After Lengthy Investigation, Grace Church Amarillo Stops Support for Gospel for Asia

In an emotional explanation to his church on December 16, Grace Church’s (Calvary Chapel Amarillo) pastor Bill Gehm disclosed that the church will no longer support Gospel for Asia. Gehm repented to his church for asking them to support GFA for 17 years. Pastor Gehm personally stopped supporting GFA and advised the congregation to stop supporting GFA. Gehm expressed that his money had not been spent the way he believed it was being spent.
The 18 minute video is an extraordinary message disclosing that he has spent many hours investigating GFA, including several hours with GFA COO David Carroll. Gehm specifically prayed for K.P. Yohannan.
For those interested in this issue, this is must see TV. I appreciate the serious tone with which Pastor Gehm approached the magnitude of the problem.

grace church gfa
From Grace Church http://www.calvaryamarillo.org/gospel-for-asia.html

Citing Radical Changes at Gospel for Asia, Calvary Chapel Auckland Pulls Support; GFA New Zealand Shuts Down

In a remarkable letter to church members dated yesterday, Calvary Chapel Auckland (NZ) disclosed that the church severed ties with Gospel for Asia and GFA’s NZ office has closed.

From: Calvary Chapel Auckland <info@calvarychapel.org.nz>
Sent: Saturday, November 28, 2015 3:16 PM
Subject: To Calvary Chapel Auckland concerning Gospel for Asia
To: Calvary Chapel Auckland <info@calvarychapel.org.nz>
Dear Church,
For approximately 17 years, Calvary Chapel Auckland has supported the work of Gospel for Asia which is now primarily The Believer’s Church.
Originally there was close alignment between Calvary Chapels generally and the work of Gospel for Asia.
However the organisational and ecclesiastical direction of Gospel for Asia has radically changed so that it is now antithetically different.
We do not believe in transubstantiation (this is supposedly that the bread actually becomes the body of Jesus, and the cup actually becomes the blood of Jesus), total submission or focus to a man, calling the leader “father,” or Priest, taking a vow of total submission to that leader and his successor for life, or crossing ourselves in a liturgy.
It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words so here are some photos, which visually depict some of the differences, but allude to many of the other contrasts that now exist: the metal image (used in Believers Churches, for all convocations, including countries other than India), the lighting of candles, the wearing of robes, etc.. The photos below are from The Believer’s Church Website and Carmel Engineering College (Believers Church own and operate this) as identified in the heading.
This group has amassed somewhere over $200,000,000.00 (one report says USD$250,000,000.00) US Dollars that are on deposit in India.
They now have an Engineering University, own a Hospital, a Rubber Plantation and other businesses that generate from $35,000,000.00 – $70,000,000.00 US Dollars annually.
The three Calvary Chapel Pastor’s who were on the GFA USA Board have all resigned after a lengthy investigation into the organization in many (if not all) of its various entities.
Brian, Gina, and Andrew Malcolm have decided their season of serving – 12 years now, of sacrificial, dedicated service, has ended.
The elders of Calvary Chapel Auckland have therefore decided to stop support for Gospel for Asia.
The Gospel for Asia office upstairs at the church has closed down and existing supporters of GFA will soon receive a letter from them explaining the position and your options.
We’ve been told KP Yohannan will write a letter but please understand in advance that it doesn’t alter our position here at Calvary Chapel Auckland, nor the greater Calvary Chapel family of churches.
You are of course free to decide whether you want to continue supporting Gospel for Asia.
Calvary Chapel Auckland is establishing our own missions budget (which almost every church has) and we are developing a clear and precise focus for outreach in New Zealand, the South Pacific through Calvary Chapel Radio (broadcasting now for over 10 years to Samoa, and more recently Rarotonga), and in other ways to spread the Gospel and help those in need in other countries.
May the Lord bless you all,
Calvary Chapel Auckland
Phone: 09 918 8000
Calvary Chapel Auckland
Calvary Chapel Bookstore NZ
Calvary Chapel Radio NZ

The letter told members that GFA has amassed as much as $250 million in India. Recently, former board member Gayle Erwin confirmed that figure to me as coming from the investigation conducted by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. This means that GFA has added nearly $100 million since early 2013.
The photos included in the letter from Calvary Chapel Auckland are below:
GFA NZ photo 1
GFA NZ photo 2
GFA NZ photo 3
GFA NZ photo 4

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.
 

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

YohannanFeb2015
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.
 
 

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.
 
