Times of India: Gospel for Asia Gets Special Deal to Violate Wetlands Ordinance

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.

Open Letter to Operation Mobilization Founder George Verwer from Terry Jones about Gospel for Asia and K.P. Yohannan

Terry Jones, George Verwer, Rev. William W. Photo provided by Terry Jones

Gospel for Asia has a long history, having been founded by K.P. Yohannan in 1978. Terrol (Terry) Jones is a missions advocate who served at GFA from 1984 through 1993. Jones recently wrote a letter to George Verwer, an endorser of GFA and the man who has served as a lifelong mentor to GFA founder and director K.P. Yohannan. Verwer is also the founder of Operation Mobilization. In this email which was addressed to Verwer and several others, Jones calls on Verwer to remove his endorsement of GFA. Jones also addressed the letter more widely to the body of Christ.
It is hard to put into perspective how disheartening GFA’s public fall has been to long time mission watchers and leaders. When a person like Terry Jones comes forward with a public call like this, the situation is grave.

November 8, 2015
To George Verwer and the Body of Christ:
Thank you George for receiving me and my Sri Lankan ministry friends into your personal cabin and then for the privilege of sitting with you up front. Thank you also for the gift of your new book, More Drops.  I have read the last part three times- Messiology.  Thanks again for writing the Foreword to my book.
Having lived a composite of 9 years in India and Sri Lanka which includes innumerable ministry trips of up to three months and the wonderful experience of having our two sons born in Sri Lanka, I am very aware of the “messy” situations in missions.  Still the Lord is doing some wonderful things in South Asia. I certainly do not have an “idealistic view” as you mentioned in your book nor an inclination for perfectionism.  We need “radical grace” as you say, but that must not give way to “cheap grace”.Your message on the Logos hit home.  It was a privilege to see my former student at Lanka Bible College interpret your words into Sinhala. What a joy also to see many of my ministry friends sitting right on the front row.  You do not mince words and you are transparent about your own struggles.  We are all miracles in the making, becoming more Christ-like from one degree of glory to another.
I videoed part of your message and intend to get the entire series which you delivered at the Pastors and Leaders Conference on Logos-Hope ship.  Your statement about integrity in finances especially stuck in my mind: “If you have received money to buy three chickens and spent it on something else, then confess it to the donor and get yourself right.”  Make amends!
Unfortunately, when it comes to K P Yohannan and GFA/Believers Church it is a matter of mega millions of dollars, a massive difference.  I worked with K P for 9 years as Church Coordinator developing relationships with churches from 84-93.  I traveled with him to California and met with Chuck Smith. He sent me to places like Alaska to spread the word of native missions. The initial copy of Revolution in Missions includes a photo of our small staff including me.  I think we had only four or five full-time staff at that time.
In 1993 while still with GFA I returned to India with my family to see how we were doing.  What I discovered caused me to resign.  KP decided that the “work was not being done” as he thought it should be.  Instead of supporting, encouraging, equipping and training missionary/church planters, he would start his own church. The wonderful testimonies of brother and sisters we used to publicize GFA and create a high degree of integrity, these people would now be discarded. This radical change went almost unnoticed by western constituency.  However it caused great confusion and division on the field.  I saw the results first hand.
In Bihar I spoke at the GFA training center. There were about 50 students.  I asked how many were converted to Christ through a GFA evangelistic team. Two or three raised their hand. The rest were sent in good faith for training by their home church, Assemblies of God etc.  I later got a report from Lalachen, one of KP’s Kerala friends, reporting that all 50 students were being sent out to start KP’s new Believers Churches.
I visited our friend in Nagaland, the late Vito Chu.  He founded Christ For the Nations of Nagaland connected with CFNI in Dallas, Texas.  KP asked him to change the name of his school to GFA training school and he would continue to support the work.  He refused and GFA went 7 km down the road and started his own school.  This I am told folded after sometime.  Not sure if GFA still owns land there or just rented.  This happened all over India at this time.
