Beware of Charismatic Leader Benny Hinn
There is a new star rising on the charismatic faith-healing circuit. Benny Hinn has attracted crowds as large as 30,000. At 38 he pastors Orlando Christian Center, one of America's fastest growing churches. Its 2,800-seat auditorium is packed three times each Sunday and the service is aired later on TBN. Though he has preached at Grant's [W.V. Grant, a charismatic leader who has been exposed for fraud in having prior information of his supposed "words of knowledge"] church, Hinn's methods vary from Popoff s or Grant's. He raises about $12 million a year with the usual false promises of healing and prosperity in exchange for "seed faith" gifts -- a condition for "miracles." "Give no less than $100," he exhorts an audience, and promises to "lay hands on all the envelopes and ask God for financial miracles for the givers."
Praying at Kuhiman's grave
The secret to Hinn's power is his peculiar anointing, which he connects with Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee McPherson, founder of the Foursquare Gospel Church. He first felt the "full power of the Holy Spirit" on him at a Kuhlman healing service in 1973 -- and her mantle has presumably fallen upon Hinn. He conducts his meetings almost exactly like hers -- though it takes Hinn much longer to get his audience into the expectant mood that seems to generate psychosomatic "miracles. " In an April 7, 1991 sermon, Hinn revealed that he periodically visits Kuhiman's grave and that he is one of the few with a key to gain access to it. He also visits Aimee's grave, where he says: "I felt a terrific anointing ... I was shaking all over ... trembling under the power of God ... 'Dear God,' I said, 'I feel the anointing.' ... I believe the anointing has lingered over Aimee's body."
Blowing people down with the "spirit"
The anointing or power plays a major role at Benny Hinn's "miracle services." He uses it to "slay in the spirit" as Kuhlman did 30 years ago. She has been imitated by charismatic evangelist/healers ever since. But Hinn has a new flare. Yes, like Kuhlman, he touches people on the forehead or neck to make them fall over. But he also blows or throws the "anointing" and "slays" people from a distance. As Mike Thomas reported in Florida Magazine, Nov. 24, 1991)
Got to have gold now!
Benny's office at his church contains pictures of himself with George Bush and John Paul 11. It was Hinn who arranged for Paul and Jan Crouch to meet with the Pope. Here is Mike Thomas's impression of a visit with Hinn:
This comes from a man who just turned in his Mercedes for a Jaguar and recently moved from the exclusive Heathrow development to the even more exclusive Alaqua, where he now lives in a $685,000 home. His suits are tailored, his shoes are Italian leather, and his wrists and finger glitter with gold and diamonds ... what he considers a modest lifestyle, as if everyone lives like this.
He wears his diamond Rolex, diamond rings, gold bracelet and custom suits for all to see. ..."What's the big deal, for goodness sake?" he says. "What am I supposed to do, drive a Honda? ... That's not in the Bible. ... I'm sick and tired about hearing about streets of gold [in heaven]. I don't need gold in heaven. I got to have it now."
Benny declares: "I have received a new mandate from heaven -- bring the message of the miraculous, healing power of God back to America! Invade our nation with the miracle-working power of God in the '90s!" He claims that about 1,000 people are healed at each "miracle service." But as Thomas reported, "Despite all the thousands of miracles claimed by Hinn, the church seems hard pressed to come up with any that would convince a serious skeptic. ... When pressed for truly convincing miracles, [Hinn spokesperson] Susan Smith cited a woman in Orlando who was cured of blindness caused by diabetes. But she would not give the woman's name. She later admitted that the woman's vision may still be cloudy. 'She still has diabetes, strangely ... [and] was just rehospitalized.
Christians are little gods
"People of God," shouts Benny, "we must never speak such faith-destroying words as these: 'If it be thy will, Lord.'... I am Him [Jesus]! The Word has become flesh in Meee! ... You are a little god on earth!" His other heresies include the teaching that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit each has a body, soul
spirit. "There's nine of them!" he told his congregation "by revelation knowledge," but probably got the idea from Dake's Annotated Reference Bible, where this ancient heresy was revived on page 55. Hinn ht the same heresy as Hagin and Copeland, that when Jesus died on the cross He sank into hell and took upon him the nature of Satan and was tortured by Satan for our redemption. Then early in 1991 he repudiated this teaching along with other "Word- Faith" peculiar doctrines. Yet he had taught it as "revelation knowledge." God's revelations don't change.
Hinn would like to blow the heads off his enemies
As As for his critics, Hinn says: "You know, I've looked for one verse in the Bible -- I just can't seem to find it -- one verse that says, 'If you don't like'em, kill'em." I really wish I could find it! ... Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun. I'd blow your head off,. " The TBN studio audience loudly applauded those gracious words from the "man of God."
Surely we are seeing fulfilled the primary sign Christ gave of the nearness of His return- "For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Let us seek to know God and His Word and to walk in obedience to Him, contending earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. He's coming soon! (Dave Hunt, "Signs of the Times," CIB Bulletin, Jan. 1992)