Prosperity gospel: I have disappointed the Lord enough- Benny Hinn
Prosperity gospel: Benny Hinn has been in the news recently following his denunciation of the prosperity gospel. He told his listeners on a Facebook Live programme that the Holy Ghost is tired of the prosperity message and that he had changed his belief on mammon centric messages. In an interview with Stephen Strang of Charisma Magazine on September 6, (the interview was transcribed by our reporter from the podcast of US based Charisma Magazine ) Hinn gives a further insight on his decision to change his theology.
You and I have been having discussion about the prosperity gospel. Some believe the gospel is wrong. But there is biblical basis for it. Why don’t we take this discussion from the Biblical basis for the prosperity message?
Let me first start by saying my decision to change my theology and belief about the prosperity gospel has nothing to do with what critics have said about me. It has to do with what my own heart and what God has been telling me. I became closer to the Lord in the last two years and I found out that I have not been doing it right. But I want to end well. When I go to glory I want God to smile at me. I said to Jesus I have disappointed him in my past life. But I don’t want to continue living that life again.
The prosperity issue is not the only thing that I have to repent about. It is just one of the things. I just want to obey the Lord. Today, I am always studying the word day and night. I want know the mind of God about many things. Quite frankly, the prosperity message began to bother me about two years ago. I began to ask myself where the gospel is in the prosperity message. I began to notice that many of the people who preach the prosperity gospel are not preaching it for the love of God. It is not about the love of Jesus. I recall that when I began ministry, it was about my love for the Lord. I adored my master. When the ministry was growing I became distracted. But my love for God never changed.
My TV hardly comes up in my house. I don’t watch TV anymore. I study the Bible morning and evening. That is what I do. I read my precious Bible two times in the day. I read the Bible in Hebrew too. That is what inspired the change in me. I don’t care what my critics say. I don’t even read what they say. It is the Lord that is moving me to make all these changes. It is about my soul. When I get to heaven I want the Lord to look at me and smile.
Today I am 67 years old and I am thinking how I will finish. I want to be known as someone who teaches on the Holy Spirit. I do not want to be known as preacher of prosperity gospel. I want to be known as somebody who preaches the gospel in its raw form. Not somebody who preaches on money. It is not my call. It has not been my calling. People have used me to raise money for their ministries. But I am no longer part of that. My heart has changed totally. It has changed on many things. I am not changing because of my critics and my nephew (his nephew wrote a book about him exposing his hypocrisy on the prosperity gospel).
It is my relationship to the Lord that has informed my recent change of heart. Nothing more. Nothing less. It is about the Lord. We must bring the balance back. I have watched people raise money. In the past when they ask people to give, 80 percent of those who came down don’t give the money but they still come out to promise they will give and I really don’t know why they do that. And what the preachers say to them are not biblical. Then, I did not have the courage to stop it when people do it around me and I also did it. But today I will not allow that. I will not. It is manipulation. It is gimmick. Why tell them they will get a hundred fold if they give. I do not want to be accused of giving people false hope. We should begin to ask question about the lives of the people we lead. What happens to their walk with the Lord and their faith? I do not want to be accused of telling somebody he will get a hundred fold of his blessings if he gives. What if the person does not get it?
But there have been people who believe and it worked for them. We release our faith to get what we want sometimes. But why is the person taking the offering not be the one giving the money so he could prosper?
I believe the Bible from the beginning to the end. I cannot challenge the fact that God wants to bless his people. It is in the Bible that the Lord will meet our needs. Nobody lacked in the book of Acts. Offerings were being raised for the saints. Today, I believe the Bible. I believe God wants to bless His people and He wants them to succeed in life. But the focus must be him and not about giving to get. God will prosper you whether you give or not.
A few days ago thousands of people saw your Facebook live broadcast and people were excited about it. I had already talked to you about some of these issues. What did you share specifically on Monday?
What I said on Monday is that we should begin to turn our attention back to loving the Lord. We must begin to ask: Do we give because we love the gospel? I have been having a lot of questions in my heart and I felt Monday was the ideal time to say what was on my mind. We need to see lives being transformed. This has been going on in my heart for a long time. A lot of young ministers are looking up to me. Many of them showed up in the Monday meeting. The subject came up. They said they were blessed about my ministry and specifically mentioned reading Good Morning Holy Spirit
But then they asked me what I believed about prosperity. I told them and they were shocked. But they wanted me to make it public which I did. I don’t want the next generation to believe what I do not believe again. For the sake of the next generation and for the legacy of the gospel I am glad to be making this public. It is Jesus, loving Jesus. It is the gospel. It is loving the Lord. He will bless us back more than we can ever imagine. But our giving should not be predicated on getting from God. It should be borne out of love for God. I recall a situation in one of our meetings. The guest speaker was there and asked people to give and made the usual promises. A business man walked up to me and said I hope this works. That got me thinking. I know many people are thinking that way. We need to go back to the Bible. Prosperity gospel is not preached the way it should be preached. I see believers in the Bible who were deep in poverty but yet gave. I see the Corinthian church who were doing well and prospering but gave. Paul gave us the clear reason why we should give in 2 Cor. 8v19. It is about the word of God. It is about the Lord himself and not about us.
You talked about a man of God you rebuked publicly in that Monday meeting?
I was only repeating the conversation I had with him in London. I ministered to about 10,000 pastors and it was Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’sc conference. The subject came up because the man of God shared a testimony how he gave a $1000 dollars and the Lord gave to his son. I rebuked him at the conference. I told him I don’t believe that anymore. My children said I should not have mentioned his name. But he did not feel bad about it. He received the correction. I have spoken to him after. My hope and prayers is that others will receive the message that they go back on what we have been teaching. Let us focus on loving Jesus, loving people and be concerned about their need. We must not hurt the people. When people give and it does not come back it hurts the gospel. So we should not make giving about the people but about God.
Steve, I don’t want to be part of manipulation anymore. What people call prosperity gospel is manipulation. I told the Lord, I want to strengthen believers, preach the gospel and bring people to the cross. I want to preach the gospel. How I’m I going to strengthen believers if I preach something that is damaging to the gospel. Jesus and only Jesus is now my focus. My concern is about the next generation. What will they think about us? How will we affect our children and grandchildren? I am happy that the majority of young people are elated beyond words about the change in me. They sent me text messages thanking me for saying what I said. They are encouraged.
When I watched the video you said you were not doing it because your critics but because the Lord asked you to. How will you react to this?
I now read my Bible three times a year now. I began that about two years ago. I read my Hebrew Bible now so as to have a better understanding. My TV hardly comes up in my house. I don’t watch TV anymore. I study the Bible morning and evening. That is what I do. I read my precious Bible two times in the day. I read the Bible in Hebrew too. That is what inspired the change in me. I don’t care what my critics say. I don’t even read what they say. It is the Lord that is moving me to make all these changes. It is about my soul. When I get to heaven I want the Lord to look at me and smile. I have grieved the Lord enough in the past. I disappointed him enough in the past. I have hurt him enough. I said to the Lord I don’t want to grieve him anymore. I believe the prosperity message is grieving God. I pray to all the others who are still hooked to the prosperity gospel to have a change of heart. Prosperity is in the Bible but then we have to preach it as it is.