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)

Process Deist | 04:12 pm on 5/27/2008

The message I preach never involves money or miracles.
The message I preach never involves a mediator between God and the Creation of God. (God dwells in me, I dwell in God)
The message I preach promotes prayer as an existence and not as an action.

SRebbe | 12:52 pm on 6/03/2008

after rereading that... how can you go "directly" when you go "through" someone? English lesson combined with basic algebra... the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

that's still using a mediator.... like using Mary, a saint, or a priest.

JoshH | 07:16 am on 5/23/2008

I'm guessing you didn't read my comment just above yours.

Prophet Lopi | 01:23 pm on 5/23/2008

Sorry Josh,
Don't get your panties in a wad !!

JoshH | 05:16 pm on 5/27/2008

I didn't mean you; I meant the jerkwad who was whining that nobody said anything positive about Benny Hinn. Seriously, I really do wish I had his "Holy Ghost machine gun"* sometimes.

Those who don't know what I'm referring to need to watch the "God Stuff" archives.

JCW | 01:19 pm on 6/11/2008

"Suffer the Children" is another great DVD by Trinity. In one of those DVD's Atty Gary Richardson says he has looked, but cannot find, one single person who has had a miracle healing by attending a Benny Hinn meeting.

BJ | 10:00 am on 5/25/2008

Hey JS, wanna buy a "Hinn House" t shirt?

del | 07:36 pm on 5/27/2008

JS - "Why bother wasting your time with insults?"

Not a very hard question to answer. The main reason being that loving Christian brothers and sisters do not want to see other brothers and sisters pulled away from the truth by a wolf in sheeps s clothing. It is out of love and care that people identify false teachings and seek to protect the elect from Satans influence.

Papist Spy | 09:22 pm on 5/22/2008

After lengthy contemplation, I've decided that the people Hinn and his like bilk out of their pensions and savings aren't worth our sympathy.

Every single one of those "victims" lives in a community with local churches that need support, homeless shelters, food pantries, charitable organizations, schools, libraries, and needy people who need help. And many have friends and family who need help. And then there are the taxpayers who will have to step in and help out when it turns out these folks have spent all their money. Instead they give and give to televangelists. And many of them resist attempts by their friends and relatives to stop them. Why?

Because they're enablers. And like all enablers they're getting something. They're getting stroked as "prayer warriors," as participants in a mighty crusade against the godless forces of secular humanism. Or they're buying a promise of reward in heaven. As it says in Matthew 6:5 (and 6:16) "I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full."

Headless Unicorn Guy | 02:02 pm on 12/19/2008

Because they're enablers. And like all enablers they're getting something. They're getting stroked as "prayer warriors," as participants in a mighty crusade against the godless forces of secular humanism. Or they're buying a promise of reward in heaven.

"And she's buy-y-ing
A Stairway
To... He-a-ven...."
-- Led Zeppelin (played forwards)

budda | 11:36 pm on 5/22/2008

People who support Hinn, Hagge, Copeland, et al, actually do get something in return for their time and money. These people are so hungry for something supernatural. They don't like this world, don't appreciate the wonder and beauty that is here. They fear this world. They want to experience God the way we were all taught in sunday school, that Jesus was your best friend and he would always be with you and comfort you when you were afraid or hurting. That Jesus would never let anything bad happen, would keep you safe. That you were special to God and he loved you like a father loves his child. Signs and wonders give them that reality.

These preachers make people feel special. Chosen if you will. That God in all His glory is there for them in a tangible way. When they are afraid of the world, or are sick and in pain (which is a scary thing) they want God to do something and these preachers promise and deliver. Even if it is someone else getting "healed" or signs and wonders in someone else's church, they can and are encouraged to claim it as their own. Evidence that God is there. Doing what they believe He is supposed to.

Even placebos work sometimes. I see these guys as spiritual placebos. The stark reality of God allowing you to go through life reaping exactly what you sow and subject to nature in all it's glorious uncertainty and pain is unbearable for them so they have to live in another world. One where God reaches down and touches you when your in need.

It also justifies people's wealth in a world filled with need. These guys take away the guilt of having riches while others have poverty. They can live the American Dream, cause God gave it to them so it must be ok.

JoshH | 11:46 pm on 5/22/2008

I agree completely.

I'll add that those who are into Hinn et al get the added benefit of having a wonderful resource that "everyone else" dismisses or hasn't heard of yet.

