|Founder||K. P. Yohannan|
|Primate||Rt. Rev. Dr. K. P. Yohannan Bishop|
|Territory||33 dioceses in South Asia|
Believers Church is a Christian denomination with congregations and parishes worldwide. The church now has an episcopal governance, breaking with its founding presbyterian model,. The church claimed this change was to maintain order and accountability. The church holds Christ as the head of the Church (Col 1:18) hence it is governed by a committee of Bishops, the Synod, with one central Bishop holding the honorary title of "first among equals" and follows fundamentally centrist doctrines of Evangelical Protestantism. Believers Church is administratively based in the state of Kerala in southwestern India. In 2015, the church reported it was re-organized into 33 dioceses; a decrease from the 36 dioceses reported by Smith in 2009. According to Believers Church, its membership consists of more than 2.6 million people in 10 countries speaking a hundred languages. The Church currently has 13 Bishops, and the current Metropolitan Bishop is Dr. K. P. Yohannan.
The original church was rooted in Pentecostalism. On 6 February 2003, Rt. Rev. Dr. K. J. Samuel, the Moderator Bishop of the Church of South India (a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion), along with six other bishops consecrated Rt. Rev. Dr. K.P. Yohannan as a bishop for apostolic succession, and there after installed as the first Metropolitan of the Believers Church: which metamorphosed it into an emerging protestant church with that is Biblical in Faith, Evangelical in nature, Apostolic in origin, Ecumenical in outlook, and Episcopalian in governance. The church adheres to the Nicene Creed, biblical faith, and traditions of the historical church backed up with its own canonical constitution.
The Episcopal Synod and the diocesan councils take the responsibility for planning and executing the mission, religious life and charitable programs of the Church. The Believers Church is divided as regions into dioceses, each with its own leader. Each local church has members ranging from less than one hundred to a thousand with an average of hundred, and the number of parishes themselves are increasing. The Believers Church is divided into various dioceses under the leadership of Diocesan Bishop or a Vicar-general. In 2013 the church planned to merge with Jacobite Syrian Christian Church.
Faith and Practice
The liturgical model adopted in Believers Church includes Prayers, Scripture readings and a Common confession with pledging the Nicene Creed and accepts the general Apostles' Creed in the wider church. Believers Church administers the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion as stated in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. The Revised Common Lectionary, which has a three year cycle is used for biblical readings and the church observes the Evangelical feast. The Church now follows EBP approach in practice of faith with firm adherence to scriptural principles.
The church accepts the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible as the inspired Word of God which is inerrant and the fundamental standard of faith, and complete and final written revelation of God. It also adheres to the Nicene Creed. The church believes in the following doctrines:
- One eternal God revealed in the trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- The divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ, his virgin birth, sinless life, crucifixion and resurrection, ascension and intercession of Holy Spirit.
- The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon believers in Jerusalem after Jesus’ ascension, enabling them to preach the Gospel to the whole world.
- Separation of all mankind from God through man’s sin.
- Immediate forgiveness of sins through repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ.
- The person and work of indwelling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit through baptism for all believers.
- The practice of gifts of the Holy Spirit within scriptural guidelines for the common good (1Cor 12:4-7);Considers that agape love is more important than all the gifts, and without it, all exercise of spiritual gifts as worthless.
- The rapture of the church before the tribulation.
- Jesus Christ as the head of the church.
- The second coming of Jesus Christ and it will be personal and visible, which motivates active involvement of the laity in church activities.
- The resurrection of the body unto eternal life for the saved and unto eternal separation for the lost; But salvation, redemption and forgiveness are freely offered to all by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For being distinguishable members of Believers church, and the message of the Word of God to be applied in an individual’s life leading to a greater maturity in Christ, following are the official code of living.
- Knowing the Lord Jesus more fully and intimately.
- Being a people of integrity and excellence.
- Living in submission to God’s Word.
- Being a people of faith.
- Being a people committed to prayer and worship.
- Having a servant lifestyle.
- Being a people of grace and love.
- Serving sacrificially.
- Being a people with passion for souls.
- Being a people who work together with the Body of Christ.
Believers Church is involved in various social projects and has been lauded for “its humanitarian service towards the society at large.” The church’s social service includes poverty alleviation, blindness control and promoting adult literacy. The church is also providing shelter to street children through a home called Asha Grih, which is licensed by the Indian Government. Additionally, Believers Church has a child development project called Bridge of Hope (BOH). BOH provides holistic development to needy children throughout South Asia. As of 2012, the project is helping 60,000 underprivileged children by providing them free education, a nutritious diet and school supplies. Bridge of Hope’s 525 project centers are staffed by 2,400 individuals.
- Yohannan, K.P. "Believers Church". Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "About". Believers Church. Retrieved 2015-01-10.
- "History of Believers Church". Gospel for Asia. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- Smith, Warren Cole (7 May 2009). A Lover's Quarrel with the Evangelical Church. InterVarsity Press. p. 194. ISBN 9780830856985. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- "Dr. K.P. Yohannan, Metropolitan". Retrieved 2015-01-10.
- Jacob, George (10 February 2003). "Crisis brewing in CSI". Kottayam: The Hindu. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- KP Yohannan Believers Church like to merge in yakobaya sabha (YouTube) (in Malayalam). Reporter TV. 2013.
- "Lectionary 2012-2013". Believers Church. 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- K.P. Yohannan (2004). Guiding Principles of Believers Church. Believers Church Publications. pp. 197-199.
- "Statement of Faith". Believers Church. Retrieved 2015-01-10.
- "Core Values". Believers Church. Retrieved 2015-01-10.
- "Church devoted to literacy campaign." Times of India (May 25, 2011)
- "Bihar, News in Brief: Project" The Telegraph (June 25, 2012)
- "Bihar, News in Brief: Blindness control drive" The Telegraph (March 10, 2011)
- "Believers Church turns new page in lives of lesser privileged" Echo of Arunachal (July 22, 2012)