Liberty and Benny Hinn – The Dangers of Uninformed Anger

by Dave Miller on April 5, 2014 · 74 comments

The social media world was afire this week with questions about Liberty University’s “partnership” with faith-healing huckster Benny Hinn. When I first saw the reports, I was slain in the Spirit with shock, and I think I heard ol’ Jerry spinning barrel rolls in his grave.

Of course, some of the more angry “discernment” ministries jumped on this and heaped condemnation on Liberty University. A once-biblical ministry had partnered with one of modern American Christianity’s most shameful charlatans – one more piece of evidence of the spiritual decline in our land.

There was a legitimate issue in this situation. Had the facts as presented been completely true, it would have been shocking, shameful and sad to see Liberty University in league with Benny Hinn. But the facts did not completely support the outrage.

And that is my point here. We ought not default to condemnation. Get the facts. Check things out – BEFORE issuing proclamations of condemnation on Christian brethren and institutions.

Liberty clarified the situation. Frankly, I still think Liberty made a mess of this. However, they are not in partnership with Benny Hinn. Their provost erred in appearing with Hinn in a video, an error he has apologized for. But the reports that circulated and the harsh words of some of the purveyors of condemnation turned out to be overheated and unnecessary.

Liberty has issued clarifications that explain the situation. Again, I think they used poor judgment in this situation. They are imperfect. And I am glad that people raised this issue.

But the issue could have been raised with Christian grace not angry condemnation. Some “Christian” ministries – especially those espousing “discernment” as their goal – seem to default to anger, hate and condemnation against other Christians and Christian institutions.

Here is Liberty’s statement, “Liberty not partnering with Hinn.

The Facts

1) The situation started with Liberty selling licensing rights to the “Liberty Home Bible Institute” to Dan Reber. Reber had some rights to use the name “Liberty”, but Liberty is questioning whether this use violated the terms of the agreement. Here is a part of Liberty’s statement.

Liberty University is not partnering with Benny Hinn. Liberty transferred the operations of Liberty Home Bible Institute, a non-accredited biblical studies certificate program, to Mr. Dan Reber in 2011. Mr. Reber was granted certain licensing rights to use Liberty’s name because the Liberty name was deeply imbedded in LHBI course materials. Earlier, in 2009, Liberty engaged a company of Reber’s, Internet Marketing and Communications, LLC, to market Liberty Home Bible Institute and the Institute of Biblical Studies, another non-accredited biblical studies certificate program. Liberty University has maintained ownership of both programs. It is our understanding that Dan Reber or his company is working with Benny Hinn but Liberty University is not aware of the extent of the relationship or the terms. A review of the relevant contracts demonstrates that any such cooperative venture, branding initiative or partnership with Benny Hinn regarding these Liberty University properties violates the terms of its agreements with Mr. Reber and Internet Marketing and Communications, LLC. Liberty University has placed them on notice of this breach and is taking steps to stop the unauthorized use of its intellectual properties and trademarks. It is true that a senior administrator of Liberty University appeared on a Benny Hinn program where a certificate program was promoted, but no other Liberty officials had prior notice of the planned broadcast. The administrator appeared after he was misinformed regarding the extent of Mr. Reber’s contract rights. Again, Liberty University is not involved in any cooperative venture with Benny Hinn.

2) In a Q&A session, Liberty clarifies a series of mistakes, most made by Dr. Ron Godwin, the Provost of Liberty. They claim he made mistaken representations. 

1. What is Liberty University’s relationship with Mr. Dan Reber?
Dan Reber is a longtime donor to Liberty University. Personally and through his companies, he has provided various services to Liberty University over the years, especially in the area of direct marketing.

