Benny Hinn

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Benny Hinn
Profile Photo of Benny Hinn.png
Hinn at a miracle crusade.
Born Toufik Benedictus Hinn
(1952-12-03) December 3, 1952 (age 62)
Jaffa, Israel[1][2]
Occupation Televangelist
Author
Speaker
Spouse(s)

Suzanne Harthern

(m. 4 August 1979, divorced 2010; remarried March 3, 2013)
Children three daughters, one son

Toufik Benedictus "Benny" Hinn (born December 3, 1952) is a televangelist, best known for his regular "Miracle Crusades"—revival meeting or faith healing summits that are usually held in stadiums in major cities, which are later broadcast worldwide on his television program, This Is Your Day.[3]

History

Hinn was born in Jaffa, in 1952, in the then newly established state of Israel[1] to "an Armenian mother and Greek father". He was raised within the Eastern Orthodox tradition.[4]

Soon after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War ("The Six-Day War"), Hinn's family emigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he attended the Georges Vanier Secondary School. He did not graduate. In his books, Hinn states that his father was the mayor of Jaffa at the time of his birth and that he was socially isolated as a child and was handicapped by a severe stutter, but that he was nonetheless a first-class student.[5] These claims, however, have been disputed by critics of Hinn.[6] As a teenager in Toronto, Hinn converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Pentecostalism, eventually joining a singing troupe made up of young evangelicals. According to a 2004 CBC report on Hinn, his newfound religious devotion during this period became so intense that his family became concerned that he was turning into a religious fanatic. Hinn was taught the Bible and mentored by Dr. Winston I. Nunes of Broadview Faith Temple in Toronto.[7]

He has written that on December 21, 1973, he traveled by charter bus from Toronto to Pittsburgh to attend a "miracle service" conducted by evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman. Although he never met her personally, he often attended her "healing services" and has often cited her as an influence in his life.[5]

Upon moving to the United States, Hinn traveled to Orlando, Florida, where he founded the Orlando Christian Center in 1983. Eventually, Hinn began claiming that God was using him as a conduit for healings, and began holding healing services in his church. These new "Miracle Crusades" were soon held at large stadiums and auditoriums across the United States and the world, the first nationally televised service being held in Flint, Michigan, in 1989. During the early 1990s, Hinn launched a new daily talk show called This Is Your Day, which to this day airs clips of supposed miracles from Hinn's Miracle Crusades. The program premiered on the Trinity Broadcasting Network of Paul Crouch, who would become one of Hinn's most outspoken defenders and allies. Hinn's ministry began to rapidly grow from there, winning praise as well as criticism from fellow Christian leaders. In 1999, he stepped down as pastor of the Orlando Christian Center, moving his ministry's administrative headquarters to Grapevine, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth, while hosting This Is Your Day from a television studio in Orange County, California, where he now lives with his family. His former church was renamed Faith World Church under the leadership of Clint Brown, who merged his Orlando church with Hinn's.

Ministry and theology

Benny Hinn is the author of a number of inspirational Christian books. His thirty-minute TV program This Is Your Day is among the world’s most-watched Christian programs, seen on various Christian television networks, including Trinity Broadcasting Network, Daystar Television Network, Revelation TV, Grace TV, Vision TV, INSP Networks, and The God Channel.[8]

Hinn conducts regular "Miracle Crusades"—revival meeting / faith healing events held in sports stadiums in major cities throughout the world. Tens of millions attend his Holy Spirit Miracle Crusades each year.[8] Benny Hinn claims to have spoken to one billion people through his crusades, including memorable crusades with attendance of 7.3 million people (in three services) in India, the largest healing service in recorded history.[9][10][11] Evander Holyfield, who was diagnosed with a non-compliant left ventricle, has credited his healing to Benny Hinn, stating that through God working through Hinn, he was healed as he had "a warm feeling" go through his chest as Hinn touched him.[12][13]

Hinn's teachings are Evangelical and charismatic, accepting the validity of spiritual gifts, and Word of Faith in origin, with a focus on financial prosperity. Some doctrine and practices that Hinn teaches would be thought unusual in mainstream Christianity.[14] The charismatic Christian community (who, according to a recent study by The Barna Group, make up 46% of United States Protestants and 36% of United States Catholics),[15] is very diverse, and Hinn's ideas are not universally accepted.

