PROPHECY OR PRESUMPTION?
TIME IS RUNNING OUT ON THE SPURIOUS ORACLES OF BENNY HINN
by G. Richard Fisher and M. Kurt Goedelman
The late PFO director Bill Cetnar repeatedly declared, Time is the enemy of a false prophet. False prophets are plentiful today just as they were in the time of Jeremiah, whose words in Jeremiah 23:16 address those who speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord. False prophets of today, as in times past, elevate their own spirituality, seduce the undiscerning with a false sense of hope, and draw disciples to themselves rather than Christ.
Yet, when the predictions of modern seers do not even come close to fulfillment they offer a number of excuses or rationalizations for the failures, leaving their prognostications nothing more than retractable doublespeak.
Many contemporary prophets simply go on to a new scheme or revelation, forgetting or ignoring the previous ones as though they never uttered them. Few of these prophets offer a trace of repentance or apology following the failure of these words from the Lord.
When these modern false prophets do acknowledge their past predictions, they often reinterpret the prophecy to make it seem to fit current events or spiritualize it to some completely new meaning or understanding. Or the prophet may attempt to distance himself from his alleged divine utterance by claiming I am no prophet, I am a mere man and I do make mistakes.
William Branham tried to sidestep the issue of his failed prophecies by saying he predicted rather than prophesied (The Quarterly Journal, Vol. 8, No., 4, pg. 9). Semantic games abound in the world of failed prophets.
False prophets who find themselves cornered and unable to ignore, redefine or spiritualize their predictions, sometimes will resort to the Touch not the Lords anointed line, calling their detractors quenchers of the Holy Spirit.
Christians need to take a long hard look at Jeremiahs words, For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams that you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name: I have not sent them, says the Lord (Jeremiah 29:8-9).
Jeremiahs edict is very clear: If anyone claims to prophesy and then gives false prophecies, believers are to reject the prophet. If prophecies are found to be false, we know that God is not the author of the revelation.
God also, through Moses, gave a test to determine the source of a prophecy: If the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing that the Lord has not spoken: the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him (Deuteronomy 18:22).
Gods standard for prophets is one strike and youre out.
Faith healer and televangelist Benny Hinn has also tried his hand at prophecy and proved to be a showman and a master manipulator of emotions, but not a prophet of God.
PFO has obtained a cassette tape from a late-evening service on Dec. 31, 1989, at Hinns church, the Orlando Christian Center (now known as World Outreach Center). On this tape, Hinn presents a dramatic sequence of prophecies concerning events that were to occur in the 1990s.
During the New Years Eve service, Hinn, supposedly under direct divine influence and in a trance-like state, gave his audience a whimsical look into what he said would occur in the upcoming decade.
Hinn tried to heighten the dramatic effect of his performance by interspersing speaking in tongues throughout the presentation all of which was done without an interpreter. Ta-Kaa-Pa Kaa-Paa Daa, he intoned, in violation of 1 Corinthians 14, which says tongues are forbidden without interpretation. If Hinn was trying to both speak in tongues and supply his own interpretation, he still was on questionable scriptural ground.
He began his prophetic discourse by declaring:
Our Lord says this year in Orlando, youre gonna see new ministries arrive. Some are gonna move into Orlando and start new ministries but I am not in it. I am not in it. They will come here because of the growth and the Lord says to tell you that ... what I do not begin will fall.
Hinn went on to say God would send three ministries that will come from Orlando. One would spark the fires of evangelism, another would spark the great commitment in the Church that God has been waiting for, and the third one, which has just been birthed, would reach the young people of America from Orlando.
To get even more specific thereby digging himself deeper into his error Hinn proclaimed this latter ministry-church would expose Satans last hidden secrets and would even go into the high schools of America and bring God back into the classrooms. This new breed of fighters, Hinn said, will even affect the minds in Washington, D.C., concerning Me.
