Thinking Out Loud

February 20, 2010

My Day With Tiger Woods and Benny Hinn

I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to find them.

I was wrong. I was foolish. I don’t get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. ~ from the text of Tiger Woods comments at 11 AM EST, 19/02/10

At this point we don’t know any of the particulars surrounding the announcement on Thursday that Suzanne Hinn, wife of Benny Hinn was filing for divorce.    So please don’t think I am inferring any — absolutely any — parallels between Tiger Woods and Benny.

However, I did not check the “religious news wire” before heading out of town on Friday, so it was against the backdrop of the Tiger Woods press conference that I read the news about Benny and Suzanne Hinn around suppertime.

Benny Hinn and I are not friends or even true acquaintances, but our paths did cross many years ago.   The original crusades he conducted in Toronto, Canada were held in the church that was the base for the mail order business I operated.   The Joyful Noise Record Club had customers across Canada, and later became Searchlight Music, a company I still own in another form.

The head of another ministry based in the building was about to be married, and people from various ministries operating in the Toronto church were invited to the wedding.   Some of us apparently were invited at the last minute.   I had no date for the wedding, and as I remember it, neither did Benny Hinn.   We talked briefly waiting for the door for the reception to open, but I was terrified he would suddenly lay hands on me, cause me to fall over, or announce to everyone some great secret sin — probably lust — that I was harboring at the time.

Fortunately, we were seated at different tables.

Benny’s ministry in Toronto was somewhat high profile — at least among Charismatics — but nothing compared to the size and scope of it when he moved to Orlando and married the daughter of Charismatic pastor Roy Harthern.   The website Precious Daily Devotions tells the story:

In the summer of 1978, on a flight returning from a conference in Singapore, Benny Hinn met Roy Harthern, an Englishman who was pastoring the Calvary Assembly of God in Orlando, Florida. They got to know one another on the long flight. Roy showed Benny pictures of his family. When he came to the photo of Roy’s daughter, Suzanne, Benny heard a voice inside him saying, “She’s going to be your wife.”

Roy Harthern invited Pastor Benny Hinn to come to his home for Christmas, he accepted. When he met Suzanne, Benny remembers jokingly, “I looked into her beautiful bluish-green eyes and my knees became weak”. When his friend Maxine LaDuke met Suzanne, she took Benny aside and confirmed that this was his wife.

Benny knew she was the one. He took Pauline Harthern aside to “ask her something.” Pauline thought he wanted to ask her permission to date Suzanne, but instead, he said “I want to marry Suzanne; I am in love with her.” “Well, well,” Pauline replied, “you really need to speak to her father.” When Roy gave his approval, Benny Hinn immediately went to find Suzanne. Suzanne accepted and Pastor Benny Hinn and Suzanne tied the knot on August 4, 1979.

The rest, as they say, is history.   Hinn catapulted to fame and infamy, as Wikipedia reminds us:

By far the most controversial aspect of Hinn’s ministry is his claim to have the “anointing”, the special power given to him by God to heal the sick. At Hinn’s Miracle Crusades, he has allegedly healed attendees of blindness, deafness, cancer, AIDS, and severe physical injuries. Since 1993, however, investigative news reports by programs such as Inside Edition, Dateline NBC, the Australian edition of 60 Minutes, and several network affiliates in the United States have called these claims into question.

Hinn made a number of unfulfilled (religious) prophecies for the 90s, such as God destroying America’s homosexual community in 1995, the death of Fidel Castro, the election of the first female president of the USA, the East Coast of the United States being devastated by earthquakes, etc., all before the third millennium. Hinn also appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network in October 1999 to claim that God had given him a vision that thousands of dead people would be resurrected after watching the network—laying out a scenario of people placing their dead loved ones’ hands on TV screens tuned into the station—and that TBN would be “an extension of Heaven to Earth.”

Again, I have no reason to link the divorce announcement to anything to do with Tiger Woods except to say that it was against that context that I heard the news.   But maybe that’s not it at all, maybe I’m also reading into this story against the backdrop of the post I wrote last week about Todd Bentley.  (But again, there’s been no inference of infidelity, the grounds for divorce filed are irreconcilable differences.)   Another celebrity.  Another Charismatic evangelist.   Another divorce.

There are two sides to every story, and Hinn’s people have allegedly already started going into damage control mode, and not everyone is buying it.

It’s all so very sad.

To those of you who are just starting out in your journey of faith, or building a ministry, remember:  You are responsible for the depth of your ministry; God is responsible for the breadth of your ministry.   Don’t aim for crowds, respect, praise or what some would consider success.     Because success and praise always come at a cost; the adulation of the crowds always comes at a price; and then, if you fail, you take down all the people who worshiped you.

Additional sources USAToday; Bene Diction Blogs On. Picture:  The Daily Show. Update: Confirmation at Benny Hinn Ministries website.

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8 Comments »

  1. GOOD. Let him lose millions of dollars. He’s a wolf in sheepskin clothing.

    Comment by knowledge is power — February 20, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

    • When someone posts a comment I always check their website first to make sure we’re not linking to anything that’s a bit “out there” in terms of this blog’s terms of reference. If it is, I delete the comment. But this one brought a smile, so I thought I’d share it anyway.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — February 20, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  2. great phrase, “You are responsible for the depth of your ministry; God is responsible for the breadth of your ministry.” thanks, paul, i will remember that.

    Comment by randy morgan — February 21, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

    • Thanks, but can’t take the credit. Can’t remember who, exactly. The presentation was that the vertical beam of the cross reminds us of the depth of our ministry (relationship with God) and the horizontal beam reminds us of the breadth of our ministry (relationship with the world) and then the person in question made the statement that stuck with me many, many years.

      It just seemed to fit here somehow.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — February 21, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

  3. You were quite fair with Benny. I am sick of people bashing people who have error in their ministry. I met an apostle from South Africa and he said just after Benny Hinn left his country black people were flocking his churches that were in need of healing.

    They were saying, “Have you go the Benny Hinn Jesus here?”

    What they were saying was, “can you heal me too, my friend went to see Benny and was healed.” The apostle said they had up to 50% growth in their churches as they healed all the sick that flocked to their churches. They said Benny left a revival.

    It’s funny I never hear these sort of testimonies published by the so called watchmen

    Comment by Matthew Robert Payne — February 26, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

  4. I attended the Singapore Conference in 1978 when Benny Hinn was prayed for by David Du Plessis.No doubt Benny had been called of God. He has visited our country South Africa often.Not everything that he preaches is Biblical and many have been disappointed with him.The Bible says, “to whom much is given, much is required”,Benny Hinn must account to God for every word that he preaches whether it is true or false.

    Comment by Abel Govender — March 3, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  5. Mt advice is leave Benny Hinn alone. We are not his judge only the Lord Jesus Christ is and only He can justify him or condemn him. It is no up to us. Benny Hin belongs to God and only God is his judge. As saints of God we are warned in scripture not to judge. We are to love him no matter what. Pray for Benny Hinn. Just pray and keep our mouths shut.

    Comment by Patricia Morris — May 12, 2010 @ 9:32 am

  6. [...] Related post on this blog:  My Day With Tiger Woods and Benny Hinn [...]

    Pingback by As the Celebrity Pages Turn « Thinking Out Loud — July 26, 2010 @ 4:46 am


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