Benny Hinn dalliance brings Liberty University’s cultist history back into the picture 24

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:

  1. We discovered that World Vision was willing to reject clear biblical teaching.
  2. We discovered that World Vision isn’t actually a gospel-preaching missions organization.
  3. 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.

There is a Liberty-Hinn Partnership

Liberty University’s name and brand was stamped all over the Hinn announcement, and the video starts with Hinn showing off a Liberty diploma that students would earn for watching 10 hours of video and answering a few quiz questions. Ron Godwin, Liberty’s provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, was watching Hinn brandish the certification, so we can be sure that it is authentic.

The diploma brandished by Benny Hinn in his Liberty announcement

The diploma brandished by Benny Hinn in his Liberty announcement

The diploma contains the following language:

By the authority of Liberty University and upon the recommendation of the Institute of Biblical Studies, the faculty hereby awards ___ the diploma of Bible Survey. Given at Liberty University at Lynchburg in the State of Virginia March 21, 2014, with all the scriptural rights and responsibilities pertaining thereto.

The diploma is signed by Jerry Falwell, Jr, the president of Liberty University, and Ed Hindson, the dean of Liberty’s School of Religion and its Institute of Biblical Studies. Somebody at Liberty University thought that they were about to enter into a partnership with Benny Hinn, and produced a framed diploma specifically for the Hinn video interview.

The webpage for the Liberty Bible Institute Online, which is also known as the Liberty Home Bible Institute (as it’s still identified in the page’s title), claims that it is a “division” of Liberty University. (To see the complex relationship between Liberty’s various Bible institutes, see this earlier post.)

Lending even more credibility to Liberty’s own claims that it and the Bible Institute are one is the statement of the president of the university itself from July 2013 (though the statement is not dated, the background HTML shows it was posted on 7/21/2013). Jerry Falwall, Jr, said of the online program, “You can earn an Advanced Biblical Studies Diploma from Liberty University right in the convenience of your own home” [emphasis added]. He promises students that they’ll be able to transfer up to 30 hours (after they read the fine print) to a Liberty degree program. The relationship between the university and the institute is close enough that Falwell tells prospective students that the university can even fund their studies.

So, while Liberty’s recent statement says they transferred the operation of the Bible Institute away from the university “some years ago,” the university’s president, provost and website still operate under the assumption that they’re one and the same. When Benny Hinn entered into a partnership with the Liberty Bible Institute Online, he truly entered into a partnership with Liberty University. Even Jerry Falwell thinks so.

What makes Liberty’s hand washing even more remarkable was the presence of Ron Godwin at the announcement, the person whose sole responsibility is to manage the academic integrity of the university. Not only did Godwin not contradict Hinn’s claims of partnership, his presence gave Hinn’s promotion an enormous boost.

Liberty has claimed that Godwin didn’t know that Hinn was going to announce the partnership, though one is allowed to wonder why he was being invited to appear on his international television program with Dan Reber, a recently printed diploma, and Liberty curriculum. Reber told Hinn that he had talked to other people at Liberty who seem to have been surprised that they were about to add Hinn to their team, so this wasn’t an arrangement that ought to have surprised the institution, as they have claimed. Liberty administrators knew what they were getting into, though they were embarrassed at the reaction to the pairing, and have tried to walk the decision back.

Perhaps the Liberty-Hinn relationship will fail, but why would two senior officials at an institution like Liberty take the time to be so publicly associated with a man of Hinn’s poor reputation? The answer is that Hinn is a much higher class of charlatan than Godwin and Liberty administrators are used to consorting with.

Benny Hinn, Dan Reber and Ron Godwin promote a quick-and-easy Liberty University diploma

Benny Hinn, Dan Reber and Ron Godwin promote a quick-and-easy Liberty University diploma.

Who is Ron Godwin?

About himself, Godwin has said, “My own little career beats the fool out of fiction.” He has helped save Liberty from bankruptcy, helped create and progressively whittle down an enemies list of Liberty faculty and administrators for Falwell Snr, and fronted for a Korean cultist. Much foolishness, for sure, but it’s not fiction.

