Sam Hinn, brother of Benny Hinn, returns to ministry too soon, pastor says

Orlando Sentinel/August 12, 2013

By Jeff Kunerth

Sam Hinn may have returned to the ministry, but he brings with him some of the issues that forced his resignation after admitting an affair with a church member, said the pastor who first counseled Hinn.

Ron Johnson, pastor of One Church in Longwood, said Monday that Hinn walked out on a two-year restoration process after three months — leaving many of his problems unresolved. Johnson has counseled more than 20 ministers in crisis.

"In my mind, oftentimes these things are rooted in a narcissistic personality, and these things need to be addressed," said Johnson, who was asked by leaders of The Gathering Place Worship Center to work with Hinn on his restoration.

Hinn was ordained again Sunday by a group of ministers seven months after he left his Sanford church following his admission about having a four-year affair.

"I am completely against it. In my mind, he has not fulfilled the requirements necessary for a man to step back into church leadership," Johnson said.

Hinn is expected to take a teaching position with Tabernacle Bible College Seminary in Tampa. Seminary founder Archbishop Lonnie Langston was one of the ministers who performed the re-ordination.

Hinn, the younger brother of televangelist Benny Hinn, could not be contacted. Langston did not respond to a request for comment.

Johnson said Hinn, then a "broken man," initially agreed to a restoration process that included staying away from ministry for a year, meeting with a clinical psychologist and keeping a journal.

"It's a lengthy process worked out with systematic measurements that requires them [pastors] to be accountable to prove they have truly embraced a changed lifestyle," Johnson said.

Hinn left the counseling program after trying to renegotiate the terms, Johnson said.

His quick return to the ministry came as no shock to the church member with whom he had an affair.

"I fully expected him to return to ministry. The time is no surprise to me," Chris Wonder wrote in an email to the Orlando Sentinel.

Wonder said she began counseling shortly after Hinn's resignation Jan. 20 and completed it May 31.

"The counseling opened my eyes to a lot & I'm very grateful to have gone through & completed it," she wrote. "I would never allow this to happen in my life again as it broke Gods heart, the church & so many people."

Hinn is not returning to The Gathering Place, which has a new minister, Johnson said.

"He could return to the pulpit," Johnson said, "but my experience is men whose restoration is not deemed credible have seriously undermined their ministry and limited their opportunities."

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