submit this to you, George, as a representative of the Body of Christ in it’s manifold form and to others receiving this e-mail.
So far KP and the ruling staff/board have shown no inclination to repent of their deception or even acknowledge culpability except for a very weak admittance of human fragility and fault of which we are all guilty. Instead, they have practiced diversionary tactics even avoiding “facing the facts”.  If KP continues in this unrepentant manner,  we of the Body Of Christ have no other option than to consider him and his decision makers as heathens and entrepreneurial tax collectors. Matthew18:17.  This is the true Biblical shunning, not what GFA leaders and other staff practiced against staff who questioned the status quo.
This is submitted to you George and the Body of Christ in hope that KP will turn from his corruptive practices and truly walk in the light as Jesus Christ, the light of the world, not in mixture, good and evil light and darkness, which has been Satan’s way from the beginning.  He always deals in mixture and deception.  KP and ruling staff need to come clean.
If they do not repent, should Believer’s Church bishops and priests continue to dress in cassocks that have originated from the deception of His Imminence? What should the believers in these churches do?  Where can they go?  If the very foundation of Believers Church is deception and now the power is the money power that KP lusted for, what shall these believers in Jesus do?  Still Jesus is building His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.  I hope they will disrobe, trust God and Jesus our Lord, and disassociate with KP unless he truly does turn from his deliberate deception and mixture of light and darkness.
Humbly submitted to the Body in hope,
Brother Terrol (Terry) Jones in Sri Lanka

Terry Jones became a Christian while he was a sophomore at Tulsa University through the witness of a Campus Crusade for Christ staff member.  He was graduated from TU and Asbury Theological Seminary.  Terry served 15 years in United Methodist Churches and non-denominational churches.  He worked with Operation Mobilization for two years in India and has lived a composite of 9 years in Sri Lanka and India.  He married Pattie in 1980 and they moved to Sri Lanka where he taught at Lanka Bible College eventually for 5 years.  From 1984 through part of 1993 he worked with K.P. Yohannan and Gospel For Asia as Church Coordinator establishing relationship with churches throughout North America.  He and Pattie are still very much involved with national missionaries in India and Sri Lanka especially, traveling there at least twice a year for a month at a time.
As always, I call on GFA leaders to respond and provide answers to the growing list of concerns which have surfaced over the past two years.

K.P. Yohannan Attempts to Do Calvary Chapel Damage Control

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K.P. Yohannan, Feb. 2015, YouTube Capture, Kerala, India

Last night Phoenix Preacher published a letter to Calvary Chapel pastors from Gospel for Asia CEO and International Director K.P. Yohannan. I am not sure if it went to all CC pastors or just those who have had dealings with GFA in the past. I did get confirmation from multiple sources that the email message went to multiple Calvary Chapels around the country.
Calvary Chapels, a movement associated with the late Chuck Smith, are especially important because so many of them support GFA. If you Google Calvary Chapel and GFA, you’ll find well over 100 CCs which support GFA in some fashion. I am still surveying CC pastors and attenders at this link. I have 53 responses as of now but would like a few more before I go with the results. Currently, most respondents are dropping support or never supported in the first place and are not inclined to start. Yohannan’s letter appears to be a response to growing unrest among CC pastors and congregations about the integrity of GFA.
Michael Newnham at Phoenix Preacher commented on one aspect of the letter and I encourage readers to examine his comments about Yohannan’s treatment of former GFA staff. I will extend those remarks here.
Below is the email with my comments and questions for Yohannan added. The entire email without comments is provided at the end of the post.

Dear Pastor ———-,
Greetings to you. I am grateful to God for the relationship He’s given us over the many years. I appreciate your heart to reach the lost world with us, and this is why I am writing to you today.
For the past several days, I have been ministering to around 15,000 believers who have been savagely persecuted and ostracized for their faith in Christ. These meetings were arranged well over a year ago and some believers traveled for days just to get to the conference location. Even with much happening in the US office at this time, I couldn’t cancel this trip and let them down.

