February 7, 2007 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -
The following report is by Missionary Ryan Gray of Fiji <email@example.com> --
The world famous television evangelist Benny Hinn came to the Fiji Islands to hold a "miracle crusade" January 20-22, 2006. The crusade was held in the national stadium in the capital city of Suva, just a few miles from Victory Baptist Church where I am the missionary pastor. In the middle of 2005 we first learned of the upcoming crusade, and I began preaching and warning our people about this dangerous and deceptive false prophet who would undoubtedly capture the attention of much of the Fiji Islands, many of whom already watched Benny Hinn's "This Is Your Day" program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and highly esteemed him as a "man of God". It is so sad to see multitudes of people carried away by such false prophets because they are ignorant of the way of salvation and completely lacking any Biblical understanding.
From the very onset, people were encouraged to attend the crusade because of what they would 'experience'. I have a poster handed out as an invitation to the crusade stating, "Come, Hear & Experience an Anointed Gospel Message That Will Change Your Life." An advertisement placed in the Fiji Times newspaper said, "Experience the Excitement." I believe that these words were carefully chosen because the atmosphere crusade focused on exactly thatmanipulating the crowd so that they would experience a feeling that God was present, and that great miracles of physical healing were taking place.
I attended the first night of the crusade, and arrived at the stadium at 11:00am, even though the gates would not open until 2:00pm, and the service would not begin until 6:00pm. I wanted to be sure to get a good seat as close as possible to the platform so that I could closely watch all that happened, take plenty of pictures, and write notes about the service. I had seen Benny Hinn's program on television, but this was my first time to attend a large scale miracle crusade of this nature. I began to wonder if Benny Hinn would be able heal the blistered sunburn I was getting while waiting in the hot Fiji sun!
While waiting for the gates to open I took several pictures of people who were gathering for the evening service. I took several pictures of an Indian man who walked with crutches because I saw that, although he had the crutches, as he walked it was obvious that his own legs were supporting his full body weight. I even saw him put the crutches down and then sit down on a bench, bending both legs at the knees to be seated. Only until later that night would I realize just how valuable those pictures would be!
Upon entering the stadium, we were greeting by the pulsating beat of contemporary praise music, sounding identical to secular rock and roll.
This music was played through the massive sound system until the service began. I took a seat directly behind the platform on the bleachers right next to the huge choir. I noticed that large screens were put up on both sides of the platform so that everyone could see what was happening on stage.
A couple of Benny Hinn's assistants spoke from the platform for a few minutes challenging the people to "expect great things tonight". Benny Hinn's band then took the stage, warming up for the evening service with keyboards, guitars, loud drums, a thumping bass guitar, and jazzy saxophone. People were cheering as the band played, even when they played a secular rock and roll song that I remembered listening to before I was saved! The air was already electric with the great anticipation of what would happen during the service.
I watched sadly as parents brought their mentally handicapped children into the stadium and ambulances unloaded person after person on stretchers. Many sick people were brought directly from the hospital to attend the crusade in hope of being healed. I found it interesting that the seating areas on both sides of the platform, and directly in front were roped off, keeping those who were genuinely sick away from the platform, and instead, they were seated in their reserved areas towards the back of the crowd. I wondered, "If this is truly a miracle healing crusade, why not get those who most need healing as close to the front as possible?"
As the service began at 6:00pm, an American lady traveling with Hinn's team sang a solo with the help of the band. She was dressed like a nightclub singer in a short skirt, high heels, and skimpy top while she sang, danced, and waved her arms to the contemporary 'Christian' rock music that was identical to that used by any worldly entertainer.
Physical healing was the main message of the crusade from the very opening moments. When Benny Hinn came on the platform, some of his first words were, "Expect something tonightthis will be the greatest miracle crusade in this part of the world!" The crowd erupted with cheers and shouting, especially when Benny Hinn told them three times to repeat aloud with him, "All will be healed." He then said, "If Jesus healed them all 2000 years ago, He will heal them all today.
You are going to leave healed and free. The power of God is going to invade this place." He then told everyone to turn to the person next to them and say, "The Lord is going to heal me, and the Lord is going to heal you." He affirmed these claims by saying, "This is the Word of God.
This is His promise. Lift your hands and thank Him." Once again, the crowd burst into deafening cheers and shouting.
