Liberty University, Benny Hinn, and Contradictory Claims

by Max Andrews

I love Liberty University. I want to get that out from the beginning so readers will have an initial filter by which to understand my concern. My concern is that Liberty is spiraling down a bad path [and has been]. The straw that broke the camel’s back is Liberty’s new affiliation with Benny Hinn. Yeah, that Benny Hinn, the heretic and prosperity gospel preacher…

[ANY UPDATES AT THE BOTTOM]

However, Liberty denies partnering with Benny Hinn: http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=18495&MID=116272

In my opinion, the update at the bottom about transferring the name to the unaccredited biblical studies institute is unsatisfactory for me as well. Ties should be cut completely. Hang up the phone and remind Hinn that there’s nothing there for him (see my phone conversation with a rep. below.)

Unfortunately, truth is hidden in a knot of semantics and, dare I say, lies. Some alumni and others have done their research:

I spent seven years at Liberty–four for my undergrad degree and three for my grad degree. During my time there I also worked as an employee for the university and I know how things work over there. I used to be a defender of Liberty on things like this–claiming the alleged facts were incorrect, the person has some agenda, etc. but the evidence became overwhelming. I know what language the university speaks…

I cannot speak in the language of financial contributions, I’ll never have a building named after me, but I can speak in the language of reputation. Liberty has the potential to put out many scholars to world-class universities for terminal degrees (me being one of them–I’m completing my PhD in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland).

From what I understand from a present employee, the administration has made efforts to improve the scholastic status of the university–to compete in academia like it should. However, partnering with a heretic does not make Champions for Christ… I could speculate as to why LU would partner with this heretical millionaire but that’s a drop in the bucket of LU’s net $1 billion net worth in assets.

Below are some emails that I’ve had with the university (with the most recent at the bottom):

From: Andrews, Max Lewis Edward
Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2014 4:35 AM
To: Alumni Relations
Subject: Re: Exclusive Alumni Benefits with Nationwide Insurance

Alumni Relations,

To whom may I make a formal complaint about the business with Hinn Ministries? I saw the [contradictory] announcement on the splash page denying it but the evidence mounts against that denial, which incurs more trouble.

I’m not a donor. I don’t speak the language of money that most alumni do nor does it speak the loudest to the administration.  What I do have is reputation. I’m a product of an excellent MA program and I am completing my PhD at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and I have a fairly large platform of listeners via my website. I’ve been through the peer review process and have published in respected peer reviewed journals. What I do have is reputation. So, I can’t withdraw money (nor is that the appropriate action). Before I make any announcements about my [strong] thoughts on this (and I’ve worked at LU long enough to know what happens behind the scenes in the administration, and horror stories!) I’d like to submit an enquiry to someone who will listen and may provide answers.

Could you please forward me a name and email address of someone I could enquire with?

Thank you,

Max L. E. Andrews

I received this email in response:

From: Alumni Relations <alumni[at]liberty[d0t]edu>
Date: Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 3:14 PM
To: Max Andrews <mlandrews[at]liberty[d0t]edu>
Subject: RE: Exclusive Alumni Benefits with Nationwide Insurance

Mr. Andrews,

Thank you for bringing your concerns to us for clarification before maligning us to your audience. Here is the link to the official statement by the university. http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=18495&MID=116272 If you have any more questions or concerns on this matter please contact the Center for Global engagement (434) 592-6500 and cge[at]liberty[d0t]edu.

Thank you,

[NAME REMOVED]

[TITLE REMOVED]
Alumni Relations, Office of Development

I removed the name of the person who sent me this email. This was a middle-person and should not be involved. This person’s job or performance should not come under any pressure, rebuke, or attack by supervisors. This person did her job and simply relayed information and for that I am grateful.

