Pros & Cons*
Benny Hinn, pastor of Orlando Christian Center in Orlando,
Florida, is one of the most prolific voices in the Christian
media today. His book, Good Morning, Holy Spirit, has
remained on the bestseller list since its release in October,
1990, having sold approximately one-quarter million copies within
the first few months. As of this writing (May, 1992), it is still
number one among paperback books according to Christian
Reading, one of the major trade publications for Christian
bookstores, distributors, and publishers.
Due to some rather startling statements in the original edition
of Good Morning,Holy Spirit, Hinn came under fire
from a few organizations that perceived serious doctrinal discrepancies
in Hinn's theology.
The most public criticism of Hinn's teachings came from the Christian
Research Institute which took Hinn and his publisher, Thomas
Nelson Company, to task for what CRI perceived as heretical statements.
This resulted in Nelson revising the questionable material in
its later releases and Hinn apologizing and promising not to
promote in the future the teachings under question. However,
Thomas Nelson Company spokesman Bruce Barbour (publisher) and
Bill Watkins (senior editor) as well as Hinn, say that the theology
expressed in the original edition has not been changed but merely
Yet Hinn does claim to have changed his mind about other teachings
not dealt with in Good Morning,Holy Spirit, most
notably the "Jesus-died-spiritually" heresy that has
characterized the theology of word-faith teachers from E. W.
Kenyon through Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and others.
In spite of these developments, many Christians are still questioning
where Benny Hinn is coming from. And in view of his continued
popularity within the Christian marketplace, we felt that an
analysis of Hinn's teachings is in order. We also feel that much
of the criticism leveled against Hinn has been based not on scriptural
truth, but upon orthodoxy--traditionally accepted understanding
of issues not necessarily addressed in clear terms by Scripture.
It is our hope to set these differences apart.
Benny Hinn was born in 1953 in Israel to a Greek father and
an Armenian mother. He was raised in the Greek Orthodox religion.
Hinn claims that while he was a young boy of 11 years of age
in Israel, God first appeared to him, and has been appearing
to him ever since. At the age of 14, Hinn moved to Canada with
his parents. While attending high school there he says he had
visions of himself preaching before huge crowds. He also claims
that God healed him of a stuttering problem so that he could
become a preacher.
Yet in spite of the visions and God's appearing to him for several
years, Hinn marks the year of his being born again as 1972 when
he was about 20 years old. It was at a Kathryn Kuhlman service
the following year that he says he had a "profound spiritual
Hinn readily admits that much of the misunderstanding that has
arisen from his teachings is the result of his lack of formal
Bible training. In fact, almost immediately after his having
been "born again," Hinn says, "The Lord launched
me into ministry almost overnight."
In spite of these circumstances, Hinn founded his present church,
Orlando Christian Center, in 1983. Beginning with just a few
hundred members, that church now boasts an average weekly attendance
of over 7,000. In addition, Hinn conducts worldwide crusades
and has a daily television program that airs over the Trinity
Broadcasting Network, headed by Jan and Paul Crouch.
Although Hinn states that his ministry throughout the 1970s was
shaped by the writings of men like D.L. Moody and R.A. Torrey,
he was a strong proponent of "revelation knowledge"--new
truths revealed to him by God directly--that were not contained
within Scripture. Only recently has he stated that he will no
longer claim revelation knowledge as the authority for his teachings.
More than this, Hinn claims to actually be a channel for God--that
God enters him and takes over his mind and tongue to the point
where he is unaware of what he has said. After his sermon on
December 31, 1989, at Orlando Christian Center, during which
he gave several future prophecies, Hinn expressed that he was
drunk--presumably on the Holy Spirit--and asked someone to tell
him what he had just said.
It became evident in the early 1980s that the word-faith teachings
of Kenyon, Hagin, Copeland, and others began to have an enormous
impact on Hinn. But shortly after his encounter with critics
of his book, Hinn announced that he no longer hold to the word-faith
As Hinn's popularity increased due to his television program
and the runaway sales of Good Morning Holy Spirit,
his teachings came under close scrutiny by several apologetics
ministries. The Christian Research Institute became especially
alarmed by Hinn's references to the God-head that seemed at best
unorthodox and at worst heretical. On both his television program
and in his book, Hinn asserted that all three persons of the
Triune Godhead have their own independent bodies, souls, and
spirits, as well as wills (10/13/90, TBN).
What alarmed most critics of Hinn is his statement that "there
are nine of them [Spirits of God]." Some took this to mean
that there are nine persons, which is not what Hinn was saying.
"Nine of them" referred to the separate elements of
the Trinity: three bodies, souls, and spirits.
Hinn is clearly guilty of teaching as "revelation knowledge"
(God's Truth imparted to him personally) something that is not
clearly supported by Scripture. As such, he has established in
the minds of those who trust him a personal belief as if it were
authoritative truth, which it is not.
