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The Persecuted Church

 

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Under my anointing- Under my thumb  

The ministry and the money

It seems everyone wants to see miracles and it has become quite a profitable venture for those who claim to have the ability to perform them.  However, the difference between those who claim this ability today and Jesus should be apparent.  Today’s “miracle workers” do it on a stage backed by massive choirs, professional lighting and cameras. Jesus, on the other hand, walked among the crowds and touched the people where they lived, not concerned about boosting his reputation. Many times he went away from the crowds to those who had not heard.

The Trinity Foundation, headed by Ole’ Anthony, tracks TV evangelists and tries to keep them accountable for what they do and say in public.  The Foundation reports there are more than 500 televangelists and approximately 350 religious television stations that are members of the National Religious Broadcasters Association.  There are also approximately 750 radio evangelists on 1,550 religious radio stations who are NRB members.  They also estimate the total number of television and radio evangelists in the United States exceeds 2,500.  Christian programming on TV has become a 3 1/2 billion dollar industry, and just like any other industry it is not exempt from fraud.  The ministry of one of America’s most popular tele-evangelists – Benny Hinn – is reported to have made well over $75 million last year, even by a conservative estimation.  As a licensed minister Hinn is not required by law to divulge his salary or account for his books, so he simply doesn’t.  People send enormous amounts of money to such tele-evangelists who do not discriminate between the poor, the naïve, or those who just want a “blessing from God” and will pay anything for it.

What do you see when you tune in to Benny Hinn’s weekly televised program This is Your Day? He appears with a stack of prayer requests 3 1/2 ft high and 8ft.  by 8ft.  wide – probably half a million letters (they receive up to 20,000 a week).  And then he promises that he will pray for you personally.  (But of course, along with the prayer request, don’t forget to send in a little something to help the ministry).  He then lays his hands on the envelopes publicly and gives a general prayer for all the personal requests to be answered.  That’s how he prays for you.  I don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind for intercessory prayer, do you?

To my knowledge there is not one incident recorded in the Scriptures where Jesus solicited money from the people He healed. When Hinn was on Larry King live (1997) and a caller from Illinois asked, “My question is, Jesus never asked for money, why do you?” Hinn’s response was short and candid, "Well, Jesus didn’t have a TV program." There’s his justification. Yes it takes money to do things, but is he being a frugal steward over it? Not really, there are too many instances of extravagant spending. He spends his time in the best hotels when he travels, presidential suites costing as much as $2,200 a night.   And takes Himself and his crew on $7,000 plane flights for their immediate appearance somewhere else in the world. (Impact News report)

He stayed at the Kahala Mandarin in the presidential suite that costs $3,700-$5,000 a night hotel here on Oahu in 2002. How many people have ever stayed even one night in a hotel this expensive? I have heard from someone who lives on Maui that when Hinn goes to Maui and speaks at First Assembly headed by Pastor Morrocco he stays at the Grand Wailea in the $10,000 suite. He has convinced that Christians that listen to him that the anointed deserve the best. But you can’t justify this with the apostles who knew the Lord when he was on earth, luxury like this was not practiced by them, in fact they called it worldliness and went out of their way so they would not even look like this. But Benny Hinn, who is held in high esteem for his healing ability, promises many material blessings to those who give. By misapplying Phil.1:2-5 to prove his definition of a believer’s “partnership” in the Gospel, Hinn tells his ministry partners what is about to come back their way for supporting his ministry. He translates v. 7 to mean that because of their partnership with Benny Hinn Ministries, “the grace that is on my (Benny's) life will be on yours.” What he is telling his audience is that if they give him their money, God will be gracious enough to give them the same “grace” (same anointing) he has given Benny!  Hinn makes some powerful, absolute statements to manipulate the giving.  “Every dollar you give God will use it as a weapon against the Devil.” With a pitch like this who could not give?