In the 1980s, Godwin was the executive vice president for Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, which disbanded late in the decade when it ran out of money. From there, Godwin accepted an invitation from Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church to help run the company that published the Washington Times, which had been purchased by Moon’s church. According to this article in Forbes, Falwell and Godwin were so close that Falwell shed tears when Godwin told him he was leaving to join Moon.

Moon was a notorious Korean cult leader who proclaimed himself to be a messiah one thousand times greater than Jesus. He had a Driscollian view of the expectation that women selflessly serve their husbands with sex, and often attracted media attention with mass arranged marriages of his church members. He was incredibly wealthy, though the source of his wealth remained a mystery even to congressional investigators. Although he predicted the demise of American individualism in favor of his totalitarian collectivism, he sought to influence American politics, and often contributed money to right-wing politicians and causes to advance that end. The Washington Times, the conservative counterpoint to the liberal-leaning Washington Post, was a natural pairing for him. As was his later relationship with Falwell and Liberty University.

While working for Moon, Godwin entered into a business relationship with Dan Reber, the other Liberty representative in the Hinn video, though we’ll get back to that soon.

In 1999, Godwin returned to Liberty as Falwell’s spokesman to find that Falwell was barely welcome on his own campus. The school had barely survived bankruptcy and its regional accreditation had been put on probation. When it appeared that the new university president was likely to further marginalize Falwell, Falwell responded by having Godwin appointed as chief financial officer. From there, Godwin created an enemies list and worked with Falwell to remove faculty and administrators that Godwin perceived to be hostile to Falwell. This Forbes excerpt of a book on the Falwell empire describes how the enemy’s list worked:

[Godwin] drew up a list, much like the one he brought to breakfast with Falwell each morning, only this one had names of those he considered [university president] Borek’s base of support: Liberty administrators and faculty Godwin identified as “enemies.” It did not take long to whittle it down, he says. “Let’s just say there’s no one left on it.” From that point on Godwin became Falwell’s Karl Rove.

Godwin wasn’t alone in his association with cult-leader Moon or in his role in Liberty’s financial turnaround. For much of his dealings with Liberty and Moon, he has worked with the man sitting beside him in the video, Dan Reber.

Who is Dan Reber?

Dan Reber operated a direct-mail business, Direct Mail Communications, in Virginia that helped various conservative causes and candidates like the National Rifle Association and Oliver North. Because of his friendship with Jerry Falwell, he also offered significantly discounted services for Falwell’s organizations. An investigative report based on court records generated from a business conflict in the mid ’90s shows that about a third of DMC’s income came from the Rev. Moon’s cult. Reber also ran the Christian Heritage Foundation with a man named Jimmy Thomas. Like the mail business, the foundation also tied Jerry Falwell and Rev. Moon together, and eventually became a conduit for Liberty University’s financial preservation.

By the early ’90s, Liberty University had accumulated crushing debt and was heading into bankruptcy, and Reber started to direct much of his time and attention to helping Liberty survive. In the summer of 1993, Fallwell, Reber and Godwin set up a meeting in Lynchburg with one of Moon’s men, Dong Moon Joo, who was the publisher of the Washington Times. A few months later in January 1994, Falwell, Reber and Godwin secretly flew to Korea for a week to meet with the cult leader in person.

Falwell and Moon made a public appearance on July 26, 1994, when they posed for photos at the inauguration of a Moonie organization called Youth Federation for World Peace.

Jerry Falwell is embraced by a new and improved Messiah in 1995

Jerry Falwell is embraced by a new and improved Messiah in 1994

By early 1995, Reber and Godwin were flush with money funneled to them from Moon. One of Moon’s organizations had donated $3.5 million to Reber’s Christian Heritage Foundation for “educational purposes,” which Moon’s people understood to mean Liberty University. The foundation subsequently purchased almost half of Liberty’s $73 million in debt for $2.5 million and immediately forgave it, wiping approximately $35 million of debt off Liberty’s books. The LA Times describes Falwell’s gratitude:

On Jan. 28, 1995, during his nationally televised “Old Time Gospel Hour,” Falwell credited the directors of the foundation, Daniel A. Reber and Jimmy Thomas, with saving Liberty. Falwell made no mention of his more prominent financial angel, Moon, who is objectionable to many fundamentalist Christians because of his unusual biblical interpretations and his recruitment of young people away from their families.

