GRAPEVINE, Texas — Televangelist Benny Hinn said on Monday that he has had a change of heart in regard to prosperity preaching and is actually quite upset about the matter — specifically in terms of asking people to give money so that God will bless them in return. Hinn stated that he is concerned that many churches are delivering a “feel good” message that centers on self, and warned the people that persecution is coming to America.
Some are cautiously optimistic about Hinn’s words and opine that time will tell whether or not his stated transformation is genuine.
“Today, sadly, among a lot of circles all you hear is how to build the flesh. It’s a feel good message,” he said on Your Love World. “It’s about feel good, do good, make money — all the rest of it. And I’m sorry to say that prosperity has gone a little crazy, and I’m correcting my own theology and you need to all know it.”
Hinn, one of the most recognized proponents of the prosperity gospel’s promises of favor and blessings in exchange for “seed faith giving,” revealed that he does not view the Bible the same as he once did. He said that he has felt this way for some time, but has not been public about it so as to avoid hurting friends who still believe as he once did.
“I think it’s an offense to the Lord. It’s an offense to [tell people to] give a thousand dollars,” he said forthrightly. “I think it’s an offense to the Holy Spirit to place a price on the gospel.”
“I’m done with it,” Hinn said, generating applause. “I will never again ask you to give a thousand or whatever amount because I think the Holy Ghost is just fed up with it. … I think that hurts the gospel.”
He noted that he was making the statement publicly for the first time, adding that he doesn’t “care what people think about me anymore.”
Hinn said that he recently corrected someone for preaching such a message, and that he likely will not be well-received if he’s invited to assist with telethon fundraisers in the future.
“I think they will not like me anymore,” he remarked. “If I hear one more time, ‘Break the back of debt with a thousand dollars,’ I’m going to rebuke them. I think that’s buying the gospel. That’s buying the blessing. That’s grieving the Holy Spirit.”
He told those watching that if they do not give financially simply because they love Jesus, then “don’t bother giving.”
“I think giving has become such a gimmick that it’s making me sick to my stomach,” Hinn stated emphatically. “And I’ve been sick for a while, too. I just couldn’t say it. And now, the lid is off. I’ve had it.”
Hinn, who has been known to live a lavish lifestyle and for his charismatic crusades where crowds fall backwards at the swoosh of the arm, said he believes he needs to take the stand now because he doesn’t want God to rebuke him when he stands before the throne.
“I think it’s time we say it like it is: The gospel is not for sale,” he declared to applause. “And the blessings of God are not for sale, and miracles are not for sale. And prosperity is not for sale.”
Hinn said that he still believes in prosperity, but told those watching to stay away from teaching that would put them in the mindset of doing things for self and what they can get from God. He outlined that the proper motivation for giving is because you want to see other lives changed by the gospel, not because of what you can get out of it.
“If it’s not about adoring [and] loving Jesus, have nothing to do with it,” he exhorted. “If it’s about self and moolah … about how to get rich, [stay away from it].”
Hinn also remarked during the broadcast that he believes Christians are too entangled with politics and that persecution is coming to America. He urged Christians to be bold and not be afraid to speak the name of Jesus rather than speaking in general terms about God.
“When someone does not glorify His name, it really gets to me. Why are they afraid to say ‘Jesus’? They’ll say ‘God’ or something else to be politically correct,” he noted. “We are to be bold. We are not ashamed of the name Jesus! … Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is lord!”
Hinn told a story about his daughter, Jessica, explaining that she had been asked to speak at a women’s conference in Minneapolis, but was told once she arrived not to speak about the Bible or repentance but to simply give the women hope. She refused.
“This is what is happening in the Church. They want to keep the crowds happy,” he lamented.
Christian News Network contacted Benny Hinn Ministries and World Healing Center Church to obtain further comment, but was only able to reach a live operator through a donation and products line. An automated menu recording has a prayer for callers that wishes “God’s favor and blessings be upon you in a greater way than ever before.”
Costi Hinn, the nephew of Benny Hinn and pastor of discipleship at Redeemer Bible Church in Gilbert, Arizona, told Christian News that he is cautiously optimistic about his uncle’s words.
“I was encouraged by his blunt refutation of the prosperity gospel,” he said. “I sincerely hope and pray that this is the beginning of repentance for him and a turnaround in these later years in his life and ministry.”
Hinn had been brought up in prosperity preaching but came to renounce it in realizing that its promises of health, wealth and giving to get do not square with the Bible. He outlined in his book “God, Greed and the Prosperity Gospel: How the Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies” that he loves his family and is only opposing the theology, not the people themselves.
“I’m on a rescue operation,” Hinn explained. “There are millions of people who need to be saved from the prosperity gospel like I was. I’m trying to reach them, while at the same time inspiring other people to reach them too. I want people to see that the prosperity gospel is damning and abusive. It exploits the poor and ruins the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Hinn told Christian News that he hopes his uncle is genuinely repentant and not merely remorseful. He said that Hinn has expressed regret for statements and decisions in the past only to resume his unbiblical behavior.
“Genuine repentance in the Bible is always accompanied by actions that prove that it’s really repentance,” he stated, explaining that repentance would look similar to that of the account of Zacchaeus, who climbed a tree out of his eagerness to see Jesus.
“Jesus saves him and goes to his house that day, and is willing to eat a meal with him and show him love and grace in the midst of his past and his sin,” he recalled. “And Zacchaeus is jumping for joy, excited to pay people back, excited to do whatever it takes to follow Jesus and show his genuine repentance through his actions.”
Hinn noted that the Bible says love is to believe all things and hope all things (1 Corinthians 13:7), and that Monday’s announcement should be treated accordingly. Time will tell, he said, whether or not the transformation is for real.
“My desire is that Uncle Benny’s statement is not merely public remorse to save face or protect his ministry from decline,” he stated, “but rather that it is genuine repentance and that he would be willing to forsake everything if it means gaining Christ and the full gospel.”
In 2018, Benny Hinn made similar remarks in a Facebook live video, stating that he believes in prosperity but not the kind that is seen today.
“Today, the idea is abundance and palatial homes and cars and bank accounts. The focus is wrong. … It’s so wrong,” he said. “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.”