As the late 90s approach, there is nothing that could be construed as reaching the youth of America from Orlando either when the prophecy was given or any year subsequent. In fact, national statistics report increasing drug use and suicide among young Americans. Cocaine and even LSD use are at an all-time high. Orlando itself is not immune from these problems. A front-page story in the July 14, 1996 edition of The Orlando Sentinel said heroin is proving deadlier than ever, causing more teen-age deaths there than in all other Florida cities and towns combined. Other recent reports listed Florida as the third most dangerous state in the nation.
Furthermore, Washington, D.C. is still Washington, D.C., and secular education continues in a downward spiral. The only thing from Orlando that could be said to be reaching out with nationwide impact to the young is the Walt Disney Co., with its theme parks, movies, and other entertainment and consumer entities. Recall that Hinn declared: This year in Orlando it was going to begin. What Happened? Who is wrong, God or Hinn?
Surely, if anything so dramatic and revolutionary would have happened in the early 90s the Church at large would have heard of it. At the very least, we would have read an enhanced version of the occurrence in an issue of Charisma magazine. Then, further into his message, Hinn predicted two notable deaths within Christian circles would occur within the next few years. The Lord also says that two of his great giants will die in the mid-nineties. They have held the torch of revival for the last forty years these two, Hinn purported.
This is a good example of a shotgun prophecy, especially since a number of the Christian leaders are up in age. It is akin to announcing that in the next few years there will be two major airline disasters or earthquakes. Although Hinn does give some details of these deaths, he was, on an identification level, careful to keep the pronouncement vague. He said:
One will die suddenly while asleep and the other will die with sickness. And as both giants die, which will be in the mid-nineties, I will shake this world with the last revival. Their deaths will be the closing pages of this move and the new move of God will begin which I have promised. While it is agreed that it would be troublesome to give the names of the giants, nonetheless, if the message truly had been from the Lord, one wonders why Hinn could not have provided more precise details, such as a more exact time frame, cause of death, or other such specifics.
With time running out for this particular segment of Hinns prophecy, evidently he has had to widen the perimeters of the meaning of giant. He tried to establish the validity of this revelation by telling viewers of the Praise The Lord Show:
The Lord said this to me. He said in the mid-nineties two of my giants will go home. And right after that, the greatest revival in the history of man would begin. Well just recently one mighty giant went home, thats Dr. Sumrall. ... My very precious friend. Now I dont know whos next. Im not going to predict anyone to go home now. ... But we are now in the mid-nineties. This is this is this this is the time. Saints, put your seat belts on. Something is about to happen (June 11, 1996).
Surely, the definition of giant is in the eye of the beholder. Pentecostal minister Lester F. Sumrall died of meningitis on April 28, 1996, at age 83. While the former Assembly of God minister was a notable personality in Pentecostal circles, Sumrall did not possess the distinction gained by some of Hinns other precious friends such as Oral Roberts, Paul Crouch, Kathryn Kuhlman or Aimee Semple McPherson. Nor could it be argued that Sumrall was one who could be said to have held the torch of revival for the last forty years.
In a pinch, one could equally consider the late Roman Catholic Cardinal Leon-Joseph Suenens. Suenens, who died May 6, 1996, at age 91, was an initiator and leader who helped to shape and extend the ecumenism introduced at Vatican Council II. He also had a large part in the early Catholic Charismatic movement. But, perhaps, his passing missed Hinns attention.
Moreover, based upon the age (and in some cases the failing health) of those prominent in the religious scene, such as evangelist Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Robert Schuller and several others, it would not be surprising to see a few more aging leaders pass off the scene before 2000. This is a safe prediction for anyone to make and the end of the decade may see other leaders dying as well.
Back at the New Years Eve service, Hinns claims continued and grew more incredible:
There will be many raised from the dead in that day. Many visitations of angels that will come as young men knocking at your door. You will not recognize them as angels at first, but then you will be burned within your hearts.