While Hinn's teachings on the Trinity have captured the forefront
of the debate between himself and the apologist ministries, there
are other serious issues that have taken a back seat to the questionable
Trinitarian controversy--issues that truly do lead toward heresy.
Hinn teaches that when one is born again by faith in Jesus,
he is given a new spirit man that wasn't there before--a spirit
man that is divine in nature and God-like (Our Position
in Christ [sermon tape]).
Throughout his dissertations, Hinn avows that the Bible says
what he says. But his ploy is the same as that of false teachers,
which is to pull a proof text out of context and apply it to
their personal interpretation which they claim has been given
by direct revelation from God. Where in Scripture is it found
that some "spirit-man" distinct from us, comes into
us? The Holy Spirit comes into us, but Hinn isn't speaking of
the Holy Spirit, because he says this spirit-man was "created
before the foundation of the world."
Hinn also cites Ephesians 1 as a proof text, but this is a gross
error. It does speak of our being chosen in Christ
before the foundation of the world; nowhere does it mention a
God-like "spirit-man," let alone one distinct from
In another statement, Hinn asserts that though we are not Almighty
God Himself, nevertheless, we are now divine (12/1/90, TBN).
Hinn continues by denying that he is saying we are God, but affirming
that we are children of God (elsewhere he asserts that we are
Jesus Took On Satan's Nature
One of the popular word faith teachings is that Jesus took
on the nature of Satan and had to be born again. This doctrine
is intrinsically linked to the "Jesus died spiritually"
heresy which postulates that Jesus' shed blood was insufficient
for the redemption of man; He had to suffer at Satan's hands
in Hell and be born again as the first man to conquer death.
Hinn also teaches this heresy:
"He [Jesus] who is righteous by choice said, 'The only way
I can stop sin is by Me becoming it. I can't just stop it by
letting it touch Me; I and it must become one.' Hear this! He
who is the nature of God became the nature of Satan where He
became sin!" (TBN, 12/1/90).
In this one statement, Hinn manages to convey three distinct
errors concerning Jesus, to which we must answer the following:
1) Jesus is not righteous by choice, but by nature; 2) Jesus
never said these words, either in Scripture or to Benny Hinn
personally, because they are unbiblical; 3) Jesus' nature is
constant; even God cannot change His nature from God to something
else. When He became a man, the Word of God co-mingled his divine
nature with the flesh of man, not angels; but that is the limit
of His approaching anything like assuming Satan's nature. This
idea is a first-rate heresy which, drawn to its conclusion in
the supposed spiritual death of Jesus denies the blood of Christ
and damns those who teach and believe it unless they repent.
It is a different gospel from that given through Scripture.
In spite of Hinn's professional rejection of the word-faith message,
he hasn't given up on it entirely. The word-faith message encompasses
far more that the "name it and claim it" foolishness.
It is intrinsically linked to the God-man-believer and Jesus-died-spiritually
heresies, which Hinn continues to espouse. It exalts man and
denigrates Christ, as most false teachings do.
The problem with these and other teachings of Hinn is that he
exhibits the mindset of someone who "learned as he earned,"
strewing spiritual wreckage in his path. Whatever comes to mind
must be God's voice; after all, Hinn believes himself a prophet
of God. And woe to those who dare challenge him.
One of the characteristics of Hinn's services has been his
claim to impart the Holy Spirit at will by blowing on people.
He has been known to wave his coat in the air, or to toss the
Holy Spirit like a baseball at the audience, causing entire sections
to ostensibly swoon under the power of God. Obviously God is
at Hinn's disposal. And he doesn't mind being made a spectacle
in the process.
The phenomenon known as being "slain in the Spirit"
is a trademark of modern charismatism. And while I would not
say that God will or cannot come upon someone with such a power,
it becomes obvious that, coupled with false teachings, the power
transmitted by Hinn (if there is any power at all) is not of
God. In fact, it appears more a case of mass hysteria entered
into by people predisposed to fall for several reasons: 1) they
want the power of God no matter what; 2) they would be embarrassed
not to fall when everyone else around them is falling; 3) many
have testified that the person imparting the Holy Spirit pushed
them down; 4) God might allow and even grant such a "blessing"
to entrench error in people's minds who don't care about truth
as much as they do about some supernatural experience; 5) Satan
and demons may duplicate such a phenomenon to validate as truth
the error of one's teachings.
Finally, Hinn's errors are compounded by his continual extolling
of the virtues of the pope and Roman Catholicism, as if the errors
of that church are to be ignored in the interest of unity. In
1989, Hinn was a participant in the move to grant to Pope John
Paul II the "Prince of Peace" award, instigated by
Harold Bradesen. Receiving much flack for his part in that award,
Hinn recanted and withdrew his participation.
*This material has been adapted/excerpted from a Media
Spotlight Special Report of May, 1992 (Albert James Dager,
P.O. Box 290, Redmond, WA 98073).
Biblical Discernment Ministries - 5/92