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)

Anonymous | 02:48 am on 3/27/2011

Say it, sister! I vote her comments #1 also. you can even see what kind of mindset that gets mixed up in the magical thinking and need to exalt a character like Benny Hinn. It's a shame when they do it so willfully, but it's even sadder when it's the most vulnerable in our society who are risk to be preyed upon. That's why I don't appreciate comparisons of Benny to a "hard working man entitled to his earnings" or a corporation. That's completely shortsighted or disingenuous. Of course it matters if he takes money from the weak and sick and poor and exploits them. There is no work product to be proud of there. He takes advantage of the feeble then he takes from them.

Anonymous | 05:05 pm on 4/10/2011

Yes, u speak a truth I experience. That's what rendered me impotent in the face of m loving, born again family, when I ceased to believe in the anabaptist teachings. I stayed silent and vilified/punished by fam for 30 years. Tried suicide and eventually self-exiled with a one-way ticket to another continent where no one would know me and I could see who I was without those wrathful christian mirrors at home. Heartbreak and loss, all nice n quiet because I knew if I spoke up I'd merely roil their waters and accomplish formal shunning now that I'd made it official. Far away trying to figure out my way to normalcy and love without any help, it took decades of my life. Decads gone. Now I'm old. I've gotten the help I needed. I'm happy; I've learnt how to look at it all. And even to dare speak up. But I'm old and my lost time isn't mourned by anyone but those I hurt by my seemingly incorrigible behaviour and sadness. I should have spoke up and let the chips fall. It wd have been honest, if chaotic and horrible, which my life and unaware influence became anyway. Love u and love to tell it from my heart to you. Niaih

chyon2011 | 10:21 pm on 4/11/2011

Forwarded this to some friends, appreciate your advice

Thanks & Regards,
panties

Anonymous | 03:29 am on 7/26/2009

I'll be brief but still ask the obvious. Why is Bennie so concerned about his, and everyone around him, physical saftey? I'm presuming that if anyone close to him was suddenly struck down, he should be able to "heal" them, right?
Also, I read where he sold his Mercedes on orders from above and everyone is complaining that he bought a BMW to replace it. So, what's the problem? After all, WWJD (what would Jesus drive?)? German Engineering, that's what. Not only is it a damn fine car but it also practices that whole forgive those who oppress your people thing.

Teresa | 10:32 am on 8/06/2009

I have seen Benny Hinn several times in person, he is scary. You are correct in saying that it is not ours to avenge but it is our job as true believers to study and show ourselves approved and to try and test the spirits to make sure they are of God. Benny is a part of the Latter Rain movement and the manifest son of God doctrine and Word of Faith movement. I have been on to him for a long time. I was praying to God one time and I ask God what is this stuff? And the Holy Spirit sayed to me Doctrine of Balaam, so if the shoe fits, check it out for yourself. I do not know who you are and why you defend him so strongly but the bible say we shall know them by "their fruits" and I see and decern false fruits. Not everyone that says "Lord" "Lord" shall enter the kindgom of heaven, no Jesus will say depart from me I never knew you. MY sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me, it doesn't say, my sheep hear my voice, they know me and they follow me. So my question is not do you know Jesus or does Benny Hinn know Jesus, my question is does Jesus Christ know you. If we enter in at the wide and broad gate that is popular, we will be destroyed, but if we enter in at the narrow, straight gate we will live. So, I must ask you which gate have you entered. I came out of the Charismatic movement because of this stuff. For two years I prayed and cried out to the Lord for his truth and the truth of God's word and by the grace of God I feel in my heart that God has gracely opened my heart and eyes to the truth. If we are not lovers of the truth, God shall send strong delusion that we may believe a lie. 2 Thes 2 God forbid let God be true and all men a liar. God's word over and over warns us to beware, let not man deceive you. Beware of false prophets and false christ who will come in my name showing great signs and wonders, in so much that if it were possibe even the very elect could be decieved. Benny Hinn preaches extra-biblical revelations that can not be found in the Bible. He prophecies things that does not come to pass. Therefore, it deems him according to God's God word, a false prophet. I am going to say this and I am done, if we do not know Bible doctrine and God's attributes and study to show ourselves approved, we will believe whatever is been preached by people like Benny. We must search to scripture for truth and we must guard against error. God will not be mocked. I did this quickly, so their may be some spelling errors and so on. God bless you who ever you are, I pray that God will open your heart and eyes to the truth of his word. God Bless you

Anonymous | 12:36 am on 4/09/2010

Amen! Well said. We DO know them by "their fruits," and that is why it is so obvious that Mr. Hinn is false. We need to depend on God and not man.

