Some Questions for Francis Chan, K.P. Yohannan, & Gospel for Asia about Believers Church and Ring Kissing

Francis Chan and K.P. Yohannan are out with press releases and a video conversation designed to rehabilitate Gospel for Asia’s reputation. Francis Chan is investing his substantial reputation in this effort and I hope it is worth it to him. The men are hoping to convince donors that it is safe to trust Gospel for Asia now that the mission giant has settled a fraud lawsuit with Garland and Phyllis Murphy.

In the Chan-Yohannan conversation, several questions are raised which demand answers if they expect to be trusted. In this post, I will take two issues which pertain to K.P. Yohannan’s (or as he is known in the Believers Eastern Church “Moran Mor Athanasius Yohan Metropolitan“) status as Metropolitan of the Believers Eastern Church in India. First, here is the segment of the video where he claims he is equal to the other bishops, and that nobody kisses his ring.*

Yohannan and His Power

Yohannan says “I have no greater power than the 30 other bishops.” I have questions for Chan and Yohannan about that statement.

According to the Believers Church constitution (see also chapter three), the Metropolitan is the “final authority” on all matters ecclesiastical and temporal.  Yohannan serves until he wants to leave and is the head of all bodies in the church. He can’t be removed. None of the other 30 bishops have that kind of power. The Metropolitan can appoint and disband committees and clergies, consecrate Bishops, and when he decides there is not a consensus of bishops he can exercise his “discretionary power.” No one else can do that.

According to the Constitution, the Metropolitan also is co-owner with Believers Church of all property maintained by the church. From Chapter three:

In 2005, local church pastors were reminded to register property in Yohannan’s name. This letter was sent to make sure they did it according to church policy.

And then finally, there is the 2015 email from former GFA Chief Operating Officer David Carroll to K.P. Yohannan which asked Yohannan how he could explain Yohannan’s claim not to be in charge of things in India. Click here to read a transcript of the email which came to light as a part of discovery in the Murphy v. GFA case. The relevant segment is when Carroll wrote to Yohannan:

We can say all we want that we don’t have anything to do with the Believers Church or the field and that you are only the spiritual head of the church and that finances are handled by others but you, but as a practical matter, that will not hold up.

As many former staff members and at least one former board member (Gayle Erwin) acknowledge, K.P. Yohannan has much more power than the other 30 bishops. Now, Metropolitan and Rev. Chan could you please explain why these documents tell a different story than you all told on the video?

Ring Kissing

Yohannan told Chan, “We do not have a practice of people kissing my ring.” Then what is this from K.P. Yohannan’s birthday video:

Yohannan wears his Metropolitan ring on his right hand.

Now review this video of an ordination ceremony. One can’t see lips to ring but it doesn’t really look like a hand to the forehead either. It appears to me that the priests are kissing his right hand.

While these matters are not as large as where millions of dollars went (see David Carroll’s email for more about that), they do make me question credibility. Chan and Yohannan want the public to believe every word they say. However, here is direct evidence my eyes can see which contradicts what they are telling me on this new video. What am I supposed to believe?

Since 2015, I have repeatedly asked GFA for answers to these kind of questions. I have asked them why K.P. Yohannan’s name is all over legal documents in India and why the Believers Church constitution says he is the supreme authority when at the same time. he tells American audiences that he isn’t. I have gotten no answers. Sorry Rev. Chan and Metro Yohannan unless you provide some answers that make sense, I will believe my eyes.

*On September 2, 2019, YouTube issued a take down notice of my fair use video clip of Yohannan’s and Chan’s conversation. Although I believe the clip was fair use of that material for the purpose of commentary, I am not going to fight it at this point because I can simply embed their YouTube version which starts at the point in the conversation where they discuss Yohannan’s role in The Believers’ Church.

32 thoughts on “Some Questions for Francis Chan, K.P. Yohannan, & Gospel for Asia about Believers Church and Ring Kissing”

  1. I only just saw this Francis Chan and KP video and would like to comment….

    It strikes me as being brilliant at presenting a spiritual face to deceive weak Western believers, while skillfully avoiding the entire issue.

    It’s really bizarre. They talk about needing millions to pay off a class action lawsuit they lost, but do in such a way that
    people won’t even stop and think, “how come they lost and have been forced to pay tens of millions of dollars to people?”

    I won’t even touch the ridiculous bold-faced lies by KP about his ring-kissing fetish etc.
    WAKE UP AND DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE DECEIVED BY SMOOTH TALKING RELIGIOUS PROFESSIONALS. The Lord Jesus will unmask this fully, but only a fool would continue to support this corrupt ministry.

  2. I just can’t understand how Francis can talk about this being a “distraction.” Was it not worth the time and energy to look into the claims of the lawsuit? I am heartbroken and shocked at Francis position.