I won't completely "air my dirty laundry" but I will say that I've had the pain of having my faith dismissed as non-existent (or even faith in something other than God) by some people near me who "buy" what Hinn and company have to sell, all because of misfortunes I've faced. I typically point them to the actual gospel texts and to (the book of the bible I love the most) Ecclesiastes.

Oh, well.

Anonymous | 06:49 pm on 5/23/2008

Unfortunately, a lot of the people he and his type bilk are now in the Third World. They hone in on the gullible and as much as we may say they don't deserve our pity, he is committing a crime.

He doesn't deserve to be let off the hook. This isn't a victimless crime. These "evangelists" live in luxury while people give their life's savings to such "ministries", at the expense of their own children.

SRebbe | 11:58 am on 5/23/2008

Those who believe in Hinn [Hybels/insert your ivory tower preacher here] are worshipping a false god. They are clinging to a hope that doesn't exist because they are living for a tomorrow that will not come and putting hope in man. They are infants and praying to an idol that they can see and taste and touch. They crave miracles and magic and power because that is what they have been promised by these false prophets who give false prophecy, raising themselves up to places of power, taking the place of G-d, because they themselves want to see miracles and magic and power. They wish to become demigods because they believe that is what they were promised -- power now without consequence. They deny themselves nothing because they deserve everything. How else could anyone believe in them? Not in the one they serve, but IN THEM? In the magical realms, the gods serve the people; the gods perform for the people and through the people. The debt will be paid later, but it is never thought of now.

Who is more deceived? The masses who attend the carnival and finance the lifestyle or those who willfully put on the show for profit, use smoke and mirrors, replacing G-d's with their own?

For surely you shall be as G-d, the serpent said, knowing both good and evil. You shall become G-d.

BJ | 03:38 pm on 5/23/2008

I love Brother Benny. He healed my cousin of blue balls. He healed my aunt of the 7 year itch which she had for 6 years.
We have a group that follows brother Benny around. We all have matching t shirts and a banner we display that says "The Hinn House." Sometimes Brother Benny sends his maid down to have dinner with us after the crusade at the local Shoneys. One time she brought us one of his socks to sniff. When my Uncle Billy Joe sniffed it all of the corns fell right off of his feet. Bless Brother Benny and his ministry. Next time we go see him my Aunt Juanda is going with us. She owns Juanda's Beauty Salon and Scented Candle Shop. She's hoping her business will prosper with a speacial word from Brother Benny.

budda | 12:15 am on 5/24/2008

Thanks a lot, BJ, I spewed diet pepsi all over my keyboard while reading that first line.

SRebbe | 12:56 pm on 6/03/2008

for any future accidents, I recommend the moisture and dustproof rollup keyboard

budda | 10:23 pm on 6/03/2008

Nice, I've never seen that on Think Geek before.

Prophet Lopi | 01:24 pm on 5/23/2008

Sorry Josh,

Don't get your panties in a wad !!!

cam | 04:00 am on 5/24/2008

When are we going to stop beating this dead horse? IT'S BORING AND A DISTRACTION TO DOING THE THINGS THE BIBLES SAYS WE SHOULD. People feel allright because they are not sucked in by him, but are they living their life in Christ?

budda | 05:22 pm on 5/26/2008

Cam, would you please be so kind as to tell me what the bible say's I should be doing? Taking care of widows and orphans, (and by inference all weak, oppressed, and vulnerable) I got that. What else, por favor? And no opinions, I want it straight out of God's mouth. Only Absolute Truth.

Anonymous | 10:50 am on 5/24/2008

As a reporter who had investigated Mr. Hinn's dealings in the past, please know that this is a vast, money-making operation. Nothing else. Anyone can SAY they're called of God, that they're anointed. But the Bible says to test their fruits. Mr. Hinn's fruits are an organization riddled with the worst vices known to man, a lavish lifestyle beyond the dreams of a Saudi prince, and a "theology" that has more in common with science fiction and fantasy than any known denomination.

Headless Unicorn Guy | 03:22 pm on 12/22/2008

Mr. Hinn's fruits are an organization riddled with the worst vices known to man, a lavish lifestyle beyond the dreams of a Saudi prince, and a "theology" that has more in common with science fiction and fantasy than any known denomination.

In other words, Benny Hinn has reinvented Scientology.

JS | 07:04 pm on 5/26/2008

I have no time to waste with you guys. You may have nothing to do but insulting others. Must be full moom, when they let all the spooks out to roam the web. Have a good look at yourselves first before the moon changes again and they lock you up in a tight jacket. Bye, see you on next full moon night when you can bark again.

