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Derek Vreeland

This paper was written by Derek Vreeland.

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Derek Vreeland holds an M.Div degree from Oral Roberts University. He is the assistant pastor of Cornerstone Church in Americus, Georgia.

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Articles > Charismatic Theology > P.G. Vargis and the Indian Prosperity Gospel

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A Biographical Sketch

  P.G. Vargis was born on April 13, 1942 to Christian parents in Mavelikkara, Kerala in South India. He was reared in an Jacobite Church and formed a concept of God based on the Old Testament.  The young Vargis saw God as a rewarder of the good and punisher of the wicked and he desperately wanted to be obedient.  During early adolescence, doubts settled in.  Vargis admittedly stole from the church, but could not understand why God did not punish him.  He determined that there was no God.  After high school he entered a technical school, but gave up studying in order to pursue a selfish and sinful lifestyle.  In the spring of 1960, he attended the All Kerala Christian Fellowship, a charismatic “gospel preaching” church.  He fell under conviction of sin and repented of his selfish life.  However upon returning to school, he returned to his old habits and eventually dropped out.  Finally, he borrowed money under his father’s name and ran away.


  After gaining employment and then losing his job, he turned to stealing and soon was living on the streets. Like the prodigal son, he returned home, but did not stay long.  In constant rebellion to his parents, he again ran away.  In Bombay, he joined the Army and increased his sinful lifestyle.  He struggled with the guilt of his sin, but found no relief.  He often had bouts of condemnation that sent him running to the Catholic Church, but no degree of confession, prayers, giving or liturgy could remove the darkness of his heart.  He resigned himself to live the life of a “hardened atheist.”[12]

On April 13, 1969, Vargis found a solution to his spiritual struggle, suicide.  Even though he had been married for two years, he could find no peace in his heart. He went up to the terrace of his home with sleeping pills in hand. Before he could take the pills to end his life, he was suddenly struck with the fear of hell, a memory from his father’s teaching.  He retreated from his plan to end his life.

Vargis and his wife Lilly were soon transfer to Udhampur, Kashmir in North India.  Upon his wife’s request, Vargis and Lilly visited the Christian church of Udhampur.  They listened as an evangelist preached on what it meant to be a true Christian.  The following night on October 1, 1971, Vargis attended the meeting alone and felt persuaded to accept Jesus as Lord, but he did not immediately respond.   He slipped out the back door and caught a ride on military truck.  In the truck, he was surround by people, but felt alone in his sin.  He confessed his sins to the Lord and for the first time he felt “the flood-tide of peace.”[13]  Vargis became a Christian. Two months later, during Christmas he looked up on a mountainous hill at night and saw the cooking fires of some of the village people.  He was struck with the realization that they had not heard the gospel of Christ.  It was at that holy moment that he was called to be a missionary/evangelist.

By early 1972, Vargis was ready to resign his position in the army and devote himself to full time ministry.  He was already passing out gospel tracks and talking with fellow solders about the gospel.  He continued to pray that he would be released from the army.  He was finally discharged in September, 1972.  Now Vargis, Lilly and their newborn son, Aby where ready to head out into India to preach the gospel.  They started their evangelistic ministry in Katra, a Hindu pilgrim center in Kashmir.  They worked tirelessly for five years in Katra preaching the gospel, teaching the Bible and reaching out to low caste Hindus. They had no support for their ministry or family, but God provided for their needs by miracle after miracle.  Often they were hungry, but God would always provide.  This was “God’s Bible School”- the source of ministry training for the young evangelist.  By April 1973, 18 believers who had been baptized under Vargis’ ministry. In Katra, he started the first Beersheba Church of God.

In 1975, Vargis and his growing team of missionaries began a work in Pathankot, South of Kashmir in the Punjab state under the name “Indian Evangelical Team” (IET). There God brought together a leadership team of godly and qualified men and women who shared Vargis’ vision “to win the lost at any cost.”  In early 1977, Vargis moved the family from Katra to Pathankot. By March, they started a Bible training school and began sending out missionaries to the states of Orrisa and Maharashatra. The ministry began to flourish.


By 1984, IET had 258 missionaries and 107 churches in 8 states throughout India.  In April 1985, Vargis moved the IET headquarters to New Delhi.  From there, God opened up doors for Vargis to preach and speak throughout, India, Europe and the United States.  The motivating goal for IET was to plant 2,000 churches in India by the year 2000.  As of March 1, 2000, IET had planted 2,297 churches and had 1,776 missionaries working in 20 states in India, as well as ministries in Nepal and Bhutan.  During the late 1980s and through the new millennium, Vargis has published several books and magazines including Faith Today. Vargis continues to led the movement to reach their next goal of  7,777 churches by 2010.  

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User Contributed Comments

sony abraham
Friday 19th of August 2005

i full agree with bro p g vargis and have had personal experiences of god blessing his people when they put their trust in him to bless them

Wednesday 07th of September 2005


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