Falwell also didn’t mention the thousands of small investors, many from Texas, who had thought they were helping fund church construction, who were paid back just pennies on their dollar. (The debt story is also chronicled in the book, The Hunting of the President, which can be previewed on Amazon.)

When Benny Hinn sat down in front of his cameras, he wasn’t talking to two random employees from Liberty University. He was talking to the two men, besides Falwell and Moon themselves, who were most responsible for Liberty even existing today. Reber and Godwin are the Men Who Get Things Done.

This may explain why, despite Liberty insisting that Reber and Hinn didn’t have their permission to offer these courses, nothing has actually changed. Hinn’s website is still offering the deal, accepting payments, and showing the video.

Who is Liberty University?

This is the most interesting question coming out of this story. When Reber and Godwin stepped into the limelight again after 20 years, we are reminded of their unsavory history of forming alliances and financial bonds between the university and a notorious cult. Not only has Liberty allowed itself to be bought out by someone who fits the qualifications of an antichrist, but it has cultivated other public friendships over the years with nonChristian groups by extending invitations to the likes of Glenn Beck and Mitt Romney, both Mormons, to speak at their graduation ceremonies.

If Liberty’s commitment to Christian orthodoxy was in question, Godwin’s emphatic denial that Liberty was still a Baptist school surely didn’t help. The message to Hinn’s followers was that Liberty can be whatever religious shape or flavor you want it to be. We just want your money. What you and we believe is rather secondary.

There’s some evidence that Godwin has a chilly relationship with Liberty’s faculty, whose beliefs and willingness to entertain false teachers and religion are nothing like what’s practiced by the school’s leadership. If the relationship had been repaired any, it is probably estranged again now. For teachers and students who spend long hours of labor learning a wide range of disciplines, including theology, it must have been galling to see the school’s senior academic officer endorse a course that could be completed with 10 hours of video and a couple of quizzes. Many churches offer Sunday School classes more rigorous than that, yet Godwin and Reber were offering to give three hours of accredited transfer credit for such a paltry effort.

In offering the courses as a speed bump on the way to ordination by Hinn’s “World Healing Fellowship,” Liberty threw in its lot with a disheartening anti-intellectual impulse within evangelicalism. How can Liberty’s leaders possibly think that a few hours of listening to someone talk about the Bible is anywhere close to meeting the standards of 2 Timothy 2:15 (Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth) for pastors in Christ’s church?

Which brings us back to World Vision. In both cases, institutions were widely loved based on the perception that they were solidly evangelical in orientation and practice. Liberty is thought to be a reliably Baptist school, still connected to its founding church through Falwell’s two sons, with Jonathan running the church, the Jerry running the school. Godwin not only corrected us on that in his ecumenical assurances to Hinn, but he was instrumental in driving Jerry Snr into the arms of a sex-crazed modern-day messiah.

Based on that kind of history and leadership, it ought to surprise no one that the leaders of the school saw no impediment to forming an alliance with a deceiver like Benny Hinn.

As with World Vision, perhaps some of the Christian parents who might have looked at Liberty as a safe place for their children will now look at smaller denominational schools and see that they might do a more reliable job of defending the faith.

There are many smaller Christian schools without cultist money coursing through their bank accounts and cult-embracing leaders at their helm. Their admissions and development officers will be delighted to take the calls that might otherwise have gone to Liberty.

Because, especially at Christian colleges, discernment matters.

24 thoughts on “Benny Hinn dalliance brings Liberty University’s cultist history back into the picture

  1. Matthew Grant McDaniel Apr 9, 2014 11:51 am

    James-

    Your thorough research here, and your courage to compile and release all of this information in a transparent way, is a noble service. Thank you for your honesty and bravery.