This sounds like quite a conference. I am surprised that a gathering of 15,000 persecuted believers didn’t merit an article in Christianity Today or the Christian Post or some other Christian publication, especially with the Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church coming up. I would sure like to know more about that meeting.
Even if everything Yohannan says here about a conference is true, that does not explain his silence before and just after October 2 when the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability terminated GFA’s membership. The allegations rocking GFA have been public for months.

Most of you are now aware that ECFA recently terminated our 36-year membership with them. I know, reasonably so, that this has caused great concern and raised questions about the integrity of Gospel for Asia and the handling of our financial matters. ECFA affirmed the funds given to the ministry were accounted for. We have honored our sponsors and donors designations. There were some processes and standards for ministry where we fell short of their standards. During the review process, which we are very grateful for, each time ECFA pointed out something that they felt we could improve on, we took it seriously and began to implement changes without delay.

Yohannan says that ECFA affirmed that “funds given to the ministry were accounted for.” This claim is not enough. At least $90 million from 2012-2013  is unaccounted for in public records in India. Does the ECFA and GFA expect the public to simply take GFA’s word for it? Without some explanation, this isn’t enough for me,and it shouldn’t be enough for donors.
What is not explained by Yohannan is why the ECFA board voted GFA off the island. If GFA did everything ECFA recommended, then why terminate the membership? Active termination of ECFA membership has only happened one other time since 2013. It is serious and requires explanation. Yohannan’s letter suggests that ECFA kicked GFA out even after GFA complied with ECFA suggestions. That is a big stretch and requires evidence. For starters, GFA should release the ECFA report.

In retrospect, we realize that we have should have sought experienced outside counsel at times to help us in dealing with the complexities that come with a ministry of our size. To strengthen our ministry and further improve our processes, we are working hard toward becoming eligible to re-apply for ECFA. GFA’s eight board members are standing strong and aiding the ministry in these matters.

Without some disclosure of what ECFA objected to, reinstatement to membership will erode ECFA’s credibility without doing a thing to build GFA’s status. GFA could really take a step in the right direction by releasing the ECFA report with a stated plan for how the board and leaders plan to correct the problems.
It is surreal to read Yohannan’s affirmation of his board when three Calvary Chapel associated board members (Gayle Erwin, Skip Heitzig, and Damian Kyle) just resigned. In Erwin’s opinion, Yohannan kept the board in the dark about important issues including the related party transaction of $20 million from India to the U.S. for home office construction expenses in 2013. Yohannan ignores the fact that three board members just resigned with one of them accusing the CEO of misconduct.
Furthermore, if his board is standing strong, where are they? Why haven’t they stepped up in public to offer full-throated support? A first step would be for GFA to identify those that remain.

One question which raised concerns is in regard to the kind of church structure on the mission field. The structure (which is explained here: gfa.org/bc/about, is the result of God’s leading in the lives over 100 of our senior leaders in Asia, including myself. About ten years ago, after much prayer and fasting, the decision was made to register Believers Church with the Asian governments in order to gain the protection offered over the assets and work that many of you invested in, and that our missionaries and pastors here have given sacrificially to establish. For the sake of the Lord’s work and by His leading, our leaders on the field chose a form of church structure that is accepted by the government known as “constitutional episcopacy” (this is not the same as an Episcopal church, instead it is the governance of the church), which means the church is led by episkopos (bishops) (1 Timothy 3:1-2) and presbyteros (elders) (Acts 14:23). In order for any pastor to legally conduct weddings and other legal matters for the church, each one must be licensed by the Magistrate from the judicial system, or be ordained by a bishop of a church within constitutional episcopacy.

Other churches operate in India without this structure. Regarding weddings, there is reason to question Yohannan’s statements. Christian and Hindu weddings are governed by different laws in India. According to the sources I have consulted (Indian embassy, and Indian government, see the links), no religious ceremonies are required and the legal aspects of marriage is handled by a Wedding Officer (link, link, link). In other words, religious ceremonies may be performed, but the legal recognition of a marriage is a civil matter.
On the governance of Believers’ Church, one should consult the Constitution of the church which places K.P. Yohannan on the throne. Contrary to what he told his staff (he said he has no legal authority), Yohannan is on all church boards and is the final administrative and religious authority.

