July 21, 2014 * GFA’s detailed response and testimonies

GFA sent an email to JD that details their belief that we handled this matter unbiblically, that we refused to respond to leadership’s attempts to contact individuals who signed the letter and that we sent the letter to supporting pastors and churches to get them to drop support. GFA accuses JD of refusing to meet with leadership and a local pastor. They attached testimonies of GFA staff to the email, but we have not included them because we do not have permission from each staff member to publish the document. They tell of the board’s counsel that GFA not respond to our letter any further. Nevertheless, David says he will give his response to each of the five points raised in the initial letter.

“We explained [to the board] that after receiving your letter… we were led to contact each one of you… for the sake of reconciliation. But, we shared that you refused to do that. We shared how we successfully contacted JD and asked him to come and to even bring a pastor with him to meet with Brother K. P. and the leadership, but that he chose not to do that.”

Note that although each of our issue points is addressed and denied, we believe the evidence shared on this website overwhelmingly contradicts many of the answers given by GFA below. We invite you to judge for yourself.

JD Smith <xxxxxxxxxxx>
Response to your letter-corrected
David  Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 11:36 AM
To: “JD Smith” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>Cc: “K.P. Yohannan” <kp@gfa.org>, [and other GFA leaders]
July 21, 2014
JD Smith,
Thank you for your email and care in continuing to pursue this matter.
That said, it is so sad and grievous to us that none of you approached us about these five things in your individual exit interviews, which every one of you had. If these things came up later, why did you not come to talk with us in the actual Biblical way that our Lord Jesus prescribed in Matthew 18:17-19 (come yourself to us directly to resolve the matter. If there is actual fault, then it can be resolved. If it can’t be resolved bring one or two with the heart for resolution.) The way that you have gone about this (sending this letter around the world before we even got to see it, sending it to supporting pastors and churches in hopes that they will drop our support, etc) makes us think that you do not really desire reconciliation, but the destruction of GFA, God’s work. Still, we as a leadership team chose the proper Biblical route with you, trying to contact each one of you to talk about these matters with the heart and view of Biblically reconciling and restoring fellowship in the Body of Christ. However, you would not do that. You have handled this matter as a class action smear campaign, not an attempt to love and reconcile.The USA Board of Directors met at their regularly scheduled time last week, and discussed your letter at length. We told them that we did not know of these things since none of these five items were raised in the exit interview that we had with you all. What is more, none of you came to us individually to discuss this since then. We explained that after receiving your letter and taking much time in prayer and fasting, we were led to contact each one of you according to Jesus’ instruction of Matthew 5:23, 24 for the sake of reconciliation. But, we shared that you refused to do that. We shared how we successfully contacted JD and asked him to come and to even bring a pastor with him to meet with Brother K. P. and the leadership, but that he chose not to do that. Upon hearing all these things, our Board suggested that since we had done what our Lord Jesus instructed, that we should not respond to your letters any further. Nevertheless, in another attempt at resolving this, here are our answers to your five accusations:
• GFA leadership practices and teaches a false view of spiritual authority.

This accusation is unfounded and false. Furthermore, the specific testimonies of these accusations by some of the signers of this letter differ greatly and/or lack key documented facts about the actual circumstances surrounding their testimony. Although we tried to contact every single one of you to discuss particulars and come to reconciliation, you refused to contact us back and give us that opportunity. With a clear conscience before God, we believe that GFA leadership regularly encourages staff (at morning and evening prayer meetings, new staff mentoring teachings, required readings, Sunday Bible studies, etc, etc) to have a vibrant daily walk with Christ, with the foundation of that being a few hours of daily Bible study, private prayer, and corporate prayer. The emphasis is always, if the tree is good, the fruit will be good also. In addition, GFA leadership will take the time to listen and to help staff with life issues when they are approached, but are careful not to control personal decisions, including where staff choose to worship, who they marry, where they live, etc. That said, Gospel for Asia is not a vocation or a job; it is a God-given calling. If someone chooses to serve at GFA (all of GFA not just Dallas), they also choose to follow the requests of leadership including where they will serve and what they will do, as long as they believe they are called by God to serve there. This is also true of secular companies (such as Donald’s, IBM, Wal-Mart) or the Army, and anywhere that people are to do what is asked of them as a requirement of their job or service. We cannot call this sin, nor will we apologize for this commitment which is taught by our Lord Jesus, Himself, and is normal for many Christian as well as some secular organizations. Finally, in your original letter, you included a photo of Brother K. P. in his formal dress as the Metropolitan of the church during an ordination service. Since Believers Church operates under government approved church status as a constitutional episcopacy, it is required that he wear this uniform during the ceremony of ordination of pastors. This is done only for a few minutes; much like it is done during college graduation ceremony here in the west. We are NOT Catholic, nor are we Episcopalians, nor Anglicans, etc., etc. Rather, we are a Spirit-filled, evangelical church, born out of obedience to Christ’s Great Commission command to make disciples in all the world.

