Faith healer Benny Hinn has spawned more confusion in the last decade than most preachers in recent history. Perhaps his insistence on advocating strange things stems from his own confusion or his desire to play to a larger constituency. Perhaps it is both.

Hinn appeared on the April 23 installment of Larry King Live. King challenged him as to why he doesn’t go from “bed to bed” in hospitals with his healing power. Hinn indicated that he does visit hospitals and when he prayed for people, there were some who were healed but others who were not. He then offered King this explanation as to his mixed results: “But, you see, the gift does not work when you want it to work. The anointing must be there.”

The driving force of his ministry then came to light as he told King: “In a crusade — in a meeting when I am ministering, the anointing of God comes on me and that’s when things happen.” Yet all of this begs the question: Why would the Holy Spirit limit Himself to work in power in only emotionally charged meetings? Hinn would have us believe that the anointing comes and goes but mostly comes in arenas and convention centers. Hinn’s concept takes issue with Scripture as 1 John 2:27 states: “The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you.”

Hinn then endorsed the reputed divine healing power of the Marian shrines at Lourdes and Fatima. He told King and the viewing audience: “Look, God has given us, Larry, many sources of healing. Look at Lourdes. People have been healed going to Lourdes and Fatima. There was a pool, even in the Bible, the pool of Bethesda, where the angels stirred the water — people were also healed. So God has given us many avenues of healing. He wants us to be healed.”

It is disturbing to see Hinn put these two extrabiblical shrines in the same category as a biblical event. It must also be noted that in the incident in John 5, the man was healed by Jesus (John 5:12-13) and Bethesda is never mentioned again after this chapter. (It is a dry archaeological ruin today.) Further, no one is ever pointed back to it for help or healing. In Acts 3 the man is not pointed to the pool (which was nearby) but to Christ (Acts 3:6). Whatever temporary mercy God had shown at Bethesda ended with the person of Christ. But the point must be made that there is a universe of distance between what Lourdes and Fatima are promoting and the Jewish pool of John 5. At the Pool of Bethesda, no one was being encouraged to hold to teachings contrary to God’s Word.

The message of both Lourdes and Fatima are messages supposedly from the Virgin Mary promoting veneration and prayers to her.

The Catholic Almanac under “Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary” tells us that in Fatima, Portugal, “Mary appeared six times between May 13 and Oct. 13, 1917, to three children in a field called Cova da Iria near Fatima, north of Lisbon. She recommended frequent recitation of the Rosary.”

Most are not aware that in the Rosary one prays to Mary these words: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” There is only one Mediator for sinners (1 Timothy 2:5) and only one who can deal with our sins, that is the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The Almanac goes on saying that Mary urged “works of mortification for the conversion of sinners; called for devotion to herself under the title of the Immaculate Heart.” Can our works of mortification convert sinners? Did not Christ command us to preach the Gospel to every creature (Matthew 28:19)? It is not our suffering and sacrifice that brings conversion to others but the preaching of His suffering and sacrifice and a sinners’ hearty response to the Savior. It may cost us in time and effort to evangelize the lost but ultimately it is the Gospel that is the “power of God unto Salvation.” Fatima’s message is a total contradiction of the Gospel.

Fatima also calls for making holy communion on the first Saturday of every month and the Almanac informs us that: “Fatima, with its sanctuary and basilica, ranks with Lourdes as the greatest of Marian shrines.”

So what about Lourdes? Hinn evidently approves of it. Lourdes is just the French version of Fatima. The Almanac gives its history: “Mary, identifying herself as the Immaculate Conception appeared 18 times between Feb. 11 and July 16, 1858, to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous at the grotto of Massabielle near Lourdes in southern France. Her message concerned the necessity of prayer and penance for the conversion of men.”

It has been a longstanding controversy as to what, if anything, is really happening at these Marian shrines. Certainly there can be improvement of psychosomatic illness just through expectations. Because of the false beliefs being promoted so blatantly at both of these shrines, we cannot even rule out the demonic and the occultic (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

Hinn has admittedly slid into spiritism and necromancy so it should not be surprising that he is spiraling down into one error after the other. We can only wonder what will be next.—GRF

© 1998 - PFO. All rights reserved by Personal Freedom Outreach.