Anonymous | 07:01 pm on 8/11/2009

I have been Benny Hinn's service. Although I didn't like him so far I still don't like him, I can't agree with the author of this article Why Benny Hinn Became Our Wacky Neighbor----John Bloom. you talked such stuff with great ego-emotion. I don't accept other people's emotion poured on me. a lot of scriptures in Bible remind us of praising God such as "let us continually offer up a (B)sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. "----Hebrew13:15. I believe you guys know more than me. so there is nothing wrong with Benny Hinn's praising songs. I saw people fall over without any touch by Benny Hinn's hands. Although I don't know much about him, I did see him heal people in Jesus' name. in the Bible, book of Acts19:13-16,some of the Jewish (A)exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches." Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded... so from these scriptures, we know if Benny Hinn in Jesus' name heals people and spreads Gospel, that means he IS from God, of course he is NOT a fake. But money can corrupt a believer. as for his result will be judged by God Not by us. SO MY OPINION is that to warn people of false preacher or prophet is to tell people the truth which is the word of God not to spend a lot of time on investigating somebody. I wish everyone be like Andrew Wommack to tell the truth not waste of time to argue or guess or cry or shout or spread personal opinion or something to the world. GO INTO THE WORLD TO SPREAD TRUTH ----GOSPEL!!!! to visit Andrew Wommack's website www.awmi.net

Anonymous | 09:47 pm on 10/03/2010

AMEN TO THAT! GOOD SITE: AWMI.NET

Anonymous | 06:05 pm on 9/02/2009

And how much does Bennie Hinn Ministries pay you to spout this drivel??

Anonymous | 09:21 pm on 10/20/2009

The IRS is not God.

Anonymous | 01:30 pm on 1/03/2010

You have some very serious problems. Beginning with your ignorance of the Word of God. Benny Hinn and others of his ilk function because of sheeple like you. YOU ARE THE WORKER OF INIQUITY! When Jesus confronted the false teachers, he said that their followers were twice the children of hell as they were.

Anonymous | 12:57 pm on 4/01/2010

Of course, intelligent, curious Christians like me will question Benny Hinn because he's a filthy Jew rat. And will kill him, given the chance. Of course. It makes all sense now.

Param | 01:23 pm on 4/22/2010

I think you are getting too emotional on the entire blog of our dear writer. I am positive his intentions were to present before us,the other side of Benny Hinn,which was and is needed to truly understand the developments behind the screens and to a great extent I appreciate the writer for having Benny Hinn exposed through authentic evidences.

Stated that to support Benny Hinn's ministry or not remains to be a individual choice and by now I am sure that wise men across the globe would have been aware of his theatricals and would have stopped contributing significantly by now.

You should never forget the fact that Benny Hinn has never exposed Christ through the word of God ever through his mega crusades. His major activity as the writer mentions is restricted to theatricals and donations,which compels me to really think if he has a strong foundation in the word of God.

If you would take time to understand the ministry of Jesus,it was never unidimensional in the sense that He never laid too much emphasis on miracles,rather he focussed on salvation and to that extent Benny Hinn has failed miserable.

I pray God enlightens your vision to understand the real and surreal.
God Bless

Param | 01:26 pm on 4/22/2010

I think you are getting too emotional on the entire blog of our dear writer. I am positive his intentions were to present before us,the other side of Benny Hinn,which was and is needed to truly understand the developments behind the screens and to a great extent I appreciate the writer for having Benny Hinn exposed through authentic evidences.

Stated that to support Benny Hinn's ministry or not remains to be a individual choice and by now I am sure that wise men across the globe would have been aware of his theatricals and would have stopped contributing significantly by now.

You should never forget the fact that Benny Hinn has never exposed Christ through the word of God ever through his mega crusades. His major activity as the writer mentions is restricted to theatricals and donations,which compels me to really think if he has a strong foundation in the word of God.

If you would take time to understand the ministry of Jesus,it was never unidimensional in the sense that He never laid too much emphasis on miracles,rather he focussed on salvation and to that extent Benny Hinn has failed miserable.

I pray God enlightens your

Douglas Forasté | 07:41 am on 4/28/2010

God, I love Protestants. Thank you, Jeebus, that you have given us Benny Hinn to make pedophile priests look less heinous by comparison. And everybody said, AAAAAAAAmen.

