Monday Morning Insights

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    Benny, Benny, Benny…

    Benny, Benny, Benny…

    I'm sure that most of you have at least heard of the latest, greatest TV evangelist scandal.  The National Enquirer is reporting that Benny Hinn and Paula White are having an affair.  This is a charge that both TV evangelists firmly deny... kinda.

    Here are a few thoughts.

    1.  I know, I know... it's the National Enquirer.  But say that to John Edwards.

    2.  Benny's still married.  His wife recently filed for divorce.  Paula is divorced.  Twice.

    3.  Both say that nothing inappropriate happened and that there is no immorality.

    4.  Both were spotted in Italy, hand-in-hand.  The Enquirer supposedly has pictures of them entering a hotel room together.

    5.  Both Benny and Paula admit that they were in Italy at the same time recently, and that they were together, but 'were never alone and were in constant company of staff and other associates".  The pictures, however, suggest differently.

    6.  Both Benny and Paula took different transportation to Rome; and were both there on separate ministry assignments... at the Vatican.  (This sounds just a little fishy to me.  What is the Vatican doing talking to either of these people for?  Seriously?

    7.  Benny Hinn posted a response on his website that pretty much said that he does have some feelings for Paula White; but they have decided to 'cool' it, at least publically until the divorce is final.  This statement has now been removed from Hinn's website.  In fact, it was replaced with a video of Benny asking his supporters to help catch up on $2 million dollars worth of bills.

    8.  I think most people aren't really interested.  I think church people want to stay as far away from this as possible.  And I think unchurched just look at it and figure it's normal.  I'm not in the Hinn/White circles, so I don't know what the response is there; but let's face it... both of these ministries (and their followers) are used to dealing with divorces, charges of financial misconduct (both ministries are being investigated for that), and misc. other charges over the years.  It could be to them (personally), and their followers, just another day.

    9.  I'm glad that my wife confuses Benny Hinn and Benny Hill.  That makes me smile.

    Seriously though... I wish that things like this just didn't happen.  But they do. In fact, there's not anything that will surprise me any more.   Evangelical (I use that term loosely) scandals these days are so much more complicated.  It used to be that a fall from grace just meant that you had an affair.  Now, it's not a scandal unless you have a gay prostitute, you beat your spouse in a parking lot, or you get caught holding hands with another evangelist while your still married.  It seems like everyone keeps setting the bar a little higher.

    The bar of offense has been raised; but the bar of forgiveness has been lowered.  Every one of the recent scandals I'm thinking about have the people involved immediately (or almost immediately) back in ministry.  Some never left the ministry for a minute.  Most have little or no accountability; or scrap their accountability structure when they fall.  They find that there are always enough followers to keep them going.  So, they start afresh.

    Actually, it disgusts me.

    Your thoughts?


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    1. Artie Davis on Tue, July 27, 2010

      Todd I agree… Well, mostly. It is disgusting to me, but what I see is the most harmful is to the credibility of those who are earnestly trying to build the Kingdom! It’s like these scandals are used as another “excuse” to dismiss the truth of the Gospel, and void their own sense of accountability to God.

    2. Adam Lehman on Tue, July 27, 2010

      Why the HELL would you post this “news?”

    3. Scott Couchenour on Tue, July 27, 2010

      All I can say is, just keep serving strong…

    4. Michael Buckingham on Tue, July 27, 2010


      While I understand we’d love to just ignore this, I wonder if we shouldn’t be hitting this head on. It undoes so much of what many great churches and Christians are trying to do. It makes us look stupid. It chips away at who Christ’s message.


    5. John on Tue, July 27, 2010

      Sorry dude but I just unsubscribed your feed because of this. Posting slander from National Enquirer about a fellow (wacky misguided creepy) believer is just. not. cool.

    6. Michael on Tue, July 27, 2010

      Benny Hill and Paula Dean?

      I hear “yakety sax” playing as Paula makes her fried chicken…

    7. Adam Lehman on Tue, July 27, 2010

      Not sure if we need to “hit this head on.”

      Benny Hinn is “probably” already a villian to much of this blogs audience (my assumption).

      Also, he’s been a Televangelist for a long time, the general public already has an opinion on him.

      Michael said that this story “chips away at who Christ’s message. Sad.”  Not sure Benny Hinn has that much power. Benny Hinn’s name isn’t Christ’s kryptonite.

      One thing that Benny Hinn’s name can be used for though, to drum up some solid blog traffic & twitter chatter.

    8. Scott Couchenour on Tue, July 27, 2010

      Someone once said, “If you’re going to go into business, find an industry with a high degree of mistrust and be trustworthy.”

