SCANDAL: Gospel for Asia apologizes for 'pain and confusion' caused by financial accountability

by Kelly Ledbetter |

(Gospel for Asia Video / Screen Shot)

WILLS POINT, Texas (Christian Examiner) – Gospel for Asia (GFA), an organization under fire this year for financial accountability and treatment of its staff, apologized for failing to uphold accountability standards in an advertisement it took out in Christianity Today.

"We understand this has caused great concern and raised questions about the integrity and financial accountability of Gospel for Asia," GFA said in a statement according to Christian Today.

Meanwhile, a group of former GFA employees wrote a letter of complaint to GFA expressing five main points of concern, which are detailed on the GFA Diaspora website.

These include teaching a false view of spiritual authority, prioritizing ministry over family, lying to protect the ministry, practicing unbiblical shunning, and prohibiting staff involvement in Bible studies, small groups and local churches, the group of over 100 staff members said.

The GFA Diaspora website has numerous detailed testimonies about the practices of GFA and of its founder and leader K.P. Yohannan.

Pam said, "As a woman, I felt very belittled by some of the leadership." She claims to have been shunned because of her unwillingness to comply with practices GFA said were voluntary, such as covering her head and associating with former staff.

MISSING ENDORSEMENTS

The organization was terminated from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) in October for five of seven standards of responsible stewardship and now appears on its list of former members.

The GFA statement says, "we acknowledge at times we have failed to utilize procedures necessary to ensure the highest level of accountability that you expect from us, and that we expect from ourselves."

Former employees like Pam say the organization is too controlling and not transparent. "Staff was given the mindset that they may not fully know God's direction in their lives and were encouraged to ask leadership to do things, such as buy a house or a car or date a certain person, etc.," Pam said.

The Gospel for Asia website has apparently has also removed the video endorsement by Francis Chan, a well-known preacher in California.

Warren Throckmorton writing at Patheos says the website "sneak[ed] the endorsement off the page." Throckmorton queried Chan about his endorsement of GFA in October but said he received no response.

The GFA statement in Christianity Today says, "We are sorry for the pain and confusion that we have caused" and said it will implement changes to its accountability procedures.

Thockmorton, however, points out that the apology still falls short of accounting for the funds in question.

ACCUSATIONS OF CULTISM

GFA chief operating officer David Carroll responded to Warren Throckmorton's inquiries for a statement about the former employees' allegations with a letter in which he said GFA had not done anything wrong.

"While the board investigation concluded that there was no wrongdoing on the part of leadership, we recognize that, as humans, our leadership is not always going to be perfect," Carroll wrote. "Regarding those former employees with unresolved concerns, it is our ministry's desire to reconcile when possible and disagree in love when necessary, so that we might stand together in our commitment to spreading the Gospel throughout Asia."

Pam thinks GFA has too much power over staff's lives. "After years of this behavior, it seems like K.P. has decided his flock need him to tell them what they can and can't do."

GFA was terminated from the ECFA in part because it moved $19 million to build a facility in Wills Point and violated laws about bringing cash exceeding $10,000 into India, CBS reported.

In an interview with the local news on the GFA campus, Carroll denied "willfully" breaking laws. In response to a question about accusations of being a cult said he "dislike[d] being associated with that word very much."