Missions

Benny Hinn Ministries claims to support 60 mission organizations across the world and several orphanages around the world, and claims to house and feed over 100,000 children a year and support 45,000 children daily because of his donors.[16][17]

Benny Hinn Ministries donated $100,000 for Relief Supplies to Hurricane Katrina Victims in 2005, and $250,000 to Tsunami Relief Effort in 2007.[18]

Criticism and controversy

A controversial aspect of Hinn's ministry is his teaching on, and demonstration of, a phenomenon he dubs "The Anointing"—the power purportedly given by God and transmitted through Hinn to carry out supernatural acts. At Hinn's Miracle Crusades, he has allegedly healed attendees of blindness, deafness, cancer, AIDS,[19] and severe physical injuries. However, investigative reports by the Los Angeles Times, NBC's Dateline, the CBC's The Fifth Estate, and the Nine Network's 60 Minutes have called these claims into question.

Hinn has also caused controversy for theological remarks and claims he has made during TV appearances. In 1999, Hinn appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, claiming that God had given him a vision predicting the resurrection of thousands of dead people after watching the network—laying out a scenario of people placing their dead loved ones' hands on TV screens tuned into the station—and suggesting that TBN would be "an extension of Heaven to Earth."[citation needed]

A Question of Miracles

In April 2001, HBO aired a documentary entitled A Question of Miracles that focused on Hinn and a well-documented fellow Word-of-Faith German minister based in Africa, Reinhard Bonnke.[20] Both Hinn and Bonnke offered full access to their events to the documentary crew, and the documentary team followed seven cases of "miracle healings" from Hinn's crusade over the next year. The film's director, Antony Thomas, claimed to CNN's Kyra Phillips that they did not find any cases where people were actually healed by Hinn.[21] Thomas said in a New York Times interview that "If I had seen miracles [from Hinn's ministry], I would have been happy to trumpet it...but in retrospect, I think they do more damage to Christianity than the most committed atheist."[22]

"Do You Believe in Miracles"

In November 2004, the CBC Television show The Fifth Estate did a special titled "Do You Believe in Miracles" on the apparent transgressions committed by Benny Hinn's ministry.[1]

With the aid of hidden cameras and crusade witnesses, the producers of the show demonstrated Benny's apparent misappropriation of funds, his fabrication of the truth, and the way in which his staff chose crusade audience members to come on stage to proclaim their miracle healings.[1] In particular, the investigation highlighted the fact that the most desperate miracle seekers who attend a Hinn crusade—the quadriplegics, the brain-damaged, virtually anyone with a visibly obvious physical condition—are never allowed up on stage; those who attempt to get in the line of possible healings are intercepted and directed to return to their seats. At one Canadian service, hidden cameras showed a mother who was carrying her Muscular Dystrophy-afflicted daughter, Grace, being stopped by two screeners when they attempted to get into the line for a possible blessing from Benny. The screeners asked the mother if Grace had been healed, and when the mother replied in the negative, they were told to return to their seats; the pair got out of line, but Grace, wanting "Pastor Benny to pray for [her]," asked her mother to support her as she tried to walk as a show of "her faith in action," according to the mother. After several unsuccessful attempts at walking, the pair left the arena in tears, both mother and daughter visibly upset at being turned aside and crying as they explained to the undercover reporters that all Grace had wanted was for Benny to pray for her, but the staffers rushed them out of the line when they found out Grace had not been healed.[1] A week later at a service in Toronto, Baptist evangelist Justin Peters, who wrote his Masters in Divinity thesis on Benny Hinn[23] and has attended numerous Hinn crusades since 2000 as part of his research for his thesis and for a seminar he developed about the Word of Faith movement entitled A Call for Discernment,[24] also demonstrated to the hidden cameras that "people who look like me"—Peters has cerebral palsy, walks with arm-crutches, and is obviously and visibly disabled—"are never allowed on stage[...]it's always somebody who has some disability or disease that cannot be readily seen." Like Grace and her mother, Peters was quickly intercepted as he came out of the wheelchair section (there is one at every crusade, situated at the back of the audience, far away from the stage, and never filmed for Hinn's TV show) in an attempt to join the line of those waiting to go onstage, and was told to take a seat.[1]

This segment was later edited with new footage and shown on Dateline: NBC in November 2005.

