Liberty University continues to try to distance itself from the announcement that it had entered into a partnership with Benny Hinn that would lead to a new crop of Hinn-ordained pastors the world over. I’ll have another post on the people involved in the announcement, though I decided to abandon that for a moment and at least try to explain how the various Liberty-branded entities are related to each other. Because there’s much reuse of terms like Liberty, Bible, and Institute, I’ll be changing the titles and acronyms into people’s names to help you (and me) keep the parts and people straight.
Liberty University (Dad)
This is the easiest component to understand. A regionally accredited 4-year and graduate university. Jerry Falwell, Jr., is its president.
Liberty University Center for Professional and Continuing Education (CPCE, Mom)
A department of the university that seems to manage non-accredited programs.
Internet Marketing and Communication (IMC, Uncle Bill)
A marketing company owned and operated by Dan Reber, one of the two Liberty representatives in the Hinn video.
Institute of Biblical Studies (IBS, Sally)
Operating with Mom’s (CPCE) supervision, this department seems to be responsible for creating non-accredited courses related to biblical studies. It was Sally’s courses that Hinn and his friends were advertising in the video. The Liberty website is relatively silent about who Sally is, though she issued the Benny Hinn diploma–the one shown in the video–on Mom and Dad’s behalf.
In 2009, Uncle Bill (IMC) was asked to promote and market Sally on Mom and Dad’s behalf.
Liberty Home Bible Institute (LHBI, Fred)
This department offers the material that Sally (IBS) writes to students who want to study from home.
In 2009, Dad asked Uncle Bill to market Fred, just like he did with Sally. Uncle Bill must have done that well, because in 2011 Dad asked Fred to move in with Uncle Bill. Fred would still be Dad’s son (he was still “owned” by him), though Uncle Bill had “operational control” over Fred.
Liberty Bible Institute (LBI, Steve)
Dad claims this is Uncle Bill’s unruly son, whom Dad had never met until he was mentioned on the Benny Hinn Show. Uncle Bill, however, seems to have thought that Steve was really Fred (LHBI). Like a good soap opera or a bad Star Trek movie, there’s some confusion about whether Fred and Steve are the same person, twins separated at birth, or whether Steve is a devious doppelganger who has secretly offed Fred.
Liberty Bible Institute Online (LBIO, Joe)
Dad set up a webpage for Fred and put his name in the page title (look at the top of the browser window). However, if you visit the page, you see that it’s actually all about Joe, who’s someone that Dad appears to either not know or want to talk about (he is not mentioned in today’s clarification). Is Joe (LBIO) really Uncle Bill’s son, or just a nickname for Fred (LHBI) and Steve (LBI)? Joe says that he’s a “division” of Dad’s family. Either way, he has assumed Fred’s identity, and Dad seems to be under the impression that Joe (LBIO) is really Fred (LHBI).
Joe has his own separate website, not connected to Dad’s site, where Dad puts in a good word for him. If you study with Joe, you’re really studying with Dad, according to Jerry Falwell, Jr., who ought to know. Dad will even loan you money to study with Joe, and he has told Mom to give you proper credit for your work.
So, you can understand Benny Hinn’s confusion when he was introduced to Joe by one of Dad’s best friends and assured that he was working with Fred and Sally. Now Dad is stomping his foot and insisting that Joe is illegitimate and definitely NOT Fred, even though Dad has been a little confused by that in the past.
Joe, in the meantime, is orphaned, wondering whether he’ll be claimed or disowned by Dad.
In my next post, I’ll show why it was probably a bad idea to send Fred to stay with Uncle Bill, and why no-one should be surprised that he got into trouble.