Benny (Benedikt) Hinn was born on Dec. 3rd, 1952 in Jaffa, the son of Palestinian Arab parents who grew up in Palestine. They were members of the Greek Orthodox Church. Benny's claim that his father was mayor of Jaffa has been proven to be untrue. Hinn is the pastor of the Orlando Christian Center in Florida. He founded this church in March of 1983, which today is supposed to have a weekly attendance of over 10,000. In 1994 he applied for membership with the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in America. After some deliberation he was accepted. Then he quietly withdrew from this fellowship on his own accord in 1996 and is henceforth not responsible to anyone.
He is considered to be the most popular TV healing evangelist of today and has earned the nickname „The Miracle Man.“ His life story is chock full of supernatural experiences. Among these experiences are related the following: At age 11 a visitation of Jesus; dreams, visions and angel appearances; a one-on-one conversation with the Holy Spirit; out-of-body experiences that ended in spiritual battles with angels.
He contradicts himself by giving three different time frames of his supposed conversion. „In the PTL Family Devotional he declared: ‚I got saved in Israel in 1968,‘ but in a 1983 message in St. Louis in he said, ‚It was in Canada that I was born again right after ’68.‘ Yet in Good Morning, Holy Spirit, he says he was converted in 1972, during his senior year in high school. But he dropped out before his senior year. When was he saved?“1
One can often see how fantasy and reality are mixed together in his life. Three women, interestingly all divorced, influenced him either directly or indirectly in his spiritual development. First of all there was Mary Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924), who often went into a trance hours on end. She was called „Trance-Evangelist“ or „Voodoo-Priestess“, since she was accused of tying to hypnotize her audience. She had a decisive influence on the work of Aimee McPherson. Kurt Hutten wrote the following about Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), the founder of the fast growing International Church of the Four Square Gospel: „No wonder that her following grew rapidly and was blindly devoted to her. Even different love affairs - a second and then a third marriage which were quickly broken, several passing affairs along with „family feuds, court cases, purported kidnapping,“ etc - could not distract them from her. Aimee herself described her love affairs and divine leadings in a series of articles which appeared in a high subscription daily newspaper.“2
In a sermon on April 7th, 1991, Benny Hinn disclosed that he visited now and then the grave of America’s most famous Pentecostal female faith healer, Aimee McPherson. There he received a special supply of power. Quoting Hinn: „I felt an terrific anointing...I was shaking all over... trembling under the power of God. ‚Dear God,‘ I said, ‚I feel the anointing‘...I believe the anointing has lingered over Aimee‘s body.“3
Yet he received his first supply of „power“ in 1973 during a healing service of Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976), the woman who all her life denied to have been married with the divorced Pentecostal preacher Burroughs Waltrip. She has been the most influential figure in his life and he considers himself to be the administrator of her will. He also visits her grave regularly. These three women are key personages for the entrance of the so called „resting or slain in the Spirit“ phenomenon in Christian churches, which became esp. popular through the Toronto Blessing.
Hinn’s fascination with Kathryn Kuhlman goes so far that he not long ago reported to have met her together with Jesus in heaven during a vision. „I had a vision of the night... saw myself walk into a room and there stood Kathryn Kuhlman...And she said, ‚Follow me‘. That‘s all she said. And I followed her into a second room. In that second room stood the Lord... When I woke, when I got up, when I came out of the vision, I was trembling and perspiring from head to toes.“4
Benny Hinn stands for the health-and-wealth doctrine and for the „Word-of -Faith“ school. This movement teaches that whatever one utters in prayer will happen. He also claims that the Holy Spirit can be transmitted by breathing on people. He demonstrates his „anointing“ in that he breathes on the assembly, which then „falls to the ground under the power.“ His showy stage appearances are a mixture of hypnosis, mesmerism and fanaticism. Accordingly, as a pronounced result of his appearances, people fall backwards, tremble uncontrollably and experience convulsions.