JoshH | 05:20 pm on 5/27/2008

Bark? I don't do that.

I bitch and moan from time to time, but I don't bark.

budda | 07:26 pm on 5/27/2008

For me, it's more of a howl, I bitch and moan too, but mostly howl.

Anonymous | 01:38 pm on 6/11/2008

I mostly whine.....but I'm still trying to figure out what a "full moom" is?????

Ruff, ruff, growl, grrrrrrrrr

Anonymous | 05:03 pm on 5/31/2008

Actually, you came back which means you have plenty of time. ;)

(don't look at me...this is my first time on the article, I just enjoy reading the comments)

Anonymous | 10:40 am on 5/28/2008

Would you prefer barabas or Jesus ? Jesus also had accusations that reached all the way to donkeys tail ... I believe we sometimes fail to see when we are not in the shoes of the "sick Jesus healed" ... Wether he uses a donkey or a broom stick is non of my business ... And if I'm not the one who is in need of the healing , let me not stand in the path of the donkey that carries the healer to the so called "gullible sick and needy" ... And if the donkey has a gold ring in it's snout , he probably looks better in it ... I urge you all to STOP ! these human disgruntlements ... Don't feel threatend .... If God would pardon this man of any of his error at the end , what we are accusing him of today will not count , save his testimony ...

Anonymous | 10:42 am on 5/28/2008

Would you prefer barabas or Jesus ? Jesus also had accusations that reached all the way to donkeys tail ... I believe we sometimes fail to see when we are not in the shoes of the "sick Jesus healed" ... Wether he uses a donkey or a broom stick is non of my business ... And if I'm not the one who is in need of the healing , let me not stand in the path of the donkey that carries the healer to the so called "gullible sick and needy" ... And if the donkey has a gold ring in it's snout , he probably looks better in it , considering the job he is doing is important ... I urge you all to STOP ! these human disgruntlements ... Don't feel threatend .... If God would pardon this man of any of his error , what we are accusing him of today will not count , save his testimony ...

Anonymous | 10:42 am on 5/28/2008

Would you prefer barabas or Jesus ? Jesus also had accusations that reached all the way to donkeys tail ... I believe we sometimes fail to see when we are not in the shoes of the "sick Jesus healed" ... Wether he uses a donkey or a broom stick is non of my business ... And if I'm not the one who is in need of the healing , let me not stand in the path of the donkey that carries the healer to the so called "gullible sick and needy" ... And if the donkey has a gold ring in it's snout , he probably looks better in it , considering the job he is doing is important ... I urge you all to STOP ! these human disgruntlements ... Don't feel threatend .... If God would pardon this man of any of his error , what we are accusing him of today will not count , save his testimony ...

SRebbe | 12:59 pm on 6/03/2008

at least when Balaam's ass talked, it had reason.

we do not judge Hinn... we wish to impart warning to those he is conning.

KKL | 07:05 am on 6/11/2008

I have spent the best years of my life in Charismatic circles... mostly east coast. I am ashamed that it took me about 36 years to realize that the reason I saw so much wrong in leadership was not because I was a rebel. Not that I was being the good David to the Sauls of this mess - but because they never were supposed to be "followed" in the first place. I am living my life as a Christian w/o the delusions and frustrations of Church any longer. Thank you for exposing and continuing to expose the white washed pig pens (to quote the Living Bible) Oh, please note that some of Benny Hinn's folks came over to Rick Joyner's Morningstar ministry for some of that slop too... still waiting for the lid to blow off that sewer.

Anonymous | 08:37 am on 6/11/2008

I used to go to his church in Orlando when he was jaunting off at least once per month on one of his "crusades". I distinctly remember him standing on the stage one Sunday and telling the congregation that he would "never leave Orlando". A lot of people in the world would have been much better off financially if he had kept his word.

JCW | 01:14 pm on 6/11/2008

Ok, guys, I can't stand these pimps, and I'm on your side, but please explain this to me:

Phillipians 1:18

To me, if they are "selling" this fake jesus, how is that spreading the gospel. I've been speaking out since I came out of Hagee's church last year, and then found this scripture.

Your thoughts please?? Also, in first and second Timothy and many other places in the NT, we are told we are supposed to expose heresy teachers.

I'm confused!!

JCW | 01:44 pm on 6/11/2008

Sorry.....

