Benny Hinn - A Prototype Cult Leader?
This article is a continuation of an article called Benny Hinn In Oahu, HI 1/02 - A Report From The Outside on the crusade in Oahu, HI. In this article I will share with you my conclusions about Benny Hinn and his followers. Is Benny Hinn a prototype cult leader and his followers cultists? You be the judge. I am not using slanderous language, but using an attributive word. Any person or movement that teaches against the core doctrines of the Faith is a cult of Christianity. Let me explain what a cult is.
Benny Hinn - Cultist?
I give some definitions of what a cult is in my paper called Defining Terms. First the definition of what a cult group is in general theological terms.
"Any system of belief that desires to call itself by the name of a religion, but by its own beliefs teaches and promotes either explicitly or implicitly against the core beliefs of the religion whose name they desire to associate with, is rightly termed a "cult" of that religion." (Sandy Simpson, Defining Terms)
More specifically, a cult of Christianity is defined this way:
"A group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which system denies either explicitly or implicitly one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible." (Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults, Zondervan, 1995)
That is the definition of a cult based on theology. Secular definitions of the word "cult", as defined in the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, are as follows:
Usage: often attributive
: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
: great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or
“A religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious” is the basically the same as the theological definition. The second definition is a way to spot a cult – “devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, etc.” Interestingly this is the same criteria used to spot a cult group that one of the largest secular cult awareness agencies called AFF uses. I want you to see that Benny Hinn and his followers fit almost the entire profile of a cult group. Following is part of the text of that web page. (The AFF quotes are in italic style, my commentary is in normal style).
The AFF (American Family Foundation) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt (secular) research center and educational organization founded in 1979. AFF's mission is to study psychological manipulation and cultic groups, to educate the public and professionals, and to assist those who have been adversely affected by a cult-related experience.
Mind-Manipulating Groups: Are you or a Family Member a Victim?
The following statements, compiled by Dr. Michael Langone, editor of Cultic Studies Journal, often characterize manipulative groups. Comparing these statements to the group with which you or a family member is involved may help you determine if this involvement is cause for concern. Place a checkmark beside all items that characterize the group in question. If you check many of these items, and particularly if you check most of them, you might consider examining the group more closely.
Let's check off the characteristics of Benny Hinn and his followers as the following list applies to them. A "YES" is for a characteristic that applies, a "NO" is for on that does not apply, and a "?" is for a characteristic that is in question.
YES (1) The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment. - Hinn is called “holy man of God” by all his followers. They call him the "anointed" man of God. His words are not to be questioned.
YES (2) The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members. – There it no longer any real evangelism being done by Hinn followers, just invitations to the crusade, some event, some other Third Wave gnostic revival meeting.
YES (3) The group is preoccupied with making money. – Hinn certainly is! At a suggested minimum donation of $50. per person Hinn walks out of cities with between $250,000 to $1,000,000. per crusade night. His followers are preoccupied with giving it to him to be sure to share in the “anointing” and get their "healing".
YES (4) Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished. - Girls at the crusade I passed out leaflets are a perfect example. They told people not to read anything negative about Benny. Questioning is met with stiff resistance, if not charges of being a "heretic hunter" or even a demoniac.
YES (5) Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s). – People were told to be at the Hinn crusade in Honolulu at 5 p.m. and it lasted till 11 p.m. Ear splitting volume on music and sound numbed people into a trance state. Hinn coerced people to repeat phrases some twenty times. This and other techniques in Hinn crusades are nothing more than brainwashing.
YES (6) The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth). - Hinn and others are famous for personal prophesies over people and every aspect of their lives. They are told they will “feel” something when they get zapped, thus they are conditioned to act in a certain way to be accepted. In fact they are told not to think too much at all, and pay no heed to critics.
YES (7) The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity). – This one needs no explanation. The looks I saw on people's faces of laughter, scorn and even violent anger betrayed their claim to be "the anointed". Hinn has claimed to be little messiah, “I Am”, a little god. R.W. Shambach called him “The Anointed One” on his TV show.
YES (8) The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society. – This is the continuation of the hyper Pentecostal attitude against those they perceive as not having had an “experience” of the Holy Spirit or no overt gifts taken to the extreme. Now you have to go up and shake, birth, make unintelligible noises, growl, hop around.
YES (9) The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations). – Hinn has never been accountable to anyone. He was thrown out of or left the AoG depending on who you talk to, he has never joined the ECFA, he has not stopped his terrible fundraising practices and telling people they are healed of AIDS when they are not even when busted by CNN and CBS.
YES (10) The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities). – C. Peter Wagner, the man who coined the term "Third Wave", put forth in his 1976 book “Your Church Can Grow” that the ends DO justify the means. True Christians have blinded themselves to Benny Hinn's unethical fundraising ($50 minimum), the unseemly displays in his crusades blamed on the Holy Spirit, his opulent lifestyle, his false prophesies, his crazy heretical teachings. The end ... the “anointing” ... is all that counts, even if you have to lie, use deception and steal money from the poor to get there.
