Writing the difficult story of Gospel for Asia

by Karen Stiller

We first began to hear about the troubles facing Gospel for Asia through our readers.

We received several letters from Faith Today subscribers concerned that we were running advertisements from a charity facing serious questions about staff relations and financial issues.

A pile of Gospel for Asia research for the story "Tangled and Troubled Times at Gospel for Asia."
A pile of Gospel for Asia research for the story “Tangled and Troubled Times at Gospel for Asia.”

Of course, Faith Today has a clear “we don’t necessarily agree with all our advertisers” stance, but that answer only goes so far.

We started to dig and discovered that one of the world’s largest Christian charities was indeed coming under serious fire. We had a decision on our hands. Do we do this story? Or do we let it play out for even more time? Or do we ignore it altogether?

We chose to dig in.

We certainly weighed the seriousness of trudging into a story full of contradictory statements, unproved or not-yet-proven allegations, and named the potential risk and sadness of adding to the societal skepticism of Christians acting wrong with people and with money.

But of course, we aren’t given the task of making each other look good. It is our job to bring truth to light as best we can. Not to sensationalize or diminish. Not to make things bigger, nor to make things smaller than they really are.

So, I read, dug, listened, asked, confirmed, fact-checked, worried, asked more questions, worried some more. And then wrote.

Both sides checked in with me with concern at different times in the course of this story, wanting to make sure that I really got it, that I understood what was at stake. I think they wanted to know they were safe and that they were believed. The best answer I could give them, and I believe this to be sadly true, is that no one is going to like this story.

Karen Stiller is a senior editor of Faith Today. Sign up for a free trial subscription, and receive the May/Jun Faith Today featuring “Tangled and Troubled Times at Gospel for Asia.”

 

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