• GFA leadership prioritize ministry over family, and teaches the same.
GFA leadership actually believes and practices the opposite of this accusation. There is a clear teaching and messaging from the leadership regarding family, ministry, or personal life, that the overriding priority in all of these is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, or Christ in your family, Christ in your ministry, Christ in your personal life. There is plenty of deeds that support this, such as us giving one of our department coordinators about a year off to return home to care for her aging mother or even your wife, JD, who needed to reduce her time serving in the office for her well- being and then later stopped serving altogether to care for your adopted child. Or the many times we as GFA leadership have fasted and prayed for staff children and staff families. Or the prayer, fasting, and counsel we have provided (as well as the professional counseling we have arranged and paid for) for marriages that were struggling. Some former staff did not choose to take our counsel in these areas, and that was their choice and we respected that choice. Therefore, it seems extremely unreasonable that leadership would be accused of having a hand in ending their marriages.


• GFA leaders lie or intentionally deceive people in order to protect the ministry.

GFA leadership has never to our knowledge lied to or deceived staff, donors, sponsors, or anyone else for that matter, as accused here. For you who signed the letter, we attempted to reach out and contact literally all of you to share our side of your accusation, but you refused to do so. We have never lied about why a staff person left, but we have intentionally left out details that would be damaging to the staff person’s character. The truth is, none of you who signed your name to this letter knows the background and circumstances that we faced while working with some staff. Because we fear God and practice that love covers a multitude of sins, you now accuse us of sin? And the one of you who accused us of lying about your leaving, calling it a dismissal rather than you choosing to quit, appears to have forgotten the details of the incident. But we went back to copious notes and conversations between you, your pastor and leadership, and you simply are not being truthful in your testimony. When I called you to try to discuss this and reconcile, I left you a messages, but you would not call me back. What more can we do? Regarding the accusation and speculation of us raising money for one thing and spending it on the field for something else, I have had the privilege to take part in the audit of our USA office for 22 years. By God’s enabling and for His glory, I am a CPA with extensive fraud audit experience. I worked for one of the largest and most respected world-wide accounting firms, doing among other things, accounting system creation, evaluation, and implementation. I have had the privilege to work on the initial public offerings of some public companies. I give this background to you not as a means of boasting, but as a means of establishing God’s grace and gifting in the area of financial accountability. I have personally looked at the books and records on the mission field on a few occasions, and found them to be complete, accurate, and extremely detailed. Auditors in both the USA and Asia have reported the same. So an unfounded accusation against our financial integrity is totally baseless. The truth is, we often spend more on field projects than we raise in the USA, due to the fact that more than 30% of all field work is now financed by the churches we are planting on the mission field. If you would like to know more, please do what others have done and go and visit again the field to check this out. As of today, 4,000 congregations are self-supporting, have a church building, and are in turn funding mission outreach to many unreached areas. It is unfortunate that unchecked speculation has been pass off as proof when all the way we have always been very honest and forthright with our finances.


• GFA practices unbiblical shunning.