Hinn states most of the money brought in goes right back into his TV show and not to him. “What you give never goes to Benny Hinn. I have never touched a cent of anything that comes in through television or anything that comes in through the crusade offerings…”

Hinn was asked by Larry King.  “Are you wealthy?” To which Hinn replied, “No, I’m not wealthy.  People ask me what I do with this money from my books, for example, from my royalty.  I give much of that away.  … Ministries, ah, charities, ah … what comes in through the ministry stays in the ministry.  In other words, it pays the TV bill, it pays the staff.”  Yet he told Impact News (March 16, 1997) when asked what his annual salary was, “Well, John, you knew that that would be private, but ah, I knew you would ask it.  I can tell you this, if it wasn’t for my book royalties, I’d be in debt.” 

However, Impact’s research had uncovered that Hinn was making $500,000 to $1,000,000 a year, therefore can he truly say he isn’t in it for the money?  This is anywhere from 10 to 25 times more than an average pastor makes, not counting the thousands who minister under real hardships.  In addition, his salary does not include his travel expenses which are paid for where ever he goes, or his $685,000 home, or his $56,000 BMW or his many other personal holdings.  However, all this “moolah” is justified by his own ministry and followers.   After all, he has more “anointing” and more “power” than other preachers.  So doesn’t this special anointing deserve more money?  His followers don’t seem to mind. Some are even oblivious to any of this.  For others, who know how hard people work and sacrifice in order to be able to send in contributions, it is a problem.  

 Taking a long hard LOOK

However, back to the question of royalties – in Hawaii at the February 28, 1997 service, Hinn discussed the distribution of his books saying, “Anything that sells, I don’t get a cent.  All the books, all the tapes, I get nothing.  I just get one cent.  That’s it!”  That's pretty clear isn't it?   Note his story goes from not taking any salary from donations – to not making any money off his royalties – and then to giving away what he “hasn’t” made.   When examined carefully None of this makes sense

In an interview with Christianity Today a few years ago the article mentioned that Hinn’s books Good Morning, Holy Spirit and The Anointing had collectively sold 1.7 million copies.  If he only made fifty cents per book (discounting his claim that he doesn’t get a cent), that is still over a three quarters of a million dollars, plus his salary of almost one million dollars.  Hardly chicken feed.

In a complete contradiction of his claims elsewhere, Hinn claims that if it wasn’t for his book royalties he’d be in debt!( Impact News, on March 16, 1997)  Yet he said he doesn’t take a cent from his ministry? Then he must have enormous expenditures to be making a salary of close to a million and have everything paid for.  In the past Hinn received a salary of $116,000 plus a housing allowance from his Florida church.   I guess inflation has hit with a living adjustment.  Yet, on the Impact news interview he stated “I would love the day to come where, ah, I would live only on my royalties and would not have to take a salary from the ministry at all.” How is this possible if he I don’t get a cent..I get nothing.” Yet he will say, “The home I have, I paid for.  The car I drive, I paid for.  The ministry pays nothing when it comes to home and car and all that.” Well, just how in the world does he pay for it?  None of this makes sense when these conflicting statements are compared to each other. If you are a contributor to Hinn's ministry its time to think about this.

With Hinn what you see is not what you get (WYSINWYG).  As often as possible, Hinn will let you know how much he is giving to others.  This way people see publicly how generous he is with the money they are giving him. Think about it, its not his money but the contributors that he so generously gives away. Such as the time he presented to Paul Crouch, founder and owner of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) a check for $50,000, or gave $100,000 to fellow preacher Rod Parsley’s ministry.  This is all in direct violation to what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount – don’t give in front of an audience to receive the praise of men, for that will be your reward.  Isn’t this just what the Pharisees did?  They would toot their horn in front of everyone to publicly demonstrate their “religious work” and “great sacrifice”.   When we see the nature of Jesus at work then we can identify a true servant of Christ and we will know God is with that servant. Remember that this is all TV programs that are choreographed, cut and presented for his TV viewing audience.

The Promises, Oh the Promises

Hinn promises, “When the anointing comes all your loved ones will be saved.  All the demons that harass you will be gone.  The day is coming when there will not be one sick saint in the body of Christ.  You’re all gonna be healed before the Rapture” (Benny Hinn, “Praise the Lord,” 7/8/96).  This is all hype with no substance which not only gives people false hope but, worst of all, excites their greed and entices them to give him their money with the false expectation of a 100-fold return or some other blessing.

