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.
Speaking to his followers during a Facebook Live broadcast on Monday night (which was first highlighted by Larry Reid Live), Hinn, who has long been a lightning rod for criticism for his support of the theology, declared the Gospel “is not for sale.”
“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. Because when I read the Bible now, I don’t see the Bible in the same eyes I saw 20 years ago,” Hinn said as his followers rejoiced.
“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.
“Did you hear me?” Hinn asked as his audience responded affirmatively in high spirits.
“I think it hurts the Gospel, so I’m making this statement for the first time in my life and frankly, I don’t care what people think about me anymore,” he continued.
“When they invite me to telethons I think they will not like me anymore. Because when you look at the word of God … if I hear one more time, break the back of debt with $1,000, I’m gonna rebuke them. I think that’s buying the Gospel. That’s buying the blessing. That’s grieving the Holy Spirit. … If you are not giving because you love Jesus, don’t bother giving,” Hinn argued. “I think giving has become such a gimmick; it’s making me sick to my stomach.”
Hinn’s outright rejection of the prosperity gospel comes just two months after his nephew, Costi Hinn, revealed in his new book, God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies, how his family exploited millions around the world with the prosperity gospel and often traded so-called miracles for money.
“Giving to God was the secret to unlocking your dreams," Costi Hinn wrote. "It was the secret to job promotions. It was access to our divine bank account. My uncle often told the story of how he got out of debt using this system of belief. His father-in-law had told him that in order to be debt free, he needed to pay God. Benny explained that once he started emptying his bank account and giving money away to ministry, money started showing up from everywhere!”
In 2018, Hinn admitted that as he has grown older and come to understand the Bible more, he realized that some of the things he learned from preachers when he was growing up aren't biblical, including the prosperity gospel.
"The more you know the Bible the more you become biblically based and more balanced in your opinions and your thoughts, because we are influenced," Hinn said. "When I was younger, I was influenced by the preachers who taught whatever they taught. But as I've lived longer I'm thinking, wait a minute, you know this doesn't fit totally with the Bible and it doesn't fit with the reality. So what is prosperity? No lack. I've said this before," Hinn said.
He then elaborated on how he believes "no lack" should be interpreted.
"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."
He said even though he has been accused of living lavishly and flying private jets in the past, that is not how he currently lives.
"I mean, forgive me. People have accused me of things that aren't even real. One guy wrote a comment, 'Oh, he's worth $40 million.' Oh how I wish. I would give it all to the Kingdom before God Almighty," he said.
"'Well he flies private jets,'" he continued, mimicking criticism. "No, I don't. I have not flown private in, dear God, years. I fly commercial just like anyone else...”