Why Benny Hinn Became Our Wacky Neighbor

By John Bloom | 05/20/2008


If you drive west from Dallas, through the neo-moderne lunarscape of a pod city called Las Colinas, past a massive international airport on a denuded prairie, into the warren of faceless office buildings that make up cosmopolitan Grapevine, you'll never find Benny Hinn.

He wants it that way. The nerve center of his worldwide organization is tucked away in a group of cheap white nondescript buildings that look like the kind of domiciles favored by Mafia fronts on the wharves of New Jersey. Inside, several dozen employees process an estimated $100 million per year in donations from people who believe in Hinn as a sort of Elmer Gantry for the 21st century. (Obviously they didn't read the novel.)

Now go the other way, into the cul-de-sacs and barrios of deep East Dallas. On a dead end street next to a nursing home, in an expansive two-story house once owned by the Dallas mob, the Trinity Foundation works 24/7 trying to find out just how much money passes through Grapevine, where it comes from and where it goes, running undercover operations, infiltrations, spying, surveillance, the cultivation of disgruntled ex-employees, and even going through Benny Hinn's garbage in an effort to . . . well . . . to make him prove he's not a fraud.

"All we want is for Benny Hinn to make good on promises he made to me in 1993," says Ole Anthony, president of the Christian watchdog organization. "He promised he would stop airing fake healings, that he would medically verify all healings, that he would wait six months after the healing before putting it on TV, to make sure it was authentic. He said he would do all these things, and he's done none of them. It would also be nice if he would submit himself to a real theologian for examination. Some of his teachings are off the scale, even bordering on necromancy."

What the heck is Benny Hinn doing in Dallas?

Las Colinas
Las Colinas, TX

It's weird. It was weird when he announced he was moving to Dallas in 1999, pretty much abandoning his church congregation in Florida. It was weirder still when he announced that God had ordered him to build a $30 million World Healing Center in Irving, making it sound like a combination theme park and New Age miracle spa. The way he laid it out, it would be a sort of shrine to famous faith healers of the past, complete with "stereophonic statue gardens," as well as a Holy Ghost Mayo Clinic for the halt, the lame and the afflicted. I had visions of wheelchair-bound hordes being lifted off jumbo jets at DFW Airport and convoying their way over to Las Colinas, like pilgrims pouring into a Disneyworld version of Lourdes. Isn't this the kind of thing that belongs in Tulsa?

Fortunately, God changed his mind in the summer of 2002 and told Hinn not to build the healing center after all, even though he had spent two years collecting donations for it. (God was apparently vague about what Hinn should do with the money. The county tax assessor was less vague, telling Hinn it was unlikely that his tax exemption would survive theme-park ownership.) Hinn said it was just a timing matter. God wants the healing center, but he didn't want it right then. (Since the only other building the Almighty is known to have ordered is the Temple at Jerusalem, maybe He's just unimpressed with Irving.) Hinn finally said he would keep his headquarters in Dallas because the central location saves him money.

"Good," says Ole Anthony. "I told him it will save us money, too."

If anything, the move to Texas looked like an attempt to spread his operations over as many geographical jurisdictions as possible. For example, Hinn's TV show, "This Is Your Day!," originates in studios in Orange County, California, and airs in 192 countries, making it one of the most widely disseminated programs in the world. Hinn is so ubiquitous on religious TV, in fact, that you would assume by this point--35 years into his preaching ministry--that he would have become one of those household names, like Billy Graham, who's expected to lead the invocation at the Super Bowl and counsel the President and appear on The Today Show in times of national crisis. But the opposite is true. Hinn HouseAside from his twice-monthly appearances at his own choreographed "crusades," held in the largest sports arenas on the planet, Hinn is a virtual recluse, surrounded by armies of bodyguards, ensconced in an $12 million oceanfront hacienda in southern California, traveling by private jet for "snorkeling vacations" in the Cayman Islands, staying in $10,800 per night presidential suites in Italy, a $15,000 per night suite in Greece, and claiming a level of financial secrecy and paranoid internal security that's more often associated with drug dealers than men of the cloth. Hinn PlaneBy surrounding himself with yes-men and stage-managing every detail of his public image--even to the point of stiff-arming the occasional paparazzo who tries to photograph him--he has more in common with Michael Jackson than Jerry Falwell. He may, in fact, be the first Christian rock star. The analogy is not Paul McCartney, though--Benny's career is more like Cher, as he makes it up as he goes along, re-inventing himself whenever necessary.

He has no church. He belongs to no denomination. He's not even affiliated with any particular religion, although his buzz words indicate he tends to dwell on the freaky backwoods fringe of Pentecostalism. As recently as three centuries ago, he probably would have been burned as a heretic. (To give you some idea of his doctrinal strangeness, he once preached that the Trinity is actually nine persons, because each member of the Trinity--Father, Son, Holy Spirit--is also a Trinity. He also says that God and the Holy Spirit have real bodies, with eyes, hands, mouth, etc. Various theologians have trashed him, of course, for preaching "new revelations" directly from God that turn out to be, when examined, variations of thousand-year-old heresies.) He thinks of himself as a prophet (even when his prophecies don't come true) and, in one burst of grandeur, "a new messiah walking on the earth." He believes that the Biblical Adam flew into outer space, that when God parted the Red Sea he made it into a wall of ice, that God talks to him more frequently than he talked to, say, Moses, that a man has risen from the dead in his presence, that a man turned into a snake before his eyes, that angels come to his bedroom and talk to him, and that the only reason we're not all in perfect health, living forever, is that there are demons in the world, attacking us. He's expressed opinions normally heard only on schizophrenia wards, and he's done it in front of millions of people--and still they come. They come in such numbers that thousands have to be turned away, and even the ones turned away gladly give him their money.

What's going on here?

