It’s tough to think about a extra tangible signal of God’s favor than nice wealth. Abraham had it. So did David and Solomon. Even Job, after his intense struggling, was restored to double his earlier fortune. Conclusion? It’s God’s will that each one Christians ought to get pleasure from each wealth and regular well being throughout their earthly lives. Your current poverty and bodily illnesses are marks of unbelief and an unwillingness to assert what’s already yours in Christ. Give (cash) in abundance and you’ll obtain (cash) in better abundance. Belief God and by no means get sick.
Or so the prosperity gospel tells us.
Costi Hinn, nephew of well-known prosperity trainer and faith-healer Benny Hinn, used to embrace this line of pondering with ardour. Having grown up within the prosperity-gospel motion and observing its energy firsthand, the youthful Hinn was able to observe in his uncle’s footsteps and provides himself to preaching the excellent news of assured well being and affluence to the sick and poor. He tells the superb story in his new guide, God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Reality Overwhelms a Life Constructed on Lies.
Coach, Lady, Sovereign God
In God’s windfall, nevertheless, Hinn went to Dallas Baptist College with a possibility to play faculty baseball, regardless of the objections of some relations. A Baptist college wasn’t precisely the place the place the prosperity gospel or its proponents can be revered. But whereas he encountered biblical fact within the classroom, his coach’s private godliness and dugout devotionals on subjects like God’s sovereignty started to undermine Hinn’s theological framework.
The Bible teaches that God does what he pleases, provides freely to his creatures, and isn’t obligated to bathe materials wealth on those that meet sure circumstances. As a result of the prosperity gospel is constructed on the notion that believers can successfully drive God’s hand by giving cash and believing they’ll obtain what they need, the reality about God’s sovereignty dealt a devastating blow to Hinn’s religion. Already feeling some theological tremors, his wariness would solely improve as he obtained to know a Christian woman named Christyne.
Initially, the truth that Christyne didn’t share Hinn’s views on faith-healing, talking in tongues, or the concept a lavish life-style is God’s will for Christians didn’t derail the connection. It wasn’t till Hinn talked about his girlfriend to his household that the difficulty actually began.
Taking challenge with Christyne’s extra biblical views and her lack of ability to talk in tongues, Hinn’s mother and father and prolonged household voiced their disapproval of the match. One member of the family even claimed to have acquired revelation that Hinn wasn’t going to marry Christyne. Regardless of his dedication to Christyne and his plan to marry her, different relations scrambled to “fix” her by taking her to his uncle’s therapeutic providers, urgent the problem of tongues, and implicitly requiring that she by no means get sick. This latter requirement nearly resulted in tragedy as Christyne, in an try to cover a continual sickness, was discovered quickly paralyzed within the basement of Hinn’s mother and father’ dwelling after an bronchial asthma assault.
Leaving the Prosperity-Gospel Life-style and Theology
Shortly after this incident, an outdated pal contacted Hinn and provided him a part-time place as a youth pastor in southern California. The transfer coincided with Costi and Christyne’s marriage and would sign a severe break with the prosperity gospel. Leaving the Hinn life-style and household circle was not straightforward, nevertheless. The newlyweds started their life collectively working a number of jobs to make ends meet and driving 120-mile roundtrips every day out and in of Orange County simply to outlive. God lastly offered an condo close to the church, and the brand new couple beginning promoting Costi’s accrued “prosperity-gospel treasures” to repay wedding ceremony debt:
Subsequent factor we knew, we have been dwelling two miles from church, and although it was no prosperity-gospel life-style, it was our life. I had gone from dwelling in practically 10,000 sq. toes to dwelling in 600 sq. toes. From driving a Hummer, to driving a Chrysler, to driving a Kia Soul, to driving my bike as a result of my spouse wanted the automotive to go to work. From buying Versace to scouring Marshalls. (134)
Important shifts, to make sure, however an excellent deeper change was on the horizon. Whereas making ready to evangelise John 5:1–17, Hinn once more got here face-to-face with Scripture’s educating on God’s sovereignty:
Coach Heefner’s phrases from my Dallas Baptist Baseball days got here again to me: God is sovereign. That is what he meant all alongside. God is in management. He’s not some cosmic genie who exists to present me what I would like and do what I command him to do. He’s the majestic Creator of heaven and earth whom we exist to worship. . . . The gospel immediately made sense. My life existed for the glory of God, not my very own glory. God’s highest goal was to not make me glad, wholesome, and rich; it was to present him glory. (141)
Extra clearly than ever, Hinn acknowledged that the “gospel” his uncle and father had been broadcasting for many years is a paltry imitation of the true factor. Christ died and rose to present us the priceless treasure of sins forgiven and relationship with God, to not line our pockets with short-term riches. And faithfulness isn’t expressed by spiritually plundering the susceptible to fund your luxurious SUVs, opulent properties, and lavish holidays. “Faithfulness was glorifying God, obeying him, and loving him above all and your neighbor as yourself. Faithfulness for a pastor meant giving your life to serve the church, not having the church serve you” (147).
Such newly found truths ignited in Hinn a ardour to rescue these presently within the grip of the prosperity gospel. He started to review the historical past and theology of the motion, to talk with relations, and to succeed in out to buddies who’d been hoodwinked by the false promise of well being and wealth. Alongside his work as a pastor, Hinn presently labors to assist believers higher grasp the everlasting risks of the prosperity gospel.
Extra Than Private Testimony
God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel is greater than a private testimony, nevertheless. Intertwined all through the guide—particularly the latter half—is forthright biblical commentary on wealth, the character of false academics, prosperity theology, and hard-earned knowledge on the way to greatest have interaction these beneath its spell. Having realized from errors he made in harshly confronting relations over their involvement with the prosperity gospel, Hinn encourages us to wish for our family and friends, research the problems properly, cope with our personal sin first, communicate the reality in love, and by no means hand over sharing biblical doctrine with others. Behind the guide Hinn supplies an inventory of a number of useful sources for many who want to pursue a deeper understanding of the prosperity motion and what Scripture teaches about wealth.
Total, Hinn’s guide is an interesting, easy-to-read, and well-balanced introduction to the prosperity gospel and serves as a superb complement to his extra academically rigorous work, Defining Deception. And in case you’re questioning about royalties on a guide in regards to the prosperity gospel, Hinn is directing all proceeds to fund theological training that can equip Christian leaders to higher attain these ensnared by the health-and-wealth gospel. For Benny Hinn’s nephew, it’s actually extra blessed to present than to obtain.