Also, just so you know, the practice of ring kissing has not been taught or encouraged in Believers Church. The video of the pastor’s ordination being circulated about me does not show people kissing my ring, but rather them kneeling down to be prayed for and then touching my hand to their forehead, which is a very common cultural gesture of respect in India. I myself have done this many times.

One must see the video below and match it up with Yohannan’s description:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfHoh6xMEkM[/youtube]
Cody Carnine, former co-Director of Development at GFA told me, “It is interesting that KP continues to deny that kissing his ring was not practiced. Some people actually left Believers Church on the mission field because they could not in clear conscience take part in the ring kissing ceremony. I understand that ring kissing is not currently practiced by Believers Church but there are plenty of witnesses who have seen it in the past. Even current staff with Gospel For Asia have seen it happen.”
Travis Helm, the other Director of Development, added, “I was personally told by KP in person while driving him from a church meeting in Virginia in late September of 2014 that “the ring kissing tradition was one we (Believers Church) was trying to move away from.”
Neither ring kissing nor bowing and touching hands with foreheads are required by the Indian government. Whatever is happening in that video ceremony (and it looks like those ordained are kissing something), it appears to be an elevation of Yohannan to his Believers Church Constitutionally required status of “His Grace, the Most Reverend.” I will leave to readers to determine if Yohannan’s claim of humility is supported by the Believers Church Constitution and the video above.

The expression and practice of worship in Believers Church are liturgical in form. This is culturally understood and accepted in South Asia, though it is a less common form of worship for evangelical denominations in the West. A typical church service in a Believers Church consists of 30 minutes of congregational worship, 40 minutes of systematic teaching through the Word of God with practical application, intercessory prayer and confession of the faith. While the expression is different, the substance remains the same. Our statement of faith, commitment to historical Biblical Christianity and philosophy of ministry remains unchanged. It is the governance of the church that has changed.
Believers Church is in the unique position of having over 2.5 million believers, who speak nearly 300 languages, and of whom as many as 80% are illiterate. The interactive portion of the liturgy allows all to participate in the service, while reading through major portions of Scripture once every few years. It is the desire of Believers Church to keep these believers unified in the faith while growing in the Word and knowledge of the Lord.

For more on Believers Church liturgy, see this description of the Communion liturgy. In my view, Believers Church is much closer to Anglican and even Catholic beliefs about Communion than to your average Calvary Chapel.

We thought we were communicating effectively to you regarding these changes made to Believers Church and the reasons for it. We put up numerous pages on our GFA website. We hosted many, many Calvary pastors on the field and never hid our church from anyone. With some pastors we spent hours explaining the reasons for these changes; and we thought it was understood. However, we now realize, by comments made to us, that we did not communicate as effectively as we thought we had. We are truly sorry for this. Please know that it was not intentional. In the future we will work harder to communicate better.

One place Believers Church was hidden was in the 2013 audit. GFA in Texas sent more to Believers Church than to GFA in India in 2013. While hospitals and for profit schools were going up with GFA money (an Indian court affirmed that donor money was not spent as intended), GFA failed to disclose that millions was being sent to Believers Church.

There are some former staff who have been quite vocal in expressing complaints they have against my leaders and I. We have taken this seriously and actively sought, according to Matthew 18, to reach out individually to these former staff members to ask for forgiveness. As leaders, we would agree that we have not always represented Christ in the right way. But our conscience is clear before God that we have always tried to. And we continue to try. We have not disclosed the “other side of the story”; the personal lives of many of those whose testimonies have been shared. Some of them we spent hours counseling out of addiction and sin. Some of them we fasted with, prayed with and wept with during times of personal struggles and family tragedies. We have protected them and their reputations. God knows, and in fear of Him and of judgment we will continue to pray for them.

Phoenix Preacher nailed this. Michael Newnham wrote:

In one small paragraph the GFA Diaspora and others who have left the group are slandered with the vilest of faux pietistic innuendo as addicts and sinners and are implicitly threatened with disclosure of private pastoral issues.