  Hinn even admits, “If Benny Hinn can give people only one thing – hope - I’m satisfied.”  But can this statement be taken seriously from a man who claims God used him to heal thousands?  What a far cry from his declaration that every time he is on TV someone is healed.  Unlike Hinn’s Word of Faith teaching that people must “claim” or “speak” their healing, true faith admits its problem – which is anathema in the Word/Faith camp.  No one who was blind that came to Jesus said, “I’m healed! I can see!” not until Jesus touched them or spoke the word.  They did not first confess Him as the healer and then were healed.  Nor did they get paraded around the countryside afterwards.  Least of all, Jesus did not ask for money from those who were watching.

In another Larry King interview Hinn indicated that he has 400 people on staff and oversees a $50,000,000 a year miracle ministry (now much larger).  “It’s not a business,” Hinn says, “ It’s a ministry.  To me its God’s work and the Lord, ah, moves on people’s hearts to give a donation.  We don’t force them to give.  People give out of their own freewill, and it pays the bills.” But does Hinn really not solicit funds as he says?  Does he leave it up to the people?  Hardly! The promises are never ending to those who will give. This is the very reason many do give!

Hinn will say, “If you want the devil behind bars, start giving.  God will paralyze him for you, for your sake.  He’ll quit eating your seed ”(which, according to Hinn, is your money).  So Hinn is in effect saying, “Give me your money, I’ll keep it safe,” (and by correlation, that when one gives to him ministry they are in effect, giving directly to God).

Like a dutiful prosperity peddler Hinn declares: “Poverty comes from Hell, ... prosperity comes from Heaven.  Sow a big seed, when you confess it, you are activating the supernatural forces of God.” (TBN Praise-a-Thon 2/8/90).  During the June 11, 1990 Praise-A-Thon, Hinn had claimed  “Poverty is from the devil and that God wants all Christians prosperous.”  He has also taught that poverty is a demon. Was the apostle Paul and the Church in Jerusalem overcome by demons because they were poor?

Indeed, the promises are never ending for those who will sow into his ministry.  After all, the image that is seen through the TV programs and crusades is that everyone associated with Hinn’s ministry is tremendously successful.  “People just lift your hands and thank him for what is going to happen to your finances because when you give in a time like this something good is going to happen.” (as seen in  The Many Faces of Benny Hinn video).

“Brother, you want to prosper?  Money will be falling on you from left, right, and center.  God will begin to prosper you, for money always follows righteousness and righteous living” (TBN Oct.  20, 1990).  If this were true the apostles would not have said “yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things”(2 Cor.6:9-10). Or  “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.  And we labor, working with our own hands” (1 Cor.4:11-12 ).  Peter said to the man at the gate of the temple “Silver and gold I have not” (Acts 3:6) “have not” “have not, have not.

Hinn states “We are going to believe that in one year you’ll be out of debt.  Now that’s in the Bible!  Genesis 26 states that Isaac sowed in famine and reaped in that same year.  It says that he got a harvest that same year! If you want a harvest this year, it’s gonna happen.  I was out of debt in one year.” (Praise-a Thon, TBN, April 1990). Take a look at the context.  Hinn would state in his private meetings before the nighttime crusades, “God has 10 people with $10,000, 100 people with $1,000 and...” -- well you know the drill if you’ve been around long enough.

 “Sow a big seed.  When you confess it, you are activating the supernatural forces of God” (TBN Praise-a-Thon, 2/8/90).  And he promises, “Pray in the Holy Ghost.  Lift you voices up in prayer right now.  Get your hearts ready, and as you pray in the Holy Spirit God will anoint that seed you’re about to sow. And as God anoints the seed He also anoints the ground so it can bring forth a mightier harvest for you and your children’s families and brings them out of bondage in the name of Jesus.  Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” (1/21/99 Blaisedale center Hawaii).

“Are you ready to sow? Are you ready to sow?  I want you to sow the best seed you care about, I want you to sow the best seed.   People, the ground is wet and moist by the anointing.  I want you to sow your best seed. Many of you right now can sow $100.  Many, some can sow $1,000.  Don’t tip God.  Do not tip God tonight.  Do not or you’re going to miss what’s coming in this harvest time.   When you don’t give money, it shows that you have the devil’s nature” (Praise-a-Thon TBN, 4/21/91).