Anonymous | 09:10 am on 6/07/2010

Amen. If anyone bothered to read the bible, Jesus and the Apostles didn't live in Mcmansions and fly around in private jets.
They were poor. As some one pointed out, why doesn't he use this money to help those in need?
St.Katherine Drexel of Phildelphia,came from a very wealthy banking family.She used her millions to build schools and other things for blacks and native americans in the late 1800s, early 1900s. She even founded an order of sisters,The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, to work in educating and nursing these two groups,but the sisters help anyone in need.There have been many saints who were wealthy in life, who used their financial resources for people in need. Everybody talks about the Church and how the pope should sell everything,well why can't Benny hinn and the others.

Andrew L. Schooley | 02:01 pm on 10/05/2010

I began to read your comment but was stopped by the stone you threw in the first paragraph, and realized that you are quarreling as if it will produce fruit for anyone.

Bryan | 02:06 pm on 8/23/2009

The Christian ponzi......

http://www.benedictionblogson.com/

Sandra Phillips | 09:47 pm on 9/21/2009

If, indeed Benny Hinn is a "hireling" and not a good Shepherd, one day, there will be something in his life that truly needs a miracle of God to "fix".Money cannot cure, and cannot redeem someones soul.A man cannot serve two masters, he will love the one and hate the other,I would say Benny is single minded concerning his "ministry", for a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Just seeing this picture of his 5 million dollar home is very enlightening. Thank you, and keep up the good work, for the Truth's sake.

Anonymous | 02:42 pm on 11/26/2009

I agree. Benny creeps me out. I am a christian, and I have followed his "career" since I was a teen. Let's just say i am not impressed. I prefer Billy Graham of Benny. He isn't pretentious or greedy. When he ministers, you can tell it's from his heart.
I was never fond of the Bakers, or Swaggert who actually preached at my home church once. I wasn't impressed.

Seems like preachers these days, especially ones on T.V. are all about profit, and have forgotten that Christ says, the greatest commandment is that we love one another.

James Emmans | 07:06 am on 5/15/2010

These TV ministries fail in the link between the supporters and the ministry. There is no real link other than in hysterical mass TV and open air events. Even people who work full time for these ministires have no say in the ministry they work for and have no relationship with the Spiritual Leader.
They operate like big business, you can phone them but you are a mild irritant at best. How can love operate in this way?
Religion works best when it is based on real people living real lives together creating a true bond.
People think they 'know' Benny Hinn but the reality nobody does I expect even Benny is living in a fantasy world also.

Dr.Jones | 06:34 pm on 5/28/2010

"There were false prophets among the people[in Old Testament times] just as there shall be false teachers among you[the church]."Apostle Peter
"For the time will come [now]when they[so called believers] will not tolerate sound doctrine,but according to THEIR OWN desires,because they have itching ears,they will heap up for themselves teachers;and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables." Apostle Paul ll Tim.4:3-4
If this is not the chrishmatic movement and all of their myths or 'fables', flase teachings,pseudo miracles and teachers like heretical '9 members of the Trinity' Benny Hinn, whom they love to hear because they have 'itching ears' to listen to his fables,etc.;then I don't who it is talking about except for Mormons JW's and the like of those cults.

Anonymous | 05:10 pm on 9/03/2010

A very well written article. Thank you so much for posting it. I'm going to put it on Facebook.

Andrew L Schooley | 01:58 pm on 10/05/2010

This article aims at discerning what is the truth and what is false, especially with those who are using false teachings and manipulations in the name of the Body of Christ. After reading it, I can understand how you might feel, however, do not entangle yourself and throw stones, saying "NAIL HIM" and "He should be in prison." God is our judge, and He is also the one who gives us grace freely for the sins we have committed. Please remember that faith and love are the greatest things that we can have, which come from Jesus. Instead, you might reply to this article, which is fantastic, that you will pray for Benny, and hope that God will eventually bring Benny around to realize the error of his ways, so that Benny will know God fully. For Jesus died for EVERYBODY, not just an elect few.

Samuel | 02:31 am on 3/05/2011

Benny Hinn is a good actor, business man that is using capatalism to fulfill his desires. Is he different than the corporeate crooks in the banking system that exploits every citizen in the country and beyond? No, he isn't and that is apparent based on his wealth.
What this proves to me is something I have known fore many years but failed to act on it and that is that religion is a better business than most in this our country. The casinos in Las Vegas run a dismal second to this pot of gold, for sure.
Benny will die rich so why not confiscate his money once he goes to hell? If he goes to heaven he won't need money so lets help the poor and deserving here at home with a few holy bucks, Amen.