2. What is Liberty University’s relationship with Mr. Reber’s Liberty Bible Institute?
We are not aware of Mr. Reber having a Liberty Bible Institute.  One of his companies markets courses for Liberty University’s Liberty Home Bible Institute and our Institute of Biblical Studies, two non-accredited biblical studies certificate programs offered by Liberty University’s Center for Professional and Continuing Education.  In 2011, Mr. Reber took on additional responsibilities to operate the Liberty Home Bible Institute on behalf of Liberty University but was not authorized to make changes in the program without the consent of Liberty University. Please note that courses from the Institute of Biblical Studies, not Liberty Home Bible Institute, were being promoted on Benny Hinn’s program.
3. Does Mr. Reber’s Institute operate from Liberty University’s campus or other property? 
Dr. Ron Godwin was mistaken when he stated on television that Liberty’s Institute of Biblical Studies was operated by Mr. Reber. It is owned and operated by Liberty University on Liberty’s campus. By contract, the Liberty Home Bible Institute, a program not mentioned on Hinn’s program, has been operated by Mr. Reber at a location outside the campus of Liberty University, within the County of Bedford, Virginia, since August of 2011.
4. Does Liberty University provide any resources to Mr. Reber’s Institute?
Yes, Liberty provides resources to Mr. Reber in connection with his operation of the LHBI (again, the program not mentioned in the Hinn video). Examples include the rights to reproduce program materials, computerized scoring equipment, presence on Liberty University’s website, letterhead, email redirection, telephone redirection, completion certificates and certain other benefits to graduates of the program.
5. Dr. Ronald Godwin, identified by Liberty University as its senior vice president for academic affairs/provost, says Mr. Reber’s Institute program, though a “separate entity,” is “recognized and endorsed by Liberty University.”  
Again, Dr. Godwin was mistaken.  The Institute of Biblical Studies is not separate but LHBI is separately operated by Mr. Reber.  Both programs are Liberty University programs.  Those who successfully complete the program are eligible for college credit on the same basis as other certificate program graduates.  LHBI graduates must still meet the criteria for admission to any program to which they seek admission and completion of IBS or LBHI is not, in and of itself, a guarantee of admission or of academic credit.  Our public statement issued yesterday only referenced LHBI.  Liberty officials were able to review the 2009 and 2011 contracts and the Hinn video today and, for the first time, realized that IBS courses were being sold on the video, not LHBI courses.
Is it a fact that Liberty University recognizes and endorses Mr. Reber’s Bible Institute program? And to what degree is the recognition and endorsement, if that is the case?  See above.
6. Was Mr. Godwin operating as a Liberty University representative in his endorsement of Mr. Reber’s partnership with Benny Hinn? 
No.  His communications were not authorized and were contrary to the terms of Liberty University’s contracts with Mr. Reber and his company.  Dr. Godwin says that he was advised that Mr. Reber had the contractual right to sell IBS courses and says that he asked Benny Hinn not to air the program until he returned to Virginia and confirmed that Liberty had granted Reber the rights to sell the courses.
7. Does Liberty University plan to pursue any legal course of action?  Liberty University is putting the parties on notice of its rights and requesting actions inconsistent with its contract, trademark and intellectual property rights be stopped and rectified.

3) Dr. Godwin has issued an apology, taking responsibility for the mistakes. 

Provost’s statement, 4/4/14:

As the Liberty University Official who appeared on the Benny Hinn TV show I offer the following in order to explain why and what actually occurred.

The reason why I appeared on Pastor Hinn’s show was because of my understanding that small church pastors in multiple countries are facing government takeovers of their churches and the loss of their own rights as pastors.  It was explained to me that there are literally thousands of pastors and churches in imminent danger.

Mr. Reber’s contribution to the project would have provided pastors with at least a modicum of Bible education and a diploma certifying same and Pastor Benny Hinn’s contribution would have been to ordain those pastors through his worldwide church, thus providing a double shield of protection against government takeover.

Because of the urgency of the request and the assurances by Mr. Reber that he had been authorized since 2009 by Liberty University to sell Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies courses via Benny Hinn Ministries, I agreed without hesitation to appear on the Benny Hinn TV show with the understanding that I would have the opportunity to confirm what I believed at that time to be true: That Liberty University does grant college credit for Institute of Biblical Studies courses successfully completed.

What I failed to anticipate was that what I actually said would be lost beneath the weight of the gravely wrong assumption that I was announcing a partnership between Liberty and Benny Hinn. And I further relied on Pastor Hinn’s personal assurance that no public pronouncements would be made without my approval — which approvals I never gave, orally or in writing.

Today I was informed by Liberty University’s attorney that Mr. Reber apparently does not have the authority to market LUIBS courses on Benny Hinn’s program. But I want to go on the record that I still believe today that Mr. Reber sincerely believed he had such authority when he asked me for my help. And I believe that Dan Reber’s motivation was to provide Bible education to pastors in desperate need of such education.

It is my sincere prayer that the mistake I made in attempting to generate desperately needed help for pastors around the globe will not result in further hardship for those pastors and further distractions for Liberty University and its mission.

Dr. Ronald S. Godwin
Provost, Liberty University

Frankly, I wouldn’t license my worn-out undergarments to Benny Hinn – my feelings are strong about this man and his ministry. It would be my opinion that Dr. Godwin blew it. But he seemed to be operating from a heart that desired to minister in the name of Christ, not a heart of compromise. This is a significant mistake and I don’t know if Liberty will take further action against Dr. Godwin. Perhaps they should. But he made a MISTAKE. He did not sell out to the devil.