Benny Hinn says that what's going on here is that he was "anointed." It happened either at the age of 11, when Jesus first appeared to either him or his mother while he was living in Jaffa, Israel, or maybe 18, when he had a conversion experience at a high school in Toronto, or maybe shortly after that, when he took a bus trip to Pittsburgh to see the faith healer Kathryn Kuhlman. It's difficult to say exactly when it happened, or what form it took, because Hinn parcels out little bits and pieces of his background as it suits him, then embellishes the stories so that isolating any one event in his life is like puzzling through a 30-year-old KGB file. What we do know--because he returns to it time and again--is that a transforming moment in his life occurred when, as a teenager, he was assigned to take care of a crippled arthritic woman on a pilgrimage to see one of Kuhlman's healing services, and he saw the woman apparently lose all pain in her legs and "untwist," as he put it. Depending on how cynical you are, he had either found his holy calling, or discovered one of the oldest American carnie games. Ever since then he's been praised as a true miracle worker--Oral Roberts himself is his biggest fan--and debunked by various investigative reporters around the world, including 60 Minutes Australia, which concluded, "Benny Hinn is a fake. A dangerous fake. What he does is prey on the sick, the desperate and the gullible." (Trinity Foundation does most of the legwork for all the various networks and newspapers who have investigated Hinn. Of the Australian report, Anthony says, "Apparently in Australia you can just go ahead and say the truth out loud.")

Hinn is a peculiar sort even by the standards of the ongoing circus called American televangelism. If you look at the superstars of the past 25 years--Bakker, Swaggart, Tilton-- they're all of a type: WASPY extroverts with good looks in a sort of dime-store gigolo way. (Even Jim Bakker had that lost-puppy look that's so attractive to lonely widows. Older women living alone are the number one demographic group when it comes to sending money to television ministries.) Hinn, on the other hand, is short, slight, semitic, round-faced, and often sports a haircut that looks like a scoop of Rocky Road ice cream that's been knocked off the top of the cone. He reminds you of a discount Persian rug merchant, not a spiritual leader. He's a Palestinian with a Greek father and Armenian Turk mother, raised in a Catholic school along with eight brothers and sisters who were stuffed into a tiny two-bedroom apartment in the Tel Aviv suburb of Jaffa. In Hinn's books he claims that his father was the mayor of Jaffa. As it turns out, Jaffa had no mayor after the year 1948, four years before Hinn was born. Like many factoids in the Hinn legend, this one seems to be a fib.

Hinn Yearbook

Toufik Benedictus Hinn, known to his family as "Tutu," didn't much like living in Palestine with an Arabic first name, so early in life he became Benny. He was not particularly noted by his classmates at College de Frere elementary school in Jaffa or, after the family emigrated when Benny was 14, at Georges Vanier Secondary School in Toronto. In his sermons and books, Hinn has portrayed his childhood as that of a social outcast, handicapped by a severe stutter, who was nonetheless a stellar student. But when G. Richard Fisher and M. Kurt Goedelman, two journalists who write for Christian publications, looked into Hinn's youth, they found that both claims were untrue: nobody remembered Hinn stuttering, and he had dropped out of high school after the 11th grade. The reason I use these particular examples--"white lies" that by themselves don't really mean that much--is to indicate how twisted Hinn's mythmaking can be. He invents things that reflect badly on him just as easily as he invents things that reflect well on him. Psychologically he can't stand the unadorned truth.

Occasionally, though, the enhancements expand into the land of the whopper. For example, Hinn claims to have preached at an all-girls Catholic school in Jerusalem in 1976 and "every single girl in that school got saved, including all the nuns." Since there's only one Catholic girls school in Jerusalem, Schmidt's Girls College, it was a fairly easy matter to question all the nuns who were there in 1976, as well as Father Dusind, who has overseen all religious instruction since 1955. The result? "This is nonsense, real nonsense," Dusind told Fisher and Goedelman. "It never happened and could not happen because a Charismatic healer or Protestant preacher would never ever be let in to talk to the girls."

Or how about the time Hinn went into a Catholic hospital in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and healed everyone there? The way Hinn tells it is that he, three other Pentecostal preachers, and seven Catholic priests held a service together in the hospital chapel, where everyone went to work with "anointing bottles" and patients were healed instantly. They were then asked to lay hands on all the patients in the hospital's rooms, so Hinn and his "Miracle Invasion" team went down the hall healing people, knocking them down with God's power, until "the hospital looked like it had been hit by an earthquake."

The reality--easily confirmed by speaking to officials at Sault Ste. Marie General Hospital and the Gray Sisters of the Immaculate Conception who work there--is that no patients were released the day Hinn held a small service in the chapel and that, furthermore, "Mr. Hinn's claims are outlandish and unwarranted."

Crusade

Okay, so what? Benny Hinn isn't the first flamboyant white-suited evangelist to play fast and loose with "miracles," and I'm sure he won't be the last. What makes Hinn different is that, after moving to Orlando in 1979 and founding the Orlando Christian Center in 1983, he became the most famous--some would add, "and richest"--evangelist in the world. When he preaches in the Philippines or Africa, for example, it's not uncommon to have 500,000 people at the service. And they all come for the same reason: supernatural events, miracles, ecstatic emotional experiences. He refined his technique in the eighties at the Orlando church, which was the scene of loud frenzied charismatic services almost from the moment he opened his doors. Hinn would frequently speak in tongues--something he no longer does now that his services are televised--and issue wild prophecies and reveal divine messages given only to him, as he essentially incorporated into his own services all the techniques he learned from watching Kathryn Kuhlman. Soon the Orlando church became a mecca for the suffering, and by the time Hinn started doing organized crusades in the late eighties, he was poised to fill the void left by the spectacular crashes of the Bakkers, Swaggarts and Tiltons.

India

In many ways Hinn is a throwback to the tent-revival meetings of the 19th century. Short on scripture, long on enthusiasm, these were originally ways to carry the gospel to backwoods people who weren't served by churches, and the tradition was to collect a little money for the minister's traveling expenses at the end of the service. As time went on, the tent revival fell prey to shysters and carnie men, who discovered they could make a sizeable haul by stoking the emotions of the illiterate and making them feel like they were in the presence of miraculous events. It was a short jump from there to Aimee Semple Macpherson, the now discredited healer of the 1920s who, oddly enough, Hinn reveres as one of his spiritual predecessors. Macpherson was the first to take the tent revival nationwide.