Similarly bizarre are some of his doctrinal statements and revelations. „Now ladies and gentlemen, you are exactly on earth what Jesus was...As He is, so am I, on earth...I am not, hear me, I am not part of Him, I am Him! (sic). The Word has become flesh in me!...When my hand touches someone, it‘s the hand of Jesus touching somebody!“5
In November 1993 Benny Hinn made an appearance in Basel, Switzerland. He manipulated and deceived the public so badly that the charismatic sponsor apologized afterwards. Rene Lieberherr, co-organizer in Basel, reports: „I was given the responsibility to set the ventilation on the ‚highest‘ level. Hinn told the folks that they should raise their hands. Then they would feel the moving of the Holy Spirit. People then raised their hands upwards and felt the movement of the ventilation system...Yet no miracle happened with Hinn. Instead: the healings turned out to be falsified. They did not honour God; they were the work of man...One case had to do with a man ill with cancer. Hinn prophesied over him that he would have many years of health ahead. This man died two days later...Those are the ‚great miracles‘ that happened.“6
Richard Mayhue, head of Master’s Seminary in Los Angeles, also comes to similar results in his book The Healing Promise. Especially impressive is the section by Andre Kole, now a serious Christian who for thirty years worked in the world of illusion as a magician. His judgment on the faith healer, although in polite tones, is very sobering. Such „empowered Apostles“ may be able to heal functional disorders, but not organic diseases. He told Benny Hinn straightaway, after Hinn had promised to send him proof texts documenting healings: „Benny, I don‘t mean to be unkind, but I think I should mention that for 35 years every Christian faith healer I have contacted has made the same promise you have, and I never heard from them again.“7 Benny swore to follow through. Until this day Andre Kole is still waiting for a reply.
Characteristic for these „mighty Apostles“ is their expensive lifestyle along with their great interest in money. Lieberherr, mentioned above, reports concerning the collections in Basel: „On the envelopes were two Bible verses about almsgiving...Now thousands of envelopes piled up. Some were filled with large offerings...They tore the envelopes open and separated the coins from the bills. The envelopes were thrown in the waste baskets, whether or not prayer requests were written on them. Also many personal notes included were thrown directly in the garbage. I saw all this with my own eyes and other eyewitnesses as well. The promises that someone would pray over all these requests was not kept for one second. Later I saw the container standing outside into which all these requests were dumped. The visitors were completely deceived in this matter.“8
Benny Hinn is, according to biblical judgment, a classical example of a false prophet. „On Dec. 31st, 1989 Benny said: ‚The Lord also tells me...not later than 94 or 95, that God will destroy the homosexual community of America... by fire...Canada will be visited with a mighty revival that will start on the west coast of British Columbia...in the next three years.‘ It only takes one false prophecy to make a false prophet, and Hinn’s are legion.“9
Hinn is not exactly sparing with his critics. For example take his infamous statement: „He wished that God would give him „a Holy Ghost machine gun“ so he could blow off the heads of his critics“10 I concede he has reportedly changed in some areas. Nevertheless these may only be lip service to the truth. At a later occasion this „anointed one“ said the following about his opponents: „You have attacked me, your children will pay for it.“11
After Hinn’s appearance in Basel sponsor Markus Blum was forced to state: „Since then I have heard from more and more of the visitors that they have fallen from this emotional high into a depression and that some need psychiatric help.“12 Others even complain that nobody warned them about Hinn. We do not want to be guilty of this sin of omission.
1 TBC (The Berean Call), March 1997.
2 Kurt Hutten, „Sehen, Gruebler, Enthusiasten“, Quell Verlag Stuttgart, 1982, p. 307.
3 CIB Bulletin, Jan. 1992, Vol. 8, No. 1.
4 G.Richard Foster and M.Kurt Goedelman „The Confusing World of Benny Hinn“, Personal
Freedom Outreach, 1997, pp. 193-194.
5 Benny Hinn, „Our Position in Christ,“ as quoted by Richard Fisher, ibid., p. 13
6 Magazin W5, No. 2/94, p. 39.
7 Richard Mayhue, „The Healing Promise,“ Harvest House Publishers, 1994, p. 60.
8 W5, ibid., pp. 37-38.
9 TBC, March 1997.
10 Hank Hanegraaff, „Christianity in Crisis,“ Harvest House Publishers, 1993, p. 344.
11 Ibid., p. 345.