Ministry Watch issues "Donor Alert"

In March 2005, Ministry Watch issued a Donor Alert against the ministry.[25] Benny Hinn Ministries is not a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.[26]

Senate investigation

Critics accuse Hinn of using the ministry's Gulfstream G4SP jet for personal vacations funded by tax-free donations.[27][28]

In 2007, United States Senator Chuck Grassley announced an investigation of Hinn's ministry by the United States Senate Committee on Finance. In a letter to BHM,[29] Grassley asked for the ministry to divulge financial information[30] to the Senate Committee on Finance to determine if Hinn made any personal profit from financial donations, and requested that Hinn's ministry make the information available. The investigation also scrutinized five other televangelists: Paula White, Kenneth Copeland, Eddie L. Long, Joyce Meyer, and Creflo Dollar.[31][32] In December 2007, Hinn said he would not respond to the inquiry until 2008.[33] The ministry subsequently responded to the inquiry, and Grassley said that "... Benny Hinn [has] engaged in open and honest dialogue with committee staff. They have not only provided responses to every question but, in the spirit of true cooperation, also have provided information over and above what was requested."[34]

The investigation concluded in 2011 with no penalties or findings of wrongdoing. The final report raised questions about personal use of church-owned luxury goods and a lack of financial oversight on the ministries' boards, which are often populated with family and friends of the televangelist. Hinn's group reported to the committee that it complied with tax regulations and had made changes in compensation and governance procedures.[35][36]

Personal life

Marriage

Hinn married Suzanne Harthern on August 4, 1979.[37] The couple have four children. His wife later filed for divorce.[38]

Divorce

Suzanne filed divorce papers in Orange County Superior Court on February 1, 2010, citing "irreconcilable differences."[39][40] In July 2010, both Hinn and fellow televangelist Paula White denied allegations in the National Enquirer that the two were engaged in an affair.[41] Hinn was sued in February 2011 by the Christian publishing house Strang Communications, which claimed that a relationship with White did occur and that Hinn had violated the morality clause of his contract with the company.[42]

Remarriage

In May 2012, Hinn announced that he and his wife had begun reconciliation during the Christmas season of 2011,[43] stating that the split had been caused by Suzanne's addiction to prescription drugs and antidepressants and citing his busy schedule and lack of time for his wife and children.[44] In October 2012, Hinn announced that he and his former wife, Suzanne, would remarry.[45] Benny and Suzanne Hinn remarried on March 3, 2013, at the Holy Land Experience theme park, in a traditional ceremony lasting over 2 hours and attended by approximately 1,000 well-wishers, including many visiting Christian leaders. Pastor Jack Hayford referred to the remarriage as "...a miracle of God's grace".[46]

Published works

  • Benny Hinn. Kathryn Kuhlman: Her Spiritual Legacy and Its Impact on My Life. W Pub Group. ISBN 0-7852-7888-5. 
  • Benny Hinn. Good Morning, Holy Spirit. Nelson Books. ISBN 0-7852-7176-7. 
  • Benny Hinn. He Touched Me an Autobiography. Nelson Books. ISBN 0-7852-7887-7. 
  • Benny Hinn. The Anointing. Nelson Books. ISBN 0-7852-7168-6. 
  • Benny Hinn. Welcome, Holy Spirit How You Can Experience The Dynamic Work Of The Holy Spirit In Your Life. Nelson Books. ISBN 0-7852-7169-4. 
  • Benny Hinn. This Is Your Day for a Miracle. Orlando, FL: Creation House. ISBN 0-88419-391-8. 
  • Benny Hinn. The Biblical Road to Blessing. Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson Inc. ISBN 0-7852-7517-7. 
  • Benny Hinn. Miracle Of Healing. Nashville, Tenn: J. Countryman. ISBN 0-8499-5399-5. 
  • Benny Hinn. The Blood. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House. ISBN 0-88419-763-8. 
  • Benny Hinn. Going Deeper with the Holy Spirit. Benny Hinn Ministries. ISBN 1-59024-039-1. 
  • Benny Hinn. Lord, I Need a Miracle. Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson Inc. ISBN 0-8407-6251-8. 
  • Benny Hinn. Total Recovery, Supernatural Restoration and Release. Dallas, Texas: Clarion Call Marketing, Inc. ISBN 1-59574-038-4. 