Thus, all their accusations and information are dismissed.

They are no longer brothers and sisters, but sinners and addicts who cannot be trusted.

There can be no more wicked and evil abuse of ecclesiastical authority.

This is an abomination to God and His church.

This tells you every thing you need to know about K.P. Yohannan.

This is an unprincipled attack on former staff and not an appropriate commentary about the merits of their complaints. Yohannan leaves it up to the imagination of the reader which staff are addicts, and which are serious sinners, thus impugning their character.

Some people have asked if my lifestyle is different in reality than what I have written in my books. I’ve even heard people saying I live in a mansion and drive around in a classic European sports car! In reality, my “European sports car” is a restored 1962 VW bug which I bought 19 years ago for $1800. My wife drives a Honda HRV. In my life I have taken a total of 4 family vacations. I currently have one house in the Dallas area that I am trying to sell. It’s in a nice neighborhood hardly two minutes from the previous location of our ministry. It’s about 3,000 square feet, has 4 bedrooms, my office and my wife’s office. In Asia, the only house I live in is owned by the church. It’s about 1,400 square feet. Some pastors have seen it during their visits to India. My salary is set by the Board of Directors of Gospel for Asia. It is about $100,000 per year, including housing allowance. My wife and I don’t need that much to live on, but this is what the Board decided to give us. We give a significant portion of it back to the ministry. I have never taken any royalties from the 250 books I have written. Although I have been called foolish for not taking them, writing books has never been about the money, but about reaching the lost world and encouraging the saints. This is the way I have chosen to live my life. Like you, I try to hear from the Lord and do what He asks of me.

Many former staff contacted me about this point. A former staff couple told me that they were required to live on half of Yohannan’s salary with a much larger family. Another family of four was paid one-third of Yohannan’s wages. Some qualified and received WIC benefits to buy milk and supplies for young children. Others had to go on the insurance exchanges to get health insurance. Many staffers I have spoken with told me they were not able to save and had to ask for extra money from their own accounts when needs came up.
Yohannan mentions his books. Recently, I spoke with two of Yohannan’s ghostwriters. Bill Bray told me earlier today that he wrote “every word” of Revolution in World Missions back in the mid-1980s. Yohannan was involved and Bray interviewed and spoke with Yohannan and his wife frequently about the content but, according to Bray, Yohannan did not do the writing. Another ghostwriter said 13 books were penned by taking notes and sermons and putting them into manuscripts with Yohannan’s name on them. I await Yohannan’s comments about these claims and will be glad to print his rebuttal, if he has one.

I have attempted to live before God and man humbly and faithfully. There have been many times that I have fallen short and failed. But I ask God for forgiveness and make things right with those who allow me to. And I look forward to the day I will see my Lord face to face.

If you have any specific questions for me, I would be happy to talk with you. You can also direct your questions to my leaders, Daniel Punnose, John Beers or David Carroll. I have included all our email addresses below.

Your brother,
K.P. Yohannan

Well, apparently, I can’t direct my questions to the GFA trinity. But then the letter was addressed to Calvary Chapel pastors. Despite the fact that GFA’s non-profit status requires them to operate in the public interest, the public’s interest is only welcome if they are giving GFA money.
For now, I will again say that I will publish any evidence or comments GFA cares to provide. I have always done so. What I won’t do is simply accept statements without evidence and ignore discrepancies that are unexplained simply because you claim to be doing ministry.
 
Click here to read the email without interruption.
 
 

A New Story from Gospel for Asia About Where Millions of Donations Went in 2013

In their 2013 audit, Gospel for Asia said $58.5 million was sent to Gospel for Asia – India in 2013. See below:
RelatedPartyGFAAudit2013

However, in public records in India, only about $6 million was reported received by Gospel for Asia – India. Gospel for Asia Canada reported about $15 million sent to India in 2013. Nothing was reported as coming from Canada in the public records in India. Although unreported in the audit, GFA also sent millions of dollars to NGOs in India, Believers’ Church, Love India Ministry, and Last Hour Ministry. Counting those funds, the total accounted for goes to about $37 million.  Thus, about $21 million is unaccounted for from the U.S. office. The figure grows to $36 million if one adds the Canadian money which doesn’t show up anywhere in India. Another analysis looking at income from all sources worldwide estimates about $47 million unaccounted for in 2013.