Grace might be preferable to condemnation in such a situation. Liberty may discipline him, but we ought to accept his explanation and apology.

4. Liberty has been unequivocal on the fact that they have not partnered with Benny Hinn and would not do so.

I have close ties with Liberty and a few years ago I would have strongly recommended it. I am not completely comfortable with all of the changes that have taken place since Jerry, Jr. took over for Jerry, Sr. But all in all it is a good school.

They may have made some mistakes, but they are not in league with the enemies of the gospel.

 

1 Tim G April 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Dave,
Thank you! Well written post. I am still trying to figure out when Pastors made the switch to news reporters. The judgmental attitudes wrapped in anger and self righteousness that are found today are in a tail spin to destruction.

As an Alumni of Liberty I got a text message about the situation and asked for specifics. It took less than five min to find the truth and yet the attacks were still being launched though the truth was clear for all who cared to do simple research.

Tis a sad day!

But GOOD post on your part!

2 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Yep. I am troubled by the compromise and theological drift in a lot of Christian ministries/pastors/etc. But I find the anger and condemnation from the so-called discernment ministries almost as troubling.

3 Doug Hibbard April 5, 2014 at 5:11 pm

I find the mention of your undergarments disturbing as well.

One thing that I have noticed over the years is our tendency to deny, obfuscate, and then clarify. This happens in churches by pastors:

“No, that’s just an old friend, not a search committee.”
“Well, he’s on the search committee at another church.”
“I’m leaving.”

Then pastors are surprised when “old friends” are met with suspicion.

Churches do it to pastors:
“It’s just a group of us going out to dinner.”
“Well, we talked a bit about the church.”
“Pastor, you should call that old friend of yours who is on a search committee somewhere…”

Organizations do it:
“We’ll be transparent.”
“We’ll tell you what happened afterwards.”
“We’ll tell someone much later, but before the decisions are final.”
“Oops, too late.”

It’s really not surprising that people jump to their conclusions and then doubt the clarifying statements. We have had too many visible times that we have treated the truth as an option. It’s either been done by us or to us.

We have to start trusting people again, but we also have to start acting in a trustworthy manner again. While I think most of us pastors should have known better and taken the time to get the facts–especially before flying off the handle like we saw on FB/Twitter–we should also admit that we’ve given people reasons not to trust us in times past.

Kudos, though, to Liberty for straightening this out.

4 William Thornton April 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm

We’ll put.

5 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Where will we put it? (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

6 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm

My wife told me that phrase was overboard as well!

7 Dean Stewart April 5, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I have witnessed some in the “electronic world” hound others calling for them to repent publicly of transgressions. The same now ignore at the very least they owe Liberty an apology and may need to repent of sin. The fact some were so quick to condemn and care nothing about the damage their untruth can do is telling. A few of these guys are just not living in reality. They are playing make believe. Thanks for your diligence Dave. Nice article.

8 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Don’t hold your breath.

9 William Thornton April 5, 2014 at 5:22 pm

It’s odd how “discernment” blogs, ministries, etc, came to be villains. On balance, the attention drawn to high profile, non-transparent ministries has been beneficial. Even in the SBC and all it’s entities the default position is still dismissive of questioners, let alone critics, and secretive. Sure, Liberty would rather have avoided this confusing mess and though I have no dog in this, something smells odd about it.

Your creative statements such ask “license my worn out undergarments” are appreciated, though decency prevents me from drawing any more attention to that one.

10 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 5:26 pm

No one has even mentioned my comment in the opening paragraph about being slain in the Spirit with surprise.

Again, my wife didn’t agree with me that it was funny.

Maybe I should listen to her more.

11 Tarheel April 5, 2014 at 7:03 pm

I laughed out loud when I read that comment.

12 Joel April 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm

I thought it was hilarious Dave.

13 Zack Stepp April 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

I’ll echo Tarheel and Joel: I thought it was an incredibly clever and well-placed joke, especially considering the context of the controversy.

14 Clark April 9, 2014 at 2:18 pm

That comment got me in the mood for a hilarious post! oh well…

15 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 5:27 pm

And let me be clear.

Godly discernment ministries are important. However, I have grown weary of the anger, condemnation and arrogant narrowness of some of them. The reason they’ve become the “villains” when they ignore biblical commands concerning how we treat one another in the body of Christ.