We do not, nor have we ever practiced unbiblical shunning of neither current, nor former staff. With that said, in only a few cases over our 35 years have we made the painful decision to discontinue fellowship with people, and that was done for clearly Biblical reasons and after much effort was expended unsuccessfully to try to reconcile fellowship with them. While we do not as a leadership practice shunning, we do, after much prayer and sometimes fasting, take seriously Romans 16:17 and Titus 3:10, when we have personal experience and knowledge of a situation to know that fellowship with certain people is very likely to damage another staff person’s calling from the Lord and/or their relationship with Him. God is our witness, and our conscious is clear that we have done this out of love for the staff that God has brought here to serve with us. Some of you have accused us of shunning you or you have told our staff that after you signed the letter that you would be shunned, and we have not done so whatsoever. If others on staff have felt the need to distance themselves for any reason, that did not come from us. The truth is that we sincerely pray for many of you and will continue to do so.


• GFA prohibits or discourages staff involvement in bible studies, small groups, and local churches.


This is simply not true. As proof, many of our current staff are attending and involved in Bible studies and local church activities in various churches in our community. However, while we do not prohibit or discourage the staff from these, we do encourage, remind and even exhort them that these and other things must not become a distraction to their calling from the Lord to serve Him at GFA and reach over 2 billion people on the planet who are dying and going to eternal Hell without Him. This is what we left family, friends and home to do. If we have concern that these are becoming a distraction, then we will talk to the staff person and share our concern with them and try to find resolution with them. At least one of you who signed the letter was so upset that you were not allowed to go to special Bible studies, but you might have forgotten that at that same time, you were not regularly coming to GFA prayer meetings or ladies meetings, nor were you involved in the ministry that God had called you to. The only other time that we have prohibited or discouraged staff involvement in Bible studies was when it was used as a platform to teach a disputable doctrine to the staff (e.g., Reformed Theology), which we as leadership saw as unhealthy and distracting to the call of God upon the precious staff that He has entrusted to us.

Finally, it might interest you to know that dozens of our current GFA staff worldwide took the initiative to write letters of affirmation of the GFA leadership to the USA Board of Directors. We have attached these for your review in case you are interested.

David, on the of behalf of the GFA USA Leadership

[testimonies redacted due to lack of permission from each staff member to publish the attachment]

From: “JD Smith”
To: “K.P. Yohannan”, “David”, “John”
Subject: Fwd: Response to your letter-corrected

Dear Brother KP, David, and John,

I am writing to follow up with my phone call with KP regarding scheduling a meeting. At this time, we 37 signers unanimously agree that before any such meeting takes place we must receive a thorough, written response to the weighty concerns we outlined in the letter. We feel that any meeting would be unproductive if we have not heard your clear explanation on these matters in writing first.

Again, they are as follows:
• GFA leadership practices and teaches a false view of spiritual authority.
• GFA leadership prioritize ministry over family, and teaches the same.
• GFA leaders lie or intentionally deceive people in order to protect the ministry.
• GFA practices unbiblical shunning.
• GFA prohibits or discourages staff involvement in bible studies, small groups, and local churches.

Please respond to these points as thoroughly as you would like. We have thirty-seven witnesses who all affirm the sins at Gospel for Asia are public in scope and grave in nature. If there is going to be any chance of remediation, it is vital that you outline strategies to root out these persistent sinful patterns, or clear up misunderstandings by clearly presenting your explanations. We firmly request you address only the five offenses above.

In a spirit of love, we earnestly desire restoration and accountability within Gospel for Asia. We are happy to follow up with a meeting once you have presented your side in a formal, written response.

We attached the one letter we have received from David. Unfortunately, such a reply was insufficient and unsatisfactory as it neglected to address our concerns. We trust you will give a suitable reply this time. Please do so within seven days; by July 20, 2014, and please reply to confirm your intention of doing so.

You may do so by email to this address, or by postal mail to xxxxx, Dallas, TX 75219.


(xxx) xxx-xxxx

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: David
Date: Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 3:10 PM
Subject: Response to your letter-corrected
To: “JD<mailto:xxxxxxxxx>” <xxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:xxxxxxxxxx>>

Hi Brother JD,
We found that our original communication to you sent earlier had a typo in it.  Here is the corrected letter.

Thank you.

From: David
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2014 9:32 AM
To: ‘JD Smith<mailto:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>’
Subject: Response to your letter