Observers take wait-and-see approach to televangelist “correcting” his prosperity gospel theology.
Benny Hinn says he is done with the prosperity gospel. But long-time observers are not ready to take his word on faith.
Hinn has been a leading proponent of prosperity gospel theology since the 1980s, teaching that God rewards active faith with health and wealth. But on September 2, during his 3-hour, 50-minute weekly broadcast, Hinn said he had changed.
“I am correcting my own theology and you need to all know it,” the televangelist told his studio audience and those watching online. “The blessings of God are not for sale. And miracles are not for sale. And prosperity is not for sale.”
Hinn said he now believes such give-to-get theology is offensive to God. He specifically repudiated the practice of asking for “seed money,” where televangelists tell people that God will bless them if they give a specific dollar amount. Hinn himself has done this numerous times, promising God will give material blessings in exchange for a gift of $1,000. On Monday, he said he wouldn’t do it anymore.
“I think giving has become such a gimmick,” Hinn said. “It’s making me sick to my stomach. And I’ve been sick for a while too. I just couldn’t say it. And now the lid is off. I’ve had it. You know why? I don’t want to get to heaven and be rebuked.”
Some of the Christians who have watched him closest, however, viewed the apparent renunciation with skepticism. While they want to be open to the possibility of true repentance, and say God could have changed Hinn’s heart, they are waiting for some evidence of his transformation.
“I think time will tell whether this is a minor correction, something for publicity, or the beginning of a new trajectory …