Hinn: the bitter and the sweet
There are two sides to every story; some people say three. And the just ended Benny Hinn crusade at the Wildey Gymnasium, last Saturday and Sunday, has elicited –– apart from the controversy before, during and after –– elicited at least two clear viewpoints.
There are even those in the church who, while throwing their full support behind the crusade and the unorthodox Pastor Hinn, still have some concerns about certain aspects of what had been billed a Miracle Healing Service And National Blessing. There are several questions which ought to be answered publicly, and some issues have left me disturbed about Hinn’s conduct and methods of carrying out his “healings”.
I know there are church people who don’t believe questions should be asked, for example, about the $300,000 spent to have this controversial American televangelist in Barbados. But I must ask: what Word did he bring which we have not heard before, or could not have been told by the same pastors who comprised the National Alliance Of Churches And Christian Organizations Of Barbados?
Couldn’t the alliance have taken that same money and conducted a miracle healing service and national blessing? Wouldn’t God have blessed the people or healed them? Or do we believe the Almighty reserves his power and favour for foreigners and the Benny Hinns of this world?
Healing comes only through the faith of a person that God will do the job. So all those who went to the Gymnasium expecting to be healed under the ministry of Hinn, I am just wondering whether or not they were exercising their faith in God before then?
By the way, though, why did Hinn not try his “gift” of healing on those people confined to wheelchairs? It is reasonable to conclude, from the fact that these church leaders banded together to host Hinn –– and pay him –– from a budget of more than $1/4 million, that we don’t have anyone in Barbados that specially gifted, or spiritually endowed, to rescue our people and nation from its moral and spiritual decline, or perhaps no one who deserves such money being spent on their efforts.
What is even more curious –– and I am being politically correct –– is that you are spending this kind of money on a man who is already washed in cash and yet, even while he is here conducting the crusade, you are still begging people who have never seen the kind of money he is accustomed to to fork out as much as $1,000 each to defray the cost of the crusade.
Another concern: Hinn’s instructions to his security aides to get people on the platform, and then his embarking on a series of gestures that would result in their falling backwards on the ground still look to me like mere theatre for his television audience.
Added to that –– and one of the most disturbing features –– was how he treated the Barbadian security which the organizers hired to keep certain people, including the media, at a distance.
“You, stop! I don’t care who you are. Freeze! Go back!” Hinn shouted to one of the Bajan security personnel patrolling the front of the stage. Minutes later, other security people, strategically placed among the audience by the front row of the Gym, were also publicly embarrassed.
“Get them outta here. I don’t want them here,” Hinn said loudly, as he ordered his personal guards to remove the Bajan security from their posts.
These were just some of the things that disturbed me, especially coming on the heels of a good preaching. However, one of the corporate sponsors of the crusade –– the Pentecostal Assemblies Of The West Indies (PAWI) –– was not only glad that Hinn came to Barbados, but happy that he promised to be back to deal directly with the youth of this country and to pay his way.
“I would say, officially, I am glad that Benny Hinn came to these shores. I was glad that he was able to be a blessing and I am glad that he has promised to come back to minister to the young people at his own expense,” acting presiding bishop of PAWI, Phillip Drayton, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
Bishop Drayton said, though, that if anyone felt they were healed and could not verify it, they should go to a doctor.
“As Benny Hinn said to one man who came and said he was healed of a heart condition, if you can’t verify the miracle, go to a doctor.”
But speaking personally, the PAWI official informed Barbados TODAY that while he supported the crusade, he did have some concerns.
“Benny Hinn is a controversial man; so anything to do with the crusade would have controversy in it; whether it be the comments that were made before, the comments after, and the things that people have pasted on YouTube, and all kinds of stuff. Of course there were concerns,” he declared.
However, Bishop Drayton did not think the issue was about Hinn. He said he did not go to the crusade for Hinn; he went for God.
“Barring Billy Graham, I think there are extremely few big-name preachers that can be invited to Barbados and there is not some type of controversy surrounding them. Most of the time when I hear speakers –– and I am generalizing –– most of the time when I hear speakers there are things that I don’t agree with; there is stuff I do not like; there are antics that they have . . . and, as a preacher myself, I say, ‘Why you do that? Why you bother with that? I don’t understand that’.”
Drayton said he tried not to judge things he did not understand or would not do himself. Asked if the $300,000 spent on hosting the American televangelist was justified, he replied: “People spend a lot of money bringing all kinds of artistes and all kinds of people to this nation who do absolutely nothing for us but entertain us for a while. The input that Benny Hinn has had to our churches, to our nation and to our individuals has been worth much more than $300,000.”