Well, I call that number below. I didn’t edit the audio (I’m sorry, the quality isn’t the best) but the young lady who helped me knew I was recording. (Link on YouTube.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THktEGDR4xY

As instructed, I emailed Johnnie Moore and his assistant. Below is my email:

On Apr 18, 2014, at 3:53 PM, “Andrews, Max Lewis Edward” <mlandrews[at]liberty[d0t]edu>
 wrote:
Johnnie [and ASSISTANT],
As an alumnus I have several concerns over the recent affiliations LU has made with Benny Hinn—an unquestionable heretic.
I first contacted Alumni Relations and was told to contact the Center for Global Engagement. I spoke with Abigail there and she was a wonderful young, polite lady. I also recorded the conversation and she was aware of it as well. I’m documenting everything about my inquiry.
I love Liberty and I love it so much to hate to see it go down this path. The announcement on the splash page denying LU’s affiliation is easily falsifiable. There have been many [credible] people who have done this:
(Just to point out a few…)
I worked for the university for several years and earned a BS and an MA. I cannot speak in the language of finances but I can speak in the language of reputation. Liberty has the potential to put out many scholars to world-class universities for terminal degrees (me being one of them).
I have speculations as to why these situations have taken place but I would like to confirm the exact reasons with you.
  1. Why is Liberty partnering with Hinn?
  2. Why is the announcement about not affiliating with Hinn false—demonstrably false (e.g. via his book and Hinn/Godwin interviews)?
  3. What influence could I, and many other successful scholars that have graduated from LU do to ensure LU does not affiliate with heretics likes this? Is it about the money?
  4. What is LU’s stance on Hinn and the doctrines he preaches and espouses to be true? (e.g. Prosperity gospel to name one)
I have several more questions but I’m hoping for a reasonable justification for why Liberty would do this. Again, I can’t hold money over LU’s head and dictate what goes on but I don’t have a large platform from which I can speak and I do have reputation that gives me credence.
I look forward to hearing back from you [or Melody] about my inquiry. Thank you for your time and efforts in responding to me personally.
 
Max L. E. Andrews

In a timely manner Johnnie wrote back to me (thank you, Johnnie). This is all I received:

From: <Moore>, Johnnie <jrmoore[at]liberty[d0t]edu>
Date: Monday, April 21, 2014 at 2:54 PM
To: Max Andrews <mlandrews[at]liberty[d0t]edu>
Cc: “ASSISTANT” <ASSISTANT>
Subject: Re: Benny Hinn and Liberty — Concerns from many alumni

Mr. Andrews:

The link that Alumni Relations sent to you contains all the information that you’ll need to answer your questions.  Liberty is not, and has not, partnered with Benny Hinn.
Johnnie
 
Johnnie Moore ’04 
Senior Vice President
Communications

Here was my response to Johnnie:

From: <Andrews>, Max Andrews <mlandrews[at]liberty[d0t]edu>
Date: Monday, April 21, 2014 at 10:10 PM
To: “Moore, Johnnie” <jrmoore[at]liberty[d0t]edu>
Cc: “ASSISTANT” <ASSISTANT>
Subject: Re: Benny Hinn and Liberty — Concerns from many alumni
Johnnie,
Thank you very much for your time in responding to my inquiry. As an alumnus I appreciate your attention.
One more question before I leave you be: are you able to account for the contradictions made in the links below and your announcement? One is saying A and the other is saying not-A. Either more information hasn’t been disclosed, someone’s lying, or someone is misinformed. Could you please shed some light on this for you?
Also, I live in Edinburgh, Scotland where I’m currently completing my PhD. If a phone call is preferable just please give me a time and I’d be more than happy to give whomever a call. It’ll be easier for me to call than for anyone in the US.
Thanks again for your time,
 
Max L. E. Andrews

I haven’t received a response yet and to be fair, he’s a busy man. He doesn’t need to respond to me right away but he’s already said enough. Johnnie is a great guy and he’s been put in a tough position. He doesn’t need to respond to that last email because I hope pressure will soon ensue.

Uh oh… but Johnnie, Benny Hinn Ministries says otherwise! (Link to YouTube.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKmLgvwp8ZI

Today (22 April), I’ve called the UK office about half a dozen times and no one has answered.

Here is an image of the back of Benny Hinn’s book confirming his affiliation with Liberty University (not some ‘biblical institute’ or anything of the sort).