Resurrections have yet to become commonplace or even occasional. Every cemetery in America is intact. Even the isolated claims of alleged resurrections by the likes of Oral Roberts and others are quickly silenced by a scrutinizing media and requests for documentation.
While Hinn himself has repeatedly claimed angelic appearances and could easily turn up someone who claims to have had an angelic visitation, many visitations would be somewhat harder to document. Even if Hinn were to appeal to the books and TV programs that have promulgated the angelic phenomenon, he would have to answer for the unscriptural theology and questionable motives of those productions.
It was then that Hinn moved into the most damaging segment of his prophecy. He said:
The Lord also tells me to tell you in the mid-nineties, about 94 or 95, no later than that, God will destroy the homosexual community of America (emphasis added).
Hinns declaration was greeted with a loud applause from his congregation. Perhaps the enthusiastic response caused Hinn to further bury himself:
But He will not destroy it with what many minds have thought Him to be. But He will destroy it with fire. And many will turn and be saved, and many will rebel and be destroyed.
The first sentence probably refers to AIDS. Hinn has been confronted over undocumented claims of healing from AIDS, from which he has retreated quickly. Given that the homosexual population has become more overt and militant during the decade, it is obvious that Hinn has spoken with great presumption.
The irony is that the Disney Corp., also based in Orlando, has given the homosexual community a great boost. This has led to a call by the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention for people to boycott Disney products, a move endorsed by publisher Stephen Strang, Hinns good friend (see Charisma, August 1996, pg. 88). There has been no nationwide destruction of homosexuals and evidently Hinn did not know that the mid-nineties would have a previously family-oriented organization lending its weight to a group and lifestyle that militates against the family. Can any good thing come out of Orlando? Probably so, but not accurate prophecy by Hinn.
In his quest to be a prophet, Hinn left nothing to personal interpretation with these statements. Remember his claim that the Lord told him as he repeatedly emphasized the source of his edict, and was exact in what would happen and to whom, and even provided a date by which the event would occur. Those who still consider Hinn anointed of God need to contemplate what the Lord has said concerning would-be prophets in Deuteronomy 18:21-22.
With the 1995 no later deadline come and gone and with the homosexual community alive, militant and continuing to make substantial progress in pursuit of its goals, Hinn is shown to be a false prophet. There was no mass, fiery annihilation of homosexuals. Neither could one argue that because of mass conversions or repentance among the homosexual populace, Gods judgment has been restrained. It is also sad to think that Hinns congregation would cheer with applause the destruction of the homosexual people. This proves the adage, When truth disappears, the vacuum is filled by power.
This type of mindset also provides added motivation for the homosexual agenda. It polarizes and does nothing to show to the needy the love or forgiveness of God, nor does it convey to them the power He can provide to change their lives. If the militant homosexual community ever gets hold of Hinns prophecy, it might really fire them up in ways Hinn never envisioned.
Hinn next predicted that:
The economy of the United States of America is going to fall. ... And what will bring America to its knees, says the Spirit, is the economic collapse. The allies she has depended upon will turn their backs.
With the rising national debt, the financial collapse of America has become a staple in the prognostications of many a doomsday prophet. It is not hard to imagine the source of this part of Hinns prophecy. Yet, any serious economist would disagree that Hinns flight of fancy has been an accurate depiction of the nineties, especially with the stock market reaching new highs. Moreover, Hinn implies that this financial collapse will occur because America has depended upon her allies and they will turn their backs. Americas economic strength is not dependent upon her foreign allies. Rather, it could be said, that throughout the last century quite the opposite has been true.
Despite the warnings of financial ruin, Hinn promises that America will again be exalted: Ive heard the voice of my saints ... I will look again on this nation even as Ive looked on Israel long ago and I will restore its greatness. In that greatness, I will be magnified. The error of manifest doctrine, the idea that America is the exact parallel of Israel in terms of Gods dealings, is a myth and does not have one scintilla of evidence in Scripture. Gods primary dealings are with individuals of all nations and the Church, the body of Christ. America has been blessed, but it is not Israel in any sense.