16 Tim G April 5, 2014 at 5:43 pm

A true discernment ministry will practice discernment! And thank God we have those who live this in their ministry functions. The internet based versions are not worthy of the title “discernment ministry” IMHO.

17 Bill Mac April 5, 2014 at 8:48 pm

I’m not sure “discernment ministry” is even a real thing.

18 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Good point.

19 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 8:51 pm

It ought to be a pastoral ministry not a parachurch ministry.

20 D. L. Payton April 5, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Dave

Amen!

21 Dean Stewart April 5, 2014 at 5:35 pm

When some appear to take glee in revealing the failures of others it is easy to see them as villains. Also some of the discernment group will only reveal the failures of those who are not in their tribe. The behavior of a few of these guys have made it difficult not being sympathetic to some of their targets who indeed are indefensible rascals.

22 William Thornton April 5, 2014 at 6:20 pm

I would ask my discerning brethren which is the greater problem, opaque and unaccountable ministers and ministries or loose cannon bloggers? High profile, rock star Christians do far more damage, in my view, than even bottom feeding bloggers.

We’ve seen this repeatedly – those who draw attention to misdeeds of revered leaders and institutions are given greater condemnation for insensitivity, inaccuracy, and procedural impropriety than the guilty subjects of their writing. Errant leaders are thus empowered.

OK’ I’m on a jag here…but high profile leaders and ministries will steamroll critics, sometimes viciously, they will employ PR people to plant fake news, obfuscate, and spin to avoid accountability.

23 Doug Hibbard April 5, 2014 at 5:30 pm

I will admit to finding it troublesome that Liberty’s Provost had no qualms about filming a segment with Hinn and saying anything that sounded like Liberty was partnering with him. That should have set off his BS detector–and the haste demanded should have reconfirmed that.

Never film something and then plan to verify it. If they have you on tape, then you must assume it will go out.

24 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 5:56 pm

It would definitely not surprise me if the Provost finds himself employed elsewhere next year. On the other hand, Liberty has been a pretty loyal employer (or stubborn).

25 Doug Hibbard April 6, 2014 at 4:21 pm

I would suggest that Liberty’s employment practices show them to be willing to handle problems, but only in their own manner. They will terminate (or encourage to depart) someone only on their terms, and not be dictated to, or directed by, anyone else.

Whether that’s good or bad is probably in the eye of the beholder.

I’m with you, though, on the Provost in this situation. He put them in a tight spot, and you’re not supposed to do that as Provost. You’re supposed to be the one that prevents and addresses those tight spots that *other* people put you in.

26 SVMuschany April 5, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Doug I think your point here is what needs to be stressed in this situation. Benny Hinn, his “ministry”, and for that matter majority of the Word of Faith movement is so demonic in nature, that frankly no Christian should ever “appear” with such a person/ministry unless it is in a manner that clearly and directly challenges what is going on. Consider that Dr Mohler went to BYU and spoke before them, he made clear that he had major issues with their theology. He said there were times when Christians and Mormons can work together (fighting abortion, gay marriage, ect) but that does not negate the theological issues. Mohler did “ecumenicalism” right.

The problem with Dr. Godwin is that he IS the provost for Liberty. He DID appear WITH Benny Hinn in promoting Hinn’s connection to the LHBI. A man with the position and authority of Godwin should not appear with a man like Benny Hinn in any haphazard way, as appears the case is here. Because of Godwin, there was every reasonable assumption that Liberty itself was endorsing Benny Hinn. Please note that the majority of those who raised this issue were not looking at Hinn’s claimed, but rather pointed to the video with Godwin and Hinn as the primary reason for the assumptions made.

That video either shows that there is/was a formal connection (that Liberty is now trying to take back) or an astounding lack of discernment and foresight. Again, we are NOT talking about just a minor theological difference here. Hinn and the majority of the WoF movement are 100% demonic in way, shape, and form. They are more dangerous to Christianity that Muslim fanatics, or Mormons, or any other group. That is why this is a major issue, and this is a major problem that needs to be openly and directly confronted.

27 D. L. Payton April 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Doug

I agree with what you said. However I would go a step further, I find it troublesome that the Provost would appear with him even if there was no filming. I would avoid being associated with Benny Hinn on any level. I hate spinach, but if Hinn told me he hated spinach I would eat spinach every day. OK OK yes I am ranting! Well, it is no worse than Dave talking about his undergarments. :-)

28 Bob Cleveland April 5, 2014 at 6:52 pm

The Apostle Paul himself acknowledged that some were preaching Christ out of envy and of ambition, and some with pure motives, but remarked of them: “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,”

I think some folks are going to be terribly chagrined if they get to Heaven and find that more are there because of Benny Hinn’s preaching, than anybody else’s (except maybe Billy Graham’s). I prefer not to board that bandwagon. I’d rather be rejoicing.