    If you would like a succinct treatment of the strongest and most obvious reasons for Dr. Godwin’s resignation, I have compiled that information on my blog: http://matthewgrantmcdaniel.com/alumni-liberty-university-benny-hinn-godwinsgottago/

    Thanks again. Godspeed.

  2. Lynchburg Legend Apr 9, 2014 3:15 pm

    Yall missed one. Dan Reber’s daughter, Donna Reber Graham is married to Franklin Graham’s son, Roy. If Reber is who you say he is…then, why would Franklin Graham allow his son to marry into the Reber family…..or is Franklin Graham invovled as well?

    • Patricia Apr 30, 2014 2:21 pm

      Franklin Graham is also very on keen on Mormon Glenn Beck who he seems to regard as an ally in their mutual tea party/ anti Obama campaign. Beck was, at Franklin’s instigation, invited to Billy Graham’s 95th birthday bash last year along with Donald Trump and Sarah Palin while Franklin’s older sister Ruth Graham wrote very positively about Glenn Beck in her online blog. Franklin also had the article on the BGEA website referring to Mormonism as a cult removed in the run up to the last Presidential election and I believe that Mitt Romney has also been a guest speaker at Liberty. It’s all about political power and social control rather than the gospel of Jesus.

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  4. Mad Dog Apr 9, 2014 4:43 pm

    I appreciate these observations – this is a sad and concerning situation and as a LU graduate (from many years ago) it is very disheartening. I find LU’s denials very implausible and I think their reaction is akin to the child whose hand is caught in the cookie jar . . . devaluing academic rigor, engaging in questionable associations, and focusing on being the biggest with no comensurate effort aimed at being the bst are some of the things that characterize them these days . . . it honestly makes me very sad. As an aside, I read Dr. Goodwin’s poorly constructed public statement and I found it to be badly written and not particularly coherent – in a way, this told me all that I needed to know – that LU’s chief academic officer is not, himself, a very articulate communicator and probably does not belong in a position that, characteristically in academics, is reserved for someone of some scholarly achievement. Thanks for your good work.

  5. Rebecca Lynn Apr 9, 2014 5:57 pm

    My youngest daughter is going to college in a years time. I live in Indiana and have been really concerned about some of the things going on in the colleges we have looked at. She is interested in Grace bible college, and possibley Emmaus college, any thoughts? I would really love it if you might consider publishing a list of the small colleges out there that you deem safe. I am doing my own research but quite frankly I am a bit out of my depth. Thank you. rebecca

    • Matthew Grant McDaniel Apr 9, 2014 6:32 pm

      Hey Rebecca-

      Since it’s somewhat close by to you on Indiana, I’d recommend Boyce College in Louisville, KY. It’s the undergraduate arm of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In terms of ethics and doctrine, their integrity is top-notch. As a matter of fact, Southern’s former dean of the school of Theology, Russell Moore, is now the head of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. A notable Christian blogger, Denny Burk (dennyburk.com) is also a professor at Boyce. Definitely worth your time (and trust) to check them out.

      • Matt Apr 12, 2014 10:17 am

        “Since it’s somewhat close by to you on Indiana, I’d recommend Boyce College in Louisville, KY. It’s the undergraduate arm of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In terms of ethics and doctrine, their integrity is top-notch. As a matter of fact, Southern’s former dean of the school of Theology, Russell Moore, is now the head of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. A notable Christian blogger, Denny Burk (dennyburk.com) is also a professor at Boyce. Definitely worth your time (and trust) to check them out.”

        Rebecca, If you love your daughter stay completely away from Boyce. Just do some reading on who it was named after. It is staunch patriarchal and a Neo Calvinist indoctrination school. There is NO higher learning there. Your daughter will be taught she was created in the “indirect image of God…a derivitave” (prof Bruce Ware at SBTS). Russ Moore (Now pres of ERLC) the former Dean of SBTS says that comps are wimps and we need more patriarchy. The school (both Boyce and SBTS) promote ESS which is basically an Arian heresy that makes Jesus out to be a “lessor god” in the Trinity. They believe in a pecking order of heirarchy within the Trinity. Denny Burke, former editor of the CBMW (which teaches the Mormon doctrine of eternal marriage) is a yes man. Mohler surrounds himself with young yes men.

