Saturday, 27 September 2008

Contra Benny Hinn

Benny Hinn predicted " right after the year 2000... financial disaster will hit and only those who have been giving to God's work will be spared." This was used cleverly, in the context of the meeting, to get people to give to Benny Hinn! It is very deceitful to say only those who have been giving to God's work will be spared. It is a lie! Anyone with some basic understanding of economics would know that. Look at the greedy hedge fund entrepreneurs and capitalists who have done well out of the current economic problems. They have been spared through clever investments and not by increasing seed i.e money for Benny's ministry. Benny is not, therefore, interested in the truth of the situation but he is playing on people's fear of economic hardship. He exploiting the situation to get people to give. He seems to have convinced many to fund his lavish lifestyle.

It it depressing to find that Christians still support the ministry of Benny Hinn. There is clearly a lack of discernment and intellectual rigour. If people did some proper research into this man's ministry then you will find deceit and dishonesty. Welcome, Holy Spirit contains untruthful reports about events in Canada. When these events were independently investigated it was found that Benny had been very economical with the truth.

Lois C. Krause, director of community relations for Sault Sainte Marie General Hospital, denied all that Hinn claimed. She said it could not have happened in the way Hinn's book describes. She laughed after reading a copy of the story. No miracles occurred in the hospital as Hinn claims, she said, adding that "no patients left that day" due to miraculous occurrences. Some older staff members did recall Hinn's name, but did not remember anything as extraordinary as his book describes. They did not deny the possibility that the chapel meeting was held, but did not recall the meeting as recounted in Welcome, Holy Spirit. Mother Superior Mary Francis, of the Gray Sisters of the Immaculate Conception order, also disputed Hinn's account. She said she did not invite Hinn, but reluctantly allowed his chapel service in deference to the pastoral care department, which initiated the service. The hospital then released a statement, which included the following remarks: "No such events have ever occurred at General Hospital. His pronouncement can neither be verified through the medical records nor by testimony from past or present personnel of this hospital. A summary critique: Welcome, Holy Spirit. The critique is, in fact, written by G.Richard Fisher and M. Kurt Goedelman.

Hinn lied and these lies are in the book. His claims do not stand up to honest scrutiny. This is true with regard to Benny Hinn's claims about healing. God's truth will stand up to every form of scrutiny.

If people took the trouble to look into the way money has been spent, the lack of medical evidence for the alleged healings, the weird prophetic statements (such as the one about the gay community of America) and the broken promises (see the CBC documentary The Fifth Estate in five parts ), they would not give a penny to this man. He seems to have the spirit of Gehazi! Please see my essay on the abuse of the Bible by prosperity teachers on my blog. We need to pray for Benny Hinn and his ilk.

The Bible clearly condemns living in luxury and self-indulgence. There is no question about that and if you need a proof text then James 5:5 will do and the whole context leaves us in no doubt about it. So when my research into the spending of one high profile prosperity preacher revealed that he had stayed in the most expensive suite in the most expensive hotel in Milan, well I find that very difficult to justify as a necessary ministry expense, don't you? Furthermore, it was revealed that he had made various trips in his private jet, which from a forensic accounting point of view, were also hard to explain. When the money obtained in this man's ministry comes from very vulnerable, poor and very needy people, some of whom cannot afford the gifts they have put into the offering, then I think I am justifiably filled with indignation. The Word of God condemns this behaviour, does it not? Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their treatment of needy widows. This behaviour damages the work of the Gospel. It is a stumbling block to unbelievers. The Elmer Gantry character and The Leap of Faith film do resonate in the USA. They do strike a chord and make a point. Some of these prosperity preachers are doing serious damage and they should be accountable. It is sad when they operate without transparency and integrity.

The following documentary is worth watching in six parts:

By the way, I am not anti-charismatic at all as I am charismatic by experience and believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit and miracles of God operate today. I am, however, strongly against certain ministries that exploit the charismatically inclined Christians and use these ministries as a means of gain and self promotion.

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