Has Francis Chan Dropped His Endorsement of Gospel for Asia?

Francis Chan once was here but now is not.
Yesterday, he was there:
GFA Endorse Chan
Today, he isn’t:
GFA Endorse No Chan
He is also missing from this page as of this morning.
Chan’s recommendation is elsewhere on the GFA website, hence the question (Francis Chan’s video endorsement is now missing. It remains up here.). I have reached out to Chan on many occasions, including yesterday and today with no answer. It is possible that the overworked website staff at GFA haven’t been able to keep up and the other locations on GFA’s website will soon disappear.
Francis Chan’s video endorsement is now missing. His endorsement remains up here and here.
GFA Chan Page Not Found
Actually, this was a result of sneaking the endorsement off the page.

Former Staff at Gospel for Asia Speak Out About GFA's Response to ECFA

On October 2, the board of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability voted to terminate the membership of Gospel for Asia due to multiple violations of ECFA standards. This board action came after an ECFA investigation into GFA’s financial dealings, integrity and public statements. Yesterday, GFA responded to ECFA.
In that response, GFA leaders claimed they have corrected the problems found by ECFA but presented no specific actions they have taken. It is also not clear if the letter came from the GFA board or senior leaders (K.P. Yohannan, David Carroll, John Beers, and Danny Yohannan).
Today, two former GFA staff have responded to GFA.* I asked several former staff to comment about GFA’s statement. I wanted to know if the former leaders at the mission organization believed the statement was credible and/or represented a positive change.
Cody Carnine was formerly Co-Director of Development at GFA and managed the construction of the new headquarters. He was not impressed by GFA’s reply to ECFA. According to Carnine, the statement did not reflect a change of heart. He said:

Sponsors and donors have also been misled by GFA. But instead of apologizing and asking forgiveness from the ECFA and the supporting donor base of GFA, we get talking points and spin from GFA. Those that have sacrificially given and prayed for the work of GFA are entitled to straight answers. One way of doing this would be for GFA to release the detailed report from the ECFA showing in concrete example after example where GFA has not been in compliance with the basic Biblical principles of the ECFA for the last 30 plus years since the incorporation of Gospel For Asia. 

Carnine’s challenge to GFA is to release the results of ECFA’s investigation. It would be a helpful step for GFA to do this. I would add that an explanation of why the violations were allowed to occur should accompany the report. GFA went for months saying everything was fine. They criticized the former staff and disregarded my reporting. Now we learn that ECFA has come to similar conclusions. GFA has a lot of fences to mend and much to explain.
Travis Helm told me that his reaction is to be skeptical. Helm was a senior leader and Co-Director of Development with responsibility for church relations. Having left GFA several months ago, he doesn’t have trust in GFA’s senior leadership. Helm said,

GFA top leaders have betrayed the trust of the faithful and loyal service of me and my family as well as other former staff. It doesn’t stop there. The betrayal extends to the donors who have sacrificially given and prayed for years. The negative and damaging effects are real and for some the wounds may be chronic. Please stop the posturing and spiritually abusive behaviors. 

In the coming days, I call on GFA leaders (where is K.P. Yohannan?) to release the ECFA report and provide specific answers in response to multiple outstanding questions.
*More may be added to this post as staff respond on the record. Others have replied as well but did not want their name to be used.

Southern Baptist Seminary Leaders Reject Reparative Therapy

Let me just say that I opposed reparative therapy before it was cool to oppose it.
Yesterday, Al Mohler and others articulated their position against reparative therapy, also known as sexual orientation change efforts.
Atlantic has an article on Alan Chambers’ new book and chronicles the demise of the ex-gay movement from Alan’s point of view.
Essentially, Mohler and colleagues believe changing orientation is not the Christian goal. Rather, avoidance of same-sex sexual relations is the objective in the narrow sense, and more broadly, pursuit of a spiritual life is what Christians should seek. Some same-sex attracted people are bisexual and others sometimes fall in love cross-orientation to form a mixed orientation marriage.
Although it is dated, I have a page on reparative therapy which demonstrates my approach to the issues in the professional sense.

Gospel for Asia Responds to ECFA but Fails to Address Troubling Questions

Earlier this evening, Gospel for Asia leadership posted a response to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability after the ECFA voted on October 2nd to terminate GFA’s membership.
The statement:

Our Response — ECFA

October 5, 2015

For more than 30 years, Gospel for Asia Inc. has been a member of Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Gospel for Asia values and respects both the high standards of ECFA and the good advice they have given us.

This past year GFA had four extensive meetings with ECFA representatives about fiduciary matters. Although there were no findings of money missing, ECFA felt that some of our procedures and practices did not line up with their Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. GFA was grateful for ECFA’s input and put into practice every suggestion that was mentioned in these meetings. We were not always in agreement with ECFA’s conclusions, but were glad to continue in our relationship and make the adjustments that they advised.

