The title of this post is both a personal question which I profoundly answer in the affirmative and the title of television documentary by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The journalists involved in the production of this show masterfully strip away the lamb's clothing from Canadian native Benny Hinn to reveal the soul of a wolf and the tastes of a fat cat.
My introduction to the documentary, and some portion of my interest in it, can be attributed to the prominent role that Mississippi evangelist Justin Peters plays in it. Peters is a Southern Baptist, a SWBTS graduate, and one of our convention's most valiant warriors against the sinister dealings of fraudulent hucksters like Hinn.
Fraudulent? I'll be that most of my readers were with me on that one all along. But sinister? Yes, it is sinister, and perhaps more so than you realized.
The word of faith movement is sinister because it is a confidence game. The people involved lie in order to take people's money. The documentary takes you through a few days in the lavish life of Benny Hinn, thanks to whistleblower-provided internal records. I doubt that many of my readers have ever experienced a week like that.
The word of faith movement is sinister because it hurts people. Desperate people who place their hope in a fraud eventually become devastated people. The documentary takes you through the story of a young crippled girl named Grace. If you aren't weeping at the end, then you haven't a heart. And if Benny Hinn were sitting beside you at that moment, he would get an earful, at least.
There's a third sinister aspect to the word of faith movement, but you won't find it in the CBC documentary. If you invite Justin Peters to your church to offer his Call for Discernment seminar, you and the remainder of your congregation will learn that the word of faith movement is spreading heresy. Perhaps it is because so much of what they do is so flamboyant that so many of the things that they say and teach escaped my notice for so long. But they haven't escaped Justin's notice, and he presents the multifaceted heresy of these modern-day Marcions in Italian wool not by use of bald accusations, but in the miscreants' own words, often with accompanying video.
This third grievance toward the word of faith people may seem to some a less weighty charge than some of the others. If so, that is only because we so easily succumb to carnality. Stealing people's money is a horrible thing, all the more when it is done to the most vulnerable among us and in the name of Christ. Telling the sick to forego legitimate medical treatment while they innocently give their hearts over to your sham is a perverse crime of its own. But we will all lose both our money and our lives on some day coming. To preach or teach heresy, however, is an eternal crime of the highest order, and never, never, never is a victimless offense.
Stuck on the outskirts of Dallas's bustling suburbs, the community of Farmersville generally keeps people overcommitted and under-rested. It is not an easy thing to get our people back on a Monday or a Tuesday after a full day of Sunday activities. Yet Justin's conference maintained an astounding following for five full sessions (he can do it in as few as three). I highly recommend him to you for use in your church, not for his sake, but for the sake of your members who dabble in a little Hinn or Copeland or Osteen or other TBN trash during the week. Do it for the sake of the Truth whom they need to learn to discern as different from these snake-oil salesmen.