In Sri Lanka I helped GFA connect to groups who were doing pioneer church planting.  KP assured pastors that he had no intention of starting his churches, just extend the kingdom of God. He lied!  The GFA Bible training school took students from anyone and every where and shifted them to start Believer’s Churches.   Lal Vanderwal used to teach at Lanka Bible College but KP made him a Bishop and now receives a good salary but, of course, not at all comparable to the huge amount paid to His Imminence with all expenses paid, reported to be $120,000 in 2007 according to one of his staff.  Does his wife Gisela receive a big salary also?  His son Danny also? The common BC priest gets a comparable pittance.
When I returned to the States I met personally with KP in his office and told him he was in danger of self deception. He said, “If you have the money you have the power.”  He was completely defiant and determined to continue in deception.  What he was projecting in the States and the West was not the reality of things in South Asia.  He was apprehensive that I would speak negatively to his growing staff but we decided to leave quietly and return to Sri Lanka where I taught at Lanka Bible College. He rejected my observations and, I assumed, that the Board also rejected my accusation of “deliberate deception”.
Instead of receiving correction, KP expanded his deception and took on more and more staff.  He had found his groove as a missionary entrepreneur.  Was God blessing his deception?  Money was certainly flowing in.  Many good, loving, dedicated and committed people joined the staff thinking they were serving the benevolent image KP had created. But it was a mirage.
The GFA Diaspora, former staff, must understand now that they worked in good faith for the Lord, not KP’s Kerala Kingdom of which he is the King.
George,  must we wait for a secular court to prove that KP has deliberately deceived people out of millions of dollars? Board members, whom I personally know, have resigned because they know KP has deliberately deceived people encouraging them to give for various benevolent causes while lining the Believers Church coffers with mega millions.  Nearly $20 million was sent back to build his headquarters in Wills Point, Texas. The deception is so massive that one could say “you can not see the trees for the forest.”
George, I strongly urge you to withdraw your endorsement of KP and GFA/Believers Church if, indeed, you still publicly endorse him.  Money given for three chickens is minuscule in comparison to this massive deliberate deception.  Others have withdrawn their endorsement including former board member Skip Heitzig.  Radical grace must not become cheap grace!
Following Matthew 18, I went to KP personally in 1993.  He was obstinate and even became more deceptive.  A few years later I called for KP to come to Secunderabad to meet with me, Ray Eicher, Divakaran and another brother from OM.  He came. We met at the OM center and tried to show KP that he was deceptive but we were loving, not condemning.  He was unmoved. Intransigent!! Now, I submit this to you, George, as a representative of the Body of Christ in it’s manifold form and to others receiving this e-mail.
So far KP and the ruling staff/board have shown no inclination to repent of their deception or even acknowledge culpability except for a very weak admittance of human fragility and fault of which we are all guilty. Instead, they have practiced diversionary tactics even avoiding “facing the facts”.  If KP continues in this unrepentant manner,  we of the Body Of Christ have no other option than to consider him and his decision makers as heathens and entrepreneurial tax collectors. Matthew18:17.  This is the true Biblical shunning, not what GFA leaders and other staff practiced against staff who questioned the status quo.
This is submitted to you George and the Body of Christ in hope that KP will turn from his corruptive practices and truly walk in the light as Jesus Christ, the light of the world, not in mixture, good and evil light and darkness, which has been Satan’s way from the beginning.  He always deals in mixture and deception.  KP and ruling staff need to come clean.
If they do not repent, should Believer’s Church bishops and priests continue to dress in cassocks that have originated from the deception of His Imminence? What should the believers in these churches do?  Where can they go?  If the very foundation of Believers Church is deception and now the power is the money power that KP lusted for, what shall these believers in Jesus do?  Still Jesus is building His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.  I hope they will disrobe, trust God and Jesus our Lord, and disassociate with KP unless he truly does turn from his deliberate deception and mixture of light and darkness.
Humbly submitted to the Body in hope,
Brother Terrol (Terry) Jones in Sri Lanka