Hinns predictions went on to focus on the spiritual:
Canada will be visited with a mighty revival that will start in the west coast of British Columbia. It will sweep across the west. It will sweep across even Alaska and will come east. But the great move of God that Ive planned for America will not begin on the west coast but on the east coast. It will break loose in the next three years, and sweep across the west.
Hinns specifics have again narrowed and all but negated the possibility of variety of purported fulfillments of his words. He has prophesied himself into the proverbial corner. For example, he cannot claim the so-called Toronto Blessing as the fruition of his spiritual-awakening forecast. Toronto is in south-central Canada. Moreover, the roots of this movement are traced not to British Columbia, but to the United States by way of Rodney Howard-Browne and a St. Louis Vineyard pastor named Randy Clark. Additionally, there has been no major revival occurring in western Canada between 1990 through 1993 that would accommodate Hinns pronouncement in any way. Again, he has seriously missed the standard for a biblical prophet.
Earthquakes are usually a dramatic theme and an attention getter. Hinn picked up on and addressed this theme as he warned his congregation: The Spirit of God tells me an earthquake will hit the east coast of America and destroy much in the nineties. While Hinns time frame allows him a few more years on this one, if his accuracy rating continues at his current standard, those living on the east coast have little to worry about.
Hinn even went so far to claim that, Not one place will be safe from earthquakes in the nineties. These who have not known earthquakes will know it.
Hinn then turns his efforts to the political scene. And just in case his audience has forgotten the supposed source of his message, he asserted: People, I feel the Spirit all over me. In his discourse on world politics, he maintained: There will be a woman that will arise as a leader in the west. ... Following the rapture [of the Church], a woman president will be in the White House. And that woman president will destroy this nation. We also learn that Europe ... will rule the nations and influence the world and that Cuban leader Fidel Castro will die in the nineties.
And as the grand finale to his worldview vision, he said:
A world dictator is coming on the scene my! Hes a short man. Hes a short man! I see a short man! Whos a perfect incarnation of Satan. ... Never in my life have I had anything happen like whats happening to me now. This man will rule the world. The next few years you will see him. But not long after that you will see Me.
A few years from Dec. 31, 1989, have already passed. There is no short man ruling the world and we havent seen God. Thus, it is painfully obvious that all of the above has to be, at best, human deception and stage antics from the mind of Benny Hinn, or at worst, satanic deception. False prophecies need to be called just that. Graves have not opened, homosexuals have not gone up in flames and the short man never showed up.
As a teen-ager, Hinn traveled with a drama group. He was known as a showman (see The Confusing World of Benny Hinn, pg. 49). He learned his skill well. His prophecies on Dec. 31, 1989 were all a stage play. It is, as weve seen, false prophecy and a diversion from what is important. Yet Hinn evidently knows that his kind of a show feeds the sensational and fuels his followers emotions. As in his healing crusades, he has taken them on yet another adrenalin and endorphin high. These kind of highs become addictive and make one less able to discern. Judging from his congregations response (heard on the cassette tape) they loved every second of it. Jesus did not titillate emotions and we can trust what He taught about the future. At times he totally downplayed speculative pursuits about future knowledge.
David Hagopian and Douglas Wilson point this out:
When our Lord stood on the mount, about to ascend to the right hand of the Father, His disciples, sensing His imminent departure, anxiously asked Him when He would restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). Instead of indulging their end-times inquiry, He told them that it was of no concern to them when God had ordained such things to take place, only that they would take place. Far more important than probing the secret will of the Father was the obedience they were to render to His revealed will (v. 7). In particular, He told them to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth (v. 8) (Beyond Promises, pg. 245).
Hinn then closed his revelation in dramatic fashion, asserting that he was so caught up in the Spirit that he was totally unaware of what hed said:
I wish somebody would make sure to tell me what I said. Did you tape that brother? Did you tape that? Ooh! I was totally drunk. Im still drunk. Lord, if You spoke through me, if what You said is of You, then as I stretch my finger towards the people let Your power fall on every one of them. If what Ive said, Master, is of You, let the power flow now. Here it goes in the name of Jesus.
