Gospel For Asia Gets Sneaky

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16 Responses

  1. Kevin H says:

    This particular discrepancy may actually have at least a partially reasonable answer by GFA. But, of course, even in a manner like this that they might have some reasonable answers to, they still end up dealing with it in a shady fashion. It would almost seem that this organization may be so conditioned to dealing with things in a backhanded fashion, that they have become incapable to handle anything in a straightforward fashion. At least publicly. Maybe I’m wrong. But it’s the strong impression they’ve been giving the last few months.

    As for the (at least partial) explanation, this is one of the things I had specifically asked GFA about. They said they have separate programs set up for U.S. donors and Indian donors due to the relative general incomes between the two donor bases. In the U.S., they ask for what is the supposed full dollar amount needed to support a child on a monthly basis. So one donor fully supports one child. In India, they only ask for a partial amount to sponsor a child. So it takes 2-3 donors in India to support one child. So this is one significant difference between the two countries and probably why the Indian site was meant for Indian donors only. Maybe there are other differences in the programs, too. I don’t know.

    One way or another, GFA would serve itself so much better if it could just learn to be up front about things. The problem for them may be however, if they are up front and honest about everything, they may end up needing to admit to a lot of wrongdoing.

  2. Thankful says:

    It seems as though GFA’s theology is directly informing their praxis in these ongoing issues. I’m guessing they deem the Diaspora to be in rebellion and people like Warren have no standing to challenge the work of God Although, I’m not sure what their (non)response to donors indicates other than those donors are rebellious as well?

    I would be interested to hear what Xenia might have to say as I wonder if it is possible for the same situation to occur in an Orthodox church? (which K.P. seems to be imitating in India). i.e. if a Bishop (or Metropolitan) says you should do something and you disagree (or hear the Lord leading you differently) would you be deemed in rebellion and shunned until you repented? Or are is there a check/balance? Or would it only apply to a priest?

    Just a thought (theology affects praxis) which makes their responses at least make a bit of sense.

  3. Thankful says:

    Also (for Xenia) would refusal to comply preclude salvation?

  4. Xenia says:

    Hi Thankful,

    I haven’t been following the Gospel for Asia story very closely but I did notice that KP is presenting himself as a bishop, with all the trappings and authority which he has bestowed upon himself. Since he has nothing in the way of apostolic authority, nothing he says is spiritually binding on anyone unless you are one of his “employees” and then he serves as your boss and then obedience is an obligation. Rebelling against a self-proclaimed, johnny-come-lately is a healthy thing, IMO.

    Now in the case of ancient apostolic churches such as the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox, the situation is different, especially if you are a clergyman. If a priest disobeys his bishop in a serious way (not in a trivial way) he may find himself laicized, that is, stripped of his priesthood. His no longer Father Matthew; now he’s Mr. Smith. As for ordinary church members, we would be under the direct authority of our parish priest and he has the authority to withhold the Sacraments from people who go off the rails.

    There’s the tragic case about 20 years ago of a parish in our general area that flat out refused to obey the reasonable directives of their bishop and they found the locks were changed on the church and saw themselves reduced to “Mr. Smith” and “Mr. Jones” in quick order. The case went to court and the diocese got to keep the church building, which continued under the few remaining clergy and parishioners who were not part of the rebellion.

    If I ran around preaching heretical doctrines I would be politely asked to stop, then told to stop, then refused communion, and then, if I persisted, excommunicated. My priest would talk this over with his bishop and he would follow the bishop’s instructions. If I became a national scandal, preaching (in the name of Orthodox) all kinds of bizarre stuff. the bishops would eventually write a pastoral letter to the Church at large warning against me. This does happen now and then.

  5. Xenia says:

    Also (for Xenia) would refusal to comply preclude salvation?<<<

    That would depend on the nature of the rebellion. If someone's rebellion takes the form of denying cardinal points of doctrine like the Trinity, etc., then their salvation is in danger, of course, just as with any group.

    That group I mentioned up above: even thought they were in total rebellion against their bishop I don't think anyone ever doubted their salvation at any point. But they were in sin and one must repent of one's sins to have a good conscience before God.

  6. Xenia says:

    Another thought:

    I belong to ROCOR, the “Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.” This jurisdiction was formed by the Russian diaspora who fled Communist Russia. They originally set up parishes (all over the world) that were outposts of the main church in Russia but as that Church became increasingly compromised under the Bolsheviks, ROCOR broke away and formed its own jurisdiction until the day the situation improved. Not all of Ortholandia accepted ROCOR and thought they were in rebellion (schism). A bit over ten years ago, ROCOR reunited with Moscow. A significant number of people thought this was premature and schismed off into their own jurisdictions which are not recognized by the rest of Ortholandia. They are considered to be in rebellion but I don’t think anyone doubts their salvation…. at least, I don’t!