Terry Jones became a Christian while he was a sophomore at Tulsa University through the witness of a Campus Crusade for Christ staff member.  He was graduated from TU and Asbury Theological Seminary.  Terry served 15 years in United Methodist Churches and non-denominational churches.  He worked with Operation Mobilization for two years in India and has lived a composite of 9 years in Sri Lanka and India.  He married Pattie in 1980 and they moved to Sri Lanka where he taught at Lanka Bible College eventually for 5 years.  From 1984 through part of 1993 he worked with K.P. Yohannan and Gospel For Asia as Church Coordinator establishing relationship with churches throughout North America.  He and Pattie are still very much involved with national missionaries in India and Sri Lanka especially, traveling there at least twice a year for a month at a time.
As always, I call on GFA leaders to respond and provide answers to the growing list of concerns which have surfaced over the past two years.

K.P. Yohannan's Salary From an Indian Perspective

CashAn individual formerly associated with Believers Church in India wrote to me about K.P. Yohannan’s letter to Calvary Chapel pastors. I have good reason to believe that this person is credible and has had access to the information I am about to share. In any case, if Believers Church’s officials want to contest this, I will glad print whatever they send.

This individual expressed shock at the disclosure of Yohannan’s salary in the U.S. at $100,000/year. As an aside, former GFA staff who had direct knowledge of the payroll contest that figure by saying he made $120k in 2007. Whatever it is, $100k represents the bottom of the range.

According to my Indian source, Yohannan’s salary is astronomical by Indian standards. The source pointed out that the church pays for everything Yohannan does. My source said this revelation might be surprising to believers in Yohannan’s writings in Revolution in World Missions.

According to this source, the most highly paid Believers Church bishops receive in the neighborhood of $12,000 annually. The source added that many missionaries in the field are only paid $40 to $180 per month. I have been told repeatedly by BC missionaries both current and former that these amounts require them to have other jobs to carry on their ministry.

If these numbers are accurate, then a missionary is paid between $480-2160/year while their Metropolitan is paid at least $100k (perhaps more, no one seems to know if Yohannan gets paid for being Metropolitan).

Believers Church Proverb: Thou shalt not muzzle the Metropolitan.

A New Story from Gospel for Asia About Where Millions of Donations Went in 2013

In their 2013 audit, Gospel for Asia said $58.5 million was sent to Gospel for Asia – India in 2013. See below:

However, in public records in India, only about $6 million was reported received by Gospel for Asia – India. Gospel for Asia Canada reported about $15 million sent to India in 2013. Nothing was reported as coming from Canada in the public records in India. Although unreported in the audit, GFA also sent millions of dollars to NGOs in India, Believers’ Church, Love India Ministry, and Last Hour Ministry. Counting those funds, the total accounted for goes to about $37 million.  Thus, about $21 million is unaccounted for from the U.S. office. The figure grows to $36 million if one adds the Canadian money which doesn’t show up anywhere in India. Another analysis looking at income from all sources worldwide estimates about $47 million unaccounted for in 2013.

The bottom line is that the funds that GFA claimed to send from the U.S. and Canada do not show up in the Indian records available. Despite repeated requests, GFA has never offered an explanation.

Until recently.

A person concerned about GFA spoke to a representative by phone and asked for information about the unaccounted for funds. The GFA representative told the caller that my blog posts had only found and reported the amounts given in the Indian state of Kerala. According to my source, the GFA rep said my figures did not include funds sent by GFA to NGOs in other Indian states.

So I checked the other states. I looked through the reports in every state for donations to Believers’ Church, Gospel for Asia, Love India Ministry, or Last Hour Ministry. I even looked for Bridge of Hope, Operation Mobilization and Good Shepherd Church (OM-India and GSC are friendly to GFA in India and have received small grants from GFA). I found nothing. No funds were sent from GFA-US or Canada to these organizations in any other Indian state according to public records available.

So now, back to you GFA. This really should be easy. You said in your audit that you sent $58.5 million to GFA-India. However, GFA-India reported only about $6 million. Why didn’t you report the related party transactions which went to Believers’ Church, Love India Ministry and Last Hour Ministry? And where are the funds that don’t show up in the records of any of the four NGOs?

This should not be hard. Remember, it isn’t your money.

Believers’ Church Constitution Contradicts K.P. Yohannan’s Claim that He Has No Legal Authority in Indian Church

In a May 14, 2015 staff meeting, K.P. Yohannan and David Carroll disclosed to the Gospel for Asia staff that in 2013 Believers’ Church in India gave $19.8 million toward the construction costs of the new Wills Point. TX headquarters. When the gift came in back in 2013, GFA leaders told staff that the money was given by an “anonymous donor.”

For those new to this story, Believers’ Church is the church started by Gospel for Asia founder K.P. Yohannan. Yohannan is CEO and International Director at Gospel for Asia and he is the supreme Metropolitan Bishop in India for the Believers’ Church. Although undisclosed in their 2013 audit, GFA sent just over $20 million to Believers’ Church in 2013. Believers’ Church in India received far more than Gospel for Asia India which was not disclosed in the audited financial statements.

Within the last year, questions arose among staff about the accuracy of the “anonymous donor” story and Carroll and Yohannan addressed those questions during the May 14 staff meeting. In that meeting, Yohannan asserted that he had nothing to do with the Believers’ Church’s decision to send nearly $20 million back to Texas. A major part of his defense was his claim that he does not sit on boards or trusts in India and has no legal authority in Believers’ Church. Yohannan claims he didn’t have authority to direct the donation and didn’t have anything to do with it.
Here is what Yohannan said about his membership on boards and trusts in India and his legal authority.