And I find it remarkable that Christians seem to be the quickest to want to propagate false and misleading stories. I hope I’m wrong, but fear I’m not.

29 Tim G April 5, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Bob,
Well said!

30 SVMuschany April 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Sorry, but it seems you may not be aware of what goes on within the Word of Faith movement, by men like Benny Hinn. Its alright most Southern Baptists are not. Let me make this perfectly clear. Hinn is not just teaching a “bad” gospel, he is not just teaching “another” gospel, his teachings are 100% demonic. You get more truth about the gospel out of Muslim leaders than you do from him and others of his kind. I challenge you to actually WATCH some of Hinn’s teachings. Or how about Todd Bentley, some of his “teachings” from the Lakeland “Revival” back in 2008 are still online. If you can watch those with out seeing the clear demonic nature then I honestly would have to question your discernment.

For every Southern Baptist who calls Roman Cathlics “unsaved”, it suprizes me that they are not as/more aggressive against Hinn and other WoF leaders. Roman Catholicism gets a lot wrong, and its teachings have done damage to the gospel through out history, but next to the WoF movement, they are 1000 times more orthodox.

31 Tim G April 5, 2014 at 8:19 pm

SV,
Irony is I know some from both Catholic and WoF that truly know Jesus as Lord and Savior!

Both obviously have their problems-orthodox or not. But to blast the whole without acknowledging the obvious is ill advised.

32 SVMuschany April 5, 2014 at 8:31 pm

I not only know people in each, I was apart of a Word of Faith church. I have personally met John Kilpatrick and watched him be worshiped like a god by people of the church. I have personally seen with my own eyes the emotional manipulation by so called, “men of God”. I have personally seen the gospel of salvation through Christ Jesus be placed secondary to the gospel of health and prosperity. I have personally seen the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” used as a means of arrogant authority and control over other people. I have seen potential true move of the REAL Holy Spirit be quashed because it was not lead or done by the established “leaders”.

I am sorry but you can say you have all the friends in the WoF movement you want, but until you have seen the demonic nature of what is going on within, you have no room to talk regarding this issue. Unintentional ignorance is an excuse in some cases, but not in this.

Again I challenge you to actually take a look at the ministries of people like Hinn, Bentley, Joyce Meyers, Rick Joyner, Paul Cain, Mike Bickle, and any one of a number of ministers within the WoF movement. Using the fact (and I admit there are some) that there are a few people in this movement that are truly saved, does not and SHOULD NOT detract from the fact that WoF movement is demonic.

33 Tim G April 5, 2014 at 8:37 pm

SV,
You might consider looking at my comment again. I can say the same as you stated about many in so called Christian ministries. Difference is. I heed the Word of God and do not condemn.

I have also had many people over the years join the church I Pastor and leave both. I know the difference and I know where they are wrong.

34 SVMuschany April 5, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Sorry, but scripture does tell us to discern, identify, and condemn false teachers. It is the DUTY of a shepherd to fight off the wolves, especially those who are in sheep’s clothes. To say, “Oh that Wolf can’t be too bad because he occasionally, by accident, leads some stray sheep back into the fold” is silly and ignorant. No wolves need to be identified and removed from any possibility of hurting the sheep of God. We have every right to condemn those who are so clearly demonic in their actions and ministries.

35 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 8:46 pm

sV, you are starting an unnecessary fight here. None if us buy into the WoF movement. You painted Bob as ignorant. He’s not. You painted Tim as an advocate of WoF, neither is true.

Best to tone down the rhetoric and talk to one another.

36 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 8:48 pm

You really are spoiling for a fight, aren’t you?

37 SVMuschany April 5, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Dave when people on this very form will take someone like Christine and condemn her, saying she does not believe in Christ Jesus, is not saved, all because she is Roman Catholic, AND THEN go and refrain from taking a strong stance against the WoF movement because there are a “few” within who “may” be saved, you better sure bet I am spoiling for a fight. It is not a simple matter of “not buying into the WOF movement.” It is a system of taking on the posture of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand, oblivious to the true dangers that WoF present.