  3. And there it is at the end of this convo with Chan ” We still need 10,000,000 wow this is bold!! This is so sad !!

  4. Ugh. Ring kissing aside, the documents you cited, Dr. Throckmorton, make it sound as though K. P. Yohannan has more temporal power than Pope Francis. Not even the Pope owns every piece of property purchased by the Church, does he? He insists that the Vatican’s treasures belong to humanity, not to him–although he has sold the gifts that have been given to him personally.

    1. I think this may have to do with the legal concept of “Corporation Sole”, but, I’m not a lawyer. The pope probably does have that power over property in the Vatican City but is aware that his curia could make things very difficult. Individual Catholic bishops are usually Corporations Sole in regards to their diocese (though not necessarily all the property since some might belong to religious orders) but the pope has the power to replace bishops.

      1. Yes, but he does it in front of the camera. If it’s real, he should be doing it without cameras or the media following him.

        1. He’s the Pope–the spiritual leader of many millions of people all over the world. Cameras and the media are going to follow him, wherever he goes, and whatever he does.

        2. Agreed. All acts of public charity and doing something that looks humble only in front of cameras is highly suspect. That is consistent with the teachings of Jesus. The Pope is a symbol for what is so very wrong with our religious institutions. He accepts the worship of his followers just as quickly as KP, and though other leaders deny that they do, they actually love sitting in the spotlight soaking up the glory that actually belongs to God. We have so many white-washed septic tanks today! The early church leaders led in spite of the fact that they would almost certainly die a martyrs death. Our current batch of leaders are largely doing things like this for their own glory. I believe 99 percent of them both inside and outside the RC would fall away with just a little persecution, let alone going through the kinds of test the disciples and Daniel did. These men stand in the way shutting the Kingdom of Heaven in men’s faces. Jesus is glorious, not us. Men who think too much of us should be rebuked, we are not Jesus Christ by a longshot. In God’s Kingdom there is room for only one celebrity: Jesus Christ.

          1. ” He accepts the worship of his followers just as quickly as KP …”

            You seem to feel that you are qualified to discern the motives of others. I submit that what you have said here is mere supposition.

            Anyway … Matthew 7 : 1

          2. Again, I judge by what I see. The Pope is the most worshiped evil man on the planet. None of us deserve that kind of attention because we all are evil. If he refused the worship that would be a real obvious action. And it is not just him. I see almost every Christian on this planet thinking too highly of certain leaders. As I said, there is only room for one celebrity and that is Jesus Christ. Men like all of these crowd out our savior. We do not need intermediaries or priests. I have a deeply meaningful relationship with Jesus. I need no one else, although I do not mind humble leadership. We been holding up idols in the place of Jesus and I know God does not like that because of all of what was recorded about the Jews.

          3. Human beings are not intrinsically evil (cf. Gen 1 : 31), though ‘fallen’.

            Pope Francis did not seek to become the Pope. He was chosen by others (and, Roman Catholics believe, by God). What we see of his material modesty now is consistent with what others observed about him before he came ‘on camera’. You are free to dismiss him as “evil”, of course, if that is what ‘floats your boat’, but I just wonder if your judgement in this case is fuelled by prejudice, maybe even a little ‘brainwashing’.

            BTW, I can now see why you reacted so strongly to my (somewhat unflattering) assessment of the (idiotic and revolting) dogma of Limited Atonement!

          4. You seem too harsh and maybe jaded, though I have to admit it is very easy to become so in this day. Still, we can’t go too far in assuming the intent of others without adequate evidence or we are no better.

          5. It might have something to do with the fact that it was I who posted about Francis. Mr J and I have have ‘crossed swords’ once or twice (hardly surprising, given that I am a lovey-dovey-liberalish-catholicish-anglican Christian, whereas Mr J most certainly is not that sort of Christian!!!).

            My knowledge of Catholic ritual, as practised by Jesuits and others, leads me to believe that Francis has been kissing feet – when appropriate, of course! – for decades, and long before any cameras were around.

            Incidentally, in 2017, Francis presided at the Holy Thursday Mass of Lord’s Supper in a maximum security prison for ‘reformed’ mafiosi. I believe that no cameras were allowed in.

          6. Something important that Mr J and I have in common is that we both detest using religion to make money. I respect his (sometimes harshly expressed) principled stance on that one.

            Just on Francis: I think quite a lot of people find him ‘unsettling’. He is a difficult guy to ‘pigeonhole’. I remember saying to a priest friend of mine how much I liked the then-newish Pope. The expression on his face said it all! He (my friend) seemed threatened in a way by his new boss! But I think it is good that Francis is making people think and, if they have the courage to do so, reassess things that they thought were ‘all sewn up’ … Shouldn’t we always be prepared to ‘reassess’? Isn’t that a prerequisite of (intellectual, moral or spiritual) growth? Well, I think so!