And by the way, just so you know, I am not legally on any boards, any trusts, anything in any of these countries. I have no powers to make decisions or sign money, or release money, or make decisions, I am completely legally…why? Because anybody who work in the United States or overseas countries have a board membership or have legal membership should not be part of their legal entities in India. It’s a conflict of interest and therefore we send the funds and it is immediately under the government watch care and the government of India is responsible and investigative agencies and tax divisions to make sure  that is carried out within the time frame or whatever they do, that is a public thing.

In previous posts, I have shown government and church documents which contradict his claim. Today, I provide portions of the Believers’ Church Constitution which describe the massive authority and power of the Metropolitan Bishop, His Grace the Most Reverend K.P. Yohannan. It is clear that Yohannan misled his staff. If Believers’ Church follows the church Constitution, there is no way Yohannan did not approve the gift to help complete headquarters construction.

Click the link for the first two chapters of the Constitution, and this link for chapter three. Images describing the power of the Metropolitan are below. See the boxes for especially relevant sections:
MetropolitanPowersBC ConsYohannan is President of all church trusts, he has discretionary power over governance of the church, he is the final authority of spiritual and administrative matters and he is the managing trustee of the church. It is inconceivable that Believers’ Church could spend $19.8 million dollars without his approval. Sections from chapter three make this even clearer. Buying and selling movable and immovable property and any management matter can be overruled by Yohannan. Committees can suggest actions but they must be cleared with Yohannan first.
Yesterday, Gayle Erwin said this about the transfer of $19.8 million from India to GFA-US:

If you read the ECFA report, you discover what we (board members–USA) had begun to know–we were kept in the dark and limited to pedantic decisions. As I saw this, I began intense confrontations with KP which I thought were gaining traction. The surprise revelation of foreign deposits and monies returned from the field (and previously described as from an “anonymous donor) pushed some of us over the edge and made our board membership untenable.

 David Carroll and K.P. Yohannan told staff that the transfer of funds was completely legal and there was no conflict of interest since Yohannan had no control over the decision. He also said the $19.8 million was not a related party transaction.

DC [David Carroll] – It’s completely legal, thank you. There’s a board member, board documents as I understand it, I don’t live in Asia, but there’s board documents on the other side. The whole thing was done in complete legality.

By the way, one question, one part of that question was, is this a related party transaction? And the answer is no. It is not a related party transaction because the board members here, they’re not the same board members as there. In other words, the leadership here did not influence that decision there. Brother KP mentioned it but it was not his decision. He had to get permission, actually they told…

KP [K.P. Yohannan]– I think David, it is important for people to know the person I am. It’s like Paul said in one place he’s a doulos, he’s a servant, another place he’s an apostle, another place he’s a brother, and my role is being a spiritual father of right now about 2.7 million people scattered throughout all these nations and I do not have any legal say or decision about legal matters. My role is a spiritual leadership. You may not have asked that but there are hundreds of trusts and entities in all these countries. I don’t sit on any of those things. There are their own people. And my role is the spiritual leadership. And I hope to some extent that is here also.

It is hard for me to understand how David Carroll could make this statement:

It is not a related party transaction because the board members here, they’re not the same board members as there.

I publicly ask David Carroll: Have you ever read the Believers’ Church Constitution? You are ordained in that church. Is this like Mars Hill Church and the officers and clergy don’t have access to the Constitution? You told staff on May 14 that Yohannan wasn’t on a board under the Believers’ Church umbrella. Carroll told staff:

And so, what the people in Asia did, and it is a board that is under Believers’ Church umbrella, but Brother KP’s not on that board, it wasn’t his decision. 

K.P. Yohannan is CEO and leads the Gospel for Asia board here and he is by Constitution the managing trustee and President of Believers’ Church and all other Believers’ Church trusts.

I can’t see how these claims by Yohannan and Carroll and the Believers’ Church Constitution can be true at the same time.* David Carroll said there are “board documents on the other side.” Well, the board documents that I have seen don’t support what they told staff in May. Might be time for GFA leaders to produce those documents. It is already too late for three board members who quit over this matter.

*I suppose it is possible that Believers’ Church approved a new Constitution prior to the 2013 gift. However, my source denies that and tells me that this Constitution was binding at that time and is binding currently. I am certainly open to hearing from GFA and BC with new information.