It is important to recognize two indisputable facts about Benny Hinn's ministry: (1) He has no formal theological education nor has he attended even a non-accredited Bible School. (2) He is part of the Word of Faith Movement as opposed to the Signs & Wonders Movement. There are some distinct differences between the two. Benny has made the statements that he visits the tombs of K. Khulman and A. Simple MacPhearson to get a recharge of his anointing. That alone is pretty spooky stuff folks! The following two articles come from http://rapidnet.com/~jbeard Biblical Discernment Ministry is an excellent site for reference material on individual ministries. They provide a free newsletter as well.
Pros & Cons*
Benny Hinn, pastor of Orlando Christian Center in Orlando, Florida, is one of the most prolific voices in the Christian media today. His book, Good Morning, Holy Spirit, has remained on the bestseller list since its release in October, 1990, having sold approximately one-quarter million copies within the first few months. As of this writing (May, 1992), it is still number one among paperback books according to Christian Reading, one of the major trade publications for Christian bookstores, distributors, and publishers.
Due to some rather startling statements in the original edition of Good Morning,Holy Spirit, Hinn came under fire from a few organizations that perceived serious doctrinal discrepancies in Hinn's theology.
The most public criticism of Hinn's teachings came from the Christian Research Institute which took Hinn and his publisher, Thomas Nelson Company, to task for what CRI perceived as heretical statements. This resulted in Nelson revising the questionable material in its later releases and Hinn apologizing and promising not to promote in the future the teachings under question. However, Thomas Nelson Company spokesman Bruce Barbour (publisher) and Bill Watkins (senior editor) as well as Hinn, say that the theology expressed in the original edition has not been changed but merely "clarified." Yet Hinn does claim to have changed his mind about other teachings not dealt with in Good Morning,Holy Spirit, most notably the "Jesus-died-spiritually" heresy that has characterized the theology of word-faith teachers from E. W. Kenyon through Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and others.
In spite of these developments, many Christians are still questioning where Benny Hinn is coming from. And in view of his continued popularity within the Christian marketplace, we felt that an analysis of Hinn's teachings is in order. We also feel that much of the criticism leveled against Hinn has been based not on scriptural truth, but upon orthodoxy--traditionally accepted understanding of issues not necessarily addressed in clear terms by Scripture. It is our hope to set these differences apart.
Benny Hinn was born in 1953 in Israel to a Greek father and an Armenian mother. He was raised in the Greek Orthodox religion. Hinn claims that while he was a young boy of 11 years of age in Israel, God first appeared to him, and has been appearing to him ever since. At the age of 14, Hinn moved to Canada with his parents. While attending high school there he says he had visions of himself preaching before huge crowds. He also claims that God healed him of a stuttering problem so that he could become a preacher. Yet in spite of the visions and God's appearing to him for several years, Hinn marks the year of his being born again as 1972 when he was about 20 years old. It was at a Kathryn Kuhlman service the following year that he says he had a "profound spiritual experience." Hinn readily admits that much of the misunderstanding that has arisen from his teachings is the result of his lack of formal Bible training. In fact, almost immediately after his having been "born again," Hinn says, "The Lord launched me into ministry almost overnight."
In spite of these circumstances, Hinn founded his present church, Orlando Christian Center, in 1983. Beginning with just a few hundred members, that church now boasts an average weekly attendance of over 7,000. In addition, Hinn conducts worldwide crusades and has a daily television program that airs over the Trinity Broadcasting Network, headed by Jan and Paul Crouch.
Although Hinn states that his ministry throughout the 1970s was shaped by the writings of men like D.L. Moody and R.A. Torrey, he was a strong proponent of "revelation knowledge"--new truths revealed to him by God directly--that were not contained within Scripture. Only recently has he stated that he will no longer claim revelation knowledge as the authority for his teachings.
More than this, Hinn claims to actually be a channel for God--that God enters him and takes over his mind and tongue to the point where he is unaware of what he has said. After his sermon on December 31, 1989, at Orlando Christian Center, during which he gave several future prophecies, Hinn expressed that he was drunk--presumably on the Holy Spirit--and asked someone to tell him what he had just said.
