Bishop George Bloomer responded to televangelist Benny Hinn's recent rejection of the prosperity gospel and said that the famed televangelist needs to clarify what the Bible says about tithes and offerings or offer a refund to the millions he misled.
On Sunday, the pastor and founder of Bethel Family Worship Center shared his thoughts on Hinn, who last week seemingly renounced the prosperity gospel, which teaches that God rewards active faith with health and wealth. Hinn has taught the controversial doctrine since the 1980s and made millions.
Bloomer said that in his own ministry, he has “from time to time” read Scripture and come to a new revelation or understanding of an ancient text.
“Before running out and sharing it with everyone, I go over it and then I make my apologies,” he said. “So I'm not bothered by new revelations, I'm not bothered by maturing and coming to a brand new understanding. I'm not bothered by a person having a personal conviction about something that they're doing and want to correct it. I'm not bothered by that.”
However, the bishop said if he discovers that what he’s taught over the last 20 years on any given topic is “wrong,” then he owes a refund to every person he misled.
“I owe them a refund ... if I am a shyster, if I am selling a product and the product that I am selling is flawed,” he emphasized.
Bloomer explained that the idea of tithing is biblical: “Whenever I need something from God, I never go to the Lord empty-handed,” he said. “The Bible declares that a portion of our dough shall be placed into the hand of the priest so that the glory of the Lord would not depart from this house.”
“The foundations of what we believe is based in, predicated upon giving,” he continued. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son and required the same thing from Abraham to offer his son Isaac, his only son, up.”
The bishop clarified he’s not saying the prosperity gospel is “all right” or “all wrong,” adding: “What I'm saying is that there are bad people everywhere.”
“[They] had police officers, they had sheriffs, bad judges, bad preachers, bad Christians everywhere,” he said. “But it doesn't mean that everything is off because of that.”
“Listen to me, there are crooks and charlatans out there everywhere. But I tell you this, the Scriptures tell us that blessed is the cheerful giver.”
There a number of tithes and offerings outlined in the Bible, the pastor said, from freewill and sacrificial offerings to sin and repentance offerings.
“Whatever offering you fit into, the God that we serve has established His kingdom on this principle. As long as the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest,” he declared.
Bloomer ended his sermon with a message to Benny Hinn: “I say to you, Pastor Benny, on behalf of the clergy around the world, that your convictions are correct, but they're personal. And I just asked you to do one thing: Share with the body of Christ scripturally like I just did, and then we’ll be fine. If not, you owe the body of Christ a refund on all of the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars that you have received from them when you told them that this is the Word of God.”
“I'm waiting on your response,” he concluded.
On September 2, Hinn told his studio audience and those watching online: “I am correcting my own theology and you need to all know it. Because when I read the Bible now, I don’t see the Bible in the same eyes I saw 20 years ago."
“I think it’s an offense to the Lord, it’s an offense to say give $1,000. I think it’s an offense to the Holy Spirit to place a price on the Gospel. I’m done with it. I will never again ask you to give $1,000 or whatever amount because I think the Holy Ghost is just fed up with it.”
This is not the first time Hinn has seemingly backtracked on his teachings. In February 2018, he said in a Facebook Live video that, while he believed the Bible does teach prosperity, “I think some have gone to the extreme with it, sadly.”
“It’s not God’s word that is taught, and I think I’m as guilty as others,” he said in the video. “Sometimes you go a little farther than you really need to go, and then God brings you back to normality and reality.”
The televangelist claimed he had come to believe that prosperity means not “palatial homes and cars,” but rather “no lack.”
“It’s time to live biblically,” he said, adding, “We all want to finish right.”
Costi Hinn, Benny Hinn’s nephew who has publicly criticized the prosperity gospel, said that while he’s “encouraged” by his uncle’s declaration, he's waiting to see “undeniable, lasting fruit that exemplifies genuine repentance.”
“I think you got to sit down and you got to invite some guys in the room who are from outside your camp,” he told The Gospel Coalition in a recent interview. “I think you need to start submitting, and you literally take all the money and all the resources and go OK, what is the one thing, and this would take strategy, and brainstorming, and good wisdom, and prayer. What’s the one thing we can do with what we have left? We’re not going to salvage it all, but we’re not focused on the past anymore. This is repentance.”
“The cleanup process would be years and years,” he acknowledged. “But isn’t that the beauty of revival, and of restoration, and of repentance is?”
Truth, Costi Hinn said, “comes with a cost.”
“That is the picture of restitution. I’m forsaking everything and I’m coming after Jesus no matter what,” he added.