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.

ECFA Seal Remains on Gospel for Asia Correspondence

On the reply card provided in the October mailing of the Gospel for Asia newsletter Harvest, the ECFA seal is clearly displayed.
So GFA has removed many references to ECFA on their web pages (although not all of them), but doesn’t seem inclined to spend money to send out accurate print materials.
ECFA GFA Cards
GFA is getting the benefit of membership without paying the dues at this point.
 

Three Gospel for Asia Board Members Resign

I have confirmation from someone in a position to know that Skip Heitzig, Gayle Erwin, and Damian Kyle have resigned from the Gospel for Asia board. None of the men responded to my requests for information but multiple sources within GFA have confirmed that an announcement was made during a staff meeting time on Friday.
Very little explanation was given and the announcement was delivered by Danny Yohannan Punnoose (K.P. Yohannan’s son). While GFA will not confirm, it appears that K.P. Yohannan’s son and wife, Francis Chan, Chuck Zink and perhaps one other person are now on the GFA board.
It is astonishing that the second largest mission organization in the nation keeps so many secrets regarding governance and finances.

Gospel for Asia's Christmas Catalog Displays ECFA Seal and 100% Pledge

I am aware that the Christmas catalogs were probably printed before the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability voted to terminate Gospel for Asia’s membership. I know it would been costly to reprint the catalogs. I also know that because GFA leaders decided to mail the catalogs with the ECFA seal, they have misrepresented the situation. Take a look:
gfa-catalog-ecfa
and the 100% pledge lives on…
gfa-gift-catalog-kp-ecfa
Guaranteed. I wonder if that is a money back guarantee.
We now know that administrative expenses are taken out in India. And we know that $19.8 million came back from “the field” to fund nearly half of the costs of construction of the new Wills Point, TX campus.
Based on my investigations last year, I am highly skeptical that GFA uses one person’s donation for a goat or chicken to buy an individual goat or chicken. It doesn’t work that way for World Vision, and I doubt it works that way for GFA (see my series on holiday animal buys – link, link).
What should GFA do now?
Clearly, the ECFA seal of membership gives the wrong impression and hides the fact that ECFA believes GFA has not honored donor intent in giving. A tax court in India has ruled in the same manner. If GFA doesn’t let catalog recipients know, chances are good that most won’t find out. GFA could send a letter to all on the mailing list alerting them to ECFA’s action to terminate membership. GFA leaders could defend the organization but at least donors would be informed. Will they do it?
How GFA leaders handle this problem will tell us something about GFA going forward.
 
 
 

Pastors Endorsement Page Missing at Gospel for Asia's Website; K.P. Yohannan Seems to be Missing Too

On October 7, there were numerous endorsements from pastors on the Gospel for Asia website (see Google cache). For instance:
GFA pastors endorsements
 
 
Now, the address for that page (http://www.gfa.org/mygfastory/pastors/) leads to another page which does not have endorsements. Instead it redirects to this page http://www.gfa.org/mygfastory/:
GFA redirect pastor endorsement
 
Skip Heitzig’s missing endorsement could be significant. Heitzig has been of GFA’s board for many years. If he is backing away from Gospel for Asia, that would be a dramatic about face.
About Yohannan, he is not missing from the webpage but his loud silence continues. It is hard to understand why Yohannan remains quiet in the face of declining confidence in GFA and ECFA’s termination of GFA membership.

Another Calvary Chapel Pastor Expresses Concerns About Gospel for Asia; Any More Out There? Take the Survey


UPDATE: I have created a survey for Calvary Chapel pastors, staff and members regarding Gospel for Asia and church support. Please click through via this link to take the survey.
 
Phoenix Preacher is reporting that Joe Focht, pastor at Calvary Chapel – Philadelphia announced to his congregation on Sunday that it would not be “unreasonable” to suspend support for Gospel for Asia. According to PP, Focht added that donors might reconsider if ECFA membership is restored.
Last week, Calvary Chapel – Oxnard (CA) advised members to stop support. In late September, Calvary Chapel pastor Bill Gallatin rebuked K.P. Yohannan’s Believers’ Church rituals.
Historically, Calvary Chapels have helped sustain GFA. A Google search finds numerous (well over 100) CC’s which support GFA or GFA staff.
Some CC pastors/staff have made blog comments about GFA. I invite others to do so as well. If you are reading and pastor at a CC, consider leaving a comment about GFA with your name and church. If you support GFA, chime in and say why. If you have changed your view, then leave a comment to that effect. Given what has been revealed about GFA’s dealings, I think it would be hard for a church to do nothing. A review of the issues is in order no matter where you eventually land.
 
