Costi Hinn, the nephew of famed televangelist Benny Hinn, said he’s “encouraged” by his uncle’s recent rejection of the prosperity gospel, but called for “undeniable, lasting fruit that exemplifies genuine repentance.”
Serving as a pastor, Costi Hinn rejected the “health and wealth” theology presented by his "Uncle Benny" after working alongside him for years. He took to Twitter on Wednesday to weigh in on his uncle’s changing beliefs.
“Re: Uncle Benny,” he wrote. “I’m encouraged to see him express a refutation of prosperity theology, & even admit to wrong teachings on that topic. Now, pray for undeniable, lasting fruit that exemplifies genuine repentance. Truth & time go hand in hand (Psalm 51:17; Luke 19:1-10; Luke 3:8).”
In a follow-up tweet, Costi Hinn wrote of Benny Hinn, “He'll always be my uncle. I will always love him and pray for him until he or I are gone from this earth.”
Benny Hinn, formerly one of the best-known proponents of the prosperity gospel, made headlines this week after publicly rejecting the practice that made him and his family millions.
The prosperity gospel teaches, in part, that believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth, and they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and payments of tithes and offerings.
“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,” Benny Hinn said in a Facebook live video.
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“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.”
“I think it hurts the Gospel,” 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.”
In his new book, God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies, Costi Hinn detailed how his family lived extravagantly, all while promoting a "twisted" theology.
He described growing up in the Hinn family as a hybrid of being a "royal family" (lavish riches) and the "mafia" (strict enforcement of the mafia). He, along with his uncle, lived a lavish life complete with private jets, mansions, and expensive cars.
"That's really not the heartbeat of Christianity," Costi Hinn said. "The heartbeat of Christianity is, if you have wealth, you want to be generous and rich in good works. If God has blessed you with a lot, you have a great responsibility."
In a recent interview with The Gospel Coalition, Costi Hinn contended that those who have profited from the prosperity must do more than simply repent for their sins — they must divest themselves of the ill-gotten gains.
“I think you got to sit down and you got to invite some guys in the room who are from outside your camp. 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?” he said. “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.