Phillipians 1:15-18

15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.[c] 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

So, what this says to me is that we should leave all the pimps alone b/c at least they are preaching Jesus, and people are being saved. Again, if they (the pimps) are preaching this Santa Claus jesus, and not the REAL Jesus of the Bible, are they saved???

Thanks....

ReneeJoan | 06:53 pm on 6/20/2008

Thank you, Janis Joplin.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV ?
Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV ?

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town ?
I'm counting on you, Lord, please don't let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town ?

Everybody!
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends,
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?

Anonymous | 05:36 pm on 6/28/2008

stay focused on the eternal and don't place your confidence in mere men. all men will have error - expect it. study the Word for yourself and ask the holy spirit to guide you to the truth. no one arrives to a perfect understanding of all truth but we need to be concerned that the time we spend making fun of someone,we may be missing imparative truth for ourselves. stay focused!

baz | 02:57 pm on 7/07/2008

ive been looking through this page and cannot belive the way a so called man of god can spend thousands on 1 night in a hotel!! there are people in this world that are starving and have nothing. yet this preacher can spend so much. wer is all this money coming from surley people who give dont expect there money to be spent in that way. im not saying he shouldnt be well paid but thats going way to far i must say wen i hear storys like this its no wonder there are so many none christians in this world.

South African | 11:49 am on 7/14/2008

Over the last weekend 11/12 July we had a crusade in Johannesburg South Africa. It was the first time that i went to one. It was just as decribed it. What was noticable that it was mostly attended by people that one could see was more in need. What broke my heart was a couple were the wife was very sick and the husband was crying before the Lord in despiration. They were prevented from going on stage when I asked when they were going to be helped the Security Guard asked me to leave

Embee | 03:35 am on 7/21/2008

I've been a Christian for several years and believe in my heart of hearts that God heals. Yes, he uses men but people need to realise that the same power available to men of God is available to them individually as well.

Benny Hinn is but a man. Thrashing him for his short-comings will not change him, but prayer will. In the Bible, we are enjoined to let God fight His battles. Yes, agreed, men are being ripped off but let God be true and every man a liar.

As sure as there's life, there's death and judgement. What hurts me most about this article is Licciardello's mysterious death. That is just low and in-human. My heart goes out to his family and families of other victims of the falsehood of this ministry.

I recieved the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in my room at home, I prayed with someone from a prayer-line in U.S (I live in Nigeria)

I recieved divine healing from acute thyroidism after my colleague and I prayed. My last tests came back clean, that was 2 months ago. I still visit my doctor regularly and all. Still clean. I once thought I had to reach out to a reknown pastor or minister but now I know the power lies inside of me. I only need to cry out to God in sincerity and He'll answer.

Ministers are a guide but people need to realise that the same power that raised Jesus is able to quicken our mortal bodies. You only need to ask God.

There's hope for Benny Hinn. Moses, David, Solomon, Jonah, Peter...the list goes on. They all messed up at one point or the other but when they asked for forgiveness, God used them as vessels for His purpose.

He needs your prayers for divine conviction to repent more than critism.

Anonymous | 12:45 am on 7/23/2008

I loved the part where Benny says God is 6'2" or 6'3"!!! Thats so funny I'm not gonna even bother trying to come up with a witty slamming comment!

alease | 01:54 am on 8/07/2008

I used to foolishly believe in Hinn,until one day I sat back and really thought about how he claims to be throwing the Holy Spirit around!I realised how blasphemous this was!What a shyster!A very seductive charlatan...

Murphyslaw | 11:36 am on 8/07/2008

There is one problem and only one problem with this article:

I've read almost all of it before. Word for word.

Either John Bloom wrote it several years ago, or he cribbed most of it from other websites. Do a Google search on Benny Hinn...and you'll see what I mean. The article is dead-bang right on Toufik Benedictus (his real name, which is what I call him), but please make sure the work is original.

Larry Linn | 01:45 pm on 8/22/2008

Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bulls?$t story. Holy S$?t

Anonymous | 08:51 pm on 8/29/2008

There is absolutely no doubt Hinn is full of heresies...Ive heard him say if anyone speaks against his ministry they'll be cursed and he ACTUALLY ON LIVE TV placed a curse on them... WELL Jesus said DO NOT curse under any circumstance ONLY BLESS love your enemies...he uses fear to keep people bound to his ministries...I believe Hinn has a few personalities when hes in one of them hes absolutely convinced hes doing the right thing...I dont doubt that Hinn on one level means well but he is deceived on some things which are serious things particulary his obsession with the current state of israel which is completely unbiblical absolute heresy. He has given false prophesies including one that castro was going to definately die at a certain date which never happened...I believe he actually believes what he is doing is always right thats whats the most dangerous..he does care Im sure for many of the ill people he meets but I believe his thirst for materialism and power keeps him blinded on many other levels...beware. The worst deception is always when some truth is mixed with some falsehood.....................