 

More Evidence K.P. Yohannan Was Wrong When He Told Staff He Isn't On Trusts in India

In the context of explaining why Believers’ Church in India gave $19.8 million to Gospel for Asia for construction of headquarters at Wills Point, TX, GFA CEO K.P. Yohannan said this:

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.

Yohannan said these things at a staff meeting held at GFA’s office complex on May 14, 2015. The audio is embedded at the end of the post.
When I posted the audio in August, I also posted images of court cases involving Believers’ Church which refer to Yohannan as the managing trustee of Believers’ Church. Even though Yohannan said it was a conflict of interest to be on the board in India and the CEO in America, court documents dated in 2015 refer to Yohannan as the managing trustee of the entity (Believers Church) that “decided” in 2013 to send $19.8 million to another entity (Gospel for Asia) run by Yohannan in order to build a new campus.
Recently, I have been given two documents which establish beyond doubt that Yohannan’s statement to staff was misleading. The first document is a 2005 letter from BC Bishop Samuel Mathew to all Believers’ Church Bishops regarding the proper way to file land deeds. The church Constitution requires all land to be in K.P. Yohannan’s name since he is the highest legal authority in the church.
Land Deed Policy BC redacted
Read the entire letter here.
At this time, by Consitution, all land was to be registered to “the Most Rev. Dr. K.P. Yohannan.” Why? As Metropolitan Bishop is the legal authority on everything that belongs to the Church. Presumably, at one time, $19.8 million belonged to the church but after the “anonymous gift to GFA,” that money belonged to the other entity controlled by Yohannan, GFA.
Regarding the claim that Yohannan doesn’t sit on any boards of trusts in India, I offer this 2010 deed of trust for the Bridge of Hope (entire document), a program run by Believers’ Church. Yohannan is not only on the trust but he signed on behalf of Believers’ Church as “Executant.”
BOH – Trust Deed BOH Trust Deed P1
 
Also, note that four of the six board members are Yohannan and his family (Siny Punnoose – niece; Sarah Johnson – daughter; Daniel Johnson – son-in-law).
These documents along with the court papers filed by Believers’ Church paint a completely different picture than drawn out by Yohannan in the May 14 staff meeting.
I invite GFA and/or Believers’ Church to submit evidence to the contrary. If BC’s Constitution has been changed or trust deeds have been amended, I will gladly publish those if they are supplied.
Of late, Yohannan has been unavailable for comment. Perhaps, David Carroll or John Beers can provide explanation or proper documentation.
K.P. Yohannan at the May 14 staff meeting:

 

A Story of Intimidation and Control at Gospel for Asia

An aspect of the Gospel for Asia story that I have not explored much is the claim of controlling actions on the part of GFA leaders. Today, I want to bring out one such claim. Before I tell this story, I want to alert readers that I reached out to GFA through their PR firm InChrist Communications. I told InChrist Communications that I wanted GFA leaders to have a chance to address these serious claims. I received no answer.
On the GFA Diaspora website, a former male employee named Nick tells about his experience about a decade ago of expressing romantic feelings toward a female staffer at GFA. One would think such sentiments would be encouraged in a Christian ministry, but according to Nick and the girl who was the object of his feelings — Nicole — GFA leaders went out of their way to end the relationship.
Nick attended Bible college and had interned in a Calvary Chapel before coming to GFA. Nicole had led mission trips and was a worship leader with GFA. Nick was 25 and Nicole was 22. Their interest in one another was age-appropriate and they seemed to be heading in the same direction.
On the Diaspora website, Nick wrote:

In a friendly conversation with David C., I told him I was interested in a girl who was on staff (we were just friends at the time). I was called into K.P.’s office and told that I was not allowed to continue to like this girl, and that I was not even allowed to pray about getting married for at least 2 years. I was surprised that I was being told not to pray, but my heart and intention was to do all that I could to comply with the wishes of the leadership. Shortly thereafter, all of the newer young single people on staff were called into a meeting where we were told that we had entered the ministry single, and so that is how we should remain.

