Gospel for Asia
|K. P. Yohannan|
Gospel for Asia (GFA) is a large Christian missionary NGO founded by K. P. Yohannan in 1978, focused on spreading the Gospel to India and Asian countries through the use of national missionaries. The organization, based in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex suburb of Carrollton, Texas, states that its primary aim is to support indigenous missions to "share the Good News of Jesus Christ with lost men, women and children throughout South Asia"
Scholar Michael Bergunder considers it "one of the most influential missionary organizations in the second half of the 20th century".
In 1981, its current president, K. P. Yohannan formed a branch of GFA in his native Kerala, with an Indian headquarters being set up in Tiruvalla in 1983. It is active throughout India, especially in the North, and directly administers bible colleges, whose graduates receive financial support to found new congregations. Increasing donations made GFA "one of the most financially powerful mission undertakings in India in the 1980s." GFA directly supports more than 50 Bible colleges in various countries.
The goal of Gospel for Asia focuses on the formation of Asian missionaries. It embraces the claim that God himself builds his church in Asia. Although the ministry accepts trainers for Bible translation, the ministry discourages direct missions of Western countries. Its founder, Yohannan, considers that the sending of Western missionaries to areas that are inaccessible to foreign missionaries can result in a waste of resources. He also believes that the imposition of western culture and neo-colonialism should be avoided. GFA encourages donations and financial support to Christians in Asia, in order to build churches, Bible schools, organize missions and help people in Asian countries.
Gospel For Asia and Believers Church is under scanner for financial irregularities. As per Government of Kerala sources till 2008[not in citation given] Gospel For Asia and Believers Church had allegedly received Rs 1044 crores from its Texas body Gospel For Asia USA for charity but spend only 144 crores for the same. Gospel For Asia is said to have assets worth Rs 472 crores and Believers Church is having assets worth Rs 572 crores.
On November 30, 2012 Government of Kerala filed a case against Harrison Malayalam Ltd and Gospel For Asia in the High court of Kerala and contended that K P Yohannan founder of Gospel For Asia holds its land and illegally transferred various estates to three other companies.
Critics accuse Yohannan of saying that Western missionaries are ineffective, and saying that it is more appropriate to provide financial support to missionaries from the relevant country.
In 2011, the Central government of India examined the financial records of Gospel for Asia and was unable to find any irregularities. In an affidavit filed by Jamal Bose, assistant director, Ministry of Home Affairs, it said "Gospel for Asia files yearly income tax returns. Any organisation which accepts foreign fund is under the scanner of the Union Home Ministry. Gospel for Asia and Believers Church are following the norms for accepting foreign funds. There is no evidence for the allegation that a fund of Rs 1044 crore was diverted. The details of the amount accepted from abroad and its expense have been included in the audited accounts and statements. Besides, the Reserve Bank and the Ministry of Finance also monitor the financial dealings." Based on this testimony, the case was subsequently dismissed by the high court of Kerala.
Mr Jacob Pothan the central administrative officer of Believers Church welcomed any kind of investigation and said that their accounts are transparent. He further justified Church's real estate dealings as income generating measures for charity purpose. Mr Pothan took voluntary retirement from Rubber Board to join Believers Church.
In a recent development Gospel For Asia and Believers Church had filed a petition in Delhi High Court for removal of defamatory and derogatory articles from some of the social media. They alleged that " Certain persons with vested interest are continuously trying to malign the reputation of the organisation by uploading defamatory contents on Internet. Google and other intermediaries are liable to restrict these contents as per Section 79 (3)(a) of the Information Technology Act ". Court had asked M/s Google India Pvt Ltd, its subsidiaries — YouTube, Blogger, Blogspot.in and also to Facebook to provide a reply in this regard .
On June 30, 2011 The High Court of Kerala quashed proceedings initiated by Government Of Kerala to take over the 2000 acres Cheruvally estate owned by Gospel For Asia. But instructed the trust not to sell or alienate the estate till the disposal of Taluk Land Board Case.
- Michael Brodeur, Banning Liebscher, (2013), Gospel Light Publications, Jan 17, "Revival Culture: Prepare for the Next Great Awakening", Chapter 4, "Indigenous Leaders".
- Yohannan, K.P. (2004). Revolution in World Missions. Gospel for Asia Books. Carrollton, Texas. ISBN 1- 59589-001-7
- Bergunder, Michael (2008), "The South Indian Pentecostal Movement in the Twentieth Century", Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, page 53
- Bergunder, Michael (2008). The South Indian Pentecostal Movement in the Twentieth Century. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-2734-9.
- Philip, Shaju. "An archbishop’s spiritual factory". The Indian Express. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Anderson, Allan; Tang, Edmond (2005). Asian and Pentecostal: The Charismatic face of Christianity in Asia. Regnum Books International. ISBN 1-870345-43-6.
- "In Service to God". believerschurch.com.
- Bergunder, Michael (2008), "The South Indian Pentecostal Movement in the Twentieth Century", Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, page 54-55
- Klaus Fiedler (1994), The Story of Faith Missions, page 404 (26)
- "Cash scanner on evangelist". The Telegraph.
- "Probe on into functioning of Gospel for Asia, HC told". The New Indian Express.
- "Madhyamam". Govt files petition against Harrisons, Yohanan.
- Van Rheenen, Gailyn (1996). Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies. Zondervan. ISBN 0-310-20809-2.
- "HC rejects probe into income of Believers Church". The Indian Express.
- "An archbishop’s spiritual factory". THe Indian Express.
- "Delhi HC issues notice to Google, FB over church’s defamation plea". First Post.
- "Kerala HC quashes govt proceedings". Press Trust Of India.