This is not to say that everyone who held a healing service was a fraud--but the ones who made an entire career of it tended to be. There even developed a body of sleight-of-hand that survived well into the nineties, notably practiced by Dallas's own W.V. Grant, who can make a leg look like it's grown longer or shorter simply by manipulating the shoe with a deft magician's move. The healing service, almost from the beginning, was a strange mixture of showmanship, ecstatic worship, and magic.

Stage

Hinn's services, for example, follow a strict pattern that's calculated for maximum emotional impact and, not so coincidentally, maximum offering collection. From the time the crowd enters the arena, they're massaged with mood lighting, repetitive music, responsive chanting, group gestures, group singing, various forms of choral and instrumental entertainment, all leading up to the moment Hinn makes his entrance. The song sung for the entrance is "How Great Thou Art," making convenient use of an ambiguous personal pronoun.

"There's power here, people!" Hinn will typically say. "Lift your hands and receive it."

All dutifully lift their hands.

"You will be healed tonight!"

They sob and shout hallelujah.

"All things are possible to him that believeth!"

People

Hinn repeats this same sentence three times, getting a bigger emotional reaction each time he says it.

Chant, song, gesture, salute--all the classic techniques used to submerge the individual into a group. It works for dictators and it works for Hinn. But now that he's joined them together in hope, he adds a dose of fear.

He speaks of huge disasters coming to the world. He tells them of the strange times we live in, a sinful world that will be cleansed by fire and earthquake. And there's only one slim hope to escape: "Only those who have been giving to God's work will be spared."

As a violin plays, money is collected in big white plastic buckets. And as the ushers do their work, Hinn's voice turns soothing. "Nothing will touch you. No one will touch your children. Nothing will touch your home."

Although he never says, "Donate money or you'll die," he comes close. There is a constant theme in his preaching of the connection between "giving" and "healing," making a "faith vow" and "having your needs met." He comes within a hair's breadth of saying, "If you give me money, you will be healed." And the collection always occurs between his promise of healing and the actual healing session--the same way street performers save their biggest trick until after the hat has been passed.

Hinn Blows

Along about 10 p.m., when all the checks and dead presidents have been collected, Hinn announces that God is speaking to him. Sometimes he sees angels in the room. Sometimes he sees ugly demon monsters that are fleeing from the building. ("You ugly spirit of sickness, go out of this place! Let God's people go!") Sometimes he just feels the presence of spirits, or angels. Once he saw the whole arena bathed in golden dust. And then, as though his body has been taken over by a force he can't control, he starts running around knocking people over. Sometimes he knocks them over with his coat, sometimes by blowing on them, sometimes by pushing their forehead with his hand--but when he touches them, they fall over. As he does this, he calls out the healings--a brain tumor, a cancer, a crippled left leg--as though he's watching something occurring that the rest of us can't see. And then, one by one, various people are brought up onto the stage, and an announcer describes their affliction so that Hinn can lay hands on them and pronounce the disease vanquished. On an average night he'll heal about 80 people, in addition to the ones he shouts out in a sort of "wherever you are, you're healed" way.

No wonder Hinn needs bodyguards. Very few, if any, of these people are actually healed. And when they die, or their disease becomes worse, their relatives tend to become angry. For the past 15 years this has been demonstrated over and over again by various investigative reports conducted with the resources of the Trinity Foundation, beginning with an Inside Edition show in 1993 hosted by Bill O'Reilly and reported by Steve Wilson.

Just a few examples:

He claims to have cured three people of AIDS, even though the Centers for Disease Control have never seen the HIV virus leave a body once it's infected.

He healed a case of brain cancer on stage, even though Inside Edition followed up with tests that showed the tumor was still present.

He pronounced a woman cured of heart disease, and she was so convinced that she threw away her heart medicine. Questioned about it, Hinn said, "It's not my job to call their doctor."

The "cure" of a deaf woman turned out to be a woman who, according to her doctor, was not deaf in the first place.

The cure of three deaf boys turned out to be bogus.

A Houston woman who thought she was cured of lung cancer ("It will never come back!" Hinn told her) rejected her doctors' advice and care--and died two months later.

The heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield, banned from boxing because of a heart condition, went to a Benny Hinn crusade in Philadelphia, had Hinn lay hands on him, and gave Hinn a check for $265,000 after he was told he was healed. In fact, he passed his next examination by the boxing commission, but later his doctors said he never had a heart condition in the first place--he had been misdiagnosed.

Hinn claimed that God ripped the pacemaker out of a woman's body because she didn't need it anymore.

Hinn claims that a man in Ghana was raised from the dead on the platform. "We have it on video!" he says--although he's never produced the video.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Even sadder than the people who think they're healed are the ones so sick that Hinn's employees never allow them to be seen on stage. People suffering from paralysis, brain damage, dementia and the like--people who couldn't possibly make any "demonstration" on stage--are rejected at a screening session held backstage.

In two cases journalists have tried to verify all the healings at a particular crusade. For an HBO documentary called A Question of Miracles, researchers attended a Portland, Oregon, crusade at which 76 miracles were claimed. Even though Hinn had agreed to provide medical verification of each one, he stonewalled requests for the data, then eventually responded 13 weeks later--with only five names. HBO followed up the five cases and determined that a woman "cured" of lung cancer had died nine months later, an old woman's broken vertebra wasn't healed after all, a man with a logging injury deteriorated as he refused medication and a needed operation, a woman claiming to be healed of deafness had never been deaf (according to her husband), and a woman complaining of "breathlessness" had stopped going to the doctor on instructions of her mother.

Then in December 2002 NBC's Dateline tried to duplicate the HBO study. At a crusade in Las Vegas they counted 56 miracles. Of those, Hinn eventually provided data "proving" five of them. Four of those people refused to share their medical records with NBC. The remaining one, a woman supposedly cured of Lou Gehrig's Disease, had been misdiagnosed, according to her doctor.

There have been so many documentaries and investigations on Hinn--almost all of them orchestrated by Trinity Foundation--that they even have a common structure:

Here's what he looks like in action.

Here's what he claims to do.

Here's what his critics say.

