Thursday, April 17, 2014

Liberty University's "World Vision problem"

You can file this one under "You can't make this stuff up (but you wish it were)." Apparently, Liberty University has entered into a partnership with known spiritual charlatan Benny Hinn.
Liberty University has a World Vision problem.

Until World Vision announced and quickly reversed its policy on same-gender marriage, most of its donors probably thought they were giving money to help feed and evangelize poor children and families all around the world. While World Vision lost donors because of its betrayal of orthodox Christian doctrine, the furor created by the decision focused attention on what World Vision actually did–and didn’t do–with its donors’ money. Donors learned that their money didn’t actually go to the child pictured on the refrigerator (but to the child’s village), nor did World Vision always share the gospel as a part of its outreach. While people have been grieving the fact that thousands of children have lost sponsorships, we don’t know how much of that has been offset by donors redirecting their philanthropy to denominationally based efforts that promise to more effectively take the gospel to the people who need to hear it.

The World Vision public relations crisis had three related components:

We discovered that World Vision was willing to reject clear biblical teaching. 
We discovered that World Vision isn’t actually a gospel-preaching missions organization. 
We discovered that our own churches and denominations do a better job than we thought. 
Last week, we learned that Liberty University, America’s largest Christian college, had engaged in a partnership with Benny Hinn that would permit students to watch 10 hours of video, take an easy quiz, and qualify for ordination through Hinn’s World Healing Fellowship. The news spread quickly through blogs and Twitter, and Liberty, realizing they had an unfolding public relations disaster on its hands, released a statement that asserted that they and Hinn were not in partnership.

Not only does the statement appear to be false (keep reading), but the attention that this story is bound to create is going to cling to Liberty in unflattering ways as parents of college-aged teens start to discover just what has been happening at the nice little Baptist school tucked away in the Virginia mountains. It’s not just the Benny Hinn affiliation that will damage Liberty, it’s the discovery that Liberty has made something of a habit of consorting with cultists and charlatans over the last few decades. We’ll return to the interesting histories of Hinn’s Liberty friends, but first we’ll examine Liberty’s denial that it is in a partnership with Hinn.
Keep reading, and weep.