Until this night I never realized the importance of music in a crusade such as this. Without hesitation I can say that Benny Hinn's most important worker is his choir director. Through the whole service he stood about 15 feet behind Benny, keeping one eye one him, and one eye on the choir. He had to be ready at all times because Benny Hinn would talk then spontaneously break into singing a chorus and be joined by the band and choir. The powerful music was used to hold the emotions of the people high throughout the service. The only time that the band was silent was the fifteen minutes that Benny Hinn preached. The music of the crusade was the key to the 'experience' of the people. I remember reading of Benny Hinn's admission that he needs the "atmosphere of faith" in order to heal the sick. The music is what creates the atmosphere of the crusade, and manipulates the audience into feeling whatever the organizers want them to feel. Make no mistake about it, music is powerful! Interestingly enough, Christ and the apostles did not need a rock band and super-charged emotional atmosphere in order to perform miracles!
Then came the time that Benny Hinn would preach the message from the Bible. He read from Matthew 12:15, "But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all." He turned to several other similar verses and emphasized the statement that Jesus healed everyone. He said, "I have come to Fiji to tell you that this same Jesus is still healing the sick and giving sight to the blind." He quoted from Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever" and said, "Jesus is still the same, so HE WILL STILL HEAL ALL. NOT ONE OR TWO, OR ONE HUNDRED, BUT ALL. This same Jesus is going to heal you tonight, so get ready! TODAY ON FRIDAY THE 20TH OF JANUARY, 2006, JESUS WILL HEAL YOU ALL!"
It was sad and even frightening to see the crowd enraptured into hysteria by these words. What power this man held over them! They had completely given themselves over to believe whatever Benny Hinn said, and they truly believed that every sick person would be healed that night. This was a sobering reminder to me as I sat in the midst of such powerful deception that we must examine every message, every sermon in the light of God's Word.
Also in his message, Benny Hinn criticized those who would test his teachings and practices by the Bible. He said, "While Jesus was healing, the theologians wanted to argue theology. You need to quit arguing over theology and heal one another! Those who want to argue about healing, want to argue about the Bible and what the Bible sayswe need to quit arguing about this and that.
Those who want to argue doctrine want to divide us."
The only time that Benny Hinn mentioned the gospel, was in the context of physical healing.
He said, "Jesus died on a cross, shed His blood for you and loves you. He wants to heal you."
He preached for almost 15 minutes turning to several Scriptures about physical healing, but he never opened the Bible to any verse explaining the way of salvation, and only made one vague passing reference to the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin was only mentioned one time, hell was never spoken of, neither was repentance or faith. Checking my watch, I noticed that Benny Hinn only vaguely spoke about salvation for three minutes! Later on as the service ended, people were encouraged to come forward and "give their lives to Christ". Hundreds came to the front of the platform, and they were led in mass to pray a generic sinner's prayer. What shame and deception!
After the preaching concluded, the healing time was to begin. In a breathy, quiet voice Benny Hinn told the crowd, "I feel the presence of the Holy Ghost", as the band began to play the popular chorus, "He touched me." Hinn made mention of the crippled man who was healed in Acts 3, emphasizing to the crowd that this was the moment they had been anticipating, this was the very time that supernatural miracles would take place before their very eyes. "Receive your miracle tonight!" he shouted to the people.
He then coached the people on how to receive a miracle. "Some may feel electricity in their body, or a tingling sensation, or warmth, or heat. That is God's power healing you. Lift your hands and call His name. Place your hand on your body where the sickness is and I will pray for it to go." Benny Hinn announced that cancer, crippled legs, a brain tumor, throat cancer, arthritis in the back, deaf ears, a right leg, and a neck growth were being healed at that very moment.
The choir continued singing "He Touched Me" over and over again, and the band played louder each time, while the pianist played with increasingly bigger and louder crescendos. The sound of the singing and music was deafening.
Those in the audience who were healed were instructed to speak to a member of the 'healing team' that was spread out across the stadium, and they would be brought to the platform to proclaim their healing. The first person to come to the platform was the Indian man with crutches whom I took pictures of before the service! He said he had been crippled for fifteen years but that God had healed him that night and he felt no pain in his legs. The crowd cheered and roared as the man said, "I want to be a Christian because Jesus healed me." Benny Hinn threw the crutches off the platform, and knelt with the man, instructing him to repeat a prayer and become a Christian.