Is he a fraud or is he a healer?

Let's find out.

Not much healing going on.

Okay, here's what Hinn says in his defense.

And one thing Hinn says in his defense--when confronted with evidence that someone claimed to be healed and then died--is that "The reason people lose their healing is because they begin questioning if God really did it."

This may be his cruelest teaching of all. If you're not healed--or, worse yet, if your sick child is not healed--it's your fault, for not having enough faith. It's at this point that Hinn's ministry almost passes over into the realm of primitive magic--i.e., if you want it bad enough, and you say the right things and feel the right things, it will come true.

As it turns out, though, the media investigations are the best thing that ever happened to Hinn. They made him more famous, and more recognizable, than religious TV ever could have. And since most of his audience is made up of the truly desperate--the chronically sick, the dying, people living with pain--Benny Hinn became one more "treatment" for them to take a shot at.

When the first investigation broke, in March 1993, Hinn must have thought his empire was about to fall apart. There was a nasty shoving incident at the Philadelphia airport with Steve Wilson of Inside Edition, followed by a damage-control campaign in which Hinn went on many radio and TV shows, and met privately with several of his critics, to admit that he'd made mistakes and vow that he would never again air "miracles" on TV unless they had been medically verified. "God has taken me by the neck," he said to his congregation. "I think I'm gonna stop preaching healing and start preaching Jesus." At the request of Inside Edition, Ole Anthony traveled to Orlando to meet with Hinn. At the only face-to-face meeting the two men have had, Hinn said he was reformed and that he intended to start medically verifying all miracles and holding them back from television for six months, so that they could be proven authentic. He even said at one point that worldly wealth was sinful--something you'll rarely hear fall out of the mouth of a TV evangelist.

If you study this particular year in his life–1993--he's remarkably consistent in his statements, very self-aware of exactly what errors he's made, very humble, very apologetic, very interested in getting "back to the gospel." He even says at one point that he'll stop doing healing services entirely. And most everyone believed him--including Inside Edition, in a followup report, and including Anthony. "I was disappointed," says Anthony today, "that a year later he was back to his old tricks."

By 1994, it was as though the soul-searching of the previous year had never existed. He geared up to be bigger than ever. He added crusades, he became more flamboyant, more theatrical, and the procession of "miracles" flitting across the TV screen every day continued unabated.

Slain-in

Apparently what he'd discovered is that scandal was good for business. Or at least this particular type of scandal was good for business. Bakker and Swaggart--he must have thought of them at some point--had been brought down by sex, which is difficult for the Christian world to forgive. Greed, on the other hand, can be overcome. Tilton had been brought down by money issues, but after a few years of lying low, he was back in action. This was a whole new type of media attention. The reporters simply said "Is he a healer, or is he a fake?" And because it was presented as an open-ended question, the crowds got even larger.

Fifteen years later, Hinn has become something of a media master. Whenever he's investigated now, he simply admits his "mistakes." He's especially fond of going on The Larry King Show at any time of crisis. He's also refined his view of what he does. He doesn't heal anyone, he always reminds the interviewer. He just creates an atmosphere so that God can heal people. By the time people get to the stage, they've already been healed by God, he says. If the healing turns out to be bogus, then the person was self-deluded. Besides, hope is a great thing.

He also says he has a doctor backstage now to counsel the miracle cases and encourage them to continue with their medication until the healing has been verified. This seems to satisfy the media, even though it amounts to an admission of his own inability to know whether someone is healed.

The image he presents to the faithful is the opposite, of course. To them he's a man possessed of special wisdom. He sees things no one else can see. He has conversations with Jesus that no one else has had. He witnesses the presence of God when no one else would be aware of it. And he constantly says his teaching is "new." ("You didn't come here to hear the same preaching you've been hearing for 50 years, did you?") Of course, to orthodox Christians, this alone makes him heretical. Far from being "new," they would say, the gospel is unchanged over 2,000 years.

But there's an even darker side to Hinn and his organization. In 1998 two members of his inner circle died of heroin overdoses. In 1999, after one of his many vows of reform, he fired several board members and hired an ex-cop named Mario C. Licciardello to do an internal investigation of his ministry. Licciardello was the brother of Carman, who is sort of the Engelbert Humperdinck of Christian singers, so many think Hinn considered him "safe." But Licciardello did such a good job--taking hundreds of depositions and getting to the bottom of the heroin use--that Hinn then sued him. While Licciardello was still his head of security, Hinn’s organization filed a lawsuit demanding that all his files be turned over and sealed, because their public release could result in the end of the ministry. Licciardello was a police investigator with 25 years of experience, and he felt like his whole career was being smeared, so he fought back with his own lawyers. His counsel continually tried to take Hinn's deposition, but Hinn fought him at every step. The judge, however, ruled against him and said that, if Hinn intended to enjoin Licciardello, he would have to make himself available for questioning.

On the very day that Hinn was supposed to give his deposition in the case, Licciardello had a mysterious heart attack and died. The Hinn organization made an out-of-court settlement with Licciardello's widow, which included sealing the court papers.

The U.S. Attorney in Orlando had seated a secret Grand Jury to investigate Hinn; but Licciardello was the chief witness. After his death, Hinn was no-billed.

Hinn Cover

Hinn runs the largest evangelistic organization in the world that is not a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. That means his finances are private, his salary is secret, and his income is anybody's guess. Royalties from his books alone are estimated at $500,000 per year, but he essentially has carte blanche to take anything out of the till he wants. "He lives the lifestyle of a billionaire," says Ole Anthony, "all on the backs of false promises and selling false hope."

As Hinn put it himself, in a moment of rare revelatory candor, "I don't need gold in heaven, I gotta have it now."

During 1993, his one year of "reform," he talked about being stung by being portrayed as a millionaire and how he wanted to be "more Christ-like." His solution: "The Lord said sell the Benz and the watch."

He got rid of his Rolex and his Mercedes. Notice he didn't give them away. He sold them--and then replaced the Mercedes with a $65,000 BMW. This is what God told him to do. And who better to know what God wants, because Hinn, after all, is only the third person in the history of the universe to have actually seen God and lived to tell about it. God, he says, is 6-2 or 6-3, with long hair of a light brown color, and eyes that can look right through you.