O | 03:48 am on 4/01/2011

In prison like Paul the apostle? God would bust him out!
Hinn does a service of keeping alot of crazy people and their money out of church. We don't need that ignorance and the money would only corrupt us..

brian | 03:16 am on 5/21/2008

Personally I dont get it, Pastor Hinn has two of the most valuable Spiritual Gifts that the American Church convents, pragmatism and Autonomy. I have often been told as a "Christian" that if one is not effective, efficient, and successful one CANT be loved by God. I dont find that in the bible, which of course is completely irrelevant but I still dont see that there. He makes money, has a big tv show and looks good on it. That is all there has to be to be loved by God. The rest is entirely irrelevant and should be entirely repudiated. God ordains success nothing else can please the Lord.

I will admit in times in my life I have refused to use Lawyers to retaliate when I had cause, I did it because I thought the Lord wanted us not to. I was stupid and pathetic for such childish rubbish. Christians should always be willing to retaliate for the Lord at the drop of a hat. I have often tried to repent of my pathetic view of the Christian faith and learn it is a business, always and foremost a business. I lack the Character to do that. But I am trying to repent of such tripe.

Collin | 04:44 pm on 5/29/2008

Your comments are the scariest thing I have ever read, I can only pray your comments are satire...if not you have serious problems...

Christopher | 07:49 am on 6/12/2008

I concur with Collin - this must be satire. "retaliate for the Lord" is possibly the most anti-Biblical phrase / anti-Christian concept of all-time.

As if God needs you to do *his* work!

Anonymous | 10:41 am on 10/01/2008

Of course they're satire! (What are you doing on this site?)

Anonymous | 03:19 pm on 12/09/2008

Christopher and Collin took no time in attacking the comment, while ignoring the SIN of Benny Hinn. How typical of Hinn worshippers who lack absolutely no discernment, and who are proud of it. Benny Hinn is "possibly the most anti-Biblical...concept off all-time."

Peter | 06:44 pm on 11/03/2008

Well done, Brian
Though I am surprised that readers of the Door failed to see this as satire /sarcasm / over the top.

Headless Unicorn Guy | 11:46 am on 12/22/2008

That's because, in an age of "Can You Top This?", no matter how far out you go as satire, there will always be somebody who goes twice as far out and is DEAD SERIOUS.

After that "Aslan IS The Antichrist!" radio preacher years ago, the more outrageous it is, the more likely it is to be Dead Serious.

Lou Vockell | 07:51 am on 11/24/2008

In my never humble opinion, this has got to be a deft satire on the whole "prosperity christianity" scam, or a bone chilling expression of this particularly frightening perversion of Christian philosophy.

CowboyKate | 04:22 am on 5/21/2008

I don't care so much for a heaven for myself as I do a hell for creatures like Benny Hinn. (Still working on that forgiveness thing...)

Nice work, John!

Jay T. Silence | 07:14 am on 5/21/2008

Dude,

The date on this says 5/20/2008 but I know I have read the same story before. Maybe even twice.

ron | 08:08 am on 5/21/2008

makes me think of the dead kennedys song "moral majority" from "In God We Trust Inc."

"God must be dead if you're still alive."

St. apostate | 08:30 am on 5/21/2008

If it were only hinn it would be bad enough. Theres a whole culture of this permeating the church know nothings. Any take on the famous Todd bentley revival in lakeland florida? The miracle is that a month long revival can occur without the Gospel ever being preached onced.

Karen | 09:10 am on 5/21/2008

I would say I can't believe that people buy into these things, but then I know from personal experience that given the right circumstances, a bit of isolation and desperation, even someone who knows better can be sucked in.

Keep up the good work!

Andy | 09:36 am on 5/21/2008

Yes John, good article. I was personally exposed to Hinn back in '77, when he was still up-and-coming, at Calvary Assembly in Winter Park (suburban Orlando), FL. He was still single then, engaged to be married to the daughter of the then-pastor of Calvary Assembly. I went to a "men's prayer breakfast" with a friend with whom I was staying for a few days while on break from the road with a gospel group that was sponsored by Calvary Assembly. He did a "healing service". There were about 120 men there. Nothing all that outrageous or flamboyant, at least not compared to what came not long after. Typical stuff: "God is healing someone of a sore leg, blah blah." I wasn't all that impressed. I was saddened to learn recently that a young man--kid, really--who traveled with that gospel group I was with, very talented pianist, ended up traveling with Hinn for many years as his pianist and music director. Sad.

