As recent as last week many Christians and some non-Christians flooded churches that hosted popular “apostolic, charismatic and traveling” so called healer, Benny Hinn. Benny Hinn is a popular face on TBN and he’s traveled to many parts of the world where he holds “healing crusades”. Because of the success of his “healing gift” he attracts tens of thousands whenever a arrives at a site. Many Christians in Phoenix, South Africa might say that it was a privilege to have Benny Hinn come for the first time to Phoenix. I would estimate that more than 10 000 people would claim that it was a privilege to see him, and moreover to experience physical healing in their own lives that before was only a fleeting dream.
I write this blog post today because as I have thought through how much Christians have deified Benny Hinn, I have concluded that we do so because we’ve made God to be less than God and we made ourselves to be more than God. In other words we’ve switched roles with God. Human beings still want to be treated like they are gods. They want to be gods! Because they want to be gods they are demanding. They demand healing, they demand wealth and prosperity, they demand success and popularity, they demand fame, they are even arrogant enough to demand immortality. Christian people, yes, I am talking about Christian people, many of us have deified ourselves. Because of this god-complex that we have about ourselves we therefore throng to the places that men like Benny Hinn are invited to, expecting to receive the things that gods should have.
This is what the authors (Bob Sjogren and Gerald Robison) say in their book “Cat and Dog Theology”, “What I’ve heard others say is true: Dogs have masters , but cats have staff. This is why mankind has traditionally attributed characteristics such as loyalty, service, and faithfulness to dogs. But cats have acquired traits like independence and aloofness. There’s a joke about cats and dogs that conveys their differences perfectly. A dog says, “You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, you must be God.” A cat says, “You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, I must be God.” The difference between cats and dogs is very similar to how Christian theology is being lived out today. We call it “Dog Theology” and “Cat Theology.” Dogs say, “Lord, you love me, you bless me abundantly, you gave me your life, you must be God.” Whereas Cats say, “[Lord], you love me, you bless me abundantly, you gave your life for me, I must be god.”
Almost in the same vein John Piper asks this question in his book “Brothers we are not Professionals”, “Why is it important to be stunned by the God-centeredness of God? Because many people are willing to be God-centred as long as they feel that God is man-centred. It’s a subtle danger. We may be thinking we are centring our lives on God, when we are really making Him the means to self-esteem. Over against this danger I urge you to ponder the implications, that God loves His glory more than he loves us and that this is the foundation of His love for us.”
There is a lot we can say about all this but here’s a few thoughts in closing. Firstly (in no particular order), we want “stuff” on demand because we expect God to be man-centered. We expect God to think of our “glory” first and His glory second. By doing this we deify ourselves. Secondly, although we say that we believe in a sovereign God, at the very depth of our hearts we don’t really believe it. Believing in the sovereignty of God is trusting God to accomplish his purposes in your life, in his time and through whomever he will choose and through whatever means he chooses. It is ironic that in the very crusade that Benny Hinn was “performing miracles” a man died. I say it’s ironic because it demonstrates to me the sovereignty of my God over Benny Hinn’s god. My God, the God of the Bible is absolutely sovereign and he will show his sovereignty in ways that brings the proud and arrogant right down to their size. Third, when you do things your way you will always end up disappointed. Going to a “healing crusade” only to come back the way way you left will lead to discouragement and a weaker faith in God. I want you to know than only God’s ways are edifying to believers and only His ways can grow and sustain faith. Trusting in God’s ways removes man-centeredness and replaces it with God-centeredness. Fourth, God doesn’t require a cent/dime from you in order for you to get what you need. All he wants from you is obedient resilient faith. God always wants His best for you, but in doing so he looks out first for his “own names sake” and because he looks our for His “names sake first” we can rest assured that whatever we get is for our best. Because God is true to himself he will always be true to us. What a comforting and encouraging thought!
I want to discourage you from following men Benny Hinn and others like him who have a god-complex and because of it they feel that others should have one too. It reminds me of the subtlety of Satan in the garden of Eden when he tempted Adam and Eve to sin. He caused them to think that God is holding something back from them. Men like Benny Hinn remind me of Satan in the Garden of Eden, except today they are roaming the world telling people that God is keeping something back from them. My prayer is that as you read these words you will run back to the truth of God’s word and search for yourself the validity of my words.
Let’s get out of Hinn and back to God through Jesus Christ!