When you have done things a certain way for almost your entire career, it can be exceedingly difficult to admit that you were wrong. This is true in any field, but it is especially true for those in the ministry. So Benny Hinn showed an enormous amount of courage when he completely repudiated the "prosperity gospel" on Monday night during a Facebook Live broadcast. This represents a 180-degree turn for his ministry, and it could be a watershed moment for American evangelical Christianity as a whole. For decades, an extreme emphasis on wealth and prosperity has virtually drowned out the message of the cross on Christian television, and this has greatly damaged the evangelical movement. Having high profile leaders such as Benny Hinn renounce the "prosperity gospel" would do much to heal the damage that has been done, and he should be greatly applauded for his public repentance.
Of course, a lot of people out there are going to be skeptical, and that is unfortunate. Forgiveness is available to everyone no matter what they may have been through in the past, and we should all remember that there is literally nobody alive that is not in need of grace.
In addition, it is important to remember that ministries are always going to need resources in order to fulfill the Great Commission, and believers should always be supporting those ministries that are doing a great job of preaching the gospel. But the "prosperity gospel" twisted what the Bible says about giving into a message that appealed to the flesh, and Benny Hinn has now completely rejected that message. The following comes from the Christian Post:
Declaring that the "Holy Ghost is just fed up with it," controversial televangelist Benny Hinn, formerly one of the most aggressive proponents of the prosperity gospel, has for the first time in his career, delivered a full-throated rejection of the practice that made him and his family millions.
The prosperity gospel teaches, among other things, that believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth, and they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the "sowing of seeds" through the faithful payments of tithes and offerings.
And Hinn didn't stop there.
At one point during his Monday night message, he boldly declared that the prosperity gospel is literally making him "sick to my stomach":
He said that "it is an offense to the Lord, it's an offense to say, 'Give $1,000.' I think it's offense to the Holy Spirit to place a price on the Gospel. I'm done with it."
At one point, Hinn asked viewers "Am I shocking you?"
"Giving has become such a gimmick it's making me sick to my stomach," he said. "And I've been sick for a while too, I just couldn't say it."
We definitely need a lot more of that sort of preaching in our churches.
In the end, this could result in Benny Hinn not being invited on Christian television as much. As we have seen, there have certainly been other prominent Christian ministers who have paid a great price for telling the truth in recent years. But Hinn is doing what is right for himself, his followers and for the American church as a whole, and that is what matters.
After all this time, Hinn says the way he views "prosperity" has completely changed. During his message, he pointed out that the great heroes in the Bible didn't have lots of wealth:
"Did Elijah the prophet have a car? No. Did not even have a bicycle. He had no lack. ... Did Jesus drive a car or live in a mansion? No. He had no lack. How about the apostles? None lacked among them," Hinn said. "Today, the idea is abundance and palatial homes and cars and bank accounts. The focus is wrong ... It's so wrong."
Hopefully thousands of other Christian leaders will see what Hinn has done and will follow his lead. He continues to be highly influential in the evangelical Christian world, and what he just did is likely to send shock waves all across the country.
It would have been really easy for Hinn to continue to preach the prosperity gospel because that is what he has done throughout almost his entire career.
But in the final analysis, he was very afraid about what God would say once he got to heaven:
Toward the end of the clip, the 66-year-old told viewers, "I don't want to get to heaven and be rebuked. I think it's time we say it like its: The gospel is not for sale."
I understand that this article is highly controversial, and I also understand that many will criticize me for writing it and that many will continue to deeply criticize Benny Hinn for things he has done throughout the course of his ministry.
But it isn't how we begin the race that matters.
What really matters is how we end the race, and Benny Hinn should be greatly, greatly applauded for setting himself on a new path.
This article originally appeared at the End of the American Dream.
Michael Snyder's book entitled "Living A Life That Really Matters" is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.
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