He must have been having a bad day. I mean, it’s tough being Benny Hinn. Penthouse suites and private jets and limos and fine cuisine—it’s gotta get tiring after a while, doesn’t it? All the security and hassle with being a superstar. Gotta give the guy some slack, right? In this clip Hinn is in Kiev, Ukraine a few years ago. And, we are told, “the anointing” fell, or, was distributed, by Hinn himself. And his suit jacket, it seems. And the appropriate music, in the appropriate key, with the appropriate bodies strewn about the stage at the proper places, shaking and gyrating at the appointed times as well. And in charge of it all is Benny Hinn, large and in charge. Barking orders at his staff, security people, and the crowd. Evidently, the Spirit responds to Benny’s orders, too, as he sets up each new experience of the “anointing,” which he defines as…tingling in the right hand that he has had you raising for like five minutes. (Try that at home—it works every time!). Here is the clip:
[After posting this I saw the screen capture for the video above. Folks, never, ever underestimate the power of what you see in that picture. There are men and women who LIVE for that kind of adoration, that kind of control over others.]
There is so much that can (and should) be said about this kind of event/experience/teaching/debacle. It is not wrong, my friends, just because it looks silly and strange and odd. Many dismiss this just because it is so far outside of our experience. That is not the problem. The problem is it is so utterly, thoroughly opposed to everything the Bible says about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Whether the world finds it laughable or not really doesn’t matter (they think the very Puritan, plain worship services at my church are laughable, too, just not in quite the same fashion). It is not that there is intense emotion displayed by some (how many are genuine and how many are plants there to get others “started” is impossible to determine). The real problem needs to be identified: you have a multi-millionaire standing on stage getting a huge paycheck for promulgating a shallow message wrapped up in the promise of prosperity and healing pretending to control the very Spirit of God who then “anoints” people in a fashion and by a means utterly outside of what the Spirit Himself has defined in the God-breathed Scriptures. The result is not παιδεία nor is it τάξις nor is it σωφρονισμός—three Greek terms that cluster around the vital theme of “discipline, sober-mindedness, order,” in the New Testament. And this is what the Spirit brings. He does not bring chaos and confusion (ἀκαταστασίας, which is what we see in this video, 1 Corinthians 14:33), He brings order and discipline. Of course, that kind of “anointing” does not sell books or result in large offerings, so that is problematic.
Does the Bible know anything of an anointing that can be “received” through the yelling of the word “fire” and the waving of a garment (accompanied by choreographed music, lighting, choirs, etc.)? No, it does not. Most of the appearances of the term (χρίω; χρῖσμα, τος) have to do, of course, with the Messiah, the anointed one. But it does appear in reference to believers:
The One Who establishes us together with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. (2 Corinthians 1:21–22)
This anointing is defined as the work of God and it is clearly connected with the dwelling of the Spirit in the believers, resulting in their union with the body of Christ. It is not some ecstatic secondary experience that comes later, it is primary, foundational, and universal. It is not something offered at revivals, it is definitional to what makes a person a Christian in the first place. It is not mediated by traveling evangelists, it is the direct and powerful work of God in the salvation of his elect people. Likewise, the phraseology appears in John’s epistle:
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. (1 John 2:20–21)
These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. (1 John 2:26–27)
In each of these texts the anointing is something already possessed by the believers. They are not going to special meetings trying to get it; instead, their very standing in Christ is dependent upon the fact that they already possess this anointing. Clearly, this is the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, who is the downpayment, as Paul said, given by the Father promising the conclusion of the work God in redeeming the believer. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to tingling fingers and waving Armani.
So what is the true result of the presence of the Spirit? It can basically be summed up as “the opposite of what you see at a Benny Hinn crusade meeting.” It isn’t flopping bodies and people being blown over. It is not Benny Hinn tossing the Holy Spirit around like a beachball. Let’s look to the Word:
For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, (Colossians 2:5–6)
The Spirit produces order, orderliness, stability, steadiness, not the wild swings of emotion and experience that mark so much of “Christendom” today.
In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:6–8)
The believer engages in personal discipline, orderliness, purposeful sober-mindedness with a goal towards godliness, in their lives. This is not the result of being blown over by a Holy Spirit blast from Benny’s coat, it is the result of the Spirit’s work, making the Word come alive in the heart. [This is another major problem with the Hinn phenomenon: his message is never deep, never exegetical, never communicating truth from the Word; it is emotional, shallow, brief and secondary to the “main show” yet to come.]
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, (2 Timothy 1:7–8)
What is the spiritual result of being indwelt by the Spirit of God? We do not have a spirit of timidity or fear; we have a spiritual orientation of “power, love, and discipline.” Our charismatic friends read a ton of extra stuff into the word “power” here, but may I suggest that the power here referenced has to do with power in striving for godliness and against sin and in remaining faithful in the midst of tribulation? That is has nothing at all to do with power as in miracles and tongues and healings and all the rest? The power Paul is talking about is the power to suffer, is it not, as the very next verse says? It most assuredly is. And that same spiritual work of God makes us disciplined people, men and women consistent in our striving for godliness, and in our life of repentance when that abiding sin manifests itself.
So when I stare in wonder, and a good degree of disgust, at what I see in the above video, I do so not because of its “strangeness” but because of the obvious error, the falsehood, and the fact that especially those young people went from that place deceived and robbed. They went into an unbelieving world as sheep sheared by the Hinnmeister. They were not empowered to engage the world properly and with the sword of the Spirit; they were, in fact, damaged goods, less able to withstand the onslaught of the world, for they had been directed toward emotional experience and tingling fingers rather than toward the discipline that comes from the Spirit of God. And that is what makes Hinn so reprehensible.