Reverend Billy Graham was finally laid to rest this past weekend, bringing closure to what was a significant event in the lives of hundreds of millions of Christians across the world. As the dust settles, one response making waves comes from an unlikely source. Famous televangelist, Benny Hinn–known for his faith-healing sessions and unapologetic endorsement of the prosperity gospel–said in a shocking confession last week that he believes he has taken his fallacious view of the gospel too far.
Known for touching people on their forehead until they fall backwards into the arms of waiting assistants–by “the force of God”–those who heard Hinn’s comments last week wonder if, in fact, “the force of God” is at work in Hinn, or if his recent comments were made in a moment of emotional weakness over the death of Graham.
Time will tell.
Facebook Live Broadcast
In an extended Facebook Live Broadcast lasting nearly 30 minutes, Hinn made some surprising comments while he was reflecting on the life and death of the world’s most well-known and well-loved evangelist, Billy Graham.
Speaking to his ministry supporters and dear friends, at the 9:45 mark Hinn said, “We get attacked for preaching prosperity. Well it’s in the Bible, but I think some have gone to the extreme with it sadly, and it’s not God’s Word what is taught, and I think I’m as guilty as others. Sometimes you go a little farther than you really need to go and then God brings you back to normality and reality.”
Hinn went on to explain that–as he has grown older and wiser–he has come to the conclusion that much of what he was taught as a young Christian and much of what he has taught in return has been inconsistent with Scripture.
In Hinn’s words, “The more you know the Bible, the more you become biblically based and more balanced in your opinions and your thoughts because we are influenced. When I was younger I was influenced by the preachers who taught whatever they taught. But as I’ve lived longer, I’m thinking, ‘Wait a minute–you know–this doesn’t fit totally with the Bible, and it doesn’t fit with the reality.’ So what is prosperity? No lack. I’ve said this before.”
Historically, Hinn has preached that abundant wealth and good health are the will of God.
In his Facebook Live Broadcast he went on to share specifics, saying that men like Elijah, Jesus, and the apostles lacked nothing, yet they did not live extravagant, lavish lifestyles–far from it.
History of Accusations
Hinn and his ministry–which brings in over $100 million every year–have been repeatedly accused of fraud. In 2007, a Senate inquiry famously raised concerns about Hinn’s use of church-owned planes, credit cards, and luxury properties. Ultimately, no conclusive findings of Hinn’s wrongdoing were made, but the Senate did raise concern about the lack of financial oversight within the ministry. To his credit, Hinn cooperated with the investigation.
During Hinn’s Facebook Live Broadcast, he said that he does not fly private jets, nor is he worth the rumored $40 million. He claimed a modest lifestyle.
Hinn has said it is important to him that he end his life right with God.
In the same Facebook Live Broadcast where Hinn acknowledged his overreach of the prosperity gospel, he began by reflecting on a 1989 prophesy he made–in which the Church’s greatest revival would come after the deaths of Oral Roberts and Billy Graham.
Since Roberts died in 2009 and Graham died nearly two weeks ago, it is Hinn’s opinion that the great revival has now been set in motion.
Again, time will tell.
Perhaps most ironic about Hinn’s message?–as he was speaking to his audience, the scrolling Facebook comments beneath the video window revealed one person after another asking Hinn to pray for their prosperity. Either it will take his followers time to adjust to his new message of what it means to prosper, or it will only be a matter of time until Hinn gives his audience what they want.
Regardless of where Benny Hinn stands with regard to the prosperity gospel, he said one thing during his Facebook message on which Christ-followers will agree–
“We all sadly make the mistake of thinking that, ‘Well this is what God wants,’ and God says ‘No, that’s not what I want.’ It’s time to live biblically. You know it all comes down to one thing. Do we love Jesus, yes or no? If we love Jesus then it’s all about Jesus. If we don’t love Jesus then it’s about other things.”
~ Christian Patriot Daily