 

Gospel for Asia to Calvary Chapels in 2014: We Are Just Like You

As facts have emerged in the United States about Believers’ Church in India, Gospel for Asia leaders have scrambled to respond to worries that Believers’ Church is not evangelical. In 2014, Believers’ Church worked on a response to questions coming from within Calvary Chapels. Historically, this movement has been supportive of GFA financially and otherwise.
Thus, in the summer of 2014, an assistant to K.P. Yohannan drafted a letter under his name and reviewed by top management to address rumors about the governance and practices of Believers’ Church. I have obtained a copy of that letter. My source for the letter does know for certain that it was sent and so I am calling on Calvary Chapel pastors to read this and let me know if such a letter was ever received (remember GFA won’t respond to my questions and haven’t since May).
Even if the letter wasn’t mailed, it contains talking points geared to Calvary Chapel stakeholders being used in the present and provides an insight into GFA’s stance regarding Believers’ Church. Yohannan makes the surprising claim that Believers’ Church practices are similar to Calvary Chapel polity. Recently disclosures regarding ordination rituals (ring/hand kissing), liturgy, and Communion practices cast doubt on the claims that Believers’ Church is thoroughly evangelical.
The letter in a draft form:

Dear ___________,
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. In the recent weeks, a few of our Calvary Chapel pastors and friends told us of some misinformation someone was spreading around, saying K.P. Yohannan and his ministry had become Catholic, etc.
This letter is to say we are not Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, or any such denomination in faith or mission. This rumor was originally started by a few Pentecostal brothers who wanted to discredit us for their own gain.
For the sake of the work of the Lord, and to continue the outreach to the most unreached, we had to choose a form of governance that is accepted by the governments in the Asian countries where we work known as “constitutional episcopacy” (this is not the same as an Episcopal church with their        , but rather it is the governance of the church). This is exactly what is described in the Calvary Chapel Distinctives book by Pastor Chuck Smith. The church is ruled by episkopos (bishops) and presbyteros (elders).
In order for our pastors to 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 the constitutional episcopacy.
Thus, when we ordain our pastors, sometimes 100 or 200 at a time, the bishop that does the ordination is required to wear a certain attire/uniform and head gear that makes the ceremony authentic, much like is done during a college graduation ceremony here in the west. The wearing of the head gear is only done when he pronounces the statement, “By the authority vested in me, I decree you are now an ordained minister in the church of our Lord.” The wearing of the cap is only for a few minutes during the entire two hour ordination service.
Someone has taken one of these pictures of me in my formal dress as the senior bishop of the church, performing the ordination service. That person is using the picture to try and mislead others by accusing me as Catholic or Orthodox, etc.
We are NOT Catholic, nor are we Episcopalians, nor Anglicans, etc., etc. Rather, we are a Spirit-filled, evangelical church, born out of obedience to Christ’s Great Commission commanded to make disciples in all the world. We are radically evangelical both in our doctrines as well as in our spiritual lives. Please read more information about Believers Church on the page we have on our website.
If you have any further questions, please call me, or you can ask Pastor Skip Heitzig or a host of other  Calvary Chapel Pastors that have gone to the mission field with us to teach God’s Word..
Thank you again for taking time to read through this letter. It won’t be long before we stand before Him. Like you, I am longing for that day, for the sake of two billion that wait to hear our Lord’s Name.
For the unreached,
K.P. Yohannan
KPY/sck

Note the appeal to board member Skip Heitzig as a way of addressing concerns with this group. More recently, CC pastor Damian Kyle has been added to the board, probably for similar reasons. Some in the CC world are questioning the practices of Believers’ Church.
The BC liturgy, particularly regarding Communion appears to be dissimilar to what I know of Calvary Chapel. Certainly the ordination service seems more high church than CC. Yohannan has denied he allowed people to kiss his ring. This video seems to contradict that claim. Watch:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfHoh6xMEkM[/youtube]
If you are a CC pastor and you received this letter, please let me know either in the comments section or via email.
 

Calvary Chapel Pioneer Rebukes K.P. Yohannan's Church Rituals

GFA HQ Front
Gospel for Asia HQ, Wills Point, TX

Last night, Phoenix Preacher posted audio of Bill Gallatin, a pioneer in Calvary Chapel circles, rebuking the hand kissing rituals of Believers’ Church recently brought to light here and by former staff of Gospel for Asia. At the Northeast Senior Pastors Conference going on now in upstate New York, Gallatin said during a speech:

and you got a man in India who says he’s a Calvary Chapel and he’s wearing robes like the pope and he’s even having his own people come up and kiss his hand…and no ones even blinking.

You can hear the full audio at this link (at about 30 minutes in).
Those familiar with Calvary Chapel are telling me that Rev. Gallatin’s statement, while brief, is significant. As this kind of sentiment bubbles to the surface, it makes me wonder how long GFA will remain silent, even in response to donors and supporting churches.

Gospel for Asia Exhibiting at Calvary Chapel Pastors Conference; Any Answers There?

Earlier today, Danny Yohannan (K.P. Yohannan’s son and in leadership at Gospel for Asia) tweeted the following:


GFA is exhibiting at the Calvary Chapel Senior Pastors Conference (watch live here). I wonder if GFA will address any of the CC pastors’ questions.
Tomorrow will be two months since GFA told me they would answer no more questions. GFA reps have time to exhibit at this conference but they can’t be bothered to address other matters such as:

In addition to the “awesome free materials” perhaps Mr. Yohannan could give some free answers to these questions. If anyone attending the Calvary conference gets any responses, please add that information in the comments or send me an email.