Nevertheless, on October 2, 2015 the ECFA Board of Directors terminated our long-time membership. Although this is disappointing, Gospel for Asia accepts the decision with regret and sadness.

Our greatest concern is for our friends and donors who deserve an explanation as to why this cancellation happened. This will be given in due time through our regular communication channels. In the meantime, we thank our supporters for not jumping to conclusions until those explanations have been made and for continuing to cover us with their prayers.

The expansion of any organization is always filled with growth pains, and we look at these issues questioned by ECFA as a time to learn and grow, increasing our understanding in areas where we have been unintentionally negligent. While we will be working to improve our reporting of financial matters to donors, we will always be cautious about disclosing anything that may jeopardize the safety of ministry partners working in areas hostile to the Gospel. We continually look to the Lord for His wisdom and guidance in often complicated international financial and political environments. We believe that much of the conversation we have had with ECFA has indeed been part of the Lord showing us the way and how to walk in it. We are truly grateful for this part of our journey in learning how to better serve our Lord Jesus, our donors and sponsors, and our field partners as we go forward.

Gospel for Asia Leadership

Yes, GFA, your friends and donors deserve an explanation. Instead, GFA has again delayed and deflected donors with promises but no substance.

Essentially, GFA is claiming they did everything ECFA asked but ECFA dropped them anyway. Given that ECFA has no recent history of dropping organizations where leaders seek compliance after a period of non-compliance (e.g., Mars Hill Church), this is not a credible response and does nothing to inspire confidence in their stewardship.

Ministry Watch Alert: Donors Should Immediately Cease Donations to Gospel for Asia

Rusty Leonard at Ministry Watch today issued the following statement on his website (see also ECFA’s statement which is included below):

Gospel For Asia Expelled from ECFA – Donors Should Cease Donations
The self-regulatory body for Christian ministries, the Evangelical Counsel for Financial Accountability (ECFA) late Friday announced Gospel for Asia (GFA) had been expelled from the group for violating most of its Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship all members commit to uphold. Clearly, there has been extensive problems uncovered at the ministry as a result of an audit/review of GFA’s operations starting in June 2015 and concluding on October 2, 2015. GFA had been a founding member of the ECFA and thus a member for the past 36 years. DONORS TO GOSPEL FOR ASIA SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CEASE MAKING DONATIONS TO THE MINISTRY. While the ECFA did not disclose the exact nature of the violations, it is clear they are very serious. We encourage the ECFA to change its policy of not revealing the specifics of its findings in cases like this as donors who gave their hard earned money to the ministry deserve to know what happened.
Blogger Warren Throckmorton has been writing extensively about suspect actions at GFA for some time and deserves full credit for causing the ECFA to investigate GFA more closely. How the wide range of problems at GFA had escaped the ECFA’s notice over the years remains an open question. While the ECFA announcement failed to address any specific problems at GFA, in line with their usual practice, Throckmorton’s blog had raised concerns about finances and governance among other potential problems. Interested donors should visit Throckmorton’s blog to read his many posts regarding GFA at https://www.wthrockmorton.com/2015/10/04/what-termination-from-ecfa-means-for-gospel-for-asia/.
Here is the text of the ECFA’s brief announcement:
Statement from ECFA on Gospel for Asia
 On June 10, 2015, ECFA began formally reviewing member organization Gospel for Asia for compliance issues. The review concluded on Oct. 2, 2015 when ECFA’s board voted to terminate the organization’s membership for violation of the following standards: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7.1 and 7.2. This ends Gospel for Asia’s 36-yearlong status as an ECFA member.
ECFA enhances public trust in Christian churches and ministries by establishing and applying Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™ to review and accredit organizations. These standards are biblical and are fundamental to operating with integrity. ECFA uses a pass or fail concept in applying the standards rather than a rating system.
Rusty Leonard, CFA
Founder & CEO

World Magazine: Gospel for Asia Admits Some Lack of Disclosure; Hopes to Regain ECFA Membership

World magazine’s Warren Smith has an article out today which provides some additional information regarding the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability’s termination of Gospel for Asia’s ECFA membership.
According to Smith’s reporting, the lack of disclosure surrounding the $40+ million headquarters was key. As I first reported here, GFA failed to disclose the $19.8 million transfer of cash from Believers’ Church to help complete GFA’s new Wills Point, TX headquarters.  This cash was not reported as a related party transaction but as an anonymous donation. GFA’s leaders told staff that the organization would not borrow money for the construction but in fact did borrow money from a U.S. bank in 2014 and then took money which Believers’ Church borrowed from an undisclosed source in India.
GFA’s CFO David Carroll said ECFA changes had been made and hopes to regain membership. I will have more to say about this in coming posts.
According to World, Ministry Watch’s Rusty Leonard has advised donors to halt all donations to GFA due to the extent of the problems.
Look for another article on this news from Christianity Today. Spokespeople for the magazine disclosed via multiple channels that an article is coming.