In Ex 36: 3-6 the Israelites responded to Moses’ asking them only once for contributions to build the Tabernacle.  The Israelites gave so much they were asked to stop.  This is something you’ll NEVER hear from any TV evangelist, least of all Benny Hinn.

The reporter on Impact News states: “A generation ago, Oral Roberts was television’s best known spiritual healer – now he’s a pitch man for Benny Hinn.”  Oral Roberts: “Today you should give your biggest cash bill or write your biggest check and send it in and then expect God to give to you.  You can’t out give God!”  Benny resounds, “Hallelujah!” (Impact News).

Crusades or Crusaders

If we look at the current fad of “miracle” crusades we can find a mixture of both the Gospel and heresy, because they do at times (although rarely) preach the gospel in a way it can be understood.  This is why it’s all so deceiving.  However, what is taught (more often than not) is that God promises miracles and prosperity to all that give into the self-acclaimed fertile ground of their ministry.  And fertile ground it is, at least for the tele-evangelist!

But Hinn also has another angle (and one must grudgingly admire his gall) as he stated on yet another of his appearances on TBN: “You know that God never blesses sheep before he blesses the shepherd.   Shepherds get it first then the sheep get it, because sheep follow shepherds.  If not, we shepherds are gonna have poo on our shoes (laughter from the Crouch’s), so the sheep must follow the shepherd and God ALWAYS blesses the shepherds first.  So a pastor can never see his church prosper if he’s poor.”  So there you have his and other Word/Faith leaders’ justification for being rich – so the people can be!

Hinn’s concept of blessings coming through the human shepherd instead of the Chief Shepherd shows he is not pointing the people to trust in the Lord, but human leaders instead.  What kind of shepherd teaches such things? Did Jesus or Paul?

Waffle I do!

“Money, Money, Money, Money, I am sick of it… people are suddenly being told, its like almost going gambling.  You give this and get this back.” sounds like hes railing against it, yet he will then say, “Years ago they used to preach, ‘O we are going to walk on streets of gold.’  I would say, ‘I don’t need the gold up there.  I’ve got to have it down here.” (Praise-a-Thon, TBN, 2nd April 1991).  He has said in the past, “The teaching on prosperity has gone too far.  It has become a business.  It is no longer ‘give so you will bless somebody.’  It has become ‘give to get.’  It has become selfish, worldly. . . I feel terrible that I once put too much emphasis on material prosperity and now I am saying, ‘Lord, please forgive me.’” (Charisma Magazine editor Stephen Strang). Well, now what?..

There was a time when Hinn could say such true statements as “what’s the message out there today? It’s a message of ego, pride, and selfishness.  If I hear prosperity one more time, I’m gonna throw-up.  True prosperity has nothing to do with money... There’s too much today being preached that’s not Gospel, and I was preaching it myself because I honestly believed that these men whom I respect must be hearing from God ... Many Christians will not endure to the end, ‘cause they are running after false teachers who are teaching what they want to hear, catering to man’s selfish desires...  Any preacher that doesn’t preach self-denial, the cross, the blood, is a false prophet.” (OCC, June 21, 1987) Hinn condemns himself by his own words as he changes his tune with the direction of the wind.

Yet Hinn has said, “In my case, I know I have lost complete desire for anything to do with the world.  My worldly desires are gone... I no longer have any rebellion in me” (The Anointing, p.177-8).  This is quite a statement for any honest believer.  Yet to say this is prideful is an understatement in the least, and in Hinn’s case cannot be found to be true.

Then on the other hand he will say, “The wicked are piling up the funds and I love the way John [Avanzini] teaches on this.  He’s the best there is on how to get the wealth of the wicked.  Man, I like it!” (Praise-a-Thon, TBN, Nov.  6, 1990).

