“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” ― Mark Twain
Yesterday I received an email from a man who chastised me for just about everything on this blog.
You judge unrighteously and speak evil of others . I was closely associated , as a normal church member, ( ed. change of wording with an earlier permutation of Sovereign Grace Ministries) I never was abused nor saw any abuse …. of any kind. People are not perfect–and, neither are churches . However, if you look closely enough, you can find faults with anybody and any church movement.
This man apparently believes that since he didn't see any sexual abuse while at a church, it must not have happened. So, if he didn't see Jerry Sandusky molest anyone, does that mean he didn't? The sad part of this statement is that he didn't express one bit of concern for those who have suffered, horribly, from sexual abuse as children. He doesn't care because he didn't see it. Besides, people aren't perfect and child sex abuse is just one of those things, right? Kind of like speeding, right? After all, what's the difference?
He also appears to think that the actions of churches and leaders should be kept private, even if they are sinful, deceptive or possibly illegal. Yet, churches and their leaders can bounce up and down in public, telling people to come and see what they have to offer. They can ask for money in public, advertise their books and sermons in the press and ask us to go to their conferences to learn to be godly like them but we are not allowed to question them and their supposed *godliness* in public. They get to keep it secret.
…I would encourage you folks to apologize , to those you've attacked, and, to repent of your on-line gossip ). If you have something against a brother (s), follow the instructions that Jesus gave. Go to them privately, etc. Otherwise, I think you risk suffering the anger of God. He does not condone what y'all are doing.
Finally, he seems to know just what the Holy Spirit has to say about blogs such as ours. He even claims to know what I think. Except, he is wrong, especially about what he says I know.
And, Dee, if you listen to the Holy Spirit, you know that a public forum is not the way to handle this.
Jesus said (Matthew 5:14-16-NIV Bible Gateway) appears to say something different. Our light is to shine before men so they can see our good works and glorify our Father.
14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
So what happens when the light which is shining on us appears to show lies and fraud? One of my pastors often says that we, as Christians, should be the first to admit our sins before each other and the world. We kids ourselves if we think that the world doesn't see our sin and hypocrisy as we pretend to be *holy.* They see us as we are and we need to deal with that fact.
If leaders commit to a public ministry, they should be prepared to be critiqued in public. And, if they are Christians, they should welcome that inspection since, it is presumed, that they would want serious sin to be confronted and dealt with, right? Our lives, churches and ministries should be an open book to the world around us. And that is precisely what is happening as Warren Throckmorton pursues the truth with Gospel for Asia. TWW applauds him for his efforts and stands with him in his pursuit of the truth.
Warren Throckmorton and the Gospel for Asia
Sadly, unlike the person who wrote us, we are aware of far too many serious sins in the church. There are days when I feel that we cannot keep up with all of the ungodly actions that hurt those both within and without the church. That is why TWW is so grateful for Warren Throckmorton. He believes that when churches and mission organizations say they are going to use donations in a certain way, they should do so. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Dr Throckmorton has been focusing on the alleged misuse of donated funds by Gospel for Asia along with other concerning activities of the organization.TWW has been remiss in reporting on the controversy surrounding this organization. Over the next week or so, we plan to bring you up to date.
However, since the lawyers have now entered the conflagration, TWW wishes to show our solidarity with Dr Warren Throckmorton who we believe is on the side of the angels, so to speak.
A brief overview of the GFA situation.
In June 2015, Christian Today posted Gospel for Asia fights accusations of financial impropriety, cult-like behaviour by Mark Woods. Here are a few excerpts from that post.
What is GFA?
Gospel for Asia (GFA), the mission organisation founded by KP Yohannan, is regarded as one of the most signicant missionary movements of the late 20th century. Based in Texas, it has a presence in Asian countries including India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China and Thailand. It supports more than 50 Bible colleges, founded its own network of congregations – Believers Church – and is active in humanitarian work and education.
What are the financial concerns? They involve smurfing (your new word for the day)
Questions about its financial affairs have been raised by blogger Warren Throckmorton, who has studied publicly available documents detailing GFA's bank holdings in India. He revealed that GFA was using students and staff to transfer undeclared cash to India, a practice known as "smurfing" which the organisation has now ended. He also posted documents showing large amounts of cash held in GFA and Believers Church bank accounts and queried apparent discrepancies between the amounts sent from the US to India and amounts declared as having been received.
What are the spiritual and organization concerns?
Click on the link in the quote to read the entire letter.
A year ago more than 80 people describing themselves as the 'GFA Diaspora' wrote to GFA's leadership raising questions about some of its practices. Their letter listed five areas of concern, saying that GFA's leadership
1. practised a false view of spiritual authority, prioritised ministry over family,
2. deceived people to protect the ministry,
3. practised unbiblical 'shunning' – cutting off all contact with people under discipline – and
4. discouraged staff involvement in Bible studies and
5. discouraged involvement local churches.
