Photo source: Christianity Today

on The Cutting Edge – Rev. Dr. Dylan Toussaint

Whichever way we want to spin it, the report that the internationally known televangelist, Benny Hinn, has publicly renounced the so- called Prosperity Gospel, is “Big” news!

In an article entitled: ‘Benny Hinn Renounces Prosperity Gospel’, the highly acclaimed Christian Post states the following:

“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…

Speaking to his followers, 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.”

The fact is that the so-called Prosperity Gospel has gained traction and attraction to many individuals across the length and breadth of this world. The fact is, the       so-called Prosperity Gospel is being stridently preached and taught in numerous churches and church groups as a basic tenet of the Christian Faith.

What really is the Prosperity Gospel?

According to the Christian Post, 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.

The adherents of this Prosperity Gospel oftentimes use a number of Bible passages to support their beliefs and practices. They include the following:

  • (Psalm 1: 1-3) “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law he meditates day and night…3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
  • (III John 2) “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”
  • (II Corinthians 8: 9) “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich”

SICK TO MY STOMACH

On the other hand, there are those who oppose the Prosperity Gospel and do so by making the case that the above-mentioned passages are usually misinterpreted and mishandled. They also do so by drawing attention to passages such as:

  • (Mark 10: 25) “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.”
  • (Luke 6: 20) “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God”
  • (Luke 16: 19-31) The Parable of the Rich Man & Lazarus

Of course, the adherents of the Prosperity Gospel also argue that their detractors have misinterpreted and mishandled these passages.

Be that as it may, Benny Hinn is now on record as having renounced the Prosperity Gospel, even to the point condemning some common practices associated with it. Indeed he recently stated the following:

“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? 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…When they invite me to telethons I think they will not like me anymore…

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…I think giving has become such a gimmick; it’s making me sick to my stomach.”   

Wow! Need I say more? Shalom

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