“False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” 2 Peter 2:1-3
Our guest this weekend was saved out of the kind of “ministry” described in the above passage from 2 Peter 2:1-3. His name is Costi Hinn. If his last name sounds familiar, that is because he is the nephew of Benny Hinn, an internationally-known “televangelist” who speaks to millions of people globally and claims to have the power of healing and miracles, although none have ever been verified by independent sources. To the contrary, investigations about staged healings and extravagant use of donor funds have dogged Benny Hinn’s “ministry” for years.
Apparently, allegations of fakery and fraud don’t hurt the business, as Benny Hinn and similar Word of Faith and “apostolic ministries” continue to ply their trade around the world as part of what we’re calling the “Healing/Miracle Financial Complex”. Along with Hinn, one of the more influential leaders is Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, who along with Jesus Culture, the church’s trendy worship band, claim all manner of supernatural gifts and practices.
It would be bad enough if these kinds of errant teachers operated in the bike lane, but the reality is that these extreme Pentecostal-rooted movements are exerting enormous influence on mainstream evangelical churches. Darken the room, apply the mood lighting, perform repetitive stanzas of emotional music rhythms, and it won’t be long before you hear fellow members of your church starting sentences with “God told me… or “We shouldn’t put God in a box.”
Costi Hinn is the co-author of a compelling book, Defining Deception: Freeing the Church from the Mystical-Miracle Movement, which traces the history, doctrines, practices, and leaders of what is now termed the New Apostolic Reformation. Be sure to join us this weekend and next so you and those you know can steer clear of its deceptions.