Benny Hinn renounces the prosperity gospel
Danielle Jarvis

Danielle Jarvis

When you think of the term ‘prosperity gospel’, there are a few preachers that spring to mind. Benny Hinn is certainly one of them.

Hinn has received as much negative publicity as any preacher, but now he is renouncing the controversial movement.

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Using Facebook Live to talk to his fans and financial supporters, Hinn told those watching that the Gospel “is not for sale.”

In the video, he stated, “Today, sadly, among a lot of circles, all you hear is how to build the flesh. It’s a feel good message. It’s all about ‘feel good,’ ‘do good,’ all that. Make money, all the rest of it. And I’m sorry to say, prosperity has gone a little crazy, and I’m correcting my own theology. And you need to all know it.

“Because when I read the Bible now, I don’t see the Bible through the same eyes that I did twenty years ago.

“I think it’s an offense to the Holy Spirit to put a price on the Gospel. I’m done with it.”

While he has copped heavy criticism surrounding his decadent lifestyle for decades, none of it has ever worried him or made him draw comment on his extreme views on the Word of God.

However, there has been some skepticism that his comments may be partly due to the amount of negative publicity he has received by way of his nephew Costi Hinn, who has opened a can of worms by telling his story in a new book on growing up as a Hinn.

God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies has created the sort of publicity that Costi’s uncle needs to address. As the book states:

“Millions desperate for hope and solutions are enticed by the promise of the prosperity gospel – that God will do whatever they need with just a little faith and a financial gift. All the while, prosperity preachers exploit the poor and the needy to stockpile their riches. What can followers of the true gospel do to combat the deception?

“Through a remarkable and fascinating journey, Costi Hinn went from a next-generation prosperity preacher to the first to abandon the family faith and share the true gospel. Nephew of the world-famous televangelist, Benny Hinn, Costi had a front-row seat to the inner workings and theology of the prosperity gospel. But as Costi’s faith deepened, so did his questions about prosperity teaching. As the deceptions in his past were exposed, Costi came face to face with the hypocrisy and devastation caused by his belief system, and the overwhelming truth about the real Jesus Christ.”

Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, the gospel of success, or seed faith) is a controversial religious belief among some Pentecostal Christians, who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth.

Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.

Prosperity theology has been criticized by leaders from various Christian denominations, including within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, who maintain that it is irresponsible, promotes idolatry, and is contrary to scripture. Secular as well as some Christian observers have also criticized prosperity theology as exploitative of the poor. The practices of some preachers have attracted scandal and some have been charged with financial fraud.

Just last week, Singapore pastor Kong Hee was released from prison after being convicted of misusing church funds.

During the 1960s, prosperity gospel teachers embraced televangelism and came to dominate religious programming in the United States. Oral Roberts was among the first, developing a syndicated weekly program that became the most watched religious show in the United States. By 1968, television had supplanted the tent meeting in his ministry.

Reverend Ike, a pastor from New York City, began preaching about prosperity in the late 1960s. He soon had widely aired radio and television programs and became distinguished for his flashy style. His openness about love for material possessions and teachings about the “Science of the Mind” led many evangelists to distance themselves from him.

In the 1980s, public attention in the United States was drawn to prosperity theology through the influence of prominent televangelists such as Jim Bakker. Bakker’s influence waned, however, after he was implicated in a high-profile scandal. In the aftermath, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) emerged as the dominant force in prosperity televangelism, having brought Robert Tilton and Benny Hinn to prominence.

Is Benny Hinn really renouncing the prosperity gospel, or is he in damage control over a book exposing his mega-rich lifestyle? Only time will tell.

Image courtesy Facebook

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