Benny Hinn’s Nephew Criticises Prosperity Gospel
Benny Hinn’s nephew, Costi Hinn, has criticised his uncle’s prosperity gospel.
Costi addressed Hinn’s theology message and lavish lifestyle in a recent interview with Justin Peters.
Costi joined his uncle’s ministry as an eager young man. He worked as an usher who “carried around uncle Benny’s Louis Vuitton bag,” according to him.
In his words, “We lived the dream. Expensive hotels, cars, travel. The biggest being that ‘Jesus provided all of that.’ You didn’t touch the Lord’s anointed … we revered our leaders. We believed that we were part of an anointed heritage of leaders — they were all men of God. They could heal and operate in the five-fold ministry: apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher.”
“I worked for my uncle for well over a year,” he continued. “We would go to London, Australia, Greece, Israel, preaching our version of Christ.I carried his Louis Vuitton briefcase. I stayed in his hotel rooms in places like Dubai. The royal suite there was a $25,000-a-night bill, along with the other suites that we had.”
As a result of hus extravagant lifesyle, Costi began to see God as a genie who does whatever is asked as long as He is pleased.
He explained, “I thought the ultimate door here would be to work for my uncle Benny, to put God first, and God would open a door. That’s how it works in the prosperity gospel movement — God is your magic genie. You rub him right, you do the right things. Give right, serve right, make decisions right, believe right, think right, and you’ll get what you want.”
Benny’s nephew admits that he “liked all the perks” that came with following his uncle around but this feeling did not last for long.
At some point, he had questions, very “big questions”, as he puts it, that made him see differently.
He says, “Along the way, I got big questions in my mind. Like why certain prophecies didn’t come through. And why would mass amounts of people speak in tongues? The bottom line is when you see a whole bunch of people speaking in babble … you look in the Bible and you go ‘well, I don’t know what that is.’”
During the interview, Costi shared the story of a severely deformed young girl who was not healed.
“They brought her to the back. We prayed for her, my uncle prayed for her. I was bawling my eyes out later that night saying ‘God why didn’t you heal her?! Everyone was supposed to get healed,” he explains.
He also talks about how Benny would often declare that “everyone would be healed” at his crusades, adding that his uncle once claimed that Jesus was going to appear in Kenya.
The popular preacher’s nephew says, “You want that when you’re in it. I was a charismatic to the core. I wanted those experiences. I wanted it to be real because Jesus could heal and solve all these problems. When he didn’t, the God I believed in and the God of the Bible were against one another. The Bible said one thing, our theology said a different thing. We used the Bible and twisted it to match our version of God. Ultimately, I was very confused.”
Over time, he began to notice a disconnect between what he saw in the Bible and what his famous uncle was teaching.
“It was something I would think about but lightly question,” he said. “So I would hint to my Dad ‘Hey, why didn’t this happen?’ One friend had cancer in high school. I just thought ‘Let’s pray for her, we’ll get her healed.’”
According to Costi, his family and friends told him that they could not “tap in” to the healing power because the girl’s family belonged to a different denomination.
He says, “It got really weird. Why aren’t we being the hands and feet of Christ? And yet we couldn’t unless there was money and music and atmosphere. So there were big questions.”
Sadly his questions were never answered as he was told “don’t put God in a box, don’t touch the Lord’s anointed,” adding that the “ultimate safety net under it all is ‘well, we are fallible men, we are sinners, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t anointed.’ There is a lot of twisted hermeneutics that go into the excuses. My questions didn’t get answered.”
Eventually, Costi started to get answers as he studied the scripture for himself.
About speaking in tongues, he says, “You can’t tell everyone to speak in tongues. You just can’t,” referencing 1 Corinthians 12:29–30.
“So a domino went down, and all of a sudden another one and another one. You can’t force everyone to speak in tongues. There are no second-class citizens in Christ. That was another truth-bomb,” Hinn explains.
Costi Hinn is currently the executive pastor at Mission Bible Church in Orange County, California.
Watch the interview here:
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