What was the response by GFA?
No surprise. They denied all charges and claimed slander, libel, defamation, blah, blah, blah.
It also accuses the lead author, JD Smith, of choosing to "slander and defame" the organisation and says that he has committed libel.
ECFA boots GFA in October.
Warren Throckmorton gets threatened by GFA lawyers.
Warren posted Gospel for Asia Issues Threats and Demands Removal of Staff Meeting Audio on November 15.
He explained what had just occurred.
Yesterday afternoon, I received word from the management of Patheos that lawyers for Gospel for Asia demanded the removal of posts with audio of the May 14, 2015 staff meeting in Wills Point, TX. They also wanted the picture of David Carroll in priestly garb sprinkling water around the Wills Point building site taken down.
Here are the posts GFA's counsel demanded to be removed.
What is This Gospel for Asia Priest Doing? (Image replaced with a link to the image – the image was freely available to GFA staff)
Well, according to Dr Throckmorton, the GFA counsel was particularly concerned about the audio of a staff meeting and a picture of one of the GFA leaders dressed up in some sort of priestly get up.
What was in the audio? Could it be an admission that the students were carrying cash into India for GFA but everything is okey dokey? Uh oh! Here is one excerpt from the transcript of the audio posted here.
Female staffer: Ok, so the money regarding the students taken over to India, you know we have to carry the money over. How is that audited? Because if I lost my backpack, all that money would have been lost, and that’s money from sponsors and donors. So why is that put in place, and if it was lost, how would you track that?
David Carroll: That’s a good question and actually that was going to be one of the next questions that we answered because someone wrote a very emotional question about that and said why we were endangering students by having them carry the money to India, and I just want to say that for whoever asked the question that I’m sorry we’ve given you, truly sorry that we’ve given you the impression that we were endangering students. A couples things you should know we would never endanger students or anyone else, we’ve had pastors carry money, we’ve had staff carry money, we’re always looking for ways to get money into India because the reality is that it’s getting more difficult to do that, and we are looking for other ways that we’re able to do that. But we checked with our auditors before we ever would allow such a practice. We actually called Bland Garvey, they’re our audit firm and said this is what we’re planning to do, this is what we are intending to do, and they told us how we get it receipted they said it’s completely legal, you’re under all limits, you need to get receipts, there need to be receipts here, there need to be receipts there which Lori has receipts from here. The Indian side also account for that money as received. If you were to lose it, they couldn’t receive it, and in that case, we would say it’s lost basically. We would have to tell the auditors we gave it and it didn’t get to the other side and I’m sure they wouldn’t be very happy, but is it receipted on the other side as received, and accounted for? Yes, it is on the other side of the pond.
So, we have stopped that practice, we feel that it put more emotional burden on people than we realized and then we wanted to and so…
KP Yohannan: It is a perception problem also. Like when I go to Burma and Nepal, I carry quite a lot of travelers checks and get into the country and cash it into local currency and I give it and then the border department, they account for that money in the local Burmese currency or wherever I’ve been to so (?). It’s a legal thing, you cannot carry any more than $5000 and not declare it but when you get India, Nepal, Burma, you can cash it, you can burn it, you can eat it, you can throw it away, you can give it, it is a local currency you are giving it and so receipts are accounted in the book are reported to the government (?) and that is an absolute thing because what I am trying to say, it’s not trying to be under the radar, or illegal smuggling money into the country, nothing like that.
Carroll: We had heard that one explanation you were given was that the tax rate is high, which would indicate that we’re trying to avoid tax on the money and that’s not the case. I’m sorry if that got skewed but that’s not the case. It’s actually reported on the other side legally so we can do everything we’re supposed to do in reporting that money to the Indian government.
Yohannan: But we don’t do that anymore.
Carroll: We’ve stopped the practice.
Danny Yohannan: We are always looking for legal ways to bring resources into the ministry, but also over there we’re trying to be as responsible to even raise funds on that side…
Here is the link to the picture that the GFA lawyers do not want you to see.
Here is one link to the May 14, 2015 staff meeting audio, another link, and another that they do not want you to hear.
I hope the GFA lawyers are aware of the Streisand Effect. You can be sure that we will be tweeting all over the place about the attorneys who are bugging Warren Throckmorton and GFA. TWW admires the careful investigations of Warren Throckmorton and will follow this move by the GFA lawyers very, very carefully.
Enjoy this video of Rev. Yohannan receiving new pastors. Wait, are those dudes kissing his ring??? Now this will make a great tweet.