It became evident in the early 1980s that the word-faith teachings of Kenyon, Hagin, Copeland, and others began to have an enormous impact on Hinn. But shortly after his encounter with critics of his book, Hinn announced that he no longer hold to the word-faith teachings.
As Hinn's popularity increased due to his television program and the runaway sales of Good Morning Holy Spirit, his teachings came under close scrutiny by several apologetics ministries. The Christian Research Institute became especially alarmed by Hinn's references to the God-head that seemed at best unorthodox and at worst heretical. On both his television program and in his book, Hinn asserted that all three persons of the Triune Godhead have their own independent bodies, souls, and spirits, as well as wills (10/13/90, TBN).
What alarmed most critics of Hinn is his statement that "there are nine of them [Spirits of God]." Some took this to mean that there are nine persons, which is not what Hinn was saying. "Nine of them" referred to the separate elements of the Trinity: three bodies, souls, and spirits.
Hinn is clearly guilty of teaching as "revelation knowledge" (God's Truth imparted to him personally) something that is not clearly supported by Scripture. As such, he has established in the minds of those who trust him a personal belief as if it were authoritative truth, which it is not.
While Hinn's teachings on the Trinity have captured the forefront of the debate between himself and the apologist ministries, there are other serious issues that have taken a back seat to the questionable Trinitarian controversy--issues that truly do lead toward heresy.
Hinn teaches that when one is born again by faith in Jesus, he is given a new spirit man that wasn't there before--a spirit man that is divine in nature and God-like (Our Position in Christ [sermon tape]).
Throughout his dissertations, Hinn avows that the Bible says what he says. But his ploy is the same as that of false teachers, which is to pull a proof text out of context and apply it to their personal interpretation which they claim has been given by direct revelation from God. Where in Scripture is it found that some "spirit-man" distinct from us, comes into us? The Holy Spirit comes into us, but Hinn isn't speaking of the Holy Spirit, because he says this spirit-man was "created before the foundation of the world." Hinn also cites Ephesians 1 as a proof text, but this is a gross error. It does speak of our being chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world; nowhere does it mention a God-like "spirit-man," let alone one distinct from us.
In another statement, Hinn asserts that though we are not Almighty God Himself, nevertheless, we are now divine (12/1/90, TBN). Hinn continues by denying that he is saying we are God, but affirming that we are children of God (elsewhere he asserts that we are gods).
Jesus Took On Satan's Nature
One of the popular word faith teachings is that Jesus took on the nature of Satan and had to be born again. This doctrine is intrinsically linked to the "Jesus died spiritually" heresy which postulates that Jesus' shed blood was insufficient for the redemption of man; He had to suffer at Satan's hands in Hell and be born again as the first man to conquer death. Hinn also teaches this heresy:
"He [Jesus] who is righteous by choice said, 'The only way I can stop sin is by Me becoming it. I can't just stop it by letting it touch Me; I and it must become one.' Hear this! He who is the nature of God became the nature of Satan where He became sin!" (TBN, 12/1/90).
In this one statement, Hinn manages to convey three distinct errors concerning Jesus, to which we must answer the following: 1) Jesus is not righteous by choice, but by nature; 2) Jesus never said these words, either in Scripture or to Benny Hinn personally, because they are unbiblical; 3) Jesus' nature is constant; even God cannot change His nature from God to something else. When He became a man, the Word of God co-mingled his divine nature with the flesh of man, not angels; but that is the limit of His approaching anything like assuming Satan's nature. This idea is a first-rate heresy which, drawn to its conclusion in the supposed spiritual death of Jesus denies the blood of Christ and damns those who teach and believe it unless they repent. It is a different gospel from that given through Scripture.
In spite of Hinn's professional rejection of the word-faith message, he hasn't given up on it entirely. The word-faith message encompasses far more that the "name it and claim it" foolishness. It is intrinsically linked to the God-man-believer and Jesus-died-spiritually heresies, which Hinn continues to espouse. It exalts man and denigrates Christ, as most false teachings do.
The problem with these and other teachings of Hinn is that he exhibits the mindset of someone who "learned as he earned," strewing spiritual wreckage in his path. Whatever comes to mind must be God's voice; after all, Hinn believes himself a prophet of God.
And woe to those who dare challenge him.