  7. Xenia says:

    I am just offering my opinions, by the way. I am no expert on these matters.

  8. Eric says:

    Pushing Thankful’s question a bit further, what happens if the bishop is mistreating those under him or giving them harsh instructions?

  9. Xenia says:

    Bishops can be deposed, although this doesn’t happen too often. The other bishops of the jurisdiction can make life very uncomfortable for a misbehaving bishop. Also, I believe (not positive) that a Patriarch can depose (or ease into early retirement) a bad bishop.

    Over the past 2000 years every scenario you can imagine has occurred. There’s the ideal and there’s what actually happens.

  10. Xenia says:

    Even Patriarchs can be deposed. About fifteen years ago, the Patriarch of Jerusalem was allegedly involved in a questionable land deal and the bishops of his synod “struck his name from the diptychs” which means his name was removed from the list of bishops. A new Patriarch was installed. Complicated story but that was the upshot.

  11. Bob says:

    Xenia

    What you explain is the kind of order any organization which respects and cares about people should go through. The one exception church organizations have is they either say they speak for God or are the direct representatives, as an organization, for God. All organizations with processes that provide order and safety for its members are a Godly thing, however the later is where the danger lies.

    When one says they speak, heard, represent, or any other adjective about their special relationship with God the ability for abuse grows rapidly. I might even add this also applies to secular organizations where God is replaced with the idea of the good of the community or the all seeing wisdom of the one in charge. How many millions over the millennia have been murdered In such situations?

    My point is only this, while I find “accountability” reduces abuse it in no way eliminates it. One of the reasons communities subject themselves to law is to prevent, not eliminate, gross abuses by individuals and others.

    It’s good another gnat of a website continues to buzz the heads of those whom abuse their positions.

  12. A Friend says:

    Warren is all over GFA like a dog on a bone. Good work.

  13. Xenia says:

    When one says they speak, heard, represent, or any other adjective about their special relationship with God the ability for abuse grows rapidly. <<<

    Yes and you have accurately described the Pope of Rome.

    The Orthodox Church does not have an individual comparable to the Pope. We have our patriarchs, but they are the head of national churches and not the Church as a whole. Theoretically, all bishops are equal in authority although patriarchs, archbishops and metropolitans are considered to have the first place among equals- chairmen of the board, so to speak.

    If there is a serious doctrinal controversy, an ecumenical (world-wide) council is held to determine the truth of the matter. So as you know, in the early 300″s the Arian heresy was rampant. This was a group that believed Christ was a created being and that “there was a time when the Son was not.” They were like the Jehovah’s Witnesses of their day. As St. Jerome lamented, one morning the whole world woke up to find itself Arian. A council was convened to sort it all out. (Nicea I)

    The council of bishops studied the Scriptures, prayed, deliberated and concluded that “there was never a time when the Son was not,” that is, Christ is eternal and not a created being. This was not determined by one person; it was determined by the Church, as guided by the Holy Spirit. There has not been an ecumenical council since No. Seven in the 8th century because all serious doctrinal questions have been answered, again, not by an individual but by the Holy Spirit speaking through the Church. Scripture says that the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. (I Tim 3:15)

    These councils (at least, the first 6) established the doctrinal foundation of all of Christendom.

    What is the alternative? Every man or woman deciding for his or herself what is the truth? Instead of one Pope millions of individual popes?

  14. Thankful says:

    Thank you, Xenia. It seems the difference with the Orthodox is primarily the fact that there are multiple powerful authorities which subscribe to common lineage and history and have a record of proper (healthy) practice (tradition), whereas it is possible K.P. may be the only/ultimate authority and is possibly making unreasonable demands or not leaving open a two way relationship with people that includes Christ as the Head with the input of the Holy Spirit. It does concern me employees are discouraged (overtly or covertly) from plugging into churches. Have to see how things go.

  15. Xenia says:

    Thankful, notice my inclusion of weasel words like “ideally” and “theoretically.” Even the best of systems can be thwarted by a cadre of good ol’ boys. But not forever. Eventually a reformer comes along and sets things aright. (That’s “reformer,” not Reformer.)

  16. Mr Jesperson says:

    It should be noted that GFA’s Believers Church is not a part of any other denomination. It is its own entity. KP’s authority is higher than even the Pope. The man is not answerable to Cardinals or anyone else. It has been reported that the Bishops that KP appointed bought the positions with cash. The corruption then, in my opinion, is as high as it was in Rome during the dark ages. I would also note that there are multiple news reports in India from 2004 that reported that 2 of the CSI Bishops who appointed KP as a Bishop were put on trial and defrocked for breaking their own rules. One admitted under oath that KP had offered him a bribe in exchange for the title. It is the CSI position to this day that KP is not a legitimate Bishop. Outside the Believers Church KP has no power. Inside it he holds all of that closely to his chest.

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