        I have been associated with SBTS through my family since I was born. The promise of conservatism when Mohler was hired in the mid 1990s instead brought a witch hunt of anyone who disagree with him was a “liberal” and thrown to the curb. Including a gentleman who was 9 mos from retirement, Paul Debusman. you can google him. The long line of those thrown over for daring to disagree in a school that deems itself “higher education” is quite long.

        Everyone I know who has worked there does not last long if they will not buy into the Neo Calvinist party line and totally submit themselves to Mohler.

        More recently (within the last 4 years) Mohler has boldy promoted and protected CJ Mahaney who protected child molesters at his once empire SGM. This is a verifiable fact. Mohler told reporter Peter King here in Louisville that the victims just did not like CJ’s strong leadership. But in fact, child molestation turned out to be a systematic problem in SGM’s “family of churches” and no one was allowed to report it or it was sin and gossip. You can read about this at SGM survivors which has been around for 5 years. Many victims met each other there. A trail is starting soon concerning one molester youth pastor, Nate Morales. Mohler has been outspoken in defending and protecting Mahaney. Mahaney moved SGM ministries to Louisville to be “near the seminary” when he was forced to leave CLC one of the SGM churches. SGM is a notorious Shepherding cult.

        Mohler, T4G and TGC all have promoted and protected Mahaney. They could care less about the innocent children who were told by SGM pastors to “forgive their molester because you are as big of sinner as they are”. One victim was around 4 when she was forced to be in the room with ehr molester and forgive him.

        There is so much more but please do not trust organizations because they claim to be “Christian”. Your daughter will lose her soul and her identity in Christ if she goes there. She will be considered a lower species in the great pecking order of life. And they are really pushing students to marry young there.

    • James Duncan Apr 9, 2014 8:53 pm

      Rebecca, there are three that I’d send my son to:

      Anderson University (Anderson, SC). This is where I teach, so I know they hire only top-quality faculty (heh). We’re a Baptist school with about 3,000 students. Faculty aren’t all Baptist, but all are Christians who work to integrate our faith with our learning. I know that my provost would never pull a stunt like this because he takes the integrity of our academic programs and Christian witness very seriously.

      Covenant College (Lookout Mountain, GA) and Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI). As the names suggest, these are more Reformed and Presbyterian in their affiliation and theology. I’ve taken my son on campus visits to each in the last six months, and I’d be delighted if he ended up at either one.

  6. Mountain Man Apr 10, 2014 12:31 am

    James, nice job on the information. Please allow me to present a couple of counter-points:
    1. Even though it is embarrassing, the timing of events does suggest that Liberty as an institution was not aware of this partnership, and that Godwin may have acted alone. As others have pointed out (like Mr. McDaniel’s commentary), Liberty released their statement denying a partnership with Hinn long before it was a news story, either in blogs, new media or tradition media. Liberty’s response was also quick enough that they do not appear to have been influenced by alumni complaints or reduced donations. In this instance, it appears that Liberty acted appropriately.
    2. Godwin’s own admission is that he did not confer with others at the university prior to the announcement. It may be hard to believe a “lone wolf” theory, but you have presented excellent evidence in your story that Godwin may feel it is his right to answer to no one. I completely agree that his “letter” falls far short of an appropriate response, and some of his excuses are difficult to believe (e.g. he was in such a hurry that the provost of the world’s largest Christian university did not have the time or resources to check with other Liberty officials prior to meeting with Hinn). Given Liberty’s quick response to deny a partnership blessed by the provost (and a response largely absent of internet coverage at the time), it seems likely that Liberty did not know this was going to happen. And in Liberty’s longer Q and A section a few days later, the university was clearly distancing itself from Godwin and was not shy about discussing his error. Any provost at any university would normally have enough power to re-write that response in a much more flattering way, if not altogether bury it. And this is especially true of Godwin, who has a reputation for bullying pretty much everyone at the university. The interesting thing is that it seems like the big bully may lose his job over this stunt, which would be the appropriate action by Liberty regarding this whole debacle.

