DECODING PROSPERITY MESSAGES
Benny Hinn’s repentance on past prosperity messages he preached did not come as a surprise. Truth (light) has been known to eventually catch up with lies (darkness) however late. The oratory and eloquence of Benny Hinn’s confession sound convincing. However, the Bible cautions us not to love with words and speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18)
It will be admirable if Benny Hinn can follow up his confession and repentance with restitution. Obviously the prosperity heresy which he now admits publicly that he had preached over the years must have robbed gullible and innocent people of their hard earned dollars.
Restitution is a sound biblical doctrine. Zacchaeus’s situation presents an excellent case study. When he was accused of being a sinner in the presence of Jesus Christ, his immediate repentance was instructive. “Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold. And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;” (Luke 19:8-9)
Honestly and sincerely speaking, I admire Benny Hinn’s courage in coming out publicly to make such a public confession knowing quite well that his action will earn him serious hatred and persecution by his notable colleagues who continue to profit by the gospel. The truth of the matter however is that he is still a very rich person, probably a millionaire. Benny Hinn’s repentance and confession will sound more authentic if he embraces Jesus Christ’s instruction to a certain rich young man in the Bible. “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)
Of course I do not wish him to become poor for it is not the mind of God for anybody to be poor. “Beloved, I pray that you prosper in all things and be healthy, even as you soul prospers.” (3 John 1:2). However, It may not be a bad idea if he sells a high percentage of his wealth and use the proceeds to, for example, build an estate for the homeless in any city and nation of his choice. He can then continue to use the remaining fraction to preach the authentic gospel, in an attitude of truthfulness and integrity of the gospel.
Prosperity preaching with audacious and ridiculous ‘dollar call’, (as in reverse auction) as against authentic gospel with appropriate altar call, continues to make a mockery of the good news message. We cannot remove the person and doctrines of Jesus Christ from the Bible and still call it, ‘Good News’
Jesus Christ is love! Jesus Christ came to serve and not to be served. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for our sins. Jesus Christ won the victory over Satan on the cross. If His personality of unconditional love is removed from the Bible, the Bible can no longer qualify to be called the good news, but can be called a mere ‘operational manual’, of rules and regulations that glorify ‘rulers of synagogues’
Rulers of synagogues have the characteristics of endless demands that make some bishops, some overseers, some regional pastors, some provincial pastors, so many leaders behave as if they are ones that died on the cross. Let’s remind ourselves of a fundamental truth. When it comes to righteousness, we can only approach God the Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6)
These days, some churches try to approach God the Father through expensive programs of convocation, congregation or convolution, whatever terminology they may want to adopt. If such programs are the way to the Father, the population of our Christian membership should be growing in geometric proportion.
What will make the church grow in righteousness ought to be love-based programs. Such programs will prioritize care for the needy, the poor, good welfare package for those who serve God and befitting retirement plans for people who serve the Lord into their old age. Also such programs should feature adequate support package for struggling churches.
There are many categories of people in Christendom who require the mercy of God in righteousness. They include but are not limited to; those who rob people by taking advantage of their vulnerability through unproductive prosperity messages, those who extort through ungodly levies, those who receive dishonorable honorariums and those who give, out of inordinate ambition to secure undeserved promotions, and many more. The principle of Luke 6:38 (Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.) does not include giving with ulterior motives.
The Bible makes it clear that we cannot serve two Gods. Matthew 6:24, makes it clear that You Cannot Serve God and Riches
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
It is not a bad idea for anyone to desire prosperity. The way to go is hard work. “Idle hands make one poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” (Proverbs 10:4). In addition to hard work, listening to God and serving Him make them end their days in prosperity and their years in pleasure. (Job 36:11)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble. (Proverbs 15:16)