Gospel for Asia: Does This Look Evangelical?

In his recent video defense of Believers’ Church in India, Gospel for Asia CEO and Believers’ Church Metropolitan K.P. Yohannan told Francis Chan that his church was “hard core evangelical.” Below watch Yohannan lead what looks like a kind of mass.

A relative of Yohannan’s sent this video to me and said it was a mass of the BC. I can’t understand what is happening so I can’t say for sure what this is. I will say that it doesn’t look like any evangelical church service I have ever attended.

As I have said several times when commenting about BC, I don’t care what they do. The reason I point this out is because it seems to be a matter of great importance to GFA to portray the organization — here and in Asia — as evangelical. Donors who care about this designation and about what this means should know that it may mean something very different there than here. I also think that GFA should simply represent their field partner accurately.

7 thoughts on “Gospel for Asia: Does This Look Evangelical?”

  1. I’ve said before about the still pictures that except for the hoodies on the vestments, it looks exactly like a Tridentine High Mass (the only valid RCC liturgy between the Council of Trent and Vatican II). As High Church Liturgical as you can get this side of the Adriatic. (And to me, “Evangelical” means as low church and non-liturgical as you can get.)

    Except for the lack of the celibates’ Havelock-style veil, the bearded assistants in black are dressed as Eastern Orthodox Monastic as you can get. Faher Orthocuban used to say that the most popular way for an EO to flake out is the wanna-be monk or “Monk-a-bee”, becoming more monastic and ascetic than any real monk yet never putting themselves under the oversight authority of a bishop or abbot.

    I think we should start referring to this Yohannon Guy as “Pope Yohannon I”.

    P.S. His title of “Metropolitan” is the EO/Eastern Rite title for an archbishop of a major urban area.

  2. I don’t have any knowledge or opinion about Believers’ Church, but I am wondering about the title of this post, “Does This Look Evangelical?” Can whether a church is evangelical really be determined by how its services look? I realize that there are many definitions of “evangelical,” but I’m not sure I’ve seen one that includes worship style as a defining feature. The widely used “Bebbington’s quadrilateral” does not inherently exclude being “high church” or sacramental. Certainly it is not common, but some Lutherans and Anglicans seem to be okay with identifying as evangelical. Is “low church” worship an essential characteristic of evangelicalism?

  3. I would say consecration of the sacraments and ad orientum (away from the congregation and facing the altar which if the church was built on an east/west axis with the altar at the east, as most were at one time, meant facing east). This was standard Catholic practice up to Vatican 2. Luther apparently favored the priest/minister facing the congregation (priest to stand between the altar/table and wall and face the congregation). Ad orientum in an Anglican/Lutheran service can mean “high church”, the regional custom, or it means the altar/table is fixed to the wall so the priest can’t get it between him and the congregation. I also noticed a censer in the video which also tends to be another high church sign or again a regional custom. I did find a couple of liturgies for the largest protestant church in south India, the Church of South India, (http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/India/SIndia_euchr_intro.htm http://www.csimichigan.org/PDF/A%20SHORT%20ORDER%20FOR%20LORDS%20SUPPER.pdf) which allows for the minister to face the congregation and doesn’t say anything about ad orientum.

    This isn’t ‘evangelical’ in the American sense but might be ‘protestant’.

  4. Looks like a snake surrounded by his brood of vipers pretending to be something he sure is not. This is just a billionaire ripoff narcissist surrounded by Machs and those who do not know any better. Acting like the Devil while pretending to be humble and honest. His like are going to hell in a handbasket fast.

  5. I have no issue with Orthodox or Anglican practices, but they are at least honest about their traditions. He’s a metropolitan, wearing a hand enbroidered robe, he’s
    fake Orthodox.

    1. Yes, I think “fake Orthodox” about covers the way it looks. There’s certainly nothing American Evangelicals would recognize as part of their own services. Of course, I can’t understand what he’s saying/chanting, but still. . .

  6. Looks like the consecration of the bread and wine in the Catholic church.

    With the exception that the priest doesn’t face the altar/wall anymore (not since Vatican II).

    It doesn’t look very Evangelical to me, but I don’t claim to be an expert.

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