He has also taught the people to “Say after me, all of you, everybody say it, ‘The wealth of the wicked is mine.’” [The audience repeats] “One more time!” [The audience repeats].  “One more time!” [The audience repeats it].  (TBN Praise-a Thon, April 1990)

At one service Hinn asked crusade attendees for $1,000 to help with costs.  The world famous boxer Evander Holyfield who was in the audience raised his hand.  Hinn reportedly asked him for $100,000 and the boxer agreed.  Hinn reportedly prayed that God would enable the boxer to earn $200 million because of his donation.  Holyfield liked Benny so much it is reported he traveled to several states with him and wrote him out a $265,000 check. (Holyfield attends Creflo Dollars church another health and wealth teacher who recently made the news when Holyfield donated over 6 million dollars under interesting circumstances of his wife and him being in the middle of a divorce).

However it’s not just on his teachings on prosperity that Hinn seems to be trapped in a revolving door.  In an interview with Pat Robertson on CBN (who warmly welcome him), Hinn stated he began to look into the faith message and said, “Frankly Pat, I began teaching things that really began to cause me problems such as the “we are little gods” doctrine.  He said the focus had been taken off of Jesus in his opinion.  “When truth is not kept in balance it can go way off and become error and that’s what happened here.” (From the video, The Many Faces of Binny Hinn by the Alnors).  Hinn says “it’s faith in faith rather then faith in God.  A lot of precious people have been misled by this.”  Hinn told Christianity Today that he drifted in the direction of the ‘faith camp’ from about 1980 to 1990 saying it was not really by choice, but more a matter of being influenced by his surroundings.   “I really no longer believe the faith message,” he said in the article.  “I don’t think it adds up.” (Christianity Today Oct.  28, 1991, p.  44).  Hinn also made a similar statement in an interview with James Robinson.

A feature article in the October ‘93 issue of Alpha Magazine (UK) on Benny Hinn quotes Hinn as saying, “I really no longer believe the [word of] faith message.  I don’t think it adds up.”  So he has made it clear that he no longer believes the Word of Faith message.  Right? Wrong!

Hinn has moments when he will say “Let me tell you something God has taken me by the neck…” (ed.  Comment: unfortunately God should have taken him by his mind because he did not think on it too long).  “Let me tell you honestly, I think I’m going to stop preaching healing and start preaching Jesus.”  A tall promise as he continues to preach healing instead of the gospel of salvation and admonishes his followers to sow (i.e.  donate) to his ministry if they want to reap untold blessings.  He seems to say all these former things to quiet his critics who always hope for the change that never seems to come.  I don’t think we will see any change on this in the future.  As of just this last year God “told him” to curse anyone who would dare speak against his anointing or ministry.

Hinn has said correctly, “Most of us don’t even know what ‘repentance’ means.  We think, ‘I’m sorry.  Forgive Me.  Amen - go mess up tomorrow.  That’s not repentance.  Repentance is a completely changed life.  It’s when you break because of sin and you say ‘never again.’  That’s repentance.” (OCC, June 21, 1987).  For true repentance we would expect to see a public recall and restitution for the books that were sold that taught these things he supposedly repented of and said are not true.  No such recall or reimbursement has taken place.   The Firestone tire disaster is nothing compared to the potential spiritual disaster of Hinn’s unbiblical counseling and teaching transmitted through his books. 

If one looks back on the last decade of Benny Hinn’s ministry one finds it saturated with reversals on key doctrinal stances.  Hinn at one point supposedly turns away from the Health and Wealth Gospel, but only a short while later he is again actively promoting  the Word/Faith prosperity message.  He has recently had many of the Word/Faith teachers on his program and donated money to their ministries. He is admired as “the Man” by those who desire or have a healing miracle crusade of their own.   Though he may be looked up to by all in the Charismatic camp as in a class of his own, Hinn seems to bend to peer pressure.  He still runs with the prosperity crowd. 

Recently, Hinn had those very same people whose theology supposedly caused problems for him being interviewed on his program, which gives his stamp of approval on their message that he supposedly no longer believes in.  Copeland still promotes this heresy, as does Rodney Brown of whom Hinn has said at one point that there is no such thing as “holy” laughter (though he practiced it himself and promoted Browne’s ministry).  Hinn seems to be suffering from a case of spiritual alzheimers and his fans are no better off since they don’t care to remember his doctrinal gymnastics either.

Hinn’s repeated denial of the Word/Faith movement’s Jesus and the prosperity message was mainly a reaction from a public outcry against his ministry that came from numerous counter-cult groups that publicly called it heretical and cultic.  Time will tell whether or not Benny means what he says.  As with politics, we need to watch what they do not just what they say.