YES (11) The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them. – Hinn’s fundraising tactics are a case in point. He lays a total guilt trip on people by implying that if you don't give at least the minimum amount stated on the cards hansded out to everyone, that you will not received a blessing from God and that you don't have enought faith. I'll get into that in a moment.
YES (12) Members' subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group. – I have seen this pursuit of the “anointing” and another “move of God” break up churches and families. I am dealing with many people on the web who are in the middle of the nightmare of their mate having changed into a cultist before their eyes and they cannot convince them to see the truths of the Word of God.
? - (13) Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group. – Though members may not be expected to do so, many of them spend all their time getting people to go to the next “slain in the spirit” meeting. This has replaced witnessing and evangelism.
NO – (14) Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members. – Not that I know of. But certainly Hinn is building up to a separation from the “Jezebel spirit” as he calls it. See my last point in this article for a discussion on that issue.
(Source: AFF Home Page, http://www.csj.org/infoserv_cult101/cult101.htm)
Benny Hinn - False Prophet!
We gave this brochure out to Benny Hinn's followers. I brought my tape recorder, in case someone wanted to hear Benny on tape. No one wanted to, even though I told some people I had it on tape ready to play. I also included where to find the audio clips on my web site.
Benny Hinn - False Doctrines
Rather than go over old ground, for more information about the many false teachings of Benny Hinn and how he deviates from the core doctrines of the Faith, read the following articles here:
Benny Hinn - Fleecing The Flock
Mishandling of finances. How would you like to stay in the presidential suite at the (Kahala Mandarin Hotel) for around $3700. per night? Ever know anyone that did, apart from very rich Japanese and Presidents? Well, Benny Hinn did while he was in Honolulu. This is how he spends the money he coerces from the poor, the crippled, the less fortunate. One lady in our Bible study told me of her friend who is a widow who gave big bucks to Benny in the hopes that her mother would be healed. Can you guess what happened? No healing for her body, but her wallet got all the money drained out of it.
Fleecing the flock. This is how you do it. You pass out donation cards (cash, checks and credit cards accepted) that suggest a minimum of $50 donation, up from $20. in 1997, all the way up to a whopping $25,000. Then you "imply" that those who give more will receive a bigger blessing. Forget "imply" ... "state" categorically. Then you sit back and watch all the people who came for healing have a struggle between their pocketbooks and their desire for healing. I can imagine what they are thinking “I have to give if I’m going to get healed, but I can’t afford the bigger amounts, yet if I only give the lowest amount it may prove I don’t have enough faith.” Mike and I figure Hinn walked out of a two day crusade in HI with between $500,000 to $2,000,000. based on attendance and suggested donations. I’m told that 200-300 people gave $1000. or higher gifts. That’s a good start right there. Then Hinn leaves and goes on to another money maker. Meanwhile Benny Hinn and his friends live happily ever after like kings. A TBN affiliate just bought another house for Jan & Paul Crouch so she could have “more room for her dogs” as the LA Times reported. I guess their $10 million ranch in Texas was not enough. They just had to have a big house in Newport Beach, CA that cost $5. million. Thanks to Benny the money just keeps rolling in all around. Hinn told people in the last TBN “Praise-A-Thon” that this might be their last chance to give, that God might be “passing them by”.
Benny Hinn - False Elijah spirit?
Benny Hinn and many other Third Wave people have been talking about the spirit of Elijah and the spirit of Jezebel for a long time. He talked about it in this crusade. He stated “Wherever the Jezebel spirit is there is the Elijah spirit” teaching that the Elijah spirit will counter the Jezebel spirit. Notice that both Elijah and Jezebel are spiritualized as Jesus Christ is also spiritualized by Benny and other neo-Gnostics. I want us all to remember that not only does the antichrist comes first before the second coming of Christ, but the false prophet also comes before the two witnesses. I believe that Elijah is coming again as one of the two witnesses of Revelation, but keep in mind that the false prophet, the false Elijah, comes first. Why do I say “false Elijah”? Because it looks to me like the enemy will be allowed to form his counterfeit unholy Trinity in the end times and this will include a false prophet to bring in the antichrist. This false prophet will be confirmed by great signs and wonders, not the least of which will be by him bringing fire down from heaven. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. (Revelation 13:13) Keep in mind that Benny keeps calling fire down from heaven in his crusades. Is it possible that someday God will allow that actually to happen?
Is Hinn the false prophet? Perhaps. I think he might be a good candidate since he keeps promising people that Jesus Christ is going to show up in his crusades. If a man in a white robe showed up at Hinn’s crusades and fire fell from heaven, how many people do you think would be deceived? Millions upon countless millions, because most people who call themselves Christians no longer base their discernment on the Scriptures but on signs and wonders. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive even the elect — if that were possible. (Matthew 24:24)
Benny rebuked the “Jezebel spirit” (which he considers to be anyone opposed to what he is teaching and doing) but told his followers to rebuke her also in the crusade. But I believe that rebuke is only the beginning. Wait till Benny commands them to throw her out the window!