OF HBO SPECIAL
For two high profile leaders of Charismatic Christianity, Easter Sunday 2001 will be a day they will long remember. They will remember it, not for the significance of celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but for an investigative report entitled, A Question of Miracles, which premiered on the premium cable network, HBO. The 75 minute documentary examined the claims of healing evangelists Benny Hinn and Reinhard Bonnke.
Production Notes for the HBO special demonstrated Hinns continued blatant inability when it comes to providing evidence for his many healing miracles:
Preaching in Portland, Ore., Benny Hinn performs 76 miracles on stage before an adoring, ecstatic crowd. In order to make an independent assessment of the results, the filmmakers ask for the names of the healed. Thirteen weeks later, the ministry produces five. None of these turn out have experienced lasting healing. Among the devotees who sought a miracle from Hinn that evening was 10 year old immigrant Ashnil Prakash, afflicted with two brain tumors. Although his impoverished parents pledge thousands of dollars to Hinn, Prakash dies seven weeks after the Portland event.
An interview with Prakashs mother and father following his death shows the parents continued an undeterred allegiance to the faith healer. As the couple discuss their childs succumbing to the tumors, no allusion of any measure is expressed of Hinn being culpable of perpetuating false hope. The couple sees themselves, not Hinn, as a possible cause that their son did not receive a healing. The father suggests his sons death may be a result of generational curses or sin of either himself or his father. When the HBO interviewer asked where he arrived at such a notion, the father responded, Pastor Benny.
Germany born Bonnke fared no better actually worse in the
report. At a healing service in Nigeria, Bonnke claims to perform
78 miracles. However, the supernatural is offset with tragic
results. The HBO report disclosed that at the outdoor crusade
Bonnke invokes the fear of witchcraft and evil spells while
proclaiming the healing power of Jesus Christ. The frenzied crowd
eventually goes out of control, and 15 people are crushed to
death that evening as they try to leave the field. At a
subsequent service, the parents of one who was killed at the
crusade attempted to bring their childs body to Bonnke in
the hope he would raise her from the dead. The parents and dead
child were intercepted and kept from the stage where Bonnke was
The program was written and directed by Antony Thomas and produced by Thomas and Carleen Ling An Hsu. Its impact will be greater than the similar special produced and aired on the CNN network in 1997. Harry Guetzlaff, of the Trinity Foundation, a televangelist watchdog group, said of the HBO documentary, It is extremely powerful. It demonstrates just how evil these men really are.
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For more information on the doctrine and
practice of this controversial faith healer, see:
The Confusing World of Benny Hinn