Recently Hinn announced an unexpected move from his home base in Florida.  However, on closer observation, it seems the moving of his ministry from Orlando is more a result of running from controversy than a God-directed action as Hinn says.   Charisma magazine reported that “a ministry spokesman admits the popular healing evangelist is hoping to dodge some of the media scrutiny that has plagued him in central Florida.”

The scandals that have rocked his ministry include a large legal settlement, revelations of an employee with heroin abuse and a gag order imposed by the ministry on the former director of security who threatened to come out with sordid details of what goes inside.  Mario Licciardello found himself issued with a federal court gag order to keep from making known information about the financial practices of Hinn’s ministry.  The newspaper reported that,  “Licciardello is demanding money to keep him from revealing what he knows about allegations of theft and corruption at Hinn’s World Outreach Center.” According to the Orange County sheriff’s records, at the time of his death, Delgado was under suspicion for the heroin-related death of Sydney Williams.  Williams, who at one time took care of Hinn’s son, Joshua, and later drove a truck for the ministry, died on Nov. 15, 1997 at his Florida home after injecting himself with a massive dose of heroin.  Delgado was being investigated in the death because Williams appeared to have been drugged following a visit to Delgado’s home.  (Reported in the Personal Freedom Outreach Journal, www.pfo.org). 

Hinn has indeed left his Orlando church, turning it over to Clint Black, and moved to Dallas.  Charisma magazine (Aug.) reported that Browne is to assume the 5.7 million dollar debt of the WOC’s facilities. Browne was formerly associated with Parsley being his worship leader of World Harvest Church. another side note Charlie who had been the catcher for Hinn's ministry for years now catches for Parsley. It must be hard to get this kind of help. 

 Hinn planned to break ground in January 1 of 2000 for his new $30+ million Healing Center in Dallas, which would operate 24 hours a day with extravagant healing methods, of healing waters and statues.  Hinn had recently sent out a letter raising funds for The World Healing Center with the statement, “For I pray that every Partner would be able to visit one day.  I know you will be inspired by what you see.  In fact, in the Partner Center, you will be able to view every aspect of this ministry.”  You can be assured that the funds that are taken in and their financial statements will not be seen publicly.  Recently I heard the permit to build this healing center was denied. But never mind, God has spoken to Hinn once again and told him to move it somewhere else.  The convenience of God changing his mind is a trademark of Hinn’s prophesies and promises.  Both he and God seem to change their minds a lot.  

The start of construction was to begin in 2000.His ministry did not issue any public accounting of how much money was raised or how it was spent. Hinns  ministry did respond to questions submitted in writing by saying any money collected for the healing center had been handled properly.
We know now this never got built, instead a 3 million dollar mansion was built for Hinn to live in when he is home from his travelling. I guess this is what they meant, besides their building a world headquarters office in Grapevine.  

Hinn has said that people who go in for the prosperity gospel will not admit and fail to note that there are poor saints in the Scriptures. Some of those the bible speaks the most highly of in faith. But then he will say, “If you have big debt you sow big seed.   If I had to have a big financial miracle I would not give a dollar, I would give a big sacrificial seed believing God for the harvest.” $10,000, $15,000 or even a $100,000 is suggested.  It appears Hinn can always use more money since he continues to want to build such things as a theme park in the Dallas Fort Worth area that will cost $30 million.  I don’t think it was ever the will of the Lord to have certain individuals to build such huge religious “empires” or funnel such large amounts of money into their ministries.  It becomes too easy for much to be lost on the way and corrupt those involved.

A number of years ago Hinn says the Lord told him to get rid of his Rolex watch and sell his Mercedes.  All this happened after an exposé of his ministry’s finances on Prime Time.  Had he not been confronted with his extravagance by the media would he have “heard” from the Lord about this?  Hinn states after being exposed to some problems with handling his money and his extravagant lifestyle he decided to sell his Mercedes.  In response he “downsized” to a $56,000 BMW. 

In what seemed like a change of heart, Hinn had said afterwards “Preachers who live in big houses and drive big cars ought to examine their calling.”  But he still owns the same lavish home and continues to make anywhere from $500,000 to a million dollars a year. Again this is many times over the average pastors salary laboring with a congregation.