I dare some of you to actually TALK to missionaries in countries that have heavy WoF presence. These missionaries are PLEADING with us to do something and confront this heresy. This is not just another “bad” theology, it is theology straight from Satan with the express purpose of deceiving people away from the true Gospel of Christ. And being afraid and unwilling to confront the WOF and those within is not something I want to support or be apart of.

38 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Well, if you are determined to tilt at windmills, feel free.

39 Tim G April 5, 2014 at 9:04 pm

SV,
Sad you think you know more than the rest of us because of your experience. Yet you know not our experience. As Dave graciously pointed out, you judged wrong. Admit that and move on.

40 Tarheel April 5, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Like SV my ire gets stoked up when discussing the WoF movement and especially so due the factt of much of evangelicalisms refusal to call it what it is, and the ensuing constant embracing of it.

I don’t get the reluctance myself. I can’t put my finger on the reason for it, but it’s there…it’s characterized Liberty for many, many years…but of all the WoF hugging that goes on there….any ministry partnership with Benny Hinn – who is among the worst of the worst (if not worst living one) in the WoF movement is absolutely indefensible.

I wish Liberty’s distancing from this issue was over theology and not money….but I’m afraid the walk back is more about donor activity thn it is theological conviction.

41 Brent Hobbs April 6, 2014 at 12:12 am

I don’t think SV is overreacting here. All his comments seem on point to me.

Particularly directed at Bob’s original out-of-context quotation. Paul never said he rejoiced at false teachers promoting a false gospel (that would be Galatians 1). Philippians 1 is talking about a true gospel being preached with wrong motives.

42 Steve April 6, 2014 at 1:06 am

Tarheel – at least from a timeline point of view, it appears that Liberty’s response WAS motivated by theology and not donations. They posted a response denying partnership with Hinn almost as soon as the post showed up on Hinn’s website. This response may have been a little inadequate, but it came before many of the new media or blogger sites had picked it up. They probably should have had more than one paragraph on the subject, but then again they were probably hoping it would go away quietly using lawyers behind the scenes. Also, Godwin states in his letter that he relied on the assurances of Reber. It seems likely that Godwin acted of his own accord (aka “Dr. Godwin was mistaken”), and then Liberty had to scramble to set things straight.

43 Tarheel April 6, 2014 at 4:57 pm

There was nomination of theology…ang branding issues….

I think they knew that it was a matter of time before the proverbial poop hit the fan and they got out ahead of it – they certainly would have lost money once it got out.

I say again, if there is or has been no partnership with LU and Hinn…then it’s odd that he provost would not know about the numerous false contentions of such by Hinn and would have been immediately cautious. Instead, He felt comfortable enough going on Hinn’s show to do a commercial complete with a diploma….nothing seemed to give him pause till after the fact…

The picture basically being painted by LU is one of a stupid, unknowing, unquestioning provost who was duped by a lying Dan Reber…if true ,that’s not exactly comforting either.

44 Tarheel April 6, 2014 at 4:58 pm

“There was nomination of theology…ang branding issues”

Should read…

There was no mention of theology …. Only branding issues.

45 Doug Hibbard April 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Well, that makes that clearer, Tarheel.

46 Dave Miller April 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Yes. I’ve had some close friends who were WoF. Great Christian people somehow, in spite of their awful theology.

47 Jim Hedrick April 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Oh Bob what you say rings of wisdom and truth but is such the minority opinion. All Discerning Love how sweet the prospect that will save us from devouring ourselves in the 21st century. God please give us more or that enriched grace.

48 Tarheel April 5, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Many would contend that the gospel is not bring preached by benny hinn….so Paul’s comments above might not apply.

Now the ones in Galatians……

49 Tarheel April 5, 2014 at 7:02 pm
50 D. L. Payton April 6, 2014 at 12:50 am

Tarheel

And there is no pain like the pain of un-given puns! :-)

51 Jim Hedrick April 5, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Dave you said it quite well…..Anger and condemnation do not build congregational denominational or familial unity. Where are the weeping prophetic bloggers who follow The Jeremiah model of calling the remnant to account. Long live the King! He is Risen.

52 Bob Cleveland April 5, 2014 at 9:07 pm

For the record, I’ve watched plenty of Benny Hinn.

53 SVMuschany April 5, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Really? Did you see the one about the “Holy Ghost Machine Gun”? I have actually had conversations with the person that was about.

54 Jerry Smith April 5, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Sometime back we disagreed on an issue, but I must say I agree with you on this & its sad some claims your fighting, when your just standing for the truth of the Gospel against Hinn & company. Its true, he & company are very dangerous.

