I have traveled with Benny Hinn. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. I wanted to learn more about doing crusades and when it come to that, Benny Hinn does it the best out there. This is not to say that Reinhard Bonnke is not amazing.
All I knew of him was what people told me, what I saw on television, and what could be understood reading his books like Good Morning, Holy Spirit. I had been in prayer lines and received impartation before that.
I knew that there was some questions about his theology. I also knew that he was not a theologian. If you want an exgesis on John 8, you go to Stanley Horton; not Benny Hinn. Theologians make bad evangelists and normally evangelists make for bad theologians. However, this is not always true.
To be fair, I have ministered with many people who I do not share doctrine with. I have been to Uganda with Todd Bentley. I have ministered at meetings with Robert Tilton. I prophesied over Ruth Ward-Heflin. All of these people I have serious theological issues with. I do not have to agree with them to minister along side them.
How I came travel with Benny Hinn
I was living in Tulsa at the time. I had been doing a lot of street evangelism and leading teams from a church in the city. A few of the people involved in the outreaches had direct ties to Benny. I did not really think much about it. I had meet some “big names” preachers before. These include R.W. Schambach and T.L. Osborn.
As the months went on with the street evangelism and the prophetic meetings; the people connected with Benny started to pressure me a little about my thoughts on his ministry. They was especially interested in what I thought about how effective his crusades in Asia are.
One thing lead to another and they asked me to consider making a trip with them to the Philippines. I had been to the Philippines many times at this point so I had that connection to the country but I was not that sure I wanted to be connected to such a controversial ministry.
The truth of the matter was that I still worried about my own reputation and what people would think of me. Yes, it was the fear of man. Yes, it was concern about my “image.” It was wrong and it was sin. It was pride.
What I found in Manila was a Benny Hinn that many do not see. He was a man that loves people, loves broken people and loves the poor. The critics are nowhere to be found when Benny visits the children house that he personally supports. As I said, I found the man to be a lover of people.
I had a great experience with being a “fly on the wall” at the crusade that Benny Hinn put on. It was done with completely integrity and there are not even an offering taken.
What about the theology issues?
As I said, evangelists do not make the best theologians normally. I do not expect him to be breaking down the Greek and giving a detail explanation of what the cultural expectations of the first century Jew would be.
There are theological questions with Benny. I have them myself. I do not believe that poverty is a devil (more the result of sinful behavior). I do not believe in “nine spirits” of God. I do not believe in “little gods.” (Benny is just one of several teaching this nonsense)
I know that everyone is in process. As we grow in the Spirit, our theology can change a little. For example, my views on prosperity has dramatically changed over the last decade due to some study into suffering around the world. None of us have arrived and that includes Benny Hinn.
It is also worth noting that he has had quite a change in his approach to the scriptures in recent years and has return to a more fiery Pentecostal style of ministry. It is also like he would be rebuking the Benny Hinn from a decade ago.
This is why I hold that we need grace for people with different doctrines because they are in process just like us. They are one encounter away from repentance or one season of a theological journey that can change everything.
What about the IRS raid?
Ok, I know a lot of people talk about the money that Benny has and his house that he lives in. Everyone has to live somewhere. While his house is bigger than others; it is still just a house.
I do not concern myself with how other handle their finances. In reality, it is not as a big of a deal that some make it out to be. I would not do it myself but I will not judge someone for having something nicer than I do. Envy is a sin as well as greed.
Recently, there has been a fixation on the ministry of Benny Hinn that lead to the raid of his ministry complex by the IRS and the Post Office. It was assumed that there has been some taxation issues in connection to the non-profit status of the ministry.
My personal take on it is that what is due to the government should be given to them but what is not due to them shouldn’t be. If there was truly tax evasion as some declare, the people involved need to face the music for it.
At the end of the day, I expect that they will find minor violations that have to corrected by Benny Hinn Ministries and that there was no major and criminal wrong doing. It is important to note that there is no arrests made at this point.