In a conversation with Paul Crouch on TBN Hinn tells this story.  [P.  Crouch] – “I used to drive Hondas in the early days of Trinity.   Did you know I got criticized by spiritual leaders and told I was cheapening the look of the gospel by driving a Honda? (laughter from audience and hosts).  [B Hinn] -  “I don’t know what I’m going to get yet, but I’m sure you’ll find out.  So my car is for sale.” (A promo for anyone who would like to drive the car that Benny owned).

Whichever so- called spiritual leaders gave this counsel to Crouch should be ashamed of themselves.  To the contrary, the gospel is not cheapened by moderation, otherwise the apostles who wrote the New Testament “cheapened” it far more than Crouch could ever do by driving that brand of car.  What of John the Baptist who dressed in camel’s hair, and what a diet!  Jesus said there was none greater man than he.  But John was not moving in the prosperity blessing.  Maybe he did not have enough faith.  After all, he did move into a dungeon instead of a mansion and lost his life because of his uncompromising preaching against Herod.  If he had instead kept quiet and  blessed Herod he certainly would have kept his life.

The Conclusion of the Matter

If you’re a partner of Hinn’s ministry you get special seating on the floor.  This is done so that an enthusiastic audience will be shown in the videos of the crusade.  Hinn ends up literally preaching to the choir - a captivated audience that loves HIM.  The partners are also able to get to the stage and tell about how they were healed.  Whether the healings are true or not does not, in the end, validate his ministry.  Some people have made an issue that doctors’ reports are necessary to validate Hinn’s ministry.  This is of little consequence when he operates from start to finish in an unbiblical manner.  He works up the crowd reading how they react.  If positive, he will go for it.  He is a true master of ceremonies.

Showboating abounds.  Just about literally anything and every thing that happens is paraded before the people as a “testimony.”  But if none of it can be verified then it can only be attested to by one’s feelings.  This is not how Jesus conducted his ministry.  He didn’t parade those He healed around, interviewing them and asking what they felt.  Neither did He appeal for money to continue His ministry so He could go hold another healing crusade in the next city

But it is not just Hinn who parades the unbelievable.  Many other tele-evangelists follow his model and make equally fantastic claims without providing a shred of evidence that their claims are true. But who really cares! This is not so for the Bible’s miracles.  Paul would never refuse a genuine inquiry.  In fact, he welcomed inquiries, in one instance they were called Bereans (Hey is that in the bible?).  When he spoke of the resurrection he invited people to verify his claims as he reminded his skeptics that many of the 500 witnesses were still alive so they didn’t have to take his word for it (1 Cor.15).

In Word/Faith circles certain buzzwords are consistently thrown out, such as the musician is “anointed”, the music is “anointed”, the giving is “anointed” and “the anointing” is coming  etc.  By the end, everything involved is anointed.  One can only wonder why the word “anointed” is used so often.  Did the apostles ever use this term when they spoke? Why not? Did Paul ever say or have another say his ministry or words were anointed to prove its authenticity?  The reason this is done is to convince people of something that is  apparently not.  If one is truly anointed you don’t have to continually keep reminding the people!  If they are spiritually astute they can pick this up.  Paul’s proof was the growth in the people who he discipled, not in numbers, the extensiveness of his travels or in the miracles done.

Isaiah testifies of the failure of miracles to persuade Israel to walk in faith.  Isaiah 64:3, 5: “When You did awesome things for which we did not look. . . You are indeed angry, for we have sinned-in these ways we continue; and we need to be saved.”  False spirituality appeals to supernatural experiences, revelations, visions, and visitations.  If you can remember back when you were first saved, you were satisfied with what is written.  You didn’t long after an “experience”.  People can only come out of this experience trap by correct teaching from the word.  Many of the people that attend Hinn’s crusades need to go back to their first love to have their eyes opened.