          7. Well rest assured, Mr J will never see it since I’m pretty sure he still has me, along with others, blocked. He doesn’t take criticism well.

          8. I didn’t realize he blocked people. Pity – he should just hold his own positions and agree or disagree with others as he sees fit.

            His theology is IMHO somewhat suspect (to put it mildly), but, from what I can see, I think he is an honourable guy.

          9. I’m not sure his comments here are enough for me to determine if he is honorable or not, but his theology definitely seems a bit strange, I’ll grant you that. One thing is for sure, his avatar is poorly chosen!

          10. Of course, comments on a blog alone are not sufficient to make sound assessments of a person’s honour.

            I think the theology is calvinistic in some way. I took aim and fired at one of my Calvinist bugbears (Limited Atonement – a ghastly idea that IMO effectively implies that some human beings are ‘less than human’ … and we all know where that kind of thinking can lead) and he didn’t seem too pleased!

            Yes, the avatar! I was wondering about that …

        3. I’m pretty sure he would do it if cameras were not there.

          (Your comment appears to be based on an assumption: that he is ‘doing it for the cameras’. But this guy has been a priest or bishop for decades and, as such, I suspect he would have washed and kissed feet every Holy Thursday since his ordination to the priesthood.)

    2. Yes, Pope Francis sells off gifts and gives the money to the poor. Good for him!

      As for property ownership: Papal Primacy relates to matters of faith and administration but, I believe, does not confer on the Pope ownership of church property. The Vatican City (Holy See) owns property, of course, but I don’t think that “Francis” is on the title deeds!

  5. Chan continuing to dig his heels in on a number of bad people and organizations, really scary and disappointing stuff, his sermons are still good but he’s no longer in a category where I can comfortably recommend him to others.

  6. I wonder if Chan understands that he is being used for his name. I wonder if he realizes that he is being duped by a master manipulator. I wonder if he realizes that his own credibility and discernment are now in question. I wonder if his research included reading court records, transcripts, and depositions. I wonder if he ever once thought to speak with ex-staff about their experiences. I wonder if he ever read the testimonies of former staff on I wonder if he would be willing to sit down and conduct a similar interview with them. I wonder if he realizes that none of the financial impropriety would have been discovered had gfa handled the diaspora’s initial letter and concerns properly in the first place.

    My best guess in answering all of these questions is a resounding “NO”. So he’ll just go on being a PR mouthpiece for gfa until kp has no more use for him. Then he’ll be discarded without ceremony and without just cause just as Garry Cluley and Rob Thiessen of the Canadian board were.


    1. Touche. As an ex staff member who has not once posted on a Throckmorton thread, I’m in 100% agreement with you. I’m deeply saddened by Francis position. I’ve personally been on the other end of the phone as elderly donors called in crying because they donated half of their 401k and now are questioning if any of the money really went to where it was supposed to go. I wonder if Francis thinks of these precious people as he stands with KP. I wonder if Francis has spoken with Gayle Erwin, or several others who have personally witnessed and testified to KP’s mental instability and bouts of disillusion. I have not wanted those claims to go public, however seeing this video deeply saddens me. Believe me when I say: I want the ministry to succeed! I want children to be taken care of, I want the gospel to be preached, and I want His Kingdom to come. However, the level of dishonesty and purposeful cover up instead of humble repentance only breaks my heart more. I am praying for you, Francis.

    2. My current opinion of Christian celebrities in general could hardly get much lower than it currently is. Almost nobody, practically speaking, get as famous as Chan without being totally sold out to becoming famous at all costs. This is the world we live in. I currently believe that both men are in this game for maximum money and fame. Chan does claim to be generous, but he did not do that in a scriptural way. He went forth blaring the trumpets to announce his generosity. I currently think that neither believes anything that they preach. The fact that Chan did nothing in regards to everything that you suggested a faithful servant would do is all the evidence we need to convict him in the court of public opinion. Our celebrities stand in the way of the sheep getting proper access to the head: Jesus Christ. I expect to see very few famous or rich in heaven. Jesus states so much, and I will believe him over the con-artists up putting on a show before a camera…

      1. I find myself in greater sympathy with this comment, though I still worry that you might be making assumptions about Chan’s motives, the understandable concerns about his behaviour notwithstanding.

        One of things I really respect about Warren is his intellectual discipline inasmuch as he present facts and asks questions (sometimes rhetorical) but avoids making judgements. When he expressed an opinion, he is clear that it is an opinion. I think we would all do well to follow his example.

        1. I am not judging him on his motives, no one can actually doing that. I am judging him on his actions, which as you say are clearing wrong. What I said about how people get famous though is true. Guys like Chan did not start out famous and no one made them famous but themselves, and that is currently a huge red flag for me. The lust for the spotlight is the opposite of what Jesus taught for His disciples. Luke 6:26, “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” Gal. 1:9, “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you embraced, let him be under a curse! Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.”

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