Televangelist Benny Hinn has admitted his teachings on prosperity “got out of hand” and “damaged a lot of people” and said he wants the remaining years of his ministry to focus on evangelism and the Gospel — not the “health and wealth” theology that made him millions.
Since the 1980s, Hinn has been one of the most notorious purveyors of the prosperity gospel, which teaches that God rewards active faith and faithful payments of tithes and offerings with health and wealth.
In his first TV interview since publicly renouncing prosperity theology earlier in September, Hinn told Encounter TV host David Diga Hernandez that when he entered the ministry at 21, his goal was to share the Gospel. However, as he gained popularity in the ’90s, Hinn admitted he became “distracted.”
Now 67, Hinn claimed that he wants the remaining years of his ministry to focus on “the message of salvation, pointing people to the Lord I love,” and revealing the power of the Holy Spirit.
“How long do I have on this earth? What am I going to do in the next twenty years? That is for me to decide,” he stated. “I want to make sure that the next 15-20 years of my life, that my message is the cross. The real call on my life.”
“I want to be known for that,” Hinn continued. “I don’t want to be known as the prosperity teacher. Prosperity is one thing in the Bible, there’s a whole lot more in the Word of God than prosperity but it’s become a major issue now because of the gimmickry involved in it. That needs to stop.”
Hinn clarified that while that the ideas of prosperity and giving are biblical, he recently became “troubled” by the practice of requesting “seed money” — asking for a specific dollar amount in exchange for blessings.
“What was troubling, is the mentioning of amounts connected to some blessing that should come back just because you gave,” he continued. “It just got out of hand; give a thousand to get whatever, a hundredfold. I, myself, said [those things] and my heart was saying different.”
Hinn said he began to think about the “wonderful Christians” in his audience who gave money, only to discover prosperity theology didn’t always deliver what it promised.
“What if that hundredfold never came back? What does that do to their faith? What does it do to his future and her future?” the televangelist asked. “And then, if it doesn’t come, that life is damaged.”
Over the years, Hinn admitted a number of people asked him to stop touting the prosperity gospel: “I’ve had people come to me and say, ‘please, don’t say it again, it’s not working in my life,’” he said, adding: “Sometimes you dismiss it, other times you just don’t know what to say or do. But, it has damaged a lot of people.”
Last week, Hinn told his studio audience and those watching online: “I am correcting my own theology and you need to all know it. The blessings of God are not for sale. And miracles are not for sale. And prosperity is not for sale.”
While the announcement sent shockwaves throughout the Christian community, Hinn claimed that his newfound understanding of Scripture is “nothing new in my heart.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett