Hearing only what he says but ignoring what he does
A closer look at Benny Hinn’s cacophony of dubious clarifications
Recently Benny Hinn had made news in a way he would least likely want to. The National Enquirer carried the story and photos: The multi-millionaire TV evangelist/ faith healer TV host was caught walking hand in hand with his secret lover, where he was checked into the presidential suit in a top hotel in Rome under an assumed name right out of the Old Testament! http://twitpic.com/288cb8/full/
I have only a small measure of empathy for Hinn since I cannot ignore all he has said and done over years that has caused damage to the church. He has shown a proclivity to fabricate stories on experiences, miracles and healings, as well as generate false doctrine as if it is the truth. He has a quixotic appetite for miracles and healings in his ministry, which has caused much controversy because of their unproven genuineness. But, he has made it all believable to those who seek the same; they believe in him. That is why Benny Hinn is the most popular and highest paid ‘TV/ healing evangelist’ in church history, and his lifestyle shows it.
The two page National Enquirer article featured two photo’s of what appears to be Hinn holding hands with Paula White while in Rome, accusing him of carrying on an affair while he is going through a divorce. Obviously something of this caliber can be damaging to one's career, at least temporarily.
The National Enquirer is not on my reading list, in fact I never see it unless I’m at a checkout counter at a store. Though their reputation can be comical, they have broken stories such as on Jim Jones, or Al Gore. The question I ask is; if this was made up would they go ahead with this story with the possible risk of being sued; are they being sued?
Not jumping to any conclusions, I waited to see this develop; I kept up with the news and Hinn’s and White's website responses to the story. Then Hinn’s response by video. Then Charisma magazine, who has always been friendly to Hinn, commented on it August 10.
If Charisma can write on this, and since Hinn has also brought everyone’s attention to this matter on his own program, its only fair that we look more closely at his statements.
The National Enquirer accuses them of spending three nights at the Hotel Hassler, where they say Hinn checked in under the name David Salomon.
Is it a credible report, spin, a cover-up or the truth being brought out in the light by Hinn speaking out on it?
This is difficult to cover because we concentrate on error in doctrine (which Hinn has done abundantly) not personal matters. However, it is what Hinn has said in response[s] that makes this more confusing. His contradictions obfuscate the facts. Just as he has done in the past for other issues in his ministry, it does not help clear him but makes it all the more suspicious.
A day after the story broke a statement was posted on Hinn’s website July 24, “Pastor Benny Responds to False and Misleading News Reports:”
“In late May of this year, Paula White came to tape a This Is Your Day broadcast with me. Although I had not seen her for years, she was an encouragement to me and shared helpful advice out of her own painful experience. As a result, I will not deny that the friendship has strengthened, and, while it has remained morally pure at all times, I have enjoyed the company of someone who has also gone through the trauma of a painful and public divorce.
The article also indicated that on a
recent trip to Italy we met secretly and stayed together. This could not be
further from the truth and is absolutely false! The truth is that we traveled
independently to the region for respective ministry duties. I was invited by
Vatican officials to visit the Vatican to discuss future ministry opportunities
there. Paula was likewise invited to have meetings in the region, and, although
we spent time together, we were never alone and were in the constant company of
staff and family members.
The next day Paula White issued a statement on her website titled, “Pastor Paula Responds To False And Misleading Article” that had the same content probably by the same writer. Hinn's statement disappeared one day later and was replaced with an appeal for two millions dollars. This is from someone who makes approximately 200 million a year in his ministry. Paula’s statement was gone in approximately 5 days. Both have called the article “misguided and untruthful.” True or not, Hinn knows he had to face this directly to defuse any adverse effects from the story that had gone worldwide.
I personally think this picture looks funny and awkward. Their holding hands in the photo does not prove what they are being accused of. But as usual, it's not just what Hinn said but what he didn’t say. This is clearly damage control. He names the article well aware of what is being stated, but at no time has he said if the photos are genuine or not -- regardless of the accusations. Neither has Hinn addressed registering in a 5 star hotel under a pseudo name to protect his identity.
What is important is to cover the details released, to compare their website statement with the video. Hinn’s public response on video - Aug.5 on you-tube
Hinn aired segments from the Oakland crusade (July 30, on Aug. 13, This is your Day) and made additional personal comments on This Is Your Day program: TBN Aug. 5, 2010) His wife Suzanne was not present as he was surrounded by supporters and his childrenbeing there.
These are excerpts (my comments and comparisons will follow: )
Hinn: “A few days ago there was some news reports about me. I can tell you as a man of God, before God Himself, it was misleading and false. I stand here with a pure conscience and a pure heart to tell you this, 'cause I know me. I know my life. My family knows my life. My close friends knows my life.”
