One Pastor's Experience and Response

  After attending a Hinn meeting in New York, a pastor wrote the following to our Gen. Superintendent. (Note date.)

July 16, 1995

The Rev. Thomas Trask, Gen. Sup't.
1445 Boonville Ave.
Springfield, MO 65802

Dear Pastor,

This address is chosen deliberately because you are, above all, pastor to our Fellowship and my pastor/bishop/overseer. Since General Council is imminent and demanding your fullest attention, I am happy to wait for a reply for a month or two.

Friday, July 14, I attended a Benny Hinn Crusade service in East Rutherford, NJ. Like most A/G pastors, I have heard more than a fair amount of praise and criticism of his ministry and of our Fellowship's decision to issue Ordination credentials to him but I had no personal knowledge about him other than reading some of his writings. Since he was now a colleague in this great Fellowship, I decided to go and ask the Lord to minister to me through this man who now enjoys the endorsement of our movement and our leadership.

Out of that four hour-long service, many questions were raised in mind so I am writing to you- my Pastor- heavy in heart; confused; and in need of answers.

To give context to my further remarks know that I am 40 years of age and have served the Lord in the Assemblies of God- sometimes wisely and sometimes not so wisely- for 20 years. My maternal Granddad was and my Dad is an Assemblies pastor. I know Pentecost and treasure the fullness of the Spirit. He is the Life of the Church of Jesus. His power, alone, makes winning the world a possibility.

What happened to me that raised so many questions? Please be patient with my lengthy detailed account.

The service began with a self-congratulatory 5 minute video about the grand goals of Benny Hinn to reach the world and an appeal for "partners" who would be granted certain special privileges in future crusades for their support. That is standard stuff for evangelists and traveling ministries.

The next segment of the service was praise/worship and it was wonderful. The Spirit touched our hearts through the skillful ministry of music provided by the Hinn team and Alvin Slaughter of Brooklyn Tabernacle. Whatever negatives I might have carried into the service with me were melting away.

Following the praise, Benny used time "warming up" his audience with light humor and extended remarks, during which he was careful to recognize the Assemblies of God pastors present. He spoke at length about his relationship with the Fellowship. He spoke of meeting recently with you and your desire that our churches experience fresh fire of the Holy Ghost. That, too, was standard methodology for large meetings and did not raise any concerns.

Then, after another song or two, it started to get heavy. A grand lead-up to the offering started. For about 30 minutes Hinn treated us to an exhaustive listing of his achievements for Christ around the world with the clear implication that he was God's man of the hour. Then, with manipulation that was beyond any standard of integrity, we were instructed to faithfulness in our giving TO HIM. A minimum of $100 was set and $1000 was suggested. To further cap it off, Benny reminded us that if we failed to give to the Lord in obedience, "God would surely collect from us within the next year," possibly through financial disaster or business problems. He and his wife had, he assured us, been through that personally. His warning was to spare us those kinds of problems. Is this lapse of ethics any less serious in God's eyes than the recent lapses of Jim Bakker which were held to be so contemptible?

Following the offering, Benny presented a message on the "Blood of Christ." Given his new prominence as an example for Spirit-filled, fire-fresh, A/G pastors [i.e.; his inclusion in the recent Signs and Wonders Conference] I would have hoped for better than we got! It was a rambling, not well researched, presentation of God's Holy Word. His interpretations and conclusions sometimes were drawn from thin air, a tendency that has created heresy problems for him in the past.

NOW I come to the place in the service that I need you to help me understand.

The concluding 35-50 minutes were, in my humble opinion, the most grotesque display I have ever seen put on in the Lord's Name. There are no words to adequately describe ... the blare of music, the roar of a frenzied crowd, the amplified screaming of Bro. Hinn, and the falling, flailing bodies in and around the platform area.

"TOUCCHHH!" he screamed over and over into the microphone while flinging his arms at groups and individuals. Sometimes he ordered ministry teams members to stand a person up so he could have a second and even third go at them with his TOUCCHHH! I was unable to ascertain what was supposed to be happening or accomplished in Jesus' precious Name. There was no appeal for conversion, re-dedication, or even healing. It seemed {to me, at least} to be little more than a frenzy of blessing seeking.

A few years ago I saw a video entitled "God's of the New Age" in which there was a section showing a large group of people in so-called spiritual frenzy at the appearance of their guru on a ranch in Oregon. The scene at the Hinn Crusade instantly and vividly brought that video sequence back to mind.

If I write as one over-wrought, please forgive me. As I moved closer to see what was happening, I became intensely nauseated. I trembled, but not from the power of God. What shook my body was a combination of powerful emotions that included both terror and fury at the blatant manipulation of people that was going on while men I trusted watched and even occasionally participated. Even now as I write, tears come stinging my eyes.

Is this the new direction of our great and wonderful Fellowship? Is Benny Hinn the new exemplar of things desired in our ministries?

I would be the first to declare that our generation needs to experience God's Presence and Spirit in a fresh way. Many of us have lost the fervor that gripped our fathers. When they responded to the Spirit of God decorum was sometimes lacking, but there was purpose and meaning to their expressions of the moving of the Spirit. The passion they experienced moved them to plant churches across this nation and to send missionaries around the world. Far too much of what passes for seeking the fresh Fire of the Spirit today is really just a seeking after another spiritual high. The self-centered attitudes of this age are in the church and we say, "Bless me, Lord, and make me happy" while forgetting the call to sacrifice.

Thank you for your response. Yours humbly in His service,



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