BloodIntheSand

Here’s a video of Benny Hinn and Ron Godwin (the Provost of Liberty University[!] that supposedly aren’t partnering[!])

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncWGLOw0T2I

Hinn-Godwin1-1

Some people may think I have a vendetta. I don’t. I love this university and it has contributed to me in ways I am forever grateful for. I care too much about my alma mater to see them do this. Jerry Sr. had an expression about putting “chains over the door” so no one could get in. The chains need to go up and in order for the university to unlock it they need to know why and which key to use (if you don’t get the metaphor, well… then I’m sorry). Alumni need to do the same thing. Join me and others in telling the administration to stop lying and to distance themselves from this and anyone in the administration who wants this to happen…

Liberty University needs to 1) be honest and truthful, 2) not partner with Hinn, and 3) get their scholastic priorities straight and make scholars and Champions for Christ using sound doctrine and rigorous academics. Many alumni can’t speak with money or hamstring the administration by withholding giving… but some of us are accomplished and can speak to the reputation, the good reputation that Liberty has. Liberty, stop this.

A special thanks the Matthew Grant McDaniel (whom I know) and James Duncan (whom I don’t know). (Previous post.)

[UPDATE 1] I’ve had conversations with several people at Liberty, including a senior administrator who has been aware of and involved in the Hinn dispute from the beginning. I’m hopeful that Liberty is doing everything they can to distance themselves from Benny Hinn. Let’s hope this is an unfortunate happenstance and Liberty is committed to the gospel and denies the false teachings of Hinn. Liberty has been cooperative and professional with me and I appreciate that. To those involved in righting the wrongs [or even the appearance of wrong at best], thank you.

 


5 Comments to “Liberty University, Benny Hinn, and Contradictory Claims”

  1. I read about this a while back. It seems like Liberty University sold off a small book publishing portion of its name the university itself has nothing to do Hinn ministries.

  2. Max,

    Thanks for posting about news regarding the recent involvement of the Liberty University name with Benny Hinn. As all of the LU official statements record, LU (in this current venture) does not appear officially partnered with Benny Hinn.

    As you were mostly correct in observing, the official LU statements do not answer the heart of the problem:

    When given the chance to clarify belief, LU statements seem to defer to explanations of workload, business, and misunderstanding. In all the statements, including the one you linked (http://www.liberty.edu/news/index.cfm?PID=18495&MID=116272), leadership at Liberty University never take the opportunity to share their commitment to orthodoxy and academic excellence.

    It could have been such a great opportunity to publicly and lovingly address:
    1. the incompatibility of Benny Hinn’s heretical belief and practices (theological, ecclesiastical, and financial) and
    2. the difficult goal in LU’s pursuit to balance academic excellence with institutional evangelism.

    After seeing the progression of Liberty’s media responses I’m hopeful. However, I think there is more that needs to be done. I’ve personally watched the incredibly destructive nature of heretical teachings in the church. It is a big deal and inhibits Christ-oriented mission like nothing else.

    Leadership at Liberty University, like all christian higher-education institutions, will always find themselves in a battle to balance theological positions, academic excellence/freedom, political ideologies, corporate evangelism, business models, and Christian love.

  3. Again, Max, “Creation Studies 209 (or CRST 290).” Shouldn’t Liberty University actively distance itself from such things too?

    As an alumnus, you feel it is disreputable for LU to be affiliated with Hinn. Fine. No problem or objection to that.

    But what about LU’s activist & outspoken YECism? Do you agree with it or condone it? Have you nothing to say about it, though it is also widely thought to be disreputable and something you have said on your blog you personally disagree with?

    Why don’t you speak out against Liberty University’s YECism? Does ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ somehow get in the way?

  4. I am a student at Liberty University. I was shocked when recently, Glenn Beck (a Mormon) was invited to give a
    Christian speech at LU. It seems that the person doing the invitations missed the Apologetic 101 at Liberty where students are taught that Mormons are a cult not a Christian denomination.

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