So what is Benny Hinn really doing in Dallas? He's having conversations with a God who thinks about Rolexes and luxury cars a whole heck of a lot. God really did pick the right city, didn't he?


Comments(407)

Nick | 06:08 pm on 10/01/2008

In all fairness, who is the Fool here:
The one who takes
Or
The one who gives ?

smg45acp | 01:55 pm on 10/02/2008

I am so glad to be out of Pentecostalism.
Those people fall for anything.
I have been to Jimmy Swaggert crusades. I was a volunteer at a "Happy Hunters'" healing explosion.

At the Hunters' "show", I can't call it a service, after the lady gave a short message the first woman that ran up for a healing was instantly "slain" in the spirit and down on the ground.
I found out soon after the service she worked for the Hunters' and she would get the show started by being "slain". This was to show everybody after her what to do, and that's what happened. Mass confusion followed with everybody getting "slain" in the spirit.

I still walk with Christ and continue to volunteer in various ways, but with none of the weirdest.
I blame much of this stupidity on the teaching of Dispensationalism.
Once main stream churches started falling such blatant nonsense and were calling it Gospel, the people could then fall for anything.

Robert Winkler Burke | 03:38 pm on 10/02/2008

The Endless Loop
By Robert Winkler Burke
Of inthatdayteachings.com
Copyright 10/1/08

A Dog knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s a Dog that chases…
Its own tail!

A Rich Preacher knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s a Rich Preacher asking money…
From poor people!

An Intellectual Preacher knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s an Intellectual Preacher who…
Parses something down to nothing!

An About Preacher knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s an About Preacher who talks about Christ…
Without ever manifesting Christ!

A Rapture Preacher knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s a Rapture Preacher who says the Rapture is coming…
Not today, but some day very soon!

An Apostolic Preacher knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s an Apostolic Preacher who…
Speaks jabberwocky but says nothing new!

A Prophetic Preacher knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s a Prophetic Preacher who says something big is coming…
Not today, but some day very soon!

An Infantile Preacher knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s an Infantile Preacher who speaks condescendingly as though…
He was speaking to developmentally challenged infants!

An Immature Preacher knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s an Immature Preacher who never met a more mature person…
And never will!

An Uncorrectable Preacher knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s an Uncorrectable Preacher who says all critique of himself… Is from beguilers with a religious spirit from Satan!

A Seeing Preacher knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s a Seeing Preacher who warns his sheep about…
Wolves in sheep’s clothing with endless loop wiles!

Our God knows what…
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
An endless loop is,
It’s all these preachers thinking that…
God doesn’t know what an endless loop is!

www.inthatdayteachings.com
Robert Winkler Burke
Reno, Nevada USA

Amy Ernest | 08:44 pm on 10/02/2008

Hey, John! Finally made it back around to the Door! This is a great article - I think I've seen this guy on TV when I'm rapidly flipping past the channels that show televangelists. Guys like this make ALL Christians look ignorant. Get 'im!

Robert Winkler Burke | 10:43 pm on 10/02/2008

Prosperous Thoughts – Here is a fine experiment. Write to a prosperity preacher and ask him or her to tithe his or her personal income to you. The multi-millionaire will probably think, who are you to get such an income? You will have made the preacher think, however briefly.

Magdalena | 07:36 pm on 10/03/2008

Murphy's Law, google around, you'll see JB wrote this great piece a couple of years ago but with the Grassley 6 going on now, I guess they thought it worth republishing here to remind people what these televangelists are like.

Dave | 07:16 am on 10/05/2008

I have a friend with a serious disability that when to see Benney in Toronto and got in before the doors opened somehow. The person at the door must of let him him because he was early and could not stand on his crutches for long.My friend sat quietly in the back and was not noticed, he says that he saw "ringers" practicing to be healed, Getting into wheel chairs just before the doors opened getting ready for the "act" Walking just find until the show started. Then on cue they staggered up to the platform to be "healed"

There needs to legal action to stop this type of abuse

It's sad...

Dave

SRebbe | 03:54 pm on 10/06/2008

I do like this one.

UNCLE KENNY | 09:55 pm on 10/06/2008

What gives?

This isn't a new article. This is a recycled one. Did the door get knocked down and splintered?

Pete | 11:19 am on 10/07/2008

I have lost count of the times I have read about the wild and bogus claims of this man Hinn. What I find hard to take is the fact that mature (and I use the term loosely) Christians are taken in by this unbiblical con-man! What, don't people read The Bible any more? The best defence against this and all types of heresy is to know God's word.

budda | 05:35 pm on 10/08/2008

Sorry, not reading the bible much right now, into Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching. It helps guard against Hinn too.

Robert Winkler Burke | 01:27 pm on 10/18/2008

Dear Wittenburg Door family,

As not much new is being posted, I here take the liberty to post the following poem, which explains much about large ministry efforts as seen on the popular channels broadcast without question:

10/18/08

Big Shot Megillah Ministers of Three and a Half
By Robert Winkler Burke
Of inthatdayteachings.com
Copyright 10/17/08
Daniel 12:6-7 and Revelation 12:14-15

We are Big Shot Megillah Ministers,
Of just Three and a Half,
We are fat full of hot air and ourselves,
And time, times and a half!

It’s the number for us,
And I pray also now you!
It’s the number for us,
Knowing not what we do.

We’re incomplete,
So it’s repeat.
Do it again and,
Think it’s neat.

Why three and a half?
Why the number?
It’s half of Seven:
Perfect wonder.

Seven is perfect,
And complete.
We’re half-baked,
Must repeat.

Until we see exactly just,
What the spirits we’re of,
And all our wrong doxies,
From under, not above.

We’ll preach prosperity,
And be blind to greed,
We’ll preach rapture,
Seeing not fear’s seed.

Or we’ll jabberwocky talk nonsense about,
Something that’s nothing new,
Dominion, Third Wave, Prophecy, Emotion:
A flood of any witch’s brew.