  7. Luke Apr 10, 2014 8:12 am

    Liberty’s credibility disappeared for me LONG AGO when I saw a video of Steven Furtick speaking at one of their Convocations. And it continues – SF spoke at another Convocation a few weeks ago. Additionally, Clayton King and Judah Smith have spoken at Convocations.

    Thus, none of the revelations in this or previous posts about Liberty surprise me. What a shame.

  8. Daniel Apr 10, 2014 9:11 am

    A few personal thoughts from my dealings with LU. They may – or may not – help give some context to the overall theme of this post which seems to be Liberty’s willingness to sell anything.
    I began classes as a freshman in their online program in 2007. In every class where a legitimate (i.e. on campus) professor was the teacher the overall experience was much more intellectually taxing; Dr. Gutirrerez comes to mind as well as a Biology profess whose name I can’t remember. As I approached my junior and senior year (classes should have become more difficult) it seemed like the teachers had left the building and left us with a sub who didn’t know and didn’t care. Late work was accepted – or outright excused – and the online discussion boards which should be the life of an online class where essentially a waste of time. Students would all comment under one or two posts and there was little, if any, interaction from the teachers. It was so bad that in two classes I threw out crazy theories just to see if I could get some feedback. Nope. Whereas just a year or two before Dr Gutirrerez was commenting on every student’s post you would only see the teachers “commments” a week or two after the discussion board was closed and we had moved on.
    Granted, these observations are anecdotal and might be somewhat influenced by my own academic weariness (4 kids, full-time church staff, etc)but there seemed to be a distinct drop-off in academic concerns. Thankfully I finished and was able to use my local college to CLEP out of several classes to shorten the experience. Unfortunately Liberty leaders seem to place their ultimate emphasis on the $$$ while duping their underlings to believe that they are concerned about integrity.

  9. Andrea Apr 10, 2014 11:34 am

    Hey James, this is definitely a lot better than the other articles I’m seeing around. While it is tough to reread the suspicious history of funds back when Jerry Falwell, Sr was at the helm, I wanted to add that I don’t believe his son Jerry, Jr. is running things in any way the same. This is evidenced by, as Mountain Man stated, the very quick statement Liberty made to declare that they are in no way partnering with Benny Hinn.
    The crux of your argument rests upon the credence of Godwin’s authority to create that partnership that evidently does not exist. Any person can go to LHBI and do the process that Hinn described, so the fact that there still exists a loose relationship from LHBI to LU is not indicative of anything except credit transfer which occurs from diploma programs to universities all over the country every single semester.
    Dr. Godwin did not consult anyone within Liberty University, and this is not the first (nor will it be the last) time that a high-level executive has “gone rogue”, so to speak, and create a serious issue for an institution as a whole. The evidence you brought up concerning his ruthless methods even lend weight to the fact that Dr. Godwin likely did this on his own. Unfortunately, however, Dr. Godwin’s actions have played right into the hands of those who continue to vilify Liberty University at any possible chance. I seriously hope that Dr. Godwin is shortly terminated from his position in order to reinforce what I believe to be true regarding my thoughts on Jerry, Jr. trying to do things much differently.

  10. Stogumber Apr 10, 2014 12:46 pm

    I’m not much impressed by the concept of “cult”, which was originally invented to denigrate all Christians and thereafter was adapted by some Christians to denigrate other Christians. I’m quite conscious that a lot of my (Anabaptist) brethren are decried as cultists as well. (And didn’t you read the books about Evangelicalism as a mental malady or addiction?)
    What we can learn from this Story is: If religious communities want to stand against their time, they all must stand together. The question of right or wrong may be solved in the course of time or at the last judgment.

  11. Emily Apr 10, 2014 8:31 pm

    I tend to agree with Mountain Man as well. Godwin went rogue. Anyone who has worked at Liberty knows that Godwin has his own agenda. I also agree with James McDaniel – Godwin’s gotta go. If he truly is as problematic from Liberty’s past, then he surely isn’t good for Liberty’s future.