Hinn: “The devil hates me, and he wants to destroy the work of God.”
(doesn’t he hate us all, not just Hinn?)
Hinn: “ it was a pure lie. They did not even call me to ask me questions. They simply came up with their own story. That's wicked.”
“The sad truth some preachers believed it” ….But sadly I have to address or people believe this stuff”… I wanna tell you the facts, and then you need to pray for me. Be glad you are not me.” If I knew before I started the ministry that…, the attacks like this I would say no Lord thank you.”
Hinn isolates himself as the target of media scrutiny, trying to have them sympathize for support before he even laid out the facts. To claim he would not go into ministry if he knew how attacked he would be says a lot about his attitude and character. The Bible says the Lord is our defense and shield, to trust in him.
Hinn: “In February  my wife [Suzanne] filed for divorce, and I was shocked. And people, they said, “How, how could he be shocked?” Because I would often ask her, very openly, 'cause we had challenges as a couple.”
Hinn: “I would ask her often, I'd say, “Would you, would you ever divorce me?” She said, “Never, because I fear God too much.” She said, “My covenant is with God, not you.” And I guess she could no longer handle it. One day she did it, to my shock.”
Hinn is insinuating Suzanne no longer fears God and that she broke her covenant with God. For a better understanding we need to look at his former statements on their divorce.
Hinn: “I have been living alone for years. You know how painful it is to go home to an empty house? Very difficult. I don't care how strong you are. I don't care if the anointing of God is mighty on you, nobody wants to be alone. I don't care who you are. I am a human being, just like you.”
(This far different than what Hinn used to teach of being a little god, a messiah)
He later says,
“Yeah, we, I have personal needs, of course I do, c'mon. Do you know, do, do, do you know how painful -- for three years or more -- to, to come home to an empty house has been? It's tormenting. And, finally you say, “Lord, it's yours. You give me the strength and give me the, the, the power to last.” And look, He's done it. I am still focused on the Lord's work. Nothing is changed.”
Lets look at the facts, according to Hinn’s statements.
On the divorce, Hinn says he did not see it coming even though he was separated from his wife for years and constantly asked her if she would divorce him.
Hinn on TBN said this divorce came as a complete surprise to him, that they were separated only 5 days before his wife filed for divorce. In his letter to the public Hinn states:
“It was a total shock when her lawyer called me the morning of February 17 to inform me that she had filed 16 days before. Suzanne never gave the family even a hint that this was on her mind. http://www.bennyhinn.org/emailletters/pbhletter.cfm?referrer=na_eb022510
Suzanne Hinn filed the papers in Orange County Superior Court on Feb. 1, citing irreconcilable differences, after more than 30 years of marriage. The papers note the two separated on Jan. 26 and that Hinn has been living in Dana Point, a wealthy coastal community in southern Orange County.”
How does Hinn say they were not living together for three years (on video) and the divorce papers say they were separated a week before they were issued? These are just some of the many inconsistencies in his story on the time line and events. How can he be surprised when he was separated for over three years…? Certainly he must have some knowledge on the reason. Irreconcilable differences for Christians that are supposed to be specially anointed does not sound right, neither is this grounds for divorce.
Hinn: “I'm sorry to say my wife and I could no longer exist in the same house. …Yes, we are friends and yes we talk, of course, come on, please. We're gonna stay friends for life, 'cause I love her and she loves me. We, we do love each other. But there's many difficulties that exist that we cannot talk about here. “… She and I kept a clean life that’s a fact” we kept our marriage vows and there was nothing immoral ever, on her part or my part, and I want you to know to this minute I am clean and so is she.”
(Hinn’s wife was not present with the family when this was video was taped)
“This is where my mistake was, 'cause we all make mistakes, as couples. I was so busy in the ministry. I was so caught with the ministry. I forgot about my family. That's probably what broke the whole thing up.”
… because I was always gone, traveling the world. Now looking back, if I had to do it over again, I would have done it different. 'Cause if you neglect your family you'll suffer pain. You gotta focus on your family.”
So, I was wrong when I would teach, and I did teach this -- and the kids would be hurt by this -- when I'd say, “The call of God comes before the family.” You know what? It's wrong. I'm here to admit I was wrong, because the call of God first should touch the family. If you have no family, you can't go on anyways.”
This is all good to realize but being surrounded by so many “spiritual faith preachers,” did no one ever tell him this? This is one of the first things we learn when we go into ministry. We cannot neglect the ones closest to us. But this brings up another problem, Hinn has claimed to have an enormous amount of spiritual experiences with the Lord, possibly more than any other in the Bible. The Lord tells him the future constantly, he is visited by angels, saints and even the Lord. (He wrote a book called Good Morning Holy Spirit, remember). These are just a few examples:
“I have not just seen angels, I've seen saints…” I've had individuals appear to me in my room. Not only angels” (Feb. 28, 1997 Blaisdell Center, Honolulu Hawaii)
Speaking of Jesus “Whenever I talk to Him, I see Him. I can tell you what He - what He wears all the time.”