      To me, this kind of thing (true or merely perceived as true) provides a backdrop for an authentic Christ follower to be real and eventually Christ will shine through…

    9. DENISE CHAPPELL on Tue, July 27, 2010


    10. Dwayne Gobin on Tue, July 27, 2010

      Honestly, all of this saddens me, because it has the world believe that the believers in Christ are no different than what they are. We are to be different; Did Jesus not say, ” Be holy because I am Holy”?  Lately I have seen where Christian marriages have disintegrated after many, many years of being married. I have found out that usually one ingrediant had been missing out of their marriage and it is this: The stopped praying together every day. Maybe not altogether and not pray at all, but they did not come to the Lord in prayer together as one each and every day. This is very important, according to Shannon Odell of Brand New Church in Bergman, AR, the huband and wife praying together is not jan option but is a “Biblical mandate”.  The husband and wife are one entity and cannont face each day without God. How do we include God in our marriage and daily life together?  By praying together; God, the husband, and the wife are three cords, with God being the middle cord whil one cord on each side are weaved together with the middle cord. That middle cord is what holds the marriage together; and marriage is not just a committment but it is a covenant and covenants are not made to be broken. Not one covenant that God made with man was broken unless man broke it first. God always kept his promises; it was always man who messed up or dropped the ball so to speak. As spiritual leaders who are called by God to be an example of Christ to all, we are not doing a good job when it comes to marriage or even living a Christ-filled life.
      As for any type of scandal that occurs within the body of Christ, it is caused by one of the members of this body letting their guard down; not always keeping the armor on. It only takes one person to allow a virus into the body and then it attacks the rest of the body in different ways. The virus I am speaking of is, whatever the person is doing that he/she should not be doing at all. When this happens, the rest of the body acts like they don’t know about it or even know the person; but, it is unavoidable. When we see somebody beginning to get spiritually weak and their conduct is being questioned, we need to pray for them and show that we are standing with them and that they are not alone. I do not think it matters if it is someone like Benny Hinn or Joe next door, we have to help our brother/ sister in Christ by praying for them and encouraging them to do the right thing and reject the wrong. Right now, the classic ccm song by Russ Taff, “We Will Stand” is coming to me and if you recall the lyrics of that song; it is saying the same thing that I am speaking of. We have got to stand with our brothers and our sisters in Christ even when they fall. I apologize for the length of this message but not for what was said because it needs to be said and it needs to be preached by every person who is called by God to preach the Word whether he or she is a Pastor, evangelist, or just a minister. The important part of that is that it needs to be practiced in love.

    11. Todd Rhoades on Tue, July 27, 2010

      Seemed to hit a nerve here.

      OK.  Let’s NOT talk about it.  Let’s pretend like this isn’t a story that’s playing to national headlines.  I’m fine with that.

      Let’s pretend like these stories don’t affect your ministry.  Let’s pretend the people in your town where you minister don’t watch the news or read the Enquirer.  And let’s pretend that they don’t look at you and figure that you are probably living the same way as some of the people that fall.

      We can pretend.  But then again, we’d be sticking our heads in the sand.

      There is a growing sentiment that no one can ever say anything that isn’t positive because it isn’t ‘Christian’.  But sometimes, things aren’t positive.  And I agree, John… sometimes things just. aren’t. cool.

      This is one of those stories.

      Every day there are stories that are not positive… stories that give the name of Christ a black-eye. 

      Should I post things like this on MMI?  Some say absolutely not.  (Some have said that today in no uncertain terms).  I think stories like this are a wake-up call to every pastor and church ministry worker everywhere:

      1.  Remember, people watch you.  Everywhere.

      2.  You represent Christ.  You CANNOT take your eyes off of Him or you’ll end up doing something you’ll regret.

      3.  Your decisions affect not only people’s lives, but their eternal destinies.  If you screw up, it could be the tipping point for someone to give up on all things spiritual.

      Do I think Benny and Paula are lying?  Are they having an affair?  I don’t know; and I don’t really care.

      What I do care about is decisions (whether moral or immoral) that put a blemish on what we are ALL trying to do.  That seems to be what has happened here.


    12. John on Tue, July 27, 2010

      I’m not saying you can’t say or post negative remarks or news from reputable sources - you have in the past. (I’ve been following this feed for almost 2 years, I know). But come on, Todd - a National Enquirer article about somebody’s alleged affair? Seriously?

      You can’t distance yourself from this by saying “Now I’m just reporting…are they really having an affair? I don’t know.” In my opinion, this is below-the-belt flat-out slander.

    13. Scott Couchenour on Tue, July 27, 2010

      Nice response, Todd.

      Rather than looking at Benny, I’m looking at the man in the mirror and re-assessing my “accountability network” to be sure it’s as rebust as it needs to be for my ongoing integrity.

    14. Robert on Tue, July 27, 2010

      Who in the world would trust either of these charlatans is a mystery to me.

      It just sort of makes me weep. This is exactly the same type of problem the Church was having 500 years ago that led to the Reformation. We need a new Reformation…but one of our hearts.

    15. Todd Rhoades on Tue, July 27, 2010


      With all respect, slander would be me saying “Benny and Paula are in love and having an affair… I’ve heard it from good sources.”

      That’s not at all what I’ve done here.

      All I’ve done is respond to a story that is getting national headlines that has to do with the church world (which is the subject of this blog).

      In fact, I was not the first to respond to this story.  Benny and Paula both responded before I typed a word.  Benny has since taken his statement down.

      I understand if you find the story itself salacious.  That’s because it is.  The allegations are very salacious.

      But what should our response be?

      Truth is… none of us have the National Enquirer following us around.  That’s a good thing.

      I do hope that you won’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.  If you don’t like this story, please do take some good from some of the other stories I cover here.

      And think about what I said above.  How does (even) this story relate to things you might encounter in your own personal ministry? 

      That’s the real purpose here.


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