  12. E Marshall Buckles Apr 11, 2014 6:09 pm

    OK, folks, as one political candidate used to say, “HERE’S THE DEAL” – with the regional accrediting agencies, it is getting to the point that WHAT an institution teaches, whether or not their faculty is top notch, apparently has little to do with anything. It is apparently now ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. There are a number of small to medium sized colleges and universities losing accreditation because of their MONEY situation. If your college or university does not have students crowding in, packing your classrooms and online courses, if your college or university does not have some “sugar daddies” and “sugar mammas” with a lot of money to give to your institution, your institution could end up losing its regional accreditation which can and often does turn out to be a “death blow” to the institution. Also, our culture is getting increasingly hostile to religious institutions, particularly to Christian institutions. The atheists and agnostics would love to – and at times try to – get Christian colleges and universities totally shut down. You got the money coming in, you may be able to survive. If your money situation is shakey or questionable, you may not be able to survive. It is getting to be a “strange bedfellow” situation out there. Also, I have had many insights into Liberty University, and continue to get them, because I have a beloved daughter enrolled there. I have examined her courses closely, talked with her about them, and am confident that Liberty is just what they say they are, a CHRISTIAN institution. As my daughter will respectfully assert to you, the Liberty courses are very challenging and very worthwhile. I have heard a number of people confirm that as well. Anyone reading this would do well to write a donation check to Liberty and to send it to them and to encourage others to do the same. Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his associates seem to me to be doing a wonderful job of running Liberty and the do not seem to me to be doing anything really unusual that any other college or university would not likely do.

  13. Denise Apr 11, 2014 7:04 pm

    In situations like this, there is always so much more of the story that is never told. It’s really too bad you write an article without the whole story. And, “who is Dan Reber?” I wish you knew this man you write about. You may write differently if you actually knew him. 2 Timothy 2:16

    • James Duncan Apr 11, 2014 9:05 pm

      Denise, the people at Liberty University who thought they knew Dan Reber better than you or me aren’t too impressed with him and have shut down his business. Yes, there’s more to the story, but we’ll need Mr. Reber to tell it. We’re ready to listen.

  14. Matt Apr 12, 2014 1:22 pm

    You are one of the only bloggers I have seen that faces facts about World Vision. Too many are making it a left/right issue or a progressive/fundy issue.

    Add to your analysis the CEO is making upwards to 380k per year. A “Christian” non profit that feeds starving kids pays this well? So the irony is that those donors they lost could have been made up with half his salary and he would still live way above the national average in income earners in America.

    This whole episode was foolish from a purely pragmatic view. It opened WV up to scrutiny that they will regret. I am glad it did. We now know it is not really a starving kid the donors were giving to at all.

    Lets look at it from another perspective. I have been on quite a few non profit boards so I know it is prudent to look at how policy might affect donors. Did their board think they might offend some of their evangelical donors? Are they really that naive? Was it a political statement?

    Yes, Liberty and WV have given us a glimpse into who they really are. Now, how many will buy into all the PR spin from both sides of the issues involved depending where they are on the continuum?

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  16. Bobbienry Apr 18, 2014 11:53 am

    “Reformed” theology was ultra-misogynistic right from the start. The “Reformers”, with very few exceptions, were pretty much all raging misogynists (from John Knox who wrote “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women”, to many of the Puritans who did not believe that women had souls at all, which was one of the reasons why Roger Williams eventually left the Puritan movement). One of the reasons they rejected Catholic teachings on Mary is because they, as misogynists, considered any concept of the “sacred feminine” to be repulsive. So Boyce College, Bruce Ware, etc., are hardly anomalous, historically.

    By contrast, many of the Church Fathers (particularly Maximus the Confessor) sound almost feminist in comparison; their view of women was much higher. Some of the Syriac church fathers even referred to the Holy Spirit as having feminine attributes (this is because the word for spirit is a feminine-gender noun in Hebrew and Syriac). If the patriarchalists ever read Maximus or Aphrahat, how would they react?

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