David Barton on Real Life with Jack Hibbs: Did the University of Virginia Have Chaplains?

David Barton was on Calvary Chapel pastor Jack Hibbs’ show Real Life with Jack Hibbs last night. Part one is available on You Tube with apparently more to come. They didn’t get into much until near the end of this segment. At about 22 minutes into the video, Barton accuses others of using history to support an agenda. Then he illustrates how he revises the work of PhDs in history with original sources by citing his involvement in a 2011 book with Daryl Cornett, William Henard, and John Sassi titled, Christian America? Perspectives on our Religious Heritage. In that book, Daryl Cornett said about the University of Virginia:

At the University of Virginia there was no Christian curriculum and the school had no chaplain.

Barton cited that claim to Jack Hibbs. Watch:

Barton claims to have refuted Cornett by going to an original source. While it is true that the University of Virginia eventually created a chaplain position, this was not the case from the beginning of the school. Originally, UVA did not employ chaplains. Barton doesn’t tell you that scholars are concerned with the founding of the school and no academic historian I am aware of disputes that the school eventually added chaplains.
Barton tells Jack Hibbs that the claim about chaplains and the UVA is made in connection to Jefferson (who died in 1826). In addition, Barton says he has a newspaper from “that era” which contains an ad by the chaplain of UVA. However, what Barton does not tell Jack Hibbs is that Jefferson was long dead before that newspaper article was published in 1837. By not placing the events in proper context, Barton misleads the audience to think the existence of chaplains at UVA came when Thomas Jefferson was alive. Not so.
The claim about chaplains at UVA is also in Barton’s pulled-from-print book The Jefferson Lies and was one Michael Coulter and I addressed in our book Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President. To fully address Barton’s claim and our response to it, I have taken that section from our work on the 2nd edition of the book and made it into a pdf file for review.
Barton’s claim to correct academic historians is stunning. From the pdf, let me take just a bit of what Barton does to James Madison. From Getting Jefferson Right:

Another aspect of the chaplain story bears comment. Barton takes portions of a letter written by James Madison and selectively portrays the quote as an announcement about chaplains. Here again is what Barton quotes [from The Jefferson Lies] from Madison:

By 1829, when the nondenominational reputation of the university had been fully established, James Madison (who became rector of the university after Jefferson’s death in 1826) announced “that [permanent] provision for religious instruction and observance among the students would be made by…services of clergymen.”

Rather than a public announcement or a policy change, Madison wrote those words in a May 1, 1828 letter to Chapman Johnson, one of the members of the university Board of Visitors. The actual quote depicts a completely different meaning than Barton implies. Here is the entire section of the letter, from which Barton lifts his quote. Barton leaves out the words from Madison which are required to understand the meaning. Another unwarranted change Barton makes is to add the word “permanent.” What Barton omitted is in italics below:

I have indulged more particularly the hope, that provision for religious instruction and observances among the Students, would be made by themselves or their Parents & Guardians, each contributing to a fund to be applied, in remunerating the services of Clergymen, of denominations, corresponding with the preference of the contributors. Small contributions would suffice, and the arrangement would become more & more efficient & adequate, as the Students become more numerous; whilst being altogether voluntary, it would interfere neither with the characteristic peculiarity of the University, the consecrated principle of the law, nor the spirit of the Country.

Contrary to Barton’s claim, Madison did not make an announcement in 1828 that permanent provision for religious worship would be made by clergymen. Instead, he told one of the university board members his hope that parents and students would voluntarily secure clergymen to provide religious services if so desired by the parents and students. Indeed, reading the entire letter, Madison’s view was that such instruction should come in this voluntary manner rather than having it come via the hiring of members of the clergy to teach.vii Such an arrangement would preserve the independence of the school from religious entanglements and disputes while respecting the free exercise of religion. Barton’s selective quotation of a primary source obscures Madison’s meaning and adds a revised one he apparently prefers.

Obviously, Barton is the one doing the revising. Barton said Madison wrote this:

 “that [permanent] provision for religious instruction and observance among the students would be made by…services of clergymen.”

However, James Madison actually wrote this:

I have indulged more particularly the hope, that provision for religious instruction and observances among the Students, would be made by themselves or their Parents & Guardians, each contributing to a fund to be applied, in remunerating the services of Clergymen, of denominations, corresponding with the preference of the contributors. Small contributions would suffice, and the arrangement would become more & more efficient & adequate, as the Students become more numerous; whilst being altogether voluntary, it would interfere neither with the characteristic peculiarity of the University, the consecrated principle of the law, nor the spirit of the Country.

I hope it is obvious that the import of this is not about when UVA had chaplains. It is about credibility and what appears to be an intent to mislead people.
I have images of the Globe newspaper Barton referred to. Barton touts his original documents but I haven’t found anything yet that I can’t get via an historical data base. The letter was in an 1837 edition but wasn’t an ad to get students to come to UVA.
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To read the segment on chaplains at UVA, click Did the University of Virginia Have Chaplains?