Aaron | 01:45 pm on 5/21/2008

I am fascinated with the early years of Hinn. How does one have the confidence to be so outrageous and claim so much authority with little or not education or credentials except their own following? So, how does one get such a following? I'm curious how he went from where he was in '77 to the extreme wealth and following. Also, I'm incredibly curious as to whether or not HE BELIEVES HIS OWN STUFF. Any enlightenment from anyone would be appreciated. I cannot believe that he believes his own "stuff."

Andy | 03:43 pm on 5/21/2008

Well Aaron, if I were to guess, getting married to the daughter of the senior pastor of a soon-to-be megachurch, Calvary Assembly, didn't hurt. Calvary Assembly probably gave Hinn their support and blessing, and helped him to get known. Just a guess.

Anonymous | 01:14 am on 12/13/2008

Have you heard about the man called John Todd?. Type in his name on google and read or listen to his stories. You will be shocked especially about supposingly men of God" being on the pay roll of a cult group. Peace.

Headless Unicorn Guy | 02:14 pm on 12/19/2008

I'm very familiar with John Todd, ever since I read Cornerstone's expose on him. (Which is now offline. Wikipedia's page on him has also been deleted. This is the only backup copy I've been able to find.)

Wasn't he the one who got into a fist fight with Warnke backstage at Melodyland over "YOU'RE STEALING MY SHTICK!"?

And I got confirmation of Todd's more outrageous claims from my writing partner, who got completely taken in by them back in the Eighties. He showed me the John Todd Satanic Conspiracy Survivalist Manuals which confirmed everything mentioned by Cornerstone and then some.

Anonymous | 05:37 pm on 2/15/2009

Hi Aaron, read Isa 44:9-20 which is a satire on those who make idols(whether literal, philosophically or intellectually). See that vs 19 & 20 shows that they who make idols (false teachings) like Benny Hinn delude themselves and cannot bring themselves to really acknowledge that it's a lie & really repent of their sin.

Hmweiss

Dawn | 09:47 am on 5/21/2008

So I'd left the kids at home with my husband so I might escape to my favorite coffee shop. I thought I'd write a bit, maybe catch up on friends' blogs, enjoy the beautiful sunshine. But then I opened my email.

Before long I was reading about Benny Hinn, my stomach turning, my morning cheer slipping away. Before my grandmother's death 15 years ago, she watched and funded Hinn (and Jan and Paul and Oral and Jim and Tammy...) faithfully. Hinn was her final fixation and she so wanted to attend one of his healing rallies but (thank God!) never did.

Thanks for reminding me of the cruddier side of existence; I'm so grateful to know Trinity is still doing what it can to bring this @$%*#! down (in Christian love, of course) ;)

Rick Kincaid | 10:28 am on 5/21/2008

Keep up the good work exposing all of the charlatans that pervert the Gospel for their own gain. This guy needs to be in prison for what he is doing.

The High and The Mighty | 08:15 pm on 5/21/2008

Yep!!Keep Sticking It To The Man Ole and Joe Bob-aka-John Bloom!!
One of these days,folks'll wise up and quit sending him their
dinero and they'll have to get real jobs!!

"I Wish I Was In Tijuana,
Eatin'Barbecued Iguana."
-Wall of Voodoo:"Mexican Radio".

PK | 10:30 am on 5/21/2008

Reading stuff like this it's hard to believe that people still think that God is interested in intervening in their daily lives.

Please. Use your head. Wake up and smell the garbage.

Devin Parker | 11:30 am on 5/21/2008

Articles like this have an opposite effect on me than they do PK. It strikes me as an outrage-inspiring reminder that we're in the midst of a war in which the Enemy is unbound by any Geneva Convention. A soldier's resolve can be bolstered by awareness of his enemy's atrocities.

When I read about people like Benny, I'm reminded of a few things:

a) Life is a war. There is no neutrality, there are no sidelines. As Jesus said, we're either for Him or against Him.

b) Churchiness is not the same thing as faithfulness, and obedience to God is not necessarily synonymous with obedience to preachers. Remaining faithful to God means using our brains and scouring His word for direction, not looking for miracles, signs and wonders or following the most electric personality.

c) God's grace is truly awesome, to allow men like Benny so many chances to repent and be saved. The [relatively] good die young and the wicked linger presumably because the good are already secure, eternally speaking, and God doesn't want anyone to be lost, even the wicked.

d) Vengeance belongs to the Lord. Justice *will* be done, by Him, when He deems it the right time.

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