This was the credential given to Ayyah in the year 1958, by the then Bishop of Tirunelveli, Rt. Rev. A.G. Jebaraj.
"I am glad to note that you are doing very good work in and around Nagercoil. May God bless your work. I am also pleased to note that you are doing work in conjunction with the Church of South India."
In the beginning of his ministry Ayyah carefully confined himself within the regulations of the Church of South India. The causes of the problems between Ayyah and the church can be traced to persons placed in high offices of the Church, rather than to Ayyah. At first these church doors were open to Ayyah and even though he respectfully did not speak against their doctrines while speaking there, the power of his ministry angered the church leaders because he was gaining popularity among the ordinary members. With great slandering and controversy the church hierarchy began to write to all the churches not to allow Ayyah to preach. This was the same with Jesus 2000 years ago; He was rejected of the leaders of the temple and He preached in the open air going from place to place. Ayyah, when he was pushed out of the churches, conducted open-air meetings.
In the publication ‘The Good Samaritan’, May 1961, it was recorded that, "When Billy Graham held meetings in that area it had been highly advertised of the great crowds which were sprinkled with a few non-Christians." They went on to say, "It is strange that although Brother Lawrie has not received much publicity, thousands have attended his meetings day after day, the attendance ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 per day in Perambur and Mylapore, seventy five percent of them being non-Christians. Holding meetings in the open air seems to have lured our Christian brethren, and quite a number of them proclaimed their acceptance of Christ as their personal Saviour."
This success of Ayyah's meetings only incensed the church leaders further and even those few in the high offices who had been reluctant to censor him now joined the ranks to discredit him. It was a great battle in those days among the Christians in South India. A few supported him, but mostly the leaders were fighting against him. Many people came out of the church because of this controversy.
It came as no surprise when the Bishop of Madras wrote an official letter addressed to every group, church, college, and hospital head under his Diocese of Madras slandering Ayyah. The controversy was great. The laymen reacted sharply and refuted the charges levelled against Ayyah by printing a rejoinder and distributing the copies to the same persons the Bishop had addressed his letter. The rejoinder not only cleared Ayyah of all the commissions and omissions he was accused of in the Bishop's letter dated October 6,1962, but it brought to light the base motive that had prompted him to write it. Should he not have been happy that so many non-Christians were attending Ayyah's meetings coming to God? It is clear and obvious that the Bishop and other leaders were jealous of the popularity Ayyah had gained among the Christians and non-Christians alike and the great success of his healing ministry. The rejoinders written by Ayyah's supporters continued to blast the church leaders in their many attempts to slander Ayyah and pointing out that it was because he refused to become a tool in their hands that they were forcing him out of the churches.