The bottom line is that the funds that GFA claimed to send from the U.S. and Canada do not show up in the Indian records available. Despite repeated requests, GFA has never offered an explanation.

Until recently.

A person concerned about GFA spoke to a representative by phone and asked for information about the unaccounted for funds. The GFA representative told the caller that my blog posts had only found and reported the amounts given in the Indian state of Kerala. According to my source, the GFA rep said my figures did not include funds sent by GFA to NGOs in other Indian states.

So I checked the other states. I looked through the reports in every state for donations to Believers’ Church, Gospel for Asia, Love India Ministry, or Last Hour Ministry. I even looked for Bridge of Hope, Operation Mobilization and Good Shepherd Church (OM-India and GSC are friendly to GFA in India and have received small grants from GFA). I found nothing. No funds were sent from GFA-US or Canada to these organizations in any other Indian state according to public records available.

So now, back to you GFA. This really should be easy. You said in your audit that you sent $58.5 million to GFA-India. However, GFA-India reported only about $6 million. Why didn’t you report the related party transactions which went to Believers’ Church, Love India Ministry and Last Hour Ministry? And where are the funds that don’t show up in the records of any of the four NGOs?

This should not be hard. Remember, it isn’t your money.

Gospel for Asia Still Claims Membership in Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

In a mailing just received today, Gospel for Asia’s fund solicitation still carries the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability seal. The letter is dated October 15, which is nearly two weeks after the ECFA board voted to terminate GFA’s membership.
Here is the pledge card with the seal and “Enhancing Trust” slogan (click to see letter and other materials):
pledgecareoct15ECFA
 
Along with the ECFA charter member seal, the pledge card carries the meaningless ICA “Best in America” Seal.
According to the ECFA standards, this GFA mailing violates Standard 7.1 which relates to “Truthfulness in Communications.” According David Carroll, GFA’s COO, GFA will seek membership in the future. Continuing to violate a standard doesn’t seem like the best way to make a case for reinstatement.
By continuing to claim membership in the ECFA, GFA is in violation of ICA standards and the standards for qualification as a charity for inclusion in the Combined Federal Campaign.
The ICA requires truthful and non-deceptive fundraising materials (see the next to last bullet point in the image below):
ICA Standards
 
The Office of Personnel Management’s standards also require truthful materials.
CFC Rule Truth
 

Gospel for Asia and the Independent Charities of America: Many Questions, Few Answers

Now that the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability has terminated Gospel for Asia’s membership due to violations of multiple standards, GFA is using the Seal of the Independent Charities of America as a badge of financial integrity.
GFA ICA Seal
When I called the ICA, I was connected to Mike May with Maguire & Maguire, an association management firm. May told me that organizations approved by the Office of Personnel Management for inclusion in the Combined Federal Campaign are allowed by ICA to display the ICA Seal. GFA is approved as a charity for the 2015 campaign in progress now.
At the time, I asked why GFA was allowed to display the seal since GFA is a proselytizing organization. In contrast to the federal standards, the ICA adds a provision barring “proselytizing organizations.” See the image below:
ICA Standards
Beyond explaining ICA’s use of CFC approval, May had no comment about any of the other questions put to him.  At this time, I don’t know why ICA has the restriction on proselytizing organizations or why GFA, as a proselytizing organization, is allowed to display the Seal of Excellence.
In any case, my research, the recent actions of the ECFA and the recent statement of former board member Gayle Erwin call into question the compliance of GFA with most of the eligibility standards of ICA (and more basically with the federal standards for participation in the Combined Federal Campaign). Click the image below to go to a pdf chart with supporting links.
Gospel for Asia ICA Eli Stds
 
ICA is now aware of the discrepancies between their criteria and GFA’s performance and it remains to be seen if ICA will investigate or take any action.