Sonya | 06:07 pm on 9/12/2008

The Bible is very clear on God LOVING everyone. We ARE CALLED TO LOVE EVERYONE AND TO PRAY FOR OTHERS. God is a Righteous JUDGE who will JUDGE everything in His time. Romans 3:23 says " For ALL have sinned and FALL SHORT of the GLORY of God." Paul wrote before this concerning homosexuality in Romans 2:1" Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who JUDGE, for in whatever you JUDGE another you condemn yourself; (need revelation on this) for you who JUDGE practice the same things." Jesus Himself WARNED us about JUDGING others in Matthew's Gospel chapter 7!!!! Paul also writes in Philippians 1:15-18 "Some indeed preach CHRIST even form envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach CHRIST from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense orin truth, CHRIST is preached; AND IN THIS I REJOICE, YES, AND WILL REJOICE. WE ARE CALLED TO BE PEACE MAKERS NOT DESTROYERS, TO BE FILLED WITH GOD'S LOVE AND HIS HOLY SPIRIT TO DIRECT US IN OUR OWN LIVES AND TO PRAY FOR WHAT WE SEE AROUND US AND WHAT IS COMING UP AHEAD.

ARE YOU PERFECT?

budda | 10:26 pm on 10/01/2008

Your argument is predicated on B.H. actually "preaching Christ". I would submit that B.H. does not in fact "preach Christ".

I seem to remember Paul also giving some direction on throwing out those who lead others astray. I could be wrong on that.

DJ | 06:26 am on 9/20/2008

I'm sad to say that my husband puts Benny Hinn up on a pedistal, would rather read his newsletters than read the Bible. & he believes all the lies this man spews out! If I speak anything that contradicts BH's "Bible", than I'm wrong, I'm the deceived woman like Eve. He accuses me of being "jealous" of BH! my husband even tells me that if I need healing, I should get in Jesus' Face, & demand HE heal me & my children this instance! I told him that God has compassion on whom HE has compassion & has mercy on whom HE has mercy & whom am I to dare speak to my LORD & SAVIOR in THAT tone?! Its NOT about my WILL but about GOD'S WILL! & then he starts yelling at me even more, saying: "It's NOT about God's WILL! It's ABOUT MY WILL! I'm sick & tired of you saying, the Lord's Will, the Lord's Will, its NOT HIS WILL!" I remember reading about the satanist, Alister Crowley, & his satanic commandment is: Do what thou wilt! So, hubby's not preaching to me, or teaching what God's Word says, which is THY WILL BE DONE, LORD! Deny ourselves, taking up our crosses to follow HIM! & when I share w/him what the Spirit of Truth revealed to me in God's Word, he accuses me of being taught by the "wrong spirit". Isn't that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Or grieving the Holy Spirit? The Bible says: By their fruits ye shall know them. I'm NOT seeing the fruit of the Spirit in him!

Robert Winkler Burke | 10:33 pm on 9/30/2008

Evil is Worse!
By Robert Winkler Burke
Copyright 9/18/08

Evil is worse, our TV preachers tell us: Evil is worse today!

And one buys a twenty million-dollar jet,
Then above us all, flies without guilt away.

Evil is worse, our TV preachers tell us: Evil is worse today!

And then one thinks siring a son,
With his brother’s wife is okay.

Evil is worse, our TV preachers tell us: Evil is worse today!

And then six of the most famous and rich,
Are investigated for ministry finances opaque.

Evil is worse, our TV preachers tell us: Evil is worse today!

And then one tattooed and pierced hides,
That he divorces, drinks and adulterates.

Of course, of course evil is worse,
Things weren’t always this bad!
TV preachers have lost all courage,
To correct their doctrines gone mad.

So evil done by famous TV preachers,
Will continue to get worse and worse,
Their evilness will magnify in satanic glory,
That is, unless they change doctrinal course.

So until bad doxie from them is yanked,
Evil in televangelists will stay sacrosanct.

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

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