Some shrieked, some fell as proof of the divine nature of it all. Hinn was in total control as he led his people into altered states of consciousness.
Hinn acted more like a shaman than a Christian minister. In occultic and pagan societies a shaman enters a trance-like state and presumes to act as a mediator with the gods or spirits. The shaman may declare cures or tell the future. Postmodern religious practices have now entered the world of the occult.
Noted German theologian and author Kurt Koch writes:
Speaking in a trance is a practice of mediums. It only takes place when a medium is present who has mastered this form of spiritism. The medium puts himself into a trance, a kind of deep sleep, and the spirits are then said to be able to speak through the medium to the people present (Occult ABC, pg. 219).
What Hinn purported to do belongs in the realm of black magic or a gypsy tea room. Divination or divining and predicting the future is soundly condemned in Deuteronomy 18:10, Jeremiah 14:14 and Acts 16:16 (in context). Apart from Gods ordained prophets in the Scriptures there are only false prophets. Even if one engages in the realm of prophecy simply as a product of the flesh, doing it is a dangerous practice.
It seems almost ironic that in recent months Hinn has loudly assaulted mediums by declaring that he was going to go head-to-head with the psychic hot lines. He asked for the support of his followers so that his daily program would telecast over the same secular television stations that broadcast the psychics advertisements and infomercials. In reality, what he has done and is doing appears to be a Christianized version of the psychic hot lines. His demonstrations of the supernatural, such as healings, future telling, words of knowledge, trances, and other antics are stock-in-trade in the occult world.
Hinn also, by virtue of his trance, gives to his faithful a skewed and unbiblical concept of inspiration. Divine inspiration is not robotic or mechanical. God did not use his prophets as mindless robots or mere drunken scribes. Those who spoke for Him were intellectually involved and knowledgeable in terms of what was being communicated. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth that The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of the prophets (1 Corinthians 14:32).
People need to wake up and apply the Scriptures to Hinns false statements and to all false prophets. The Church need not be afraid of speaking out against false prophets who deliver false prophecies. Either God is wrong and has made a mistake or the prophet is speaking presumptuously from his own mind. Going with God and His written Word is always the safest route. Theatrics and tabloid teasers do not belong in Gods house. Christians need to take seriously the words of H.M. Wolf as he points us to the Scripture:
In the N.T. false prophets were plentiful (I John 4:1) and were compared with wolves in sheeps clothing (Matt. 7:15) and false teachers (II Pet. 2:1). ... Christ warned of false teachers whose miracles would deceive many in the end (Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22) (The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 2, pg. 496).
This time Hinn cannot blame his mistakes on an editor or say it was a joke or he is just a human as he has in the past. Throughout his delivery Hinn repeatedly claims a divine origin for his message by alleging: the Spirit of God tells me, or the Lord says. This was supposed to be right from the throne room of God and he is pretending to be Gods conduit. This was claimed to be a bona fide prophetic utterance. It was supposed to be no less than the real thing. It is really time for people to wake up!
Hinns claim of divine inspiration has succumbed to the
mortal enemy of a false prophet: Time. By now you would have
thought he would have learned that all his documented falsehoods
have a way of catching up. Jeremiah and Moses said we are to
judge self-professing prophets on the basis of their accuracy.
Paul instructed the Church to weigh carefully what
the prophets have said. That is all that weve done.
© 1996 - PFO. All rights reserved by Personal Freedom Outreach. This article may not be stored on BBS or Internet sites without permission. Reproduction is prohibited, except for portions intended for personal use and non-commercial purposes. For reproduction permission contact: Personal Freedom Outreach, P.O. Box 26062, Saint Louis, Missouri 63136.
For more information on the doctrine and
practice of this controversial faith healer, see:
The Confusing World of Benny Hinn