“Lord, show me my future. I want you to show me my future.” And just like this [snaps his fingers] I saw my future” (ibid.) Did he see his future? (On the video he says, “I don't know what my future holds.”)
All these incredible supernatural appearances but he doesn’t know what his wife is feeling? He never hears the Lord tell him what is really necessary, something the Lord would certainly address if the real Holy Spirit is working. His explanation all seems to sound empty with these stories of how he lived his life in relationship with the Lord.
Hinn also said on the video he was divorced.
“A few weeks ago, May the 25th to be exact, Paula White, who's a preacher, came to tape on This Is Your Day!--it was actually the 24th of May--taped for some programs, like anybody else that comes to tape …. I've had women on my programs and men. And we've known each other. Her husband and her attended our church for nine years. … So, we got to talk. She went through a painful divorce. I went through a painful divorce. We found common ground to talk about stuff we could help each other in. And a friendship did develop. But hear this: No immorality whatsoever.”
Either Hinn is so distraught that he cannot remember what is taking place accurately or he is calculated in his speech to distract people from actually looking at the real events. His supporters need to think further than his speech. The problem is, Hinn is not divorced – he is in divorce proceedings and there is still no hearing date according to documents at the Orange County courthourse in California. For someone who claims to have faith to see impossible miracles regularly, it certainly is not present for healing in his personal life.
Their visit to Rome
Hinn: “The Vatican did invite me a few days ago. They made me a Patron of the Arts in the Vatican two weeks ago. And that's a fact! A Patron of the Arts means you support the Vatican so they can maintain all the work of Michelangelo. I'm one of the guys now that supports what they do. And that is a fact. I was there, and we were taken around by a man named Wilhelm Kramer. And they asked me, literally they said, “Do you know people that can help us financially?” I said, “Alright.”
“Now here's where I made my mistake: I let her [Paula White] come with me to Rome, so she can donate money. That was stupid on my part. And for that I do ask forgiveness. But that was an innocent mistake, nothing to do with stupid stuff.” (To our Partners... A Special Message from Pastor Benny Hinn, Miracle Crusade, Oakland, California, July 30, 2010)
Hinn’s claim has been checked through another ministry investigating these facts. The Vatican official who is charge of these matters stated neither Hinn’s nor White's names appear on the list nor were they invited to visit (It is a month later since Hinn was there in Rome ).
“They made me a Patron of the Arts in the Vatican two weeks ago.” One pays the fee first to be considered a patron. Hinn says they made him a patron in the Vatican, this is not what they do, there is no formal ceremony in the Vatican for a “patron of the arts.” Hinn makes this all sound unique and important” “I'm one of the guys now that supports what they do.”
Facts and their actual meaning seem to get lost in Hinn’s telling of “the facts.” Hinn made it sound like it was a special thing to be invited and made a patron, that they are in need of them, and they ask Hinn as a new patron to find more contributors, if he knows anyone who would be willing to donate.
According to the Vatican's website, a patron : is a select group of people dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of the vast and unique collection of art contained in the Vatican Museums. Patrons are invited to donate $500.00 annually per person for membership, $1,000.00 for family membership, or $250.00 for junior membership (35 years of age and under…When Patrons visit the Vatican, they are received in the Office of the Patrons of the Arts in the Apostolic Palace.
On their website “If you are living in the United States or Canada and you would like more information on becoming a Patron of the Arts, please click here”
Hinn has the ability to make one think something happened when it did not, he does this with his healings. Anyone can become a patron of the Vatican Museums by donating.
The main problem with all this is the details -- Hearing only the words that come from his mouth can confuse anyone who does not look further.
Once again the timing is wrong. “The Vatican did invite me a few days ago. They made me a Patron of the Arts in the Vatican two weeks ago.” This was spoken on the 30th of July.
According to the National Enquirer, the photos were taken of Hinn and White on July 13. The article came out on the 23 (Aug. issue). Hinn is stating this on July 30, that two weeks ago he was made a patron which would be on the 15-16th of July while in in Rome, yet he was invited only a few days ago? One would think he is misspoke except that it occurs several times.
Didn’t they invite him to come to Rome before he was a patron? That is what he first said: “I was invited by Vatican officials to visit the Vatican to discuss future ministry opportunities there” (Hinn’s website statement July 24)
Why are these important details so mixed up? There is nothing about a Patron of the Arts in his original statement (website July 24), nor in Paula White's statement. Being patrons was only mentioned on July 30 crusade in Oakland, California. He says he was invited just a few days ago. How is that possible when he left Rome to got to Sweden to speak on the 24-25th.