We’ll preach on God,
But not bring Him neigh,
And never think it’s odd,
Or think of lies we buy.

We buy Three and a Half,
Nothing ever changes.
All in life is inevitable,
God never rearranges.

In fact, God isn’t alive,
To indwell us quickly,
To us, religion is jive,
And kind of sickly.

Three and a Half,
We love it so.
Send us money,
Make ours grow.

Three and a Half,
Seed Faith Shenanigans,
Three and a Half,
Worship doctrines of man.

Three and a Half,
Fear rapture or the beast,
Three and a Half,
Boom-bust feelings feast.

Three and a Half,
We’re crazy and odd,
Three and a Half,
We broadcast not God.

Three and a Half,
For fifty years without change,
Three and a Half,
Gold, big hair, egos deranged.

Three and a Half,
Don’t see: Our repetition is nuts,
Three and a Half,
Don’t see: We’re stuck in bad ruts.

Look! Over there, you see,
People in God, like heaven!
Ignore them, hate them, spite them!
They have found Seven.

We’re Three and a Half’ers,
Stuck in endless hell,
Don’t ever tell us, friend,
God can truly indwell!

Three and a Half,
We’re telling you it’s the highest, happiest number!
Three and a Half,
All hail godless, endless loop religion with slumber!

Dan 12:6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?
Dan 12:7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
Rev 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Rev 12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

www.inthatdayteachings.com
Robert Winkler Burke
Reno, Nevada USA
775-690-7293 cell

SRebbe | 07:21 pm on 11/05/2008

This is fantastic. Would it be possible to share this with my selection committee in January? I was elected (somehow) to help give direction and strategic planning for my church as our senior pastor resigned and leadership thus far has had bad luck -- so to speak -- with follow-through with projects and I have been convinced for YEARS that it is because they keep falling back on their own strengths, instead of G-d and letting him lead, and letting G-d work through His Church.

No senior pastor will be looked at until direction and history and mission (etc.) are determined, since we really don't have any direction. So they say. I just don't think anyone has any idea on how to finish or follow through with anything. Good leadership is more necessary than a "mission statement."

Oh, this whole project should be interesting. I feel like Judges is going to begin in the history of our church.

Thx.

Anonymous | 09:26 pm on 10/18/2008

My latest gripe.
I watched David Herzog and his wife Shannon of The Glory Zone (thegloryzone.org). They teach 'The molecular body of Christians, as they enter the presence of God, separate.' They can 'walk thru walls'.
Proof, they claim, is "A policeman watched as a church bus did a headon with a semi. Everyone on the bus realized they were about to be killed and started praising God. The bus (and it's contents) went thru the semi."
Hmmm... now I'm wondering who's gonna step in front of an on coming subway, or put a gun to their head and pull the trigger while glorifying the Lord just to prove it's true.
Futher proof on their website is a woman whose hair color is returning.
A woman lost +25 pounds during a worship service ... Looking at her, the Lord needs to to cut back on caloroic intake a few more dress sizes.
What ever happened to the gospel of Jesus Christ and his shed blood for sinners?

BJ | 09:54 am on 10/19/2008

I had to check the website out for myself. Instant weight loss, baldness cured, gems falling from the sky. These guys watched a few info mercials and came up with this gimmick. I wrote them an email to let them know I admire there cleverness.

DAVID | 01:22 pm on 10/23/2008

Please,I want you to mail me more of these Benny Hinn stuff.

doctorbooogie | 05:07 pm on 10/24/2008

Dear Sir G E T A L I F E!!!!!!!if you don't like benny hinn dont watch him!

SRebbe | 07:25 pm on 11/05/2008

And if we don't like racism, we should just pretend it doesn't exist?

If there are injustice or wrongs in the world (particularly in ours), we need to alert those who are being duped. G-d will judge, yes. But when we know something is wrong, we need to speak up. Otherwise we condone with our silence.

Jesus tells us to look out for the orphans and widows. These are the ones watching and believing in the false hope this false prophet gives.

You can leave them to the sharks. I can't.

David Williams | 10:31 am on 10/25/2008

Helloooooo! Is anyone home? Helloooo?

Just thought I'd give the Door another knock. Ah well.

We miss you guys.

creflo fistfull of dollars | 12:35 pm on 11/02/2008

Benny Hinn is such a fraud that most people can see through him. Sadly, many can't and are duped. The gullible are easy prey for the wolves.
Too bad Benny isn't prosecuted for medical fraud; he belongs in jail.
If you have a medical condition, better see a physician, not a fake healer.
If you are stupid enough to believe in Benny, then you will be fleeced.

SRebbe | 07:37 pm on 11/05/2008

Also, if you haven't seen it, the famous Benny Hinn, the music video.

MOURAD AITOUARAB | 03:42 am on 11/09/2008

JE SUIS TRES CONTAN DE VOIRE COMMENT DIEU A UTILISER CETTE HOMME POUR SA GLOIRE. DIEU VOUS BENNIE BENNY HINN AMEN

SRebbe | 04:56 pm on 11/17/2008

êtes-vous sérieux ?

pigseye | 06:24 am on 11/09/2008

I was jonezen for an outlet. My jubilation has never been higher.
The TBN praise a thon has been going on for a week now, It is an EXTRAVAGANZA. All of the most annointed teachers in the world are there pleading to the Lord on our behalf. They all wanted seeds,
its been years since I've had any seeds and stems, I havn't smoked in years,and when I did there were no seeds in the stuff from Mendocino, Ca. A dilema what could I do ? Then the lord revealed to me that I have wild bird seed we feed the cardinals, quail, finches etc. Then as my faith increased I sent a box of bird seed to each of them. Immediately I noticed changes, I spent money hand over fist on myself. All of a sudden pot plants started growing in my neighbors back yard. My skin has a new sheen. Best of all my restless leg syndrome has almost been cured. I then got two highliters, a gold one that I highlite all of the prosperity verses, and a black marker that I use to black out everything else in the bible. Since then I have never been happier. Oh Oh my dandruff is comming back, I better send some more seeds. Later.