Believers’ Church Constitution Contradicts K.P. Yohannan’s Claim that He Has No Legal Authority in Indian Church

In a May 14, 2015 staff meeting, K.P. Yohannan and David Carroll disclosed to the Gospel for Asia staff that in 2013 Believers’ Church in India gave $19.8 million toward the construction costs of the new Wills Point. TX headquarters. When the gift came in back in 2013, GFA leaders told staff that the money was given by an “anonymous donor.”

For those new to this story, Believers’ Church is the church started by Gospel for Asia founder K.P. Yohannan. Yohannan is CEO and International Director at Gospel for Asia and he is the supreme Metropolitan Bishop in India for the Believers’ Church. Although undisclosed in their 2013 audit, GFA sent just over $20 million to Believers’ Church in 2013. Believers’ Church in India received far more than Gospel for Asia India which was not disclosed in the audited financial statements.

Within the last year, questions arose among staff about the accuracy of the “anonymous donor” story and Carroll and Yohannan addressed those questions during the May 14 staff meeting. In that meeting, Yohannan asserted that he had nothing to do with the Believers’ Church’s decision to send nearly $20 million back to Texas. A major part of his defense was his claim that he does not sit on boards or trusts in India and has no legal authority in Believers’ Church. Yohannan claims he didn’t have authority to direct the donation and didn’t have anything to do with it.
Here is what Yohannan said about his membership on boards and trusts in India and his legal authority.

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.

In previous posts, I have shown government and church documents which contradict his claim. Today, I provide portions of the Believers’ Church Constitution which describe the massive authority and power of the Metropolitan Bishop, His Grace the Most Reverend K.P. Yohannan. It is clear that Yohannan misled his staff. If Believers’ Church follows the church Constitution, there is no way Yohannan did not approve the gift to help complete headquarters construction.

Click the link for the first two chapters of the Constitution, and this link for chapter three. Images describing the power of the Metropolitan are below. See the boxes for especially relevant sections:
MetropolitanPowersBC ConsYohannan is President of all church trusts, he has discretionary power over governance of the church, he is the final authority of spiritual and administrative matters and he is the managing trustee of the church. It is inconceivable that Believers’ Church could spend $19.8 million dollars without his approval. Sections from chapter three make this even clearer. Buying and selling movable and immovable property and any management matter can be overruled by Yohannan. Committees can suggest actions but they must be cleared with Yohannan first.
GenSecretaryBelChurch
Yesterday, Gayle Erwin said this about the transfer of $19.8 million from India to GFA-US:

If you read the ECFA report, you discover what we (board members–USA) had begun to know–we were kept in the dark and limited to pedantic decisions. As I saw this, I began intense confrontations with KP which I thought were gaining traction. The surprise revelation of foreign deposits and monies returned from the field (and previously described as from an “anonymous donor) pushed some of us over the edge and made our board membership untenable.

 David Carroll and K.P. Yohannan told staff that the transfer of funds was completely legal and there was no conflict of interest since Yohannan had no control over the decision. He also said the $19.8 million was not a related party transaction.

DC [David Carroll] – It’s completely legal, thank you. There’s a board member, board documents as I understand it, I don’t live in Asia, but there’s board documents on the other side. The whole thing was done in complete legality.

By the way, one question, one part of that question was, is this a related party transaction? And the answer is no. 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, actually they told…

KP [K.P. Yohannan]– I think David, it is important for people to know the person I am. It’s like Paul said in one place he’s a doulos, he’s a servant, another place he’s an apostle, another place he’s a brother, and my role is being a spiritual father of right now about 2.7 million people scattered throughout all these nations and I do not have any legal say or decision about legal matters. My role is a spiritual leadership. You may not have asked that but there are hundreds of trusts and entities in all these countries. I don’t sit on any of those things. There are their own people. And my role is the spiritual leadership. And I hope to some extent that is here also.

It is hard for me to understand how David Carroll could make this statement:

It is not a related party transaction because the board members here, they’re not the same board members as there.

