Sam Hinn, the brother of famed TV evangelist Benny Hinn, is taking a leave of absence from his Orlando area church because of a supposed long-term affair, according to the Orlando Sentinel. This comes just weeks after another popular Florida pastor resigned over a long-term affair.
According to the Sentinel, Sam Hinn is stepping aside, at least for the next couple of months.:
Sanford Pastor Sam Hinn engaged in a four-year love affair with a member of his congregation before being confronted by his wife and church officials, prompting him to step away from the pulpit, according to the woman’s family.
Chantel Wonder said Hinn, the younger brother of televangelist Benny Hinn, initiated the affair with her mother by telling her they were “soul mates” and that God approved of the relationship.
“He put her in a position that this is OK because it’s what God wants. He was using God to justify it,” said Wonder, 28, of St. Petersburg.
Sam Hinn, 51, founded The Gathering Place Worship Center in 1996, about five years before Wonder’s family joined.
Messages left on Hinn’s home phone were not returned. Church officials responded to requests for comment with a copy of the letter Hinn wrote to his congregation, which says:
“As painful as this is to confess, I have allowed myself to be drawn into a relationship that has caused much hurt and pain to my wife and family. I have repented and asked for and received their forgiveness.”
Wonder said her father became aware of the affair in December 2008 after he found text and voice messages from Hinn on his wife’s phone. At the time, his wife denied the affair. The couple, who were married June 20, 1980, divorced on Feb. 14, 2012.
Wonder said Hinn, who is married and has four children, continued the affair after her parents divorced. She said church officials confronted Hinn with evidence of the affair in December 2012, but he refused to admit he was involved with the woman.
On Jan. 14, Hinn denied the allegations of an affair to his wife, but promised not to talk to the woman again, Wonder said. Later the same day, she said, Hinn’s car was photographed parked outside her mother’s apartment.
On Wednesday, church officials read Hinn’s letter to the congregation, in which he says, “…I am taking a leave of absence from any and all ministry so I can focus my full energy on both my walk with God and restoration in my family.”
So… he’s taking a couple of months off to get it together. Good for him.
As we continue to have this conversation about grace and restoration, I’m wondering if a good rule of thumb, even if the person involved is totally repentant, would be that they sit on the ministry leadership sidelines at least the same amount of time that they were involved in the affair or immoral activity.
Is that a stupid idea, or does it have some merit?
I’d love to hear your thoughts… please do leave a comment.