Dr. John Philipose was born April 15, 1939 in Kundra, Quilon, Kerala, India to Yohannan and Aleyamma Philipose. After he graduated high school, he moved to Bangalore where he met his first wife Susan. They were married in 1962 and had two children, John Jr. and Laly. John worked for Indian Telephone Industry in Bangalore for 10 years. While in Bangalore he was introduced to evangelism. He was baptized shortly after and went into part time ministry. During this time, he heard God’s call and wanted to study Theology. So, he decided to come to the US to pursue that goal. John came to Oklahoma City in 1975, where he enrolled in Midwest Christian College and began his studies. In 1977 he was ordained by the elders at College Heights Christian Church in Ardmore, Oklahoma while still taking courses at Midwest. While pursuing his bachelor’s degree, he would travel with the college ministry team to different churches. This is where he learned to preach and fundraise for his vision of going back to India to start a Bible College. He graduated from MCC in 1979.
John then began studying for his master’s degree at Southern Nazarene University, while also venturing out to the Christian Churches to present his vision and gather support for the Bible College. During this time, his wife Susan was diagnosed with liver cancer. After 2 long years of struggle, Susan succumbed in 1982. While many would have given up at this stage, John never lost his resolve.
In 1983 John met Annamma in Houston, Texas and later married her. Even though John experienced the “good life” in the United States, his commitment to return to his homeland never wavered. And John and Annie returned to India to honor his commitment to God to start a Bible College. Thus, India Christian Bible College was established in Kochi in 1984. His youngest daughter, Christina, was born in 1985.
One steadfast thing about John, is he was always available for anyone in need. A husband, a father, a grandfather, a statesman and even the father figure for the students of ICBC.
Some John’s favorite sayings were; “You asked for it, you got it, now you take care of it”. “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” “Never Quit! Just keep trying!”
God greatly blessed John’s effort in evangelizing his people for the cause of Christ. John was extremely driven, and while he spent pretty much all of his time in Ministry pursuit, he did find time to read and was an avid reader. He was also an author and occasionally wrote songs of faith. He enjoyed fishing and cooking whatever he caught, as well as his signature dish - Biriyani. He loved to travel and visited many places around the world.
John is survived by his wife Annamma (Annie), his son John Philipose, Jr and wife Lureeca., his daughter Laly Haffner and husband Dan, daughter Christina Philipose, and granddaughters Rebekah and Miriam, Rachel and Grace. He is also survived by his brother Titus Philipose, sisters Saramma Jose, Mariamma Varghese. He was preceded in death by his sister Valsamma Rajan.
John’s vision of making an impact on the people of India never wavered. His favorite verse being Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
The impact of just one. Just one rock thrown into a pond creates ripples that extend ever outward. Just one sack lunch in the hands of Jesus fed 5,000 people. And just one life in the hands of God touched thousands of people on the other side of the world. That one life was John Philipose.
A native of India, John traveled to Oklahoma to attend Midwest Christian College in the late 1970’s. While at Midwest, he learned firsthand about local church ministries, serving at Antioch Christian Church in Oklahoma City and was ordained there in 1977. But his passion was to return home someday, and lead the people of his home country to the hope found in Christ.
In those early days at Midwest, God planted a dream in John’s heart. There are over 1 billion people in the nation of India and only 2% are Christians. John dreamed of establishing a Bible College in his home country that would train more men and women for Christian service. If just one Kingdom worker can make a difference, he reasoned, just think about the difference hundreds or thousands of Kingdom workers could make. So, while John was a student at MCC, God began to orchestrate events to make that happen. In 1979 John was able to secure the purchase of land back in India for the college. And after graduating in 1982, he returned home to India to begin construction on India Christian Bible College. Just 2 years later in 1984, the first classes were held.
John continued his schooling, eventually earning a masters and a doctorate in ministry as he prepared to prepare others. Finally, in 1987, India Christian Bible College was able to graduate its first class. And in the years since, the college has sent out 34 more graduating classes, with over 3,000 graduates. Those 3,000 plus alumni have gone back into their communities to serve as evangelists and pastors. The Bible college teaches missions so many of the college’s graduates have gone to other countries, including nearby Burma and Nepal to share the gospel. Just think, if each of those 3,000 graduates influences a thousand people in their lifetime for Christ, that’s 3 million lives touched. Like ripples from a rock thrown into a pond, John Philipose has touched lives, that touched more lives, that touched more lives. Ripples, going outward.
John spent nearly a decade building the college and once it was up and running, while he continued to serve as its president, he turned his attention to his next ministry endeavor - planting churches. In 1992, he started the Christian Church Ministries in Kerala, India. And since 1992, that ministry has planted 74 churches. And over the last 30 years, thousands of lives in those churches have experienced the love of Christ. The ripples kept growing larger.
In recent years, John and his wife Annie had turned their attention to even more ministry endeavors. They were involved with tribal ministries for the children of the forest in Karnataka. They’ve sponsored a nursing home for deserted widows. Provided funds to purchase medicine for destitute patients in the hospital. And they’ve worked with the meals program to provide food and medicine for gravely ill patients in hospice care. Even going so far as to purchase a cemetery in which to bury those who had been abandoned by their families after accepting Christ and becoming a Christian.
When John started his ministry, he did not have a single soul – he was starting from scratch. Now, what brought John great joy was knowing that he had developed leaders who will continue even after his time.
John Philipose. You have been a student of the bible, a teacher of the bible, a preacher of the bible, and a teacher of preachers of the bible. But most of all, you’ve been a servant of the God of the Bible. And by placing your life in God’s hands, just like a sack lunch of 5 loaves and 2 fish, your ministry has been multiplied beyond what you could have ever asked or imagined. And the ripples will just keep going.
You will be missed by so many., But you have fought a good fight, you have finished your course. Henceforth there is laid up for you a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give you at that day: and not to you only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done!
Message by Pastor and ICBC Alumni Joy Parackal (in Malayalam)
ICBC Chapel, Kakkanad, Kerala, India - March 4th, 2022
Yukon, Oklahoma, United States - March 5th, 2022
India Christian Bible College
Thengode, Kakkanad, Kochi, Kerala 682030, India
Copyright © 2022 India Christian Bible College - All Rights Reserved.
Spreading the Word of God throughout the World
It is with a heavy, heavy heart that we tell you that Dr. John Philipose, Dad, has passed away. We are so thankful that we were able to spend the last year with him here in the states. I can tell you, his daughters, Laly and Christina took excellent care of him as he was battling cancer. He slipped away peacefully on Sunday morning, February 27th, in our home, surrounded by family at 5:50 AM. But what a legacy he leaves behind. To say that he was loved by thousands would probably be an understatement. He will be sorely missed.