What Hinn said prior on his website on July 24 (the day after The National Enquirer story broke) is something far different than what he said in Oakland on July 29-30:
“The truth is that we traveled independently to the region for respective ministry duties. I was invited by Vatican officials to visit the Vatican to discuss future ministry opportunities there. Paula was likewise invited to have meetings in the region,” (underline mine).
Which is it- Invited by the Vatican to do ministry or be a Patron of the Arts?
Hinn first said we traveled independently” then he stated in the video “I let her [Paula White] come with me to Rome.” Besides Hinn’s friendliness with the Vatican that should concern any true evangelical (as it did the Christian church in Italy several years ago)
And what of Paula, was she asked to have meetings in the “region” too, or to also be a patron to “donate money”? (which is not how it works, you don’t have to go there to be a patron). Hinn on the video stated because he was a patron, “I was there, and we were taken around by a man named Wilhelm Kramer.”
The Ramifications of their trip:
Hinn speaking of the National Enquirer: And then they have a picture of a bed, implying sex. That is terrible they've done that! So, I said, “You know, I'm not ready for this stuff.” So, I pulled back and I said, “Paula, I'm sorry, we can't even be friends right now.” I said, “The ministry is too important for me. I'm gonna wait. I'm gonna wait 'til God says, 'Go!'“
There is no, listen, there is no friendship at all. There is no relationship. It's over, because it's too costly, at this time of my life, to have friends. How sad. I can't even have friends. I can have guys, but then they may call me something else. Only God knows. Forgive me for being so blunt. Are you getting the message? [audience says, “Yes”] …But, whatever His will is it shall be done.
So, now, I did have an error in judgment. I said that. I'm also human, but I'm clean, totally. God knows it. I know it. My family knows it. And I'm not afraid to tell you all I am clean before God, in every way.”
I’m not going to agree with the article because they have not given proof of this. But instead of doing what one would do that has integrity, Hinn distances himself from Paula and will no longer be friends with her, he is going to wait for God to give the okay ( for friendship?). Is that what you do when you are innocent? Does a true friend ditch another over what is a false accusation? Because of peoples' wrong perception on this he is willing to no longer be a friend. This brings up more questions by his response, it shows his true character; He is treating her as if she did intentional harm to him. Its not about people being friends to him but him being a friend to them. Remember she is being accused of this as well.
Again He had the opportunity but said nothing to explain the two photos.
Paula White's statement that is no longer posted: “I publicly profess and forcefully renounce assertions that the recent trip to Italy to meet with Vatican officials suggests that the friendship is in any way improper or morally impure. We traveled independently to the region for respective ministry duties and, while there, spent time together along with others. We were never alone and were in the constant company of staff and other associates.http://www.paulawhite.org/pages/misleading_article_response/\ (emp. added).
Hinn later said the traveled together.
“In Pastor Benny's Special Message Regarding a False Media Report He says “It’s time to set the record straight…. both the details and photos were extremely misleading” At no time did Hinn address the two photos of him and Paula White holding hands.
This is why one strains to believe Hinn’s explanations, even when he surrounds himself with his friends and supporters. Hinn says he wants to tell the facts of a false article. Why is there so much contradiction on his own facts, what he is straightening everyone out on?
I’m not going to say Hinn is guilty of what the National Enquirer claims, but as pointed out there is confusion in “the facts,” that explain it. Will Benny Hinn skate away on thin ice as he has done before, as people accept his contradictory explanations? Will this be forgotten as so may incidents have in the past?
Regardless, Hinn continues to sell a Prosperity Prayer Shawl, the heretical Dake’s Bible and promises healing to his naïve, faithful followers by continuing his miracle crusades. So none of these life changing events seem to affect him as they would others.
Publisher: Faith healer violated our morality clause
By Rene Stutzman, The Orlando Sentinel
In August, Hinn admitted to a friendship with evangelist Paula White after The National Enquirer published photos of them in Rome, holding hands.
Hinn was married at the time. His wife, Suzanne, had filed for divorce a few months earlier.
Three years earlier, Hinn had signed a three-book deal with Strang Communications Co. of Lake Mary. He was paid a $300,000 advance on the first one, Blood in the Sand, according to the suit.
Hinn acknowledged to his publisher "his inappropriate relationship" with White in August, according to the suit, and agreed that the publisher should get back its money, but he has yet to pay up.
For more info on this:
"Is Benny Hinn A Patron of the Arts" at http://www.christianresearchservice.com/BHinn44.htm )