Benny Hinn claims that with a prayer and the touch of his hand, he can summon the Spirit of God to pronounce a person free from cancer, “demons,” and other infirmities. Such claims aroused the attention of NBC Dateline, which did an investigation on the television evangelist a few years ago. NBC found that Hinn was unable to provide any medical records to verify the claims of miraculous healings at his crusades, which was alarming since he began his ministry in 1975. But they did notice one outstanding thing about the “evangelist.” He is very wealthy. The Dateline report revealed that Hinn lives in a parsonage valued at $10 million and has spent as much as $10,000 a night for hotel rooms. That’s quite a contrast for a religion founded by a Savior who taught against “thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:22).
You don’t need NBC to identify the corruption found in many television evangelists. For one, the Spirit never gave men miraculous gifts for financial gain. When a man saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money to buy that power. Unlike Hinn, the apostle Peter did not take the money. Instead he said, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money” (Acts 8:20). The apostles never performed miracles for entertainment, financial reward, or to impress others. They were given those powers only to confirm they had the inspired word of God (Heb. 2:3-4). But now that the Bible has been completely revealed, the Spirit no longer inspires men with miraculous gifts (1 Cor. 13:8-10).
When the apostle Paul and other first century saints were sick, they resorted to medicine and prayer to treat their ailments (1 Tim. 5:23). No one used spiritual gifts for personal benefit. Hence, we are encouraged to do the same today with our infirmities—seek God’s help through prayer and medicine (Jas. 5:14). Only on television can men do more. –Mike Thomas