55 D. L. Payton April 5, 2014 at 9:38 pm

I would suppose that most of us write from our own ministry bias. My bias is ministry in Montana. Our population sees basically two groups of church people (1) The old line traditional groups namely Catholic, Lutheran, and Methodist (2) Everybody else. Southern Baptist are part of the “everybody else” group. We are lumped in with the snake handlers, pew jumpers, Westboro, and TV “charlatans. When a Montanan sees a Benny Hinn mass slaying in the spirit or whatever, he does not analyze his theology or try to determine where he might be a little errant. He sees something that to him is downright ridiculous. Now enter me a Southern Baptist, and in his way of thinking I am just another one like him.

I am saying simply this. How to respond to anger and condemnation is not the issue for me. For me the issue is being cut off at the knees before I even have a chance to tell this man about Jesus. I’m just another nut.

So, am I responding in anger or condemnation, I don’t know. I do know that there is much that happens “in the name of Jesus” that negatively impacts the preaching of the gospel of Jesus.

56 Tarheel April 5, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Amen, DL!

57 Steve April 6, 2014 at 12:53 am

Godwin’s story doesn’t completely add up. In his note he states “Because of the urgency of the request and the assurances by Mr. Reber that he had been authorized since 2009 by Liberty University to sell Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies courses via Benny Hinn Ministries, I agreed without hesitation to appear on the Benny Hinn TV show with the understanding that I would have the opportunity to confirm what I believed at that time to be true: That Liberty University does grant college credit for Institute of Biblical Studies courses successfully completed.” He is the provost of the largest Christian university in the world. He has thousands of employees under him, and he probably flew to LA for Benny Hinn. It doesn’t matter how urgent the request was, he had the resources and the time to check on this situation before he taped it. Also, as the provost, it is beyond negligent to rely on the “assurances” of Mr. Reber and not notify your institution’s council. Mr. Godwin did more than just show poor judgement; a man of his season and experience knows better. Grace means you still love him as a brother in Christ; unprofessional and negligent behavior means you get fired from your job.
Liberty appears to have been surprised by the announcement and may not have had much to do with it. Liberty issued a response denying collaboration almost immediately after the spot was added to Hinn’s website, before most of the blogger backlash. When that backlash hit, they released a more detailed response as well as a Q and A. This looks more and more like Godwin’s mistake and not Liberty policy.

58 Tarheel April 6, 2014 at 1:16 am

Dave miller,

A problem still unaddressed is that this is not he first time Hinn has claimed “partnership” with LU, but it’s the first time the artnership has been validated (errantly or not) by such a high ranking Representaive. If the appearance of partnership had been (as Barney Fife would do) nipped in the bud way back – we’d not be here today.

It’s hard to buy the “we ain’t partnering now” when they’ve allowed previous assertions of partnership to go unaddressed.

Again, I would rejoice much more in the statement if it mentioned theological reasons why they are not partnering with Hinn? Is this merely a legal/name use issue? Or is it theological? Does theological conviction even play in to it all? You wouldn’t know it from the statement.

59 Tarheel April 6, 2014 at 1:22 am

From 2009.

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Sand-Understanding-Conflict—Dangers/dp/1599797704/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396761535&sr=1-1&keywords=benny+hinn+blood+in+the+sand

Click on “look inside”
Then
“back cover”

Read and see that a partnership with Liberty University and Hinn’s school of ministry are referenced as having a partnership.

60 Tarheel April 6, 2014 at 1:26 am

Also notice on that back cover….Tim Lahaye recommends (another big LU donor).

Reber and Lahaye (both millionaires) have together funded a great number of LU projects. Both have major buildings named after them.

Money talks, folks.

61 Christiane April 6, 2014 at 2:47 am

“Money talks, folks.”

the old, old story . . .

62 Dave Miller April 6, 2014 at 1:49 am

Liberty gave a detailed explanation. If you choose to disbelieve them, not sure there’s more they or I can say.

63 Tarheel April 6, 2014 at 3:43 pm

I said I believe thier explanation of this event….but pointed out that

1) it seems to be about Money than theology.
2) is not the first time that Hinn has claimed partnership which, if no alliance whatsoever is reality, begs the question….why was a provost not aware of Hinn’s history of doing so and if he was aware then why was he on the show at all?

In fact, why are representatives of LU ever appearing under any circumstances in studio on camera with Benny Hinn?

64 Debbie Kaufman April 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Good questions to ask Tarheel.

65 D. L. Payton April 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Mike

I agree with Debbie. These are good questions to ask. I would also add that they are fair questions.