Benny Hinn then said, "I believe that God is going to make you a preacher to take the gospel back to your own people in India!" Once again, the crowd exploded with thunderous applause and cheers.
If only these people had seen this man as I did before the service. He was not a cripple! No miracle had taken place! What greater shame that Benny Hinn had pronounced this man a Christian.
A person does not become a Christian because they get healed physically, but because they know that they are a hell bound sinner, unable to save themselves, and they trust the Lord Jesus Christ to save them based upon His work on Calvary's cross! This Hindu man was not told to repent of his idols, or to acknowledge his sin, nor was he told about hell, or the gospel of salvation! Yet he became the 'star of the show' this night, was proclaimed a Christian and a preacher of the gospel which he knew nothing about.
The next person who came on the platform was an elderly man who had traveled all the way from New Zealand to attend the crusade. He said he was healed of diabetes. Obviously he was not familiar with the protocol of a Benny Hinn crusade, because when Benny tried to "slay him in the spirit", the man refused to fall down backwards! The crowd had a good laugh over this, but I thought, "Why didn't he fall if this was truly a work of the Spirit?" This was proof to me that the 'spirit slaying' is nothing more than learned behavior. People do it because they expect it to happen.
Next a girl who claimed to be deaf from birth was healed, yet I wonder if her deaf condition was as genuine as the first man's crippled condition!
Next, a lady said her right side was healed from the effects of a stroke, and then another woman proclaimed that her heart condition was healed.
Another woman said her right leg was healed of arthritis, and she also did not fall when Benny Hinn tried to "slay her in the spirit". A lady said she was healed of an itchy virus because she felt electricity in her body, another lady said she was healed of back pain, and next was a lady who said that deafness was healed in her right ear. Last of all a man came and said he was healed of back pain.
Most of the claims of healing were made because people felt better, their pain was gone, or they had experienced an unusual sensation in their body. In this supercharged atmosphere of expectation, combined with powerful, repetitive music, everyone felt something in their body!
Even I felt the pulsating beat of the music, and the energy of the people around me, but this was not a divine miracle! It is quite possible that during the crusade many people experienced relief of the symptoms of their illness, but when the emotions of the crusade wear off, the symptoms return!
None of the mentally handicapped were healed, nor were any of the blind or those brought in ambulances from the hospital. None with deformed limbs were healed, nor were any of those brought in wheelchairs. As I walked out of the stadium that night looking at all the crippled and sick people making their way home and parents carrying their crippled children, I remembered Benny Hinn's words, "TODAY ON FRIDAY THE 20TH OF JANUARY, 2006, JESUS WILL HEAL YOU ALL!". I wondered what these people must have been thinking. Why they didn't get healed? Were they not good enough? Did they not have enough faith?
Did they not give enough money? Did God not care about them? My heart was grieved that this wolf in sheep's clothing was making merchandise of these ignorant people, and allowing them to take the blame for not being healed!
Benny Hinn claimed that the same kinds of healing found in the New Testament would be seen on this night, but the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles did not merely heal back pain and arthritis!
They healed withered limbs, opened blinded eyes, gave strength to the crippled, and even raised the dead, and they did not need the electric, rock music supercharged atmosphere of a healing crusade to do it! While we still believe that God can and does heal today according to His will, we do not believe that anyone today has the gift of healing as seen in the lives of Christ and the apostles.
Benny Hinn deceived the people by implying that it is God's will for every Christian to be healed physically right now, while the Bible promises no such thing. Romans 8:23 says that we are still waiting for "the redemption of our body."
Sickness and pain is part of the curse of sin, and we will have to endure these trials until we get a glorified body at the resurrection.
The greatest tragedy of all is that multitudes of people who attended this crusade sincerely believe that the are born again and going to heaven because they experienced a feeling in their body, and repeated a sinner's prayer after Benny Hinn without any Biblical knowledge of why they need to be saved, and how they can be saved.
I have already met people while out soul winning and listened as they told me that they were going to heaven because of what they experienced at the crusade.
The Word of God has forewarned us that, in the latter days, there would be an abundance of doctrinal delusion. First Timothy 4:1 says, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." Our Lord Himself warned us of false prophets such as Benny Hinn in Matthew 7:15, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
Christians today need to follow the example of the Bereans in Acts 17:11, who "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
As we carefully examine every doctrine and practice in the light of God's Word we will be protected from the deception of false doctrine and false prophets like Benny Hinn.
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