One of the characteristics of Hinn's services has been his claim to impart the Holy Spirit at will by blowing on people. He has been known to wave his coat in the air, or to toss the Holy Spirit like a baseball at the audience, causing entire sections to ostensibly swoon under the power of God. Obviously God is at Hinn's disposal. And he doesn't mind being made a spectacle in the process.
The phenomenon known as being "slain in the Spirit" is a trademark of modern charismatism. And while I would not say that God will or cannot come upon someone with such a power, it becomes obvious that, coupled with false teachings, the power transmitted by Hinn (if there is any power at all) is not of God. In fact, it appears more a case of mass hysteria entered into by people predisposed to fall for several reasons: 1) they want the power of God no matter what; 2) they would be embarrassed not to fall when everyone else around them is falling; 3) many have testified that the person imparting the Holy Spirit pushed them down; 4) God might allow and even grant such a "blessing" to entrench error in people's minds who don't care about truth as much as they do about some supernatural experience; 5) Satan and demons may duplicate such a phenomenon to validate as truth the error of one's teachings.
Finally, Hinn's errors are compounded by his continual extolling of the virtues of the pope and Roman Catholicism, as if the errors of that church are to be ignored in the interest of unity. In 1989, Hinn was a participant in the move to grant to Pope John Paul II the "Prince of Peace" award, instigated by Harold Bradesen. Receiving much flack for his part in that award, Hinn recanted and withdrew his participation.
*This material has been adapted/excerpted from a Media Spotlight Special Report of May, 1992 (Albert James Dager, P.O. Box 290, Redmond, WA 98073). Biblical Discernment Ministries - 5/92
Benny Hinn Repents--Again
Benny Hinn is a 40-year old hyper-charismatic "signs & wonders healer," and the founder and pastor (1983) of the 7,000-plus membership Orlando Christian Center in Orlando, Florida. He conducts worldwide crusades and has a daily television program airing over the heretical Trinity Broadcasting Network, headed by Jan and Paul Crouch. Hinn is also a best selling author, the most popular of his books being the 10/90 book, Good Morning, Holy Spirit , published by Thomas Nelson. This book is full of heresies and blasphemies. Due to confrontations by biblical fundamentalists as well as by a television tabloid journalism program, Hinn has "repented" now at least three times, but each time he goes back to that from which he repented. He says he no longer believes the "positive confession" he once taught. But if that were true, he would oppose its teachings and teachers. Had he really repented, Hinn would actively work to deliver his many thousands of followers from these false doctrines, but he has not done so. In fact, he is still in full fellowship with the positive confession leaders and adherents.
If Hinn were seriously concerned for truth, as he now claims to be, he would recall his tapes and books that presented false teachings he says he no longer believes. Instead, they are still being sold. In fact, his "repentance" is deficient because it fails to admit the gravity of his error. "I never taught heresy," Hinn insists. "I admit I taught some things that were aberrant ... but I think heresy is too strong a word."
Actually, Hinn has taught much heresy. Even though Hinn claims to have been saved at age 20, he declares that God first appeared to him when he was 11, and has been appearing to him ever since. He also claims to be a revelatory channel for God! In addition, Hinn literally rewrote Job 1:21, changing "the Lord taketh away" to "the Lord never taketh away." There are many examples, but here are a few of his other heretical teachings:
"(1) Never, ever, ever go to the Lord and say, 'If it be thy will'; (2) No Christian should ever be sick; (3) We Christians possess 'power in our mouths' to heal or kill just as witches possess it; (4) Job tapped into the negative side of the faith force by a negative confession; (5) Christ 'became one with the nature of Satan' and was 'born again' in hell; (6) Christ would have sinned without the Holy Spirit and would have remained in the grave 'if the Holy Ghost had changed His mind about raising Him from the dead' [Jesus said, 'I have power to lay down my life and I have power to take it again' (Jn 10:18) for He is God]; (7) We are 'little gods' and even part of God with all the power of God; and (8) We are 'little messiahs,' everything that Jesus ever was."
Some of his statements, such as that a woman was originally designed to give birth from her side, or that Adam and Eve were super beings who could fly to the moon, are not only heresy, but ludicrous blunders. Yet Hinn claimed that most of them, as well as the heresies above, came as direct revelation from God under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. To attribute such errors to the Holy Spirit is blasphemy of which he has not repented.
That Hinn's alleged "Holy Spirit" teaches error and folly should be enough to discredit his book about "the anointing of the Holy Spirit," yet it has been a runaway best seller. Hinn's repentance and renunciations to date have obviously fallen far short of truth. [Adapted and/or excerpted by permission from the 2/94 The Berean Call (P.O. Box 7019, Bend, OR 97708, and from a 1992 Media Spotlight Special Report (P.O. Box 290, Redmond, WA 98073).]
[The following material is from O Timothy magazine, Volume 9, Issue 2, 1992. David W. Cloud. All rights reserved. O Timothy is a monthly magazine. Annual subscription is US$20 FOR THE UNITED STATES. Send to Way of Life Literature, Bible Baptist Church, 1219 N. Harns Road, Oak Harbor, Washington 98277. FOR CANADA the subscription is $20 Canadian. Send to Bethel Baptist Church, P.O. Box 9075, London, Ontario N6E 1V0.]
The following is from Dave Hunt's CIB Bulletin for February 1992:
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 Kuhlman's graveThe 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 Kuhlman'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:
Winded catchers try to keep up with the toppling bodies. He rears back and with a pitching motion slays the entire choir with one toss. "That's power," yells Benny." "POWER!" ... Hinn takes off his custom tailored jacket and rubs it briskly on his body. He is rubbing the Power into the jacket. Then he starts swinging it wildly, like the biblical David swinging his sling. He decks his followers left and right. Bam! Bam! Bam! The stage vibrates with their landings. Then he throws it [the "anointed" jacket]. Another bam. As a catcher moves to pick up a woman, Hinn slays him ... then he slays the catcher who caught the catcher. When Benny Hinn is moved, nobody is safe from the Power ... [H]e blows loudly into the microphone ... Hundreds fall backward ... a woman collapses in the aisle and begins to babble. And then, suddenly, Benny is gone. The power vanishes from the room, and the people stare in stunned silence.
This aspect alone of Hinn's meetings is enough to condemn him. He capriciously throws the "Holy Spirit" around in most irreverent fashion, using the third Person of the Trinity as his servant to attract attention to himself. Hinn acts as though the "anointing" is some metaphysical power at his disposal, to be rubbed off onto objects. It looks impressive, works largely by the power of suggestion, but has no purpose except to make people stand in awe of Hinn. "It's scary," says Bill James, a former church member. "The people are mesmerized. ...When he comes out, he's like God."
Got to have gold now!
Benny's office at his church contains pictures of himself with George Bush and John Paul II. 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:
He looks like a Ralph Lauren advertisement, a true gentleman of leisure. As always, his hair is sprayed solidly in place. "I don't know if you'll ever [again] see a reverend without socks," he says proudly. [He's wearing no socks.] "That's the way I am. I'm more down to earth than most people."
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."
Healed of blindness -- vision still cloudy!
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 and 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 taught 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)
As a personal note my wife and I have "felt" the power in Benny Hinn's services. My wife had the luxury to making it through the maddening throng to get up on the platform . . . and yes Tracy did fall down, knocked down by a force! The question is what is the origin of that force? Tracy will testify that she was no better physically or spiritually because she was knocked down. Thus, the question, where is the benefit? Any observer of his ministry must also question the caviler manner in which Benny knocks people down, stands them up to knock them down again. Can you see Jesus saying "Peter pick that guy up again." Then hitting him with His seamless robe and knocking down again to the loud appluse of the multitudes. Showmanship at its best and worst.
One stage magic trick Benny used in the services we participated in is this: He has the 10,000 plus people all get deathly quiet and close our eyes. Then after a few moments Benny's microphone is turned up and he either blows loudly into it or yells "take it." When he does this everyone's autonomic nervous system is jolted (like when someone sneaks up behind up and says "boo") and people (already mentally prepared) fall down thinking that was the anointing of the Holy Spirit. What a cheap trick to play on ignorant people!
God may out of His great mercy heal some people at these meetings. If anyone gets anything good, its source is the Lord God, not Benny Hinn. Due to his severe doctrinal errors, ungodly crusade performances, and bad hair . . .his ministry is to be avoided at all costs, unless you want to observe mass hysteria under the hands of a manipulator.