I publicly ask David Carroll: Have you ever read the Believers’ Church Constitution? You are ordained in that church. Is this like Mars Hill Church and the officers and clergy don’t have access to the Constitution? You told staff on May 14 that Yohannan wasn’t on a board under the Believers’ Church umbrella. Carroll told staff:

And so, what the people in Asia did, and it is a board that is under Believers’ Church umbrella, but Brother KP’s not on that board, it wasn’t his decision. 

K.P. Yohannan is CEO and leads the Gospel for Asia board here and he is by Constitution the managing trustee and President of Believers’ Church and all other Believers’ Church trusts.

I can’t see how these claims by Yohannan and Carroll and the Believers’ Church Constitution can be true at the same time.* David Carroll said there are “board documents on the other side.” Well, the board documents that I have seen don’t support what they told staff in May. Might be time for GFA leaders to produce those documents. It is already too late for three board members who quit over this matter.

*I suppose it is possible that Believers’ Church approved a new Constitution prior to the 2013 gift. However, my source denies that and tells me that this Constitution was binding at that time and is binding currently. I am certainly open to hearing from GFA and BC with new information.

Former Gospel for Asia Board Member Gayle Erwin Comments on Board Resignation

GFA HQ Front
Gospel for Asia HQ

Earlier today, I saw a private Facebook posting from former Gospel for Asia board member Gayle Erwin which contained some new information about GFA and the ECFA. Erwin was responding to my post about the resignations of Damian Kyle, Skip Heitzig and Erwin from GFA’s board. I wrote to Erwin with a request to cite the quote here. He agreed with the condition that I highlight his positive comments about GFA staff. About GFA and ECFA, Erwin said:

If you read the ECFA report, you discover what we (board members–USA) had begun to know–we were kept in the dark and limited to pedantic decisions. As I saw this, I began intense confrontations with KP which I thought were gaining traction. The surprise revelation of foreign deposits and monies returned from the field (and previously described as from an “anonymous donor) pushed some of us over the edge and made our board membership untenable. The staff of GFA in Texas, despite some inferences in the discussion on your page above, are some of the finest, most ethical and loving people I know. I marvel at how well commenters on your page have combined ignorance and hostility. I thought I was making progress in ways that would have solved and prevented this heartbreak and replaced it with victory, but I was wrong but not wrong in the ways your commenters infer. (emphasis from Mr. Erwin)

Erwin later added:

I was shocked when informed that GFA had failed all 7 of ECFA criteria for membership and had consequently been removed from membership.

In his first comment, Erwin referred to the transfer of $19.8 million from India’s Believers’ Church to GFA in Texas for the purpose of completing construction on their new Wills Point, TX headquarters.
This comment provides some insight into the perceptions of board members regarding the issues I have been raising for months. It seems they (at least Erwin) have of late felt they were kept in the dark. Erwin says he and the other board members were not aware of the source of the nearly $20 million.
I think it is important to consider Mr. Erwin’s wording regarding the donation from the field: “The surprise revelation of foreign deposits and monies returned from the field (and previously described as from an “anonymous donor) pushed some of us over the edge and made our board membership untenable.”
Those foreign deposits were funds given by donors for mission work which were sent to India and deposited into accounts of the K.P. Yohannan controlled Believers’ Church. Then nearly $20 million were authorized by Believers’ Church to be sent back to Texas to help finish construction of the palatial Wills Point, TX headquarters.
Like Mr. Erwin, I suspect donors will find that to be untenable.
 
 

CSN International Radio Removes Gospel for Asia CEO K.P. Yohannan's Road to Reality Show from Program Schedule

CSNI LogoA reader noticed on Saturday that K.P. Yohannan’s show Road to Reality did not air on CSN International radio. Sure enough the program had been removed from the broadcast schedule.
Today, I spoke briefly with Mike Stocklin, General Manager of CSN International who told me that CSNI had no problem with the Road to Reality show but decided CSN would not carry the K.P. Yohannan’s show until “the controversial matters are resolved” and questions are answered about Gospel for Asia.
This move eliminates 47 stations from the Road to Reality station list.