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Written by: Abba II    Posted on: 04/25/2003

Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics

Source: CCN


ORLANDO, Fla. (EP) -- Evangelist Benny Hinn became a focal point of controversy this year when a cult specialist [Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute. ed] raised questions about his teaching and reporters questioned his lifestyle. In an interview with Charisma magazine editor Stephen Strang, Hinn, pastor of the 7,000- member Orlando Christian Center, discussed his beliefs and detailed major changes in his views on some controversial issues.

"God is shaking me," said Hinn. "He is making dramatic changes inside of me. ...The Lord is showing me some things I have been wrong about. At one point I taught certain things, such as the 'little gods' teaching, and Jesus dying spiritually. Now I have quit teaching such things, and I have made it clear that I no longer believe them."

Hinn said that after a decade of pursuing Word-Faith doctrines, he has found some extremes in that teaching, and is changing his views on some issues. "For example, I used to teach that Jesus died spiritually and suffered in Hell," he said. "Through my own study, I discovered that this didn't line up with the Word. When the Lord said 'It is finished' on the cross, He didn't add 'to be continued.'"

Hinn told Charisma that he had modified his views on other issues, including what is sometimes called "name it and claim it" theology. He said, "I don't believe confessing the Word works the way I taught it in the past. Of course, we should believe and confess God's Word. But I don't believe we can just confess any Scripture and make it happen." Hinn also emphasized that he believes "the Bible is the only authoritative source of divine revelation," and reaffirmed his belief in "one God -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One God, three persons, absolutely one in essence."

Though he once taught that Christians are "little gods," Hinn now refutes that doctrine. "I did teach the little gods doctrine," he said. "Today I don't believe it one iota.  In fact, it's been erased off all my tapes. ...When I taught the little gods doctrine, I was using Scriptures that didn't fit."

Hinn acknowledged that he receives a salary of $116,000 plus a housing allowance from his church, and "much more" in book royalties. But he said his giving to his church last year exceeded his salary. Hinn said he paid about $650,000 for his present home, which is in an exclusive neighborhood with a security gate. Hinn said he no longer wears his Rolex watch and expensive jewelry, and is replacing his Mercedes Benz with an American-made Lincoln "because I don't want my lifestyle to cause anyone to stumble."

Though closely associated with the so-called "prosperity gospel," Hinn told Charisma that a recent trip to the Philippines had changed his outlook. "Some of the most precious Christians live there amid such poverty, such need. Yet you see such satisfaction, such fulfillment with them. They are happier than many Christians I know in America who have everything."

Hinn said, "The teaching on prosperity has gone too far. It has become a business. It is no longer 'give so you will bless somebody.' It has become 'give to get.' It has become selfish, worldly. ...I feel terrible that I once put too much emphasis on material prosperity. And now I am saying, 'Lord, please forgive me.'"

Divine healing is another area where Hinn's beliefs have changed. Though he once taught that anyone with enough faith could be healed, he now describes such a teaching as "cruel" and acknowledges, "I have come to realize that God is sovereign, and there are things I just don't understand." He added, "In the future, rather than focus on healing, I plan to focus on Jesus Himself, and let Him heal whomever He wills to heal."

Hinn told Charisma his future ministry will have a new emphasis. "I am looking forward to even greater healings and miracles in my ministry," he concluded. "But I'm going to focus on salvation as well as physical healing. Because when God heals a body, that is temporal; but when God saves a soul, that has eternal importance."

---------------------------------------------------------- CHRISTIAN BBS ABBA II                        619-487-7746

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