Various news outlets reported last week that after 30 years of marriage, Suzanne Hinn, wife of healing evangelist Benny Hinn, filed for divorce in California, citing irreconcilable differences.
This news may come as more of a shock to Hinn’s faithful followers than his being named to the infamous Grassley Six. For Pentecostals and charismatic faithful, it’s easy to say your ministry is failing because of the devil, but it’s harder to blame the devil for the demise of a marriage.
Hinn’s various brushes with the law and investigative reporters, however, will be nothing compared to the scrutiny he’ll get for his marriage. Like politicians, having a devoted spouse is an important asset, especially for such a prominent minister with a worldwide following. Irreconcilable differences for many Christians is not reason enough for a divorce and, more often than not, is code for “serious sin.” Pentecostals have a history of being strict about reasons to divorce, adultery being scripturally the only reason to do so. For those who divorce and who have a denominational affiliation through ministerial license, a divorce can mean, at best, additional scrutiny and at worst, stripping of ministerial credentials. Of course, that never has stopped enterprising folks from leaving their denomination to start something new.
For Hinn, however, the problem is deeper. With the immense wealth that the ministry has fleeced from its followers, his Gulfstream jet Dove One, and the focus on prosperity, it may be that the healing evangelist is going to have to pay a hefty sin tax to prevent his wife’s divorce attorney from uncovering all sorts of financial malfeasance in the divorce proceedings.
The announcement from the ministry raises eyebrows as well. Hinn’s web page has a link to the February 17 statement which simply reads “Press Release: Hinn Family News Reports confirmed by Ministry Executive.” The big D is nowhere to be found on the front page, but is on a subsequent page. The statement itself points out that “Pastor Benny Hinn and his immediate family were shocked and saddened to learn of this news on February 17 without any previous notice.”
I doubt Hinn was shocked. The proceedings state that Benny Hinn moved out of the couple’s home to Dana Point, California, as of January 26, 2010. Even more tantalizing is the fact that Suzanne Hinn hired Sorell Trope as her divorce attorney. Trope has represented Nicole Kidman, and most recently represented Elin Nordegren, before she decided to let Tiger Woods try to make up ground in rehab. Trope’s presence on this case insures that Hinn will definitely need a big miracle to prevent Trope from taking more than half of their joint assets for Suzanne. If this video of Suzanne Hinn preaching a few years ago is a precursor to what is about to happen to Benny Hinn through this divorce, I almost — but not quite — feel sorry for him. Stay tuned.