Gospel for Asia’s field partner in India is Believers’ Church. K.P. Yohannan is founder and CEO of Gospel for Asia and he is Metropolitan Bishop of Believers’ Church. GFA has sent hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars to India to support Believers’ Church and Believers’ Church has built an impressive array of schools and medical centers in India. GFA tells donors in the U.S. that the donations go to spread the gospel and ease the suffering of the poor and needy in India and throughout Asia.
In fact, most of the schools and medical centers often charge market rates and don’t cater to the needy. Case in point is this report from the Deccan Chronicle about a man who had to leave Believers’ Church Medical Center in Kerala because his family couldn’t afford the high fees. From the Deccan Chronicle:
Pillai, who had breathing difficulty due to a neurological deficit, was undergoing treatment at the Believers Church hospital at Thiruvalla. However, he was shifted to the Kottayam medical college hospital on Wednesday as the family could not afford the huge expenses. Salini said that the doctor who administered treatment to her father at the Thiruvalla hospital told her that the MCH will have a full- time ventilator facility.
According to the report, the doctor in charge at K.P. Yohannan’s hospital didn’t bother to call the receiving facility to find out if a ventilator was available. Since there was no ventilator, the poor fellow had to wait in the ambulance for over four hours until a ventilator was available.
The excuse given by Believers Church is telling. The spokeswoman said the receiving hospital had made excuses in the past about not having a ventilator. Apparently, Pillai wasn’t the first patient dumped by Believers’ Church Medical Center on the local public facility. How Jesus-like of Believers’ Church.
For those who have forgotten, recall that GFA promised to regain their membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. That promise was made in October 2015 after being kicked out for multiple financial violations. GFA has not regained membership.
GFA’s RICO suit continues on with trial set for 2019.
Today’s Times of India reports that Gospel for Asia/Believers’ Church received special permission to violate Indian law regarding treatment of wetlands. According to the report, Kerala’s state cabinet overruled objections by revenue officials to the conversion of wetlands for use by the Believers Church Medical College, a project of Gospel for Asia in Thiruvalla. According the TOI, “The cabinet has regularized the group’s land filling, citing it as a “special case” and thereby violating the Kerala Land Utilization Order. “
Please click through the link to read the report. Five points stand out.
1. It doesn’t appear that the Christian nature of the Believers Church Medical College is prompting state persecution of Believers Church or Gospel for Asia as GFA leaders often claim. This appears to be a sweet deal for Believers Church. They can use land the local authorities want for wetlands for their for-profit hospital and medical college. They also avoid the cost of correcting their illegal use of 3.77 acres.
2. According to this report, the local government gave permission for filling the land suitable for building a medical college in 2003. The empire building in India goes back a long way. Donors outside of Indian might well wonder where the funds came from in order fill the lands and construct a state of the art medical college and hospital.
3. If this report is accurate, GFA in India illegally diverted a stream and filled in 3.77 acres of land. This illegal action doesn’t square well with repeated claims by GFA leaders that their actions on the field are legal. It cannot help the overall purpose of Christian missions to conduct affairs illegally and then fail to correct the matter.
4. If I understand the TOI report, this matter may not be over. The TOI reporter makes the case that the state cabinet action violates a ruling of the Supreme Court. Although I am not sure who would lead the charge, there may be a challenge to the cabinet’s decision.
5. GFA in India is said by this report to be under Believers’ Church. Unknown to many donors, the real destination for millions of donor dollars has been Believers’ Church in India with their for profit schools, medical centers and rubber plantation. No doubt the pursuit of this matter involved lawyers and much time and money. It is past time for GFA to come clean about their finances, not just here, but around the world.