In an intriguing cover story in The New Republic (TNR) outlining the life and work of Dr. K.A. Paul, Michelle Cottle described him as the world’s most popular evangelist. In an article filled with journalistic excellence and integrity, she also asked searching questions about why he was “not making it” in America.
To be described as an Evangelist is an honor and is warmly embraced by K.A. Paul in most parts of the world; however, in America, the term has come to mean something entirely different. When one thinks of an evangelist here, it often means a religious leader who appears on television in flashy clothing. They are usually living lives of elegance and excess while inflaming the masses to join their culture war—and all while they are constructing more mansions, building bigger business empires, and buying the best of everything.
For that reason, K.A. Paul is uncomfortable with the title, at least in the terms Americans think of an “Evangelist.” Most Americans’ connotations of the title do not even remotely define who K.A. Paul is and what he does—as a matter of fact, in many cases he is exactly the opposite. And even if it is perfectly understood, the title Evangelist still only partially describes him. It was once noted that K.A. Paul has a combination of the defining characteristics of four people who changed the world: Mahatma Gandhi (peace leader), Mother Teresa (servant of the poor), Dr. Martin Luther King (human rights leader determined to end injustice), and Billy Graham (evangelist). While this truly describes K.A. Paul and his work, it leaves him searching for an appropriate title.
There are at least seven major differentiators between K.A. Paul and America’s concept of evangelists.
- Although he would never condemn or criticize others for doing so, K.A. Paul has never collected an offering at any of his rallies—whether a small crowd of 300 or a massive rally of millions. We are not aware of any other evangelist who has ever done this.
- Since 1989, K.A. Paul has spoken in approximately 1,100 houses of worship. One hundred percent of any offerings given to him went to support widows and orphans, without saving even $100 anywhere in the world for personal use.
- Being born Hindu, and now a follower of Christ, K.A. Paul has made uniting people part of his mission. Examples include Manila where after years of firm opposition to evangelical leaders like Billy Graham having rallies there, the late Cardinal Sin and Mike Velarde, pastor of the world’s largest Catholic parish warmly welcomed K.A. Paul and joined him in leading a massive rally there. In Gudivaba, India, more than 300 Hindu priests attended K.A. Paul’s Peace Rally. K.A. Paul has been the keynote speaker at the right-leaning Southern Baptist Convention National Pastor’s Conference, and to the left-leaning humanist organization, Alliance for the New Humanity, organized by Deepak Chopra. Being accepted by such widely disparate groups and being able to comfortably minister to them is not a trait of most American evangelists. On October 23, 2005 the leader of the world’s one billion Hindus traveled to personally meet K.A. Paul, publicly demonstrated his support for K.A. Paul’s work, and asked for his prayers. Upon his departure, the 82-yearold Guru declared, “Dr. Paul, you have me for life!”
- The world’s most popular evangelist has never sold a book or a tape.
- While most of America’s evangelists, televangelists, and pulpits thunder God’s judgment on evil/enemy rulers, K.A. Paul reaches out to them with an appeal for God’s mercy on them, and an appeal for their mercy on their subjects. Besides the predictable meetings with Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Sovereigns, K.A. Paul has also met with most of the world’s most hardened despots and tyrants. Astonishingly, K.A. Paul has been instrumental in stopping or averting five wars in seven countries using this approach—and it has all been done by following one of Christ’s simplest precepts: it is not the healthy who need a physician, but the sick.
- In sharp contrast to America’s evangelists, K.A. Paul doesn’t own a piece of property anywhere in the world— not even the $60,000 house where he resides.
- Again, in stark contrast to other leading evangelists, K.A. Paul’s salary (not counting $582 / mo. housing allowance for the $60,000 house where he and his family reside) has averaged less than $2,000.00 per month for the 12 years he has been a green card holder. (His tax returns are available to the public.)
It is very important that K.A. Paul not be perceived wrongly or outright marginalized because of a title he never sought. His life work is to help the poor, the hurting, and the dispossessed. He tries to assist those who can never pay him back, and reaches out to those no one else wants.
That is the defining purpose of his life, no matter what title is used to describe it.
—- by The New Republic(may 2004)