After the scolding, Nick did not tell Nicole about his feelings. However, his disclosure seemed to change his standing at GFA. According to Nick, the GFA leaders subjected him to what can only be described as harassment:

The 3 leaders (K.P. Yohannan, John B., and David C.) would call me into K.P.’s office, and KP would proceed to tell me all sorts of terrible things about myself. He told me that I probably wouldn’t be a Christian in 10 years. He called me a mad man and said that he was glad that there was no one else like me at GFA, because he couldn’t imagine what I might go out and do. I loved the children at GFA, and would always volunteer in the kid’s ministry. Knowing this, K.P. said “There are 72 children here at the ministry, and you are going to ruin the lives of every one of them.” (That is a direct quote. I will never forget those words.)

Nick tried hard to be a good staffer and did not tell Nicole about his feelings. Nicole was unaware that GFA leaders had warned Nick about pursuing a relationship with her.
According to Nicole, who was then serving as one of Yohannan’s writing assistants, Yohannan began to ask her if she thought Nick liked her. Nicole described these initial questions as being delivered in a “friendly, fatherly way.” Gradually, the questions became more persistent and Nicole decided to talk to Nick. Nick acknowledged his feelings but didn’t have an intention to pursue a relationship in order to honor the dictates of leadership.
Not knowing that Nick had been warned about talking to her, Nicole told Yohannan that Nick liked her. According to the couple, Nick was kicked out as a consequence. Nick wrote on the Diaspora website:

The next day I was called into K.P.s office and told that I was being fired and kicked out of the ministry. The girl was then told that she was not allowed to communicate with me ever again in any way.

Despite Yohannan’s warning, Nicole later contacted Nick and told Yohannan that she did. According to Nicole, Yohannan turned from fatherly and friendly to mean and intrusive. She added that Yohannan became increasingly critical of her. According to at least two former staff, the mistreatment became obvious to others (see the testimony of Bernard and Jena on the Diaspora website for their account).
According to the couple, Nick was told to leave the campus immediately without any of the money he had raised in his staff account. He had to find money to live on without the funds he had raised while at GFA.
According to Nicole, GFA also told remaining staff that Nick left due to psychological problems and that GFA was going to pay for counseling. According to the couple, none of that was true.
The story does have a happy ending. Both Nick and Nicole left GFA and are now happily married with a child.
Although not all staff and students have bad experiences, Nicole told me that she believes concern for current staff and students is warranted. She worries for the students, often just out of high school, who sign up for the School of Discipleship. Nick and Nicole are telling their story with the hope that students will be wary of GFA’s approach to mentoring youth and find another way to learn about ministry.
As noted at the beginning, I asked GFA for their side of this story but got no response. I have, however, interviewed numerous former staff and several current staff and students in the School of Discipleship. Many, although not all, have echoed concerns similar to those expressed by Nick and Nicole.

Gospel for Asia: What Happens When You Speak Up

Today, I was sent a link to a blog written by a former GFA staff person who was married to a GFA leader. Sara Sluberski wrote about being uninvited to a wedding. The social rejection was triggered by the Christianity Today article about GFA which dropped Thursday (Sara’s husband Tom was cited in the CT article).
This article sent me on an excursion through her other posts. On September 28, she wrote:

GFA has been accused of shunning people.  While we were working there we could alway explain away this behavior.

In this same post, she describes how her husband was called in and discouraged from spending too much time with non-GFA people. She wrote:

One day my hubby and I were invited to a double date on a Saturday night. It was so much fun! Our song played and My hubby and I got up and danced to it, or rather swayed together in time to the music. Our friends took photos and posted the cutest one on Facebook. These friends had left the ministry previously but our connection to them was so strong. We still baby sat for each other and we had not “let them go.” as was so typical of our life at GFA.  Did we talk about GFA… no we were more into food, fun and parenting.