66 Tarheel April 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Maybe it just seems that the statement asserts facts that appear self contradictory.

;-)

67 William Thornton April 7, 2014 at 5:36 am

The Christian Post has a story on this under Liberty “clarifying” things. In the piece CP gives an exerpt from the Appearance on Hinn’ show:

“Whether you’re a pastor, lay leader, or in full-time ministry, your membership with World Healing Fellowship will allow you to take a biblical program of study through Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies that will equip you with rock-solid teaching and a Bible-centered curriculum that is without equal,” reads the announcement on BennyHinn.org. “Upon completion of this course you will receive a diploma from Liberty University, qualify to enroll in advanced Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies courses, and become eligible to obtain college credit from Liberty University!”

http://www.christianpost.com/news/liberty-university-clarifies-partnership-with-benny-hinn-amid-evangelists-promotion-of-bible-institute-117379/

Liberty is also called a “Southern Baptist-affiliated school”. That might need some clarification.

68 Mark Lamprecht April 7, 2014 at 8:48 am

I’m thankful for Liberty’s clarification. However, as some have noted above, there is still some confusion. And most people will probably not look at the issue as those of us have reading this post. There will probably be people who sign up for this program because Liberty’s name is attached.

If you check the brochure on Hinn’s site you will find the program uses Liberty’s seal. And the brochure has Falwell Sr.’s image with a positive quote from him about Hinn. Ed Hindson, Dean of the School of Religion at LU, is also featured on the brochure.

69 Matthew Grant McDaniel April 7, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Hi, Dave. Thanks for your thoughts, here– they are quite balanced and also a necessary voice in this matter.

I am an alumnus of Liberty University, and I have been among the bloggers of which you speak.

At first glance, I may appear to be grouped in as one of these ‘discernment’ bloggers. That would not be completely accurate, though. Most of the time, such bloggers are far-removed from the situations they take pot-shots at, and with such little stake in the game, they feel they can be as bold as they want since they have little to lose.

As a (double) alumnus, I have a lot of stake, here. And the many, many other Alumni I have been in contact with are in full agreement with my otherwise, and admittedly, angry words.

But we are angry because we were told Liberty was one thing, and Dr. Godwin has recklessly attempted to make it into something else. We alumni have far too much invested in this school to let this continue to happen.

I take full responsibility for my tone, words, and any fallout or ricochet that may come.

But I’m not a watchdog blogger, and I’m not a ‘discernment ministry.’ I am an alumni with every right to voice my frustration with the school I gave 7 years of my life to (3 in undergrad, 3 in grad, 1 as an employee).

Again, thank you for the thoughts. God bless.

70 Alvar April 7, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Good post, Dave. I’m glad you did your best to get the facts straight. It frustrates me that people on both sides are missing the point – there was likely a serious breach of contract as well as grave professional misconduct. This situation has much less to do with religion or theology. At the end of the day, Liberty University believes that the association with Benny Hinn is damaging to its public identity, and Dr. Ron Godwin directly caused that damage without due diligence (consulting superiors and the legal team). His statement is nothing but equivocation, on the level of a teenager trying to justify poor action. This is a simple case of a high-level employee acting incorrectly and causing problems for his company – he’s not the first, and he won’t be the last; nothing more to the situation despite ridiculous speculation. Godwin should be summarily removed, as would any executive in many other companies would be.
It is silly that anyone would suggest that this was some “master plan” to make money, or whatever, by Liberty. If LU (read as Jerry Falwell, Jr.) has demonstrated anything, it’s that he has plenty of budgeting resources to accomplish the academic goals of the university at this point, and is also not concerned about public opinion when the facts are reported accurately.

71 Todd Benkert April 8, 2014 at 10:49 am

For what it’s worth, LU is the most godly place I’ve ever worked and their love of the gospel and spiritual care for students and faculty is evident at every level. While the situation has been unfortunate, nothing about it dissuades my confidence in the leadership of our institution.

72 Randy White April 8, 2014 at 11:18 pm

This is a great report. As a dad of two current LU students, I have noticed a very uncomfortable trend toward charismatic theology and purpose-driven mania that has taken over Liberty. I think this is the reason for the very strong reaction by many discernment ministries.

73 Clark April 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Actually I think it’d be kinda awesome if all of the foreign pastors who follow Hinn got the LU Home Bible course!

74 Tarheel April 9, 2014 at 3:34 pm

That’s a good and positive spin on the controversy.

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