Anonymous | 08:09 am on 11/09/2008

May the Lord have mercy on your soul and may He save us from those who have deemed themselves the judge of others. There is only one Judge, and He will be the Judge of Benny Hinn. Jesus sent out the Apostles to preach the Gospel, not to go through the personal effects of the Scribes and Pharisees, and when nailed to the Cross asked the Heavenly Father to forgive those who crucified Him. Inspired by the Holy Ghost, our Savior did not condemn the sinner, but saved us all from condemnation. God IS Love (1John 4:16) and so it is only walking in Love that we walk with God. If we were all to truly do as our Lord and Savior asks we would judge ourselves first, for when we look in the mirror there is none who can claim salvation other than through Jesus Christ.

pigseye | 07:49 am on 11/11/2008

Read the book of Jude, on second thought, read the whole new testament. The american TV church is the classic wolf in sheeps clothing...for the most part. Example.. Robert Schuller Sr. just removed his son from preaching at the Crystal Cathedral because he was getting too scriptural. He was actually preaching sin and repentance sometimes. We can't have that. What about the damage that does to our self esteem? Then there are the money changers
who don't sell pigeons or livestock, but rather shallow promises of wealth, and health for feeding their often overtly luxurious lifestyles with your seed money. "We are to judge those within the body of Christ", who claim to be saved but are living contrary to the truth. Question , If your pastor preached the Gospel but was living a pagan life style while faining piety would you have the cajones to comfront him?

Discerner 24/7 | 10:04 am on 11/26/2008

Schuller Sr. is nothing but a humanist! He has learned well from his heretical "father in the faith" Norman Vincent Peale! Yes the money changers are plentiful out there. Copeland,Hinn,Murdock,Crouch,Cerullo,on and on goes the list of these hucksters! BTW when is the Door going to put something new on their website?

SRebbe | 05:01 pm on 11/17/2008

there's also this little book in the OT called Judges. it's where G-d appointed people to judge His people in place of kings and rulers before the whining got really out of hand and then corrupt rulers took over. yeah, there were some good ones too.

Shalom | 06:22 am on 5/08/2009

you are so right.

Shalom | 06:39 am on 5/08/2009

Very true what you said about judgement.It is not our place to judge someone who is called by God to preach the
Gospel.Your judgement will be harder on you when you stand before Christ on YOUR judgement day.Be careful
what you say of others,it will come back on you. Peace to you

Anonymous | 09:25 pm on 11/11/2008

*** You are wasting you time critizing men and women of God that is not your job. God will judge us all one day.

Benny Hinn is doing the will of God and preaching the Gospel. ***

Dan Lirette | 11:46 pm on 11/12/2008

While Hinn is a false prophet, the Door Magazine promotes ungodly speech and a sense of carnality which is comparable to plain worldliness. Both Hinn and Ole Anthony need to repent.. one for stealing money and one for puffing on a pipe and speaking carnally at every turn.

pigseye | 08:27 am on 11/17/2008

Ole anthony needs to stop smoking a pipe?? Charles Spurgeon smoked
cigars, sometimes while he preached. How politically correct of an observation. There is none righteous, no not one. That means me and that means you. I will however not lower the gospel to a mere means of income. I recommend you check your prayer cloth, it sounds like the annointing is wearing off. Maybe time to send for a new one.

tc | 02:09 am on 11/18/2008

Dan -

Does your "flowing robe" hide the fact that you
have a small penis?

WTF, Dan?

How much power does a pipe and a colorful word have over you ..apparently enough to cripple you mentally.

The irony here, Danny Boy - is that by deeming others irredeemable based on there shitty(according to you) lifestyle (pause to take a long drag from my cigar) - has you playing God instead of serving God.
.. rather foolish seein' that you're just a guy trying to hide the size of his penis with a flowing robe ..wouldn't you agree, sir?

tc | 02:14 am on 11/18/2008

post edit:

"Their" -- damn that word ..the improper use of it will lead to our demise;)

Anonymous | 11:10 am on 11/22/2008

Lets see, effortlessly generated tax free money based on lies, sounds like this guy has perfected the American dream.

pigseye | 07:20 am on 11/23/2008

There has been a lot of talk about how we Amercican Christians need to remember that God always provides for those believers thru out history on the airwaves lately. Elijah met the widow with her son who fixed food for the prophet first and her mazola oil and pilsbury flour never ran out. Lesson.. send money to Copeland, Hinn, Dollar, and recieve a prayer cloth that will ensure your funds will never run out, especially in rough times like now.
I don't think it will be too long and we will see a group of prosperity and word faith teachers as well as the "possibility
thinking" teachers, band together go to washington and grovel for a bailout of oh say $ 25 billion dollars to ensure the stability of their ministries. I don't think they will get too far though, because the beast hates the harlot.

A1 | 03:56 pm on 11/28/2008

Update from the desk of Paul Crouch:
TBN is requesting a $350 B bailout (!) or face having to close some televison stations causing thousand of employees lose their jobs, maybe the closing of some churches ...
A1
You know I'm kidding, right?
A result of yesterday's food coma ...

Discerner 24/7 | 07:34 am on 11/30/2008

Sigh,if only that were true A1. Funny thing TBN is more than then likely in great financial shape. They have hundreds of millions of dollars sitting in the bank. In their case heresy pays! Don't worry someday God's judgement will fall.

David Williams | 05:10 pm on 12/10/2008

Wittenburg Door! Live again! By the power of Christ I command you!

Did that work? Nuts. Should never have skipped the Satiric Website session of my seminary Reincarnation class.

Randy | 01:08 am on 12/13/2008

Judging from the toxic flavor of these comments on the article, most of Hinn's detractors are suffering from some form of burned-by-religion syndrome. This saddens me, for i have seen and been healed in meetings where God does show up. He can and does heal people even when a minister has fallen into sin. Religion is not the same as spirituality. How many smear merchants are effectively supporting the poor, or a pastor who is doing good works?

Headless Unicorn Guy | 07:37 pm on 12/18/2008

This sounds more like it should be in Cornerstone alongside their Mike Warnke expose.

