Benny Hinn's Duplicity
Television preacher Benny Hinn, whose sales in Christian bookstores in the last year-and-a-half have exceeded those of James Dobson and Charles Swindoll combined, told CT last September that he would submit to the counsel and constructive criticism of others (Christianity Today, Oct. 28, 1991, p. 44).
But Hinn's rhetoric since then has raised questions in some people's minds about his sincerity. For instance: "Now I'm pointing my finger with the mighty power of God on me. ...You hear this. There are men and women in Southern California attacking me. I will tell you under the anointing now, you'll reap it in your children. You'll never win. ...And you children will suffer. You're attacking me on the radio every night; you'll pay, and your children will. Hear this from the lips of God's servant. You are in danger. Repent, or God Almighty will move his hand. ..." That is what Hinn told an audience on August 7 at Melodyland Christian Center in Southern California.
In a recent interview with CT, Hinn, whose books Good Morning, Holy Spirit and The Anointing have sold 1.7 million copies combined, said he stands behind the Melodylaiid statement. "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," Hinn said. ...
Hinn acknowledged that the radio show he alluded to during the Melodyland talk was the Irvine, California-based broadcast of Christian Research Institute (CRI). ...
Representatives of CRI and other evangelical apologetics ministries say they have noticed a pattern of Hinn telling people behind the scenes that he has changed, but then going on as before. Said G. Richard Fisher, who writes for the newsletter of the St. Louis-based ministry Personal Freedom Outreach (PFO), "When Benny Hinn speaks, he speaks for effect. He tells people what he thinks they want to hear."
Indeed, for those who have been keeping an eye on him, Hinn has proven to be difficult to pin down. Not long after telling Christiaiiity Today that the "faith message" (as articulated by such teachers as Kenneth Copeland) does not "add up," Hinn said that speaking out against Copeland was tantamount to "attacking the very presence of God." Also, though affirming the concept of a triune God, he continues to maintain that the Holy Spirit has a "spirit-body."
In last year's interview with CT, Hinn said he would no longer use the term revelation knowledge in reference to some of his teachings because of the implication that those teachings were directly from God and thus infallible. While he has shunned the term revelation knowledge, just a.few months ago on TV Hinn said that the Holy Spirit was at that moment teaching him that God originally designed women to give birth out of their sides.
In a recent conversation with Hinn, Hanegraaff [Hank Hanegraaff, president of CRI] questioned him about that episode. (Hinn had initiated the contact after learning that he was to be featured prominently in Hanegraaff s [forthcoming] book.) According to Hanegraaff, Hinn several times denied to him having made the statement about women and birth. Hanegraaff said he finally told Hinn where he could find the disputed remark on the videotaped sermon. Hinn later acknowledged making the statement, calling it "dumb." Hanegraaff said that when he reminded Hinn that he had credited the Holy Spirit with the teaching, the evangelist chuckled and said he had actually picked up the teaching from the (1963) Dake's Annotated Reference Bible.
But those disturbed by Hinn's growing influence say this is no chuckling matter. They note that Hinn has achieved popularity largely through his oral and written accounts of frequent intense, and direct interaction with the supernatural. ...
Critics have also questioned Hinn's account of his testimony. Hinn says he was miraculously cured of stuttering, but PFO claims it has talked to several people from Hinn's youth who do not recall him stuttering. And in an article in PFO's next newsletter, Fisher challenges Hinn's claim that his father was the mayor of Jaffa, Israel. Hinn acknowledges that his father did not have the title of mayor, but says he performed the functions of mayor. Fisher says Hinn's father, who is now deceased, was "a clerk in an Arab labor office" (Christianity Today, Oct. 5, 1992).