Update on Benny Hinn Ministries Reports:
April 11, 2014
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell announced Friday that Dr. Ronald Godwin’s duties and responsibilities will be focused solely on academic matters going forward.
Since late 2010, Dr. Godwin has served as Liberty’s Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs. In the last two years, Dr. Godwin has also assumed responsibilities associated with a varied array of initiatives designed to leverage Liberty University’s strengths with new and innovative educational projects external to the University. These projects included new programs and strategic alliances to deliver Liberty’s educational services both domestically and internationally.
“The incident with Benny Hinn Ministries convinced me how incompatible the two roles are,” President Falwell said. “I also realized it was not humanly possible for any one person to perform all the tasks necessary to do both jobs well. Dr. Godwin and I met early today and discussed which of his two roles he should continue to serve. After a lengthy discussion, we decided that Dr. Godwin should focus solely on Liberty’s academic programs in his role as Provost.”
Dr. Godwin, 76, explained the background context for the move. “A dear friend of mine believed he had a contract that permitted him to use Liberty University’s name and materials in a way that I now realize he did not. I should have verified this but instead trusted in his recollection,” said Dr. Godwin. “I have apologized to President Falwell for this error and am grateful that I can continue to contribute to Liberty University’s health and success.”
Dr. Godwin’s refined role will help ensure the error does not repeat itself, according to President Falwell. “The University will continue to rely on Dr. Godwin’s breadth of academic and administrative experience. He will spend the next few years grooming his successors and guiding the team responsible for Liberty University’s pending ten year accreditation reaffirmation report.”
“Dr. Godwin has served at Liberty since 2004. I greatly value his contributions during that time,” President Falwell said. “Dr. Godwin was instrumental in helping my father implement a very aggressive enrollment growth plan for Liberty beginning ten years ago when Liberty had just emerged from a decade of financial struggles and while many thought it imprudent to incur the risks inherent in growth. Three years ago, he stepped in as Provost and created efficiencies and academic quality controls to effectively manage Liberty’s robust growth. I am confident that Ron will be even more effective now as he is deployed in this more focused role.”
Dr. Godwin added, “I welcome this opportunity to focus my efforts on the Provost duties, which, at the world’s largest Christian university, is more than enough for anyone to say grace over.”
Liberty University is not partnering with Benny Hinn. Liberty transferred the operations of Liberty Home Bible Institute, a non-accredited biblical studies certificate program, to Mr. Dan Reber in 2011. Mr. Reber was granted certain licensing rights to use Liberty’s name because the Liberty name was deeply imbedded in LHBI course materials. Earlier, in 2009, Liberty engaged a company of Reber’s, Internet Marketing and Communications, LLC, to market Liberty Home Bible Institute and the Institute of Biblical Studies, another non-accredited biblical studies certificate program. Liberty University has maintained ownership of both programs. It is our understanding that Dan Reber or his company is working with Benny Hinn but Liberty University is not aware of the extent of the relationship or the terms. A review of the relevant contracts demonstrates that any such cooperative venture, branding initiative or partnership with Benny Hinn regarding these Liberty University properties violates the terms of its agreements with Mr. Reber and Internet Marketing and Communications, LLC. Liberty University has placed them on notice of this breach and is taking steps to stop the unauthorized use of its intellectual properties and trademarks. It is true that a senior administrator of Liberty University appeared on a Benny Hinn program where a certificate program was promoted, but no other Liberty officials had prior notice of the planned broadcast. The administrator appeared after he was misinformed regarding the extent of Mr. Reber's contract rights. Again, Liberty University is not involved in any cooperative venture with Benny Hinn.
*More answers to questions on the issue are listed below.
Provost's statement, 4/4/14:
As the Liberty University Official who appeared on the Benny Hinn TV show I offer the following in order to explain why and what actually occurred.
The reason why I appeared on Pastor Hinn’s show was because of my understanding that small church pastors in multiple countries are facing government takeovers of their churches and the loss of their own rights as pastors. It was explained to me that there are literally thousands of pastors and churches in imminent danger.
Mr. Reber's contribution to the project would have provided pastors with at least a modicum of Bible education and a diploma certifying same and Pastor Benny Hinn’s contribution would have been to ordain those pastors through his worldwide church, thus providing a double shield of protection against government takeover.
Because of the urgency of the request and the assurances by Mr. Reber that he had been authorized since 2009 by Liberty University to sell Liberty University Institute of Biblical Studies courses via Benny Hinn Ministries, I agreed without hesitation to appear on the Benny Hinn TV show with the understanding that I would have the opportunity to confirm what I believed at that time to be true: That Liberty University does grant college credit for Institute of Biblical Studies courses successfully completed.
What I failed to anticipate was that what I actually said would be lost beneath the weight of the gravely wrong assumption that I was announcing a partnership between Liberty and Benny Hinn. And I further relied on Pastor Hinn’s personal assurance that no public pronouncements would be made without my approval — which approvals I never gave, orally or in writing.
Today I was informed by Liberty University’s attorney that Mr. Reber apparently does not have the authority to market LUIBS courses on Benny Hinn’s program. But I want to go on the record that I still believe today that Mr. Reber sincerely believed he had such authority when he asked me for my help. And I believe that Dan Reber’s motivation was to provide Bible education to pastors in desperate need of such education.
It is my sincere prayer that the mistake I made in attempting to generate desperately needed help for pastors around the globe will not result in further hardship for those pastors and further distractions for Liberty University and its mission.
Dr. Ronald S. Godwin
Provost, Liberty University
Liberty University released the following statement on Thursday, April 3:
Liberty University is not partnering with Benny Hinn. Liberty transferred the operations of Liberty Home Bible Institute, a non-accredited biblical studies certificate program, to Mr. Dan Reber a number of years ago. It is our understanding that LHBI’s new operators are working with Benny Hinn but LHBI is no longer operated by Liberty University. Mr. Reber was granted certain licensing rights to use Liberty’s name because the Liberty name was deeply imbedded in LHBI course materials. He was also required to obtain permission from Liberty University for any changes in marketing of the courses and Liberty University is investigating to determine whether this new marketing approach violates the terms of its agreement with Mr. Reber.
More questions on the issue:
1. What is Liberty University’s relationship with Mr. Dan Reber?
Dan Reber is a longtime donor to Liberty University. Personally and through his companies, he has provided various services to Liberty University over the years, especially in the area of direct marketing.