And if Benny's just a fraud, his wife Suzanne is genuinely crazy. She even has her own YouTube video where she preaches about "God's Holy Ghost Enema".

Search YouTube for "Holy Ghost Enema" and she comes right up. "Crazy Preacher Lady" gives too many hits(including "The Exorcist" here), but "Holy Ghost Enema" returns with her at the top. (What a thing to be known for...)

Headless Unicorn Guy | 01:51 pm on 12/19/2008

Looks like "The Man with the Holy Ghost Machine Gun" has a pretty big library on YouTube himself. Here's a few highlights:

Death threats and curses on all who doubt or oppose The Hinn:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2becyRCK6LU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wAQ5ftiEqE

Use The Force, Benny! (These guys he's knocking down are wimps. Tatted Todd of Lakeland had to kick his victims in the nuts before they'd go down...)

Same as the above, with a different soundtrack. (This one sounds more appropriate...)

And for you boxing fans, Rocky 6 7/8: Benny Hinn's best knockouts!

T | 07:07 pm on 12/27/2008

Any chance that the Door could get a gov't bailout? I really miss the magazine and wouldn't mind getting the tax bill to keep this gem up and running!

Gord | 03:23 pm on 12/28/2008

I just read this article from Sault Ste marie Ontario, and it brings back memories. I remember when Benni Hinn haunted our fair city and hospitals. It was around 1975, or so, and yes he did go into the hospital run at that time by the grey nuns.
I had a young priest friend about that time who was newly ordained and he told me this story- " I was walking by a room in the hospital when Benny Hinn, called me in. He wanted me to lay hands with him on a sick person, so i did."
He told me he didn't follow anything up at that time, but did go to watch Hinn perform somewhere in the city. I think at that time he had my young priest friend fooled and believing a little that he was for real.
Here in Canada a TV program called the "FIFTH ESTATE' exposed Hinn as a fraud over a year ago.
However, as they say, there is a new sucker born every day... Gord

Anonymous | 10:25 pm on 12/30/2008

There are two thoughts to consider here. It's not just some ill-purposed ministers that the lambs follow........how often I've seen the media skew a story to fit their pre-disposed purpose! And the gullible public blindly accepts their misquotes, bias, inaccuracies, half-truths, and often outright lies.......so time will prove this story, and the opinions and criticism, to be correct, or horribly incorrect. May God grant you mercy if it is the latter, and justice if you are correct.

Robert Winkler Burke | 01:53 pm on 1/02/2009

1/1/09

I’ve Got No More Reason to Lie
By Robert Winkler Burke
Of inthatdayteachings.com
Copyright 1/1/09

I’ve got no more reason to lie,
I’m going tomorrow,
To where I was before this life,
Parlayed such sorrow.

I bought and made lies,
Most of my life,
Accusing mostly others,
For cause of strife.

I stuck to my proud guns,
So did my gunfight brothers,
That our bullets were lies,
Gave us virtually no bother.

Worst of all I was a preacher,
Broadcasting popular truths,
That were lead-bullet lies spinning,
Some downrange ruse.

That give-to-get giving,
Isn’t self-service greedy,
That rapture fear-mongering,
Isn’t self-service seedy.

That faith without works,
Isn’t dead,
That hypocrite preachers aren’t,
Full of dread.

That all the hurting world needs,
Hard, blunt truth,
Except broadcast ministry where,
Truth we forsooth.

We forsooth telling the bitchy wife,
Lay off your man,
We forsooth laymen correcting pastors,
Whenever we can.

We forsooth telling the rich donor,
To keep his filthy lucre,
We take all quid pro quo monies,
Like a cheap, ugly hooker.

We forsooth saying: There are no rules,
Only guidelines,
We’d rather rule-trap our sheepfolds,
At tithe times.

You want tough talking truth?
Look elsewhere,
Than we broadcasting preachers,
Serving cheap fare.

For truth listen to talk radio,
Or read an internet blog,
But we religiously correct demigods,
Make dense, self-service fog.

But since soon to my Maker I go,
I repent of fog making,
And swapping hell’s for heaven’s doxies,
And gang mind-raping.

Now that I’m a goner of this world,
I will talk tough,
Can the world ever forgive me for,
Avoiding truths rough?

Only little sweet truths,
I ever ingested,
Now my immortal soul,
Is ever conflicted.

And my sheep! My sheep! Oh God!
My poor sheep!
They hate and avoid all hard truths,
And I weep!

Oh God, I preached hundreds, no,
Thousands of hours,
Sweet sermons self-serving, so,
Lacking God’s powers.

God’s powers of great truth,
Ameliorate all things bad,
On earth I slayed truth and,
All truth-sayers God had.

And even worse yet still,
I ignored God’s precious indwelling,
Those Jesus happily in-filled,
I gave my back while busy book selling.

I had a chance to explain,
God’s true indwelt future,
Honoring God bearers,
Of Christ-minded nature,

But I couldn’t honor God,
Come quickly in others,
My pride made me better,
I authored best sellers.

Now the pages of the books,
I sold that were wrong,
I fear will heat my hell nook,
For long times too long.

I judge myself now,
I deserve hell,
Its kingdom I expanded,
I built on well.

I’ve got no more reason to lie,
I’m going tomorrow,
To where I was before this life,
Parlayed such sorrow.

Anonymous | 06:12 pm on 1/08/2009

so is THE DOOR dead or what? no new posts in over 6 months?

Anonymous | 07:09 am on 1/20/2009

az sam balgarin i tozi 4ovek na ime Benny Hinn e pro4ut 4ovek taka4e sprete da se budalkate sas na gospoda slugata!!! I sa6to taka bih poiskal da e tuka v BULGARIA mnogo mnogo iskam dago pregarna na gospoda slugata toi e edin le4itel, toi se ma4e da na vkara vav pravilniya pat. Taka4e neka gospod vi prosti grehovete,ivi pokaje pravilniya pat amin. tova e ot men

David Williams | 01:59 pm on 1/23/2009

Sigh.

I keep hoping that one day I'll return, and life will have sprung anew into the land of the Door. Yet it lies inert, as motionless as a stone, as comments wear upon it's unchanging visage.

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