Costi Hinn, the nephew of televangelist Benny Hinn, has listed five reasons why he hates the prosperity gospel, which he has condemned as a “damning heresy that paves the road to Hell.”
In a recent blog post, Hinn, executive pastor of Mission Bible Church in Orange County, California, explained that while he “hates” the prosperity gospel, he doesn’t necessarily hate those — like his uncle — who preach or propagate it.
“Hatred, albeit taboo to say so, is not always a bad thing,” he insisted. “Anger toward that which is ‘anti-Christ’ is acceptable in God’s sight, but it should always be accompanied by humble prayer and biblical explanation lest we become the dragon we’re trying to slay.”
The pastor went on to highlight five reasons why he opposes the prosperity gospel, emphasizing that first and foremost, it’s not actually “good news.”
“While prosperity preachers sell what appears to be good fortune, it’s actually damning heresy that paves the road to Hell,” he said. “Too strong? Not when you compare the true Gospel to the lunacy that prosperity preachers promise.”
Second, Hinn argued that prosperity theology “blasphemes Scripture,” adding that “one of the most hateful and abusive things happening in the church-world today is when a person opens the Bible and uses it as a tool for deception.”
“This is blasphemy. This is what prosperity preachers do,” he said. “The Bible declares some incredible things about itself. 2 Timothy 3:16 specifically reminds us that Scripture is 'God-breathed.' How dare someone take what comes directly from the Holy One and use it for sordid gain?"
The prosperity gospel also “insults Christ,” Hinn said, because it encourages people to “smear His heavenly name to build their earthly empire.”
“They ascribe promises to men that Jesus never made,” he explained. “Jesus did not come to inaugurate a get-rich-quick scheme for humanity, He came to fulfill a redemptive plan. What an insult to make Jesus into a lottery ticket! Jesus didn’t die on the cross to provide a steady stream of Bentley’s, big diamonds, and botox. He died on the cross to provide our atonement.”
The "health and wealth" gospel is also so dangerous because it exploits the poor, Hinn warned, adding, “God loves the poor. Exploit them and you’re going to be dealing with Him one day.”
“Imagine a prosperity preacher flying into a poor country on a private jet, staying in luxurious hotels far away from the slums, and then packing a soccer stadium with 300,000 desperate people in order to exploit them for money and good TV marketing,” he said.
“Then, imagine the prosperity preacher airing their perfectly edited program on TBN (or other platform) and telling their American (and global) audience to give money to help the poor people they’re reaching who need the Gospel. Lastly, imagine the money pouring in and the ministry CFO ensuring that millions of dollars goes to the ‘anointed’ leader to fuel his lavish lifestyle. Wash, rinse, repeat.”
Hinn — who previously worked for his uncle’s ministry — said that he speaks from personal experience, and while it’s “fun on the inside,” it’s “scary once you think about eternal ramifications.”
Finally, the pastor lamented that such theology has become “mainstream” and “produced a massive wave of destruction across the globe.”
“Worst of all, that wave of destruction has become mainstream,” he said. “People want it (2 Timothy 4:3-4). From America, to Africa, to South America and beyond, the prosperity gospel is en vogue.”
Hinn said that in efforts to combat some of the evil spreading through prosperity theology today, he chose to write God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel, a book that deals with it head-on.
“It will include a thorough look at life behind the scenes, and plenty of biblical teaching to help people grow in truth,” he said.
Earlier this year, Hinn recalled memories of working in the family business, revealing the lavish lifestyle his “uncle Benny” kept while traveling the world to preach his prosperity gospel.
“We would go to London, Australia, Greece, Israel, preaching our version of Christ. I carried his Louis Vuitton briefcase,” he said, “I stayed in his hotel rooms in places like Dubai. The royal suite there was a $25,000-a-night bill, along with the other suites that we had.”
Soon, he began to have questions about some the inconsistencies of his uncle’s ministry, as Benny Hinn would preach unfulfilled prophecies and promise healings that never came to pass.
While attending Dallas Baptist University, Hinn began to study the scriptures for himself, eventually rejecting the beliefs that were formed in his earlier life.
“One of the cruelest lies of faith healers today is that if you just have enough faith, God will heal. He begins to commentate that God is sovereign in healing,” he said.
"We get attacked for preaching prosperity, well it's in the Bible. But I think some have gone to the extreme with it sadly, and it's not God's word what is taught, and I think I'm as guilty as others. Sometimes you go a little farther than you really need to go and then God brings you back to normality and reality," he said.
"We all want to finish right," Benny Hinn said of pastors. "We all start right. Sometimes we, you know, stumble here and stumble there. But when you come right down to it, we all want to finish right. I'm 65 years old, I surely don't want to blow it at this point in my life and I thank you for praying for me. I really mean that."