One of the most important lessons for Christians to learn is of our past history, both the good and the bad.  We can look at the lives of the apostles whose accounts are in the Scriptures as well as those who came afterwards during times of revival to see what was effective and TRUTHFUL.  Fleshly techniques can bring about the desired “results,” but just because something “works” does not mean it has an eternal affect on one’s soul or spiritual life.  Many who come forward in miracle meetings fall away because they were not truly converted to Christ but to something that tantalized their fancy or gave them immediate relief from their suffering and trials.  In other words, they came to Him not on His terms but on man’s.  They saw what they thought was power or were promised the solution to a particular problem that was other than THE problem of sin. That is what the true gospel deals with, our sin forgiven and man’s fallen nature being changed.

This year on the TBN telethon, after Hinn stated that Jesus was going to physically appear at one of his crusades (which did not happen, surprised!), Hinn revealed his true colors and methodology.  “You have held back from the Lord in the past, don’t you dare do it now.  The day will come you will stand before Him and give an answer.  How dare we not give to God.  How dare we hold back.  Who do we think He is, some neighbor of ours?  He’s God almighty.  We fear the Lord God of Hosts.  He’s not some man, He’s God.  If Jesus tonight appeared on this platform here and looked through this camera and said to you ‘I need your offerings so I can touch the world,’ would you give to him?  Of course!  Well, I’ve got news for you, He’s saying it, He’s saying it, He’s saying it through his servants.  He’s saying it through his word.  He’s saying it!  The Bible clearly states ‘how shall they go unless they be sent?’ And God is speaking to you, so obey him.  SOME OF YOU NEED TO GIVE LARGE SUMS TONIGHT.  Don’t you give those small sums if you have the large sums.  Many of you have those small sums.  The best you can give is all God wants from you.  The best you can give is all He expects of ya.  But some of you watching right now have money in the bank.  You’re gonna leave it behind.  YOU MAY EVEN LOSE IT UNLESS YOU OBEY God tonight.  Give to God tonight!  God is speaking to you now!  Do you know by holding back from God you’re keeping God’s blessings from your family?  By holding back from the Lord you’re saying ‘no Lord, I don’t want your presence in my home.’  (Mar.29, 2000 TBN).  Does anyone see the manipulation of guilt and fear being used here?  This insinuates one must pay God for His presence when the Bible says,  “He will never leave nor forsake us”, and that he dwells in the believer always despite any prerequisite from Hinn.  Who does this man think he is? As if Christianity revolves around his ministry

Did Christ or any of his disciples ever ask for money before or after performing a miracle?  No!  In fact, Jesus commanded them to  speak and carry out the miracles freely. (Mt.  10:6)  “Freely you have received, freely now give.”  What we see today is nothing short than the prostitution of the gospel.  When Peter encountered the lame man of Acts 3, and healed him he had no money nor did he ask for any.  (Acts 3:6)

Hinn went on to say that one was being disobedient to God by not contributing financially to the coming harvest through TBN!  One must give to TBN in order to demonstrate their true obedience to God.  Hinn claimed that God was even healing many as they called in their contributions.  But he says this is not selling healing for money.  Instead, he claims it is God blessing those who are truly obedient and worthy to receive his anointing!  Hinn even claimed that God was saving people the pledgers knew as they were calling in their pledge to TBN. 

In response to a reporter from Christianity Today who was trying to hold him accountable, Hinn stated, “The Bible warns us clearly that we must not attack men of God no matter how sinful they may have become or wicked in our eyes.”  Really!  Is this why Nathan called out King David, or Jeremiah rebuked another prophet, or Elijah chastised King Ahab, or Paul rebuked Peter for compromising the gospel!  No, on this matter Hinn is very wrong. This is especially crucial or those who wield such power as Hinn to so many people.  Scripture warns, “Blessed are the wounds of a friend, deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”  Where are Hinn’s friends?  Don’t they care. Do you?

There are two areas we need to be careful of lest we become part of this apostasy.  One is doctrinally which affects our practice, the other area is letting our love grow cold, especially to those who are partakers of any doctrinal aberrations.  We need to guard against being so haughty as to judge one in regards to their eternal destiny.  As Timothy was told, if one cleanses them self from the latter he will be used by the master.  We can hope and pray that God will REALLY get a hold of some of these people and wake them from their delusion and that they would become doctrinally pure in their teaching and practice to be effective for the Lord in the way He has taught in the Scriptures. That is our hope and I hope it is yours.