What Termination from ECFA Means for Gospel for Asia

Word out of Wills Point, TX (GFA’s HQ) is that GFA’s leadership is hoping to find a friendly reporter to bring forth a puff piece which will minimize the importance of losing membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
That may be a hard sell.
In the past, GFA has relied on ECFA membership as a means of proving their financial integrity. To illustrate, consider these prior statements:

When GFA’s CFO David Carroll last wrote to me on May 7, 2015, he defended GFA by claiming that GFA adhered to ECFA’s guidelines:

No, Gospel for Asia has not violated the law.
When you first contacted us, I mentioned that we would not be able to respond to every question you put before us. Now, with the increased volume and frequency of your questions, it has become clear that this back and forth has become a distraction from our mission work. For this reason, this will be my final response. We understand that you will continue to explore issues around Gospel for Asia and continue to be fed accusations from former employees, and we accept that.
We continue to remain accountable to all applicable laws and regulations, to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and to independent auditors.

Apparently, ECFA now disagrees that GFA was accountable.
Prior to Friday, the GFA website proclaimed:
What does it say about GFA that the seal may no longer be displayed?
By the way, I don’t look for the other seal to be there much longer.
For all articles on Gospel for Asia, click here.

Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability Terminates Gospel for Asia's Membership

Just today the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability posted notice that they have terminated Gospel for Asia from ECFA membership due to failure to comply with multiple ECFA standards.  GFA was a charter member of the ECFA, having joined in 1982.
The reasons for termination are listed on the ECFA former member page:
This is a major development in this story and represents enforcement action one rarely sees from the ECFA.
GFA told Mark Woods at Christian Today that the ECFA review of GFA would be done sometime in October and that GFA would then answer all outstanding questions.
The lack of compliance involves the following ECFA standards:

Standard 2 – Governance

Every organization shall be governed by a responsible board of not less than five individuals, a majority of whom shall be independent, who shall meet at least semiannually to establish policy and review its accomplishments.


Standard 3 – Financial Oversight

Every organization shall prepare complete and accurate financial statements. The board or a committee consisting of a majority of independent members shall approve the engagement of an independent certified public accountant, review the annual financial statements, and maintain appropriate communication with the independent certified public accountant. The board shall be apprised of any material weaknesses in internal control or other significant risks.


Standard 4 – Use of Resources and Compliance with Laws

Every organization shall exercise the appropriate management and controls necessary to provide reasonable assurance that all of the organization’s operations are carried out and resources are used in a responsible manner and in conformity with applicable laws and regulations, such conformity taking into account biblical mandates.


Standard 7 – Stewardship of Charitable Gifts
7.1 Truthfulness in Communications
In securing charitable gifts, all representations of fact, descriptions of the financial condition of the organization, or narratives about events must be current, complete, and accurate. References to past activities or events must be appropriately dated. There must be no material omissions or exaggerations of fact, use of misleading photographs, or any other communication which would tend to create a false impression or misunderstanding.
7.2 Giver Expectations and Intent
Statements made about the use of gifts by an organization in its charitable gift appeals must be honored. A giver’s intent relates both to what was communicated in the appeal and to any instructions accompanying the gift, if accepted by the organization. Appeals for charitable gifts must not create unrealistic expectations of what a gift will actually accomplish.

I am surprised that Standard 5 was not also mentioned since GFA has not produced an audited financial statement for 2014.
Additional Information:
GFA’s charter member profile on ECFA’s website (Google cache)
GFA’s characterization of the meaning of ECFA membership (Google cache):

The ECFA seal is tangible evidence to donors that a ministry is complying with the highest standards of Christian ethics in its governance, fundraising and financial accounting and reporting.

Warrant Issued for Teen Mania Founder Ron Luce

According to World magazine, a Colorado court has issued a warrant for the the arrest of Ron Luce, founder of Teen Mania.
Read the article for the details but it appears that Teen Mania owes a lot of people a lot of money and doesn’t have any.
Teen Mania has many very high profile endorsers. See this page for the list.

Prosperity Pastors Pray for Protestant Presidential Prospect Donald Trump (VIDEO)

This is not from the Onion.
Trump looks bewildered.
(The embed feature appears to be glitchy right now, so if the video doesn’t show up, click here)
David (New York Times Best Seller Professional) Jeremiah is doing the praying at the beginning. I think his dad must be turning over in his grave.  Did Jeremiah just call Trump the next president of the U.S.? Talk about your Agents of the Apocalypse…
Kenneth Copeland is there.
One of them is trying to mind meld with Trump. I think he must be a Messianic Jew (anyone know who he is?). He thinks America and Israel are the only special nations.
Readers: Supply the caption for Paula White laying hands on the Donald.