Monday morning my Knight in Shining Armor is called into his bosses office.  He is questioned about his Saturday night activity.  Did he understand that some people in the ministry could be upset by his Saturday night companions.  This baffled us. I could understand if someone was upset by “dancing” as some denominations do not accept it, but that was not the issue at hand. It seemed that hanging out with likeminded friends who encourage us and bring us joy is the problem. 

This is a spooky story.
Even now, in the face of a public relations disaster and the dramatic and rare loss of ECFA membership, GFA loyalists are closing ranks. Don’t come to the wedding. Speaking up makes you an unacceptable distraction.
Sara wrote in the most recent post:

I’m trying to wrap my mind around how much we didn’t know, how much my pride was wrapped up in the fruit on the field, of the 100% goes to the field designations.

Throckmorton asked the question in May/ June? (when I was studiously behaving and obeying leadership and not reading him).  How were people within the ministry taking the news of smurfing and the 19.8 million gift. 

As with Mars Hill Church, leaders in GFA were telling staff not to read information about the organization they worked for. Limiting information, discouraging contact with outsiders, and shunning those who transgress some internal norm are all marks of a mind-control group.
And the CEO is unavailable for comment.
I wish Sara and her Shining Armor Knight lots of freedom, fresh air, and dancing.

Things I Think After Reading Christianity Today's Article on Gospel for Asia

Just out today, Bob Smietana penned an article at Christianity Today on the controversies surrounding Gospel for Asia including the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability board vote to terminate GFA’s membership.  It is a lengthy piece with many quotes from former staff. I hope you will read it and then come back here to discuss.
Where in the World is K.P. Yohannan?
I was struck right away by this sentence:

Founder K.P. Yohannan was not available for comment.

Why not? My sources tell me that staff are saying he is India. I am pretty sure they have phones in India. Probably he has a cell phone. Yohannan is the founder and CEO. He is listed as the International Director. Seems like the buck should stop with him. It is mind boggling that he is “unavailable.”
Smietana writes about the ring-kissing ritual in the article but no one from GFA addresses the obvious deception from Yohannan. This is another mind blowing aspect of this situation. GFA still has no answer to what is right in front of everyone’s face.
Not Skeptical Enough Francis Chan
And then there is Francis Chan, Rev. Skeptical. His endorsement has been removed from the GFA website but he is quoted in CT’s article as saying he is remaining on GFA’s board. He endorsed GFA by saying that he is a skeptical person and that he checked GFA out thoroughly before he endorsed them.  Several months after Chan was first made aware of discrepancies between what GFA said in America and what they reported in India, Chan now says he needs more time to study the situation. On May 21, I alerted Chan to the money smuggling and his assistant Chaz told me that Chan had the information but probably wouldn’t get back to me. I continued sending my posts to Chaz who said he was passing the information along.  I also passed along letters from a GFA supporter who started giving money to GFA on the strength of Chan’s endorsement. No answer.
An Investigation
We also learn in the CT article that Homeland Security may be investigating GFA. I want a little more information on GFA’s denials about the money smuggling. At first, David Carroll said it was all legal and they asked their auditor how to do it. Then later they admitted it was illegal and they sought counsel. In the CT article, we learn that GFA’s attorneys filed late customs reports (is that even possible?).
Did GFA really ask auditor Bland Garvey if money smuggling was legal? Did Bland Garvey really sign off on it? Bland Garvey won’t talk about it and GFA didn’t clear this up. There are many unanswered questions.
No Money Found to Be Missing?
What an odd phrasing – no money was found to be missing. Is it missing or was it found? I think I know what David Carroll means but this is not an answer to the fact that Gospel for Asia’s 2013 audit claims $58.6 million was sent to Gospel for Asia – India but only $6 million was reported by Gospel for Asia there as being deposited. Even if all money to Believers’ Church and two other NGOs is considered, there is still nearly $30 million in 2013 unaccounted for. GFA still has not answered this simple question.
ECFA: Mixed Feelings
After calling on the ECFA to take action, I am pleasantly surprised that the board did. However, I think an even greater service to the donor public would be to describe what GFA actually did which led to their vote. As it is, GFA supporters can imply that the violations were minor and have been corrected. We may never know.
Here are some things we now know
K.P. Yohannan is missing in action, Francis Chan is not as skeptical as he says he is, big boys in the church still take care of their own, and the little people are still on their own to make sense of this scandal.