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f McKeown, Bob (December 2004). "Do You Believe in Miracles?". The Fifth Estate (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  2. ^ "About us". Benny Hinn Ministries. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Benny Hinn gives aid for tsunami victims". Hindustan Times. 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  4. ^ Nickell, Joe. "Benny Hinn: Healer or Hypnotist?". Volume 26.3, May / June 2002. Skeptical Inquirer
  5. ^ a b Benny Hinn, Good Morning, Holy Spirit, chapter 2
  6. ^ Bloom, John; (Reprinted on Website of Trinity Foundation, Inc.) (August 2003). "The Heretic". D Magazine. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  7. ^ "Trintity Gospel Ministries Int'l About page"
  8. ^ a b David G. Bromley; Leah M. Hott (June 3, 2013). "Benny Hinn Ministries". World Religions & Spirituality Project VCU. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ "About Us". Benny Hinn Ministries. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  10. ^ "Benny Hinn winds up India trip". Rediff. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  11. ^ "Pastor Benny Hinn". Streaming Faith. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  12. ^ Jet (Jul 4, 1994). Jet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. Holyfield, 31, has a non-compliant left ventricle, or "stiff heart," which prevents sufficient oxygen from being pumped to muscles and tissues. The problem was discovered after his April 22 title-fight loss to Michael Moorer. Holyfield claims he was cured by faith healer Benny Hinn during a Christian revival in Philadelphia. "My heart is better," he said. During the revival Holyfield dropped to the stage three times and said he had "a warm feeling" go through his chest as Hinn touched him during the healing session. 
  13. ^ Evander Holyfield, Lee Gruenfeld. Becoming Holyfield: a fighter's journey. Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 8 February 2012. So did Benny Hinn heal me? Was it a miracle? No, Hinn didn't heal me. God healed me, working through Hinn. 
  14. ^ John MacArthur Charismatic Chaos (GrandRapids: Zondervan, 1993) 334
  15. ^ The Barna Group, "Is American Christianity Turning Charismatic?" Accessed 17 April 2008.
  16. ^ Benny Hinn - Orphanages and Missions (1) on YouTube.
  17. ^ Benny Hinn - Orphanages and Missions (2) on YouTube.
  18. ^ "Benny Hinn gives aid for tsunami victims". Retrieved 3/1/2007.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  19. ^ Let Us Reason Ministries. "Benny Hinn -- Truth or Consequences? (Part 3)". Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  20. ^ A Question of Miracles at the Internet Movie Database
  21. ^ Do Miracles Actually Occur?, CNN.com transcripts. 2001-04-15
  22. ^ Finn, Robin. COVER STORY; Want Pathos, Pain and Courage? Get Real, New York Times, 2001-04-15
  23. ^ Peters, Justin. "Benny Hinn and Healing". CBC News. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  24. ^ Peters, Justin. "Seminar overview for A Call for Discernment". Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  25. ^ MinistryWatch.com Recommends that Donors Withhold Giving to Benny Hinn Ministries, Ministry Watch, May 2005
  26. ^ Benny Hinn: Apologetics Research Resources
  27. ^ http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Ministry-solicits-to-pay-for-jet-1849427.php
  28. ^ Video on YouTube
  29. ^ "Read Grassley's Letters" (PDF). npr.org. 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  30. ^ "Senator Probes Megachurches' Finances by Kathy Lohr". npr.org. 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  31. ^ "Televangelists Living Like Kings?". CBS News. 2007-11-06. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  32. ^ Lohr, Kathy (2007-12-04). "Senator Probes Megachurches' Finances". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  33. ^ "Hinn joins Dollar in refusing to answer questions in Senate investigation". Tulsa World. 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  34. ^ "Grassley Update on Ministry Responses, Background Questions and Answers" (Press release). Senator Chuck Grassley. 2008-07-07. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  35. ^ Rachel Zoll (2011-01-07). "Televangelists escape penalty in Senate inquiry". MSNBC. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  36. ^ "Probe of Televangelists Finds 'No Wrongdoing'". Christian Broadcasting Network. 2011-01-07. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 
  37. ^ "Finding His Life Partner, Suzanne Hinn", BennyHinnBiography.com Accessed 18 February 2010
  38. ^ Robert J. Lopez (February 18, 2010). "Wife of televangelist Benny Hinn files for divorce". LA Times. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  39. ^ Benny Hinn Divorce: Wife Suzanne Hinn Files For Divorce From Televangelist
  40. ^ Hinn Breaks Silence on Divorce Announcement
  41. ^ Evangelists Hinn, White Deny Affair Allegations, Christian Broadcasting Network, 26 July 2010
  42. ^ Benny Hinn Sued by Strang Co., Christianity Today, 21 February 2011
  43. ^ "Benny Hinn Announces Reconciliation With Former Wife". The Christian Post. May 29, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Benny Hinn Says Wife's Drug Problems Led to Divorce, Praises God's Reconciling Power". The Christian Post. June 13, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  45. ^ Michael Gryboski (June 27, 2012). "Jack Hayford to Perform Benny and Suzanne Hinn's Remarriage". The Christian Post. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  46. ^ Kunerth, Jeff (4 April 2013). "Televangelist Benny Hinn remarries ex-wife at Holy Land Experience". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 

External links