Senate Finance Committee Gives Benny Hinn Ministries High Marks for Going “Over and Above” in Matters of Financial Transparency
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Senator Charles Grassley’s office released a press statement on July 7, 2008, regarding the ongoing inquiry into the financial accountability of six ministries, including Benny Hinn Ministries. Senator Grassley commented favorably on the cooperation and comprehensive nature of Benny Hinn Ministries’ responses to his inquiry. Senator Grassley characterized our submissions as “extensive.” The press statement described the material as “substantially informative” and “in good faith.”
Specifically, the senator said, "Benny Hinn Ministries has engaged in open and honest dialogue with committee staff. They have not only provided responses to every question but, in the spirit of true cooperation, also have provided information over and above what was requested.”
The senator commended Benny Hinn Ministries for instituting reforms without waiting for the committee to complete its review, citing that self-reform can be faster and more effective than government regulation.
Reforms and improved governance practices are being shared with Grassley's office in the church’s ongoing commitment to donor accountability and efficient use of church funds. Pastor Benny Hinn believes this ministry’s duty to its partners is to demonstrate the wise use of each and every dollar contributed for the purpose of reaching the world with the Gospel. Senator Grassley’s comments demonstrate the spirit of cooperation that exists between his office and this ministry, and we welcome the opportunity to show our partners the commitment to stewardship that has long been our standard.
Final delivery brings total of Benny Hinn Ministries response to 4,361 pages!
In a continuing effort to cooperate fully with Senator Charles Grassley’s ongoing inquiry regarding the financial accountability of six major church ministries, World Healing Center Church (Benny Hinn Ministries) delivered the completion of all responses to the senator’s office on June 11, 2008, answering all questions thoroughly, comprehensively, and satisfactorily.
This detailed report, provided voluntarily at the request of Pastor Benny Hinn and the Church’s Board of Directors, brought the ministry’s response to a total of 4,361 pages, and answered a wide range of topics outlined in the senator’s letter of November 5, 2007.
This final submission is the sixth in a series of in-depth answers that are in furtherance of the Church’s commitment to provide comprehensive responses to the senator’s questions and to demonstrate proactive leadership to our donors.
Our highest calling is to honor God in all we do and to be accountable to Him. Secondly, we are called to be accountable and transparent with our partners.
Our accountability to both God and our partners is a much higher duty than any legal standing. However, as part of honoring both God and our partners, we believe we are called to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18), and we are also to show respect to those whom God has placed in our nation’s government: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
Therefore we were among the first to meet with Senator Grassley’s staff for the purpose of establishing a blueprint of cooperation and mutual understanding. This sixth compilation of in-depth documentation is part of our Church’s commitment to provide additional and comprehensive responses to the senator’s questions.
Although some have questioned the scope of the senator’s inquiry as it pertains to church ministries, World Healing Center Church has chosen to cooperate in this matter, following the mandate of its Senior Pastor, Benny Hinn, who believes that the Church has a much higher calling to be open and accountable to our donors and members around the globe. This has required thousands of employee hours on the part of our Church’s staff and professionals, reflecting our ongoing desire not only to lead the way in transparency and openness, but also to work diligently to bring about a speedy and satisfactory conclusion of this matter.
Government Standards Met Fully
In conjunction with the Senate committee’s inquiry, some have asked whether an international ministry that holds historic crusades, broadcasts daily around the world, and conducts global mission outreaches can also be a church in the strictest legal definition.
We have a solid reputation of going above and beyond when it comes to our governance and compliance with governmental agencies. Benny Hinn Ministries administration and staff follow strict standards, as set forth by our Board of Directors. We differ from many not-for-profit ministries or charities, insofar as we are incorporated and operated as a church—World Healing Center Church. The IRS acknowledges this distinction and sets forth certain guidelines that govern financial disclosure and accountability.
Over three years ago, Benny Hinn Ministries (along with many other large ministries, charities, and other exempt organizations) was contacted by the Internal Revenue Service, who asked a series of in-depth questions about our activities, expenditures, and governance. These questions probed deeply into every aspect of our organization and included questions on compensation, housing, use of the ministry aircraft, Hinn family employment, travel expenses, and many other areas—even going so far as to query our status as a church and a 501(c)(3) organization.
Following this exhaustive examination of our ministry, the IRS issued a letter to Benny Hinn Ministries on December 6, 2007, that stated: “As a result of our review, we have determined that your activities continue to meet the requirements of IRC [Internal Revenue Code] section tax-exempt, religious 501(c)(3) and you continue to qualify as an organization exempt from Federal income tax under that section. Furthermore, you remain classified as a church within the meaning of IRC section 170(b)(1)(A)(i) and 509(a)(1).”
This “no change” declaration by the very branch of the federal government dedicated to the oversight of tax-exempt organizations was an affirmation of our ongoing commitment to compliance with the federal tax laws.
The ministry also follows the guidelines established by Statement of Position 78-10, issued by the Accounting Standards Division of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Each year we file all required documentation to every municipal, state/provincial, and federal agency that requires us to do so. To accomplish this, we use preeminent legal firms in Washington, D.C., with professionals of the highest caliber, to oversee our ministry. Comprised of former IRS directors and agents, our legal team is guided by the finest tax, nonprofit, and general lawyers in the world. We have done this in the past, and we are committed to always doing so without fail.
Higher Standard of Openness and Strong Dedication to the Great Commission
As the ministry has now delivered the final set of in-depth documentation to Senator Grassley’s office, Pastor Benny Hinn and the Church’s Board of Directors continue to follow a pattern of openness and transparency.
As good citizens and as followers of Christ, we in this ministry must adhere to an above-and-beyond approach when it comes to the scriptural mandate to “render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” (Matthew 22:21), as the Lord instructed. Each year we submit all legal filings to the appropriate governmental authorities, ensuring that our ministry complies with both the spirit and the letter of the law in relation to all government agencies that have the authority to regulate church organizations.
We will continue to do so and are very open about the fact that this church sets a high standard by spending 87 cents out of every dollar received on ministry. Only 13 cents from each dollar goes to administrative costs. Considering the worldwide impact of our ministry—including media ministries, missions, crusades, conferences, prayer, resources, and educational outreaches—our administrative costs are exceptionally low compared to those of most organizations and corporations. That is because of our commitment and accountability to God and our partners, and we will continue to make sure that we use wise stewardship with every seed planted into the fertile soil of this ministry.
We believe that as we seek to set a standard for accountability and transparency with those in our nation’s government, we will see a speedy and successful resolution so we can return to devoting all of our energies and resources toward preaching the life-saving and miracle-working Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world!